Hi ho.. hi ho.. it’s off to blogging we go! :) — We’re backkkkk!

Let’s recap over the past many months. Pretty much ever since I got my job I haven’t had time to blog much. I also wanted to clean up some other parts of the blog and every time I did so, everybody would get a million notifications.. so I just took it down with the hopes of getting back to it soon.. and soon ended up being about 9 or so months later.. oops! I’m hoping to be able to keep up with it this time. It’s part of my self-care plan.

So.. in March 2014, I became a Transition Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for DARS (Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services). Transition means that I provide services to help high school students transition out of the high school setting and figure out “what’s next.” There are so many pieces to that puzzle and I love the challenge! Vocational rehabilitation means we help individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain employment. Adult VR mainly helps a lot of individuals return to work but since most of my “kids” are in high school and haven’t ever had a job before, I’m helping them get their first job, learn those soft skills, etc. I love it!! I travel to many different schools several times a month. I hire a driver – which has been one of my greatest barriers or impediments. However, I have a pretty solid driver now and hoping she stays around for awhile. šŸ™‚ Makiko has a little bed in our office… the ones that we got in Guide Dog school. If you recall, we brought home ours but then another guide dog handler let us bring home hers too because she had several from previous guide dogs. So I have one at home (not that she really uses it because she sleeps with me) and one at work. It’s right by my desk. When Makiko got pretty sick awhile back with flea bite dermatitis, she wouldn’t stay in my office. For the first many many months, I would put her in a down stay under my desk or next to me, and she would stay there while I ran to the copiers, talked to other counselors, walked my consumers out, etc. However, when she got sick she got very clingy and she just wanted to be with me 24/7.. which led to her exploring the office looking for me. While my Area Manager didn’t mind at all and absolutely loves dogs, there’s something embarrassing about your Area Manager coming to you with your dog on leash, saying “here’s your dog!” It was pretty funny but also embarrassing. So after this going on for a bit, I called Guide Dogs for the Blind. The instructor there recommended getting a portable soft crate to put under my desk. I was really considering this but then Mom came up with a better idea. She got a bungie cord, made a loop, and stuck it under my desk with the help of another coworker. So now I just attach her to that if I am going to be gone for awhile, or close the door. However I think she’s starting to get back into the habit of just staying on the rug again. šŸ™‚

Makiko and I have a lot of fun going to the schools. Makiko is a great conversation starter with my consumers or with other people in the school. Although, at one of my very first times visiting a school with my coworker, we saw some people stick their hands in their pockets and run away very fast yelling DRUG DOG! Haha. Makiko? Drug dog. Yeah, right. šŸ™‚

We have travelled to Austin 5+ times together, via plane, and stay in a hotel, take taxi’s to work, etc. This was a whole new experience for me because prior to this, I was pretty terrified of taxi’s due to horror stories I had heard. But I was forced to take them and now it’s no big deal. Austin YellowCab also has this app where you can book it online, and then it tells you when the reservation has been accepted, when the taxi is on the way, and then when they get close and then when they are there. You also have the option to call the driver through the app and also mark that I have a service dog so that they can easily find me. That made things a lot easier.

What else has happened since I stopped blogging? Well, we graduated with our Master’s Degree in August 2014 and we both wore a cap and gown. That was pretty precious. šŸ™‚ My sister came home for my graduation, and surprised me because we didn’t think she was going to be able to come. I was so excited. She helped me get ready for my undergraduate graduation and she helped me get ready again for my graduate education.

My longtime boyfriend and I broke up because we just were at two very different places in our lives. We are still very good friends. So, I started doing the dating scene which was very different because I haven’t done that in a few years. People that I was interested in and started to talk to didn’t care at all about Makiko or that I had a visual impairment. It was nice that this wasn’t a deterrent or anything. I haven’t dated since I really lost my vision so I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to go.

Makiko turned 3 in July. People still think she is a puppy when they see her – not because of her behavior but because of her size. They always tell me how amazing it is that a puppy can do this work – and I’m like, uh – she’s 3! šŸ™‚ But yes, she is quite small and adorable. Perfect though because she likes to crawl all over me when we play, lay on me when we sleep sometimes, and cuddle up against me. šŸ™‚

I think those are the main events that have happened since I stopped blogging.

Oh wait.. there is one other big thing – Makiko’s PUPPY RAISER IS GETTING MARRIED!! Jenni is getting married and we couldn’t be more excited. We got her wedding “save the date” and it was just so cute. Jenni has a big piece of Makiko’s heart, and vice-versa, and Jenni has a HUGE place in my heart for raising Makiko. She is my best friend, my lifesaver, and my guide through life. šŸ™‚

Make sure to go read other blogs on here. I did update it from time to time even though it wasn’t public.

If you all have any questions or anything you would specifically like to see me blog about, let me know. I have a pretty good amount of traffic through this site but of course I am always looking for ways to increase it to continue to spread awareness.

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

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