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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Remembering #44

Nephew Vance and the Portland Christian gang had a game at Corbett last night.

Corbett is a small town in the Cascade foothills a half hour east of us. We go to their 4th of July parade. Eric's baseball team plays them...we befriended a family of one of the Corbett players a couple years ago.

Corbett is a arch rival. Corbett fans were seen with shirts a few years ago that said "Friends don't let friends go to PC!" Eric goes to PC. He never lets this memory go.

We went to pay for admission to the game in Corbett last night. The lady collecting was none other than Pat Lucas, a friend of my uncle's, and a friend of our family.

Pat's son, Jeff Lucas, was a Navy Seal. He died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005.

As I watched the high school boys play, I could see future leaders. So much much hope.

I looked across the gym and I saw jersey #44 enshrined in a glass case. His mother came over to say goodbye.

Remember the heroes.

Remember their families.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Congratulations Jim!

Jodie had the hots for this fresh out of college high school teacher nearly 30 years ago. Jim and his family attend our church.

Awesome person for the job:

Schlachter will become superintendent of Gresham-Barlow schools

Hey Winneshiek...that was funny!

I was going down 122nd yesterday to pick Eric up from school.

At a red light, I was behind a tall, green pick up. Iowa plates, "Winneshiek" on the bottom. It's a county in NE, who doesn't know that?

A young gal was driving. She was smoking, and dangling the cigarette outside. She looked cool. Made me want to light up.

The cigarette dropped to the street.

The truck door opened. She jumped the four feet down the street and grabbed the cigarette. She hopped back into the truck.

She looked at me through her side mirror. She had that OMG look on her face as she saw me laughing. She started to laugh.

Don't worry Winneshiek, I won't tell anyone.

Cigs are expensive!

What's on the other side?

IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING: Explaining death: "'You don't know? You're a Christian man, and don't know what's on the other side?'"

Thanks Googling God...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Close call!

We were driving home from church yesterday. A lady pulled out of an apartment and cut us off...really bad.

I slammed on the breaks. I don't know how our 8500 pound van stopped...but it did.

I was not going to honk, but I fumbled for the horn. I thought she should know how close of call it was.

We pulled over. We had secured Jodie's chair. We had secured it with one restraint. It had really moved and was tipping. I have been telling Eric why we needed to secure it. He really did not get it...but now he does!

What the lady did next was pretty bizarre. She pulled over to the center median and stopped. As we started to go, she crossed back over two lanes of traffic, pulled into the gas station at the corner and turned her suv around to look at us. She then pulled out onto the cross street.

She drove slow and erratic. She then turned around, like she might be coming back to us.

When our light turned green, I was out of there! I kept looking in my mirror to see if she was behind us.

Maybe the lady felt bad and wanted to check on us. Maybe she was stoned.

I don't know!

Need to figure this one out

Yesterday I dropped Ma2 and Eric off at the front door at church. I drove to the back lot and helped Jodie out. I told her to go ahead in.

It was raining and really yucky.

I got my scooter out, closed up the van, and headed for the back door. I use to be able to open a door from my scooter. I was struggling.

A little boy ran to my assistance. He and his mom were greeting at another door and saw me through the window.

He held the door. I started to go. I had to back up and try again. Then, I ran over the boy's foot. OMG!! I felt terrible! He did not cry...he ran to his mom.

I felt so bad!

Need to figure out how to get into church without causing damage...or pain!

Pope To Priests: We Must Blog NOW

Interesting thoughts from the Pope. As we are getting more networked online, so must the clergy.

My pastors are online. Pastor Karl blogs a weekly E-votional, and Pastor Roger (serving the down and out) is blowing on the reeds, making us think.

Pope To Priests: We Must Blog NOW: "'The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web,' but priests are 'challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources,' he said."

Might as well put winning company's logo on Whitehouse as well

David Wallechinsky: Supreme Court Decision Shakes up 2012 Presidential Race; Poll Shows New Leaders: "Jumping right into policy issues, AT&T issued a press release announcing its intention, if elected, to disband the Secret Service and replace it with Blackwater/Xe. Not to be outdone, Goldman Sachs announced that if it took over the White House, it would eliminate the Pentagon. The War in Iraq would be handed over to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and the War in Afghanistan to the World Boxing Council (WBC). This decision caused great controversy, but it died away when Goldman Sachs promised Yemen to the World Boxing Association (WBA)."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bubble Wrap at 50...

Bubble Wrap Celebrates 50th Birthday

Largest nation in Africa and Arab world

I never realized Sudan was this big.

It is so easy to worry about our own area of the globe without considering other areas of the globe.

I think our calling is greater than that.

Learning about the needs of the rest of the globe will sharpen our hearts and minds to put our own problems in perspective and reach out to others.

South Sudan prepares for elections: "Sudan is the largest nation in either Africa or the Arab world, covering 967,000 square miles, making it about one quarter the size of the United States. It has a population of about 40 million."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Most Union Members Now Work for Government -

Interesting news. Yes, I am one of those union government workers.

I was a volunteer to start. I remember when I was hired, my family was thrilled...not so much the pay, but the benefits.

Twenty years later, it is still not so much the pay, but the benefits.

Most Union Members Now Work for Government -

Here is a interesting discussion about why most union jobs are now with government...and where the other union jobs have gone.

A crass thought from a government worker: If you can't beat us, joint.

Caveat: If you join us, you will never be rich.

Choosing a call over riches...

Dreaming of riches and fame...working your butt off for it...

Then, a call from God.

I know a pastor who gave up a lot for a call.

Not quite as dramatic. Even so, have to admire them.

From Baseball to Priesthood - The Daily Beast

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why health care reform would be nice...

John is still looking for work...

Number Seven Forty Four - john's MySpace Blog | I do count, but for what?

As if elections were not already bought...

Could there possibly be more campaign commercials? I'm sure we will see:

Campaign-Finance Ruling Opens Door to More Political Groups - "The question now is whether corporations and labor unions will take advantage of their new freedom. For the past decade, labor unions have been more aggressive than corporations in finding legal ways to fund independent political campaigns. But the relaxation of campaign-spending restrictions could clear the way for groups from all points along the political spectrum to spend more, and target more of that spending in the critical final days of a campaign."

Eric was wondering about deaf athletes...

Ever wonder where baseball signals and football huddles came from?

Deaf Is | Sports | Paul D. Hubbard

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Basketball League for Whites Only?

Totally awful and absurd, but here it is:

Googling God...: Basketball League for Whites Only?

Basketball Alliance (AABA) sent out a press release on Sunday saying that it intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities. However, the AABA is different from other sports leagues because only players who are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” AABA commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis insists that he’s not racist, but he just wants to get away from the “street-ball” played by “people of color” and back to “fundamental basketball.” Lewis cited the recent incidents of bad behavior by NBA players, implying that such actions would never happen with white players:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

U.S. providing work for Taliban?

Not that we should stop trying to do the right thing, but this kind of thing is what makes it hard:

Afghanistan | Corruption: "In spite of the U.S. intervention in this Taliban-ridden region, the dam project has been counterintuitively free of attack, leaving soldiers here suspicious. ADT commander Col. Brian Copes says: “The Taliban might have taken 30 or 40 percent right off the top, and now he’s struggling to perform, because he’s got less than 100 percent of budget because the Taliban took their cut right off the top.”"

Monday, January 18, 2010 3-D!

We just got back from seeing 'Avatar" 3-D.

The 3-D was fun, though at times it was giving me a headache. I think that was because we sat so much toward the front. Jodie saw her first movie from her power chair, so we sat in the front with her. Jodie wore the 3-d glasses, but with her lack of depth perception, it did not make a difference for her. I really noticed the 3-d effects in a few parts, like when the white things were dropping from the "Tree of Voices."

Besides Jodie and myself, I noticed two other disabled women there. One had a walker with a oxygen tank attached, another was in a power chair. When the movie was over, the woman in the power chair was going out someone who was toting a suitcase on wheels who said to her "Too bad they can't make an avatar for you!"

It was neat to see the lead actor in a chair as a paraplegic. Seeing him enter into Avatar form where his mind is in control and his disability disappears...well, that does represent a dream that all us disabled have. The end of the movie where his Avatar love interest saves him in his non-Avatar disabled form was really cool.

I liked the movie a lot, but I could not help but think of the thoughts on the movie I had read earlier in the week. Imperialism. The "conquering the west" push, taking away the land from the Native Americans. There was a pretty obvious mocking of the "war on terror". As a centered lefty, this all made me feel uncomfortable.

I left "Avatar" with a volley of thoughts going through my head: We were awful as a nation to the Native Americans; we like to bulldoze for progress, without realizing we are replacing the better for the worse; the religion portrayed in this movie is way different than my Christian faith; why are we in Afghanistan?

But then I tell myself to shut off my mind and realize it was just a movie...a very good movie,

Faith will heal Trig?

I was in downtown Portland once at the Rose Festival. A young gal grabbed my hand and wanted to pray for me. Enough faith and I would be healed.

I was in my my room at the Varsity House co-op at college. A brother in Christ grabbed my hand and wanted to pray for me. Enough faith and I would be healed.

Jodie and I use to go to Sunday evening service at a rather large church. The preacher said that he was healed by God, and we could be too, if we had enough faith.

God could "heal" me of my cerebral palsy in a split second. I know that. God knows I know that.

My love and faith in God is not based on what He does for me.

We are on a journey together. The footprints in the sand are all His. That's all that matters to me.

Pray for Trig? Sure, I will pray...for the journey.

The J-Walk Blog: Pray For Trig?

'I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law.'

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes: Famous Sayings For MLK Day 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bush standing tall

This is not politics:

Bush Pushes Back Against Limbaugh's Obama-Haiti Remark

Young men on the court

Eric had a basketball game in Beaverton yesterday at Valley Catholic. We play a team called 'Visitation'.

One of the refs ushered Jodie and I, in powerchair and scooter, to the primo viewing spot. Mid court, just below the raised scorers table.

The boys each played their part wonderfully. The coach was applauding the plays, the made shots and the missed shots, the made blocks and the missed blocks.

It was about execution, not the score.

I did not see boys on the court was young men who were out there.

But yes...we did win.

Thoughts on Haiti

Just when you think you have witnessed all the tragedy of tragedies, a new one comes along.

Some people say words just to hear themselves. God did this...we must make sense of this.

My heart was warmed yesterday to see President Obama welcome Presidents Bush and Clinton to the stage. We must help, we will help, this is long term.

Pastor Roger's thoughts:

Koine Community in Portland.: Angel Unaware: "The psalmist says it feels like God is asleep, the angels unaware. Yes, it feels that way. And this is acceptable speech for worship of our God who created all things. It's in the Bible, the word of God. It's inspired.

So let the screams be heard and the tears flow. . ."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Proud Dad moment...

We had the funeral service for Jodie's Aunt Bev at our church today.

Pastor Karl did a wonderful job memorializing a woman he met a week ago on the last day of her life.

Pastor Karl had Eric read Scriptures during the service today. Eric led us in the reading of Psalm 23.

The biggest and coolest thing was the Eric helped Pastor Karl serve communion.

Seeing Eric standing up at the pulpit with Pastor Karl, he looks like a natural up there.

It may or may not be Eric's calling to be behind the pulpit, but it excites Jodie and I to consider the possibility.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I was at the bar...and this lady was hitting on me....

Friday means lunch at Action Jackson's with coworkers Vicky and Bonnie. Happy hour; if we come in before noon, cheeseburgers are $1.99, as are a platter of fries.

I filled my second punch card today. My next lunch is free.

The waitress knows my has that "Cheers" feel. Action Jackson's is a bar and grill, in the same parking lot as our office.

We dine on the restaurant side of the establishment, but we go over to the bar side to pay our bill.

There have been more people on the bar side lately. When I went to pay my bill today, this guy, who was also there last week, was calling me "buddy" and his friend, and talking about how well I do. A touch condescending...I know...but people are who they are and I am who I am. I'd rather have people talk to me and relate to me any way they know how rather than have them ignore me.

It is hard to explain this stuff to people not familiar with disability. I get by fine, but with my type of cerebral palsy, doing the simplest thing takes effort. Getting my debit card and my punch card out without spilling all my other cards...takes effort. Signing the receipt takes effort. I always ask a friend or the server write the tip on the receipt for me.

I get by fine; it just takes effort.

So this guy at the bar, and other people around him, who are having a "happier" hour than my Happy Hour of $1.99 cheeseburger and $1.99 fries.

I was paying my bill today. Vicky, her husband Doug, and Bonnie was over by the door. I am waiting at the bar for my waitress to process my debit card. A lady at the bar started calling me friend. She grabbed my hand.

I signed the receipt. I asked the waitress to write in the tip. I put my debit card away. I was ready to go.

The lady still had hold of my hand! I could not free it!

I kept jerking and pulling my hand until I was free. I was afraid of being rude, but I had to get back to work.

That lady made my day. She gave me a good story to tell...

I was at the bar...and this lady was hitting on me....

What was Pat Robertson referring too?

More perspective:

The Devil’s Reparations for Haiti’s Debt? - Elizabeth Palmberg - God's Politics Blog

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daily Kos: White House Reacts To Limbaugh & Robertson

The link was too long for twitter...this is a good response:

Daily Kos: White House Reacts To Limbaugh & Robertson

What are the requirements of a pundit?

Go beyond the cliche, say something smart...don't insult our intelligence. Can Palin even do this? Let alone run for president:

The Uncertain Future of Sarah Palin - TIME: "The job requirements of punditry — commenting on a variety of political and nonpolitical happenings — are not necessarily the best preparation for a run at the Republican nomination, even in this environment. (Just ask Pat Buchanan.) When asked by O'Reilly why she is still the target of so much criticism, Palin replied, 'It's not about me personally. They don't like the message. They don't like the commonsense conservative solutions I articulate.' Maybe. But eventually, even other Republicans may be emboldened to challenge her."

Monday, January 11, 2010

We're Marching to Victoria!

We received a phone call last week informing us that Jodie's Auntie Bev was gravely ill. Jodie's mom, Bev's sister, had spoken to her the week before and she had been doing well. She had emphysema and was on oxygen.

Jodie's mom and her sister, Denise, went to be with Bev. Jodie was not able to go with them because of the stairs going up to Bev's manufactured home, and the inaccessibility once inside the home. Last Wednesday the doctor's said that Bev had only a few days to live.

Bev was a character. The kind of character that puts a smile on your face.

The Aunt Bev that I knew was the Bev who sat with Jodie and I up at the hospital back in the early 90's. Brother-in-law Ken, Jodie's sister Denise's husband, had a brain tumor. Surgery was being done to relieve the pressure in Ken's head. We were all sad, but doing our best to pull for Ken.

Aunt Bev was a quiet rock of comfort. She had the bag of snacks, she had the puzzles, she had the words of comfort to pull us through.

Growing up, Jodie had many surgeries to increase her mobility. The surgeries were in the summer so as to not interrupt school. Recuperating in the heat of summer was not fun, but there was always Auntie Bev, with loads of books, smiles, encouragement and love.

Bev would help Jodie walk up and down the driveway singing "We are Marching to Victoria".

Jodie and Bev had a special greeting for each other "You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny!" One time Jodie shouted that across the gym at school when Bev came for a special function. Bev was so embarrassed!

This past Saturday we were driving to Eric's basketball game. Our phone rang. Pastor Karl asked the family to call Jodie to let her talk to Bev. Jodie was in was I. Last words are hard to say to a loved one. The phone kept getting disconnected, but on the third try, Jodie finally got it out: "You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny!"

After the game we got the call that Antie Bev had passed.

I can hear her singing "We are Marching to Victoria!"

Interesting perspective on Leno debacle

I am a Letterman fan myself...still, I think...but this is a good piece by a great comedian:

Paul Reiser: A Teachable Leno Moment

Portland makes top grade for green jobs

The 5 Best Cities For Green Jobs

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Free refills!

Soda, and fecal bacteria and fat ... oh my | - News- Portland, Oregon| Local & Regional

Looking for and adaptive solution...

Jodie is doing well in her new power chair. We are really thrilled!

The pain in her shoulders that she use to feel at the end of the day is gone. Dr. Molly was even amazed.

One thing we'd like to figure out.

When Jodie gets into the power chair, somebody needs to strap her feet into the foot rests. It makes her more secure in the chair and keeps her legs from dangling in the air. The tightness of her palsy causes this.

It would be nice to figure out a way that Jodie could secure her feet without assistance.

I have been googling around for success yet.

The therapist and Dave, the guy from the wheelchair place, could not think of a solution either. They did get get a "charge" from my idea to have an electromagnet pull her feet into place.

Our line of thought is to find some ski boot binding apparatus that Jodie could snap her feet into.

Anyone have ideas?

Links to possible solutions would be nice.

Extra credit for affordable solutions.


Hmm...would this apply to women

Rules of Thumb - GUESSING A MAN'S AGE

Google that!

Google Is Word of the Decade - The Daily Beast

Friday, January 08, 2010

Walgreens in guys rock!

Eric and I stopped to pick up a prescription for Jodie last night. Walgreens at 223 and Glisan.

Very windy there. Eric raced in, and then watched me battle the wind to get in.

The prescription was ready, but things needed to be cleared with our new insurance. We were asked to wait.

Jodie had told me that she keeps dropping stuff and she cannot reach from her powerchair to get it. She needs a reach tool.

I asked Eric to look for one. Why do we guys look for stuff? We can't find a thing!

The pharmacist called us up. We got Jodie's prescription. As we were, one of the other pharmacists said "Hi" to us.

We asked the pharmacist waiting on us if they had the reach tool. Instead of telling us where it might be, she raced out and asked another worker where they were. She found two different ones.

Her eagerness to hesitation...all the workers so friendly!

You guys rock!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Taking the bus? Or need a ride?

Jodie had an appointment with Dr. Molly yesterday at 2:30.

In the morning she had a meeting at the district office. She took the bus from her office to the district office in her new power chair. She had tried using her scooter on the bus before, but it was really hard for her to maneuver.

When she made it to her meeting she was early and gave me a call. She was so excited! Getting on and off the bus was easy. A new found freedom. She does not need me to take her everywhere.

I was going to meet her at the pizza place on 122nd for lunch, and then I was going to take her to her appointment with Dr. Molly.

Jodie got done early, so she decided to go back to her office. She was going to see about taking the bus to Dr. Molly's.

I got a call at 1:30. "Troy, will you come get me?" She returned to her office, forgetting that as an office manager you can't just pop in the office for an hour without getting swamped.

"Woman!" A half hour to get to Jodie's office and get her loaded, then a half hour to get to Dr. Molly's. No time to spare. I did not feel comfortable with it...had to try.

We called Dr. Molly's office on the way. We'd be okay if we were there be 2:45.

The valet guys are getting to know us. The disabled couple with the Sprinter van. The one guy applauded Jodie for doing a better job backing onto the lift than she had done two days before.

The receptionist looked at our new insurance and questioned whether our primary care dr. had authorized the appointment with Dr. Molly. appointment had been made last year when we had our old insurance. She said we might have to pay for the visit. We were irritated, but not at her. In our jobs we know all about "rules is rules". She was able to work it out for us.

Dr. Molly was happy how well Jodie is doing with the power chair, and the relief it is giving to her shoulders.

We had time to kill before picking Eric up from basketball practice, so we stopped for a piece of pie. Simple joys in a hectic day...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Disability language...

Interesting thoughts from Glenda.

I have always felt funny with the term "disability" because it "dis"es any "ability" I have!

Even so, it is a useful label that people use.

It is not the term that is offensive or not offensive; it is the thought behind it.

"Functional diversity". I like it, but I agree with Glenda that it would confuse people.

Maybe we can teach our kids to appreciate diversity - physical ability, mental ability, skin color, nationality, cultural identification, religion.

We are all on a continuum, with all these things. None of us better or worse.

Each of us simple. Each of us complex. Each of us diverse.

Maybe someday we won't need labels because we will take the time to try to understand each other.

Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt � What is in a word? The evolution of disability language continues: "In my mind, “functional diversity” definitely has merit over “disability”. However, I wonder if using the term in the English-speaking community would lead to confusion rather than enlightenment, at least until the term catches on. I’m also left wondering if other cultures have equally thought-provoking terms."

We got it..

Last night I picked Eric up from basketball practice. I drove over to get Jodie.

Eric was sound asleep.

I loaded Jodie with her power chair into the van. We're getting it down pretty good.

Jodie walked up to the front and woke Eric.

He was so astonished!

Jodie said "See, we've gotten good!"

Yates Basketball Sets Scoring Record In 170-35 Win

A little lopsided:

Yates Basketball Sets Scoring Record In 170-35 Win

Monday, January 04, 2010

Thinking about our kids...

...and America's future. Everything with the economy seems so bleak sometimes. Can we encourage entrepreneurship and the creation of decent jobs for our kids?

I go here because I think we need to inspire our kids with a hopeful future.

I don't know this guy's politics, but this piece seems a good assessment of what it will take to get our economy back on track.

A stand-pat society? | The Stump - "There's a warning here for the Obama administration: Complex regulations or high taxes may discourage startups and job creation. As for broader questions, the answers may remain murky for years. Has the mix of economic trauma and aging made us prudent -- or merely fearful? Has economic resilience survived -- or given way to a stand-pat society?"

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A new chapter in our life

Today Jodie took her new power chair into church. It feels like a new chapter in our life.

We dropped Eric and Ma2 of by the door. Today was my day to run the computer power point during service.

Instead of going to our regular spot by Luther Lodge, there would be no room to run our back lift without blocking traffic, I parked in the back parking lot.

Jodie is getting better backing her power chair onto the lift. I decided to ride my scooter in also. It was a little further than I like to walk.

Jodie drove her scooter into the aisle beside the back row where her mother was sitting. I parked my scooter in the corner of the Narthex and walked in to sit by Eric.

Instead of going up front for communion, Jodie asked for it to be brought to her. I went over by her and took communion with her.

Eric was annoyed that I took my scooter in. He sees it as more work, having to help load it.

I don't think he quite gets this new chapter of life that we are in. We have had the lift van for two and a half years now. Prior to that we had a minivan in which we hauled one scooter inside and one outside.

We have been using our scooters since about 2001, primarily for long distances. Now, Jodie will be using her power chair most of the time, and I'll be using my scooter more of the time.

I am getting more use to loading and unloading Jodie in her power chair. It does take extra time, but I can feel God's grace with us.

Part of me wishes that Eric did not need to be inconvenienced by all this. I also wish Jodie and I didn't need to be inconvenienced by this stuff either.

I'm ever optimistic. We are blessed to have the equipment we need and we are blessed to have the courage we need. Some people have neither.

Prayers for Eric. I am searching for a way to make all this make more sense to him.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Calendar Comes Up Short -

A new calender...Symmetry454. 28 and 35 day months.

Every month has a Friday the 13th.

I am game; let's try it!

The Calendar Comes Up Short -