Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wheelchair Paparazzi are My New LEAST Favorite Thing.

Let me preface this post by saying, I got explicit permission via text message from my friend, Annah, who it involves. The whole ordeal is something that enraged me,   made me audibly gasp and then made me fume Lewis Black style for about 15 minutes.  There is no time I wanna write more than when I am full of piss and vinegar! When I told her I wanted to blog about it, but felt it would be weird for her, she countered:
[Tangent: At a mere 18 years of age, she is already markedly more mature than I am at 31. I would have been crying and eating ice cream under a blanket while watching Trading Spaces to mellow out. That's where I was at that age.]

 OK, so now I am being completely awash in a sea of vague, so I will break it down for you. Recently my friend was the object of something very weird and kind of upsetting. While walking around town with her boyfriend, someone took this picture of her, her fella and her service dog and posted it to social media. [Tangent: Note I have cropped out his name because that really isn't important...I mean I am not here to blast anyone's character for one VERY misguided comment on Facebook. All that is important is that she doesn't know this person, and that it was brought to her attention by a third party.]

Immediately it brought to mind this blog post where another friend's family got turned into a meme without her knowledge. Only unlike that example where it was a professional photo stolen from a blog,  this is literally a through the bushes paparazzi-style operation. Also, that caption is THE WORST! [Tangent: And I am not just talking about the "ppl". That is fodder for another blog altogether. In the year 2014, do we not need vowels?!?!]

Sure,  I can understand where seeing Annah might bring a smile to one's face. I mean she is alarmingly intelligent,  she is always color coordinated, and somehow is in on an unleveled playing field when it comes to eyeshadow blending. However, none of those attributes are evident from this weird stalker-esque camera angle.  I mean, yeah, I could maybe in a very twisted way see that maybe this person saw Annah out and being bubbly and happy and it inspired their happiness, but that pipe dream gets completely plunged with that caption. Two words: LESS FORTUNATE. Blegh. I cannot even pretend that is OK.

Today I was talking to my boss about advocacy for the disabled and how I consider myself a "lazy advocate" like I don't want to be the know all, be all for wheelchair folks. [Tangent: THAT IS A LOT OF PRESSURE, GUYS! Also, a lot of the nitpicky stuff, I really don't care, because I choose my battles carefully. Example being, I said wheelchair folks and not folks in wheeelchairs.  I know that goes against people first language, which I usually abide by, but if I don't once in a while, I am not the antichrist. Pump your breaks.] In the words of the Different Strokes theme song, "The world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some..."  but I do know that these kind of shenanigans are not alright to anyone in a wheelchair that I know. And as Annah says, we should all be made conscious of their "not okay-ness."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Supermarket Spokesmodel Edition

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that last week I posted this picture of me when I was roughly nine... posing with Jello pudding pops in a local Kroger ad...you know...like kids do.

look at this ass hole!
 A lot of people had a lot of questions [Tangent: I mean...who wouldn't??? Kudos! Pudding Pops! Combos! Cool Ranch Doritos! This is Utopia for a 9 year-old, especially a 9-year-old that came from a diet coke/crystal light kind of family. ] , and asked me why I had never mentioned this ad in over 500 blog posts....so here I am blogging about it.  Mr. Tiny. You're getting your wish!

  • What the hell is this? Why are you posing with delicious treats?
    • When I was younger and adorabler, [Tangent: If that is even a word. Spellcheck says no. I say YES!] I was the poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I was a ham (act completely shocked) so I guess it was a good way to channel my obnoxiousness for a good cause. Who doesn't wanna donate money when they see a little buck toothed chatterbox in a hot pink wheelchair?!?!? Kroger was one of the big sponsors, so I was asked to be in one of their circulars.  I mean look at that shit-eating grin! I was stoked!
  • What are you wearing? 
    • What the hell? That is a sweet dress. Frankly, I think this look is one of my least embarrassing ensembles from that era. It was '92, ya'll...and I would still wear that dress happily today. I think my Grammy brought it back from a third world country, so I imagine I was the only one in my elementary school rocking this.
  •  Did you get to eat them? 
    • I think  I got to take home a bag of Hershey Kisses and I got an on-site Pudding Pop. Even typing the words "Pudding Pop" makes me want to inhale one now and I don't think they are still in production. [Tangent:In googling if they were still around, I learned there is a whole Facebook group devoted to bringing these creamy bastards back into production. A worthy cause.] Drag.
  • Speaking of...do they still make Kudos? (or cookies n' cream Twix for that matter?)
    • This was quite the subject of debate. I LOVED KUDOS BARS so I of course was interested. Thank heavens my fellow blogger Aubrey works for the parent company of Kudos and informed me you could get Kudos by the 42 pack on Amazon . [Tangent: As for the Twix-I have no idea, but if someone knows, tell me in the comments. I have a drooly boyfriend who is quite interested in your findings!!]
  • Did you do more grocery spokes modeling? 
    • Umm...yeah about that. Because apparently my snaggly grin really boosted the sale of Combos, I did it the following year...only the selected products were not nearly as dreamy...

Yep. What every child wants to pose with: Pullups, baby wipes, Kleenex and lotion.  But look guys, I still look super jazzed?





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Netflix Documentaries: Hits and Misses

Lately I have been on a bit of a documentary kick. [Tangent: With Netflix, it's hard not to...Once you watch one, they suggest 15 more, and suddenly everything looks incredibly riveting. If you're watching a documentary about a Holocaust survivor suddenly you've spent your afternoon binging on every super depressing doc in the suggestions queue. It is not just a slippery slope...it's a mountain coated in KY Jelly.] Trust me that I am saying this with not the smallest shred of "look how smart I am" braggery, because trust me- a lot of the ones I watch are fairly non-nourishing brain-wise. [Tangent: Lest we forget the times I blogged about watching that documentary about Showbiz Pizza fanatics or that time I voluntarily watching Never Say Never: The Justin Bieber Story.] Here are some of the ones that I have gotten into lately. Some I highly recommend, but others are kind of a garbage fire.


 The Women Who Wasn't There- A
This one is about a 9/11 widow who (spoiler alert if you can't read titles) wasn't really involved in 9/11 whatsoever. I didn't expect to like this one much, but through this weird animation reenactments they did, I found it oddly compelling. It was very well done and you went from thinking she was 100% utterly and completely bat shit into feeling slightly bad for her. The film played out like a really long episode of Dateline...which I loved...because well, I love Dateline! [Tangent: I hate a shoddily produced documentary that comes off like it was produced for public access, but this definitely has some production value. When Meredith Viera is producer, quality you shall get...I guess...]

The Greatest Story Ever Rolled- A
Inside my heart, I have a very soft spot for Doug Benson, so this may be a completely partial review and I whole-heartedly admit that, but I think he is one of the most naturally funny comedians out there. On the surface, you think it is gonna be all stoner humor, but more than that it's just a story of life on the road for a comedian and how he connects with his fans.

Magic Camp- A+
This is one that I have been suggesting to everyone I come in contact with who even uses the word "movie."  True, I am completely inclined to love any movie with awkward children , but this one is a doozie folks. [Tangent: This may rival Camp  and Jesus Camp as my favorite movie about awkward children at camp. Yeah...that should be a Netflix queue!]  Something happens within the first 3 minutes of this movie that will grab you! [Tangent: In fact, my boyfriend made me rewind it so he could see it again! He was hooked.] The cast includes a renegade chubby 17-year-old who does slight of hand, a very sheltered self-labelled "Christian magician" and a hotsy totsy girl magician who likes to do risque material...that isn't really very risque.  If you aren't intrigued, what is wrong with you?

Beautiful Darling- B
This movie was about infamous transexual Candy Darling, who was part of Andy Warhol's crew and more importantly was one of the subjects in Lou Reed's Walk on The Wild Side. There was a lot of interesting things about this movie, but my favorite was reconnecting with all the people that were deep into the Andy Warhol scene and seeing what they were like now. To me it was funny to see how normal some of them look now and imagining them doing normal not avant-garde stuff like shopping at Costco.

Nightmare Factory- B-
As someone who loyally watches every season of Syfy's Face-Off, I had to watch this documentary of Hollywood visual effects masterminds in the 80's heyday of gore.  The fellas profiled were responsible for many great horror moments of that era including most Sam Raimi works, like Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. I did find it humorous that all these guys kept talking about what rock stars they were and how that is the kind of posse they roll with.   It was not the greatest, but stellar background TV, especially if 80's horror is your bread and butter and you don't squirm in the presence of vats of red corn syrup.

Doc of the Dead- C
This one is pretty much same as above, because it will only really grab you if you are into zombies. The film covered all the bases of the undead; they talked with everyone from Max Brooks, who wrote World War Z, to the OG of zombie- George Romero.  Because I am not super into the zombie phenomenon, I wasn't over the moon for this documentary, but enjoyed it on a film history level. I think my boyfriend enjoyed it way more.

65 Red Roses- A
I don't think a documentary has made me cry and feel feelings this much since I saw Dear Zachary. The story profiles a sassy brassy lass with cystic fibrosis who is on the wait list for a lung transplant. Through blogs and internet videos, she connected with other CF patients, who she was unable to meet in person due to immunity issues. I don't wait to give anything away, but by the end you will feel like you immediately need to be an organ donor.

The Source Family- B+
After watching this, I am halfway convinced that  everyone in their 20s in the late 60s/early 70s was in a cult, whether they knew it or not. In fact, my mom lived in the San Francisco area during that era, so she was heavily questioned once this movie finished. This particular cult, who deemed themselves the Aquarians,  was started by a charismatic man deemed Father Yod out of a little vegetarian/healthy eating restaurant called The Source Restaurant...seems totally legit, right? Of course like any good cult of the day, they had a psychadelic rock band and adopted names like "Isis" or "Electricity".

E-mail Order Bride- C-
I watched this because it was an hour long, and I needed to kill some time. I enjoyed the overall concept of this documentary, but was sincerely disappointed that I didn't love it more. Apparently, I'd been spoiled in the genre of "People looking for love in weird places" by When Strangers Click.

Tiny: The Story of Living Small- B-/C
For some time, people have been raving about this movie. The plot revolves around the Tiny House movement and how so many today are looking towards living more modestly for both practical and economic reasons. Again, although I find the subject matter extremely interesting, I wished that I had liked it more. Sometimes I feel documentaries are too high on themselves...and this I believed was one of them. I'm sure I am in the minority there. Feel free to disagree in the comments and tell me why I am an idiot.

Dark Girls-A
In college, I took a class in Race and Gender in the media, so I was immediately on board for this. It's interesting to learn about the shame and body issues caused that is often a part of the life of dark skinned girls, and how this insecurity manifests itself into anger and stereotypes. I ended up watching it with my mom, and it sparked a lot of conversation.

Forgiving Dr. Mengele- C-
I know it seems wrong to give a low rating to a movie about a Holocaust victim and her journey to forgive the sinister physician who experimented on twins in Auschwitz, but it definitely left me with lots of questions. The story was such a good one and the woman Eva Kor was amazing. Immediately, I wanted her as my grandma. The only downside is I felt it needed more about the history of what happened to her family there and felt that portion of the movie could have been a bit longer and her struggle to forgive could have been a little shorter. Her story definitely deserved to be told, I just wanted more.

Life 2.0- A
Maybe I liked this so much because the whole concept of second life is such a foreign one to me. Prior to this, I had heard of it, but this doc gave me a crystal clear understanding of how this online world gives people an opportunity to let their true selves shine. People are finding love and making a living on this site! My favorite subject rolls out of bed and eats, sleeps, breathes and smokes the virtual community.

Crazy Love- A+
The title of this movie perfectly summarizes what it is about. The film recounts the story of a couple who met in the 1950s and their relationship survived attempts to jealousy, adultery and an attempt to disfigure the other.....yes, you heard that right. You seriously couldn't make up this storyline. So So good.  [Tangent: I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to watch this considering this doc has been in my Netflix "to watch" list since I first started using the service. I'm 100% certain I wanted to get it in the mail in the olden days (circa 2006).]

Mortified Nation- A
If you are a fan of waxing nostalgic on your adolescence and you haven't already read the Mortified series of books , drop everything and read them now; I couldn't more highly recommend them. This documentary is by the creators of that series and follows the greatest open mic night ever, one where adults read to a crowd of strangers their old diary entries, poems...really anything that would humiliate you. My favorite was a very unassuming 30-year-old who fancied himself a budding rock star and would compose epic arena rock anthems in his five-star notebook despite having zero musical background....oh and the guy that had a rap alter ego! I was immediately jealous that they didn't host these events in my town, because I would be there in a heartbeat!

I am constantly looking for suggestions on which new ones I should watch, so let me have it...which ones are not to miss?

Friday, August 15, 2014

the worst episode of Saved by the Bell (for women in wheelchairs at least)

So you all know that I am obsessed with 90s popular culture, so it should be no shock that I am an ardent follower to a weekly Saved By the Bell podcast called Go Bayside. [Tangent: If you aren't already loyally following Go Bayside...now is the perfect time. In each podcast, comedienne April Richardson invites a comedian friend to her LA apartment...they watch an episode of SBTB and then dissect it for about an hour to my delight.] Anyway, a while back, I was texting back and forth with my friend Ryan after listening to the Teen Line  episode.....you know like normal 30 something adults do. [Tangent: You may remember my friend Ryan as F*%$able Milhouse from this blog. It is still my favorite story ever and I remind him of it A LOT...for which he probably hates me. How could I not love the fact that a straight friend of mine was fetishized on an adult gay tumblr for his (no offense) decidely unsexy Halloween costume?] Saying "teen line episode" may not narrow it down because that kind of event is just a normal fancy for the Bayside gang..but if I said the episode where Zack dates a chick in a wheelchair...a light bulb would go off, no?

In the midst of our textchange, I revealed that in my future life story, this episode would take up a whole chapter. It is probably one of the three events in my life that temporarily made me lose all faith in humanity.  There is so much wrong with it that it hurts my heart and probably made me afraid to date anyone till my 20s. [Tangent: I know...I know...it seems absurd to be dejected in life by a TNBC series. (and if I did it should have been California Dreams or City Guys.)  You would think I would be thrilled to bits that 90s Adonis Zack Morris decided to date a girl in a chair, but bummer- he treats her like a total martian and that dating her is some kind of bizarre Make-a -Wish. Long story short, in 22 minutes,.Peter Engel ruined my childhood and adolescence. Listening to this podcast totally reminded me of it!] Because my friends are as weird as I am, Ryan immediately was like, "WE HAVE TO LIVE BLOG IT!!!"...so we decided to watch it on Netflix and Facebook chat while we watched it. [Tangent: Everything about that prior sentence would have been gobbletygook in the early 90s when the show was in it's hey day.] He wanted to do a co-blog, and I love a new challenge [Tangent:...and any excuse to mention F#@$able Milhouse.] so here are some things that really bugged us during the episode. Ryan's hangups are important like plot line and realism ...mine are mostly wheelchair inaccuracies and just overall fashion related issues.  [Tangent:  For example, I admire the Bayside gang's attempts to sex up a Hanes sweatsuit, but it is not successful.]

 Ryan's conclusion after watching: 

"I don't like how the teen line is part of school...or is it after school? And they have no training.... Lisa proves they have no training by making fat jokes to a girl insecure about her weight! So, they create the teen line and get the word out about it in one day! ONE DAY! aragr;ahg;akhg;sagha;gh1! Tommy needs parents or an elementary school and not to follow Screech around all day....and tall girl would have NO problems getting dates because she's a f^#$ing supermodel! Furthermore, paying for 5 extra wheelchairs, ill fitting sweatsuits and a F$%ING DANCE is not a way to keep a few phone lines connected indefinitely"

While his mind was reeling, I was just getting irate. So I know SBTB is not the bastion of realism, but there were many issues I had, which I choose to screenshot and address for you below.

1. Not only was I fuming at Zack for lierally saying, "YOU ARE IN A WHEELCHAIR." when he met Melissa for the first time, I was equally frustrated with Melissa, Zack's Teen Line blind date. Why did she not mention that she was disabled? Sure, in an ideal world, we would see what is on the inside that counts and yadda yadda, but for real that's a hell of a bomb to drop on a love prospect. I guess I can't fault her, she was just 35 17 after all.

Additionally, the ruse was quite elaborate to pull the wool over Zack's eyes. The Max, which never has table cloths, suddenly has one....which happens to be atop the table where Melissa is sitting. HOW CONVENIENT! [Tangent: Also, the Max is not accessible, so I am assuming there is an additional back entrance or one of the servers helped her navigate that stair. I mean you would really hate to make the Max aesthetically unpleasing by adding a ramp, right? It might draw attention from that lightning bolt door handle.] Also note how she is facing outward and has a sweater to cover her handlebars. Bravo, Melissa. Stand up camouflage job [Tangent: Pun not intended!]  How long does she think she can conceal this?

 2. This wheelchair basketball game is a shit show. The whole reason they have it is because they are inspired by their new token friend in a wheelchair and they think that by renting wheelchairs and playing for the maybe 16 people in this matchbox sized gym, they will keep the teen line open. [Tangent: THE GYM IS SO SO SMALL! I mean I know it is television, but just the idea of having that many chairs milling around in high speeds in such a tiny area concerns me. I shared an apartment with two other wheelchair users in college and trust me, that was tight! Even the prospect of this ballyhoo below makes me cringe.] I admire their passion, but even when I was 10, I knew this was a TERRIBLE idea. I am hoping the wheelchairs were donated because those are not hospital issue chairs, they would be pricey to rent and thus cut into the money they are raising. 

 3. This whole weird charade at the end....Zack clearly is not interested in her. He has treated her like a martian the entire episode. Inherently he knows that it is a complete dick move to break up with her because of her disability, so he makes all these gallant gestures to prove that she is accepted. UGH!!! THIS WHOLE THING MAKES ME SO MAD! [Tangent: Not unlike Kristy Barnes the female wrestler or the chubby girl Wendy who bid on Zack at the date auction, we will never hear from Melissa again. Her one episode arc morality play was over. ] I have been Melissa. I have been that girl that is pining over some dude [Tangent: Maybe wearing head to toe denim on denim...maybe not.], and that guy is afraid to come off rude so just opts to lead me on instead. To put it simply, it sucked.




 So why has this episode haunted me so?  I can honestly recall being embarassed watching it as a child and if this was what dating was like, I dreaded it. Pop culture was my greatest teacher as a kid, and I just assumed for the greater part of my adolescence and teen year this was how love worked. I am glad, since then, I have learned otherwise.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Get Wood with New Keycals (GIVEAWAY!)

It's been a while since I have done a giveaway, and I love giving stuff away because it makes me feel like Oprah which is pretty much the dream, right? [Tangent: Unless you count that year that she was in a legal battle with the beef industry. That sounds miserable.].  Anyway, you all need a reward for reading my ramblings and this is a little in that "back to school" vein...unless you are old like me in which case you have no back to school needs, in which case this is a grand excuse to get some free swag.

You may remember last year when, thanks in part to the lovely folks at Keycals by  Kidecals, I did a total Mac-Over on my Macbook Pro [Tangent: Aka Bernie Mac aka the Daddy Mac aka The Mac Daddy. I know I know. "WAAAAH, MY REALLY EXPENSIVE COMPUTER ISN'T CUTE ENOUGH!" Calm down, It wasn't a luxury...it had to be done. I am HARD on my electronics and the wear and tear needed to be masked. Poor Bernie looked "rode hard and put away wet" as my dad used to say....which always sounds dirty, but I think it is about horses. ] . Over the last 14 months,  I have loved to pieces my green ombre keycals they gifted me and get inordinate amounts of compliments on them, but I needed a change [Tangent: It's something I look at everyday...it's bound to happen! Remarkably, after a year of wear, they still looked great though! ] , so when they offered me some goodies, of course I decided an upgrade needed to happen. Additionally, once I saw that they had new wood grain options, I knew that my laptop was about to up it's sophistication quotient by at least 42%. [Tangent: Rough approximation based on absolutely nothing except wood is classy, right?]




I decided to order both sets of wood grain to see which set went best with my Macbook's existing faux mahogany SlickWrap . [Tangent: I have finally found a way to seamlessly transition my childhood love of stickers into a beneficial mature adult decision to protect my investments. I am an evil genius.] I know this is all super boring, but long story short, one lucky winner will benefit  from my indecision because the other set will be part of this giveaway.


BUT WAIT, FOLKS,  THERE'S MORE....

[Tangent: I have always wanted to say that so I could live out my other fantasy of hosting an infomercial.] In addition to the light wood grain set show above, I have a third set of Keycals that I have had tucked away left over from a prior giveaway in this fun bright green old school compu-font. [Tangent: I lost it after my last giveaway and ended up ordering a new set for the winner, so these became extras once I found them! Once again, my shortcomings are working in your favor with freebies.] So that means two winners will be chosen at random. Please leave in comments if you prefer one or the other, and I will try to make that dream come true if you win! Wanna enter- here's how!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you just can't wait to purchase something from kidecals, they have given me an exclusive discount code: discount code: ilovelabels , which gives you 15% off any order from their site.

 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Is this Dumb or Am I being Dumb? You decide.

 Sometimes I love and other times I loathe it. One day it will be delighting me with videos of monkeys riding pigs and answering burning questions like  how Drake would look like without eyebrows...and the next day the internet will be virtually smacking me in the face. I have found blogging to usually be an insanely positive space where different views are openly shared and  respected....usually.

I am all for dissent and lively discussion, but it's a fine line to becoming a troll....or what I like to call "a parade rainer oner." Things innocuous and simple can be vaccuums for nitpickyness. Wait, I am being vague. Let me explain the situation in slightly clearer language.

The other day I left a comment on a friend's blog post about her son having an unusual name. She wrote how strangers were constantly telling her that her adorable beyond measure child had a weird name or they were just generally rude about it as they mispronounced a phonetically simple name. My comment on the posting was tongue-in-cheek and included the sentence "I think the lesson is that people are dumb. "

The next day, I happened to check her blog again after noticing it had a lot more comments [Tangent: Sometimes reading the comments is the best part of reading the blog...especially if it is a particularly good yarn.] and found the thread under my little comment had many more entries...one being this nugget of booyah, whose name has been cropped out to protect the grumbly:

she must have done some research to note from my comment that I had a disability.


This floored me. Look, I know I'm a bit brash, and there are heaps of things you can call me on the carpet for [Tangent: I am kind of obnoxious. I apologize too much (probably due to my obnoxious nature). I suck at proofreading. I sometimes laugh so hard at the things in my head that I cannot complete a sentence.] , but in the long line of sins this isn't one I ever expected! Yes, I probably could have used a better word than dumb and it was a slightly hyperbolized assessment, but it was a fair one "RUDE PEOPLE ARE DUMB!"[Tangent: And I recognize this because have had my rude moments, and generally they were born from ignorance or lack of consideration.] 

Now that I'm working for a disability organization part-time, I am becoming really well-versed in considerate and people first language.  I've always been respectful and never tried to be offensive,  but I'm not one to be overly politically correct either. Creatively using words and expressing myself through language are very important, and I believe being overly politically correct is a slippery slope to complete censorship. [Tangent: Like you'll never hear me use the term differently-abled...even typing those letters sequentially makes the bile rise up. I don't care if you do, I just likely won't because I find it vague and off-putting. I will however never use the R-word again because the pain of it's impact is too fresh on society and I have seen first hand the pain it can cause.]

Sure, the term dumb once meant  exclusivelyunable to speak, but who uses that meaning anymore? Lots of words have dark origins, and it seems counter-productive to progress to dwell on them. EX: The word villain has it it's origins in the word "villa" and was used to denote poor people. The nursery rhyme "Ring around the Rosey" is all about people dying in the black plague. However, these things have just become part of our lexicon. It's not going to stop them from using them.

For about two seconds I felt bad for upsetting this stranger [Tangent: Maybe I was being dumb?] ,  so I did a little research on other words which are being lobbied for to become taboos. Man, there were A LOT! Check some out here. Some seemed legitimate and hurtful if used in certain context [Tangent: Like calling someone with  diagnosed mental illness "crazy" maybe is a poor decision, but saying that people who wait in line before stores open on tax-free weekend are a bit crazy...I just don't see the issue. Call me crazy! ], but others just seemed to be hypercritical.
  • cretin
  • crutch
  •  duh
  • need
  • paralyze
Never would I give any of these words a second look. Should I?  In the disability community, at least from my perspective, there are certainly bigger fish to fry. Discrimination on the job. Inability to get proper health care. Etc. Ad infinitium. These little things like putting taboos on a laundry list of everyday words with varied contexts seems [pardon my insensitivity] a little insane.   I recognize that my feeling don't get easily hurt, so maybe I am not the greatest judge of this...Internet, help me out!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

these dreams: naked turtles and professor sagat

You guys should be well-versed by now in my irrational fears [Tangent: exhibit A and exhibit B.] and frankly, I need no fuel to the garbage fire of insanity that is my imagination...but lately I have been having the strangest dreams and wanted to share. Unless I have been misguided all my life, sharing is caring, right? After reading, feel free to tell me your most bizarre dreams of late so I feel some sense of camaraderie aboard the crazy train.

It all started a couple weeks ago, I had the following dream:

I was sitting on a big porch overlooking the beach as a storm rolled in. There were these tall, pretty mangrove trees...but oddly hanging from the branches were these huge turtle shells. As it started to storm, the wind blew and one by one....turtles fell from the trees. Turtles without shells. Naked turtles.  


[Tangent: Now I have never in real life beheld a shell-less turtle. I have only seen adorable turtles at the beach.  I wish I could say that the dream amphibian was demure and adorable like the  cartoon google images found above, however, this sight was chill-inducing. It was like gelatinous flubber, but with eyes and little rough turtle beaks.]



As if that image wasn't haunting enough, the little suckers were fast when not encumbered by a massive shell and as they fell, they began skittering up my legs. I awoke in a cold sweat kicking everywhere. I cannot stop thinking about this dream.  [Tangent: This was only slightly crazier than the waking/half-asleep dream I had the other day when I went to a college lecture class and turns out I was walking into the audience of America's Funniest Home Videos. I tried to look it up in Jamie's dream dictionary, but it's publishing date was 1975, when Sagat and Bergeron were just wee lads. Dang ]

After spending many nights contemplating shell-less turtles and possible horrifying scenarios involving them, I decided to see if anyone else shared this dream [Tangent: Seriously the pictures yielded by google images were crazy!! This was honestly  the least upsetting of the bunch....probably because it is an illustration and accompanied an article about the evolution of the turtle shell...so it was not intended to haunt your dreams.]

  Of course, the internet steered me in the right direction! Both yahoo answers and several other message boards were littered with people asking about their dreams involving shell-less turtle attacks! I AM NOT ALONE! I only wish the advice and interpretations came from mystics or psychologists...instead they came from assholes. Oh well.  Cest La Vie!



What have you been dreaming about? 
Will you be able to sleep tonight without seeing a naked turtle under your eyelids? Thought not! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Nerds and Nomsense- Call for contributors

Attention fellow bloggers, DIYers, foodies, dorky people and surveyors of useless pop culture knowledge, the site I write about on the side Nerds and Nomsense is doing a call for new monthly contributors. If you are a writer, it is great exposure and a great way to manifest your destiny and get published [Tangent: Not an easy feat!]

Click on the button below that takes you to the application! This weekend is your last weekend to do it! DON'T BLOW IT!

http://www.nerdsandnomsense.com/call-for-new-writers-summer-2014-edition/

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

my crazy obsession: 2 year old edition

Preamble: I know I have been a spotty poster, and this month, the majority of my posts have been guest posts [Tangent: Seriously thanks to Kristen and Sarah for being eloquent and classy only for me to go and reverse it with my shallow spiels.] . This inconsistency is a deadly mixture of being lazy and busy ....we'll call it "bazy," but life is simmering and getting dramatically more status quo boring, so it's back to hearing about that my ridiculous affairs. Yay for you!

So you know I watch a lot of crap TV, right? [Tangent: A friend of mine recently was appalled that I shrug off Game of Thrones in favor of fare like Little Women: LA. (I've shamelessly watched every episode.) I mean I love Peter Dinklage, but I guess I prefer my little people on the small screen to be catfighting instead of dragon slaying. Sorry.] So one show I love without shame is TLC's crazy train of programming My Crazy Obsession. [Tangent: Which is pretty much interchangable with My Strange Addiction on TLC.] There is one episode where they profile a couple head over butt crazy obsessed with Cabbage Patch Kids. They treat take them out in public and treat them like an actual child.


The above was pretty much my week last week...only the adorer of said child of the patch was not an unhinged 50 something, but rather my super cute two and a half year old niece. Because of this, her neurotic obsession was adorable and not bone-chilling. Long story short, once my sweet niece, Ellie, found the doll in my closet, they became inseparable besties. [Tangent: In the top of my closet, I keep some relics of my childhood...my original Cabbage Patch Doll...my tin Sesame Street lunchbox from preschool (that probably would be worth something had I not emblazoned my name all over Grover's face to keep some other rugrat from stealing it during nap time) and other things that I refuse to part ways with.] Here is photographic proof of their love affair!


the doll's FUPA is out of control.

she read her stories every night


she did this all by herself. I can't comment on my doll's level of diaper wedge, but Jamie calls this look "shit suspenders"

ok...so my niece wasn't quite understanding that you aren't supposed to sit on historic civil war soldier's headstones. Her sense of history has not yet kicked in. Don't worry, we told her to get off after we snapped this picture.
This morning, my niece went back to Cali and left the object of her week-long obsession behind. It's probably for the best...we don't want this to spiral out of control. It won't be as gosh-darn adorable when she is 50.

Who am I kidding? I am currently looking for a replacement to send her in the mail to fill that cabbage patch sized void in her life. However, it won't be with these things...they are horrifying... Am I a total dick for not just giving her mine? Probably...

Friday, July 11, 2014

A long overdue guest blog: A Brutally Honest Look at Diagnosis Day...One Year Later

For the last year, I have been begging my best friend to start her own blog. [Tangent: Yes...in addition to putting up with my grade-A brand of BS for the last 20 years,  she is a fantastic writer. ] Yesterday, she called me as she always does to tell me that she was feeling lots of feelings regarding a really huge milestone/anniversary and wanted to trap them all on paper and share them. Because she learned not to listen to me years ago, and doesn't have a blog, I decided to loan her mine for the day.  She's not promoting anything or trying to get you to shop at her etsy, she just needed a platform, and thankfully I have a little corner of the internet to share. Despite the fact that I am generally not huge on "mommy bloggery" (I'm not a mom and I can't relate on that level.), I think you'll appreciate her honesty (and plus there are some REALLY cute baby pictures near the end if you are a slow reader).  Take it away, Kristen...

One year ago today, I was 20 weeks pregnant. My husband and I were anxious to know what was growing in my bely...a little girl or a little boy? What would our lives become: football in the fall or pink tutus? Everything had been going well. From the moment I saw the second line on my home pregnancy test, I knew it was a boy. I had no doubts. I didn't care one way or the other, but I had the strongest gut feeling that we would be having a son.



Early in the pregnancy, my husband and I discussed whether or not to go through the early genetic testing. We decided against it. Neither one of us had any heredity anomalies between our families. Looking back, I wonder if our disinterest was due to fear. What if something was "wrong"? What would we do?  I don't think we were willing to risk being put in the position to make a decision like one that could potentially come from a frightening diagnosis.  So on the day we walked into our 20 week anatomy scan, all we were really concerned about was pink or blue?

I laid on the table and the ultrasound tech squeezed warm jelly all over my round stomach. We couldn't wait to know.  She started the scan and thoroughly examined every square centimeter of the tiny baby from head to toe. Unfortunately, the baby's position was less than ideal for a completely accurate gender reveal. The tech tried every trick up her sleeve and was finally able to get a little glimpse. She was 90% sure it was a girl.

She then wiped off m belly as she concluded the 45 minute detailed ultrasound. She exited the room to check with the doctor before we could leave as we had previously discussed before she began the exam.

We sat in shock. A little girl. I could not believe it. My mother's intuition was already faltering, but I was happy regardless.  My husband, however, was visibly disappointed. He had wanted a boy, a son to share his passion for sports with. I think a lot of men feel this way in the beginning. Girls are terrifying. Have you seen ow short the skirts and shorts these teen girls are wearing nowadays? We talked a little and absorbed our new information. A sweet girl on the way. Ok. We could do this.

We waited for the tech to return so we could leave. We had a mass of friends and family who were on pins and needles all day awaiting the baby's gender. We waited...and waited...and waited even more.

Finally, the door cracked letting in the bright light from the hallway into the tiny dark room we were in. A doctor entered, one that we had never met on prior visits. She introduced herself as a high risk pregnancy specialist and quickly got to the reason she was there. She began with explaining our baby had a congenital heart defect.

All I heard was: heart defect....heart failure...open heart surgery...and infancy. I immediately began weeping in fear. My baby has what?!? She explained it thoroughly and clearly, but I couldn't comprehend. I gripped my husband's hands tightly as if it would make this less real, like the strength of my grasp would make this news bearable. Tears poured down my cheeks, but she didn't stop there.

She then explained that the heart defect my tiny 20 week old fetus had was commonly associated with other genetic anomalies. It wasn't over, but I felt I couldn't take anything more. I was done. I heard: chromosome....disorder...and the words Down Syndrome. I couldn't breathe.

I cried even harder and now and lost my last shred of composure. I'm certain my cries were heard all throughout the long hallway of ultrasound rooms and waiting areas filled with other expectant mommies-to-be.

As the tears flowed, the doctor's explained that we could have close to a 100% confirmation of the chromosomal disorder she suspected within 24 hours via amniocentesis. We quickly agreed to the horrifying test. Now, we wanted to know. We HAD to know.

After the amnio was performed, we sat in the car in shock and disbelief. This can't be real. This isn't our lives, is it? But it was. We looked down at our phones, which were both full of alerts, messages and missed calls from our friends and family who had expected to hear from us already about the baby's gender.

Gender? I'm not even thinking about gender anymore. The previous day, it was all I thought of...only now, I didn't care anymore. I called my mother and could only get the words, "Something is wrong with the baby's heart and she might have something wrong with her chromosomes."  Even those few words were nearly impossible to say through hysterical crying. She immediately left work to meet us at home. We finished our car ride in complete silence, in shock, in fear and numb.

When my mother arrived, I explained it all. I cried.  I screamed. I wailed out in a way I've never cried before and hope to never cry again. She cried too, and stroked my hair as I laid across the chair I was in. I realized in that moment that like I cried for my baby, she was crying for hers. It was one of my first revelations about motherhood.

The next day, my mother and my husband's mother, who had driven up, as well as a group of friends that I've had for over a decade surrounded us as we digested the information. We feared for our daughter's tiny imperfect heart. We feared that if she had Down Syndrome, her life wouldn't be what we wanted for her. We feared that if she had Down Syndrome, our own lives wouldn't be what we wanted for ourselves. It feels embarrassing to admit that. I felt incredible overpowering guilt for the sadness and fear I had inside me. Was I already a terrible mother? Was I supposed to be taking this all in stride? To be cliche, all I had talked about when asked if I wanted a boy or girl was wanting a healthy baby. [I now hate that answer.] I don't have that now. I have a sick baby, who we already knew would at the very least require open-heart surgery during infancy to survive...and more issues were a mere 24 hours from potentially being revealed. The guilt was suffocating and the magnitude was excruciating. I phsically ached as we waited for the call that would determine our future.

With our friends and mothers in the next room, waiting patiently, the call came in and as expected, our little girl had a confirmed diagnosis of Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome.

The following weeks, I cried a lot. I found myself OK one moment, only to be overwhelmed with tears the next. What will she be like? Will people accept her? Will people love her? Will I love her the way I wanted to? Will people make jokes at her expense? Will people pity her? Will they pity us?

The guilt over my sadness grew and festered. I wanted to be that person who heard the diagnosis, accepted it and immediately became the strong mother/advocate for children with intellectual disabilities I see on human interest pieces on nightly news shows. I simply wasn't there.

Looking back a year later, I wish for three things:
  1.  I wish I could tell myself that I am strong enough for this. I had never felt more weak in those days of chaos. My strength came back and grew by leaps and bounds this past year. 
  2. I wish I would allow myself the sadness and fear without succumbing to the guilt. It's okay to feel sad. We call it grieving the child you thought you'd have (although realistically, do any of us really know what our tiny fetus will grow to be? )
  3. I wish more than anything I could tell myself that the moment I would look in er eyes after she was born 5 weeks early and only 3 lbs 14 oz that I immediately would be washed in an overwhelming calm. It will be okay. She is perfect. 
While this past year has been the absolute most difficult of my life, between the prenatal diagnosis of AVSD heart defect, bed rest at 27 weeks pregnant, preterm birth, 3 days of labor ending in a cesarean, 6 weeks in the NICU, heart failure, open heart surgery, failure to thrive and our newest bonus diagnosis of leukemia, I would not trade anything for my sweet and beautiful daughter.

She doesn't know it, but I have learned more from having her in my life than from anything else in the past 31 years. She is perfect . She will laugh. She will love. She will have successes and failures. All humans do. My job is to love her through them and when she aches because soemthing hurts so bad she can't breathe, my job will be to sit beside her and stroke her hair and cry with my baby, just like a mother should.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Running for the First Time: A Guest Blog by Sarah Mueller

You know how I tell you all regularly that blogging has brought some great people into my life? Well, allow me to introduce you to Sarah, who  I have actually met in real life...but who first contacted me via email because she thought like-minded wheelchair chicks should flock together. In addition to being a cool gal, she is a talented author, who has put out the book Elf Help: Ability Therapy. Her Ability Therapy Facebook page is always spilling over with interesting disability articles, if that is your thing. Also, she is only 27! [Tangent: Way to make this 31 year-old feel super unaccomplished!]


Enough shameless plugs, what am I getting at? Well, yesterday I noticed she had posted a video of herself trying out a zero-gravity treadmill  allowing her basically to be able to run for the first time ever. [Tangent: She is the Sandra Bullock of Spina Bifida. Get it...Gravity...anyone?!?] 



As you can see, for a 45 second video, the joy on her face was intense and contagious. It made me happy. Of course, immediately I wanted her to get on paper what it was like.[Tangent: Sarah is much more eloquent, less snarky and uses less four letter words. Enjoy something classy for a change!] 

Take it away Sarah...

At around 3:05 pm this afternoon, I experienced the most amazing, significant, positive (OK I get it, that’s probably sufficient!) and life-changing event to-date. Before I tell you what happened, let me provide you with a little backstory on who I am:


 I’m 27 years old, and I was born with a neural tube birth defect called spina bifida myelomeningocele. It’s the most common, permanent disabling birth defect known to medical science, but too few seem to know about it. There are several different kinds of spina bifida, as well as levels, but I won’t proceed to overwhelm you with all the details. If you’d like to learn more, please visit: sbaa.org (The National Spina Bifida Association)

For now, all you need to know is that spina bifida is a very fancy way of saying that a person’s spinal cord did not fully develop during fetal growth. Myelomeningocele happens to be the most severe form of spina bifida, but my level is one of the most mild levels—L5-S1, meaning my 5th Lumbar and 1st Sacral vertebrae are incompletely formed and therefore my neurological function is hindered at that level. The lower the “defect” (I am not really a fan of that word!) on your spine, the more function you are able to retain after birth.



While spina bifida is often referred to as a “snowflake” condition (meaning every single case is unique and different) there can be many similarities between cases—but these similarities typically do not affect each person in the same way. For me, this means that I am able to get around with the aid of a cane for short distances, and a wheelchair for longer ones. I cannot run or jump, and walking very short distances causes physical pain for me. So…that brings you right up to the magical moment I experienced this

 How did I accomplish this, you ask? 

I tried out an anti-gravity treadmill! [To be precise: The AlterG Anti Gravity Treadmill]  While the logistics of this machine are still a bit over my head, I’ll try to explain what I do understand.
per the AlterG site
First, you put on some really silly looking shorts that are a lot like scuba diving pants. Then, you step onto the treadmill into a tiny opening. Once you’re securely in the open spot, physical therapists will pull up what looks like a giant bag all around your body, up to about right under the chest line, and then proceed to zip it up all around you.

At this point (if you aren’t completely freaked out by the experience yet—just wait!) this giant bag around you then fills with air until you are lifted slightly above the running strip on the treadmill. It’s like you’re floating on air! Then, the device lowers you back down until your feet are again touching it.

From this point on you get to decide how much support the machine provides you—all based upon your individual needs as it relates to your muscle mass and overall strength. Once you have that plugged in, you can begin going as fast or as slow as you would like. The goal is to feel comfortable, and to feel absolutely no pain as you get an amazing cardio workout! It also happens to have a TV screen attached to it, so you can be entertained while you work out, or even have a camera directly on your feet and legs so you can see if you are running straight, or having any difficulties you may otherwise be unable to feel. In other words, this machine is amazing.

 My results:
 I went in with some serious lower back, shoulder, clavicle and knee pain (…let’s just say that everything hurt when I went in). And afterward? I had Zero pain, soreness, aching.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. 

It took everything in me to keep from bawling my eyes out! There didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the room as all the physical therapists stopped what they were doing to watch me. Apparently, I was the first person to come in and ask to try the machine out, so they were mesmerized by the fact I was experiencing something so monumental --for the very first time--, in their clinic, on this machine that they were barely even used to using yet.


I managed to keep my emotions in check while there, but I’m not afraid to say once I was in the privacy of my own vehicle, I spent a good 10-15 minutes crying hysterically with joy. have spent my entire life dreaming of what it would feel like to go for a run. To be honest, I would have happily settled for knowing what it felt like to walk more than a few minutes without feeling excruciating lower back pain. But instead of “just” one wish, today I was granted two.

As I sat in my car reflecting on what had just taken place, all I could think of were two things:
  1. I am filled with so much gratitude, elation and awe I think I might burst.
  2. I would go through every bit of physical and emotional pain in life all over again if I knew it would bring me back to this moment in time 

Additionally, I couldn’t help but wonder

"What are all the doctors who have told me and my family that I would never be able to do anything with my life up to right now?"

 "How about the bullies and other various tormentors who colored the past nearly three decades of my existence?"

 But in the end, those final questions are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I just had the most spectacular, memorable day…and my soul is overflowing with gratitude and happiness! When all is said and done, I can do some very incredible things, and my life is more fulfilling than words could ever convey. In short…my life is a never ending gift, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

I feel like the luckiest person on Earth.
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