Living and laughing with a disability - cerebral palsy; ordinary life, extraordinary circumstances.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

2 down

Edwards is out. I liked him, but he never got traction this year. Barack, he'd be a great running mate.

Giuliani is out too.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hey Ma...I need more straws...

Next Costco run, Ma, I need a bag of straws.

The bag with 2500 unwraped straws is my preferrence, but the bag with 2000 wrapped straws is okay. This last bag was the wrapped straws...kind of Troy-proof (hard to open).

I use lots of straws. A bag lasts about a year. I have some left...just don't want to run out.

Thank you Ma!


We have had calls appear on our caller ID from this phone number. The ID says "Santa Fe, TN". No idea who it is. I google the number. I'm just curious. This number has called a few times, but has not left a message.

So, it's Star Travel regarding a time share that's not really a time share. I know.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Good Samaritans helping the disabled in the West Bank

I don't know how these two men wound up in the small town of Athena, Oregon, but what a blessing!

Inspires me that a country baptist church would bring these Muslim "Good Samaritans" in to hear of the work they are doing in the biblical town of Bethany.

"I In a place where religion is often a dividing factor between people, the organizations Alloush and Hamdan run will take anybody, no matter their creed or race."

I would not have what I have...a family and a job...if I were born over there. I am thankful to God for men such as these who make life easier for my brothers and sisters over there.

Disaboom article re: Presidential candidates stance on disability issues

Renee Reynolds did a very nice job with this synopsis.

The GOP is mute on disability issues save for John McCain. McCain has a life dedication to vets and worked on the ADA. Edwards has us in his platfrorm, Clinton includes us in her health plan, and Obama has his "Disabilities and Equal Opportunities Plan".

Thank you Renee.

Close call

Close call tonight. An astroid past by earth tonight, three football fields wide, a Moon-and-a-half away.

A nightmare of mine is that the earth gets obliterated by an astroid. True worriers like me always have a pile of scenarios in their head to worry about.

I guess this worry can be retired until 2027...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Keeping track of the race

Bojack turned me on to The Presidential Toteboard 2008. It is a wonderful summation/commentary of what's going on in the race to the White House.

Barack did well in SC today...but thoughts are that Hillary will sweep up on Super Tuesday.

I was at my nephew's basketball game last night. Two guys behind me were talking politics. Hillary scares them, but the one said Barack scared him even more. He is the "sexy" one among younger voters. He use to do drugs....once a druggy, always a druggy, you know. (I guess alcohol is different).

I am a right leaning Dem. I am disenchanted with both parties...let's get stuff done.

-Let's provide for our kids, birth through college, with health care. Supplement the best their family can provide with a benefit supplemental package so that quality health care is available to all kids.

-Let's provide for our kids, birth through college, with quality education. Preschool through college is important to all kids. Provide assistance or loans to supplement what parents can provide. No more unfunded mandates. Allow flexibility; communities are different, kids are different. One size does not fit all.

-Take care of our seniors as best we can.

-Allow the disabled to work without loss of benefits. Give them time to make sure the job will work out. Allow them to keep their medical benefits as needed.

-Rebuild our mental health system that has been ravaged by cuts for way too long. The high number of mentally ill clogging our prisons attests to this.

-Back out of Iraq as prudently as possible. A mess we never should have entered, but we are there, so we are responsible.

I confess that I am having trouble getting past the mudslinging of this delegate courtship to figure out who stands for my issues.

The guys who were talking in back of me last night would not vote for me. I would want more money from them in order to help our fellow Americans in need.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Disabled in Gaza

Thank you Kay for bringing up this article.

Sunday school, last week, Lebonan and Gaza came up...two sides to everything. Sad to see a paralyzed 12 yo's suffering made worse because we can't get along.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Disabled Football

AFC disabled football....this caught my eye.

I was thinking American football. This is the real football.

Very cool nonetheless.

12yo gets a cell!

Cell phones started showing up among E's classmates in the 3rd grade...he's been begging for one ever since.

Jodie and I showed up for Sunday school, and there was no class. We took of in Jet White down to a coffee stand and got a couple mocha's. When we returned, the one disabled spot we feel safe parking in was taken. We park at a bit of an angle there, giving me more visibility backing out. We parked in the back parking lot. I had to walk quite a ways to get to E's class.

I told E, "You know, this would be a whole lot easier if you had a cell phone."

He was hyped; I was committed. We went and got him his first cell phone, a grey Razr. He has 100 minutes.

Nephew Vance had a basketball game tonight. We were able to call E to have him meet us at the door with some of his cash so we could get in without making a trip to the bank.

Vance scored 28 points tonight...varsity 2a basketball. He kept making 3's!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Red, White and Blue Tag Sale - New York Times

Dowd puts it way better than me. A point she makes about the immigation issue being a diversion from "a bigger problem.."

Red, White and Blue Tag Sale - New York Times: "The country is engaged in a fit of nativism and Lou Dobbsism, obsessing about the millions of Mexicans who might be sneaking across the border when billions in foreign money are pouring into Citigroup. You figure out what might be a bigger problem."

Online game threatens American productivity

Game aimed at older White guys....

Online golf game handicaps productivity - Jan. 18, 2008

Good one...

I am a ODB fan. Here is a good one.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Foreign countries buying up U.S. - like Monopoly

The NY Times reports that the week dollar has created a buying frenzy of the United States by other countries.

Everything is on the table...except the military technology....might want to keep that here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MYSQL bought by Sun

MySQL is an open source database. The Joomla websites I make each run off a Mysql database. Photo galleries, blogs, calendars, many different apps use MySQL databases.

Since it is open source, it is typically free.

I rent webspace from Bluehost. $95/year I believe. I have 50 MySQL databases I could use.

When I saw that Sun Microsystems bought MySQL, I was concerned. Am I going to pay more to use MySQL?

The answer appears to be "no". They do plan to market an improved enterprise version of it.

How did Sun beat Google to buy MySQL?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Easy Writer

I'd like to try one of these.

Handwriting is difficult for me. I have been typing since I was 7. I would love to have the freedom that handwriting gives. I wish I could try a Easy Writer on a tablet computer.

This still would not help me sign those pesky Visa receipts...not much left of the reciept when I'm done!

All relative foster caregivers will be paid

A new state law has just made my job a whole lot easier. Kids no longer need to be Title IV-E eligible in order for there relative caregivers to be paid. These are children who are wards of the State of Oregon...I know what you were thinking.

Title IV-E refers to the section of the Social Security Act that administers federal funds that partially reimburses the costs of kids in foster care.

I am a IV-E specialist, if you have not figured that out yet. A typical IV-E eligible child comes from a single parent home where the family was receiving a welfare grant, or would have been eligible to receive such grant had they applied.

Up until now, when a non IV-E eligible child went into relative foster care, I had to prepare a denial letter for relatives to explain why we could not pay them foster care $$. I would refer them to Self Sufficiency to apply for a non-needy relative caretaker grant, about half of what foster care pays.

I still have a job. We still need to optomize the federal funds...and we have a federal audit coming up.

It's just my stomach was always in knots when I had to explain to them why we could not pay them.

The dreaded part of my job is gone!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mitt finally wins one...

John McCain thought he might be on a roll.

McCain Moves Focus to S.C. Newsweek Politics: Campaign 2008

Michigan was stripped of there democrat delagates due to moving their primary so early. All dems but Hillary had their names removed from the ballot. Hillary got 57% of the dem votes. 38% selected "uncommitted".

'Blade Runner' will not compete...

The IAFF asserts that Oscar Pistorius uses 25% less energy with the carbide blade prostheses, compared to able bodied runners.

I can see both sides. The carbide blades are his legs, and he has worked hard to compete. If he can compete with able bodied runners, why not let him? Yet, do the carbide legs give him and unfair advantage? I just don't know.

Pistorius is asking for independent tests to see whether he does have an unfair advantage.

I side with fellow blogger Matt Moscona:

Oscar Pistorius is an inspiration to many. He is a man who has accomplished more without the use of his legs than many of us with two good legs could ever dream of. Pistorius serves as an example to humankind that anything truly is possible. There is even a place where Pistorius and others who share the same afflictions and equal zest for life can compete. Pistorius belongs in the Paralympic Games. He should spend the Summer of 2008 in Beijing, but he should spend it defending the 200 meter crown he won at the 2004 Athens Paralympic games.

It is a tough call, because the my dream as a disabled person is to find things that I can do well enough that my disability is not a factor.

Sometimes we need to find grace and comfort in the greatness our differentness brings.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Just north of here there was a tornado yesterday! Nobody hurt, but lots of damage. It tore up a couple boathouses used by row teams (7-12 grade)...all the boats destroyed! Kids had been there a half hour earlier...and more were to come a couple hours later!

I was a kid when the last one hit.

E has a basketball game in Vancouver tomorrow...I checked the map. Looks like it's in a untouched area.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jodie diagnosed....

A couple months ago Jodie went to renew her migraine medication and was told she would need to go in for a blood test. A couple weeks ago, she was asked to come in again for another.

The doc called a couple days ago to tell her that her thyroid hormone production was dangerously low. We freaked out a little, but doing some research, it sounds very treatable with medication. It sounds like a lifetime regimen, with frequent tests to make sure her hormone level is correct.

Hypothyroidism Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment on

Always something!

Janet & Obama

My stepdad's sister, Janet, has dedicated herself to the service of her country as a diplomat. She has been stationed several places throughout the world. She has spent a lot of time in Africa --- in Sudan, and more recently in Ehtiopia.

Obama stopped by in 2006. He was still considering whether to run at the time. Janet said that a young diplomat with them promised to vote for him if he ran.

Janet says "Maybe that decided him??!!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hillary won by a tear?

And won by 3 points in New Hampsire?

I feel for all the candidates. Such a long, difficult race.

Was the tear calculated? I don't think so....but maybe someone told Hillary that it's okay to be human.

Hope McCain wins. Flip-flopper...Dems would have have an easy go.

Meet and greet with Pastor Karl

We have a new associate pastor at our church. Pastor Karl joined us a couple months ago. He hails from Chicago, where his family is still living as they try to sell their house.

Pastor Karl is meeting with each of the youth in our church and their families. Pretty ambitious!

E is starting middle school...and the confirmation process. My old baptist buddies don't understand this...but you know, it is a beautiful process. Kids study every aspect of the faith. They bond with each other, the teachers, and the church. Not the only way...but a good way.

During our half hour meeting, he asked some insightful questions, like "What do you like about each other?"

Cliche, I know, but the youth of the church is our future.

Thank you Pastor Karl.

Catch his e-vo's.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Basketball game at Our Lady of the Lake...

E had a basketball game yesterday at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic church in Lake Oswego yesterday.

The Garmin got us there a different way that I normally would have gone. I got confused at one around the block..."recalculating"...the Garmin got us right back on track.

For those of you not from the Portland area, Lake Oswego is a small hamlet just south of Portland --- a high class area.

We arrived a few minutes late. We parked in the parking lot in the back of the building. Having not been there before, we didn't know where the gym was. E got out and followed the other kids and parents around as the figured out where to go. The correct door was found and it was up a long flight of stairs.

I can do stairs if I have to, but I avoid them when I can. Going up is not too hard for me, but I don't feel stable coming down. As a kid I dislocated in a knee on stairs are home, a memory always in my mind whenever a set of stairs is in front of me. Jodie can do short sets of stairs, but they need to have backs on them. She uses her forearm crutches, one in front and one behind. These stairs did not have backs.

Jodie told me to go watch the game. I told her I would go scout out the accessibility. As I was heading for the stairs, a couple parents waived at us and said that if we drove to the front of the church, there was a ramp and they could let us in the front door.

I was moved that they were watching out for us. Readers of this blog might think it is a no-brainer that people would watch out for us this way, but if disability has not touched a person's life (personally, or through a friend or relative) , accessibility is not something that enters their stream of consciousness.

Jodie and I made it in and were able see the game. We sat with parents from the opposing team. Bob, a dad of one of our players, cleared us a spot close to the door. It kept Jodie more calm than usual. She really gets into cheering for the kids...kind of wild...loud...uncontrollable.

It was a good, close game. They lost it when they stopped playing as a team. Practices should be interesting this week.

Dirt on Obama?

Come kids....say it ain't so...

Swift Boat II? (Jack Bog's Blog)

Play nice!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Hampshire debate

On the Republican side, I was happy to see at least one (Huckabee) say something negative about Bush's foreign policy. Is siding with President Bush really going to help any of them?

Clinton was on the defense. Status quo vs. change. What did Clinton mean by "35 years of change?" Other bloggers are having fun with that. Interesting reflections by someone who saw Edwards at an event earlier in the day.


I am watching the New Hampshire debates tonight. Yawwn....

I find Huckabee interesting. He is folksy, down to earth, and he is a Southern Baptist preacher. He also seems like a player....letting stuff slip out..."Who...Me?"

Newsweek has an interesting article about how Huckabee is making evangelicals nervous. Yes, he is a preacher, but the article notes that he is not willing to talk about it.

I am undecided. I have much more research to do.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dr. Randy liked the website

I made a new website for our chiropractor. More pictures to gather, but he likes it so far:

Forward thinking.... Napal.

The race is on...

Analysis: Huckabee up, Clinton down heading to Granite State -

Strange how the race has become about identy - who you like, who you don't like - rather than issues.

Rush brought it up yesterday, Jodie and I talked about it last night.

I need to study issues...get ready for our MAY!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Get that receptionist a computer!

We got a postcard in the mail a few weeks back addressed to "The Wittrens" saying that we had a dental appointment this morning. My wife had filled the card out at her last visit.

Jodie called. An appointment was made for all three of us. E begged us to not make him go today. He had a math test he didn't want to miss. We tried to convince him that no time is a good time to go to the dentist.

E was taken back first, and then me. My hygenist saw that E and I were last seen in August, less than 6 months ago. Insurance might not cover a visit prior to the six months. The receptionists tried frantically to contact the insurance company, but could not get past hold.

I decided to come back in February when my appointment is do. We had them clean Eric's teeth. with his braces there is a better chance that insurance will cover him. Jodie is on a different six month schedule, so she was due a cleaning today.

Six months ago when Jodie filled out the appointment reminder card, she put "The Wittren's" when she should have just put herself. What amazes me is that the appointment schedule is not on a computer, but a paper calendar with patient-written post cards as the reminder.

It's not until the patient is in the office and the hygienist is looking at the file that the insurance time frame is looked.

Very old school...but so is the receptionist.

Hard to be mad, but it is irritating.

Platform: Disability awareness

NewsChannel6 - Idaho Falls Native Vying for Miss America Crown

From the report:

Her platform, acceptance of and accessibility for people with disabilities.

Sadie Quigley, Miss Idaho: "Show that it's okay that we all have similarities and difference and some may be just be more physical than others and it is okay to accept each other and love it each other for who we are."

I like her platform. Disability awareness seems like a cliche', but there is still a ton of room for education. I don't think people really get it until disability touches their life, or that of a loved one.

Miss America is moving to TLC this year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Disabled mom and the best interest of the child

Fellow blogger Deafmom wrote about a disabled mom losing parental rights here.

Lack of support system...very sad tale.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Communicator for the disabled

I am a intellectual lightweight.

This guy isn't:

Christian Helle's Blog: Cepa Mobility - Enabling the Disabled

Disabled kitty cat

Bless those 4th graders! Watch the video: - Disabled Cat On Wheels

Wondderlful idea from othe side of the pond...

Karting for the Disabled Launches at the Karting Show at Kartlink

IE7 problems on Jodie's laptop

Jodie went to look at her e-mail yesterday and she could not get the internet to come up. That set me off on a wild goose chase to find a solution.

The connection box showed a red "X", as if something was wrong with the wireless router connection. My computer was finding the internet okay. It is plugged into the router. Eric's computer is connected over the wireless and it was finding the internet fine.

I went back to Jodie's computer and tried the Firefox browser instead of Internet Explorer 7. Firefox worked! IE7 just hung up.

I reset her computer several times.

I uninstalled her IE7, downloaded a new version, and reinstalled.

Still, her IE7 hung up.

I googled for a solution. One suggestion was to run a registry cleaning program. I did, and it found issues, but in order to fix them I had to register the program. I tried to do that, but the program was trying to connect to the internet via IE7....aye aye aye!

I was past burned out. I showed Jodie how to access the internet with Firefox...but today I went to searching for a solution.

I finally found a link on how to reset IE7. I found the "reset" button under the advanced tab in the "internet options" section of the control panel.

And guess what? It worked!

New Years Day tradition

I don't recall a New Years Day in the past 18 years when we have not gone out for a meal with our dear friends Brad and Lori. One year it was it was Chinese food for lunch, but we usually go out for breakfast.

Today it was breakfast at the Gateway Elmers. E was with us. There daughter, Autumn, is at Disneyland with friends this year.

We parked at the back end of the lot. These days I park Jet White where it will be easiest to back out. The wind caught my door when I opened it. It was straight out and touching the dark blue pick-up parked next to us. It left some white paint on the truck. I freaked. E noted that there was other blemishes of spattered paint on the truck. I tried to wipe it off. No luck. Lori looked. She didn't see a scratch. If the truck owner was concerned he could leave us a note...still--guilt...

We talked politics -- not knowing who to vote for and having a hard time caring, since Oregon's primary is so late, thus meaningless. We talked about friends and family. E talked a lot about history. He reads historic biographies, and soldier diaries. He watches the History Channel. Brad knows a lot about history. He and E hit it off in several areas. E wants to learn woodworking, and it sounds like Brad could help get him started.

Having an only child does present challenges. Keeping them entertained is hard. Activities, dogs, games, computer---he has them all. Still, we always hear "I'm bored!" When we are out with friends and E is with us, the conversation is as much for him as it is for us.

We came home to a few chores...and some football.

Happy New Year!

Highlights of 2007:


We watched "Oceans 13" tonight, and played Bible Trivia.

Our new Sprinter, Jet White, and our California vacation were highlights of the past year.

2008 - will we make it to the Grand Canyon? Jodie and I both have dreams of having a home business of some sort. What will '08 bring?