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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Downtown Portland hot button issue - Disabled parking

A story in the Portland Tribune outlines the dilemma: providing the disabled with easy access parking in downtown vs. people who may be using disabled placards that aren't really theirs just to be able to park for free.

I have read that some places want to differentiate between wheelchair parking and disabled non-wheelchair parking. Jodie and I would fall in between the cracks on this one. More often than not we use our scooters when we are in public. But sometimes, for short distances, we don't use them.

The task force charged with implementing the state's new rules the continue to guarantee free parking to wheelchair and scooter users, but not for the disabled who do not use wheelchairs and scooters. I'm happy to see that the majority of task force want to continue the free parking for all, and crack down on abusers of the program --- though that is much easier said than done.

I must confess that the two years that I worked downtown from 2002-2004, I took advantage of the free parking using my disabled placard. It was nice. I parked on SW Jackson between 5th and 6th every day...for free.

Even so, I do feel for downtown businesses who have so much of the convenient parking surrounding their business taken up by long term disabled parkers.

I do not really know the answers. Short term parking should be just that -- short term -- for disabled and non-disabled alike.

Maybe a new kind of sensor parking meter:

Set it so that people cannot put additional money in the meter to extend the time beyond the time limit on the meter, or can extend it once.

A disabled vehicle would not need to pay, but would be under the same time limit as people who paid.

I don't know if the costs would make such solution possible, but I think it is a fair solution to the dilemma that is worth a look.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why couldn't I have this job?

$10 an hour to stay in bed for 90 days?

Read her blog:

Pillow Astronaut

Google Gadgets....

I figured out how to get "Today's Verse" on the Google Sites website that I go for my church. I had to make a "Google gadget".

The verse code is javascript, and it takes a gadget to get it onto a Google site.

I also got Today's Bible Reading and Prayer Ventures on that way as well:

The "More" link in Today's Bible Reading is not working in Explorer...I don't think I can fix that. I put a note with a link below.

Three or four nights of work.....

Plea for democracy

I am working with Google Sites these days. I read the message boards.

Here is a plea from our brothers and sisters in China:

Thanks Google for a great platform that is free.

Pray that China will one day be free.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My first computer...

Franklin Ace 1200. I was in my first year of college when Mom and John got me this gem for Christmas.

I used it mostly as a word processor. WordStar, I remember. A half screen of commands I recall.

Pre-Windows days. Ahh...

I remember taking it with me to my first job out of college. World Christian Magazine down in Pasadena. Mom and John bought me a Compuserve kit to connect to the internet. I worked hard to get it to work so I could send e-mail, but did not succeed.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Email issues....

...Not mine this time. Pastor Roger sent me an email saying that he can send email through Microsoft Outlook, but he is not receiving it. Then he has to restart it, it receives some email, then it goes dead.

I am a webmail guy. I access my email from any computer and deal with it. I don't like having my email tied to a particular computer. I love my gmail...I have all my other email accounts forwarded to my gmail account.

Many people, including Pastor Roger, like pop email delivered through programs like Microsoft Outlook.

I did some research. It looks like there is a Outlook connector program that will fix Roger's problem:

Good luck Pastor Roger!

Tech support....

The other day we learned that our phones had stopped working. We use Vonage, a voip service, telephone service over our high speed internet connection.

Stepdad John had done whatever magic is required to make our Vonage service connect to the telephone lines in our house.

We have a internet cable box, a computer router, and a telephone router. Most of the time, unplugging the three boxes and plugging them back in solves any problems. If that does not work, the reset button on each box....eventually this works.

Today, this wasn't working. John suggested what I had tried. I carefully followed the re-boot process outlined on the Vonage help site. I had to call tech support.

The guy in India was friendly and patient. I had a Troy moment (deer with headlight in eyes) when he asked what the phone router was plugged into. I just saw a mass of crisscrossed wires. E figured it out. The guy asked us to plug the phone directly into the router. E brought the wireless phone over, plugged it in, and it worked!

Something wrong with the telephone jacks in the house. Both the kitchen and the bedroom are out. Instead of paying someone to come check it out, we decided to buy a new phone system where the base phone is plugged into the phone router, and separate handsets are just plugged into electrical outlets throughout the house.

I did my homework. I learned about DECT technology. We made our purchase.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unrecognized heroes...

I work for the state at a child welfare office. I am an eligibility worker. I read notes, dig for information and put together eligibility determinations.

Yawn...I know...

I have been trying to get away from my desk more.

Last week I was sitting outside on my walker...taking in some sun...and observing the goings on in our parking lot. So much happens out there!

I saw a social service assistant with a two year old child. He had waited a half hour for the parents to show up. It was time to take the child back to his foster home.

As they were headed to the car, the parents came running across the parking lot. They had just gotten off the bus. They knew they were late.

Instead of casting any blame, the SSA asked the parents to slow down, catch a breath, and come inside. There was still time for a visit.

As I watched these troubled parents clinging to their child, realizing these parents probably had a long road to go, I was amazed at the professionalism and non-judgmental compassion of this SSA.

I was sad that this kind of story will never make the front page...but it should.

"Mountain Man is in the breakroom"

Every other Wednesday at about 10:30 I hear those words over the loudspeaker at work.

If you work in a office, you may know who they are, Mountain Man Fruit & Nut Company. The name of the lady who is the Mountain Man representative who comes to our office is Andrea. I like talking with her. A fascinating business model, bring fancy goodies to cooped up workers. I think she said she has over 100 clients she visits every two weeks. I just can't imagine going that many places, yet sometimes it sounds way more fun than sitting at my desk all day.

She knows I like chocolate, but that I try out the healthier fare from time to time. She leans toward McCain; I toward Obama. But neither of us is overly thrilled with either one.

A hard working small business person who brightens my day.

"Mountain Man is in the breakroom" --- that's my wake up call.

Hi Dan!

Nice to run into you at work today.

Dan was a protective services child welfare worker I use to work with years ago. Now he is a trainer.

Dan and Rocky were a team. Batman and Robin, helping families and kids through very difficult situations with care and professionalism. Our big joke was always --- which one was Robin.

I asked Dan if he and Rocky kept in touch. He said they had not.

Rocky's son is playing baseball for a Texas Rangers farm team, the Spokane Indians. I don't know why I thought they were a fish. Otto's not a fish, he is a Spokaneasaurus!

A very handsome kid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dyslexia and hard work

Many kudos's to Louise for fighting through her dyslexia to earn her degree, and to the dyslexia workers at the university for their help.

Hard work pays off for dyslexic Flintshire woman - Evening Leader

Dyslexia is a disability that is not understood well, and people tend to regard it as a minor thing...but it's not.

Jodie has dyslexia. Words jump around on the page for her. People don't realize the extra concentration it takes. Until we got together, I didn't really understand it. Spelling is difficult for her. I use to be a copy editor myself....I am always a instant message away to help her.

Jodie tells of the difficulty she had taken tests in high school. One day she asked the teacher to give her the test orally. She aced it! The other parents did not appreciate the accommodation, so it did not continue. But Jodie proved to the teacher...and herself...that her poor test taking had nothing to do with any lack of intelligence.

Way to go Louise!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scooting around the neighborhood

The last two nights I have been going around the neighborhood with E, he on his bike, and me on my scooter.

It is interesting going down streets that we normally don't see.

One thing I noticed around our neighborhood was signs for Obama, and none for McCain. I am sure that trend would reverse as you go up the hill from us.

Tonight we went down to the Springwater trail. There are barricades set up. I think they are working on Johnson Creek, part of salmon restoration. We went around a few of the barricades. There is a new museum at the Linnemann Station. You will need to scroll down; I could no find a direct link.

In the early part of last century there was a interurban train system to help Portlanders escape the city on the weekends. One such destination was Paesano's Cedarville Park. I cannot find a good link for it, but below is a map. People would take the train there to camp, picnic and use the dance hall among the beautiful cedars. It is still used for weddings and other events. Tonight there was a bunch of people there and some form of bowling going on. Last Saturday we stopped at a nearby Shari's for lunch and we saw some ladies dressed in Sweedish garb. We heard them explain te were yoddlers at an event at Paesano's.

View Larger Map

New website up and running...

I finished a new website for our church:

I created it using Google Sites, a wonderful new website program. Collaborative, easy, secured, free. I am a Google fan.

I don't think I will need to worry about the site being hacked. Two years ago the joomla site I had set up for the church was hacked. Anti-American war pictures and rhetoric filled the screen when I pulled up the site, and junk started to upload to my computer. I was horrified! I spent a day searching for where the bogus code had been inserted. I found it, and I figured out how to secure the site better.

In order to keep the old site secure, I had to update to the latest version of joomla. Trouble would come with the special components or modules would not update...then I would need to replicate what had been there, to the best of my memory.

The new website is Troyproof...and I like that...


Sweeter than the developer of this lean, green computing machine says.

A computer the size of a paper back...Plug in a keyboard and a monitor and you are good to go.

The applications are in a "cloud", that is, on a secure server that you access over the internet. The nice thing with that is that someone else handles the software updates; you don't. No viruses to worry about. The secured Cherrypal secured server offers the suite of programs, iTunes, and some other Cherrypal software.

I use Google docs and spreadsheets all the time. Everything is simple, and is stored online for easy access from anywhere, and it's free. The functionality is always improving.

I won't rush to get one, but I foresee a day when I will. Make wifi available everywhere. Make wifi free or affordable. Make a portable screen and keyboard large enough for me to use and compactible enough for me to easily pack around...I would get one.

I hate dealing with updating software, and worrying about viruses. Let someone else deal with that.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

E at state!

Tough loss to Gaston last night...15-14 extra innings. New ump at plate was jawed to death by the opposing coaches.

This morning our coaches decided to experiment with kids in positions they had not played before. One boy tantrumed and would not play outfield. He was shortstop the next inning and he smiled when he missed a key play. Not sure what was happening. To say more would reveal the "Bad Dad" in me.

But E took his job seriously, and his execution was to the best of his ability.

I am a very proud dad!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The magic of dogs...

Karen Shirk found a need and filled it. Disabled people who do not qualify for a service dog...who need a dog.

Dogs work 'magic' on kids with autism -

She has a great website:

We have two dogs, Bonnie and Clyde, sister/brother Dachshund/Yorkie mix. Lovable mutts....even though snag any article of clothing the can grab and take out to the backyard. Holy terrors!

I was laying on the couch the other brief break between my day government job and my night job as blogger/web designer. Bonnie kept pawing at my hand...."Pet me dad!"

I'm wrapped around her little paw.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The great equalizer

Yesterday I was at BaskinRobins for afternoon break, waiting for my chocolate Oreo shake. I lifted it down to the cup holder in my walker. The shop guy was helping me; the lid came off and he got me a new one.

Three ladies drove up. One was quite old and not moving very well. Another was 10 to 20 years younger. The driver was a young gal. All were African American, not that it matters.

They made their way into the shop as I was leaving.

The oldest lady was making her way into the shop pretty quick.

Made me think how important ice cream is...not just to me.

Ice cream is the great equalizer...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Choose death over disability?

Disaboom ran a survey and found that 52% of the people would rather die than be disabled.

Half of Americans Would Choose Death over Disability: Survey

We are a shallow people. Nobody chooses to be disabled. You become disabled.

The umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. Oxygen was cut off from my brain. At eight months, I wasn't holding my head up right. Doctors diagnosed me as having cerebral palsy.

Disability is not fun. Don't think for a second that I have not dreamt what it would be like to not be disabled. I pray and shed a tear for Bam Bam's sister (he is on E's baseball team) who is severely disabled, in a wheelchair, and who is going into surgery this week to have rods put in her back to help with her scoliosis. She just turned 14. She has Tourette Syndrome.

Disability takes strength and love. People who don't know me often see me as funny and not fitting in. The hardest part of being disabled is accepting yourself, loving yourself, allowing your family and friends accept and love you.

Acceptence and love is not everywhere in this world. It's not a one time thing. It's not easy. It is a every day growing experience. It is life.

52% would choose death over life? It does not surprise me. You really do not know until you are there, until your family and friends are there with you, and you find the strength to live.

God loves and accepts me the way I am. I believe He could take away my disability in a flash. But there is more to life than getting what we want, when we want.

Life is about growth.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Krip-Hop Project

This is very cool:

Krip-Hop Project is looking for Disabled Hip-Hop Artists & Media Coverage : Indybay

Krip-Hoppers, heed the call!

I have not music talent, but I have admiration for those who do.

A very nice website:

Watch this video of Leroy Moore:

"Krip Hop displays the beauty and strength of collaboration and disabled music history, present and future. Our aim is to get the musical talents of hip-hop artists with disabilities into the hands of media outlets, educators, hip-hop, disabled and race scholars, youth, hip-hop conference coordinators, agents and to report on the latest news on musicians with disabilities."

A bumper sticker with me in mind....

I saw this on a car parked at my office last week. Made me laugh...and think of myself...

I'm not a geek!

Today is embrace your geekness day. I am not a geek!

Today I bought the domain Yes, I own my last name now. I am using it to forward to a new website I made to advertise Jodie and I as speakers.

I figured out how to forward email from my domain. forwards to my regular email account. I made one for Jodie and one for E.

Wittrens of the world...I have 97 more accounts I can create.

How many people have their first and last name as an email address?

Okay...I will hug myself...

A real comedianne...

Do It Myself Blog - Glenda Watson Hyatt » Resisting iPhone 3G Mania

No iPhone for me....I will take a Thumb 2.0...

On to State!

E's baseball team beat one of the Camas teams twice yesterday to win districts and the right to represent Tri County at the state tournament. Junior National champs from Rockwood!

Camas is a great team. We got large leads early in both games, and had to hang on tight as the leads were chipped away.

Camas had to play a third game between our two games. That made the difference...they were tired. They now play in Hillsboro Monday for a berth at State.

The last game was tied in the final inning. E had been the starter pitcher. Our other pitchers...and our fielders...were struggling. They put E back in...he held them.

We were last up. They intentionally walked one of our hitters. Bases were full. A tap of the ball and the game was won!

No practices are scheduled. Our fielding sorely needs it. One of our boys is leaving for Disneyland. Another boy was not there yesterday.

Come on little team...we need 9 boys to show up at State on Thursday night!

Go Rebels!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The whole play list....A to Z...

I have been glued to K-HITS 106.7 this week. They are playing their entire music library in alphabetical order. Some great songs I have not heard for a long time.

Chica boom

I'd like to teach the world to sing

3 versions of I heard it through the grape vine

Beetles songs I don't remember...

Here is a list.

17-5....another win!

The boys did it again last night! E was catcher, first base and closer.

The whole team stepped up. It was a good game. Two more wins and we go to state playoffs.

Go Rebels!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bats in the belfry?

1987...I had graduated from Oregon State and I was working on getting my drivers liscense. I had talked a buddy into letting me drive to Salem and back to Corvallis.

I returned to my home at the time--"The Mansion". It was a house that was built in the early 1900's. It had been added onto many times. When I was there is was 4 or 5 2 bedroom apartments. The sweetest elderly lady in the world at our church rented it for $85/mo to college kids.

The top floor was condemned, but very fun to explore. Old desks and chairs, broken much character! That was the fourth floor.

Anyway, I was in the kitchen fixing my tortillas. PB&J, hot dogs, or cheese...I forget what I chose this day. I heard a noise in my living room. Something was flying around, and banging into the walls. It was 3 bats flying around!

I didn't know what to do! I called Tom. He was a former Mansionite, now a married phd student.

"Tom! We have bats flying around in the living room! What do I do!"

I'll never forget his response. He laughed, and then he said: "Bats in the belfry?"

He told me to open a window for them to get out. I did.

This lady should have called Tom:

Women discovers new home is full of bats | - Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional

We won? How'd we do that?

E's baseball team had their first district playoff game last night out at Cottrell. Beautiful place...farmland all around.

During warmups our kids were arguing. One kid bragged he had not slept for 24 hours. They were missing catches, and walking as slow as they could to retrieve the balls...very hard to watch.

E was pitching. Bases loaded in the first. Come on E, you can do this. Only one run scored.

We went on to win 12-2...we ten runned Mt. Hood.

Stellar pitching by E and Jordan. Good hits. Fielding? Well...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Email from the past...

I recieved a reply from and email I receive on 9/5/05.

I had emailed the webmaster of this site:

I told him I liked the way he customised the template. He thanked me and told me all the work he put into it.

Yesterday, I got a second reply to that email. The new webmaster wants to know how to get their church's publication on their website. He saw that I was able to get our newsletter on our site.

I responded last night with some's not as easy as it would seem.

So, where is Eau Claire?

I thought this stuff only happened to us...

Mom, John...I'm not laughing at you...I'm laughing with you. I thought the stuff only happened to Jodie and I.

Years ago when we bought our stove from Sears, it was and eight of an inch too high for our counters. One eighth! We had to go pick out a new stove. We were bummed, because we had wanted the controls out of E's reach when he was small...and they said we had to have one with the controls in front.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Blind Dr. using her sense, her mind and borrowed eyes...

I cannot imagine the daunting road Dr. Cooke took to get though medical school.

She has gadgets that talk to her, people who see things for her then describe them, and a mind for putting the pieces together.

Groundbreaking new Sherwood doc is the nation’s first blind naturopathic physician

According to her website, she is writing a book about how doctors relate to patients who have disabilities. She is looking for input. I will need to email her.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Foreclosers may lead to election woes...

Home foreclosure epidemic may affect the election?

In Ohio and elsewhere.

This will be a huge issue in January when the courts are still sorting out the November elections.

We need to get one..

We need to get one of these for Jodie's collection.

Crikey! 'Crocodile Hunter' daughter gets own doll | - Portland, Oregon | Entertainment

Techno hades.....

Jodie's Blackberry keeps beeping.

I can't figure out how to turn E's computer off all the way.

Firefox, the internet browser I prefer to use, is doing something strange on my computer. I click on the icon, my computer appears to be thinking, but it never comes up. I went to their help yesterday. I went in and set something to "Windows XP". Didn't's doing it again. Reinstall....or search for more help...


The Wittren's are sick!

I have been dealing with a cold for 2 weeks. Runny nose, and a cough that has gotten deeper. All my moms at work have been pestering me, "You need to go in to see the doctor." Okay, tomorrow I will call. I don't want brochitis again.

Now E has stuff happening with his ears, I hear him sneezing...and he has, that's not blog friendly.

Baseball districts start in 2 days...get better kid!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I am using Google Sites to create a new website for my church. I am a huge Google fan.

Pastor Al noticed the misspelling. It's "Lutheran".

I blame it on my roots.