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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Connecting the institutionalized wth their families...

...after all these years.

A story in the Wall Street Journal about an Oregon family reconnected with their developmentally delayed son who had been placed at Fairview in 1959. There were no services for these kids in the community back then.

What Happened to Ricky -

Where to park our scooters...

Yesterday, when Jodie and I were at the baseball championship game, Jodie and I parked ur scooters right behind where our family was sitting down the third base line.

Some employees from the Volcanoes Stadium came, right as the teams were being introduced, and told us we had to move. There were open spaces in some of the seating areas for wheelchairs to go into. Jodie and I were willing to go by ourselves, but Eric and my dear mother-in-law came with us. It was a slight inconvenience, but understandable. In case of emergency, the walkways have to be clear.

What did prove to be an inconvenience was my mother-in-law looking high and low trying to find a straw for me. I blogged about this a year ago. I need to remember to bring a straw with me...

PC Baseball Champs!

Portland Christian won the 1a/2a state championship for the second year straight!

Umpqua Valley Christian was a very worthy opponent. They were ahead most of the game. In the third inning, UVC went up by three, in part by fielding errors by PC.

Here is a really good recap by OREGONPREPSPORTS.NET.

(image from the Statesman Journal)

As the game wore on, it didn't look like we would win, and the other side was getting really excited.

But Vance kept pitching. And the boys kept believing. Vance hit a double, that we thought was a home run, but the ball hit the sighn and slid down. They tied in the 7th, were down by one in the middle of the 8th (extra inning). UVC put in a new pitcher in the last inning. He had been catcher for the whole game...and he struggled. Bases were loaded, and an unearned run won the game. Not the best way to win...but that's what we get.

Vance, as a sophomore, has three state championships under his belt; baseball last year and this year, and basketball this year. Thrilling things to come.

Great job Vance! Great effort team! Go PC!

Where's My Tax Rebate!!

I've been looking for our stimulus check to appear in our checking account.

I should have gotten it by now, according to the IRS schedule for when the checks would be deposited. We filed before April 15, we had our refund electronically deposited, and, based on my ssn, our check should have been deposited starting May 9.

So, where's our stimulus?

I will be getting in by snail-mail st the end of June because I chose to pay for our tax processing fee using the Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, and allowing them the deduct my tax processing fee and electronic filing fee out of the proceeds of our tax refund. If I would have paid for the fees with a credit card, we would have our stimulus check now.

I don't understand the explanation, but here it is:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fuel prices protests overseas...

BBC NEWS | Europe | Europe fuel protests spread wider

Wages are never going to catch up with rising prices...fuel and everything else...

We will all be looking for a nice closet to live in.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Walking to high school...a new phenomenon?

Yesterday I was pulling out on the main street near our neighborhood. First stop, Jodie's office.

I noticed a trickle of kids walking in the bike path.

"Jodie, these are high schooler walking to school," I said...a sight we have not seen before. We are about a mile and a half from Gresham High. "They ran out of gas money."

"Probably," Jodie said.

The minimum wage job, and the twenty from dad, just ain't what it use to be.

Interesting take on Blade Runner

KaraSwims over at Disaboom has an interesting take on Oscar Pistorius---Blade Runner. His plight would seem to minimize the paralympians.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

E and I go to the movies

Jodie was not feeling good yesterday, Memorial Day. E wanted to go see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal.

Harrison still has the moves...probably more the magic of film. Kate Blanchett is a wonderful villain. Karen Allen was a very charming reunited love. Shia LeBeouf (of "Holes" fame) kept up well with old man Indiana.

The action scenes were many and very well done.

We wait for most movies to come out on pay-per-view. I don't think our 32" would have done this movie justice.

E loved it. I loved it.

Father/son time....priceless.

Not to brag...but I am Vance Downey's uncle...

"Vance Downey went six innings for the win, yielding four hits with no walks and six strikeouts."

Portland Christian beat Elgin tonight, 7-3. They play at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on Friday for the 2A state championship. Vance was a freshman last year when they beat Riddle 4-2 to take the title.

Just a couple months ago Vance's basketball team took state.

Congratulations Vance! Go PC!

You know where we'll be on Friday....

May your stance be wide...

Best title contest.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tension on the diamond

E's baseball team played David Douglas #2 on Friday night. The storyline of the game, unfortunately, was not the kids. It was the umps and the coaches.

There were two umps. The home plate ump was an older guy, 50's I would say. The young infield ump was an older teen. The younger ump kept talking to the other team. At one point he shared that he had previously gotten in trouble for talking to the home team too he was talking to the home team. Ah...the irony!

One of our kids laid down a bunt. He missed the ball. The home plate ump called it "ball". It looked like our kid did not get his bat back in time. The ump gave the kid a benefit of a doubt. It happens.

The opposing coach questioned the call. The ump was not backing down. The coach kept arguing. The ump asked him to get off the field. He kept arguing, so the ump had to ask the coach to leave the game. I got nervous because of how things were escalating. I thought punches were coming.

The young field ump tried to explain to the ump while he was wrong, and what the rule for bunting was. A grandpa on our team (a baseball lifetime expert I'd say) came over and told us that that the infield ump can't make that call. I would have called the young ump out!

Throughout the rest of the game the home plate ump kept asking different players and spectators "Do you think I don't know baseball?" A rhetorical question that nobody dare answer, but he kept asking.

Our kid that likes to steal home was standing between third and home, daring the pitcher to do something about it. I don't like how he does that, but it must be legal...he never gets called for it. The pitcher did not know what to do. He had a balk called, so the runner advanced to home and scored.

The pitcher started to cry. He didn't understand the balk. An assistant coach on the other team ran out to the mound, without calling for timeout. The ump tried to get him off the field. I felt bad for the kid. He was sobbing and could not pull it together.

Another odd thing about the game was that some of the balls the other team were using we softballs!

The game ended on yet another low point. Our games go 6 innings, or 2 hours (a new inning cannot start after the 2 hour mark. There is a 5 run limit on each inning until the 6th, which is a open inning. We started the 5th inning just before the 2 hour mark. We were up first. When the other team came up the opposing assistant coach wanted to declare it a open inning. Our coach said that would have had been decided at the beginning of the inning. We were up by 6.

"That's it...we're done." He ordered his team to line up on the field. The game really was over at that point. Even if we let them have an open inning, they would not have scored the 7 points they needed to win.

I feel bad for the kids on both teams this past Friday night. They learned that adults lose their temper. They did not learn sportsmanship.

Should we not display higher levels of conduct for our kids?

We act too much like the pros.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Blade Runner" wins right to compete

I have blogged about the amazing South African runner here before. A double amputee, he runs with carbide fiber prosthetic legs.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had ruled that these specialized prosthetics gave Oscar an unfair advantage against non-disabled runners. That ruling has now been reversed in arbitration, but it sounds like he is a second off for qualification.

Oscar has won an important battle for the disabled. He may not make it to China in 2008, but he can keep working his "arse" off to try, and he can dream of making it like thousands of other almost Olympians around the world.

Being disabled is not for sissies. We work our butts off to attain as much independence as we can. We work our butts off to compete with a non-disabled world in whatever we do, and we push beyond that to do a better job to compensate for areas where our disabilities might get in the way. How about the pain we endure, the humiliation when we fail, the victories that we have that the world never sees and would never understand?

A "glass ceiling", an attitude...I don't know what you call it. People smile at us and say we are an inspiration. But, we are really not supposed to compete, are we? Shouldn't we just stay in our corner and be an "inspiration"?

Why can't the non-disabled world step into our world and imagine how it feels like to no be taken serious?

Oscar, don't give up man....I want to see your "arse" up on that podium this summer!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stilt Story - Great job Neil

Amazing guy....amazing passion...

Stilt Story -

Where can I get a pair of stilts. I want to start practicing.

A wonderful way to spread disability awareness.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Foil coffee can lids...not Troy-proof!

I love the new foil lids on coffee cans, far less lethal than metal lids.

Yesterday I was removing one. To get a better grip I grabbed it with my thumb and forefinger. I sliced my a paper cut. It bled!

Google Friend Connect

Google has a new toy for me to play with...Google Friend Connect.

I hope to have time tonight to play with this. Maybe I can turn my blog into a community?

Myspace does not work with it. Bummer!

Most famous Craig in the world? Newspaper killer?

Jack had an interesting entry yesterday pointing to an article in the NY Times about the Craig of Craigslist.

Ebay owns 28% of Craigslist and won't let it go. Ebay started Kijiji to compete against them. I never heard of them, but they are big outside the US.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Segways for the disabled

I think it is wonderful that disabled vets are gaining mobility with the Segway, and seg4vets is facilitating it.

I remember when the Segway first came out, there was a lot of hoopla of how it would change the world. I think the thought was people would give up walking and cars for Segways. With the soaring price of gas, this could still happen.

Here is a great story about how the Segways are helping vets gain mobility.

I found a video of a guy who added a seat to a Segway. I found a SegSeat ($749?).

I doubt Jodie and I would have the balance to handle a Segway, but it does peak my interest. People look at you different when you are sitting in a scooter rather than being up at eye level.

I believe the Ibot uses the same technology, but I am sure at a much higher price ($29,000) vs the Segway ($5,000 - $6,000).

I would still like to try a Segway...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Forget to hang your disabled placard? Pay $200 to get your car off the hook..

..Or sic a grandma, a Post Office public relations officer, and a police officer on a tow truck driver looking to recoup costs(?):

'As for why he asked for payment to release the car, Coe said the driver was merely trying to recover his cost. "He has gone through the expense of patroling, and hooking it up, so he charges a drop fee," Coe said.'

Tow truck, grandma in standoff over disabled parking spot | Local News | | News for Oregon and SW Washington

I had a similar run in with the law a year and a half ago. We had to go down to the court house to explain that we had a disabled placard but forgot to hang it up.

The non-disabled may not understand how easy it is to forget to hang the disabled placard up. The card says right on it to remove from mirror when driving. Like everyone else, when I park I have a hundred things on my mind. Hanging the disabled placard is not one of them.

We clipped the disabled placard to our sun visor, but one time we got a warning because the officer, who was patrolling from a wheelchair, could not see it.

We now keep the placard on our mirror all the time. I'm just afraid I will forget to hang it up otherwise. It really does not block my vision; I am just careful when I roll down the windows that it does not blow out the van.

There should be a better solution, a way to make the visible all the time, without obstructing your view and having to handle the placard every time I park, but I have not figured it out yet.

Maybe this grandma will.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Picasa Web Albums - Troy - WITTICISMS - Wittrens2.jpg

It was a wild night at Wall Street Pizza!

Thank you Annette for the pictures:

Farewell Irvine Robbins

Irvine Robbins has passed away at age 90.

I have been walking across the parking lot a couple times a week lately for my afternoon break to enjoy your wonderful ice cream.

31 flavors for 31 days a month...I never knew.

Farewel Irvine....Baskin-Robbins lives on....

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Getting to the game....

Last night, E's team played David Douglas. Getting to the field was a trial for Jodie and I. They played on the diamond furthest from the parking lot.

It was a long ways! The was no easy way to get the scooters onto the field. Jodie went ahead and walked the distance to the diamond. I figured I could make it to the diamond, but I also knew that after the game when I was cold and stiff I would not be able to make it back to the car.

I went back to the van. I turned on our Garmin and pulled up a map of the area. I looked for a road that would get me closest to the baseball field that Eric was playing on. There were a lot of streets coming up; I was not sure which one would get me to the back of the field.

Just then, Jodie called. The coach told Jodie to take 106th off of Division.

I decided to try 106th off Market ST before driving all the way around to Division. The street didn't go through:

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I drove around to Division, about a mile it seems.

I found the gate right behind the field:

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The opening in the fence had some bars just in front of the entrance. I had to squeeze to get through. I managed. I did not know if Jodie would be able to squeeze through when we left, but she did.

The last trick of the night was backing down that narrow street and turning Jet White around. Thank goodness for our backup camera.

What we do for the Kid!

We won 10-7.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Donut World and Heaven

After church yesterday we stopped at Donut World in Gresham. It is a wonderful secret in Gresham in a building that looks like a red barn.

Jodie and E are usually the ones who go inside to get the donuts. Yesterday I went in with E.

When I came out I saw a gentleman sitting in the corner booth inside. We were studying each other. I could tell by the way he was holding his head that he had cerebral palsy, more severe than mine.

Jodie said that she saw him when she went inside. She said that she remembered hearing the lady behind the counter tell a young girl "Now you put his donuts on a tray and take them to him, okay?"

I can relate with him. When I was in college there was a donut shop across from campus. I was such a regular that I referred to it as "My Office". Warm apple fritters in the morning were my heaven. It got to where I did not need to verbalize my order. They automatically reached for an apple fritter for me.

My first class in college was a Pascal (computer programming) class. My Varsity House mate, Darwin, made a deal that if we could keep each other awake in this over 500 student class, that we would go for donuts afterward. Darwin and I met there once a week for a couple years. It was wonderful conversation we would have. We were solving the world's problems. When Darwin graduated I had other donut shop partners.

I felt bad that that guy in Donut World did not have a partner. It warmed my heart to know that the lady behind the counter was watching out for him.

I felt awkward getting into my mega van with my wife and son. I felt pity for him, then I felt guilt for feeling that way. My life is so blessed, and I am not always as thankful as I should be.

Even so, I should not assume that his life is not blessed.

Donuts, you know, are like heaven.

Friday, May 02, 2008

E Machine mows them down....

E had a baseball game last night. Welches came to play. We were down 7 - 0 when E came in to pitch in the 3rd inning.

E was throwing strikes. Two innings, I think, it was 3 up 3 down. A couple walks came through later on. I don't think there were any hits, and there was no more runs.

The Welches coach became a bit unglued over the whole spectacle. E stopped his team. One time E was down in the count 3 - 0. He came back with 3 strikes!

Our boys scored 4. We could not make it back from the 7 - 0 hole.

Even so, E closed the game in style.

Proud Dad moment!