Opening Lines

2016 has been an interesting year. Not hugely positive in many ways but there were still fun things and moments to remember when I look back.  One thing I’ve done in the last few years and enjoyed is go back through my blog entries and find the first one for each month. This is known online as the Opening Lines meme. I find it interesting to see how much I’d forgotten and refresh my memory.  Compiling this always takes longer than it should because I tend to get lost reading lots of entries as I look to find the first one of each month.

Here are my 2016 Opening Lines:

January – 2016 isn’t getting the start I wanted it to have but luckily it’s also not getting the start I thought yesterday it was going to have. (Not Exactly The Start I Wanted). – About being sick at the start of the year.

February – I’m linking this post up with both this week’s It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? over on The Book Date and with the January check in for the Read Your Own Damn Books Challenge over on Estella’s Revenge. (Reading Down My TBR Pile (2016 Edition) – Week Four) – A recap of my reading.

March – I’ve been so quiet on here and on facebook (and probably quieter than usual but not totally quiet on twitter) that a friend actually text me this morning to check I was OK because she was worried. (Quiet) – Some plans I had and some mental health stuff.

April – For the A to Z blogging challenge this year I’ve decided to have a bookish theme and share some of my favourite books and authors – ones that I’ve loved, those I revisit time and time again.  (An A to Z of Books and Authors: Jane Austen). – This year I only managed to write two entries for the A to Z challenge. This was the first, about my love for classic books and Jane Austen specifically

May – Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) (It’s Not Disablism (But Really It Is)) – Some recent experiences I’d had and how I didn’t really see them as a big deal but knew I should (because people around me did)

June – The last weekend in May was the Challenger Class Association Oxford Regatta (Challenger Oxford Regatta 2016) – I very nearly didn’t take part in the regatta but then changed my mind and loved it.

July – A few weeks ago on twitter I started hearing about a concept called Read Without Prejudice (Can You Read Without Prejudice?) – this was a really interesting concept

August – Over the weekend I read A Year of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly. (Taking One for the Team) – A book that annoyed me but also made me think

September – At CAB today we did some training on how to support clients who are appealing disability benefit decisions.  (An Unexpected Revelation) – Something I hadn’t considered before.

October – I’ve had my new powerchair for two months now. (Miles on My Tyres) – about my new powerchair and the distances I’d been covering.  I’m ending 2016 having had the chair just shy of 5 months and having done 415 miles.

November – I’ve officially had the Jive for three months now.   (Miles on my tyres) – another monthly update on how many miles I’d done in my new powerchair.

December – I used to be scared of dogs. (Milo). -An entry about me and Milo.

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been very quiet on my blog lately and haven’t posted anything Christmassy at all.  I’ve not felt very Christmassy in fact.

I’m not as excited and bouncy about Christmas as I have been before.  Which is fine.  It just pretty much just sums up this year.  It’s been a difficult and long one in many ways that I won’t get into now.  There have been good things and I have good memories.  But as I wrote in an email to an acquaintance last week if I had to sum this year up it would be that it’s been one of broken wheelchairs and deaths.  In previous years my blogging around this time has been about exciting plans I’ve got for the new year and things I want to do in it and how I’m looking forward to that.  At the moment when I think of 2017 I’m mostly thinking that at least it won’t be 2016 any more – I’d like to think next year has to be better than this but I don’t want to say that too loudly.

That’s not to say I’m not enjoying this Christmas season – I’ve read a couple of Christmassy books (not as many as I wanted), been listening to a lot of Christmas music and enjoyed a yearly watch of Arthur Christmas.

I’m looking forward to time spent with family, good food and some traditions. I’m looking forward to some down time to rest and crochet (I’m making myself a blanket and trying to get it done by the end of the year) in front of rubbish TV and do not very much at all.  I’m also looking forward to seeing my nephew enjoy Christmas (although he is still too young to properly get it).And games of Mancala which we only ever seem to play at Christmas.

I’d like to thank everyone who reads my blog for their support this year and wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Milo

I used to be scared of dogs.  Full blown petrified.  I couldn’t even be in the same park as one without being frightened.  And a lot of people who had dogs would say their dog was harmless and wouldn’t scare me but it would. Or they’d tell me parents to give me a day with them and their dog and I’d come back cured. I think the problem is that there was never any thing that my parents or I could put our fingers on as the reason why I was scared (I later developed something of a fear of/hatred for cats and I can tell you exactly why that happened).  There are a lot of memories and stories of things that relate to my phobia of dogs – it was a big thing.

And then I went to uni. On the way home that first Christmas my Dad mentioned they were getting a dog. I freaked out. I didn’t believe him at first. When I realised he was serious I panicked and cried.

I went back to uni before they got the dog and when they did I didn’t want to hear about it.  My family came to visit a few weeks after they got him and brought photos. I was not going to look at those photos. My friend I lived with and my carer were really keen to see the pics but not me.  I did eventually be convinced to look at them but I didn’t want to – I was scared of dogs and I didn’t see the need or the attraction of a dog.

Then we got to Easter and time to go home again. I was so panicked in halls as my Dad packed the car with my stuff that I was basically hysterical and I physically threw up.  They struggled to get me in the house when we arrived but eventually I went in and I met Milo.

I was uncomfortable and a bit scared after that but I was coping. I remember the next day we went to visit my Nanny for lunch and I was really relieved because we’d be gone for a few hours and he wouldn’t come. I could have a break from dealing with him. But then I remembered that she’d moved since I was last home from uni and instead of being about a 25 minute drive away she was now a 5 minute drive away so we wouldn’t be gone as long. And it turned out he came too.

Within a few days I was comfortable with him and happy to stroke him, throw his ball etc. I remember my Mum commenting how quickly that happened, more so than she’d expected I think.  And that grew to being comfortable to be around other dogs too.

It grew to many years of fun and laughter and even frustration and annoyance when he was being a pain.

I remember being out walking him one uni holiday. I was in my manual being pushed by my Dad and holding Milo’s lead. And the manual broke. I’m not really sure how he got us all home.

I remember just how much fun he thought an empty plastic bottle was. And how scary a sneeze was.

When I stopped wearing socks at all I used all of the ones I had to make sock toys for him. He absolutely loved them. The last couple of years I would go to the pound shop at Christmas and buy socks especially to be able to make him one.

I cried the day I heard my family were getting Milo. Because I was scared. I cried harder the day I met him. Because I was more scared.

And on Monday night I cried when my Mum rang to tell me that at the ripe old age of 16 Milo had been put to sleep.

(I’m trying not to cry writing this)

I’m still a bit wary around dogs I don’t know if they’re running loose and I think I always will be (although admittedly I had a negative experience with someone at sailing’s dog earlier this year which was actually made more negative by the way the owner handled it so that may be influencing that).

I would have sworn blind, had you asked me, that I didn’t need to do anything about my dog phobia. It wasn’t having that much of an impact on my life (I thought) and was much more of a problem for others than me (because they thought it was a big deal). But then circumstance meant I had to.  And I’m really glad that I did.

Milo

A photo posted by Emma (@funkyfairy22) on