Been a long time!

Yea, it’s been a long time.

Over a year now since this blog entry.

Why? I don’t know. Apathy, I guess. And lots of use of Facebook – I guess I feel that I can get my thoughts out better to friends and family who might appreciate it more than the random stranger who might happen across this blog occasionally.

But a lot has happened in the last year. I continue to learn and grow – both in general personally as well as my technical skills. Also have learned a lot about art, photography, photographic manipulation, Photoshop, and combining them all. I find that I’m gravitating more toward the more artistic side of things then the technical sometimes, or often times.

For example, my favorite site nowadays is DeviantArt.com. I could spend hours there…

The economy has went up and down, and my hope for a Brand New World and New Attitudes with our new president have been pretty much dashed. Not so much with the president himself, but the whole attitude of the nation just really hasn’t changed – I guess the Big Hope I saw and had was just a temporary thing.

We’re back to racism, intolerance, and the inability to see other’s point of view as well as political parties and ideas that are so split and opposite from each other that I have a fear that our country is worse off than ever before.

With the roller coaster economy I’ve went from being harried and too busy to having some more spare time again, to continue tutorials and lessons and learning when it comes to my field of work.

Personally I’ve had some ups and downs.

I’m a big animal lover, and my father’s cat; Katie, passed away earlier this year. I spent many hours with her and with my mother gone she was a huge comfort and companion to my father, who is 92 now (I was a VERY late child). She was a great loss. And a great cat.

Then my brother, Earl, was in a bad car accident, that coincidentally happened right beside my father’s driveway (lucky my father didn’t have a heart attack himself when he went out and saw my brother like that).

The accident damaged my brother’s spine and partially paralyzed him, and after a lot of pain and suffering and months of being stuck in a hospital (which must have been torture for him, who always was out and about) – he passed away.

And a short time ago we lost our beloved German Shepard, B’elanna. I’m going to cut n paste what I wrote on Facebook, as it’s still too hard to re-write it again;

Here is one of the last pictures I took of B’elanna, minutes before she had her first seizure or whatever it was.

At least at the end she got to do one of her favorite things in the world – retrieve a toy from the water for us; something she would literally spend hours doing.

We’re lost a number of pets, including dogs – but B’elanna was by far a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dog, and unusually intelligent and reasoning.

We spent much time teaching her, and she was able to learn quickly – even at her advanced age she was able to learn new things and make cognitive leaps of reasoning.

It was amazing sometimes, that a dog could reason out things like she could.

She had a very high intelligence and the (many times scary) ability to reason and work out what we wanted her to do on her own.

I remember the time that Jenny told her to carefully pick up the remote control that we had dropped and hand it to her.

She pulled her lips back, lowered her head and slowly and carefully picked the remote up between her canines, holding her lips back and handing it to her. B’elanna had put together phrases that she knew – “pick up”, “careful”, and “hand it to me” and interpolated what we wanted and understood the whole phrase, and what was asked of her. She did this often, even picking up cellphones and handing them to us without a scratch.

I also remember vividly the first time I was checking out a camp or abandoned building I had found out in some woods. I told her to check it out, giving her a general hand signal to go, not expecting her to do anything much. I had never taught her to “check anything out” but she was able to figure out what I wanted from my motioning in that direction and the giving of a general command that she knew some words from, apparently. I was stunned when she knew exactly what I wanted and quickly and efficiently went through each of the rooms (I could see through the cracks in the rickety old place), sniffing around, looking, checking things out; and then she came back and stood by me, waiting expectantly.

She knew many words, phrases, and military- as well as custom-hand signals and non-vocal audio commands, and even if I caught her eyes and gave her a slight nod of my head in a certain direction to move in that direction – left or right, and a quick very slight downward nod of my head to tell her to sit.

Her personality was very similar to mine and we meshed well, she usually had a good idea of what I wanted, sometimes before I did.

I don’t see us ever having another dog like her.

Yea, it’s been quite a year. But at least I’m still here, my wife and I are healthy and we’ve been eating and getting healthier (I’ve lost over 30 pounds so far this year), and there’s certainly a lot of people in this country in much worse shape.

I was just reading the blog of a girl who may occasionally read my blog here. I feel sorry for her, and hope her life can become better and that she can get past her problems.

It’s especially harder when you’re younger I think.

When we get older we sometimes get jaded by tragedies and things that have been done to us.

Not always, but sometimes.

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