I Never Complain, but…

QWERTY middle finger picAll this talk of viruses disabling computer programs. There are other ways of disabling us users, and I’m not referring to disability.

What is it with this younger generation, anyway? They come out of the womb air typing—like they already know QWERTY’s keyboard layout. Really! It took me a high school senior class to memorize my typewriter’s layout, though my class drill assignments looked like Greek on a modern-day sheet of papyrus. I mean, with 50-65% typing errors, it was sort-of illegible.

Even now, I have deceptive looking hands. My five-year-old Grand Niece says my hands are “tangled,” meaning: I can’t grip things. They look like they belong to a keyboard maestro with long skinny fingers and a palm spread to rival The Shaq. Hey, I’m not complaining about my unusual hands, I’m complaining about our 21st century digital communications.

Since I was born in the first half of the 20th century—a long time ago—hertz and gigahertz mean nothing to me but frustration. Forget kilo, mega, and gigabytes. Our brains store information, hopefully; computers store space or bytes? Where I come from, a byte means a “bite of food,” or a limb, if you’re a child in the throws of anger. Anyway, we used to have bully bullies. In addition, we now have cyber bullies. I can’t take it anymore! I’m tired of being pinned against my password wall!

I’m being bullied into taking “Brain Energizer” supplements to boost memory and ward off disabling Alzheimer’s Disease; because I can’t remember all my passwords to my varied treasure chests of Gold? NO! They’re to my many portals of business goings-on. It’s not my fault!

For security’s sake, when I come up with a password, I’m asked if I want my program to remember it. Of course. It’s a time saver to click “Yes;” so I click “Yes.” If they remember it, why should I. Right? Wrong!

When my Shaq fingers make a mistake, they ask me to verify my password. Excuse me! They were the ones who asked me if I wanted them to remember it. When I type in my username, that horizontal line of bold black dots clues me that they remember; it’s right there, hidden in plain sight, to login.

My question is: “How does this clock-and-dagger password drama relate to my identity?” Hackers, BE HACKED! Computers, my brain intelligence has out-witted your byte space. I’ve been byte-n enough.

I have a manila envelop titled “Usernames and Passwords” filled with each venture’s name, email address, username, and password…written in reliable, old-fashioned long-hand.

I love my long digits; especially my multi-functional middle finger—for the express purpose of typing, of course.

P.S. Just returned from my Chicago convention. I’ll have the update, and warnings of “accessible” tours, next week. Stay tuned.

Equilibrium of Nature

Are you stressed, lonely, bored, or all of the above and SCI? Do you relieve these anxieties with serotonin producing comfort foods like bread, pasta, chocolate, or ice cream, wind down with alcohol, mellow out with drugs, or work it out with exercise or sex?

The last two have been proven to be beneficial, but if “All the world’s a stage,” (Shakespeare) did you know that you can relieve stress, feel connected, and find equilibrium (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual) in the show of Nature? Preferably in the wild outdoors, but pictures of Nature bring comfort on these levels, as well.

Consider going anywhere green. (Green lends balance, renewal, and peace.) There are 80 national and state parks. Take a pick!

Then, there are scenic drives like the 444-miles of Natchez Trace Parkway (MS), Tennessee’s Great Smokey Mountains, 469-miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (NC-VA) over the Shenandoah Mountains and through North Carolina’s Asheville in the Appalachian Mountains.

(FYI: The Biltmore Estate is a MUST SEE! Overcome with amazement at George Washington Vanderbilt’s vision (8,000 acres worth), I couldn’t sleep for two weeks after touring its mansion (175,000 square feet and 250 rooms) and gardens (75 acres), which are 95% wheelchair accessible. It is a self-supporting estate. I was more impressed with The Biltmore than the many European mansions I have visited.)

Organize a trip to Arizona’s brownish-orange (B-vitamin enhancing) clay, or New Mexico to drink in its landscape of neutral desert rocks, thirsty plans, and sand (browns calm and ground), and its eternal sunset colors—golden yellows (ease depression and increase energy), ochre, orange (stimulates happiness and joy), and rust; maybe a greenish-yellow margarita, or two; always helps what ails you.

Maybe, take in Wyoming’s Doppelgänger reflections of blue (for vitality, knowledge, intuition, mental relaxation) lakes, snow-capped mountains, and evergreens.

Then, there is oxygenated Oregon; great for renewed energy and cerebral creativity.

Take in an ocean view with its turquoise (calming, sleep inducing) waters, like a trek along California’s Big Sur, a Caribbean cruise, or Jamaica, mon.

Your geographical location determines the landscape, or lack thereof. If you are a city-dweller, there must be art and science museums, public parks and gardens, a zoo, an animal shelter, or aquarium, most always wheelchair accssible. Plan weekly look-forward-to trips somewhere. Reward your dedication to work. Remind yourself that you’re not a lost island or, relieve a rut.

If your mobility limits these participations, rent travel and adventure videos. My favorite are “Warren Miller Entertainment” videos (extreme snow skiing, snowboarding, etc.), because I loved snow skiing and relish Nature. “The Wonders of God’s Creation: Animal Kingdom, Planet Earth, and Human Life” is awesome. And, there’s youtube.

You can purchase paintings and pictures of whatever calms and inspires you—the Northern lights, mountain tops, sunrises and sunsets, moon-lit evening skies, clouds, rain, rainbows, rainforests, waterfalls, whales, seascapes, trees, flowers, animals, insects, etc; Nature is limitless. She’s waiting for you.

I am calmed, refreshed, inspired, and renewed when I commune with Nature. As well, my home is filled with objects of Nature. I even frame note cards and cut pictures out of magazines to frame. I have pictures of lightening on my refrigerator that I cut out of a National Geographic magazine.

Sometimes, I let scissors do the walking.

“Help!” (Not the Beatles) – A Wheelchair Assist

WELL! I have had an eye-opener-of-a-day!! (Pay attention to double exclamations.) I went through my drive-thru shower this morning only to realize that I COULD NOT make the landing (transfer) onto my helipad (commode). Wheelchair positioning alongside the right of my commode is essential for a successful transfer. Three-fourths of the way, I could not disengage from my rubber ROHO!!

“Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need somebody, help.”

–the Beatles

For a safe transfer, I depend on my shower-wet rubber cushion. It was not in slip-n-slide mode. My left buttocks sat on a dry cushion; my right, on the dry left side of the toilet seat. I was stuck, literally. Teetering, I balanced with my left hand on my cushion, while trying to heave my dead weight over onto the toilet seat. NADA!!

I’m not a once-does-it kind-of-girl, so with Olympian efforts amidst multiple Hail Marys (prayers, not passes, although it was in desperation), I finally retreated back onto my ROHO, reentered my shower for a second water-lube, and tried again.
Forget it. It wasn’t happening!

“When I was younger, so much younger, than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.”

–the Beatles

To assist my regular commode transfers, I sprinkle baby powder on its seat. Powder lessens the skin-against-wood toilet seat friction. After a shower, I depend on water for an assist.

I used to have an antique ball-and-claw tub fitted with a hydraulic-lift seat secured by suction-cup feet under its base. That was definitely when I was younger. The precarious struggles off the rotating seat, over the tub’s rim, and into my wheelchair gave birth to my drive-thru shower design. (I’m also an interior designer.) A drive-in shower seemed much safer, and certainly has been until, lately, when my body and strength changed.

“And now my life has changed in so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,…”

–the Beatles

To remedy my impasse, I had to transfer into bed, dry off, slather up with my lotion, and dress in bed. But, I did it!!

“…Won’t you please, please, help me, help me, help me, oh.”

–the Beatles

Waiting for some “Help!”-ful comments; but not from you, Paul.

Wheelchair Exercise in Optimism-Part Two

When your schedule is un-expectantly interrupted, are you flexible enough to calmly and thoughtfully move to Plan-B; or, are you so self-centered you haven’t considered a Plan-B (because you assume everyone is on your Plan-A) that you pitch a hissy-fit, blaming the interrupter for screwing up your day? Do you see your glass as half-full or half-empty? Do you call a rose bush a “rose bush” or a “thorn bush?” Do you appreciate the dappled sunlight in the woods, just see trees or, do you really give a flip? These are points of view or perspective.

When you experience something unfortunate, even horrific, can you truthfully find something to be grateful for, or do you throw a pity party, hold a grudge, speak evil of the “perpetrator”, act spitefully toward them, and harbor un-forgiveness? Are you familiar with the sayings, “Ill-as-a-hornet” and “Happy-as-a-lark?” Which of the above best describes your behavior on any given day? These are attitudes, states-of-mind, or dispositions.

Sibling order, environments in which we were reared, experiences we have weathered, temperaments and personalities we are born with influence who we are, but we are not doomed by any of these. We have choices and we make these choices unlimited times each day. Every one of us is who we are by our choices. No other person is to blame, or can receive all the credit. Do you feel alone or empty?

When we find ourselves, day-after-day and year-after-year, re-living and ruminating an event in the past, bad or good, it’s time to open the prison gates and be freed.

If another person was involved in the event, the other person has blissfully moved on—oblivious to our hate—or is dealing with his/her own demons, WITHOUT A THOUGHT OF YOU.

If it was a disease, illness, accident or natural catastrophe that caught you off-guard, push on. If you haven’t been touched by sorrow or hardship yet, buckle up. Not one of us will dodge the bullet, not even Neo. Life happens! We all suffer; how we deal with it is the solution to our happiness.

I would much rather see the world happily through rose-colored glasses (Remember, denial is my happy place.), without self-induced stress and with normal blood pressure than, viewing the world drearily through a heavy fog, with plaque-filled arteries and un-repairable, frayed DNA.

What about you?

Olympic Collaboration

Recently, my 5 ½ year-old Grand Niece and I were playing “I Spy a Color.” Of course, Diego—of the Dora and Diego duo—was participating. It came his turn to pick a color. He normally picks green, because green is his favorite color, but his spokesperson said he chose brown. Herein, lay the challenge.

We were in my great room. In the “Bless This Home” chapter of my book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html , I reference this room as my mixed child because of the various countries represented in its antique décor.

There is an English bow-front chest, a huge American chest, an African coffee table, Irish, French, and Italian chairs, and to magnify my conundrum, wood floors. If I didn’t use colorful upholstery fabrics and Persian rugs, we would drown in brown.

So, I said, “Baby, tell Diego that this will take forever for Toppy (her pet name for me) to guess. Look at ALL the brown.”

She looked around the room, realizing the truth of the matter, and said, “Oh, it’s easy. It’s round, made of wood (yes) and has horn legs.”

From her fitting description, it was obviously the African coffee table. What struck me was her cooperative compassion.

Now, she likes to win. Don’t take me wrong. We had just played a visual memory card game, “What’s That?” where I pick eight pair of numbers, she lays them face down—four rows, four cards across—then, we take turns turning two cards up trying to find a match. If they don’t match, the cards are turned back over in their same space for the next player’s turn.

I always make sure that I win one game to give her the “joy exercise” for my win. Life, disappointments, even disability gives us opportunities to look on the bright side. Thereafter, she deserves her win. (Give and take is an important heart lesson/character quality in my book.) Her Olympic victory dance, and its accompanying celebratory song, had lasted ten minutes. She likes winning!

Nonetheless, in her realization of Diego’s difficult color choice, she still played by the rules, but chose to benevolently offer clues to make my guess easier…instead of prolonging the agony of my defeat.

During this Olympic season, winning is the name of the game, as it should be. Each participant has dedicated their life for the goal of the Gold. But, how often in our daily lives do we stroke our own ego above another’s, just to be right, or to win?

I choose cooperative compassionate collaboration to make the world a better place.

How about you?