At last night's meeting, we got something new: an information CD. It has all the books and articles on it, advocacy materials, and the lecture series in MP3 format. I am so glad--now I don't have to convert my tapes to CD! I can sit here and listen while I work on various things instead of dealing with the tape player across the room.
I have been recording some of my trips. Unfortunately, my recorder did not turn on this morning. The trip went beautifully! Loretta let a couple of other students pass her with very little distraction. She did not even look at a pet dog that was standing near the pet store--I passed so close that I could pet its tail. She did startle quite a bit when there was a big noise on one block, but she settled back nicely into a good working pade in response to my, "It's all right." She is extremely responsive to my emotions, and my challenge will be to help her to keep up good work when I am experiencing stress or negative emotion. This has always been a challenge for me. I am much better about not letting my emotions run my life than I used to be; but I will never be an emotional cheerleader, and that's just the facts of life. I have ups and downs, and the downs are part of what make the ups so enjoyable. I just have to remember how to make life worth doing during the downs.
I said this morning to my uncle that life here feels like I'm getting another Master's degree in two weeks. We feed dogs and relieve at 5:30 and then feed us at 7:00. That means that if I really want good writing time in the morning--something essential for me--I get up at 5:00. The morning is then broken into two trips: one around 7:45 and one around 9:30. I never know which I'm on. There is a park time at 11:00. Sometimes there is a meeting between 11:00 and noon--sometimes there are two. Lunch is at noon, and afternoon is broken into two trips. Evening feed/park time is at 4:30, dinner is at 5:00, and lecture/discussion group is at 6:30. Last park is at 8:00. All the free time in between is spent doing a mixture of things: grooming, listening to the prepared lectures, caring for harnesses (they must be oiled before use on the dogs, practicing obedience and simulating social settings--the socialization here is designed to be part of the training, not just fun and games--and whatever personal pursuits I need to attend to. Have I mentioned that I have not yet done laundry? I always hope that once in a while I get assigned to first trip so that I can go to coffee break because little things like that matter--I don't really get as much down time as I think I will have. Naps are very precious, and sometimes I do need them... Speaking of coffee break, today I get to go, and it is time! Bring on the coffee and hopefully chocolate!