Friday, September 30, 2005

Fading But Not Gone Yet

I am always amazed at this country and the dismal way this country treats it folks with disabilities. Even better, how this country treats it’s veterans with disabilities or who are aged to the point of being significantly disabled. I got off the phone a few minutes ago from this disable veteran living in a remote county in this state. He is 65 years old, up until a month ago his 90 year old mother was living with him and doing his house work!!! Excuse me is there not something terribly wrong with this picture? 90 year old mom still doing this guys house. Keep in mind this veteran is Korean Era veteran and he is $ERVICE CONNECTED which means he gets real money from the VA.
When he called the first time which was earlier in the week I directed him to the County Aging services program for “Chore Services”. Usually this program can send someone out to clean house, maybe dome simple meal prep, mow lawn etc. Things which need to be done. Anyway the agency rep comes out tells the old guy that the old guy makes too much money with his Federal pension! The rep does not give the old guy any alternatives just closes his brief case and exits stage left. I really should have listed this post with yesterdays under “…Criminal”.

We talked for quite a while. I think we came up with some viable options. Contact the local religious groups, the Catholics, Mos and maybe some of the smaller sects. It has been my experience, even if the huge religious corp, can not help, the bishop, priest, pasture, reverend or what ever the church leader knows someone in his congregation who needs extra money and would or could do cleaning and errands ( and they could be trusted). The larger operations usually have a Boy or Girl scout troupe or facsimile there of—who are always looking for ways to get their youth involved in noble and honorable enterprises. I also told the old guy to call the County Aging Services rep he had spoke with previously and let him know he did not necessarily want the service for free he would be willing to pay for the assistance a much as he could. At least the rep could let the guy know where he could find some bondable people to help the old guy out.

Great HONK! This is not nuclear science! This is basic: one person caring for another, looking out for your neighbors. I have a buddy in north Las ve gas. I have known him since 7th grade—is bit whacked ,like me, he is a PHD shrink a real dreamer but tends to follow good stars. He has started as new web site, I think which might assist with some of these issues. He contacted me a day or so ago, just before this incident. Hum? I mean really making his 90 year old mom his house—someone some where need to be shot and it’s not Granny.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

We Shall See

Don’t you just hate it when you realize more people are reading your blog then you had intended? I got a call from “98.6” just a few minutes ago. He really spent some quality time with me about the website and data issues I have been ranting about of late. He actually showed, or told me how, to “clear” the files. I cleared the files and I am getting some pretty decent looking reports now. So maybe the storm has passed for now. I just will have to see what -can do tomorrow and Monday to get some decent reports written. What I wonder though is this: did ’98.6’ somehow, visit my blog and seem what I had written? I know there is at least one person ‘Mr Black’ who reads the blog on a regular basis. I best be careful. I have been warned blogs can be dangerous.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Extortionists and Criminals

This image is quick becoming my favorite image of myself! I snapped the image yesterday on the training coming into work. I am actually sitting on the platform waiting for the train to come in and I got the image. It’s getting cooler in the mornings and I feel warmer if I can cover as much face as possible. I was also trying to stretch out the turtleneck. If I do not stretch out the neck early on in the day the tight neck will give me a headache.

My work stress continues to rise, the sands are running through the hour glass heading toward my Advisory Board meeting. We still cannot get a useable group of stats which will allow us to make a useable report. Cecilia is working very hard and she has made some mini breakthroughs. I still think we’ll come up with something. So, I called the guys we purchased the software from, they are also the developers. Actually the software is good when it works, simplistic and built on the Access platform. We should be able, to get inside the program and make our own changes. We are going to get some Access training so we can better tweak the system and the reports. So, anyway I call ‘98.6’ ( that’s my code name for the guy I work through at the developers) and first it’s difficult to get hold of him and when I do he gives a little information and sends me an email on how to re-point my cursor to the correct folder(I think) then tells me if I want him to come and work at our facility on our system to “clean up” the software then it will be about an hour and cost $30.00/hour! I under stand what ’98.6’ is doing; behavior modification i.e. introduce an adverse stimulus and watch the unwanted behavior extinguish itself. In this case, my calls will stop when the adverse stim is introduced.In this case $30/hour. And true to form it has. We have never worked so hard to break the code of our C-BASE program. We can do this and we will . However, it just feels like extortion. I just want the information the program has stored somewhere on our network. Once I get this data and I will get this data bake the reports and get on with lfie. I will look seriously about the Access training Cecilia is suggesting—to control our destiny by scraping a couple of thousand together and getting some new software –software which will work when we want the software to work. I just feel a bit victimized when I need this material for a deadline . Like I said, I will gladly stop calling once this is over. I agree I should have tried to run reports earlier, more then a week before my meeting but I thought sure the program would work. It just seems criminal

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


The skys are outside my window dark and foreboding. I have just 75 minutes of work time left be fore going home time. I must make a decision do my blog or get out the door and head for home before the sky opens and the rain comes down. Actually I have my red slicker and I am OK for traveling in the rain if I need to. The worst case-like if the rain was just charging down then I would default and call Dianne from the Winchester Train station. So, I guess I do not have an excuse to leave early. I cannot start leaving early just because the boss is a away—Actually, it getting a bit worrisome round here. The natives are definitely getting restless.

When the staff finally got here this morning it got pretty nasty with the staff ranting and raving about the current practices of the two bosses of this organization. The usual griping and back biting. Humm? I realized with a bit of a start that I was actually getting offended and I had better be careful. It seemed like most of the staff got reprimanded yesterday before the boss left for New Mexico. I did not, in fact, Alison actually game me a little praise for my consistency for being at work. Interesting. I just have to keep a low profile, do my job and not join in on the leadership feeding frenzy. It’s a hard place to be sometimes when you like both sides of a revolution.

As long as I am rambling about things which are worrisome. We use this software here t the office to record calls into our office. We use this data then to craft reports to my Advisory Board which meets quarterly. We got new computers over this last quarter but the software could not find the folder to record the data we were recording. Luckily, the software was sticking the data on a file on my system. I just cannot get the software to make the reports. So, I have calls into the software’s creators and hopefully they will advise on how to “point” the cursor to the server where the data is being stored. I have six days, four work days and a weekend. If I can get the data off the systems I can then ‘BOIL” the data down into some form of understandable reports. I don’t hold out a lot of hope. Maybe I will be surprised.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Shallow Me

I have been a gimp and a gimp advocate for almost 40 years! 40 years, that is a whole life time. I know of what I speak when it comes to disability issues and problems. Well, I have noticed a problem with in myself, I thought I had come to grips with long ago but obviously I have not.
Dianne and I went to Flight Plan yesterday. We worked hard in the morning cleaning out the garage and then rewarded ourselves by going out to the Free movie theater. When I say “free movie” I mean a real theater group in town which lets you and a partner into to watch any and as many movies as you want, anytime that you want. These are multiplexes; I tried to find out why the movie folks started this but could not get anyone in their organization to talk with me…I assume the letting people with disabilities AND their guests in free is some sort of penance, a court settlement or something. I would think if this were the case there would be something printed somewhere in the INTERNET or in the disability magazines. It was like a conspiracy. You would show up at the ticket window and the ticket person would slide the tickets to you and you guest very covertly—like you had a secret. Those days are over! Some one spilled the beans now every crip and their dog(literally are showing up at the movies! Remember the scene in “Invasion Body Snatchers” when they show these possessed folks just walking aimlessly round the city? It sort of like that except there are power wheelchairs from all direction converging on the movie theater. This is no kidding when we pulled into the parking lot I counted no less then five jazzy type power wheelchairs coming in from as many directions to the theater! There of course is no disabled parking left—but that’s ok—I can live with out disabled parking—in fact " disabled parking" is a whole another blog entry in and of it self. And, the sly covert scenario is gone. The ticket guy just whips out an ink stamp and stamps your guest’s hand. They’re letting gimps in like a Louisiana Levy in hurricane.

We have learned, if we get to the movie by the time the newspaper advertises the movie is due to start then we have to endure anywhere from 20-30 minutes previews. We have been coming even a bit later then the advertised time and done just fine. Something has changed, now gimps everywhere are coming, and coming early and taking all the gimp seating. It was bad enough when you had to throw a fat person out of one of the seats by a “cut-out” so your partner could sit next to you. (Really this id getting as ridiculous as disabled parking.) I swear yesterday there were crips in the all the designated seating, crips out of there chairs laying on the floor—in fact, I think they had jumped out of their chairs and stacked, or had someone stack their chairs in the seat cut outs for people in wheelchairs to seat next to their AB’s! It was like the scene from “Shrek” where all the fairy tale characters had taken over Shreks swamp.

There a couple of CP mumblers who came alive and bumbled to someone after every huge scene and to my rear left was at least one venerator maybe two—sounded like a Darth Vader Con. The worst part was me! I kept sliding further and further down in my chair hoping not to be noticed—I was not aware of this at first then I began realizing I was becoming self conscience—realizing I was a gimp like everyone else here which, I realized, was beginning to make me ill at ease. Was I so welling to go to a movie free I would go to the gimps parade. Truly this did not bother me when there was just me and a few other gimps on any given day but things they are a changing. Maybe this is another case “formula access” : if there are “X” amount of seats then there has to be “x” amount of designated parking or seating or what ever. So once the few set asides are gone then everyone is on their own. I guess I should be glad they have not just decided to just seat those with disabilities the theater has designated spaces forand turn the rest away.

Anyway, I having to rethink the whole “crips get in free trip” at least for me. However, I did notice that the price is now $8.00 a person!!! Maybe I should just shut up and get in line

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Currency of Popcorn Balls

Dianne and Auni made popcorn balls tonight. I was dreading the experience even though I did not have to participate. Dianne just whipped them right up. I supervised the pop corn popping. I was expecting a risk prone agenda of boiling Karol syrup till it was caloric napalm. But Dianne pulled a fast one, just some melted butter and a package of bone jellie(jello) heated and running then poured over the popcorn and stirred. Next, the popcorn was molded into balls and ready to eat. The whole operation from start to finish( including the popping process) took less then 30 minutes. The balls were placed into bags and distributed to favorite neighbors.

Auni is five and I think she is shy. Auni is here nearly every weekend for at least one night. In ll that time she has never really made friends with any other girls her age. Kayla, who lives across the street is a couple of years older then Auni and Auni worships Kayla. But alas Kayla just does not have time for Auni. Recently a family of girls has moved into two doors down—there seems to be four to five girls running up and down the sidewalk lately. Such was the case tonight when Auni and Dianne took the popcorn balls to the neighbors. The littler girl gaggle notices and before long Auni was running up and down the sidewalk with the other girls—each one had a big pink popcorn ball—Auni had currency and she was spending. They played till it was to dark and all kids had to come in and Auni did not seem quite sdo lonely.

Friday, September 23, 2005


There is a storm approaching, nothing like the one hammering the gulf coast but for us her in the desert water is water. The storm is pushing out the high with has been in place for the past week, it’s warm right now in the 80’s till the front passes through then the lo 70’s. Tomorrow the low should still be here and the temps only in the 70’s.

This morning I had a meeting up at the State house. I was not sure about my bus connections—since I was using public transit I belt in an extra hour for travel. I stopped at same Wellers and picked up a copy of Ender’s Game for Evan. I don’t know when I’ll se Evan again but I will and I’ll have Enders Game to give him. I think Evan is ready and ripe for Orson Card. Since I was at Galavan Plaza and I had between to 15 minutes before the bus came to take me up the hill I took a minute and got some images of the downtown seagull art collection. There is one more statue I was not able to get this a.m.—the police gull riding the bike at the downtown police station. I included these images for the today’s offering,

It’s a blustery fall afternoon…yes it now official, we are in Fall, I thought Summer would never end. It’s carnival night! Tonight is Liberty Elementary carnival. I love school carnivals because you can get really great deals. My kids are long gone from Liberty but Kayla from across the street sold us some tickets and well, grab Anakah and make a night of it. I doubt they will have hot food offerings but that is all the more reason to go to KFC after. Dianne is excited about entering the cakewalk. The thought of winning one or two homemade cakes has had Dianne excited for two days.

One of my best memories is my schools carnivals at Campus elementary in Boise Idaho. It always felt so strange to be in the place where you went to school after hours, seeing your desk pushed against the wall to make room for what ever room you class room was changed to for the festive evening. The cake walk, fish pond, ping pong toss was all fun but what really got me interested in school carnival was the bookstore. I remember they would start collecting comic books right after school started in the fall and carnival they would have three or four cardboard boxed full of comic books, mad magazines, Sick, etc. What was really great that if you were round what was left of the comics as the place was shutting down they would almost give you the boxes of mags. This would be enough Batman and Superman to get me to the next carnival.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I am tired and frustrated. Today my legs and feet are my enemy. Actually I think my whole body is my enemy, but different parts take turns different days of the week. TODAY my feet and maybe my legs are ganging up on me to make living in public difficult. Legs are heavy, I don’t know if you have every appreciated jus how heavy legs are; like if you sawed off your lengthen had to pick up the severed limb and hop say from you bed to the shower and back you would soon realize this sucker is pretty heavy. Now, imagine you have most of you hand function gone, you’re sitting down and you have to lift up you leg, balance that leg on your other leg long enough to try to put on sock on your exposed foot. This you are trying to do with only trunk balance since when you broke your neck you lost most of your ability to sit upright with out supports of one sort or another. Some mornings are better then other, but the last couple of morning have been more challenging then other. I digress the point is today my feet just will not cooperate with me.
I went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. I came back to my office and as I transferred from my power wheelchair to my manual wheelchair for the for the rest of the work day my foot spasmed and left me with one shoe on and one off. I was so bummed at that point I said “hell with it” I will slip the shoe on before I head out tonight for my train ride home. The temps have warmed up a bit near 80 degrees—I should stuff my shoes in the backpack and just go sock footed. If I was barefooted I most likely would not push my exposed feet on the transit public but socks are, for the most part, socially acceptable. The only problem that for me having socked feet makes my feet have no traction what so ever on the foot plate. Any spasms and I would have my feet flying out in front of me and me maybe even me sliding out of my Jazzy! So, I’ll have to grab my hook and hook my pant leg, pull my pant leg up over my other leg so I can reach my foot and slide my shoe back on. I then hope my shoes will stay on when I transfer back into my Jazzy to make my trip home. If my legs flip one or both shoes off then I have to repeat the whole process this time out of my Jazzy a more difficult procedure. So, today my feet or the enemy. I can live with that. I would rather wrestle my feet then have my legs amputated. I have heard of crips who have elected such a procedure in order to make life more simple. Whap off 40 or so pounds below the waist and I’ll bet there is a lot things which become more easy to do but the cost is high.

I must apologize I was a week ahead of my self regarding the circus coming to town B&B Ringling Bros will be in town next week with elephants and zebras and lions OH NO!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Green Day Rain

Rain moved in over night and I wussed out and decided to drive my van into work. I had a lunch date which I motored my power chair to as I passed the Delta center I noticed the Green Day bus was parked out front with a bunch of other over the road vehicles --today is the GREEN DAY concert. I had totally spaced it and I almost never space things like a Green Day concert. It’s not like I am going or anything, I would like to—perhaps more to the point I would like to take Dianne to Green Day. I think she would really get off on Green Day live. She really liked their Superman song. The only problem is I do not know if her physically condition would let her enjoy a concert with a lot or jostling and such. Still I though it cool seeing their touring buses and their roadies taking out their equipment and dragging the stuff in to the Delta Center. I wish I had had my digi with me would have made some great images.

There seems to be a lot of stuff happening in the city right now. I passed the Morocco last night going to the train station and there were about 8 of those tour buses—not the kind that belong to tour companies but the beautiful over the road vehicles, that you know, bands or stars are traveling with. I almost stopped and talked with one f the roadies who was downloading the bus but I was late for my train and still had to get to Jeanies before I headed South.

Barnum and Bailey—THE Greatest Show on Earth is supposed to pull into to town tonight or tomorrow. I think the circus is slated to start on Friday. It’s really cool—the circus comes in and sets up to play in the Delta Center. The city closes the street and a parking lot just South of the Delta Center and B&B stick all their animals on the street. Elephants and Zebras are back there along with some of the caged beasts like the lions. When I had my office in the front of this building I loved watching the animals all day when they were in town. What’s really cool is that they do the animal parade everyday from the tent area over to and into the Delta Center.

My daughter works for a phone company—or used to. She was laid off yesterday. I read her announcement on her blog this morning. She is handling the news extremely well. Like she says they will give her sixty more days of work plus a pretty nice “parachute. She is event as an opportunity you know” every exit is an entrance”. I must say I am impressed. Shelly has a pretty nice blog. I will give you all a link to her blog take a look.

Currently reading: The Da Vinci Code It’s a good read a bit simplistic but enjoyable. I may have to backtrack and read the first book Angels and Demons. I would rather be reading science fiction hut these are interesting enough and couple keep me occupied at least to Thanksgiving

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The September Miracle

You will remember I was becoming all antsy over the noise emitting from somewhere under my van and how I knew the cost of fixing the problem was going to be great and unbearable. We towed the my vehicle to my cousin’s place , The Mechanic Man, to have him evaluate the problem and call us as the best way to proceed. Scott, my cousin, called shortly after I returned from work last night to report the van was fixed and best part was there would be no charge. No charge! I was elated. Scott said the rear left wheel was loose, actually about ready to fall off!! This is really strange. I must have driven the van in this condition maybe over ten miles maybe even further. I m surprised I did not wreck the van and myself in the process. He just tighten the bolts and called me to pick up my vehicle

The question Dianne and I are asking is why? The sound and vibration just came on suddenly. I know I did run over a curb when I went to the market on Sunday. I do not see how running over a curb could loosen the tire but something happened. The vehicle is not driven every day a couple of times a week a the most. Mark a drove the van a couple of weeks ago when he was using the van to move his apartment. I remember Mark did check the tires that night because I had asked that he see if the tires needed airing up.

Perhaps more nefarious and a bit more paranoid Dianne thinks, maybe her old employer is sending Ninja’s during the night to bring demise onto both of us. Maybe it’s one the neighbors or a whole a conspiracy for letting my yard go, not watering the grass enough or letting my weeping willow hang too far onto the sidewalk. I see the kids on their bikes cringing, as they have to ride through willows. I know, I have to dodge the same willows when I leave for work in the mornings and when I come home. I am sure this whole event “just happened”…just poor vehicle maintenance. I am thankful to be alive at no further cost to me or my van

Monday, September 19, 2005

Hurricane Dinner and Broken Vans

The hurricane dinner went off much better then I had anticipated—I have images I’ll post either today or tomorrow. Gabe brought over a great pot of gumbo—I don’t even like gumbo and I thought Gabe’s was better then most. We had the red beans and rice and a good dinner was had by all. I was challenged all through the night by heartburn, luckily I had antacids by the water.

I had to Make a market run sometime in the after noon to pick up medication for Dianne. The van began making a horrible noise and I sensed recurring “thud’. I thought at first this was a flat tire. When I checked tires when I got home the tires were all up. So, I don’t know what the problem is but I can bet you the price will be expensive. Dianne was to take the vehicle over to the mechanic Man this after noon but turned round ad went home after driving up to the end of the block. The plan now is to have the van towed into Mechanic Man—this will be the first time we have had the vehicle towed under our new insurance plan. I will be interested to see how well the insurance works. It’s just one thing, always one thing. If there CAN be something wrong with something that I own, there WILL be something wrong and it WILL be the MOST expensive thing that CAN be wrong And that is just the way it is. I gotta go. I think my heartburn is coming back.
I am happy to get to the eating

Auni praying to start the dinner

The three stars of the day: Red beans and rice and gumbo

preping the sausage for the beans and rice

My bowl of all three

Beans and rice

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Beans And Rice Is Almost Nice

When you are married to someone from Louisiana and more specifically New Orleans (NO) your are going to have to eat beans rice now and again. It’s some unwritten law. So it’s seems at least four times a year we are eating beans and rice , some form of gumbo and who knows what else. He worst part of this is the amounts made and the flavor. I am sorry I just cannot figure out this country’s fascination with huge amounts of carbohydrates, starch and a little meat. The best part , however, is there is quite a bit of prep involved and I enjoy the preparation . I chop the onions, garlic and sausage. I love the prep I do not get to cook enough with just the two of us here now and the dog dead. This is even worse now Dianne is seriously dieting. I am relegated to microwave cooking. I am living on chung king noodles and frozen burritos. Try it, you’ll like it, Especially if you have a have a couple jalapenos. So, I am grateful for a change and something do: help out with dinner even if I do not particularly like the menu.

The beans are cooking, we soaked the bens all night and have been simmering since 7:00. I just put in the onions and the garlic—there are slated to cook the rest of the afternoon. I’ll slice the sausage later in this day and fry it up. I think we’re supposed to eat about four or five—actually the whole event is a ploy to have one of the kids come over for dinner. He seems pretty distant right now—we have not a clue why. Actually, He has never been too big on family events coming over when he wants something. He does not get authentic Louisiana cooking often and usually will make the ultimate sacrifice of visiting when one of his favorite dishes is available—in this case rice and beans.

The weather is brisk—I am even wearing sock on the weekends. I tried going yesterday with out socks and froze my butt off—so today, white socks and sleeve heavy T. I am uncomfortable during the transition stage always chilling . Oh well, such is life I am just glad to be alive.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A very short day today.

I had massed about 51/2 hours comp time last week at the sleepover in Park City and I have to use these hours before the end of the time period of loose the time. I was called earlier in the week about going out and inspecting new Trax station slated to go in service next Monday. The UTA needed a couple of gimps to go inspect the project. Today is one of those near pristine Fall days: brilliant sunshine, temps in the high 70’s low 80’s a perfect day to escape the office. I was going to bring the van into work today to save time but I just could not muster the energy to drive the pig in. So, with my lunch hour and having opened the office and put in an hour then I figured at least two more hours out on the Trax line and I would be done for the day. So, it was. I made sure CC was going to be in the office all day and I cleared my time with Clair and I was out the door.

The inspection was easy and somewhat fun. I was on time, the rest of the team I was to be inspecting with was about twenty minutes late. I just rolled round looking like I knew what I was doing. I had my camera out And took pictures of the project. I will include some of the images in today’s offering. I have to Admit I like this kind of duty. I used to do a little contract work with the transit authority. I used to ride under cover auditing “problem” drivers. I would ride little, observe the driver in question and write a report and get a couple of hundred. Not bad, I wish I could line up some of this work now. Oh well easy come easy go.

Coming home was a bit of a drama but I am home and all is cool. I had to get to a trax station since the site we were working was not in service yet. This met I had go over a couple street to State Street and catch the 22. I waited for a half hour when the bus did come the was already full of gimps I had to wait for the next bus another half hour wait—so I decided I would head back to the clearest train station “Ball Park”. I made it but my power was dropping—I was almost into the “red zone”. I still do not trust this chair I looses power way too fast. I have to get the chair worked on but that will be another day. I just wanted to get home before the chair ran dry…I made it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Turtle Necks and Socks

I wore socks today. I hate to wear socks so the event has to be extra special to clothe my bare feet in any kind of cloth, preferably cotton or wool. Today’s event for socks is the return of cool weather. I hesitate calling the current weather cold. I however, did see my breath this morning all the way up to the train stop. The early news reported last night the temps would be dropping and the days low would be in the forty’s. Yesterday the temps were only in the fifties and I was uncomfortable going up to the train. The temps are not bad for the return trip usually in the 70’s, which is almost nice. Today is partly cloudy with chances for rain. Having this intelligence I opted for socks. I did not have the time this morning top mine a par of socks that matched so I pulled on the first two dark socks I could find which had a green stripe across the toe. I mean so what, who is going to see my feet? I mean who knows, this might be the day I fall out of my chair and have the traxites throw back in the power chair if I should be thrown out, or I might have sever leg spasms so great as to flick the shoes off. In either case I can assure the people watching the events are going to be far more interested in the spastic body parts then the fact that on close inspection this crip was wearing socks, which did not match. These folks should be just impressed that this crip was able to get the socks on and out the door to catch the train into work at a respectable time.

Today, I also wore a turtleneck shirt, if I had my way I would wear black turtle neck shirts and sweater all winter long. I think the turtlenecks make me look thinner—hey! As long as I believe it that is all that matters. I could see my breath as I motored up to the motored up to the train. I missed my usual train (socks) but the temperature was not THAT cold, I has my hat and black diamond fleece pullover wrapped round my neck, I was OK.

My coach was crowded coming in this morning (due to my late riding time I am sure) I am not used to people standing all round me. I was a little claustrophobic but not too bad but there was a rent a cop standing next to me he was actually wearing a revolved. I at first thought he was a Trax Rat, transit cops. These transit cops were nothing more then glorified rent a cops the transit authority hired to harass the customers. These Transit Officers (TO’s) periodically sweep through the cars checking train fares. If you do not have pass, a current ticket or other proof or purchase the Trax officers writes you a $300.00 ticket and heaves your sorry ass off the train. The first TO’s were little more then nerds selling out their peers for frees bus passes then I noticed, one day, the TO’s were wearing glocks, Doc Martins, baseball caps and sun glasses and looked like ice. I at first thought this crowding me was a TO but on closer inspection say he was just a rent a cop but with a gun. I was surprised and a littler spooked. I spent the rest of the ride trying to get a image of the guy’s piece, which was poking right in my face. I took these images without flash so the quality is lacking but there’s his gun. I think I like the guys on my usual train better.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Beginnings Again

I know I tend to harp on my physical limitations but nothing bring these limitations to the my realizations as to the amount I am able to help out on thing around the house or for others. Case in point is that my son, Mark A is moving this weekend. I wish I could have been of more use. It seems a number pf the folks he had asked for help in moving flaked out for for one reason or another. So, he and Kristy and his brother-in-law did the job. The best I could do was offer morel support and funds if funds were needed. Lucky for me funds were not needed. Mark A had a U-haul for part of the job but had to give the truck before he had to move the washer and dryer. I was not able coordinate with him like I would have liked since I was in Park City for the retreat Thursday and Friday. Luck smiled on us though and we were able to use my van for the appliances. This was a tight fit—I was worried that the wheelchair lift would make the side entry to the van to narrow but with the help of Esau, his brother–in-law , the two were able lift the washer and dryer high enough to slide them right in. In that instant my disability guilt was removed. I had purpose. I had the van. I felt like a dad. I do not have enough of these moments. I don’t know how many times my dad helped me move, work on my vehicles or build things I needed like ramps to houses, widen bathrooms doors so I could get through with my wheelchairs and always to be there for the 10,20 or even the hundred dollar “loan” I would request to get through to the end of the month or another emergency which might arise. I doubt that I am that helpful but I try.

I am currently cooking a roast beef dinner for them. Its almost done I hope they like it.

Yesterday, Dianne to Auni to the State Fair, I used the excuse that Mark A needed me round—I might be able to help—to avoid going. Dianne had challenged her self to stay the WHOLE day at the fair. She really likes theAnimals and exhibits. Auni is at the age now where they are each others pals so they went off to the fair together and I did not see them again till 11:30 when I heard them come in. They did the animals, assorted rides, exhibitions, concerts and the rodeo. I have included various image from their days events.

Auni showing off the blue ribbon she won pig betting at the pig races one of two blue ribbons won.

Auni on the dragon ride

Auni and "Slim" the pony ride cowboy. "Slim" was there last year and it must have felt like coming home to Auni. Her favorite pony nephi was there too.
Nephi is the pony Auni is riding on the far left or above

I have been pondering my wellingness to socially isolate myself more and more these days. I am a bit of an old coot these days. I like to stay home and avoid crowds and events like the fair. I have felt some guilt over the years. I would have gone for some of it…maybe but Dianne wanted to do a marathon day. I know I would have been way to crabby and eventually I would have cut everyone’s day and fun short. Now, I have my Auni who loves to spend time with Grandma with or with out grandpa—she seems to have an inherent understanding that the old man has limits and is willing to step in. Thanks Anakah—I owe you some roses.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Back Once Again

My buddy Andrew, at the retreat--image taken without flash--this offers Andrew xome anonmity.
Office staff waiting to be used.

Council folks listening to Dr. Chapmsan

I am back from the office retreat safe and sound! That great break of office routine designed to clear the office are and help refocus the directions and goals of staff and leadership. I am housed with an office of the state which servers folks with disabilities. We have a huge council made up of consumers, now referred to as Self Advocates. This retreat is for them the Council. The retreat is a two-day event with lodging for Council members and staff. I am considered staff and am expected to attend. The retreat this year was held in Park City a touristy ski town located about 45 minutes east of the city, up the canyon in the mountains. The retreat was actually held at the National Abilities Center (NAC). NAC is a facility dedicated to providing recreational programming o folks with disabilities. The do all the exy crip stuff, stuff able bodies love to see crips doing i.e. downhill skiing, horse back riding and hand cycling to name a few of the offerings. The have developed a beautiful environment and have a beautiful conference center and lodging facility which is accessible to wheelchair using folks—more or less.

I have been to this place numerous times, I should know where NAC is—I do know where it I but I got lost. It was like the whole world shifted. I even had a Mapquest but it did not help. It showed the wrong directions. I should have driven on instinct but I tried to follow the map which led to two hours of frustration and having to ask 5 people for directions. I got there almost 45 minutes late! I felt stupid.

The conference went OK till bed time. I explain used to go conferences all the time both national and local. I never had problems with transfers, getting into bed and into the shower etc. I went to bed about 10:30. This means I got undressed and wanted to get into the bed. I brought my power chair right uip next to the bed but I just could not make the transfer! I was even using my sliding board. Mid you I was doing thjis in the dark because I could turn the light on above the bed because the switch was out of reach. Each time I got the board under my butt and start the “jump” the board would slide out and almost put me on the floor. THEN, when I did get my hip on the bed I could not get my legs on the bed. It took me another hour to figure out how to swing my legs on the bed. I finally managed my legs up on the bed then the sheets were tuck in so tight I could just barely slide my legs in. I was exhausted by then, hot and I just laid there praying for a sleep which would not come. The time was now 12:30, two hours after I began the process. The beds was so small and hard I just flopped round a much as I could sleeping just a little. Then in the morning I struggled getting out of the bed. Then the show was another entire trip which I am too tired to outline here. I made it though, eventually even getting to my first session on time. I just cannot do it any more. I am going to have to start taking my wife as my attendant. This is a giant step or loss of my personal independence. I may just have to rethink everything.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Don't Go Changing

I broke my neck almost 40 years ago, I have a spinal cord injury. I use a wheelchair for mobility and I am NOT getting better, at least not in this life. Why cannot the damn DMV figure this out! Once again I got to the mailbox and pull out the “Change in Condition” letter! I would be pissed if I just had to fill it out, even just sign the document and return it to DMV. I have to have my doc my doc sign the document and return it to the DMV. Spinal cord injury is permanent—regardless of what Superman did or did not do, vent and all. Sure, I know, it’s not that big of deal and I should not bitch so for such a great trade off, one afternoon’s work for the privilege of driving. But, once again, why, just because I am a gimp do I have to go through this dog and pony show and all the able body driver’s don’t. I guess I could be “tough” and fight this paper and not do anything and have the State revoke my “privilege” to drive win the battle and loose the war scenario.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"Take the Kid Out!"

Saturday we went to the movies—rather then going to the “free-crip” movies. We went to the $1.50 a movies theaters out in Sandy not far from the homestead. It has been literally years since we a movie in the evening and on a weekend! I really should know better. There were tons of people! I could not believe the amount of humanity. We first went to Star Wars then later Mr and Mrs Smith. A sea of folk and kids were everywhere. I suppose this is how life is with the rest of the world. D and I go to the movies, when we go, on Sundays—Utah that is the best time to go to movies, Sunday, early afternoon. The Mormons have not yet gotten out of church, and most of the Mo’s won’t go to a movie on the Sabbath anyway. We havethe run of the place.

Theaters now, are mostly built with stadium seating. Designers knew this was going to be a major issue for folks with disabilities who use wheelchairs or cannot climb stairs. The builders have designed spaces here and there in the front rows of these theaters with cut-outs. Places where wheelchairs can sit right next to the regular seat. Sort of like fitting in, literally. If you are a person who uses a wheelchair for mobility it’s always a little spooky to go in when the place is crowded…there is always someone in the seats designated as reserved for people with disabilities. Most of the time when I roll in these people will get up and find where else to go. If they do not then you are left with the unpleasant task of say” hey these spots are reserved for folks in wheelchairs can I have your seat.” Many times this will do the trick—other times this direct approach does not work so well—even if you have the kid taking tickets acting as management, with his flashlight drawing everyones attention directly to you. This would be a great time to call the ADA cops, if there was such a person or agency, but that is an entirely different story for an entirely different time. This is not even what I want to rant about. There was a couple with their infant with them at the movie-a small whimpering annoying baby. WHO BRINGS A BABY TO THE MOVIES????. It’ not the babies fault, the baby is doing just what babies do, eat,cry, sleep—sometimes and generally be. Do the parents, regardless of how young, really expect junior is going top sleep through the entire movies with people screaming, guns and cannons blowing people up and cars crashing All over the screen?? Do, they even car. Minding you they are camped out on the back-row right behind crip seating. Sitting on the back-row I bad enough with all the later comers straggling into the movie opening the doors and yammering and stumbling over you till they get used to the darkness.

I could not believe it the kid was crying and whimpering, the parents struggling with the infant till someone , not far from where I was sitting yelled, “ Take the baby out!” It was amazing a loud silence fell over the hole movie audience—their eyes fastened on the screen straight afraid to turn and look out the offending parents. Everyone in the theater was sorry it had to come to this but the outburst was best. The parents gathered their stuff and slinked from the theater and the movie ran it’s course in peace. I have to admit I felt sorry for the parents but what did they expect? They were pushing the kid thing even for UTAH.

I apologize for the quality of these images. However, clicvk in the image fort the expanded version. There was a huge storm raging outside a these images were being take. Huge lightning bolds were being hurled to the earth and thunder crashing ansd there were people everywhere!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina and the Retreat

As you can tell I have not updated the blog for a couple of days. I have been fairly focused on work and Katrina. In all honesty I am becoming some overwhelmed with the hurricane from the lack of response from the Feds to the situation and my feeling of survivals guilt( not really) but I have to admit my life is pretty good. I am dry, I have food in the cupboard, gas in the van a job and my family is all OK—to my knowledge. Mark A is moving in a week and he needs some help in moving and there is littler I can do except maybe throw some money at him to rent a van or purchase some supplies to feed those who do show up. I m so thankful I have no challenges like those living on the gulf coast. I have just a little more to say about the events of this last week then I hope I can let the event go.

My mother in-law and all of my wife’s people live round NOLA—one of the sisters was able to get mom out a couple of days before the hurricane. Moms house and the huge oaks survived the big blow. Mom did loose her shed in back these were acceptable loses. Mom is OK and the rest of the fam is OK. We have been blessed and life goes on and so do we.

The long term situation for us and I am not na├»ve enough to believe that we here in Utah will not be affected by these events. The price of petrol has risen but not too bad. I use public transit for the most part. I am worried about food. I want to get some case lot items, spam, corned beef, fruit vegetables maybe stew and soups in the can just for back up. I usually don’t collect produce but maybe this year I’ll collect more squashes and taters then usual. I may even try drying some items. But enough said for now. There is a definite autumn wind blowing today. It’s not a cold wind but the clouds are dark, menacing and hugging the great Wasatch range. In fact today the temps are forecast for the low 90’s. The feel is Fall and thatbWinyer and cold is close at hand.

Enough of natural disaster and impending doom of the dark cold months. The retreat was surprisingly cool. The eve was short only 6 hours counting lunch. The event was held at a golf course country club—a cathedral to American decadence prestige. Good food and third world servants. We danced round issues of the office most significant the leveying of a dress code i.e. no wearing of jeans excerpt on Fridays. No shorts, Capri’s—the usual stuff. This stuff is OK . The real issues were lightly touched upon after lunch and then we all split. The boss had to leave early so did everyone else. We had an assignment to watch a TV show later in the afternoon but I promptly forgot. So I wonder if I am liable to the State now, a couple of hours. We are having a major retreat next week at a local tourist hole up in the mountains. The major part of the center on making sure everything is ready for the Council retreat.

I am including images of my week now. This way I can use the images I take during the week but may not have anything to do with a specific daily blog.

I liked this image--the flag is much more impressive if you click on the images and see it byself. I love the building--there is a great jazz bar in the basement of yhis place.

This wall art is currently being painted on thre back of of Sam Wellars, a used andd new book shopp in Downtown Salt Lake City. These books are huge and facinate me. I cut through these back allies on my way to catch my evening train.

Here is a closer view of this image to better appreciate the detail.