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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where did "Oregon" come from?

The origins of the name of my beloved state is a mystery.

The culprit found...

The Zune leap year bug.

My Zune is froze....

My Zune music player is froze on the opening screen today...and I'm not the only one! 

A conspiracy to get me to buy a new Zune?

Microsoft would not really do that, would they?

I bought Zunes for Jodie and Eric for Christmas... 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 to us!

I've said it before; I think President Bush would do better if he let Laura talk to us instead of him.

I like her take the shoe throwing incident:

I'm not a Bush fan, but I think his failure to articulate thoughts to us has magnified our negative thoughts of him.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We are free!

We were finally able to get out yesterday. Jet White started right up. We found the only handicapped space at the mall that was not a slush repository...or so it seemed.

We bought E a 19 in TV for his room. I did not realize it was hi def. We turned on a football game when we got home. The difference between analogue and hi def a pair of glasses...I could see the players whiskers!

I know what I want for my birthday!

Friday, December 26, 2008

White Christmas...

Christmas Eve was a quiet one at home for us.  Week two of being snowed in.  

We are getting creative in the meal department as we use up our groceries.  I mixed hamburger with baked beans.  I didn't have the pineapple to mix in like mom does.   Not bad...not the best.

We called mom and John after dinner.  We miss you...look forward to our makeup Christmas Eve...when the slush is gone.

We watched one of our favorite holiday movies, 'Jingle All the Way'.  Arnold, Sinbad, Phil Hartman...we watch it every year.

Santa was nice to us, thanks to our heavy dependence on internet shopping...and E and Jodie braving the Thanksgiving weekend crowds.  A color print out picture sufficed for one additional gift we plan to get for E...when we are no longer snowed in.

Mike and Vance drove the Suburban over to get us Christmas Day afternoon.  Tbey were amazed at the depth of the snow in our culdesac.   Mike, Va nce and E shoveled a path to the Suburban, then it was a group effort to get Jodie and I to the truck.

The five mile stretch of Birdsdale Ave., that separates us.  It was a bumpy ride.  Lots of packed snow.  Cars were slid off the road.  One older lady was in tears as she drove off after having been pushed out of the ditch by some good samaritans.

Turkey dinner was wonderful.  Being with family and friends was wonderful.  Sharing gifts was fun.  We gave my sister-in-law the book "PC's for Dummies" and a coupon for a day with a live computer dummy...yours truly.

Denise was nervous that Mike and I might be talking politics.  I was good.  I kept my "Dan Quale in a skirt" comments to myself.

One of the day`s highlights was seeing it snow so heavy at my in-laws' estate.  It was beautiful!  A genuine white Christmas...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Trying to get in the mood...

Snowed in....week two.

White Christmas Eve coming up...just the three of us...Jodie, E and myself.

Thank you WW:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wheelie Catholic

A nice hat tip from a thoughtful and a very thoughtful and informative blog - Wheelie Catholic.

I like her mission statement:

A blog where issues concerning people with disabilities intersect with observations about life, encouraging prayerful efforts toward social justice and inclusion of people with disabilities

State of Emergency

Gresham, Oregon, was declared to be in a state of emergency this morning. Mayor Shane Bemus said that areas south of Powell Blvd. are inaccessible for emergency vehicles.

The Portland Metro area offices of Oregon Dept. Human Services are closed today. In my 19 years as a DHS employee, that has never happened before.

E just measured "a foot and seven inches" outside. That's 19 inches...if math is right...not sure anymore because whenever I help E with his math he get's it wrong!

Last week we had some snow and ice. Over the weekend we had freezing rain, which usually ushers in warmer air and an end to freezing temps, but now we have more snow.

Snow events here are brief and infrequent. Our region is not prepared for a prolonged snow storm.

This is the second week the Jodie and I have been snowed/iced in. I planned to be on vacation this week. I don't think we will be able to get Jodie into work this week. Regular rain to clear
this snow and ice out is not coming until this weekend.

We don't like barriers, and this weather is a big one for us!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

You smell like a Whopper!

"Flame by BK".

Is this for real?

Not just US auto companies struggling

Toyota ready to post loss, first time in 71 years.

Born in April in a sheep feeding trough?

I like the cultural Christmas story that we have all come to know better, but this piece about five myths about Christmas puts it in perspective

Size ten stimulus

Demand for the "Bush shoe" is up...

The weather out there is frightful!

Intern JJ called last night and asked that I post on the church website that all services, classes and activities are closed

It's understandable.  10 plus inches of snow, with freezing rain on top.  We would not have made it in, even without the freezing rain.  

We have a lot of members who live close to  church, and a lot of people who hail from other parts of the country where snow isn't a big deal.  

Freezing rain must have been the decider.

Today was supposed to be the children's Christmas production at church.  Such a high point of the season!  The kids understand the real meaning of the Christmas better than we adults do!  I'm always partial to the littlest boy with the loudest voice --- off key; or the little girl  who is never in the right place and is constantly being pulled back into the right place by the conductor, the parent, the kids...until everyone gives up and lets the free spirit be.

Hopefully this will be well many other things...

Friday, December 19, 2008

We broke free...for two hours

Yesterday morning, Thursday, was the first morning of the week without ice.  We were surprised how clear it was.  The rain had really done its job.  There were traces of slushy ice on the ground, but it was negotiable.

The forecast called for artic temps to return at four in the afternoon.  Jodie and I work for the same agency, but different offices.  I decided to work from Jodie's office yesterday, since it is only a mile from our house.  We would just leave by three in the afternoon to avoid the "freeze."

E's school was canceled Monday and Wednesday this week.  School was open on Thursday.  Before we went to Jodie's office, we dropped E off at my in-laws.  He rides with cousin Vance to school.

As soon as we got to Jodie's office it began to snow.

Within an hour the snow had turned the streets white.  School closed.  An hour after that E, Vance, friend Marcus, and sis-in-law Denise were at Jodie's office to escort us home.  Vance and Marcus did a awesome job escorting myself and Jodie to our van.  E opened the door and started it up.  Denise drove it home for us.  Then, they went and got groceries for us.

Back home, Jodie and I felt silly.  We were trying to be responsible.  We hadn't been to work all week,  and we thought there was a big enough break in the weather to make it to our jobs. Denise said not to worry.

I don't remember there being such a long freezing spell here before.  Tomorrow, a huge storm is supposed to hit, bringing eight inches of snow.  It's not supposed to warm up until Christmas Eve.

Our offices are understanding of our mobility issues as it relates to not being able to get around on ice, but still, it is hard for us to accept.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

True awareness

Lt. Governor David Onley of Ontario, who battled polio as a child, really gets what disability awareness is about:

Onley finished our meeting with an example he regularly gives in speeches, citing a man named Roger Crawford who was born with only partially developed hands and shortened arms yet went on to become a star tennis player and certified coach with the United States Tennis Association. 

Onley heard Crawford make a motivational speech and believes Crawford summed it up perfectly when he said, "The only difference between you and me is that you can see my handicap, but I can't see yours. We all have them. When people ask me how I've been able to overcome my physical handicaps, I tell them that I haven't overcome anything. I've simply learned what I cannot do - such as play the piano or eat with chopsticks - but more importantly, I've learned what I can do. Then I do what I can with all my heart and soul." 

Portland Arctic blas '08... pictures.

Nice work Scott!

Losing billions...

Truly the biggest losers.

Watching it go...

A new online data system for PERS, (Public Employee Retirement System).

Now I'll be able to watch my diminishing retirement.


A wearable airbag?  I could use one!

Thanks Andrew.

Size 10 humor

Late night take on size 10.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iced in!

It started snowing here on Sunday, just as the forcasters said.  It does not snow much here in the Portland area.  Usually we have one or two snow incidents a year, lasting just a couple days.

People who have moved here from areas that get more snow are surprised at how little snow it takes to paralyze the area.  The highlight of the "storms" we get around here is watching the local tv reporters shivering on the coldest overpasses around town.

Most people laugh at the overkill coverage these snow events get.  For Jodie and I, it's a real hassle!

Jodie uses crutches.  I don't use crutches (I do use a walker some of the time), but my balance, my unstable gait, oh, and the fact I slipped on ice and broke my arm a couple years ago - we don't do ice. 

We use to have a set of snow tires for our last vehicle, a minivan.   We stopped putting them on years ago when we realized that it does no good to be able to drive anywhere  in snow and ice if we can't even safely make it to and from our car!

When it's icy, we stay home.  It's safer for us, and for whoever would have to rescue us if we got stuck, or fell, or had an accident.  It kind of annoys us, as if it is a life situation where we have not overcome our disability.  We more or less accept is as a practical limitation.

Most of the time, wintry conditions that make us housebound lasts two or three days.  In January 2004 we missed four days of work because of a big snow event.  That is the longest time we have stayed home because of weather.

We stand to break that record this year.  It snowed last Sunday.   It has been below freezing since.  Today is Wednesday.  It snowed this morning, and rained this afternoon.  A night of rain would clear the slush out for us, but the temps are supposed to dip tonight, and arctic temps are returning.

A large snow event is supposed to hit Sunday into Monday and Tuesday!

Jodie and I don't know at this point whether we will be returning to work tomorrow, Friday, even into next week.

Jodie and I can do some work from home, and that really helps, but it still makes us feel funny being away from our offices so long.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Choosing a new flag for Oregon

To honor Oregon's upcomming 150th birthday, a contest was held to redesign the state flag.

Here are the top ten to choose from.

Initially I didn't like any of the choices.  It's hard to see how these graphics would look as a flag, but I am starting to like "I".

Building code vs. religious freedom

Interesting battle in Amish land.

The Amish are not the only group who would wish to declare religious freedom from building codes, but the Amish are pretty apart from the rest of us.

Yanks have a new pitcher?

Hee Hee...

SNL over the line

I realize nothing is too sacred for a SNL skit, but mocking a governor's disability isn't funny:

“The governor engages in humor all the time, and he can certainly take a joke,” Ms. Heller said in a statement. “However, this particular ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit unfortunately chose to ridicule people with physical disabilities and imply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities.

It's snowing!

Posted by Picasa

Iraqi love to President Bush

Size 10!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hijacked once more (Part 3)

This isn't the first time I had my websites highjacked.  One time it was a picture of Saddam with and anti-American slogan.  I thought "terrorism" at first, before I realised there are ten year old wise kids who can hack websites, for no other reason but for the fun of it.

Protecting websites is hard.  You can choose the security level of files and directories.  Overly secured impedes the function of the website; underly secured invites hackers.

Newer versions of Joomla come out frequently.  Updating a Joomla sites is daunting.  Anything that was custom on the previous site, chances are, are gone in the updated version.  I use to google for fixes, then dig through the php files to make them.

Failing to keep your Joomla websites updated leads to hacking.

Google Sites is a simple website program.  After a previous hacking of my domain, I moved my church's website over to Google Sites:

And Jodie and I have our website at:

I like that I don't need to worry about updates.  Google handles all the technical stuff.  The downside is that the design options are limited, but at least it is "Troyproof"!

I felt like a failure the other night when I could not get my domain back up.  I wanted to give up and do no more websites.

But Pastor Roger wants his site back up, this time on Google Sites, so my webdesign work is not through...for now.

I hope Google Sites is hacker proof!

Hijacked once more (Part 2)

The other day, I received this email:

Dear Troy:

Your web hosting account for has been deactivated (reason: terms of service violation).

Although your web site has been disabled, your data may still be available for
up to 15 days, after which it will be deleted.

If you feel this deactivation is in error, please contact customer support as
soon as possible.

Thank you,

I called to helpdesk.  He said there was "phishing" being done from my account.  That is (I think) using my account to wrongfully solicit information from others.  They saw a suspicious file someone had planted in my files.  I removed the file.  I looked for other files that looked suspicious.

I called back to ask if they could tell me what files were recently added.  They could not.  They had a list of contractors I could hire to help me.  I don't have money for that.

I found a phrase in one of my index files.  I googled it, and it was an Indonesian phrase, but I could not find it's meaning.

After I deleted a bunch of files and mysql databases, my domain still would not come up.  I called for istructions of how to reset my account.  My mid-fortynes, my "Troyishness", I  could not figure out what I needed to do.

I called and asked that my account cancelled.

Hijacked once more (Part 1)

My dreams of being a web designer suffered a setback this week.  When you make a website, you need to put it on a server where people can access it.  I rent space from a webhost for $6.95 a month.

I have been with this certain webhost for a number of years.  They were a highly rated webhost when I first started with them; now they aren't on the highly rated list.

I am not going to name them because they are refunding me for a half year of service,  which I think is a  big thing to do.

The last few years I have created a handful of websites.  I had one for my church, my son's football team, a chiropractor (who was busy and we never completed the site), and a pastor friend of mine who is starting a church.

I have use Joomla, a open source (free) content management system, to create websites.   I like putting the websites together - organizing and arranging the content, and finding the right modules and components (calendars, forms, etc...) to make the website fulfill it's purpose.

Joomla sites run with php files that work to store and access data onto a MYSQL database.  This is a "Troy" understanding of how things work.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rights protected or abused?

Anonymous blog commenters shielded by Oregon ruling

Interesting ruling.  As a former journalism student, I believe in freedom of speech, but hurtful, unsubstantiated comments can be so hurtful.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Illinois governor "disabled"?

Give me a break!

The Illinois Constitution is vague enough that [Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan] could argue the governor's corruption charges are enough to be considered a "disability"—a condition typically associated with physical or mental issues (and).... temporarily or maybe permanently remove Blagojevich from office... from What's next for Blagojevich? Removal?

Choosing your religion

An interesting article about how we choose our religion:

I like this:

The great thing about being free-will agents is that we have the ability to choose what we believe and who we believe in. But you should use your intellect, as well as your faith. The brain and the heart are approximately 18 inches apart, but they should be used together in discovering and embracing faith.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 the buzzer....

Portland Christian played against Salem Academy last night at the Warner Pacific College gym...PC's home court. The girl's nicely avenged their loss to them at state last year with a 75-25 win.

Then it was the boy's turn. We were not looking good. Shots were not falling in. PC was down by 15 at half. They scrapped back.

In the final minute, nephew Vance Downey made his shots from the line.

The last second colided with eternity.

Vance at the three point line. He shoots. The ball hit the rim.

The buzzer blew.

The ball rolled outside the rim. It looked beyond return. It stayed there for a long time!

Some weird way, the ball came back up the rim and it rolled in.

PC 3!

Way to go Vance! Way to go PC!

I want this guys desk!

Vehicular new shop.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Newspapers are disappearing

As a student of journalism, it's strand to see newspapers going away.  

Tribune went private last December, paying more than $8 billion in a deal that put Samuel Zell, a real estate billionaire, in control of the company. It has struggled since then under the resulting debt, forcing deep cuts at newspapers like The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun. It also sold Newsday to raise cash.

I prefer to read news electronically now.  Bring the ads on Sunday...otherwise, put it on the web.  I thought subscriptions through readers like the kindle would be a way, but the profit for the newspaper looks small.

My idea, fwiw, is to package a local paper, a national paper, and whatever other "print" media together as a single affordable subscription, heavily ad based to make it affordable.  Let customers choose to receive it over the web, or to their kindle.  Let customers choose which day(s) a week they would want a "newspaper" version delivered.

Newspapers are dying.  I don't think our appetite for them is dying.  We just want them delivered in different format.

$140,000 flush...

...down the loo?

Flying with no arms

Neat story about the first pilot using her feet to fly.

She said: "I never say, 'I can't do that'. I just say, 'I haven't worked it out yet,'" said Jessica.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I love Neil Young...

I knew he had a son with cp; I did not know he had two.  And, I did not realize he had his own disabilities.

Very nice post, Kay.

Bringing the people to Obama

A nice story.

Very generous!

Selling out America

They own us:

For the Chinese, there were oblique criticisms that America's profligate ways had sent the global economy into a tailspin and threatened China's stability. Largely unspoken is the fact that the Chinese government has become the largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities, with about $600 billion of China's savings invested in American debt.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

International Persons with Disabilities Day

I have not heard of this celebration here in the States. I want to learn more about it so that I can use it to educate the Oregon Department of Human Services where I work.

Calif. Teacher Sells Ads On Math Tests

Ads on test to defray printing costs. Sign of the times....


Auto industry - thinking about the kids

Uncertain future for auto industry children -

Why didn't they focus on quality? Why don't they build more efficient cars? Why did the ceo's why company jets to DC? How can our overpriced industry ever compete with the rest of the world.

So many questions, so few answers.

American jobs...American kids...

Come on smart people out there!!

Blog diplomacy?

Internet helps foster communication between Iran and U.S. - International Herald Tribune

Too much saving hurts economy...

China's economy, in need of jump start, waits for citizens' fists to loosen - International Herald Tribune

Funny...we are taught to save. We don't really do much of that in the U.S..

Now there's a good example of why not to save?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oregon state employees furlough?

I found this jewel in the Governor's new budget:

Further, I will ask all state employees to work with us to schedule unpaid time off as individual furlough days or in conjunction with closures of their offices for one day every three months. This is estimated to save $35 million in General Fund during the next biennium, while preserving pay rates and benefits for state employees.

My stepdad and sis-in-law have to take weeks off in their high tech companies...I, as a state employee, won't complain.

Let the schools decide

District will let schools make their own Christmas policies

I have long been a fan of letting schools celebrate everything. Kids should learn, and respect, what each other believes.

We adults like to complicate things.

Getting along

3 religions coexist peacefully in Tatarstan - International Herald Tribune

Tolerance is such a wonderful idea. Why is it so hard to find?

Tatarstan has found it

Another inspiration for me to start writing my book...

Author beats the odds to get into print - Christchurch News - The Press

Docs did not give my mom much hope for me when I was two either...

7 Wonders of the World of Disabilities

Do It Myself Blog - Glenda Watson Hyatt » 7 Wonders of the World of Disabilities

Interesting find....thanks Glenda!

Taking life to serious department

Zoo pulls Creation Museum promotion | | Mansfield News Journal

Why does a simple promotional pact turn into a debate against religion?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Accommodations for Invisible Disabilities

American Chronicle | Disability Accommodations Required for Invisible Disabilities

I understand the need, but the burden on business seems high. I know, that's the same argument any accommodations get.

Accommodations ideas for MCS from JAN include:

Provide an office or workspace that has working windows.

Make certain the ventilation system is not distributing pollutants and use HEPA filters and air purification systems.

Maintain a work environment which is free of pollutants such as fragrances, toxic cleaning agents, pesticides, exhaust fumes, and tobacco smoke.

Provide adequate exhaust systems to remove fumes from copiers and similar office machines.

Provide pre-notification of events such as remodeling, painting, pesticide applications, floor waxing, and carpet shampooing; and allow for alternative work arrangements for those Disability Accommodationseople who may be sensitive to the chemical agents used in the above activities.

Use non-toxic building materials, furnishings, and supplies.