Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Look You Don't Know Me But...

Earlier this week I posted bout the homeless guy on the bus and how he overlooked me in his begging targets. Actually I filed to illustrate why I wrote about this event in the first place. What I really wanted to focus on was wanting to ask this guy if could take his image for the sole purpose of using the image to illustrate my post for the day and I would compensate him a dollar for my rights to use his image.

Here I must confess that for the longest time I took stealth images, mostly on the train in the morning which I would later post to my Face Book account. I harbor a little guilt but not a whole lot since I am in a public place and I believe will with in the standard of the law. I was surprised at how many folk started following my FB and I began getting nervous when people started remarking that some of the images I posted was their neighbor or associate or something...I had sort of lived with the idea that my images were random an anonymous but I realized that everyone know someone or better yet someone knows them. So I stopped taking “person on the train” images—most of the time. I miss these images.

I have only paid for images a few times and I never go more then a dollar or a meal—readers of this blog may remember Ely, an interesting personality which used to play his cello(?) base fiddle(?) instrument at the Galivsan Trax station during lunch and evening rush hours. I actually made a video of Ely and have that video posted on my You Tube account. Check it out, I went there this morning, I am surprised the video is still there. I paid him a dollar he was happy and I felt good and guilt free.

So that is what I was really considering the other night on the bus, was how I would approach asking this guy if it was alright to take his image and then give him a dollar for his time and likeness. What was really holding me back was asking these questions in front of a bus load of people. How to ask the question and how offensive question might be to my fellow riders. I worried would they think as dollar was adequate compensation, was I rude/weird even thinking I could get away with such a practice and finally would they perceive I extorting this commuter who clearly, was having some sort of issues, mental/developmental or what ever. I just wanted a good image to represent the even I am writing about. I think what I am going to do is when there is an issue of a person I wish to use in one of my writings; I will compensate the a $1.00 an advise what I want to use their image for and do all this in a confidential a way as possible. Everyone wins especially me because one image is worth 1000 words.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pick Me Pick Me

I was riding home on the bus heading to the 2100 South Trax station yesterday following my Wellness workout. The workout was OK for a lite day workout, I was a little irritated by the way the staff handles a lot of the participant, especially me, but that is a posting for another day.

A homeless guy, least I think he was homeless, boarded the bus he was holding a card board sign proclaiming his homelessness and that he needed and funds anyone could afford, to help him in his homeless world. I was mildly surprised when he started mumbling to himself but was also trying to engage people round him. When he did break from his presumed psychosis long enough I realized he was shaking down the other bus riders for money. He was clearly struggling to stay in this reality and I kinda felt for him because he spoke like he was also developmentally disabled.

The time was almost five o clock and the bus crowded and everyone pretty much ignored the panhandler which was ok if not pathetic, I was put off at first thinking great another bum but I pushed myself past my weakness of classicism and tried to see the guy for what he was, just another lost soul on SSI and who knows what other entitlements just trying to get by.

I carry a number of wadded up dollars in the top of my backpack in easy access to cover immediate needs like tips, bus fare and specially to give to bums and hobos. Its not a lot just four of five dollars which has escaped being spent and somehow wandered to a poked or bottom of the back pack, crumpled and wadded and trying to stay out of sight, tired money. I also call this my lucky money or blessed money. I figure if I give this money away I re-prime my luck coefficient of just maybe get a few more blessings in my blessing box—I need all the blessings I can get.

So the card board sign guy is asking everyone on the coach for a dollar, everyone that is except me! I thought just holding up the buck and saying “here buddy” but then held back. Who does he think he is? The little prick will take everyone's hand out but mine. I will give him the buck if he asks but not until. I kept trying to get his eyes to recognize me. I felt like Donkey on Shrek “ pick me, Pick me!” But there was no way.
So crazy boy is not as crazy as he would like folks to think he is. He knows enough to know most folks in a wheelchair are on entitlements and are his competition out on the corners.

The bus ride ended and I de-boarded the vehicle and headed for my train station. I passed the cardboard man who was high tailing it to Carl Jr's at the other end of the parking lot-I could not tell if he was late or dinner or hitting people up as they were going to dinner either way he seemed motivated. I felt let down, I really wanted to give him the dollar in my back pack—more so then I realized-I suddenly felt blessing deficient in need of a fix.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lessons Of Value

Monday was the holiday and yesterday Molly, the trainer who runs Wellness, was out on vacation so no Wellness and Tuesdays is the first day of the week I am back in the gym working out. So today was the first day back for me and I have to admit I was ready to crank the bike and pump weight—I needed to feel the resistance. Wellness starts right at 3:00 pm, if we get there early we are forced to stay in the waiting area till three. Today was even worse because a photo shoot was staking place as the university was developing some new promotional footage for use with brochure and PSAs so we were forced to wait even longer then usual.

I had arrived as usual a tad early and I was surprised to see Stan waiting, sitting cane in hand. I have not had a lot of interaction with Stan but that has been changing the past couple of weeks. Stan is an old guy like me. He is a likable sort extremely verbal some time to the point of being irritating but I have gotten past his verbosity enjoying another from approximately the same part of the twentieth as my self. He's about seven years older then me and he's experienced a bit more life then I. But we know a lot of the some stuff and that is comforting. Stan gets along with people, he was a career solider a colonel or major or something. He was in country during the Vietnam thing and has seen a lot but is not pretentious. Stan has gotten to a point of being comfortable. He is gifted in that he can talk down most barriers a person might throw up whether the person is a child or adult. So Stan and I talked today as we waited the media event to pass. We didn't talk about anything earth shattering we just talked as old guys tend to do.

Stan is still getting over his injury. I first thought he had had a stroke or something, it was not a stroke which incapacitated the old war horse, what ever it was left him heme-pelagic but the rehab has done wonders for his recovery—thank god Stan can still speak

I think if he had lost speaking ability his recovery would have been far worse. Stan has become part of my circle, not a main part but I can tell, probably a significant part. If nothing else he is a main part when I am at Wellness- I think we are there for each other in some strange way. There are other fossils there to be sure and a lot of young ones, some toughs and non english speakers we have little of no communication with. But for some weird reason Stan and I are gravitating together and that is kind of cool. I think I have some lessons to learn from this guy and I want to learn all I can while I can because I think the lessons will be most valuable. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dead of Winter

Its Monday morning and a holiday,MLK day one of the newer Federal holidays. I am assuming 211 is closed for the holiday. Since I am not an “employee” of the agency I am not too concerned. As a volunteer I am slacking off more then I used to besides 211 has hired more folk for the tax season calls and I feel 211 is kind of over staffed right now so if I am there or not dose not make a whole hell of a lot of difference; except to the callers with disabilities who are looking for me—sorry its a holiday people even volunteers need holidays if nothing more then to sit round the house naked, drink coffee and blog. The house if full of flu, luckily I seem to have spared so far. I feel great as a matter of fact. Our guest/family is down, flat out sick which is not good since she is having surgery is a couple of weeks and needs to be well for that experience. Having a guest for an extended medical visit has been challenging and fun. She has be invaluable with organizing the house and working to bring the house into shape—I just hope we will be able to maintain once she heals and return to Saudi. So far Dianne has dodged the flue “bullet” both from BGA2s as well as the Sister. I think the flu shot has be a large factor in both our abilities to remain healthy this flu season. I have to admit I am kind of spooked, as I have never been before. There has been times in year recently past when I have gotten so ill that I was not sure I was going to make—I really felt angles or relatives at my door getting ready to “take me home.” I know, I am seriously at risk—and the local environment with it's inversion does not help matters. I have not taken to wearing a mask outside but but I am seriously considering it for the first time. I made chicken soup yesterday for the ill and at risk for the second time this month, the soup was loaded with garlic and the soup turned out very tasty—not nearly as garlic flavored as I had imagined the soup but the soup was good and healthy. Dianne really saved the soup by adding tons of flavor at the last moment. Its January, really the month I nearly over. If there is a dead of winter this is it—the inverted days are beautiful and full of hope. I am still trying to cope with the whole retirement thing but I am coping and really beginning to enjoy the time I have—I need to be doing more but for right now I am focusing on staying healthy, taking care of my house and getting through this winter one day at a time.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Outside Looking In

I continue to be a player in the whole social networking phenomenon and the process does not take up all my time but enough. When ever I am on line I always check to see if there are new comments or postings. I have caught myself slipping sometimes and spending inordinate amount of time, sometimes just waiting to see who might respond to one of my posts or image postings. Facebook in the main page I work. Facebook is a major waste of time but I have to admit I love the network , I love just being able to stay connected with folks I thought were long gone. I have become much more concerned regarding security and privacy then I did when I first started posting. So far the ability to stay connected or re-connect has over ridden the over issues. The past couple of weeks I've been intrigued buy one site in particular that I have joined "you don't from you know you're from Boise if ..." participants relay experiences or make comments around a particular topic or loading images of a topic it's kinda fun. What I really enjoy is the inclusion and validation among so many peers. Many folks I don't even know but I can tell they were there, part of my history, and the link feels good. I am also surprised at how many locations or events which I thought were isolated or unique were pretty common. One interesting case has been getting to know the little sister one of my best friends growing up. It's a little weird in that I'm not sure what their relationship is now sort of got the impression they maybe estranged which I find totally hard to believe, for as close a family as they seemed to have been and I have am sure are. I find myself wishing there was something I could do to bring them closer together. But at the same time I don't know jack squat about what is going on between them and it's really none of my business even though I kind of consider myself part of that family. Actually, I always sort of fantasized myself as part of that family. Sort of like so many Americans wished they were part of the Kennedys before that whole family seemed to disintegrate one way or another. But like so many facets of my life I find I am just an observer, on the outside looking in.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Duck Out of Water

There is nothing worse then being out of your chair and being out of your chair in public is the worst. My powerchair lost it's bearings a couple of weeks ago and supposedly i have been getting by but lately the noise or racket has been getting worse something bad was getting worse. This morning truly was one of those mornings I would hate to characterize it as a bad morning but I have truly had better. I knew I had to get up early since I made this cause I appointment with Alpine Medical. I had scheduled myself for 9:30 a.m. thinking surly I would be up in time to get dressed and get out the door and get the bus I needed to head north bound.But the universe seemed to be conspiring against me this morning, I actually took time to eat what sort of surprised me but getting dressed was a challenge. Nothing seems to work I elected to go without socks because I knew that would take a monstrous amount of time. I could not get my legs to cooperate with me in fact I lost my shoes or my left shoe on transfer to my power chair which meant having to somehow get my foot over my leg the slip the shoe back on. I did it though and finally got out the door, electing to wear just my black hoodie.

I was coming down the ramp and there was my neighbor, Lou, who I knew wanted to talk census house was broken into last week and I knew he had questions. This was the first time I had seen him senses return from Yuma Arizona.. I knew I was running late at least a half an hour late but I did stop and visit briefly with him knowing this was going to cost me bus time. At the bus stop I checked my watch and then I checked bus schedules and figured I had enough time to grab a fast coffee and warm a little. In fact my timing look pretty good I figured I could grab a coffee and stuck it out and catch the next bus. I got up there and no bus came at the designated time. I was amazed I figured I had missed it so I return to Starbucks to wait inside where it was warm. I have been inside no more than 3 minutes but I looked up and saw my bus pass and realized I was going to have to wait at least another half hour before the next bus came. I got on my cell phone call the shop and notify them I would be at least another 45 minutes before I can make it in for my appointment. I was really not stressing too bad because I figured Alpine would take me, regardless of the time I made it then but I wanted them to know where I was cautious of the time and that I was taking my appointment seriously.

State Street is a major street in Salt Lake City and I find crossing the street is perilous enough at an intersection with a light let alone trying to cross cap State Street med block. But because the time I elected to do just that sense there was a stop directly across the street from Alpine medical. Today was a good day I was able to time the lights just right and i zipped across State Street safely .

Inside Alpine Medical I enjoy the warmth and cruised up to the not accessible service area and identified myself, once the technician saw the top of my hat and realized I was there.
Of course, I was expected to transfer out of my chair so the technician, George could could take the chair back to the shop for the tire change. The only place to transfer is one of the host of about 10 lift chairs. The overstuffed easy chair which lifts so the person sitting in the chair can better exit the chair when they want to leave. It's actually not a bad idea in the privacy of your home but nothing you want to do in public. But I had to do it. I planned to make the transfer then tilt the chair back so I wouldn't slide out of the chair. Of course that was not to be, the chair I picked was the chair that didn't work. George finally fiddled around with the chair enough to get it working but still it was pretty grim.

George the tech, from the shop, pulling on his elastic gloves like the surgeon he his mother wanted and whisked my chair away. I laid there in the lift chair, cause there was no way I could sit, praying I did not have a spasm and slide down to the floor. Luckily the time out of the chair was short, the wheel changed out and my chair was back—now I was expected to lift back into the chair. I really used to do so much better with things like transferring and such but time has been cruel as well as diet. It was a struggle but eventually I did pull myself up and transferred by myself mostly with out loosing my shoes and more importantly my pants.

So today was a good day, all things considered, I got something accomplished, did it all myself from beginning to end but it is getting more and more difficult to be Mr Independent.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Making a Difference

I am such a dork but this week I had some intangible proof of me having made a difference in my life if not anyone else s. It started a few months ago with the onset of cold weather and me having to wear a heavy jacket, the kind which would have to be hung up if I went somewhere. It seems the only place I go anymore is the Wellness program at the Rehab center.

When I usually just dump my coat on my backpack which I usually just leve by the counter where the check in tablets are kept. The jacket is out of the way but still my trainer started complaining that I was leaving my stuff just anywhere and I respnded pointing out the only place to put coats is on a set of hooks way too high for a wheelchair user to use and again the irony of a facility which should be catering to people with disabilities have something as basic as a coat rack out of reach. So when I get there I had to have someone hang my jacket and leaving I had to have someone retrieve the garment—just grinds my teeth. So I have been complaining and finally got to the boss of the place a guy I call Father Kameron. Father K is a great guy and seems to be responsive.

Yesterday I got to Wellness and was pleased to find a new hat rack down at my level, had been installed. I know this would not have happened this soon if I had not been effective at some level. You can make a difference...that is so corny 

Monday, January 13, 2014


I am going to post, a real post, soon as I get a free moment , long enough to develope a real posting.There is just a lot happening in my life right now--but stay tuned, I will write and soon.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Back In The World

My optomistic view of 2014 continues in to day three of this new year. Yesterday my chair technician came by the house and installed thenthe castor that DeeDee found over the holiday. It was good that Dianne found the wheel since the tech was not able to find the castor he thought he had access too. Since he was at the house I also had him tighten the bolts on my hand brakes and the I also had him adjust the axels on the manual chairs which is great. Now, I have a new chair and my usual chair safe and secure. I am really excited. I am also very excited about the replacement castor allowing me to get back into my life. We also spoke ordering a set of castors all the way around and maybe even getting the one connecting piece on my replacement replaced be for the bearing in it seizes up. We decided that I would submit these into insurance and see how much if any they would cover—who knows. I left my technician with the promise that if the insurance did not cover these things I would sure as hell go to him. I mean I really appreciate the fact that this guy actually came to my house and worked on my equipment is desperate to have some sort of positive experience with my equipment needs. But much rather give my money to him than to the faceless monsters of the insurance industry Now, I just have to see if the insurance will still cover the seat base after I had the present base worked on and repaired.the new seat base would probably cost any area of $2000 so why make sure, really sure, that my ducks in a row and I'm not going to get burned by this whole transaction. It's sort of like moving a chess piece in a row critical area is about all the different possibilities before you remove your hand from that piece if you don't the consequences are always dreadful.

I just returned from Wellness, the first workout since December 11 or 12 and the first were Of the new year and I must say it felt good. It was good seeing some real faces and meeting some of the new staff and most of all it was great getting back into my routine. I can only say my time on the Saratoga Silver reinforces my desire to get some sort of upper body cardio workout machine.It was a light turnout this afternoon at the rehab facility which is okay. I did spend some time talking with another okay, more than I usually do. He's interested, retired military, a lot of fluff , bravado, military machoism but I can do like all things considered. So I did my workout reconnected with staff and other Wellness participants was kind of fun. It's Friday night now and I'm going to have to wait till after next Monday before I go into Wellness again. I can't wait, it's good to have something to look forward to even if it's just working out and maybe dropping some weight.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Excitement

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I just realized this morning that New Years Day blogs are easier to write then New Year's Eve blogs or the entire last week of the year,that we refer to as the “hang time”. Very similar to write a blog in the morning versus the evening as I'm doing now. This morning when I started this posting I felt awake motivated and even excited post the first blog of the year. Now the good eight hours later after making a robust winter soup feeling a little less excited but I am going to go through the process anyway. I doubt if I will make my 500 words but we'll see.

I believe I touched on this concept a little last year at this time when I went on about how the new year suddenly mean something different to me than it used to. How excited I am now celebrating the new year. I've lived through another year and I'm going to at least, start the new year where I can achieve and try to achieve things that are important to me. Before recently this concept was lost on me. A new year was just a year and event on the calendar nothing more nothing less. Perhaps a little more effort in year-end reporting when I was working and possibly some of those touchy-feely things that bosses like to keep on their employees in order to increase productivity. Now since most bosses are older maybe it is a gift from the senior to encourage the Junior could do as much in this year as they can because the senior notes that time is running out. So I am going to stop short of producing a list of goals in both points of things I commit to achieve this year I am going to put down a short list of things I would like to work on. Perhaps the most important is better communication with my family and particularly my grandchildren. I have really neglected this task – – task might be the wrong word, responsibility? It's still something I need to do better communication or I can.

I want to sketch more. Last night or this morning I was on the Internet looking at information on using the art program on my tablet and how to use the program better. I wandered around a number of sketch art sites and came away with you need to maybe do 10,000 sketches before you start getting material that you want or sketch results that you want. This makes a lot of sense to me. I really want to produce better artwork but I have not had time. The Internet says I have to put the time in. One artist says they do one sketchbook, a month. Doesn't have to be perfect art just has to be sketched out in the sketchbook. I can do that I got materials now I just must not defeat myself by not sketching. I love sketch I think I'm just frightened end I must get over that.

I need/want to get my equipment running properly. I'm currently wrestling with some issues on my power chair and hopefully this will be resolved shortly. I want to take action when I noticed an issue not wait until I'm dragging my ass on the ground.

I want to fully commit to the Wellness program. I want to invest in some physical equipment that will allow me to achieve Wellness results at home. In the meantime, once I get my power chair optional fully again, I want to be at Wellness at least three days a week as well as work with Dianne to go swimming. The end result aside from a better functioning and better looking body is to drop a significant amount of weight that should help in all my ADLs

I need to focus on better interactions with current and old friends. I need to limit the amount of computer time that currently enjoy and spend more time in the reality of here and now. I still think Facebook relationship is important but not important to the point of neglecting real time friends.

This is a start, these are areas, to work on that I can feel excited about now. The real proof is how I feel and what I write on the last day of this year in 12 months.