>Thanksgiving, and Other Rambles

>I just felt like rambling, and since the blog may get a little quiet over the next couple of days because Steve and I are both running off to Thanksgiving stuff, what better time for a ramble fest.

First, happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian readers. Hope you have lots of yummy food and pleasant times with family. It doesn’t seem like it should be already Thanksgiving, but here it is. I’m glad the weather is being nice and giving us what is supposed to be a weekend full of sun. Now that I’ve said that, it’ll pour.

I was talking to Ro earlier in the week about Thanksgiving and saying that I have no idea why we celebrate a holiday with the same name as Americans at a different time, and that makes me feel like one of those stupid people in those videos that we’ve linked to before, who have no idea about the most basic things. So I decided to see if I could figure it out. I was hoping for some cool, exciting explanation that I would be able to remember, but all I can find is that ours is more connected with European festivals celebrating the end of the harvest and being thankful for having enough food for the winter, where the American Thanksgiving is all about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower and stuff.

The funny thing about that is we learned about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower in school when they explained the meaning of Thanksgiving. Then I’d get so confused when people told me that American Thanksgiving is at a different time. So, I’d wonder, did the Mayflower make a stop and drop off some Pilgrims, and then move on? God I was a silly kid.

This is a terrible thing to say, but I always get a wee bit sad about Thanksgiving ever since one guy told me what he thought of the holiday. I was working at the crisis line, and I asked a fellow volunteer what I thought was a pretty safe question. “So, are you doing anything for the long weekend?” He looked at me, and there was a long, heavy silence, after which he said “No. I don’t celebrate it. I always thought it was a pretty dark celebration. We say it’s about giving thanks for finishing a journey, but we’re actually celebrating taking advantage of a whole people. We’re celebrating an exchange that went like this. ‘Hi Mr. Native guy. Here’s some beads, give us your land.'” I always knew that was part of it, but um, to have it put out like that made me just feel a teeny weeny bit guilty about chowing down on Turkey and stuffing.

But then I thought hey, we celebrate easter, and somebody went up on a friggin cross for crying out loud. If we can eat yummy chocolate then, why can’t I enjoy some turkey now? Writing that, I feel a wee bit like an asshole. I hope it makes sense though.

I know one thing Trixie is thankful for, this new food I switched her too. Holy hell, Wellness Fish is the fountain of youth for Trix. She’s so much more full of life and joy. I didn’t think that was possible but apparently it is. I also have to feed her a little more, because she peeled off too many pounds. The boodog is not supposed to be only 50 pounds. Eek! But I think this food is the right stuff, because she didn’t need her anal glands done at the time when she usually should. Yea! And so far, no constipation issues. I wish I could remember when the poopy problems started with the Orijen fish, because I don’t know if we’re out of the woods yet, or if we haven’t hit them. She started eating Orijen mid May, and I know there was a serious poop problem by the end of June, but it had already been building for a little while. So I guess I won’t be able to really jump for joy until November. But so far, so good.

One thing she’s doing more of is drinking, which means she needs to pee more. I don’t know if this is something to worry about, perhaps a new normal because of the composition of the fish-based food, or something that will level off. I know her urine was fine as of September because I got all scared at the beginning of September and took her for some tests, and they came back normal. I feel a bit paranoid for getting worried, but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. At any rate, everything came back normal, so if there is a problem, it’s a relatively new development. I guess I’ll just keep an eye on it.

Yesterday marks the first day I pissed off Trekker. Well, not really pissed it off, but yesterday was the first day I couldn’t follow the routes it was setting for me, so it had to keep rerouting.

I’m going to say again that I looove my Trekker. I never ever want to be without GPS again. I can get lost now and it’s not a big deal because it will keep telling me where I am, so I can figure it out with relative ease. It’s like sighted folk walking around reading street signs.

I decided yesterday I was going to go on an adventure. I was going to find our polling station so we wouldn’t have to tag along with someone if for some reason it didn’t suit to do that. So I grabbed my Trekker, and off Trix and I went.

I had plotted a route to the polling station, so I started following it like a good little sheep, baaa baaa. But as I happily zoomed along, what’s this? The sidewalk ends? Oh dear, oh dear dear, this is no good.

So, I managed to get myself to a place where there was a sidewalk, and continued. Trekker noticed I wasn’t where I should have been and rerouted me. We arrived at the polling station, sort of, and it got all happy.

Then, I tried to go back. Somehow, I got myself all turned around, to the point where it was naming streets that the bus travels on its way *away* from my house. Oh my my, this was no good at all. Knowing when I could use a wee bit of help, I asked Trekker to plot a route back home. And it did, and I tried to follow it.

As I did, I hit some nice unhappy construction, and had to walk on the other side of the street from where I should have been. Trekker kept trying to tell me to cross the street, but I couldn’t because there was no crosswalk from my side over to that side. Oh Trekker was not a happy man. “You are off route! Please turn back!” Oh if only I could, buddy.

Finally I got to a light where I knew I could make the crossing. I did, and boy was Trix happy to see familiar turf. I think she knew we were somewhere a bit unfamiliar, and got a bit lost. But she was a trooper, leading me through torn up streets, saving me from falling into pits, just being generally awesome.

But the thing is this whole time, I generally knew where I was, so it wasn’t the least bit scary. When I called Steve to say I was on my way home from my adventure, I was laughing! If I didn’t have GPS, I’d probably be about ready to kill things. Also, Trekker helped me figure out an easier way to get to the place. It’s probably a bit circuitous for Joe Sighty, but it involves less crossings and more unobstructed sidewalk than the other way. Now, if Trekker lied to me and the polling station is on the other side of the street, I’ll be slightly mad. But at least I’ll be way closer than I would have been with no guidance at all.

I have learned something from someone else’s misfortune. One of our frequent commenters, Martin, said that he and his guide dog had a less than pleasant meetin’ with a skunk. In telling his story, he mentioned that he got a product from the vet called Skunkoff that worked well in deskunking his poor unfortunate canine. What? You can have a product on hand for just such an occasion? You don’t have to cook up a potentially explosive concoction? Yea! I’m a fan! I’m going to have to see if my vet has just such a thing hanging around.

I’ve noticed that I tend to end these rambles with the eyebrow-raising things that Joe Public does. So, here are a couple. One question that always cracks me up that I get on a pretty regular basis is “Would you like some help putting that harness on?” My first thought is how do they think I got it on in the first place? I’d understand it maybe if my hands were full or something, but I get this question when I have nothing in my hands, not even a bag of dog crap.

Then I remember how complicated the harness seemed to me when I first got it, so I think maybe they think it’s a two-person job or something. But when you think about that, wouldn’t that suck to have a dog that belongs to one person using a harness that required multiple sets of hands to put on?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate offers of help. I especially appreciate it when people offer to hold stuff so I do have hands available to put on the harness. But offering to put the harness on is kinda like offering to help me zip up my pants. I have to do it on a daily basis, and I *should* be able to do that without any help because it’s a one person job.

The one that super cracked me up was when Steve and I got off the Megabus when we went to see Barb. Immediately, I noticed that Trixie was walking with a hippity hop gait. I asked the folks helping us to stop because I had to check the harness. Sure enough, Trix’s front legs had popped through the front of the harness. So, I had to fix it. I bent down and unbuckled the harness. Instantly, the fellow leading us had a canary! “It’s undone, let me do it up!” No, sir, I’m fixing it. “But it’s undone, let me help you do it up!” No, sir, I have to get her leg back to where it should be. Eventually, I just ignored him, fixed the harness, buckled it up, and we went on our way. But it cracks me up that people think I can’t handle something like a dog harness.

Another thing that kills me is when people state the obvious. Allow me to explain. Trix and I went to the store. The store is in a little plaza, the one with the roof, where Trixie wanted to hang out during the rainstorm. When I came out of the store, Trix immediately sped up. This was not happening for any good reason, so I brought her progress to a sudden halt and had her sit. After a second or two I told her forward and steady. Speed again. No, beasteroo, that is not on the program. Sit. Down. Sit. Down. Sit. Down. Are we good now? We appeared to be, to the point that she was carefully edging along. Suddenly, I heard some slight yeeping coming from ahead of me, along with clicking of nails. Ah! It became clear to me. There is a dog ahead!

As we got closer, I noticed that this dog a. was standing outside the door of a building, taking up quite a bit of what is the sidewalk in the plaza, and b. had become very still and quiet. This made me very nervous. This can mean two things. Either the dog is well-behaved, or he’s poised ready to pounce on us if we get within a set perimeter that he has decided is his personal space bubble. I came to a stop and assessed the situation a little bit. But of course, Trix was not happy with the fact that we had stopped, and her resistance to this temptation began to dwindle. She started to yeep and move as if she’d like to say hello. Just as this happened, a woman walked up to me and said “there’s a dog there.”

Well, duh. Thanks for comin’ out. If the dog had made no movements and my dog wasn’t moving and I couldn’t figure out what was obstructing our way, then yeah I guess I could understand telling me that there’s a dog there. But a. I’m correcting my dog, and b. I think I’d just finished saying aloudd, “Ah! There’s a dog there!”

What would be extremely helpful information in a situation like this would be information about the other dog. Is it loose or tied up? What about its posture. Is it looking like it’s about to pounce? Or, is its tail wagging? Are its ears tense or relaxed? That would tell me whether I could probably zip by, or whether I should take the long way home. but “there’s a dog there” is not helpful.

Next, this woman thought she would assist me in getting past the dog by grabbing a hold of Trixie’s harness handle. Just for future reference, this will get the same response as grabbing a guide dog’s leash. Please don’t grab any part of the dog. For one thing, that puts your feet really close to mine which means I or the dog might step on you, and for another, it makes it super hard for the dog to do its work because you’re kind of right where it’s trying to go. If you really think the guide dog isn’t doing what it should because it’s distracted, and you don’t think the dog we’re trying to pass is vicious, offer to guide me past the dog. This will do two things. You end up between me and the dog, so Trix may not look at the dog as such a temptation, and you’re not in the way, taking up a little more of what little sidewalk we already have.

I was already on edge because we were near a dog and I didn’t know what kind of dog it was, so the poor woman got told to let go of the handle in not such a nice way. First I told her quietly to let go, but she didn’t, so I raised my voice just a little. Nope. Finally I yelled at her to let go of the handle and she did. I feel bad whenever this happens because I don’t want to be the angry blind woman, but gees, please listen to what I’m saying.

Once again I feel guilty writing these things because I don’t want to make people afraid to help blind folks. Really, we don’t bite. But I hope that what I offer as suggestions are helpful ones that make sense.

And I think that’s about it for now. To everybody who’s getting ready to feast with family and friends, have a good one.

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