Tag Archives: Disability

Work smarter

12 Aug

When you are disabled, minor obstacles start looking more like Mount Everest than a minor mole hill.  It’s all bigger and more dramatic.  It’s also more likely to provoke a total melt down as frustrations and aggravations drive you to your breaking point.

So how to overcome the Himalayas when even going shopping is a challenge?

By working smarter.

Face it, for most of us, disability does not equate an accompanying mental disability.  We are fully aware of our limitations.  We know when we are having an emotional melt down that may be a bit of overreaction to the most recent event but is the inevitable result of recent events that have now been provided with either a trigger or what most of us would call the last straw.

By using our heads when our bodies aren’t dependable, we can enjoy many activities that normally would be out-of-reach.  Ones that we’re technically not supposed to be able to do due to our own personal limits, whether it’s strength, endurance, dexterity, agility, or whatever.  The question is often then going to be how, and it means how can thinking mean that we can do the un-do-able?

By taking a bigger, more dramatic view of the un-do-able, maybe we can get an idea.  Sure, it sounds totally crazy to compare a desired activity for a disabled person to climbing Mount Everest, but it’s not unreasonable.

A climber is facing obstacles that should make the climb to the summit impossible.  Breathing the thin air alone, without the cold, wind, avalanches, falls, distance and all of the other obstacles s/he must face to get there.  Sure, a lot of people fail in their attempts, and some even die trying.  So what makes it a successful attempt?

  • Research—knowing what obstacles must be overcome and what tools are available to overcome them
  • Planning—having the necessary gear, support, tools, supplies, and transportation to get to the Himalayas and make that attempt, as well as the attempt itself
  • Preparation—assembling the necessary items and gaining the necessary skills to be successful
  • Assessment—knowing what your own limits and abilities are, and when to call it quits
  • Assistance—having a support team to help fill in the deficit areas of your physical abilities as well as skill levels

This is where our brains come into effect.  We have to figure out what it is we want to do, then find a way to do it, no matter what it is.  Granted, few disabled people are going to take up mountain climbing, even at a much lower summit height than Mount Everest, but the concept is the same no matter what the activity actually is.

Let’s take some practical examples.

Cooking is a hobby I have enjoyed since I was young.  I really love doing it, and it is always a challenge that I’m thrilled to try.  The objective is to make the recipes, serve them all at their optimum temperature, without any errors.  I actually liked playing “guest chef” and cooking for others.  Holiday meals were something that were fun to prepare because of their complexity, volume, etc.

Obviously, post-disability, it wasn’t as much fun.  Some things were nearly impossible and even simple tasks had turned into my own versions of Mount Everest.  I wanted to make pizza crust, from scratch.  Before, that was a no-brainer.  Now, it was impossible, or so it seemed.

The mixing and kneading were impossible, but solved easier.  I owned a big Kitchen-Aid mixer that really hadn’t seen much use.  Now, I learned to use it for mixing pizza dough.  Rolling and stretching the dough was then the new mountain.  I was not getting that done with one functional arm.

I tried a French rolling pin, I tried the kind with ball bearings.  It didn’t work.  Clean up was a misery.  Sure, I could just wimp out and ask Greg to do it—he’s not inept or unwilling.  That wasn’t the point.  I wanted to do it myself, like I was a toddler helping my mother cook.

In the past, I had had a nylon cylinder rolling pin that I had used.  That’s what I wanted to try, but I couldn’t find one for sale.  Greg solved that for me.  He bought a fat dowel, the biggest he could find, and cut it for me.  There were two—one for the narrow side of a half sheet baking pan, and one for the wide side.  Two problems solved—clean up and rolling, all with one solution.  The dough couldn’t get away from me inside the lipped pan, I had a one handed rolling pin, and I had something I could theoretically clean myself.  It also works great for cookie or biscuit dough.  I haven’t tried it with pie crust though, as the size makes a round disk of sufficient size impossible.

We thought ourselves into a solution for a problem by drawing on past experience (cylinder rolling pin) to find a new solution (dowel rolling pins) and improved it by using the half sheet pans to further solve the problem.

We use the same process for camping solutions.  I love camping, and I’ll be the first one to admit, I could not go camping in a tent by myself.  I’d never enjoy it and I would also probably never get the tent up, even if I was using an instant tent (they are great, by the way!).  But, with help for carrying and the major tasks like setting up the tent, I can enjoy camping still.  Sure, I’m not going on hikes or chopping up firewood anymore, but I’m there.

I did try to solve the backpacking problem.  Due to reduced endurance and other health problems, I have reluctantly admitted that backpacking is out of my reach at this time.  Maybe I will find something that lets me take short, easy trips in the future, but this year, it was a bust again.  Instead, I’m doing it vicariously by creating recipes for DIY meals, sharing knowledge, and evaluating gear in a much closer space.

Then there was sewing.  I was afraid to try it for a very long time, longer than I’m even willing to admit.  That delay was based solely on fear.  I was terrified that it was going to be one more can’t in a world filled with too many can’ts for my taste.  Finally, I got things together, plugged in the machine, and tried it.

Here is where working smarter became really important.  I have a very limited amount of time to actually work on anything before problems are going to appear, all carried along by the all-too-familiar Pain Train.  (I find that assigning silly names to stressors, they become less threatening.  Try it sometime!)  Most of the time, it’s about five minutes.  Sewing isn’t something that is done fast, so this short period of time to do anything physical with it means that I have to make that time really count.  It’s like sewing with a toddler underfoot, in a way.  Continual interruptions and distractions.

I’m also not talking strictly about sewing machine time.  It’s any physical task—laying out patterns, cutting, pinning, whatever. This short time span for actually doing anything means that we’re going to take the tactics of the armchair quarterback.  We’re going to think about it and plan a whole lot in comparison to actually doing anything.  Then, we’re going to look at what we are doing, think about it again, long before we start doing it.

That’s not a bad thing.  You soon learn that ripping things out is heartbreaking.  Not only have you invested one or more work periods into making the mistake, you’ve now got to invest more work periods into removing that effort, all before repeating the investment.  It’s like buying a house with no bathroom, giving it away, and buying another one because the first one didn’t have a bathroom.  It’s a major investment, not merely a bit of time, when you are physically challenged.

Disabilities can change your perspectives on a lot of things, as well as cause a major shift in priorities.  You soon learn that some things are not important and don’t really matter.

  • Makeup. I don’t wear it anymore.  It wasn’t worth the investment of time, energy, and pain to get it onto my face.  I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.  I’m not going to conform to their perceptions or make that investment of myself to conforming.  I’m just not willing to risk sticking a mascara applicator into my eye to be “beautiful” in someone else’s eyes.
  • Hairdos. I’m not going to bother.  I have long hair and I wear it tied up, usually in a doubled over pony tail.  It’s often lopsided too.  I thought about cutting off my hair, but then I’d have to do something with it.  Like comb it more often.  As it is, it gets brushed when I’m leaving the house or someone is coming over—it’s neatly confined so it doesn’t get messy.  No French braids, no fancy do’s, unless my daughter is around and feels inclined to do it for me.  Greg is pretty hopeless at this task, despite his best efforts.
  • Fashion. My idea of fashion is that it is comfortable and I can get it on and off with minimal help.  I don’t care how it ranks in terms of fashion.  Sure, I like pretty stuff, but my idea of pretty and the world’s idea of pretty might be entirely different.  I’m really fixated on the tactile experience of clothing—I like things that feel good to me.  I like cheery stuff, but rather subdued colors.  In summer, I like cool fabrics too.  Winter, like everyone else, I like warm fuzzy ones that are snuggly.  I avoid ruffles and lace like it’s going to give me the plague.  I don’t like buttons and zippers—they are hard to manage.

Decide what matters to you, and don’t invest your efforts into things that don’t matter to you.  That’s the first step to working smarter.

  1. Look at the obstacles that you face when you are attempting a desired activity. What do you need? Is it skills or help or tools?  Do you need something that is specialized or not commercially available? How do you get this new tool or device?
  2. Work out the obstacles one at a time. Facing a hundred can’ts is a world of difference from facing one of them at a time.  A hundred is impossible, but one isn’t, and that’s a simple fact.
  3. Be realistic without accepting defeat. That’s a tough balance, but it’s one that we have to strive for.  I’ve accepted defeat for the backpacking thing…for now.  I may find a solution, but it won’t devastate me if I don’t, as I have accepted that the abridged version is better than none at all.  I have to accept that some things are going to remain forever out of reach now, some of which I never intended to do to begin with, like skydiving, mountain climbing, snow skiing, and bull riding.
  4. Believe in yourself. You are not defined by what you can’t do or can do.  We are all more than that.
  5. You can contribute to the world at large. You have knowledge and skills, even if you aren’t capable of physically using them anymore.  Share them, and see your passion for past activities come to life again.  Just because you can’t do them does not mean that your knowledge can’t live on by sharing it and teaching others.

Working smarter doesn’t mean you have to be disabled somehow to use it.  Anyone can use the same principles to reduce their life clutter and achieve greater things.  It’s just about establishing priorities, coming up with a plan, assembling the tools, and then moving forward towards your goals.  It is not rocket science or quantum physics!  You can do it.

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10 Aug

I bought a blouse pattern recently from Hot Patterns.  I’d heard great things about their patterns, and decided that I would try the Classix Nouveau Peasant Blouse.  It looked like a simple, straightforward kind of blouse.  Most importantly, it looked like one that I could get on and off easily without help.

Now sewing may seem like an odd choice for someone who is disabled enough that I choose clothing for its easy on/off abilities.  The reality is that I have lost almost everything that I dearly love in terms of hobbies due to the same disability.  Everything is now the abridged version, if I can do it at all.  None of it can be done without someone helping me through some of the process.  For an independent person, that’s nearly torture.

I waited over four years before even trying to sew.  I was terrified it was going to be another thing that I could not do, and not trying meant I didn’t have to face another barrier that was not going to vanish.  Finally though, I gathered up my nerve and tried.

I can sew, but I have some serious limits that mean that everything takes a lot more time than recommended, and is far slower than my previous abilities would have allowed me to complete things.  A two hour project now typically takes at least two days.  There is no such thing as quick and easy anymore.

I discovered that regular scissors were hopeless.  Too much reaching, too much hand movement, and it resulted in too much pain and frustration.  Special scissors, approved for arthritis patients, made things easier.  Electric shears, which I had used before, require too much arm movement and work more quickly than I dare go with an arm that sometimes has its own agenda, unrelated to the rest of me.  Greg is also willing to help me with anything I am trying to do.  It’s likely much easier to help rather than deal with me during a total melt down.

I have a fantastic sewing machine that nearly sews things for you.  It has little vibration and rarely misbehaves. So with that running, I can get to work.  For 5-10 minutes, or about enough time to do one seam.  Then, it’s break time.  It’s aggravating to someone who likes to just finish something now, but I’ve had time to adjust.  I only get mildly annoyed at this continual interruption that being me mean I have to have.  The payoff of facing that mild annoyance is the ability to create something without excessive pain resulting.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment that I can rarely have independently anymore.

So, without focusing on the restrictions that my disabilities have foisted upon me, I can now tell you about the pattern I am attempting to sew.

I’ve learned a lot.  First of all, if you want to use Hot Patterns patterns, you had best have internet access or else enough experience that you really don’t need written directions.  They have great tutorials on YouTube and they are also on their website, but the directions aren’t written for someone who prefers to see it written down in black and white.  Okay, I’ll suffer through trying to watch a video and then translate it to what I’m doing on the table and sewing machine.  I am not sure I like that though—it’s a pain to have to go back to the tutorial and then try to find the spot, say for the neck, and replay that portion.  I also am one of those people that do not do well with being told how to do something, but rather I prefer to read how to do something.  I was told long ago that it is a learning style, and I need to see it clearly rather than hear it.  Until now, that had never been a problem with learning how to put a particular pattern together.

The other thing I learned about Hot Pattern is that I should watch the tutorial for a pattern before I buy it.  The blouse I bought is put together differently than I am accustomed to, and it hasn’t been easy.  That may not be their fault, but rather the old rut thing—doing something differently is probably good for me, but like many other people, I sometimes get into ruts of wanting to do it exactly the same.  Nothing about this pattern has been the same.

Including the measurements.

The pattern is multi-sized, and I took my measurements (with help even) and then re-took my measurements, just to be sure.  As I checked my size, I told myself it was high time to get a bit more serious about weight loss than I have been, as the size I was going to require was two sizes larger than my usual off-the-rack size.  That’s not uncommon with patterns—they don’t use the same sizing as clothing manufacturers do.  I think it’s part of a global conspiracy to further erode the confidence of women and ensure they remain ambiguous about their personal body image.

But body image aside, I laid out the pattern pieces, cut out the cloth, and proceeded to start putting this blouse together out of some cheap fabric I had bought out of a clearance bin.  It’s not pretty fabric—it’s a rather bleah medium brown with small white dots.  It certainly isn’t a slimming or fun print, but it didn’t require pattern matching or fussing a I was cutting it out.  I felt like I was sewing a tent together.  Not only was the construction method different than the patterns I’d sewn in the past, but it seemed huge.

I felt like I was literally making a tent.

Finally, I reached a point where I could try on the garment, though it was far from finished.  Greg laughed.

It was quite obvious that I had been sewing a personal tent.  The garment was big enough that Greg and I could both wear it.  At the same time.

There is a reason Hot Patterns advocates making a “muslin” (test garment out of cheap fabric with a similar hand to the planned garment).  Maybe it is because their sizing chart isn’t very accurate?

So, I was now faced with a choice.  I could rip out the seams, cut the pattern pieces down two sizes, and resew it.

That’s a lot of work.  I also can’t really see the thread I sewed with (dark brown) to make ripping it out very easy.  Greg does a lot of stuff for me, but did I really want to ask him to rip out all of those seams?  I thought about the problem for a bit.  Then, I thought about the oversized “blouse” in a cotton fabric.

It would make a great over-blouse to wear in cooler weather.  It’s practically a painter’s smock in its original design, with a simple shape, raglan sleeves, and an open v-neck.  Add a couple of spacious patch pockets, and I’ve got a great top to wear while doing things and wanting an additional layer, plus it’s already sized to wear over clothing.

Am I just rationalizing my laziness?

Maybe.

So I’ll make it two sizes smaller in more cheap fabric.  That’s okay.  It seems likely that it will be easier to sew after the first one.  I also know that making these test garments is good practice anyhow.  Nothing is more disappointing than using expensive fabric only to have it be ill fitting or make an error in construction.  Not all fabrics are forgiving of having seams ripped out either.

I’ll finish the garment—it has three steps left now before I’ll be snipping off the last stray thread tails and deeming it done.  Unless I add the pockets, which will be relatively easy to do.  I think I will add them—and sizing one just to fit my Kindle.

I’ll call it my indoor jacket for when I want an additional layer, but not an actual coat.  It will go great over a t-shirt, as well as being something easy to pop on to go to the mailbox or make a store run too.  Yep, definitely a case of rationalizing going on here!

 

Notice: Don’t forget–this blog is being moved to www.exogenynetwork.com very soon.  During August, posts are being made in both locations.

Sew creative

14 Jul

Okay, I’ve figured out how to sew.  I’m slow, and I mean seriously slow.  But, at least I can still do it.  The really difficult part is cutting out the fabric, but I’ll get Greg to do that from now on or see about electric shears.  I felt like I had been swinging one armed over the Grand Canyon after cutting out 3 pieces for a toddler size skirt–really out of proportion for the amount of work it really is.  Obviously, that’s a type of motion that isn’t going to agree with me, so I have to come up with a work-around.  Even stopping frequently didn’t make it easier–just prolonged the agony.

But I can still sew, albeit slowly.

That makes me very happy.  I’ve lost a lot of my favorite things in terms of activities, and I had postponed this so very long, for fear that I would not be able to enjoy one of the creative activities that had always appealed to me.  I can, and I love it when I can. For me, there is something immensely satisfying about making something that is useful as well as pretty and unique.  Sewing is something that allows me to do that.

But, I knew that hand hemming was going to be not-so-fun.  I have a machine with a blind hem stitch, but I had never used it.  It was just a funny looking sort of zig zag thing to me before, and the directions sounded complicated enough that I would just press and hem by hand, the same way I did the very first time that I made something on a machine that had been made before WWII in Japan.  It only went forward and backward, forget zig zag.  Even buttonholes had to be done the same way my great-grandmother would have sewn them, which meant I didn’t do button holes!

This machine, bought a number of years ago, is a computerized machine made by Brother that has now been discontinued.  I don’t even remember why I had to have it–I bought it to replace a nearly new Kenmore that still works today, so the reason was not something immediately obvious.  I’m pretty frugal, so just because I could isn’t a reason that would have flown with me.  I just don’t remember why now.

I do remember that when I got it, it was so quiet, smooth and easy to sew on that it made the old one seem like it had been made in the stone age.  It is really seriously the best machine I’ve ever used.  Sure, there may be better ones out there, but I’ve not encountered them myself.  There is virtually no vibration, despite the fact that the machine is very lightweight and easy to move around.   It has a ton of features, most of which I haven’t used, but they include a self-threading feature, and that alone makes the machine worth its weight in gold–my eyes are not what they were a few years ago even.  You have no idea what kind of joy it is to replace the spool of thread with a new one and just push a button to thread the needle!

But back to the skirt.  I had my granddaughter with me one day while we were in Hattiesburg for a doctor appointment for her mother.  We went to the fabric store while her mama was in the doctor’s office (it’s always a 2 hr thing!) I had a bug–I wanted to make SOMETHING.

Sure, I have tons of patterns for stuff.  I used to be willing to try complicated patterns, finding the challenge a thrill.  This time, I wanted to make something for her, but I wanted it something that was very simple.  I didn’t want a challenge, I wanted an easy success this time.

So, it was a cheap pattern to make little girl’s skirts.  Four views, all for a skirt about knee length and flared, with an easy to put on elastic waist that was great for a 3 yr old who is still mastering dressing herself.  With the pattern in hand, we started looking for fabric.

Of course, Grandma has a thing for fabric that is easy care and easy to match with a variety of tops.  Three year old granddaughters want their favorite characters though.  So we compromised.  Two pieces of easy-to-match fabric, and one piece of Hello Kitty fabric, add a few yards of elastic, and we were set.

Somehow, “Grandma is going to make you a skirt” and buying the fabric translated to “I can wear it right now” to a three year old.  We had a hard time with the bit about me having to take it home with me and sew it, but we got through that.  She’s growing in spurts, and her mother wanted me to make it long enough that she wasn’t going to outgrow it in a few months.  I also made the elastic waist “expandable” so that it can be let out as she grows bigger.

We both remember her brother and his Power Ranger costume.  He wore it until it was nearly obscene and I had to hide it then.  Hello Kitty skirt might be in that same category.  My daughter also had a pink denim skirt that she wore from the time she was about four until she was nearly ten and it had become the mini-skirt it was originally meant to be.  Having this skirt long enough to last if it becomes a favorite is probably a good idea, never mind that I’m making her two other ones.

But I am not making the next one for her.  I have several great nieces and a nephew, along with the impending arrival of a pair of twins this fall.  The next one is for Mikey, a great-niece I’ve never been able to meet yet. Tall and thin for her age, I’m told that finding clothes to fit can be a challenge for her.  Plus, neither my sister nor her mother are able to sew.  So, I’m making her a skirt too. This one is going to be pale purple with a Disney princess theme and “Princess in Training” on it.  Like the one for my granddaughter, the elastic waist will be adjustable, since the recipient will be across the continent from me and impossible for me to adjust the waist size exactly.

Did I mention that they are nearly full circle and ideal for twirling?

Dancing little girls, whether they are pretending to be on Frozen or just dancing for the joy of life, are a real treat, and skirts that twirl with them add to the pleasure.  Don’t ask me why, but I remember that from watching my own daughter as she was growing up, dancing through the backyard, unaware that I was watching her through the kitchen window. Watching her as she leaped and twirled, you had to feel happy yourself.

So when I finish the skirts, I’ll move on to something a little more complex but still in the realm of “easy” with some aprons.

What can be more practical than an apron? Plus they offer plenty of opportunity to be a little creative!

Alien abductions, radio program, and me

9 Nov

Today is a big day.  My granddaughter is FINALLY getting released to go home, a long haul since she was born on October 18th.  But, I’m not going to be a pesky grandmother tonight–they haven’t even left the hospital yet, it has been an all day process to get her discharged.  Instead, I’m staying home and being a good mother-of-the-new-mother.  It’s mostly selfishness, by the way.

Tonight is Tuesday evening, and each and every Tuesday evening, I host a radio program.  My topic? Paranormal discussions, primarily, although anything “alternative” is apt to catch my interest.  This month, I’m doing a run on aliens and alien abductions, along with related topics.  Last week was Eve Lorgen, the author of Love Bites.  Tonight is Anya Briggs, a psychic medium and contactee herself.

I have an odd way of doing the show, I suppose.  I don’t have set questions barring one single one, the same identical one for each guest…and the first one of the program.  I ask them to introduce themselves to the audience.  Maybe its a cop-out, but it does make sure that anything the guest considers to be important about themselves is mentioned.  I don’t give them a time limit, and the amount of time has varied incredibly.  One guest went on for 23 minutes…a few have taken about 23 seconds.  Most take 1-3 minutes to hit the highlights or important points.

The rest of the show is done very casually, I tell everyone it is just like you sat down with me for a cup of coffee/tea/whatever and we’re talking.  Sometimes, we’re interrupted with a question from the audience, who actually get to feel like they are eavesdropping in on a private discussion.  It’s intimate, real, and fun for everyone.  It isn’t hard hitting journalism where I’m attacking anybody, it’s really about sharing.  Sometimes, the emotions get very intense–I’ve cried during programs, and so have guests.  I’ve laughed…a lot.  So have my guests.  I’ve never had a guest refuse to come back, so they must all enjoy it too!

Some programs are very emotional, some are more clinical, some are informational, and some are sheer fun and joy.  It’s a real mixture of stuff, topically, guest wise, and to a degree, perhaps even style wise. It does stay conversational in the way we talk, but the topic does greatly influence how we get there.  The two hours always flies by too!  A lot of guests don’t think they can manage to talk for two hours, and then are utterly amazed when the show is over so quickly!

I don’t make money doing the program, it costs me.  I pay all of the related expenses for arranging the guests, making phone calls, etc.  It’s technically “produced” by UFO Paranormal Radio Network, who actually calls both me and the guest, then connects us via a server to the internet radio network, and then records the program.  Sometimes the quality of the recording isn’t what I’d like it to be!  UPRN has advertisers and donors to help defray their expenses, whereas my expenses get few donations, whether its for replacing  computers destroyed by lightening, paying for server space so people can listen to the edited programs free of charge, paying for the website’s expenses so people can get information from that, or any of the million other small expenses that are connected with the radio program.

We do try using various ways to help.  We have an Amazon store on our website that sells a variety of goods.  When people purchase through it, we get a tiny percentage in return for the web space we use to advertise it.  (We haven’t seen any dividends from it yet.) We use various sponsored advertisement companies on our website, blogs, and Tweets on our Twitter accounts, and gain a few dollars there.  We have tried other advertising portals that have not paid off, and yet required continual updating and revision, aggravating me endlessly with the need to find the ads on a website that is really too large for only two people to maintain in their spare time.  That’s about it, barring review copies of books that we receive, and which are likely to end up donated to a library at some point.  Our downsized quarters means that we have limited shelving room for books, so if a book survives the final cut, it has to have long term use benefits.  I suspect we still buy more books than we receive as review copies too!

If anyone demanded an answer as to why I do this radio program, I would have to answer that its mostly because I enjoy it.  Obviously, right?  It is fun, I talk to interesting people and get a very unique insight into a lot of new ideas.  Some are ideas that I’m not real comfortable with, others are ones I can easily embrace.  New ideas are a good thing, it continually forces me to re-examine my own perception of the world and define my parameters of belief.  That means, in quick words, that I have to keep an open mind and this prevents me from closing it.

It also offers a sense of structure to my life.  This past year, as I have been recovering from my injury, days all seem alike.  Tuesday is now a red letter day, I have to be “with it” on Tuesdays.  I have to go through the steps to make sure that each Tuesday works smoothly too.  Dinner is early on Tuesdays too.  Retirees will completely understand that little problem, I’m sure, as well as why structure can be a stress reliefing addition to one’s life.

Structure…my dogs and cats offer that too.  They require certain things at certain times, and they don’t care what day it is or how bad I’m feeling.  They don’t even get why I get grumpy due to the pain, or why I want to sleep late after a bad night.  GM is always a help with them, dealing with potty breaks and heavy bags of litter or food, and all the million other things that typically required two arms to successfully accomplish.  I would be sunk without him!

It does make me sad that I can’t pick up my granddaughter.  Yeah, at five pounds, I can’t manage her weight safely.  For her or me.  I can hold her, if she’s handed to me so I can cradle her in my left arm.  I haven’t tried to ever feed or or do any other caretaking tasks, but she’s just getting released from the hospital today.  I suspect her mama is going to be a little mama bear, and rarely let her out of her sight anyhow!  It frightens me a little when I realize that it has been almost a year since I was injured, and yet…I can’t pick up a five pound baby no matter how much I would love to do so.  I can’t help but question whether I will ever be able to do so.

So don’t take a strong constitution and ability to do things for granted.  It can be taken away from you faster than you can blink your eyes, and yet, that moment will replay in your head over and over until you want to scream.  Soon, I’m going to be forced to make decisions regarding my disability, as the reality is that if I have not regained use of my right arm in a year, I want clear answers as to whether recovery is likely.  I never dreamed that I would ever be in a situation where I would use the term “disability” in the same sentence as myself, and wearing that label isn’t exactly a cozy spot for me.  I tried using a sling shot over the weekend.  It’s tough, I couldn’t figure out how to manage it from the hip, and I can’t stick my arm straight out in front of me and resist the pull of the band to fire an acorn at a tree.  With my elbow tucked in against my body, which is my strongest position, pulling back to fire the acorn is tough too.  I managed to nail the tree most of the time from twenty feet.  A big tree.

Once, I could have nailed a sparrow at ten yards without thinking about it.  At fifty yards, I could nail a dog hard enough to get their attention.  Rock chucking was another popular past time when I lived in Arizona, we had a lot of rocks there.  I was lethal as a kid, and as an adult, I’d chuck rocks with my son.  There was something exhilarating about winging a rock at a tree and hearing the repeated thump as I did it over and over.  When I was really stressed out and angry at the world, like after my son’s death, I could throw rocks at a bush and rage as loud as I wanted…without hurting anyone’s feelings or leaving them feeling helpless at this vision of an insanely angry and grieving woman.  That rock chucking was a physical release, and with it, I could release emotions galore. The verbal abuse delivered to the bush along with the rocks was just garnish, accents for the physical act of throwing the rock and putting all of my anger into that act.  Was it silly? Probably, but it got me through the hardest thing I’ve ever faced.  It didn’t harm anyone, not even the tough saltbushs that I was stoning.  As for wildlife, they vacated the area long before I had assembled my pile of rocks to begin the stoning with.  I still think it was probably one of the healthiest coping mechanisms I can think of even now for dealing with the impossible nature of grief at losing a child.

So with all of that, it’s not much over an hour before the radio program tonight starts, so I had best get my final preparations ready.  Coffee helps make the experience for me, so I’ll need some of that.  I’m honestly looking forward to the program tonight–talking with Anya before the program was good, I guess you’d call those brief pre-show calls my litmus test for the guests.  I usually have a good idea of how the interview is going to go from that initial contact.  Maybe that’s my psychic gift?  Who knows!  I have been accurate on most occasions, but maybe its a case of my expectations about the program are likely to influence the outcome too.  In either case, I’m anticipating a really good program tonight with Anya!  So, consider this blog a personal invitation to come listen, and if you miss the initial live version, you can catch the unedited version at www.paranormalradionetwork.org Just scroll down through the list (in chronological order) until you find the Dawn of Shades.  Listening there is also free!