Saturday, April 29, 2006
I spent part of the day burning disks for Dianne. She wanted a ton of images burnt to CD rom. The burning was not a problem finding images posed to be problematic. I must admit my hard drives are a mess—especially after going to this new system a year or so ago and then “nuking” the drive a couple f months ago. I thought I had most of the images of any consequence backed up. Well I could find them readily. Lucky for me though I had the images on my lap top and finally found them. I wonder if your hard drives end up mirroring your brain. I this is the case my brain is a mess. My brain feels like a mess from time to time and feels a strong need to be organized if not totally reformatted. I noticed that many times when I down load images from my camera I not only down load the folder from the photo shoot I almost always make a copy of the original, naming the new folder something I will be able to recognize the contents by later. When I did an image search the search resulted in 20,000 plus images. Now I am going to have to spend a day or so deleting files. Maybe I’ll wait for a cold snowy day next winter. I still have universes of space left on my hard drives.
The other part of the day I actually left the house and visited my neighbor Albert. The temps are stabilizing wind died down to the point where I could stand sitting in his drive way visiting. Really enjoy our talks—we rarely speak of things political but today we got into the whole Hispanic labor thing. Like I said I really like Al but he can be conservative at times. I think Al would close the boarders if possible. I just do not buy it though. These laborers are here for a reason: because we keep paying them. When we stop paying them the worker will leave. The conservative right keeps bitching and moaning about the undocumented workers but the conservative right owns the small business who keep hiring the undocumented. Go figure. Well Al and I are smart enough to back away from the topic be fore anything got out of hand.
Well, I had better go help Dianne where I can. I can make dinner if nothing else—something simple maybe scrambled eggs and toast.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Girl With Banana Going for guy
Man, I had a rough time getting this image—I tried at least nine times. The shots I got wee poor and really needs to be photo shopped but who has the time? It’s already three o clock and my Friday is fast evaporating.
Really interesting though when I got on the train this morning a number of players were already aboard. I was one train early but I recognized many of the commuters this morning. I noticed this one blonde—she stood out from the rest. I remember thinking she was not beautiful or even cute—though she was cute in a 655 a.m. commuter train kinda a way. She had her hair simply braided, just one blonde braid, very nice skin and aloof. The kind of person you notice just once unless something out of the ordinary happens. I noticed her too because she was standing, I remember thinking to myself ‘ she is way too good looking to be sanding’ meaning some gallant almost always surrenders his seat but not today. I went back to my novel and did not think much more until a couple of stops later when a young muscle type guy got on. Shaved head, mustache and goatee, black tee shirt under a leather jacked. Then I noticed it. Someone or something in the blonde switched on. A billion dollar smile erupted from her mouth immediately getting the attention of mr skin head. I remember I had to shake my head to make sure I had not slipped into dream mode. Soon she hand looped over to where the guy was standing and just began conversing. Her break in like line was some like “ Does everyone does you look just like Chris Daughtry ?’ I finally was so overwhelmed by the conversation I had to get an image. I made sure the flash was off. I have seen train cop types take peoples people’s film and chips away—or at least format the chip. So, I was being clandestine. Like I said I got off none shots and all were duds. The ones I have here are ok but nothing as stunning as the reference the image was lifted from. I kicked myself, for not starting soon as I considered the idea. I also had to be unobtrusive. I think towards the end I did not care how obvious I was but not of those turned out. I was also intrigued that”blondie” was carrying a banana the whole trip. Blondie became my girl with the banana. Oh yeah, she also was wearing these black shoes which must have been three inches high—I so wanted images of her feet but I figured I had better not push my luck. Maybe next time there is always a next time.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I was out if the office this afternoon so that is why I am posting so late. The office we share space has a retreat today and tomorrow. Today it was just me and CC in the office. I swear she was in my case to take the time I had worked over this week off. She wanted me to leave at 9:30. I had the hours from last Saturday and a couple day this week I had to work though lunch. Tomorrow CC is off and I am holding the office down by myself. I will not be able to leave at all so I let CC work on me and I decided to head out at 1:00. I called Dianne to let her know I was coming home and she sounded like she wanted to go out to lunch which sounded like a great idea to me.
I trained home and as almost ready. Dianne wanted to pick up Auni from day care and I agreed. Lunch with a five year old at a restaurant is always a challenge. I really did not have a good excuse not too bring her so we snatched Auni and headed for the Red Lobster. Perhaps the saving grace was that we were at the Red Lobster in the middle of the afternoon, few other folk were there. We ordered got our drinks and waited for out orders. Dianne and I chatted and Auni explored the near empty restaurant. Dianne's shrimp platter and my Captain's platter was good, way too much for me to finish in one sitting and I must admit all in all Auni did great, she even ate all of her mac and cheese.
So my afternoon off: four hours; lunch with Auni and Dianne:$38.00; sitting in my driveway in the late afternoon on a workday reading :Priceless!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Does it sound like I am trying to convince myself or what???
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
You know that is what it is. This old guy copped a “verbal feel” off of me. I wish I had gotten a picture of him, actually he and his wife both as old as dirt. His nose just sort of poked out of his face. The nose was big and sharp—like a cartoon which had managed to come to life on a blustery Spring afternoon. His wife was at least as ancient as the old odd man, she too seemed cartoonish and had a very strange mouth. I wondered if the mouth was a prosthetic device of one sort or another…the mouth just did not look right. The wife also had a raspy, drag in the sand, alien type of voice but his smile was just…odd.
He was an artist though or used to be. Part of the history he shared with me was that he painted his last picture back in ’89. he was coming out of retirement now to do this one last image. The image was for his wife or one of his wife’s friends. He said he would not have done it except they loved his work soooo much, what could you do? The old guy finally processed his items and the bill came up to $158.00 or something like that. He had a stretched canvas board, three or four tubes of paint, brushes, paint thinner even a book on landscapes. He plunged his hand into his right hip pocket and came out with a fat wallet. He fished out a Visa Card . The blonde clerk swiped the card through the machine and the card was accepted. The encounter was over. The artist dawdled a little longer collecting his art items for one last run at the canvas—he was old but looked like he knew just exactly what he was doing—like Roster Cogburn in TRUE GRIT when Cogburn/ Wayne was riding the horse and firing his Winchester lever action over And over again.
I was next: one bottle of India ink and one plastic pencil sharpener $5.85 cents. I took my plastic back and took the items in the white plastic bag and headed back to the office. I noticed the ancient couple was pulling out of the parking lot in a dilapidated Datsun pickup filled with wood probably on their way to paint rainbows.
Monday, April 24, 2006
I am actually reading grant applications. The agency or private non-profit submits a thirty page or more document describing the idea, the need for the idea, how they would implement idea, document idea’s implementation and so on. Some grant applications can be quite arduous. Some years we have had 30 applications to read, this is dreadful, however, this year there are only 11 apps to consider eleven apps are much more bearable. After each of us on the committee review and rank order the applications we will meet and discuss our findings and award the best applications we have as long as money holds out. We have been together for some time as a group now. The committee chair feeds us sandwiches and such but that’s OK we meet on “company time” and we believe we are doing good. The committee is made up of people from 10 or so programs, bureaus, departments and private non-profits who serve folks with disabilities. We like to think of ourselves as Professionals.
This grant program was actually started out as a way to encourage fresh ideas, radical thinking and low-cost alternative solutions to the needs of folks with disabilities in our State. The program has become an institution subject to politics, empire building and systemic abuse. There are some programs who apply every year for huge sums and get it—I do not know why really—but I have often wondered if this agency or program has some sort of sweetheart deal with the project at some high level. These monies were never meant to be “on going monies” for they have. When I have registered my objection or at least my questions, my questions are considered, discussed and many agree but eventually the dollars are awarded with the side bar they should look for funding elsewhere but they never find alternative funding. The committee is then left in the position if we do not fund” this last one time” the program and indirectly as always the consumer with disabilities will suffer. Then there are other programs who at one time were scrapers who survived on their own cunning and wit. They came up with a novel, interesting provocative project. The did and always do great worm but now they have become some what institutional in nature. They discovered a formulistic approach to writing the grants. Now, I notice every grant which come in by these groups are similar. I realized a couple of years ago they were either cut or pasting the previous years grant changing a little wording and numbers or in some cases just handing in the same grant hoping that either we would not notice or just give them the award because there was nothing better “out there” to consider. I swear two of these programs are virtual think tanks. They pump applications out when every a new grant season or opportunity avails itself. Some times these groups actually come up with great ideas and we have to problems awarding them the money. The problem there are others out there who I feel have good proposals but never get awarded the grant for many reasons and not all of them fair-in my opinion.
So I will struggle the next two weeks with the proposals I have. I will grade and write my opinion and eat my “free” lunch and enjoy my association with the committee members. I will be a good committee member and make a wave or two but none so high as to swamp the ship—just rock the boat a little and then sail ever onward.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Sometimes a person just has to be gone. Friday I was in just a half day and yesterday I worked at a conference by Lou Gehrig's Disease chapter of the local the MDA. I had not planned to do the conference , I do not think I even knew of the conference ( by partner made the arrangements and had planned on doing this one but could not and never informed me). Any because I elected to take time n Friday afternoon. I was not able to write Friday am at work and I was to busy in the afternoon and yesterday I was exhausted following the conference.
I hate to drive but love being able to drive. I think one of the reasons I have to drive is because I am always lost. I think I have the worst since of direction of anyone on the planet. I may have been to a place six times but on that seventh time I will find myself lost as if I had never been to the destination before. The conference started at 9:30 vendors or exhibitors were to be at the hotel by 8:30 to be set up and ready for the pre-confernce showi.e., registration. I think I find my way by association( must be some relic of “pack behavior”. I typically will not use an address to ind something. I will realize that if the place a has a certain name I'll find the place when I get in the relative area: i.e.the Airport Hiltion well be near the airport. And like I said I have been to the place numerous times I would find it. I know how to get to the airport.. what Iwas not prepared for was fact the State would be doing road construction on the stupid off ramp I needed to get to the Airport area! There right in my lane a mile of orange cones disappearing my lane and a flashing sign say “Choose Alternate Route. Alternate route?! ALTERNATE ROUTE??!!! What the hell is this ? The I-80 game show. I knew in some close by Denny's a lowly D.O.T.employee—a cone operator-- Was snickering over his third cup of coffee. As I hurled past the closed of ramp frantically searching form ALTERNATE ROUTE.!!! As early as Friday morning I was telling myself I needed to get over to Yahoo for a map to the Airport Hilton, if not, at least to the yellow pages for a correct address. IN UTAH IF YOU HAVE THE ADDRESS YOU CAN FIND THE PLACE:one word, COORDINATES. But Friday just evaporated as did early Saturday morning with out securing . I was out of the driveway and on my way to the Interstate before I realized my error and then the blocked turn off then lost.
I remained lost for the next half hour careening down rural roads surrounding the airport, vainly searching for buildings or atlease figure ground effects I recognized. I end up at airport number 2-- the mini-airport used by the area smaller aircraft, flying school and “Jump teams”. When you are at “Number 2” you know you are lost. I had been there a umber time during “Kid Day” adventures years before. I was finally stopped by a Homeland Security guard keeping our airport safe when I tried to drive into Number 2 to ask directions. Homeland Security informed me I was lost or a saboteur and I had better get my ass out of there before he shot me. Homeland eventually devolved I should get back on the Interstate and take the next turn off( the infamous ALTERNATIVE route and I would see a spawn of Hotels.
A bit shaken I did as Advised...and as I came on the next turn off I began to recognize landmarks and buildings. I was there. I was in the general area of the Airport Hiltons. I found the place, downloaded the exhibit and did the confernce but I'd had enough for one day—I'ld blog tomorrow—today.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I had lunch with four friends yesterday—there is something magnificent in having a working lunch, or a lunch with work colleagues; even more magnificent when the lunch company are all women. Lori, Shauna, Maree and me. There was to be a fourth, Nonie but Nonie apparently could not make it. Nonie is another story. The four of us who did have lunch go back quite always. Shauna is actually Lori’s daughter. Shauna is the only member of the group who does not have a disability but Shauna shares a position with her mother. Shauna first entered our group a number of years a go where were part of the 2nd West Acting Company. 2nd West
Started from a grant from the local VSA(Very Special Arts) affiliate. We wrote, acted and produced a number of plays round SLC in the 90’s.
Maree and I also worked together with the State we were both (disability) information officers. Maree is quite good and found a very good niche for her self over at the Disability Law Center where she earns very decent money. Maree is all serious about her information and she does very good information. I have to admit I learned a great deal from Maree. Maree’s information is the purist information you will find. Her information is hard and will always withstand scrutiny. Not that it matters but Maree has a mobility disability but she gets around. She uses a scooter and is very visible.
Lori is a true romantic. Lori has a mobility disability too and had speech issues from time to time. Lori is a recovering catholic and works at the local independent living center. Lori loves to act and she is also a writer. Lori ,I believe, was the driving force behind the 2nd West Acting Company. In fact I am a published writer due to Lori. Lori was employed at the VSA project here in Utah for quite some time. And opened many venues to people with disabilities in the local area. She used to publish an anthology every year of folks with disabilities, writings and art work . This was great I could always be assured of a listing or two in her yearly publication,. Lori would usually have a reading when she would publish a new volume of the anthology. Real wine and cheese at the Art Space and real people to read in front of. A night to shine, strut your stuff and play the heady game of being artsy.
So we get together every couple of months, laugh, gossip and pretend to be part of the city’s elite art set. We talk loud and are pretentious, and order like we have real money. The waiter and management treat us as real folk. We act the part so well they love to have us. We justify their sacrifice at access. I am the only guy in this group, which is very good for me, but I have often wondered why me
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I hate having a great idea for a blog posting then forgetting the idea. This happened this morning. I got a call first thing after getting to the office, the time was not even 8:00a.m.—we were not even formally open but I cannot let a phone ring if I m there to answer it. I remember because I had to let the caller know there would be a slight delay as I had not even booted up my system yet and there would be a slight wait as I came on line and fully got into work mode. The call wanted information on an item on our Salesbank, our list of used equipment. There was something about this call which triggered an idea for today’s blog but it’s gone now.
I have found that if I do not write the item down immediately after thinking the idea I have lost it. Sometimes if I recite the idea over, and over and over again I can bring pretty much the whole thought I had. This is somewhat new behavior with in the past 7 years. Before this I would never have to write anything down. Once thought, the idea or fact was in the “vault” for good. Over night this skill or resource just seemed to vanish. Sometimes in the dark of night just before falling asleep I ponder, What if it’s Huntington’s or Alzheimer’s after all I am post head injury and what I have heard is that folks with head injury are candidates Alzheimer’s. So because I did not write my thought down the thoughts are lost. But even now I am beginning to forget.
I have spent all morning making arrangement for my Atlanta trip in May. The hotel that is hosting the conference did not have any wheelchair accessible rooms left. The hotel referred me to another hotel in the area, just a block from where the conference is to be held. In fact this hotel is a Renaissance Marriott an I really enjoy this chain, they have accessible rooms and the rooms have a government rate less then what I would have had to pay at the designated conference hotel. The room has a roll-in shower and I think the hotel being away from the conference will be an advantage. However, because this hotel is different from the one listed in the conference literature I am now waiting for state to authorize the new hotel. I should be OK for travel. I checked with MARTA the rapid transit system which serves this area and as near as I can tell light rail train goes fairly close to the Renaissance as close as the hotel in Philly was to the exit station there. I should be OK.
So now it’s real I have a seat on a flight which well leave SLC and go to ATL and now there is a room in a Marriott quietly waiting for me. I am still more then a little concerned that I am going to be doing this alone but I will and I am sure I will succeed.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
I just got off the phone with Mary Ann S.L.County’s American’s With Disabilities Act specialist. She is the person County employees can go to if they feel they have been discriminated against due to disability. I suppose MaryAnn is also the person county residents might go to if they feel they have been discriminated by a county employee or office. She had called to ask if I had heard of “Salt Lake ADA office”. There is ,of course, no Salt Lake ADA Office or Utah ADA office. Oddly enough, about a month ago I began getting phone calls from people say they had been talking with someone at the Salt Lake ADA office and the caller wanted to know this or the caller wanted to know that. I of course answer the callers questions or direct the caller to the person or office who can. But, to my knowledge there is no such office. Possibly the caller may have tripped upon the office of Antidiscrimination over at Labor and mentally pushed this office into the STATE ADA office.
I wish there was a Statewide office of disability discrimination. I wish this state or any other state cared enough to have such an office. So people know there is something called the American with Disabilities Act. These people think there must be some sort of ADA enforcement tool like ADA cops or at least an Office of ADA Enforcement. Truth of the matter is there is none of the above. If a person really wants to push an ADA claim I can guarantee the prosecution of the claim will depend wholly on the person with a disability who was discriminated against. There are no ADA inspectors, cops or even Amicus. The closest enforcement tools which exist are volunteers who go round writing out “Courtesy Tickets” for people violating designated parking areas. True more and more states and cities are passing legislation to increase the fines for abusing designated parking slots but you still have to encourage law enforcement to “push” the legislation. Same way with building inspectors. I still see new restaurants (trendy cool places)not cookie cutters places who do adhere to the ADA but the trendy places are not accessible. Who are the inspectors letting these guys get by and why?
Whoa, I did not start this to be a rant! It just sort of got away from me. People call here thinking that we are the ADA cops or we can lead them to the ADA inquisition I cannot do it because there is no such thing. The caller is always aghast and cannot believe this is the way things are. But they are. Things might change someday but it will be when the person in charge is also a person who has a disability or loves someone with a disability. Other then than that it just ain’t going to happen.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Last night I had yet, another reoccurring dream. Totally different from the first described dream except you have the feeling what is happenings is an extension of what has gone one before. In this dream however, there is tension. The characters in this dream are my work mates for the most part. My boss and various members of her family are in this dream and the dream takes place in setting I am only vaguely aware. As I said there is as tension but I cannot tell from where. I feel the main stress point is trying to find out when I can shower and dress where I will not be seen by the rest of the group. It seems the place is some sort of an institutional setting like a hospital or rehabilitation center of some sort; lots of tile green and beige colors. The dreams do not “go anywhere” leastwise nothing is concluded and both dreams are lost at consciousness and if I did not immediately write the dream content or recite content to memory I would have lost all of it.
Dreams are just dreams, a safe place to vent, over which one does not have any control. Many times I wake from a dream I feel uncomfortable, guilty and even frightened but by morning all knowledge of the dream is usually gone or if the dream can be recalled you wonder why the dream made you feel so upset when going through the dream or first perceiving the dream on first waking.
It’s People First today. Just a handful of challenged adults trying to be independent and self directed. There should have been many more folks attend the did. Last night and this morning a major storm blew in. Many folks “no showed” due to the weather challenges. This is good for staff many sandwiches were order but few were eaten. Everyone eats today. Even is the sandwiches are Subway and just turkey and vegetarian not the most tasty bust free and easily accessed.
SNOW AND ICE falling from the wind and sky as I got off this morning’s train. Luckily I did not have far to go this morning and the real storm did not arrive until I was safe, dry and warm in y office. It’s been snowing all day but I am sure will let up before I head for home.--we shall see.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
It's started. I got the phone call from mom earlier this week. I was working on the computer so I elected to not take the call but it was her call to find out if I had gotten the email from my older sister to see if I was going to order the motel for the family reunion to be held in June. Yes I am going to the reunion and no I have not secured my room. I did not return the call till this morning. I spoke with mom assured her we were going to attend then emailed my brother ( who is actually making the arrangements.). I have to admit I felt a little pressed and resentful at having to make the arrangements. I know there is a major soccer tournament in town the same week and the rooms are going fast but I just hate having to commit
I have so many things going on right now, Dianne's cruise—leaving me home for two to three weeks, me having to go to Atlanta—alone- in the middle of all this for three days. This is all spooking me out a little. I am sure the experiences will do me good, giving me great room to grow.
Staying home for a number of weeks, by myself is a bit intimidating but I have the kids and great neighbors if I really need them, i.e. if I should fall out of my wheelchair. This is not so bad in fact I was even contemplating taking some vacation and hanging round the house the entire time. The trip to Atlanta is something else, business . If D was not going on her trip I could take her like the philly trip. But Dianne really needs to see her family. So, not only must I pack and get my self to the terminal I must also survive in a strange city for three days and come home and then go to th reunion shortly afterward. Take a deep breath and take the adventure in stride. What I am planning on doing is have Dianne pack up my travel bag before she leaves. I'll stow the bag in the van and I'm ready to go. I will just have to pack up my medications and bathroom stuff and I am gone. Really this is going to be fun. I'll worry about the Boise trip when I get back.
The sun has come out this morning. I was expecting clouds an showers all weekend. But it's half way nice, a bit cool and breezy but almost pleasant. There are pick blizzards outside my front door as the plumb trees give up their blossoms. My ramp is carpeted with blossoms very nice. I am sure the rain will return before day is out and who knows what Easter will bring. There is one possible family event happening but aside from that should be a good weekend. I will probably post tomorrow but I I don't Happy Easter!
Friday, April 14, 2006
The clouds moved in today with a vengeance. Once again the Spring has been placed on hold and th crowds moved indoors again. Will this winter ever end? I spent the whole day on a task that would have taken normal folks a couple minutes. I get caught in the minutia. My goal for this week was to get the Minutes for the the Advisory Board meeting written and out the door. The Minutes themselves were simple the struggle came trying to get the statistics , graphs and IT report out to the Board Members who did not show up to the meeting. I finally got the packets completed, enveloped stamped and out. The Friday Flue had already struck. The boss is still gone on her trip, second boss gone too. My office partner said she would close out the day saying she had to make up hours. The clouds were hanging low and menacing and I decided I had better get on the road before the storm hit. The day was not cold but the sun was gone and the wind was blowing and tossing an occasional rain drop threatening more. The wind was just cool enough to make my bald head feel feel uncomfortable. I pulled my turtle neck up over my mouth, up to my nose and pushed forward. The Sandy train had just taken off so I had twenty minutes to the next train. I powered round the station looking like a robber or a bomber. I have to admit folks WERE looking at me weird but I did not care. There's a Wells Fargo bank adjacent to the train station and a major television station next to the bank The television station has their broadcast window facing the street. sort of like the on the TODAY SHOW. I kept rolling back and forth in front of the window. I finally moved on; I could tell I was making them nervous. I knew they thought I was a terrorist.
I know this post is a bit of a flatline but it's Easter...Peace Out
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I am older then John by two months but John taught me many things. John had a Barlow pocket knife, similar to the knife Tom Sawyer carried; and instructed me in the fine arts of pipe making: corn cob pipes. On my own I would never have thought to put the basic ingredients together or such an apparatus. John even knew how to select the finest hollyhock leaves and cure them on the roof of the barn. I think corn silk was a myth—I believe corn silk would burn too fast and hot. John always knew what he was talking about. Did you know that a raspberry stem makes a perfect pipe stem. First you must pith the stem with a wire fine enough to push threw all the segments of the raspberry stem.
Next carve out the center of a dried up discarded corncob. The pulp in the center of the cob is as wide as you need to house enough of a tobacco or tobacco like product for a good enduring smoke. Drill a small opening in the base of your corn- cob and fit the raspberry stem in snug and tight. There you have it your basic corn corncob pipe.
One of the most profound lessons John ever taught me was “buck shot pattern observations” Across from our small milking barn was the white doored garage: our main storage shed. We kept everything stored there. The white doors were two doors on hinges made of quarter or maybe half inch plywood. They looked a lot sturdier then they were.
When my Uncle George died he left my father all of his guns. Our gun collection erupted from one Remington single shot 22 L.R. to more then four rifles and one pistol. One of these weapons was a automatic 20 gage shotgun. We sometimes would sneak the shotgun down from the attic where my dad stored the guns. We would take the gun out and shoot it just to hear the noise and feel the kick. One afternoon it had to be around four o clock because my dad was not home yet but would have been home in short time. I can remember the figure ground effects though to be late afternoon. We had just climbed the gray wood fence separating the barn yard from the pasture. I was facing the barn with my back to the white doored garage and John said something like “ Let’s check the pattern on the garage door you want to see what the pattern looks like? ”. Absent mindedly I said “sure” then my whole world was eclipsed with the explosion of a 20 gage round being fired in close quarters. Smoke seemed to fill the afternoon light as I starred at a hole the size of two fists in the white doored garage. My oldest sister had recently moved to our city and had items stored in the path of the shotgun blast. A couple, of her suite cases got pretty will drilled but her bowling bag got the worst of the carnage—that ball had rolled it’s last frame.
It seemed something terrible happened as a result from this ill fated experiment but I cannot remember now, and just as well. What is important is that we DID survive to celebrate or fifty-fifth birthdays. Happy Birthday John many happy returns.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Troy Justesen, deputy commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), was in the building today. Troy has become a Washington Hotshot, so when he is in town it’s big news and when in town doing his job as deputy commissioner it’s even bigger news. My office shares the same space with the DD Council our state and they are hosting this open house—which is a small question and answerer session for “your guy in Washington”
I really like Troy—you have to know, Troy is half of a set of identical twins. Troy’s twin is Tracy who is almost if not as magnificent as Troy. I first got to know Troy about twenty years ago when I worked for the independent Living Center here in this State. Troy worked for another Independent Living Center North of here in Logan. The reception/meeting was being held right outside my office. So, it would have looked pretty weird if I had “snubbed” the gathering. I have top admit I was surprised when Troy remembered me. [ Bear in mind that he did drive his scooter by my door before I came out to meeting. I once saw the late great Justin Dart on a visit to our fair city. I was intrigued if not shocked when I was questioned by some of his folk of “who would be in the audience?” Later during his remarks he actually named these folks, like they were old friends.
I thought to myself “Wow, that’s how the big boys do it…good trick?] he noted that I no longer worked for Independent Living and seemed shocked. He shared hat we had both worked in Independent Living when the first six national grants had been cut. In the time that Troy had rolled past my door and the time I rolled into the meeting was about ten-fifteen minutes; more then enough time to lean over and ask the person sitting next to you,” Hey, who is the old guy in the chair back there?” With my name a mind as quick as Troy’s could meld the name and history for a boat load of great comments. The comments were solid, rich and endearing. We were instantly “brothers in the movement, again—we shared a history no one else in the room could be part of or take away. I have to admit it was cool. Then I remembered Justin Dart, then I also placed into context that Tracy and Troy served a draconian administration in respect to civil rights and disability rights. Troy was a politician—most of the time—but, every once in a while vision of the old Troy would filter through. The Justesen Twins did what they were supposed to do. Two guys with pretty significant disabilities became part of the IL movement. Went back to school got their advanced degrees
(cloaking devices) and quietly slipped back into the “System” and have slowly been making changes from the inside out. I dare say these two are the highest placed IL alums we have placed in the current administration. I should not be so paranoid. Maybe I am just jealous.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Let me just finish Taxi Extortion by saying the $300.00 it would take Handi van to transport this guy is extortion but the ubiquitous “they” can get away with this extortion because it’s legal. It seems all the taxi companies in the area go together and hatched this plan: no one( taxi cab companies) would not have to an accessible van if they all agreed that, any calls from folks requesting accessible transportation be “referred to Handi-van. Is not this racketeering??? So there is not competition in the taxi arena. True the consumer with a disability can try to find an alternative to their transportation needs by using the local bus company. There the consumer is kinda trapped to the fixed route options, many time these options will work but many times these option will not. Fixed route suffers from service which can be some sporadic and routes which shut down way early ( like 6:00 PM) even on the weekends. Sometimes a person just needs a taxi. Whew!
So, even clipping my blog “therapy” short I managed to be late for my appointment across town. I had missed the appointment I had scheduled for last Friday. I had written in daytimer the appointment was to be April 10,( yesterday). When I called them on this in the morning the indicated that indeed I had missed the appointment yesterday but they just had a “cancellation” and if I could be there by 2:45 I could be seen that afternoon. I confirmed. But I was not there till 3:00 pm. So, I did not even get called to the exam room till 4:00. Then after the customary 15-20 minute wait Doc Bob comes in and is not happy I had not gotten any rehab over the past two weeks. The rehab clinic I had chose did not practice the kind of rehab that Doc bob wanted me to have. Actually, I wanted my legs stretched—plus attention to my shoulder. They did not do stretching, I was pissed Dr bob did not believe me. I told him my shoulder felt fine now and says ,”Do you even want rehab?
I says Yes”
He says “well, lets focus on your shoulder then. That’s why you came in to see me.”
“OK” I says feeling very put in my place. I mean, I really want to get my shoulder working right but I would really love to have my legs really stretched too. Why cannot I have both?
Monday, April 10, 2006
I am always --amazed at how the world just keeps on going on and on and on never minding what is happening right under it’s nose. Case in point I was emailed last week just before leaving work by one of my colleagues, here in the office about helping her do research in obtaining some sort of transportation for a guy who works here and will need transportation to attend a meeting, next week, out of this county.
As most of you readers know I work for and information and referral network, finding the answers to any and all questions dealing with disability in this State. I emailed her back I was just leaving the office and I would look first thing Monday morning. I was transportation coordinator at an Independent living center here in town ( in another life time) and am familiar with the transportation needs in this community for people with disabilities. It did not take me to learn that non of the taxi s in town has an accessible van. In fact what the taxi cab companies have done is band together and have agreed to refer anyone who calls needing accessible to gold cross of an organization called Handi-van. In either case these are private providers whose charges are out of range of range of most consumers who do not have secondary provider coverage. Handivan has a $45.00 pick-up
Fee and then a charge of 3.00 per mile. The consumer I was researching this information had to attend an event in a county about 60 miles to our south. Two trips ( there and back ) so that would be $45 X 2= 90.00 + (120 X 3.00= 180.000)=$270.00.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I have written about my mom a couple of times in the history of this blog. Mom is a spry 90+ lady living with her sister and brother in law in a small Utah town. Mom is totally independent still drives her car in the small town. She navigates the backroads to her local Shopko, Walmart and the like. Mom fell last week and puncher ed her arm taking a couple of stitched to close the wound and she bruised her arm quite extensive and now she is on the mend and sounding very healthy. So in the course of the conversation I was quite taken aback when she indicated that she was stuck writing her obituary! Like trying to find a word to rhyme to finish a poem. I had to laugh at the moment because there was nothing else I could do. Then mom asked if I wanted write the document. So many things went through mind in that instant I was a bit speechless. I did blurt out “How many inches of space did you buy?” Thinking what a stupid thing to say. Who ever measures their lives in inches? For me that was a practical question. How big was the canvas she wanted to paint.?
I have known for sometime time mom had already purchased he grave site. I knew that thirty years ago. It's not the same real state she has now but I knew mom was making preparations. This felt a little strange at the time but the true nature of end use still seemed way off in the future to me. Then about five years ago I found out she had actually purchased her casket. Again, I knew there were deals where people purchased thir caskets but it was through through their “purple cross” plan and everything was kept at the mortuary. But mom actually bought the coffin on line and the damn box is sitting out in the garage of where she lives silently waiting. The casket purchase was weird but still made sense a bizarres sort of way, know mom she loves a deal. Then about year ago she told me that she and her sister and brother in law were planning to be buried twenty-four hours after their demise. This way they would not have to pay for the embalming and other costs commonly associated with the end of life experience. This revelation came up when mom had a minor stroke which landed her in a rehab facility and it was not sure how well and if she was to survive. But mom survived and thrived and is still around.
Back to the canvas. Mom is 94 years fully lucid is making the final preparations. Mom is not thinking of passing till after June—this is the scheduled family reunion in Boise. She has every intention of attending. She just wants the messy obit out of the way. This is tough. Really for th first time I have to consider that she ill be dead and gone. The obituary for some reason makes the event real. How do I-or some other family member capsule he life into however many inches she wishes to purchase. I am assuming mom will purchase the space in what ever papers she wishes to be exhibited in. Maybe we can turn the writing of the obituary into one of those strange family games at the reunion like the potato sack race. You know which ever family comes up with the best wins. Maybe there will be categories, the longest, the funniest, most original it could go on and on. But, the obit is going to have to be written. Maybe I'll give it a stab least think about it. I may want to get the rest of the brother and sisters in on it. Actually they probably have the document nearly done.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Just got home om a mini-movie binge two movies back to back. Take the Lead and Inside Man. Inside Man was OK but I still am trying to figure out motive. Why invest the time and risk for seemed a nominal payoff? Interesting photography and noise but why Mr Lee? Take the Lead was OK, but a little unbelievable—a nice fantasy but just too unreal; even if the movie was based on fact. Nice escape though for a Friday night..
We did the free crip movies and we started our binge a little after 4:00 the afternoon. There was none in the theater except us and another couple. This was expected for the end of the afternoon People still not still not off work and too early for the Friday night date crowd. I really expected to see more of a crowd for the 7:30 movie but no, just a few more but not a whole lot more. Granted a movie about dance is most likely a chick flick but there ws not lines for the other bigger box office attractions. Maybe there is something about cable killing the movie experience but I find that had to believe. Maybe it is the location of the theaters on the West side of the valley or maybe there is something to the whole idea that able bodied folks don't went to be around folks with disabilities if they don't want to. A free movie is a free movie and the gimps sure show up. I was surprised to even see a van from a long term care facility downloading a whole passel of seniors in chairs. Can you dig that, some where the rec director of “shady lane” busing all those folks out for a Friday night movie. I bet they all came straight over from the Golden Wok Up Chuck-Arama. Clearly they did not bring everyone over I just wonder how the director decided who goes and who is left behind. Maybe they they just draw straws and who does not go to night goes tomorrow or maybe Sunday. It's getting bad though. We were just a few minutes getting into Take the Lead and all the cut out seats designed for wheelchair users to sit in ad be next to their date were all most all taken. We were lucky to find a seat on the far row. I would have hated to have had to throw an old granny or grand pa out of their seat. I tell you things are going to get rough at the theater as more and more crips find out about the free flicks
Dianne was great. She packed bottled water, potato chip and assorted candy and things from the house but we still purchased a mid-sized coke,giant popcorn—you have to get the large so you can get the free refill oh yeah and the bag of red licorice. I am sure we still dropped at least $15.00. They still get ya-but it was fun being out on Friday night just like real people.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
You know? For the most party I hate “Forwards”. Those pesky little( or huge) emails that someone you know “forward” to you because they liked it And just assumes you will like the email too. Dirty jokes, patriotic ditties, cartoon of the day what ever. Usually I get these from people who are low in my social network so I can just delete them and not worry about them. A lot of these “Forwarders” were folks I happened to finds in high school searches—looking for old friends. Well, I found some of these people and the one who are listed seem to be nothing but lost souls searching for boring pieces of trivia festering on the INTERNET and who cannot Wait to send the item to all 2000 people on their “buddy-list”.
These folks fake me out. The respond to one of my enquiries “ so cool to find you again…lets communicate…let get to know each other again. You may get two “real” emails then suddenly you get a raft of “ Support our Boys” forwards or “Let’s get Bush whacked” forwards or “Jesus is looking for you in my “outlook File”. When you click you find the email sent to fifty other folks. You are lost in the masses just like high school—when just like you rally wanted this persons attention. The majority of these folks you can just delete but when it’s your big sister or older best friend who will ask you—“what did you think of the poem I sent you…or how did you like those jokes. You have to respond like 1. you know what they are talking about, 2. you actually like what ever they sent you and 3. you cannot wait till their next post. And the next day the whole thing starts again with 25 forwards from your sis.
Junk mail or spam is bad enough but Spam from friends and close relatives is the worse. It’s not like you pull Tricia side and say, “I love you sis but don’t send me anymore spasm or emails about supporting our services guys. They sound adult and make you think you just had a real adult confrontations and issues were discussed then resolved. You think everything is fine—till you get a phone call from your mom in some other part of the country berating you for crushing your older sister’s heart, and how your older sister feels you never want to communicate with her again and it will sure be a cold day in hell before she reestablishes contact with you. All this just because you are practicing your assertiveness skills. You know if your ancient dear old mother understood the INTERNET at all she would be the first to “Flame” your sibling for forwarding her impersonal silly little references to this and that, and Mom would flame her in style, much better then I could ever dream of or dare for that matter. But you cannot win Mom just does not understand the magic of the INTERNET and she never will and you just end up being the Family bad guy.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I have survived another Board Meeting! I could have been a little bit more prepared going into the meeting but the event went off OK. CC had the “Stat sheets” done well, a little slow incoming but lots of data in lots of colors. Those present looked at the handouts shrugged shoulders, looked interested and asked a question or two and went on. My director had a specific direction she wished the meeting to flow and that direction was “ What is going to happen to funding of this program,?” We need to increase our funding flow and the most simple way to achieve a richer funding flow is to go back to the contractors and beg for more money. I really do not know how realistic this idea is. We have been rattling these folks cage for some time and the directors never seem to notice. But as the fiscal year is coming to a close we are getting ready to push the attack forward.
The winds of change are sweeping over this valley and this industry. Some major players have stepped down and the new leadership has everyone talking and seemly excited. The new director seems to be well liked and a fair shooter. He has a kid with a disability and has been in disability all his professional life. If he would openly increase our funding then maybe some of the other players will follow. I actually like the guy. I have known him for almost twenty years. I have served on various boards with the guy and we have traveled the same Info Fairs for years. He is now in charge of the whole State program. I will be interested in seeing him grow.
The fiscal year begins July 1. This means personal visits to the directors of the four programs and even inviting them to the next or one of the next Advisory Board meetings. The next Board meeting is July 7th. This gives me just over 60 days to make the visits. The other “hitch” is that we feel it would be wise to have my Director in tow when me visit. Now this greatly complicates the project. Since my director id frequently out of the office with meetings and trips. I foresee problems Again; I do not know how I realistic this idea is but if the Board suggests I better figure out a way to comply.
The minutes to the meeting now must be written. I will send the minutes out with the handouts to those board representatives who could not be here. I hope to have this accomplished by the end of the week. I should have this accomplished by the end of the week.
>I just got off the phone with my MD’s nurse, Michelle. I need some medication which I can charge my insurance for. I am currently taking something I am getting off the INTERNET which works fine but this stuff is basically over the counter. Michelle says, “ Yeah, just get me the item (Prostate Miracle) and I’ll look up formulary. I write most of Dr’s scripts anyway…” I know this happens all the tme but just blows me away when it happens to me. She’s going to look it up and then write the script have my Dr. sign it and then send it to my pharmacy. Is this ethical that I should make my insurance pay for an over the counter med as of it were controlled just to save me for having to pay for the other?
which I can charge my insurance for.
I am currently taking something I am getting off the INTERNET which works fine but this stuff is basically over the counter. Michelle says, “ Yeah, just get me the item (Prostate Miracle) and I’ll look up formulary. I write most of Dr’s scripts anyway…” I know this happens all the tme but just blows me away when it happens to me. She’s going to look it up and then write the script have my Dr. sign it and then send it to my pharmacy. Is this ethical that I should make my insurance pay for an over the counter med as of it were controlled just to save me for having to pay for the other?
Monday, April 03, 2006
I cannot believe how stressed out I am right now, today. I have my quarterly board meeting, now, in less then 24 hours and my system has lost the path to my data. I had one of those horrible night you know, you just toss and turn pray for sleep and magnify all your problems a thousand fold. Thankfully, Cecelia’s system is faithfully hooked to the server and the data is reachable. Remember this happened last quarter and I thought I had the problem fixed but today—actually Friday the software “kicked” me into the wrong drive—some sort of mysterious “mystery” drive, duplicate of my “F” drive where all my work should be going, labeled “W”. As near as I can tell this drive is identical to my “F” just NOT “F” software now saves all my data on or in an “Admin” folder on the “W” drive far away from the common F”drive.
I called the software developers where g\we got the software and they would not be able to get here till today. Actually, 98.6, the guy I work with a lot of the time tried to talk me through the issue but to no avail. This is of course in the busy time of the season for him since he is helping ancients and low-incomers do their taxes (does not that actually sound sort of paradoxical?) so I know the guy is busy. Since I did not see by the time I left on Friday I called the first thing this morning when I he would in. So 98.6 asked if I had solved my problem and of course I was calling him and I sure as hell would not be calling 98.6 if I had figured the problem out. In short 98.6 promised to stop by over lunch.
I was surprised when 98.6 showed up before lunch—I thought the time was before lunch—actually the time was 12:30 and I had not turned my wall clock ahead. Cecilia kept asking if I was going to lunch but I thought the time was only 11:00 or so. Anyway way 98.6 dives in but cannot find the issue. I fact he has scared up another issue and that is mirror “folder” issue. As we talked I sensed he was giving he “ boy are you dumb” project. Com eone 98.6 is just the organizational front man. This happened the last time. Network problem or not, it took Jaun the real hands on guy to come out and fix the soft ware glitch. Juan and 98.6 told me today that what I had here was a network issue and network issues is going to have to be taken care by our IT guy. Only problem is when this happened last year Mr Ed our IT guy said this was not State software and that he could not work on it. Grrrrrr! Lucking, like I said, everything we need we can get off Cecilia’s system and I’ll have tose if I can get them “great” minds at State and CSC involved. I just want software I can depend on.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Anakah ‘s favorite place to go I KFC. I tried to steer her to Panda Express but she would have none of that. We wandered up through our neighborhood till we finally got to State street and the home of our KFC. Anakah started out on my lap but finally switched to the back of my power chair. The clouds had darkened a bit more but the warm winds prevailed as we went in side. There were just three other customers present. We ordered and sat at one of our favorite tables near the door.
We were fortunate as the small restaurant began to fill up and I was amazed that for the most part all the customers were seniors—people even older then me. I got my standard four chicken wings, mashed potatoes and gravy and the cold slaw and Anakah got her “laptop” kids meal of chicken strips, mac and cheese and what ever else the throw in plus orange soda. So many seniors though. Singles sitting by themselves with their Coney Island dogs. A couple of old farts whom I thought would have been much more at a greasy spoon some where drinking coffee and talking politics. But here they were eating the least expensive meal on the menu tearing apart chicken pieces licking the bones clean. There were even a set of couples demoted from the All You Can Eat place where they used to go to a romantic interlude with the Colonel. Kinda broke my heart. I talked Anakah out of one of her chicken strips ( Anakah rarely eats her entire meal anyway. I tried to trade one of my chicken wings for the strip but she ended up giving me the strip without the trade. Cool.
We noticed immediately as we exited KFC the wind had picked up and there was bite to the wind we had not felt before. We had sort of played with the idea of maybe going to a couple of other stores while we were on state but the wind now was beginning to fill with rain and shard of snow! I made the decision we were going home. Anakah concurred. I bungied my legs together so Anakah would have a better platform to sit on and we headed home. We got about a block into our trip when we were drenched. Our hands were brittle with cold an Anakah was suffering. I remember I had my red rain slicker in the back pack so I had Anakah jump off my lap and get it. We covered up and plowed homeward. I had my face sticking out the face hole of the slicker and Anakah was completely covered up. We went a couple more blocks and Anakah jumped off and road the rest of the way on the back of the chair. We got home looking pitiful indeed but we had had a great adventure. We were truly April Fools.