so this isn’t anything of interest. just checking if i can use the app with voice over. so far, so good. but is this going to my blog? we shall see.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here. Judy, Olga’s new mom, let me know a couple weeks ago that Olga has developed arthritis. For anyone who forgot, Olga is my just retired guide dog. She had her physical in February, and there was no indication of arthritis then. I feel pretty sad about though thankful I retired her when I did. After all, I’ve lived with the pain of arthritis all my life and I’d never want my dog to live with it and have to keep pulling into the harness. I’m so thankful Olga has such a wonderful new home. Judy and Jim are devoted to her. Judy tells me she’s already completely attached to Olga after just three weeks or so. I’m thankful. But my heart feels sad that I might have missed symptoms and might have made Olga work even longer than she should have. do have to say though, she had no trouble hopping on my bed. lol. I miss her a lot. all my dogs leave of piece of themselves in my soul, and Olga is no exception. Bless her and keep her happy and well.
The Reluctant First Lady
By Venita Ellick
Ashley Taylor has been straightforward with her husband, the president-elect of the United States. She supported his candidacy, but she has no intention of assuming the traditional role of First Lady—a position she describes as “First Hostess.” Instead, she will resume her own career as head of one of the largest art museums in New York. The aftermath of her decision triggers reactions from the public, news commentators, late night comedians, and other political factions. While Ashley and Michael wrestle with saving their marriage and preserving their professional lives, the country debates whether the role of First Lady is a necessity, how the media influences the lives of public figures, and how much a woman should sacrifice for the person she loves.
I was excited at the chance to read and review this book. In all the political fiction I’ve read, I’ve only come across one book that has dealt with the idea of a First Lady with a career. That book was Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy. One of the subplots was that Jack Ryan’s wife who was a world renowned eye surgeon refused to give up her career when Jack became president. I loved that part of the story and the details on how she made that work, secret service and all. So, when I was asked to participate in this blog tour for The Reluctant First Lady, I jumped at the chance and could hardly wait to begin the book. I was not disappointed. Whereas Clancy’s First Lady was one subplot in a massive book with many subplots, The Reluctant First Lady is all about the concept of a two-career, commuter marriage when the man becomes president and the woman refuses to give up her career to become the Whitehouse Hostess.
The story is contemporary and timely. Someday, we will have a First Lady with her own career, and someday we will have a woman president. One of the aspects I found fascinating was how men and women on both sides of the political aisle reacted angrily to ashley’s decision. Surely, I thought, liberals, women at least, would understand and applaud Ashley’s actions. But the character receives heat for her choices from many corners. She sticks to her guns and is almost too adamant at times. I occasionally found myself wanting to grab both ashley and Michael, knock their heads together and hiss the word, “compromise”. But mostly I felt proud of these two characters and wanted them both to have what they wanted.
I know little about art and museums, and the scenes dealing with ashley’s career were some of the most interesting to me. I love learning about new things, and the touches about art and running a museum were just enough to give me knowledge and make me want to learn more without bogging down the overall story.
Ellick shows us the public reaction at times by slipping in imaginary newscasts by real news people or jokes from famous comedians, and I loved that! I’d smile when I heard a familiar name, no matter what I thought of their commentary on our Reluctant First Lady. It was touches like these that gives the story an authentic feel and makes it seem as if it could be coming right out of today’s headlines.
As the story unwinds, eventually, Ashley must come up with a plan both to keep her career and her marriage, and it was then I loved her most of all, because she chose to have both and she made it work. Isn’t that what we women have worked so hard to achieve?
The Reluctant First Lady is fun and funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking at times. It’s one hell of a good read! After all, when an author says she was captivated by the books Mistress of Mellyn and Pride and Prejudice, you know she’s going to tell a tale you’ll want to read again and again. I will read this book again and will be looking for more by this author. I want to know more about how this reluctant First Lady changes what it means to be the First Lady.
Well, I’d hoped to update long before this, but wouldn’t ya know it, I’ve been pretty sick ever since I got home. Damn airplanes anyway! Just another reason why I hate flying. This was the worst thing I’ve had since I stopped working in an office. I mean, after all, when you work from home, you’re not exposed to all the sick people who insist on going to work, even when they aught to stay home and not infect others. It’s a problem in our country that we still have in spite of all the studies showing how germs are spread around the office. Our ame5rican work ethic after all.
Anyway, Due to my illness and then Petunia becoming ill, we’ve only had one good workout since getting back from training, and that was the day after getting home. My friend remembered an alternate route to the coffeeshop, and now we didn’t have to cross at that bad dangerous intersection. There is actually a pedestrian underpass that goes down below and across Airport Road. this is a very family oriented neighborhood and I guess they put in the underpass to make it safer for familes with children. Anyway, it makes the route longer but much safer. Joylene walked it with us. tuney was pretty good, much like the beginning of our training. New place and all that. so, she was a bit tentative at first, especially on her curb approaches. and she was very very sniffy. We walked the route and stopped at the coffeeshop for a latte.
On the way home, I was feeling exhausted and the beginnings of the illness were hitting me, so I asked Joylene to do sighted guide across the bad intersection since that is the shortest route home. We timed it. the light cycle lasts about 22 seconds, and we were still half a dozen steps from the upcurb when the light changed. definitely not safe. Once we were across I had Petunia work again, and she did very well. And the coolest thing, she almost targeted my gate to my yard! She was heading for it when she got distracted by a parked car, but I think she would have gone to the gate if not for that.
After that, I was sick sick sick. ugh. I haven’t even been back to work yet and I’m freaking out about that. three weeks with no pay. I’m going to be hurting so badly in June. Even now, I am still coughing a lot and a little stuffy, but the sore throat is gone and the voice is back, so I can go back to work tomorrow. sigh.
Thursday nnight, Petunia started throwing up. I had us all shut in my bedroom but had left her off her tie-down to see how she did. Oops. now there are several little spots on the rug. Must get carpet cleaners in this summer. all the dogs have now christened the new carpet! Anyway, I didn’t feed her Friday morning just to let her stomach rest. but she didn’t eat that night or Saturday morning. so, off to the vet we went yesterday. sick human and sick dog. She’d already lost three pounds since she was weighed at GDB, and she really doesn’t need to lose anymore! She definitely had some bacteria in her gut, so she’s on a bland, chicken and rice diet for a few days, plus meds for the next week. The meds are extremely bitter, so she’s getting a glob of peanut butter to help get them down her. But she’s already feeling better I thin and not throwing up or having diarrhea anymore.
Tomorrow, Joylene and I will try to work the route again and Tuesday as well. Lauren from GDB will be here Wednesday, and I can only hope that my bosses won’t kill me for needing to take a couple hours off midday to work with her!
As for Petunia overall, she is a joy. she is sweet and obedient in the house. I’ve been letting her move around off leash quite a bit and letting her out in the yard. at night I still put her on tie-down, but once she’s well I may stop doing that. Not sure yet. she’s finally stopped trying to engage Bianca in play. Bianca is just too old to want anything to do with Tuney, but they seem to have developed the same sort of thing as Bianca and olga, just ignore each other and accept that I will give attention to both!
Keep us in your prayers. I must get well. the cough is hanging on, usual with me, and I can’t miss more work. Tuney and I need to be getting out and walking together to keep her from getting rusty and to help strengthen our bond.
Nothing much else is going on. Life will probably start settling into normal stuff once I’m finally back to work!
Yay, Petunia and I made it home. It feels so good to be here. I was surrounded in such peace when I walked in the door last night. Yes, last night–I’ll get to that in a bit. I slept in my own bed, and I’m sitting on my rocking chair, Tuney at my feet, and my wireless keyboard on my lap. The music is playing. Beanie is off to the side. Coffee on my entertainment center beside me. I’m home, home, home!
I honestly don’t remember what I wrote about graduation, but I’ll go back and read it again, and if anyone wants more details, let me know.
My classmate, Dawn, and I, flew out together, both coming back here to Colorado. A volunteer for GDB drove us to the airport and made sure we got our bags checked and that someone came to escort us through security and to the gate. Since I had Petunia with me, I couldn’t do the auto imaging booth thing. There wasn’t anyone to hold her, and it’s not the responsibility of airport personnel to do so. So, we went through security the normal way. Again, as with the trail during class, Tuney was excellent. One of our instructors had told me that Petunia got the gold star for airport behavior on our workout there, best behaved dog. And the trip home was no exception.
Dawn and I are both afraid of flying, and we were both stressing badly over the fact that Colorado was under a winter storm warning. Before we left campus, I went to her room and suggested that we pray. We did, and it really helped. I felt at ease about the trip for the most part from then on. So, once we were at the gate, I felt like we’d probably get home. But I had a little concern over the fact that we were flying on a commuter jet. Would it be worse flying over the Rockies in a snowstorm, worse than a big jet? oooooo, shiver.
Dawn and I had hoped to be able to sit together again, but since it was a commuter jet, there rows only held two seats, and there definitely was not enough room for two big dogs. So we sat same row opposite side of the plane.
The first guy who sat beside me was pissed about having to sit with my dog. There just wasn’t anyway to keep her out from under his feet as well as mine. But he was rude in how he dealt with it. I understand that not all people are going to be thrilled at the idea of sitting with a dog. I get that. But he said something like,
“I can’t believe they sold me this seat! How am I supposed to sit here?”
Well, he and his wife were flying together but somehow didn’t have seats together, so she convinced the man sitting by her to switch, and a much nicer man came to that seat next to me. His name was Terry, and he’s a firefighter. He was traveling somewhere else, and he was a great flying companion, friendly, loved Tuney and a little talkative, which of course, made my trip comfortable.
The takeoff was one of the gentlest I’ve experienced in a long time. There was no turbulence going out of Portland, and the rest of the flight was almost completely smooth. We got some bumps as we neared Denver, and as we descended, but it wasn’t anything like what I expected. I thought that little plane would be bouncing all over the sky. I’m not sure how many seats there were, but there was only one flight attendant, so you know it wasn’t big.
When we arrived, we weren’t at a jetway, but at a ramp. It was outdoor–commuter flights area–and it was pretty steep and narrow. The pilot, whom Dawn and I had already thanked profusely for the smooth trip and soft touchdown, walked ahead of me, helping me get off that ramp. He handed us over to the escort who had come to help us get to baggage claim, and that’s where things fell apart.
First of all, they sent one person to escort two people with dogs. So, she decided, without informing either of us, just to take me partway and then go back for Dawn. And then she took off running, dragging me through the airport! I wasn’t having Petunia follow or work at that time, because this woman would not have talked to me to keep me oriented and to ensure Petunia was going where we needed to go. So, I was holding her arm, heeling Petunia. I kept asking, “Where’s my friend; where’s my friend?” She’d mumble something and keep on running. I tried to tell her to slow down. I told her I had walking disabilities too and I couldn’t run that fast, but she just kept going. At last she stopped by a man with one of those carts and mumbled something about going back for Dawn and took off. The cart man was kind, helping me climb in and get Tuney settled. When Dawn finally arrived–mad as hell and quite vocal about it–the cart man told us he was taking us to a central location where two people would meet us and take us the rest of the way!
When we got there, two people were available to escort us, which made things so much easier. They actually had a wheelchair, and I took them up on it! I was sore from the first lady dragging me, and I wasn’t sure about how well I’d manage Tuney while standing on the train through the airport. We got safely and happily all the way to baggage claim, and I gave the woman who escorted me a huge tip, because she was such a treat after that first person.
So, Dawn’s husband had offered to take me home, since we live near each other, but Becky was bringing Bianca home to me, and she said she and her daughter and grandkids could pick me up at the airport. I thought that made sense since she was going that way anyway, so I took her up on that. Dawn and family left when they were sure Becky was with me. And Becky and I went out to meet her family who were driving around till we came out. Petunia did beautiful work in the airport then, by the way!
So, we met Becky’s family and we got beanie out so I could greet her and then let the dogs say hello. I almost cried seeing my old sweet dog again. Then we got in the van and started what we thought would be a quick trip home!
Hmmm, should I leave it here? Do we all want a cliffie? Oops, wait, this isn’t a fic, okay, if you insist, read on.
Well, Laura, Becky’s daughter, started having car trouble right before they got to the airport. The oil light came on in the car and they had to stop and add oil. And when we left the airport, you guessed it, the oil light came on again, and there was a sort of burny smell. Oh dear, oh dear. We stopped at a gas station to get more oil, but Laura, rightly, knew she didn’t dare drive or try driving to Longmont in that condition.
We found a Walmart auto center place and drove there. It would be a while before they would look at the car, so we went in and hung out. I was starving, having not eaten that day; Petunia needed to relieve; it was snowing … crazy crazy day. This Walmart happened to have a subway in it, that’s subway sandwich place. Becky and I walked over there while Laura waited. I got a yummy turkey, bacon, avocado sandwich. Sigh. You know, my stomach did its bad thing from about mid first week and GDB, so I really couldn’t enjoy the incredible food. And now, here I was, back in Colorado and gobbling down a Subway sandwich. Ah well. Oh, and of course, Tuney got to relieve as well.
When we got back to the auto service area, Laura told us that they said she could not drive the car. So she and Becky thought for a while. At last they decided that Becky would take a cab to the airport to rent a car–we weren’t far from the airport–and Laura would get a tow truck. She also found someone to pick her and the kids up.
Did I mention that Laura also had a ten month old guide dog puppy with her? It was quite a crew of us, hanging out in the Walmart auto service area. lol.
Finally, Becky came back with a rented car. We loaded me, Petunia and Bianca, my stuff, Bianca’s stuff and we were at last on the road to Longmont!
We pulled up to my condo at about 8 PM. So, I’d arrived in Denver around 2:30 or so, and I finally got home at 8. Oh my.
I let Petunia go out in the yard, brought her and Beanie in and let Tuney explore the house. I fed both dogs, unpacked some things, got the computer set up and relaxed. It was amazing to go to sleep in my own bed.
And today, our new life begins.
Stay tuned here for Tuney Tunes and other cool stuff! Thanks for following our journey.
I’m here in my dorm room, unable to sleep, freaking out over the trip home.
Graduation was nice. since my girl’s raisers didn’t come, it was kind of strange for me. Normally, you meet your raisers an hour or so before graduation. you get to see your dog go nuts and hear wonderful stories. since Petunia’s weren’t there, I just stayed in my room and read.
The graduation is a simple ceremony, with some videos about guide dogs and then a presentation of the grads and dogs. Afterward, my friend Mary and her husband had attended, so we hung out in my room and talked about an hour or so. It was great to see her again.
Last night, I just finished packing and that was really it.
But toda, I’m supposed to fly home from Denver. and it’s supposed to snow at home. Will we be able to fly out? Will the arrival into Denver be horrible due to the weather? I hate flying as it is and now I’m totally worried and scared. wish I had a tranquilizer! What will happen if we can’t fly out? what if we can’t get home? where do we go? As Richard Dreyfuss said int he Goodbye Girl, I am freaking petrified!
So, if anyone reading this believes in prayer, please pray for safe smooth travel and a nice trip home today.
and don’t worry. just because training has ended, doesn’t mean I won’t still be posting. Tuney Tails will continue, along with whatever else happens along.
I don’t have a lot to say this morning. Yesterday was a very casual day. We did a route in a park in the morning, cement path around a duck pond. Tuney was crazy distracted and it was an act of futility trying to get her to focus. I mean she would for a minute or two but then she’d be distracted again.
After the park, we went to the mall. I made a mistake at the park by not relieving Petunia before we left, after all that excitement, I should have known better. At the mall, I wanted to go to find a counter for Origins to get some ginger soufflé cream and perfume. Love that stuff. But we ran out of time. before looking for that I stopped somewhere else and got a couple new bracelets. One is all colors, rainbow with round stones separated by beads. The other is a green color with different shaped pieces on it, feeling smooth like glass. I also got a little necklace for my classmate and something for a friend back home.
Tuney had an accident in the mall, which was decidedly my fault for not relieving her at the park! I’m not worried abut it.
After lunch, we had a meeting about graduation. We also got our packets, a huge binder of info. I don’t know how I’m going to pack that thing. They give us so much extra stuff, the binder, the grooming bag, the booties, the mat for the dogs to sleep on, extra dog food, a tie dow and on and on. How do they expect us to pack it all?
I got most of my clothes packed last night and now after graduation I can finish and try to get it all in there!
Today will be a hectic day and I don’t know if I’ll be able to post or not. If not, it will be after I get home tomorrow. and believe me, I can’t wait to be home!
It was a short day for Petunia and me yesterday. I was not feeling well, my old stomach trouble. I did the morning route to the starbucks. That was a lot of fun. We used the clicker to teach Petunia to target a specific pole. This will be helpful perhaps in teaching her to find the light pole I’ll need for that one crossing. She had so much fun with the clicker again. It’s a fun game and makes me laugh to see how much she enjoyed it.
Afterward, my stomach was so bad that I didn’t do the afternoon route. As soon as we got back to campus, I rushed to my room and was ill. it was not pleasant! The nurses helped me out and took good care of me. I pretty much slept the rest of the day, just getting up to take care of tuney’s needs.
I am feeling better today, stomach still burning a bit but not nauseated.
This morning we go to a park and the mall! You know I’m up for some shopping!
We’re at the home stretch now. after this morning, no more workiouts. Graduation is tomorrow and Sunday I go home with my girl. I can’t wait to go home! I miss my beanie–Bianca that is–my bed, my shower, my rocking chair, my yard, my carpet, my windows, my couch. my other clothes, my pillows, my speakers, my … okay, I just miss being home in my condo, Haven cottage!
The morning workout was back to downtown Portland. Petunia did even better than she has done. Most of her curb approaches were right where they should be. She wasn’t distracted much, except by one child. She seemed very confident and responsive, tail out and wagging happily. I felt as confident and sure as I had the day before. and our mutual positivity ran up and down the leash to each oter, giving us both even more confidence.
In the afternoon, we drove out to the airport to do a trial ru through security. There were a couple of TSA instructors there, and they asked us to rate our experience afterward. It was just like going through security, so I got the usual pat down. Ugh. But the person was professional. Petunia loved the airport. She liked the new environment. There are all kinds of people and smells and fun things to see after all. She led me through it beautifully.
On the way back to campus, we stopped at an area with a rounded corner so I could practice a little with Petunia, to prepare me for the corner I have at home with the light and the major intersection. It was just a brief intro, but it was good to do it a little.
Keith talked with me a lot about how to teach Petunia about the crossing at Nelson and Airport, a major intersection I must cross to get to the coffeeshop in my area and to other destinations. He looked it up on google and didn’t really seem to like what he saw. It is tricky because you have to go around the corner, find the light pole then turn around and get oreinted to cross, all before the light changes. I find the return trip even more confusing. He wants me to do a lot of patterning to the crossing, do some timing of the light cycle and how long it takes me to get across, that kind of thing. He’s also arranged for an instructor to come out and work with us a bit, but they won’t be there until around the 21st, so of course, I need to be working Petunia a lot before that day. sigh.
Last night I received a call from Petunia’s puppy raiser. She will not be able to come to graduation. I’m disappointed, but since she lives in Colorado, we’ll meet in a month or two I think. she seems very nice and she is thrilled that Petunia is graduating.
Sunday is going to be a long long day. I’m glad I’m not going back to work till Tuesday, and I wish I’d given it o
ne more day even.
i’ll probably take a cab home from the airport. It will be frightfully expensive, but after doug’s last shuttle experience, I don’t want to risk waiting three hours for a shuttle and not getting home till after 6 or later. Not with a new dog and all my luggage.
Here’s something fun to write about, the crazy pet names I call Petunia.
Sweet one, Sweetness, and sweety girl
I also call her sweet P and sing the old sixties song to her.
Oh, sweet P, won’t ya guide for me? won’t ya won’t ya won’t ya guide for me?
yep, singing to her already! Are you thinkin I love her? grin.
Well, I was pretty discouraged last time I updated, but today has seen a complete turn around.
This morning she became quite silly and playful. This was a good sign because she hasn’t shown that side to me much. I took her outside and played with her which was fun for us both. I was happy she wanted to engage me in play.
Our workout this morning was traffic training. This means we walk a quiet route with one instructor while someone else purposely drives toward us or in front or behind or blocks the path by pulling into a driveway. when you finish this route, you have a whole new level of trust in your dog. Petunia was absolutely brilliant. But it was more than just her traffic responses. BTW, the dogs do a variety of thngs, stop, pull forward or back, depending on what the car is doing.
But there was something different today, in just the regular part of the route, walking down the sidewalk, approaching curbs, crossing streets. She felt and acted confident; I felt and acted confident, and somehow, the two of us, after seeming to struggle to find our groove, well, today, we felt like a team. finally! I told both my instructors that, and I received some high praise from them about how I was handling her and how much confidence I gave her. The dogs can become very stressed on the traffic training route, but Petunia didn’t. she was happy and sure of herself, and that’s because I let her know I was happy and sure of myself and of her. It was a beautiful thing, and now I’m not freaking out about going home.
When we got back we had our vet checks. Petunia weighs 60 pounds and is in good health. We got to go over their medical histories with the vets.
I had the afternoon off with just a brief intro to handling sidewalkless areas. It’s been nice just to relax and be quiet this afternoon.