A mixture of things

Basically the last week has been busy, with no one major thing happening, so here’s a post about everything and nothing at the same time.

First of all, I have to congradulate
Clive
and co for winning the award for best specialist blog at the 2011 Irish blog awards in Belfast last weekend. I’ve been reading their blog for the last two years and mentioned it lots here, so it was fantastic to have it officially recognised.
Damien Mulley, organiser of the awards is stepping down after six great years of hard work. I really wish I’d gone to one of these events now. Well done to everyone else who won an award.

I spent St. Patrick’s day in town with my family. Nothing too exciting and the town was unusually quiet after the parade. O J did great with all the noise and people, and lay quietly in my granny’s house after, even with lots of children running around.
I put a few bets on the horses but didn’t win anything. Just as well I don’t gamble often, because I’m useless at it.

On Sunday morning I took O J to mass. I think I’ve only taken him
once
before in Galway. I didn’t get to go to any masses the weekend of the guide dog collection, and thought it was only right that I took him with me, since the people who go were some of those who helped us to collect the 1,775 euros we raised. He lay reasonably still through most of it and did well guiding me to communion. A few small kids ran up to pet him when we were waiting. It was so cute!

Its hard to believe that its almost a year since I applied for O J’s
pet passport
I haven’t used it yet, but still glad I have it encase I need it. I didn’t want to mention because I thought I’d jinx myself in some way, but I actually got the whole passport process completely free. I don’t know if this was thanks to my very generous vet, though he never admitted it. I have no idea, but I offered to pay and they told me it was all sorted, so I’m not complaining!
I need clarification on something though, and will ring the department of agriculture in the morning. The passport says that O.J’s rabies vaccine was given on 25 March 2010 and will expire on the same date in 2012. I’ve been told that some countries require the vaccination to be updated yearly, and if it is not, you have to do the blood test again which is a pain. I don’t know which countries these are, or if I would ever travel to any of them, but I’d hate to be stuck, so the vet suggested getting an annual vaccination to prevent any problems. If I do this I’ll have to get it done on Thursday.
I think this is right anyway. I’m a bit confused!

On Saturday, O J and I and some friends are going to a
Who Wants To Be A Thousandaire?
fundraiser for the music festival that’s taking place in Buncrana this summer. I don’t know the lineup of that yet but can’t wait to find out.

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O.J’s birthday

Poor O.J didn’t exactly have the nicest birthday today. We did our annual church gate collection for Irish guide dogs this weekend. I am the only guide dog owner in my town and although I detest bucket collections, I don’t mind doing this one, as if I don’t nobody else will, and its a great chance to raise a bit of cash.

Family and friends were very helpful as usual, standing in the cold collecting at the different gates in three different chapels. We did two collections on Saturday, but had an hour in between to go get a coffee and get heatened up. One of the local supermarkets opened a new cafe about six months ago and the staff there love O.J and are always very helpful.

Today was much colder than yesterday, and very very wet. I collected outside three churches, and people were so generous. They kept saying things like, “you must be freezing” and “you picked a bad day to do the collection.” Each charity has a date assigned to them every year. Do they really think that if I had a choice, I’d decide to collect in the middle of March?
O.J didn’t seem to mind the rain at all, and stood patiently beside me, giving the odd passerby a sniff when they gave us money. He also barked at a dog across the road and I had to stop him quickly encase he put people off coming near us.

O.J spent the next three hours lying on a mat in front of the fire drying himself. He had a bone and lots of cuddles but nothing else exciting happened on his birthday. I went to a fashon show that my friend is running, but thought I’d leave him at home since I’d traumatised him enough for one day.
I promise O.J, your sixth birthday will be much better!

Keep an eye on the comments section to see how much we raised!

Project 366 things

I don’t know how I haven’t read this blog before now. Its a brilliant concept, interesting, funny and very well written.
The creater of
the project 366 things
is Dan Mooney, a 26 year-old from Limerick. He began the project on his 26th birthday, and will do something he has never done before every day until he turns 27.

I heard Dan talking to Ray Darcy on today fm yesterday, just before he began one of his latest challenges. I’ve also heard him
plucking a turkey
looked for a needle in a haystack (literally)
and getting a
Brazilian wax
all on national radio. Its not like I hadn’t heard of him before, so I have no idea why I only looked at the blog for the first time yesterday. Better late than never I suppose, and reading back through his posts was great fun.

Other things Dan did for the first time included dying his hair, knitting, set dancing and sewing.
Some of the stranger things included:
staying outdoors for 24 hours
drinking his own urine
learning to beat box, burning a bra, giving money to a stranger, and lots lots more.
Dan even tried
being blind for a day
Pity he didn’t have a guide dog to try walking with that day too.

There’s still another month of new things to go. Good luck with the rest of the project Dan!
Anyone who hasn’t seen it, check it out!

So much to think about

The building is going well on my new house, and the builders are working on the roof at the moment. It all seems to be happening so fast since they began on the first of February, but everybody says this is the quickest part. My parents and sister have been brilliant, overseeing the work and making slight changes to the original plans, as they notice things that could make it look better. There are so many decisions for me to make in the next few months, and my head hurts just thinking about them all.

We have to order the windows this week. What type of windows do I want?
What type of door would look good on the house? What colour of a door? I can’t see colours and don’t understand them but I want the house to look good.
What type of stairs do I want, open or closed? What type of floor, carpet upstairs but wood or tyles downstairs? I want tyles that aren’t a nightmare to clean. If I have wooden floors, I don’t want ones that will get marked by dog paws and look like they need replaced soon after I put them down.

What type of heating system do I want? I’ve more or less decided on oil, but how good are these high efficiency condenser boilers? Will I need something else as well as a back-up. There’s a fireplace in the house already. I love an open fire but hate lighting things and dealing with coal and all that messy stuff. Will I put an electric stove or electric fire there instead. These new wood pellet stoves are economical and give out a lot of heat but they are expensive to install. Its hard to know how much running my own house will cost until I actually move in. I don’t want to be constantly broke forever!

We went to look at kitchens yesterday. I know what size the kitchen is and where everything will go, but what colour of kitchen do I want? What type of wood do I want? What’s my budget? I don’t know!

Do I want curtains or blinds? What type of sofa and chairs? built-in or free standing wardrobes? What colour will each room be painted? I want an alarm system, so that has to be organised when the electrition comes. Oh crap, when the electrition comes, how many plugs do I need and where do I want them? Better to have too many than not enough right?
And it goes on and on and on…

Designing and decorating a house can be fun when your blind, and there are certain parts that I just have no interest in. You really have to trust other people’s opinions sometimes, and when people have different opinions about what looks good, it can be difficult.
I was talking to a friend about this recently, and we talked about how we like our houses to look as good as anybody who can see. Being blind doesn’t mean living in darkness, or having no pictures on the wall, just because you can’t see them. I want visitors to my house to feel comfortable and not feel embarrassed by the lack of anything stylish in my house.

There are two areas that my family and friends won’t really be able to help with much, and these are things that I really need to work well, so any advice would be great!

The first thing is appliances and gagets. I don’t want to put in a washing machine, dishwasher or any appliance and then discover that it isn’t accessible or that I could have got another type that’s easier to use.
Are there any must-have gagets that you couldn’t live without in your house? I’m just curious!

One of the things I’m most excited about is having somewhere to have all my computer equipment and audio together, and setting up a small studio when I move in. I haven’t decided the exact reason for doing this yet, but I have a few ideas I’d love to try if I had the right equipment. Good audio equipment also means having the perfect sound system. Ideally I’d love surround sound through the house if possible. It would be great if everything could be connected so that it could work through my stereo, TV and laptop. The wiring for this would have to be done soon, but I have no idea how it would all work. I know there’s wireless surround sound speakers but I have no idea how these work either. I know you have audio systems where your main source of audio is in one room and you can play it to other rooms in the house, but I don’t know if this is just availible in a stereo or could it be connected to other things? Are these accessible? So many things are digital and have touch screens, and I don’t like it!

I don’t want to spend money on things for my house, and then realise later that I should have got something else instead. When you haven’t bought any of this stuff before, its hard to know what is the right price to pay for stuff and when you are being ripped off.
Everybody is telling me to enjoy this part of the moving stage, because there’s a chance I might never move again, or it won’t be as much fun the next time. I’m trying to relax and enjoy it, while thinking about a million things at the same time!