50 for 50 #4 – Feeding Willow

Feeding Willow Carrots

Today I took some carrots with me and fed them to my niece’s horse, Willow. Will could smell the carrots and came over to the fence and was waiting for them. She was a good girl and took them very gently. I picked this as one of my 50 for 50 things in honor of the horses that lived in the pasture behind our house in Ogden. Sometime we would feed them carrots through a hole in our wooden fence. There was also a beautiful old barn with a the classic “barn” roof line. When I imagine the prefect place to live, I dream of a view out one of my windows with a pasture with horses and a similar barn. Maybe that all stems back to the years we lived with a horse pasture behind us. This pasture and barn are long gone, being replace with modern developments.


Dirty Johnson’s Dog Wash

Dirty Johnson Dog Wash

Tonight for our puppy class we went to Dirty Johnson’s Dog Wash and all the pups got baths. I’ve never been to a dog wash before so it was very enlightening. Bill did the real washing while I took pictures. He said the nicest thing about it was not having to bend over. We have a pretty good set up at home with our hand-held shower head but the few times I’ve given the pups baths I have to admit that my back is killing by the end. At the dog wash they have the bath tubs raised up off the floor and a moveable set of stairs for the dog to climb to get into the tub. It was a pretty slick operation with a variety of dog shampoo available. There was even one just for black dogs that we decided to use on Yakira. She wasn’t particularly happy about her bath but she was compliant. It was very nice of Dirty Johnson’s to stay open late for us. I can see why dog owners like to use dog washes.

50 for 50 #3 – Peanuts

This week I went to the library and checked out a Peanuts book. I thought there would be more to choose from but it seems the Peanuts are now “classic.” Does that make me a classic too? I checked out “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” I have one specific memory of a Peanuts Cookbook that we got from the library while we were living in Seattle. We tried to make some lemon suckers but we burned them and they tasted awful. We decided to go around the neighborhood and entice other kids to eat our suckers by pretending that they tasted good.
I really enjoyed reading “You’ve Come A Long Way, Charlie Brown.” Snoopy is my favorite. But I am most struck by the creativity of Charles Schulz in the sheer volume of work he did with Peanuts and his insight into their world.

Two Wonderful Yet Event Filled Years

Sue and Apex from our trip to Florida – January 2011

Today marks two years since Apex met his handler at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon. Sue sent out the following email about her life so far with Apex.

Today marks a wonderful milestone in my lifethat I wanted to share with you all.  2 years ago last week I received acall giving me the flight information to go to a cold and wet Portland toget my guide dog.  As I finished the final preparations and packing, I wasnervous and worried how this would all play out.  Amanda, mydaughter, was only months from graduating high school and I needed to finda new way to get around.  How would he fit into my office life? Would Istill be working? What and where life would take me in these last 2 years hasbeen remarkable and totally unthought of at that time. I took a plane flightacross the US changing planes several times – it would be the last time I wouldbe so scared to travel alone.  It was 2 years ago today that I metApex for the very 1st time.  His birth date is the same as my kitten’s, andhe was the tall, dark and handsome man I prayed for since I was in high school(so… he came on 4 legs instead of 2 – I had to compromise somewhere – haha).He and I hit it off within minutes and we have been unstoppable ever since. He does not mind shopping as long as lunch is included and he loves to traveland see many new faces and places. As I type this, he lays next to me sleeping(and snoring) in the warm Florida afternoon sun.
I have traveled all over (Eastern Caribbean/Bahamas/Virgin Islands/ Massachusetts/Connecticut/Vermont/Florida/Texas/Georgia just to name afew) with my tall, dark and handsome guiding my footsteps, we watched asAmanda graduated high school and we partied the night away (I had earned it !),we worked several full military honor funerals with out a flinch from my guideduring the honor gun salutes, we tackled and attended a movie premier (Lettersto God– it was filmed at my office just before I got Apex), we survived 2long endless months with dad in CCU/ICU/PCU and then his death and funeral, wegot caught in the October snow/ice storm in the northeast, and we stillcontinue to work, travel and shop on our own.  We have found anew church home and attend every chance we can.  I still remainindependent although my brother refuses to let me mow the yard, fix theplumbing, or hang pictures (things blind folks don’t do so well at anyway).
We (Apex and I) are currentlyplanning more trips: to the Caribbean in early 2013, another to go skiingin Utah in the fall of 2012, and then I am starting the process ofplanning my dream trip to Alaska to see the Arura Borelis and Hawaiito see the volcano and black beaches (both states are on my bucketlist and I can not believe they will actually become reality in the summer/fallof 2013) as well as a trip, or two, to see family and friends all acrossthis land.  Laying down my drivers license was very hard as I thought itwould be the end of my working and traveling days but instead God traded me -my driving a car for my wonderful guide dog. 
Apex has truly lived up to the meaning of hisname and been the pinnacle of my life even thru the health scares we haveboth endured.  Two and a half years ago it took me nearly an hour to go 1block with my white cane finding every crack in the sidewalk and more oftenthan not, I sat at home totally frustrated and exhausted by trying to travel orwalk. Yesterday, Apex and I did 2 miles in 30 minutes without thinking aboutit – what a joy to be able to walk like a sighted person again.  Heloves children and so I am getting back into working with them more andmore.  He also loves to entertain the crowd while I (attempt to) sing, soI am once again beginning to sing on stage ( I always hated being taken and ledlike a small child so I stopped singing when I started loosing myvision.).  I also have begun pursuing things that interest Sue as I beginto enjoy the “empty nest” now that Amanda has moved out.  It isamazing how much less house cleaning there is to do when there are no childrenaround…humm  (I had forgotten that part of being single…)
Thank you all for your prayers and emotionalsupport over these last 2 wonderful and event filled years and continue to prayfor us as I have no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Who knows- you maysee me at your door or even hear me as I go by.  God truly does give usriches beyond measure and often more than we can think of.
Celebrate today – it is all we know we have -tomorrow is simply hoped for and yesterday was.  
on our Happy “Puppy Day” 
Sue and Guide Apex

Truck Ride

Last Saturday we bought an old pick-up truck from my niece. Bill has always wanted a pick-up and the price was right and having a second vehicle will be very nice. On Sunday I had Bill go out with me in the truck to make sure I could deal with driving and parking the beast. It has an extended cab and a full length bed which make it very long. It is also wider than I’m use to and the turning radius isn’t very good. I did ok with everything but parking. I’ll just have to park out in the boondocks and then I’ll be fine.

Well today it was my turn to drive the truck and I had some errands to run so Yakira got her first time riding in the truck. With the cold we haven’t gotten the time to really clean the pick-up out. So I put a blanket down on the floor to help keep her from finding goodies on the floor. We had a little trouble at the first with her wanting to lean on my while I was driving but she improved quickly. I think she really like being up front with me and it was convenient to have her get in and out of the same door that I used. I’ll have to get a photo of the old grey truck and post it here later.

5 Months Old

Yakira laying down by the kitty tower

Today Yakira reached what I call the age of accountability. She is no longer a baby and is much more capable of understanding the rules of her environment. She has grown up so much in the last month and a half. She is becoming such a good puppy and she rarely even mouths me anymore let a lone clamp her teeth down on me. Yakira is becoming a good cuddler, which I really love in my puppies. And her stocky little build or her babyhood is gone and she is much more lean and lanky looking. I’ve been letting her get away with a bit of cheating in the car when she puts her paws up on the console between the front seats. She doesn’t know it yet but her days of cheating are know over.

New Rug

Yesterday I spotted a 8’x11′ area rug in greens while at a furniture store with my sister. It was only $300 and I thought it might work really well in our living room. After checking out the size for the room and showing Bill a photo we decided to go back and buy it. It was a great deal because the regular price was $1200! It took several hours of work to clear out the living room, give it a good vacuuming and then decide just how to place the rug. We ended up rearranging the furniture a bit to work better with the rug. Well about an hour after we got the room all back together I realized that I didn’t know where Yakira was. So I went to find her and there she was chewing on the new rug! She succeeded in pulling out about 1/2″ section of yarns on the edge of the rug. I can’t believe I wasn’t more careful. I knew thing in the room and a curious puppy are a bad combination. Just because she didn’t mess with the old rug didn’t mean the knew one would be the same. The spot doesn’t stand out too much but I’m really glad that it wasn’t a $1200 rug.

Note: Our cat loves the rug too. During the night he likes to pick a spot and knead it with his claws. In the process he snags little pieces of yarn and pulls them out. Not at all sure how long this rug is going to last with this kind of abuse.

Photos from Florida

Apex at the Office with a Christmas tree

I love it when I see that I’ve gotten mail from either Apex or Banta’s handlers. Tonight I had one in my inbox from Florida. It was photos of Apex from Christmas. We sent all the puppies in our lives a nylabone wishbone. As puppies they all loved the wishbone shape the best. In a previous email Sue said he was enjoying the bone but was mostly tossing it around and chasing it. Banta’s handler said that she really liked it better than another nylabone she had because it was smaller and her mouth fit around it better. Well anyway Sue sent photos of Apex with his wishbone and one at work with a Christmas tree. So here they are.

Apex on the couch with his wishbone
Apex chewing on his wishbone

50 for 50 #2 – Tarantula

Today I did my second thing to celebrate my 50th year. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to choose to do this week but as I looked at my idea list, the second thing I had listed way sugar cane fields and cane spiders. Behind our house in Hawaii was a big sugar cane field. And before they could harvest the sugar cane they have to burn the fields. And when they burn the field these big hairy spiders come out and would get in our yard and in our play house. I had a vague idea of trying to find some actual sugar cane to eat but then I got some inspiration. How about finding a tarantula and hold it!
I don’t have an actual phobia of spiders but I do have some fear issues with them. If I’m alone I can deal with a spider in the house but it is hard. If Bill is home I always have him come and take care of a spider. The worst though is my spider dreams. From time to time I have a very vivid dream of a spider in my bed with me. I wake up (sort of) and have to turn on the lights and pull back all the covers and make sure their is no spider. I can’t see at all well without glasses or contacts and so I usually in list Bill to help me, tell him to check very carefully. About this time I finish waking up and realize it was just a dream and there is no spider or spiders to be found. Finally the light goes back out and we drift back to sleep.
So this afternoon Bill wanted to run an errand and we used his phone to see if there was a pet store in the area. We found one just three miles down the road that sounded like a possibility. We found Living Safari to be a very interesting pet store. They have lots of lizards, snakes and other reptiles. Eventually we were directed to their tarantulas and I explained to a very helpful employee what I wanted to do. She pick their most docile variety, a rose-hair from South America. She said that it was important to not move while I was hold the tarantula and if she (the tarantula) moved quickly not to panic and drop her or she might be killed by the impact. But she was a perfect tarantula and she hardly moved around at all which I really appreciated. Bill to photos and I’ll get them posted very soon. While I chatted with the employee learning lots of things about tarantulas.
I don’t know if the experience will change my feelings about spiders but I’m glad I did it. It wasn’t too scary and It was fun to do something very different to celebrate my 50th year.

50 for 50: #1 – Pineapple

This year I turn 50 years old and so I’m going to celebrate the whole year by doing 50 things. Each thing will symbolize something in my past or else something to celebrate the future. So today I did my first 50 for 50. I ate fresh pineapple in memory of my birth in Hawaii. I took photos of the pineapple and the dishes that I’ve fixed with it so far. And I’ll post those here later. I’m really excited about this 50 for 50 thing and I have a list of over 60 ideas to do in the coming year. I plan on doing one each week. That gives me a couple of weeks of leeway if I miss a week here or there.

Good Morning Drink
Warm Winter Citrus Dessert
Fruit Salad with Pineapple, Pummelo and Blueberries
Cottage Cheese and Pineapple