From On Top of the World to Reality: Transition Home

Roja's puppy raisers, Jack and Linda, have raised 38 puppies and gave me the gift of Roja.

Roja’s puppy raisers, Jack and Linda, co-raised Roja with the Swart family. Puppy raising is a selfless act, and I’m grateful to them for their care of Roja as a puppy.

Graduation from Guide Dogs for the Blind seems like eons ago, though the interactions with Roja’s amazing puppy raisers that day are still clearly etched in my mind. In fact, the entire day felt magical, from the after effects of the shock of my sisters surprising me  to eating mouth-watering Indian food with friends who drove 14 hours in one day to celebrate with me and Roja.

Roja relaxing on my lap while driving through Golden Gate Park Continue reading

I Believe I Can Fly (summary of First Week at GDB)

joyandroja“What are you looking for in a guide dog?”

“Um, Well, a smallish sized dog who is calm and has a drier mouth, maybe a yellow lab although color isn’t as important. Oh, and I want a dog who is super fast.”

I could tell Roja met my criteria from day 1, even though bonding has continued to be challenging. I’m now in my second week of training, and I still find myself feeling jealous of other students and their constantly playful, cuddling dogs. Yes, Roja, gives “hugs” with her whole body and loves playing “tug” and occasionally rests her soft head on my lap, but these signs of affection are definitely on her terms, intermittently, when she feels like it!  She still moves away when I reach to pet her head, and I’m still learning what makes her tick. Continue reading

Meet Roja: Day 1 of Training at GDB

IMG_8346-2You know how some days can just fly by, to the point where you can’t even figure out what you did? And then there are those other days, those 24-hour periods that are so thick with events that it seems several months have passed overnight. I’ve experienced this during a weekend of silence at a trappist monastery, and on several short-term mission trips over the years, and today, at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA, during my first day of training. Continue reading

Hands

photoHands,

stacked and held,

matted and framed

hanging on a hook above my bed.

Four hands.  Mine is at the bottom, followed by my grandmother’s, my mother’s, and the tiny newborn hand of my eldest daughter.  When a friend took the picture 8 years ago, I had no concept of the significance it would hold for me in future years when the physical hands would begin to perish.

Continue reading

Mr. Clean

I have a dirty little secret to share.  A housekeeper cleans my home once or twice a month.  And….that’s it.  That’s the secret.  Pretty dirty, I know.

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I am not wealthy, but rather house cleaning is something I prioritize in my monthly budget.  It’s not as though my house needs to be perfect.  I have 2 small children (8 if you count my husband), and a dog, so a perfect house would be quite a stretch at this point in my life. Continue reading

Life Without a Dishwasher

Spring has sprung, and that means lots of park dates with the kids. Playground conversations amongst the parents can be riveting. Yesterday’s topic of discussion was dishwashers. Some people have them. Some do not. Two of the non-dishwasher moms were lamenting this missing appliance

“Yes,” I chimed in, “That would be so hard not to have a dishwasher.”

“Well, I mean, it’s not that bad,” one of them responded in defense, “You just get used to it after awhile.”

“Yep,” piped in the other mom, “People lived for many many years without the luxury of dishwashers. It’s really not a big deal.”

“True,” I agreed, changing my stance like a crafty politician, “It would probably force me to stay on top of my dishes if I did not have one.” Continue reading

The #1 Way to Assist a Person With RP in Public

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Friends and family have often expressed to me and my sister their concern over whether they are being helpful when we’re out and about.
We have told people there is no right or wrong way, and no specific expectation, This is half-true.  I posted a list of tips and pet peeves a couple years ago, though looking over it now, it may be too detailed to remember.
Some friends have observed our husbands’ interactions with us and followed their lead.  This is an overall wise idea, as our men have been with us long enough to help us seamlessly.  My husband, however, has been known to be so laid-back and hands-off that I have walked into signs and fallen down a flight of stairs walking right next to him!  This may be why he recently told me that he feels excited when I pull out my cane. Continue reading

Book Review: “Now I See You”

“You’ve got to read the book I just finished,” I heard Joy telling my voicemail.  This was not an uncommon message for her to leave.  Recommending the latest and greatest books to each other has been happening since our “Sweet Valley Twins” days.

But what she said next sparked my interest a little more than usual.

“The author is a mom about our age who wrote a memoir about her life and she has RP just like us.  She actually sounds like someone we would be friends with.”

I instantly knew she meant that we would be friends with her because of her personality, not her RP.  I uploaded the book from Audible a few minutes later, and began the journey into Nicole C. Kear’s memoir “Now I See You”. Continue reading