Saturday, April 30, 2005
Contact High I did the MDA and ALS conference. I was surprised at the number of ALS people running round. Lots of MSers too. Really interesting. This was a group of folks who had no idea of my program and the services we provide. The best part of the conference was the vendor such as myself were not chained to the conference all day. We set up by 9:30 and the conference rs did the march round the info hall and they went to the breakouts and we cleaned up and went home. Perfect. I was home by 1:00. Many of the consumers had actually called the info line and they seemed well served. It was nice having them there singing praises to Access Utah. It almost takes the edge off my cynicism.
I was surprised that they actually had dough nuts. So rarely do conferences have real dough nuts. They had boxes and boxes of dough nuts. I got contact high just off the sugar. Coffee, dough nuts and comp time. Nothing better.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I cannot remember how I got there but there I was at the website of Julia Darling—a British writer who died earlier this month of cancer. Do you ever feel an immediate connection with someone or wish you had know this person? I did this with Julia Darling. I read some of her stuff and especially her blog in the last days of her life. It was great—moving and made me feel “I just missed you. I wish I could have know you and your work better.”I plan to read some of your work and spend some time with your art work. Check out her website here. You will be glad you did…
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Answer the phone
My partner and I sit way in the back of our office complex—it’s a great place for operators. Physically isolated and most of the time is quiet. We take our phone call and quietly and efficiently dispatch our nuggets of information. Our office complex is actually made up of two offices--Access Utah Network is my organization and we share the office space Governor’s Council (GC). We cover phones for GC time to time. There are times when you see a blinking green is going off and you feel compelled to answer it. More then one I have been yelled at because it was actually someone’s call on “hold”. It’s not a big deal to me but sure seems like it is for them. I can understand to a point when this happens to me. I am working a call and have to place the caller on “hold” and answer another phone or someone walking in to my office. I hear someone in the office pick up my call and I yell, “ I’m working that call” or “that’s my call!!” I guess I do get defensive about interlopers messing with my call or calls I time have spent a lot of time cultivating. But, I would rather risk that then have people on “perpetual hold” and thinking we are typical State flakes.
So lighten up we error and pick up one of your blinking lights by mistake. Sometimes it gets busy and your knee jerk reaction is to pick up the next blinking light and it’s hard to discern if it’s a fast or slow blink.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
This was last summer and I had been pushing on squishy tires for a couple of weeks. Since I don’t take my chair home on the weekends I never get round to filling the tires up. Then on Monday morning when I jump into my Boing I am still on squishy tires. So, I remember they are always assembling things at the Struve—they gotta have compressor.
This was last summer, it was hot out side as I rolled up the Struve but soon as I got in I was blanketed with cool refrigerated air. The bright outside sunlight was replaced by darkness lit by neon lights from game machines. They assemble the video games in the back there. I figured they would have a compressor There are also rows of vending machines of one sort or another. There is a clerk’s station with a window in the main hall an a small branch of offices brakes on in another direction, these seem to be the “administration” offices: accounting, sales and delivery. The whole experience entering the building is like gliding back in time. The women sitting at the desk, chewing gum, is doing her nails waiting for the phone to ring. It would have been perfect if she had had one of those 1940’s WWII do’s. I tell her I need air, she calls me “Honey”. I knew she would and says go in the back and talk to Hank he’ll fix you up. I travel further father down the hall and enter into some sort of a show room. In this show room were brand new video games just exactly like I would find at any video palace, plugged in lit up and ready to play. Then I found out the best part: they are free. I roll up to a pin ball machine look it over, pull back the knob and let the silver ball sail and the next thing I know I am being the “wizard”. I play a couple of games then feel a little nervous and go back and ask Wanda if it’ OK to play the machines. She says, “Sure, honey. That’s why they ar here. We gott make sure they work right, go ahead, knock yourself out. I played the remainder of my lunch hour with visions of returning maybe daily to play the new machines. They did have an air compressor and I got my tires pumped up and a guarantee that they will pump me up again when I need it.
I think I have gone back maybe three times, specifically to play the games. I don’t know why I don’t go back more. I should. I don’t know how long the Struve will be there. I think a long time but one can never till the way building is happening round this town. Maybe this summer I play more.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The weather reports The Weather Channel, The weather URL’s they all promised one good day of weather, in the 70’s then more inclement weather. So I was up, early yesterday dressed and out for my Saturday shopping. To the grocery got what we needed for the week the usual: milk, assorted vegetable, a fast scan of the “throw a way meats” and precipitations and flowers. I have started buying flowers at the market because I like to. Dianne likes the effort, I think, and I like having the color in the house. The flowers last about a week too just in time for the next weeks shopping. Then because I really wanted to barbecue I looked for the local Mexican butcher shop. The on I have used for the past couple of years was kicked out of their shop to make more room for the lawn mower shop which who owns the building. (That is a whole blog entry in itself). I remembered a little further south on
I love these places, little pieces of a foreign country. It’s like taking a trip just entering their front door. It’s pretty cool. I come in and invariably all talking stops. Everyone turns to stare at me. It’s enough am a gringo –which I am sure is suspicious as hell but a gringo in a power wheelchair; that’s something you do not see everyday. The management never speaks English but usually enough to get by. Pointing and using fingers to indicate poundage I usually come out with what I want. I even try to speak a little Spanish. I am actually getting pretty good, at least for buying stuff. At the old shop I was becoming quite a fixture. Their faces actually brightened when I came in and they started knocking them selves out trying to please me.
“ Can I help you”
“piketo”(sp?) holds up his hands fore finger a few CMs away from his thumbs and smiles. There is something genuine about Juan and I like him instantly. He is the kind of guy you know you could go out for a night drinking and have a great time.
“Cool” I reply and tell him I want flat meat Flat meat is meat these guys cut very thin. They use it in their Mexican wraps or what ever. I like it to BBQ . Te meat cooks fast and I have it all week then in my lunches. I cook a big bowel of rice ad some vegetables an I have a great inexpensive lunch. But, I tell Juan I want to cook out. Juan smiles and seems to understand. This summer I am really going to learn the different meats names. There a couple of different cuts, some more fatty then others. The fatty ones are more expensive. I don’t understand this but I well.
So, buy three pounds. I should just by one pound maybe two but I always buy three and this turns out to be a lot. But I leave the carcerina (sp) quite pleased with my purchase. By the time I get home the clouds have turned dark, the winds have shifted and the temperature has dropped with spits or rain making the supposedly great day a lost day for anything outside.
Today is worse then yesterday—lots of rain, clouds and cold. I gotta use the meat so I just did the usual, chopped the onion in to rings, did the same with a green pepper and added garlic and cooked the messed down—I weakened and added the mushroom soup and now it’s turning to something. I may even add sour cream before it’s over. The last I checked the meat was becoming tender—a couple more hours should do. I’ll have to cook some rice an a couple and everything should be edible. I wish it hadn’t rained.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
A Regretful Trip
It’s Conference time! The only professional organization I belong to is AIRS( the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems). We are a group of information and referral specialists, still a fairly new organization (27 years). We include specialist from city, state county I&R, military, Senior programs, child programs on and on. Any program who does info and referral are eligible. So, AIRS is having their annual training and education conference. This year the conference is in Tucson Airzona---three days of conference session I think are boring perforated by evening party sessions called networking events a few trips to take in local color and a time to associate with other folks who do the same thing (sort A) as I do. I was excited the first conference I attended. I don’t know why—I was way into my cynical phase by then. I should have known better. Anyway, I went and really, seemed to me as an “old boys” club: inside jokes, cliques alive and well in a hotel setting. I found a couple of class sessions, which remotely sounded interesting and sat through them and then recluse to my room and watch TV or read. The whole thing is just so sophomoric I find it hard to justify. I really want not planning to go. I was hoping my partner at work would go and I would not have too. However, that did not work out either and the ball retuned to me. I had hoped that when I submitted the pricing of the event to cost analysis they would have stopped the trip but that did not happen either so, looks like I am going. Give me the power to accept those things I cannot change. Tucson?! There is not a whole lot of places one can escape to there in Tucson. This years motto is Calls Cactus & Caballeros Riding the Range of I&R PLEASE!
Monday, April 18, 2005
I sat there for a long while debating as to whether to get involved with him, to get wrapped up in his current trauma—in the end I did and well, I told him to call me tomorrow at my office and I would do some calling round to see if we could find him a place. He has till May 1st and should be enough lead time to get him something. I am sure I'll be sorry but what could I do? Besides he is always guaranteed to provide an interesting time.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Bloom Tree in Bloom
Flowers by Yard Rock
A truly perfect day, No wind and nice temps. I spent most of the day out and bout doing Saturday things. A stop at the second hand place and bought three radios that I can put in the garage round the house…then to Home Depot for light bulbs and batteries then a stop at the grocery for supplies for the week. For me that is a lot of work getting in an out of the wheelchair and the van ach time but I held up well and I am feeling pretty good all things considered. I even spent time with my mom. I was thinking of going down to se her but I could get no one to go with. I need someone to haul me into the house once I get there. Wheelchair living has it’s draw backs. Dianne got th yard mowed and looking great. I was even able to instant message Mark for a while. So it was a goods day. Hope yours was as nice.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
To blog or not to blog that is the question. The reason I blog is for my own selfish needs. The main reason is to keep myself writing. I have found since I have been blogging that I have pretty much written every day. I may have not written a lot but I have written something. Some of the stuff is boring , actually, I bet a lot of the stuff is boring but that is OK. I am writing for myself and no one else. I am pleased when I recognize something I have written is better then something else I have written. I am also pleased when someone advises me that something I had written is extraordinarily good or they have liked the image I have chosen for that submission. I have been told that one submission or another is boring. This was quite an affront at first—I didn’t , quite know how to deal except laugh and blow it off. This was a great gift though—this made me really evaluate why I am blogging and why I persist to write in the log at least once a day when I can. It lets me work on this project in near anonymity. I am not hiding the fact I an doing a blog but I am not really broadcasting the fact either. If people know that’s cool, but if they don’t know, that is cool too and my blog is my secret and I just smile. I don’t feel too bad, I have checked out lots of blogs and Mack is right many are very boring. Mine is too most of the time but every once in a while I get lucky.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
ME: Hi can I get you to pump me some gas? I am in a wheelchair.
Store kid: Yeah, I’ll get gas guy to come out. He should be here at 7:00.(It was 6:45am)
No one had showed up by 7:15 a.m. I was getting a little worried but I stuck it out. I ended up driving up to the front door again. I got hold of “Hank”
Me: I have been waiting for the gas guy to pump my gas.
I really need to get the gas and get going.
Hank: OK. No problem I’ll send him out.
So I drive back out to the gas island, and wit for ten more minutes and the first kid comes out and says.
Gads Kid: (laughs) Bummer. I guess the regular gas guy is not coming in today.
So I waited about an hour. I knew it was going to take a while but I did not think it would take that long. I should know by now. I am just glad I was able to get someone to pump the gas. A little thing like pumping gas can take so much effort for some and so little for others. So I am set with gas for the next two weeks—now I just have to get through the day.
Monday, April 11, 2005
I work downtown, not far from the men’s shelter, Public Park across the street from a Jesus Saves Mission and soup Kitchen. Our building houses not only our agency but also a “needle exchange”, the Mexican consulate a private non-profit for folks with mental retardation. Our buildings population is eclectic if not colorful. Our office has been locking its front doors on days we don’t have major meetings for more then a year now. Your had better call before coming or nock really loud on the front door. I mean really loud if Cecilia or me are the only ones here because we are way in the back and do not hear what’s going on up front very well.
Shortly after we started locking the front door, our staff demanded the bathroom doors be locked. Seems some staff were being surprised by some of the buildings more colorful clientele. If walks on the ground floor got desperate they could go to the upper floors of the building where the doors were left unlocked.
Staff was issued keys and that was that. If a consumer needed to use the facilities then they could speak with one of the front desk people of the two privates on this ground floor, which could issue a courtesy key. Well, I heard this morning in staff meeting that someone had been found living in one of the vacant offices upstairs. I thought that was pretty cool but no one else did. The interloper was escorted off premise by law enforcement and now the bathrooms are locked on the second floor. The Mexicans control the entire third floor—the only way your using that bathroom is if you buy something first.
I found if you come out of the bathroom and gently let the door close behind you then push against the door the last couple of centimeters the door will remain ajar and all you have to do is press on the door and it lets you. I do this because I have such limited hand function that I can barely turn the key to the door and an unlocked would help a lot. I also have a problem with any entity, which locks the door to restrooms against the less fortunate, i.e. burger king, McDonalds or taco bell. There is one other guy in the office. He went on in great detail on how he would find the door ajar when used the men’s bathroom and how now he went out of his way to make sure the door pulled shut to make sure the lock had engaged. He assumed that it was the staff and clientele of the “Needle exchange”. I just kept my head down, doodled and waited for staff meeting to end.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
I need a drink
Maizey is a 18 month golden lab. She is a nice dog, probably a good dog but that has yet to be seen. The dog seems huge to us after Cinnamon. Sometime it feels as if the house is too small for her. She spent the night here with Anakah. The dog was into everything—which is no surprise that is what dogs do. The night was OK it just felt weird. Maybe we are no totally over the Cinnamon yet. I think Maizey will be fine once she settles in. Bridget left the door open this morning when Bridget stopped by to see the animal and Maizey sprinted out the front door. When Bridget tried to bring Maizey into the house from the car Maizey would not budge. That was that, and Bridget took Maizey on home where I understand the dog has been fine. Gabe is a much better dog handler then we are. We are going to have to get the house dog proofed now and who knows how long that will take. Gabe has wanted a dog for sometime too. Who knows maizey maybe the one. I don’t think that give Maizey to Gabe and Bridget I a big deal. I just want to be sure it’s OK with Dianne. I really feel Dianne is the one who really loves having a dog round.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Family Links Saturday
I had Family Links Conference today. Cecilia did the first half of the day and I relieved her at noon and finished out the day. Intense meet and greet major smiling but fairly easy duty and the best part will be hours earned or the next week which means I will be able to take off early next week sometime. Usually on Friday afternoon if I can get away with it. I like to stretch the weekend when I can. I like these conferences too because I can spend time with colleagues and find out what is new and happening in the community. We had better crowds then expected. The weather is poor today, gray, wet and cold. So, lots of families who other wise would be out enjoying a spring day were driven indoors to the conference.
We are considered vendors so we’re relegated it in the “Vendors Hall”; a place where anyone who thinks they can make a buck of families of kids with disabilities shows up. Everything from easy read books “Learn sign language” DVDs. It is sort of a carnival atmosphere. Every table has piles and bowls of candy the equivalent to the old guy with striped shirts and panama hats at the circus who would hook people into their sideshows. I was lucky at this conference: usually I am sitting by someone with a VCR running an endless tape of the wonders of what ever they are trying the hawk. Some form of chicken was served for lunch. All in all it was not bad. I am glad to be home though and am ready for my evening. Tomorrow, I’ll introduce to out new dog, Maizey.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Chair to Nowhere
I was stopped in my tracks this morning as I rolled out the door headed for work. There in the street, in front of my house sat this camp chair; A perfectly good camp chair. No one was round that I could see, dawn was just beginning to thrown its illumination on the scene. But, there it stood, a new, kaki-seating device just waiting to be used. I of course grabbed my camera and took the image before it disappeared. I have come across many things as I cruise the street in my Jazzy: railway bolts, shoes, nails, flat rats, gloves, batteries, spike and the list goes on but this was the first time I every came across something useful. My question is, why my house? Unless, the chair was specifically meant for Someone in my household—which I am sure it is not—if the chair randomly fell from the back of someone’s truck or camper, again why in front of my driveway and not Al’s to the South of me or Lou’s to the North. It’s just weird. Just sitting there, waiting, not on it’s side like a casualty of a turn made too short in the predawn dusk. How many of my neighbors drove past the chair? They would have had to swerve to miss it. Why had they not stopped and thrown the chair into the back of their vehicle? WHY,WHY,WHY???. Then I knew the answer: Road fruit. The chair was obviously road fruit so D and I did the only thing imaginable…we harvested it.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Public Radio Extoration
I am making them pay now! You might remember back in “Another Friday afternoon”, my rant about the loss of control to “my” Public Radio Station who had reformatted their offerings. Well, Guess what? IT’S PLEDGE TIME!! I have to admit I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the radio all week as the different hosts local and national have groveled looking for the filthy lucre they need to keep their boats afloat. I usually hate the fund raisers. The radio folks are getting so agressive I used to turm them off till Pledge Drive is over. One of the local jock actually was telling the radio audience how much they had to pay for The Diane Rehm show. KUER had to spend something like $175,000.00 for the show! This seems exorbitant. So, if each station has to pay this much money for the show this could be millions before all the show were satisfied. Plus my station has the fund raiser every six months. A couple of years ago, I suddenly realized I was pledging twice a year. I don’t know about you bit I can feel a scam when it pokes me. Now, I love Public Radio, I even believe on public radio but public radio has become an industry to itself. The talk about the listener controls the production—what a joke! Well, I’ll tell you what, this listener controls his wallet and I am not donating this year and I am still going to listen to the station in fact I am going to listen to the other station too KCPW. The card I got when I pledged in November is good for another six months or so. I gotta go…all Things considered starts shortly.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Today is Board meeting; a point of fairly high stress for me. Though, I am no longer manager for my little office of 1 ½ people I still have the responsibilities and guilt of this small quasi-State operation. My quality id OK but the quantity is I question, at least with me. The day of accounting is today and I have been putting together stats and other items the board(who ever shows up) need to feel they are getting their dollars worth. The meeting will come and go. Those who show up will listen maker a comment or two and leave and that will be it…I hope. This is routine but never feels routine to me. I have to lead the meeting. I have to bring it off. This will pass.
The meeting did pass, just one of the board members. I don’t know whether to be relived or angry. Either way the meeting is over and I AM STILL HERE! I do not now why that is so amazing but it it is to me. The meeting was short and we stressed a lot of budgetary items, which should produce better equipment for this office in the not so distant future. I now must cobble some minutes from the meeting and mail them out to those who did and did not attend. I always vow to do better by the next meeting and so I am vowing now…better reports, more documentation and a higher frequency of calls. I suppose the goal is to produce a report, which is so extensive that it will take those attending, the rest of the meeting, to figure the report out. But now, I can breath a sigh of relief…The next meeting is July 5th. I have time to cruise.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
I really did not start to post this image of the family, My Family, on the blog. The image is the result of request of my sister who is putting together a giant family volume which should have in it the images and birthdays of everyone in our family. This is a monumental task. I have ten brothers and sisters and if they all submit-which I am sure they will- you can see the volume may be huge. I wish to publicly praise my little sister Linda. I don’t know if she knew what she was getting in to.
So what I thought was going to be a relatively (excuse the pun) easy project has turned out to me a Sunday nightmare.
I have hundreds and hundreds of images store on my hard drives—maybe thousands.
Many folders are duplicates. I can scroll for every. Thank God the pieces of software I own file by dates. This is the only thing which has saved me from going quite mad. Even with the dated folders I was almost challenged beyond my capacity. I used Picasso-2 the most which is the same soft ware whirl loads to my blog so when I was saving the fam image at one time or another I sent a copy to the blog which loaded it as the image for today’s blog. The more I looked at it the more I liked it, at least for today.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
I hope I am not being too morbid but I wonder how much time I have left? I just wonder. Everyday I travel to work on train I travel up this street and I cross this bridge over the interstate. I rarely travel on the sidewalks. It’s too hard to ride the walks, the sidewalks are not uniform, some are old and broken and others are newer but you have to go up and down the small ramps at each intersection. I just find it much easier just to travel along the side of the street. This, for the most part, is not so bad, especially at the hour I travel to the train at 6:15 even 6: 30 a.m. the traffic is light and I can travel down the center of the street if I like. I try to keep a constant vigil of the road behind me. This is OK—I’m willing to take the risk and the responsibility. Really, the only place where I get nervous is the Bridge of Terror. This is an Interstate over pass. There is a narrow pedestrian walk way on the side of the bridge, a passage blocked off from the main bridge by a small concrete wall. It is narrow enough for two people to pass each other-just barely and there would not be room to let me in my power wheelchair and an oncoming pedestrian pass. I have used the walkway a couple of times but it is spooky in a chair the size of mine. So, most of the time I just cruise down the side of the side of the bridge, hugging the wall as lose as I can. Many times when I am traveling the bridge, I can hear the roar of a truck or car roar up behind me and zoom past. I try not to think about then vehicle but my dark side makes me wonder what would happen if the vehicle just nudged me. I would just go flying- I would be dead or worst: the next Terrie Schivo. I have had two friends, who used wheelchairs for mobility, die from being hit by traffic. I wonder if you feel it or are you just gone. I remember some of the guys from Viet Nam saying “You never here the shot that kills you.” Still, it must be the rush of rushes when you suddenly you are airborne even for a fraction of a second before you black out…forever.