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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Trusty GPS and Google maps?

This lady is suing Google over walking directions that led her on too dangerous of a path:

Woman, hit by car, sues Google for faulty directions | Technically Incorrect - CNET News

We were in Bend over the weekend. Trying to find our motel, our Garmin gps led us off the highway, around a few blocks, and back onto the highway.

That instant when you realize the gps has led you astray and you have to use your brain to figure out the needed correction is really frustrating.

We were trying to find a place for breakfast yesterday. We found out the Denny's on the Garmin is no longer a Denny's. Some of the baseball venues we needed to find were not even on the Garmin. Three teammates were late to a game because of that.

I wouldn't sue Google over a faulty map, or Garmin over wrong directions, but I do understand the frustration.

Yes, we should carry maps and not over trust technology...but then we need to learn to read the blasted things again!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bad to the bone!

Goodbye Deborah

There was nothing fancy about her, except for her name. Deborah. Never "Deb" or "Debbie", but "Deborah".

Well, she did have a fancy car...a PT Cruiser when they first came out. She was so proud of that car.

She began working for the state of Oregon Child Welfare, East Multnomah Branch, shortly after I transferred there in 1995. I sat by her for a little while. Her first job was inputting in-home services...a simple job. She did it with vigor..."These people need to get paid," I remember her saying.

I knew she could run the place. She had the smarts and the energy. Deborah intimidated some people because penchant for perfection and not being shy to share what she knew. I was not intimidated; she inspired me to work harder at being good. She moved on to Midtown Branch as a IV-E eligibility worker. I am a IV-E eligibility worker as well. Most people do not want our jobs. We piece together financial information, court orders, case narrative, notes and policy. No one sees our work except the occasional auditor. I changed jobs for a couple years in 2002. When I returned to IV-E, I met with Deborah and the meticulous desk manual she had put together for the job. Deborah went on to become a lead worker at Midtown, to being an office manager in Beaverton.

I did not know too much about Deborah's personal life. I know her mom lives down in Lakeview, Oregon. She lived in an older mobile home and was handy at fixing things. She did not have a family of her own, but, being a cat person, active with her neighbors and involved in her church --- she had family.

Late last year she retired. I asked Jeff, a recent coworker of mine who was working for Deborah, to let me know of any retirement party. Jeff said she did not want one. She had some kind of tumor and was very sick.

I received and IM from Jeff on Wednesday letting me know Deborah had passed. We knew it was coming, but it hit me kind of hard. I started to cry. I ran out to the van and gave Jodie a call.

The graveside service at Carus Cemetery, a small country cemetery a mile of the main highway outside of Oregon City yesterday. The service was at 2. I got there at 2 and the service was already happening.

I parked the van and got my walker out. The walker made too much noise on the gravel, so I hustled across to the grass where the moms with babies were. I was really moved. There were a crowd of people saying goodbye to Deborah.

I heard a couple bluegrass hymns and the service was over. By 2:08 the funeral was over. Everyone headed for their cars. I waited for the cars to clear before I started the van. I slowly drove down the road closest to the casket. It was a beautiful white casket with white roses on top.

The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the country setting was gorgeous. I joined the long line of cars heading down the country road to the highway. As I drove by the Christmas tree farm and watched the guy who was out there mowing brush, my mind wandered...

Coworkers are like family. You work together, break and have lunch together, you talk, you watch the clock together, and sometimes you annoy the
heck out of each other. Bonds form. You don't realize how strong the bonds were until you get the phone call, the email, or the instant message telling you the bad news.

Another thought is to remember how important today is. Tomorrow may never come. Some of us drag ourselves through our daily jobs looking forward to a happy retirement tomorrow. It's not bad to look forward to tomorrow, but take care of today in case tomorrow does not get here.

The crowd around Deborah's casket, the mamas with the babies back from the crowd, the long line of cars...all in tribute to Deborah.

Goodbye Deborah.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"Temple Grandin"...Must see!

You need to see the HBO biography titled "Temple Grandin".

The other night I watched this movie by myself. I watched it again with Eric and Jodie yesterday. I will probably watch it again and again.

Autism is something we all know something about. This movie allows you to actually experience autism through the eyes of Temple Grandin, a very high functioning autistic woman.

Movies about the disabled follow a pretty standard mold. Begin with the hopeless diagnosis of whatever disability, show the trials and the efforts to overcome...more hopelessness. In the end, meaning is found, hope is realized.

For some of us disabled persons who are less accomplished, these “perspirational” movies can be a downer sometimes. We know the hopelessness, the trials to overcome, but we have not all found the meaning and realized the hope.

This movie mostly fits this model, but the greatness of this story is the blurriness in the line between Temple's greatest hopelessness and hope. The women whose great image-driven mind designed a more humane way to handle cattle (over half the slaughterhouses in the country use Temple's design) is the same women who freezes at the sight of automatic doors at the grocery store, and who cannot deal with human touch.

Eric commented that Temple's greatest ability came from her disability. That is what struck me as well.

I don't want to give away much of the movie to you because I want you to see it.

I feel that Temple Grandin and this wonderful movie about her shows how our biggest disability, our most glaring foible, our deepest hopelessness might be the doorway to realizing our greatest achievement.

If we can realize this about ourselves, and if we can, with the help of God, begin to realize the potential of other people around us, maybe this world will be a better place.

Perhaps this is part of what Jesus was getting at when He said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Country Starlet comes out

She prayed to be straight, she dated a country hunk, she was aloof...a "snot"...

I don't know why these stories attract me.

Laying down the facade and waiting for stones to fly.

Bravery, my friends:

Country Star Chely Wright Comes Out - ABC News

Sunday, May 02, 2010


That's a new work to me PK.

There are many places for spirit food on the web. Pastor Karl's evo's is one of my favs.

e-vos: e-vo for week of April 28

When we love we slake thirst and sate hunger and fill voids.

God use us as agents of your love in this troubled world. Amen.