30 Challenges!

I will be 30 on 18th February. That’s in twenty days time. I’m planning a fundraiser for guide dogs on the day, (I don’t want presents), but I want to do something fun this year. So I need your suggestions!
I want to challenge myself to do 30 new things this year. I’m making a list that I’ll post just before my birthday, but I need ideas.

So where did this crazy idea come from? This morning I went to the Foyle Arena in Derry, where I climbed a climbing wall for the first time. I’m not an adventurous person at all, but I was glad I did it. Doing something challenging can make you nervous and uncomfortable, but when you do it, there’s no better feeling.
Challenges are different for everyone. Going somewhere knew, learning a new route with a cane or guide dog, cooking new food, meeting new people, starting a new hobbie… All these can be challenging. I’m not looking for major fitness challenges, or I don’t want to climb Mount Everest or anything. I just want simple ideas that challenge me and encourage me to try new things. Challenges involving helping other people would also be nice.

Finding a job that I like is not included in these 30 challenges, though I’m trying to do that as well. When I am looking for work and don’t know what I want, it sometimes feels like that’s all I ever think or worry about, and that can get a bit boring and depressing! If I haven’t totally sortted a job or career path by the end of the year, I don’t want to sit back and wonder what I spent the year doing. I want to do new things and have fun. I could talk about doing this forever, but now that I’ve written it, I have to do it!

So come on, give me some ideas of new ways I can challenge myself and do something fun during the first year of my 30’s!

Audio Transcription

You can probably guess that this is non dog related from the title. I hate cross-poasting things, so appologies to the friends on facebook who have kindly liked this page already.

I’ve recently made a facebook page to help promote the audio transcription work that I ocasionally do. I enjoy the variety of work, and it would be nice to get a bit more if possible.
I can transcribe interviews, research projects, focus groups, assignments, lectures, memoirs, personal stories, material for websites, and lots more. I’m not qualified in legal or medical transcription. It’s not my full-time job, so I don’t intend gaining either of these qualifications. Also, I prefer the more human storytelling or research aspect to the material I transcribe.

Audio transcription isn’t exactly a service that everybody would require, but maybe sometime, you, or someone you know might need it. If you could like or share my page,
I’d really appreciate it. Maybe somebody will find it useful. Word of mouth can often be a great help!


Puppywalkers, You Do Amazing Jobs!

I went to Dublin on Saturday, where I met Nicky as we were invited to a 30th birthday party in the city. I was in Dublin for exactly 24 hours. It’s amazing what you can get done in that time!
We had lunch in a hotel that the bus stops outside. The staff are always friendly, so it’s a good place to eat. Then we took a taxi to our own hotel, the
Grand Canal Hotel
which isn’t too far from the city. It’s often difficult to get a hotel in or near Dublin city with grass nearby, and they can be so expensive, especially on a weekend. This one was in a great location, with grass and a bin just a minute’s walk away. The things us guide dog owners have to worry about!
The hotel staff were very helpful without being intrusive, and one in particular adored Sibyl! The breakfast wasn’t anything special and not worth the extra money, but apart from that it was perfect, and I’ll definitely be back.
The party was fun, and Sibyl did great. We met up with some friends and met some new people, which is always nice.

In between lunch and dinner before the party, Sibyl’s puppywalkers came to the hotel to see her. She went back to Cork for training in October 2013, they hadn’t seen her since and possibly didn’t think they ever would. I don’t think she particularly recognised them, but I know she’d remember their house if she saw it again. Two of their children couldn’t come but really wanted to see her, so we’ve promised to go and visit them soon. We talked for more than two hours, and it was lovely for me to hear about the places they brought her and how much they enjoyed having her. She was their first dog, but hopefully they will puppywalk another, because they were obviously very good at it.

I’m very lucky to have met both of my dog’s puppywalkers, and that they have taken such interest in their dogs and my life with them. These are the people who do all the hard work before the dog reaches training. These people are the heros of the guide dog world! I think Irish guide dogs could do more to connect puppywalkers and guide dog owners, both during training and when dogs qualify. I sent an email to their CEO this morning to suggest this, as well as an email to the manager of the Grand Canal hotel to tell him or her how helpful their staff are.

These are a few of my favourite things…

Happy new year! Let’s hope 2016 is a healthy and happy one for everybody.

Thankfully I had another lovely Christmas, spent with family, friends and dogs. I celebrated a friend’s birthday, went to an engagement party, had a couple of nice meals out with Nicky, cooked very little (which is always a bonus!) and enjoyed some lovely dinners with my family. I think Sibyl enjoyed her first Donegal Christmas. We stayed in my sister’s house on Christmas eve, and my parent’s house on Christmas night, and she loved the change of scenery. The three dogs spent lots of time together, and we all had a couple of nice walks together in between the showers of rain.

As usual, I got lovely presents for Christmas, far too much to be honest. There was no need for half of it, but people were so generous and thoughtful with the useful things they chose for me. Sometimes you get one or two presents that you really won’t use, but I rarely do. New clothes, a clock for my kitchen (I have no clocks in my house), vouchers for cool discs, heating oil and River Island (talk about a random collection!) and money were all brilliant presents. I did get three others that I was really excited about:

Nicky gave me a digital radio for my room. I have very bad reception upstairs, so tend to listen to a lot of radio on my phone. I don’t like doing this because I’m constantly charging it, and I hate using mobiles any more than I have to.

I got an early 30th birthday present of Hunter wellies from my parents. My birthday isn’t until February, but they thought I might as well use them now during the wet weather. I can walk the dog around the muddy park and still look cool! I’ve also discovered that I can get the overpriced socks much cheaper in the children’s section of shops. Having small feet is great!

My new favourite toy at the minute is something I got for Christmas that I’ve wanted for the last year. I got the
which is the coolest juicer/smoothy maker ever! I like eating well, especially fruit and veg, but sometimes find it hard to eat enough fruit, and use it up when i buy it since I live on my own. The idea of a big bulky kitchen appliance that’s difficult to clean put me off getting one, until I saw my brother in law’s Nutribullet. The ninja is the same thing. It’s small, and everything is blended into one cup that you can actually drink out of if you want, so there’s not much to clean at all. It’s safe and easy to use, and from a blind person’s perspective, this is great. They are expensive, but definitely worth the extra money for this reason. I’ve only made two smoothies for breakfast yesterday and today, but already I absolutely love this thing! It’s going to get lots of use in my house.