37 Things

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone’s Wednesday going? Things are fine here. It’s that time of year again where I’m supposedly getting older. Tomorrow (the 12th) is my birthday. Probably just going to order Greek for dinner and spend the day writing. Unless I use it as an easy day and just goof around. Haven’t decided yet. Anyway, I’m skipping the book number thing this week in favor of a random about me thing. I don’t know why I started doing this. It takes forever. But whatever. I’m 37, so here are 37 random things about me.

Tomorrow, anyway.

1. I’ve written creative words every day this year. A whole 10 days. I’m trying to stick to a schedule where on Sunday, Tuesday (or whatever day I write my blog post that week), and a lazy day of my choice, I write 100 words on the current novel attempt. The other four days, I’m aiming for 1,000 words. At least until I finish a first draft (the goal is approximately 90,000 words for this one). It’s basically my old schedule, but with no zero word days because it’s too easy to talk myself into quitting right now if I don’t write words. So far, so good.

2. I haven’t gone anywhere (where I left the van) aside from yearly doctor appointments and a couple of trips to a hardware store that’s usually empty since Covid started. I’m mostly okay with this.

3. I do miss going to restaurants and the occasional concert, but that’s about it.

4. Telehealth visits are wonderful. It means we don’t have to drive all the way to UT Southwestern just to wait 45 minutes for a five minute chat. I like my doctor there and wouldn’t mind meeting her face-to-face (we haven’t because my old pulmonologist retired after Covid started, so computer visits were already a thing when she took over), but I like not having to leave the house too.

5. I’ve become fond rye and ginger beer.

6. Kraken rum and Pepsi is pretty good too.

7. I’m not a sot. I swear. I have a drink maybe once a week.

8. I still have most of my Kah reposado and Republic anejo tequilas. Mostly because I don’t have anyone to sit around and sip booze with once in a while, but whatever. If I were a tosspot, they would be gone.

9. It’s that time of year where I panic because I have a scratchy throat (Flu! Covid! Dying!) only to remember that it’s Mountain Cedar season, so my options are living with a scratchy throat/excess mucus/sinus headache or live in a Benadryl/Zyrtec haze for the next couple of months if things get unbearable. This is just my life now.

10. I despise ordering groceries from Kroger. There’s almost always some kind of glitch on their website. They never tell you what’s out of stock until it’s too late to modify the order. Canceling orders is ridiculous and there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll still show up. Plus, most of the time, they don’t have a previously ordered section to make life easier.

11. Walmart is better, but the few times we’ve ordered dairy or produce through them, it went bad within a few days despite the best by dates being reasonably far away. It’s weird.

12. Amazon Fresh is pretty good, but they have the worst meat selection. The diversity of the selection is good, but they only sell them in one pound portions most of the time. We can’t survive on that.

13. Tom Thumb is our go to, but only because Dad can call them up and they usually fix things. Usually.

14. I’m already running out of things to say about myself in case the ordering groceries mini rant didn’t make it obvious. Talking about myself is hard.

15. I’m great at bottling everything up, but expressing feelings and shit is hard. I keep my responses to everything (good or bad) moderate and I don’t know how to fix it. How do I show excitement or happiness? The anger and rage can stay in the box in the abyss of my soul, but I would like to become better at expressing the good stuff.

16. I’m not a physically affectionate person. At all. I can’t be. It’s not like I can randomly hug people or whatever. And I have a super hard time asking for things that I actually need to survive and/or be comfortable (the whole burden mentality is a bitch to outgrow), so I just can’t see myself ever asking for cuddles or whatever. I don’t know how to fix this either.

17. And now I’m super uncomfortable with the last two shares, but it’s getting late and I still have too many to go, so I guess I’ll leave them.

18. Despite my aversion to being touched (one reason I’m not affectionate), one of my favorite A-Kon (anime convention) memories is of the dude who rubbed all up on me in the Sheraton bar. He asked if he could love on me and then massaged my arms and knees while whispering sweet nothings at me. He asked if I was okay with what was happening every time he switched hand placement. I’ve never felt more comfortable with a stranger touching me. It was weird and innocent and amusing. And I still randomly think of him and hope he’s doing well.

19. I also randomly think of the dude and his friend who gave me a lap dance at Lazerz when I was like 20. That was strange and not something I would let happen now, but I was young and stupid and didn’t really care about being touched as long as something pretty was dancing for me.

20. I know I shouldn’t objectify people, but I can’t help it. I enjoy eye candy. I’m not a dick about it. It’s not like I catcall people on the street or harass them online. I appreciate from afar and mind my manners.

21. I don’t understand expensive coffee. Dad decided to try some Kona coffee and it’s good, but it tastes like… coffee. Same with chocolate and wine and stuff. I’m just not sophisticated enough, I guess.

22. I am eternally tired. It doesn’t matter how well I sleep (not that I sleep well often). I wake up tired.

23. I get irrationally upset when I find a book with a good story and characters I enjoy, but it’s full of continuity errors, typos, and punctuation errors. It’s so disappointing, but I usually rage read it just to have something to rant to myself about at night. So much potential just absolutely ruined by a horrible editor (or lack of an editor).

24. I’ve been working on this list for three hours. I’m so uninteresting. Sorry. But at least it’ll only take you a few minutes to read.

25. I love peppermint bark. In chocolate form or coffee form or whatever. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and peppermint.

26. I always say I need to catch up on anime or tv shows I don’t watch with Dad, but if I have time, I end up playing mindless games while listening to loud music.

27. Years ago, I stopped playing video games because crippleness (my last big mobility loss affected my arms and hands and I lost the ability to lean forward on my own). That was before adaptive controllers existed. Now, I hesitate about getting back into them because they are/were addictive. I get sucked into my mindless games occasionally. Can you imagine what would happen if it was a game I actually liked?

28. I wouldn’t mind dancing around and being stupid with people. I don’t think I’ve done any dancing with others since Stonecoast. Used to dance at anime conventions and clubs. That’s not happening any time soon. If I had local friends aside from the Minion, I’d say we have a backyard, but everyone is so far away. You guys suck. Not really.

29. My coping mechanisms for life in general could probably be better. A dark sense of humor and self-deprecation have helped me survive this long, though, so I won’t change anything.

30. I started following other cripple people on social media and found out that pee math is a thing cripples have to do. Calculating how much they can drink and knowing where the bathrooms they can use are, etc. I mostly eliminated that a long time ago by training myself to just hold it, but I still have to do it for all day events. I have to know which drinks I can have and when I can have them so I can make it home. Or we have to drag my lift with us and that’s more trouble than just doing the math. But yeah. Pee math is a thing you know about now. You’re welcome!

31. Amazon started doing Kindle Reading Challenges and the only thing I get out of them are little bookmark icons that do nothing and can’t be seen by anyone but me. They don’t even send a congratulations for completing the challenge. But I get so ticked off if I fail to get one of the stupid things. Is that weird?

32. Mardi has me trained to go get her when she nudges my feet and whines while Dad’s out in the garage or running errands. Then she just wants back down two minutes later. Spoiled pupper is spoiled.

33. I’m currently craving flan and I don’t know why. It’ll pass.

34. I’m far too old and boring to be making these kinds of lists. There’s nothing interesting about me that people don’t already know. Ugh.

35. Surprisingly, I’d rather be working on the novel than this post. I never thought that would happen. But I’m sure as soon as I schedule this and open the file to write my 100 words it’ll be like pulling teeth. I’m never satisfied with anything until I’m done.

36. Holy shit. This post is about 1,700 words according to the WordPress word count thingie. No wonder I hate it.

37. Gott Ist Ein Popstar by Oomph is a decent song to end this list to. It’s what’s playing right now.

Sorry for the length. As always, feel free to leave comments or whatever here or on my social media pages!

Working Hard? Hardly Working.

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this week? Enjoying your September and pumpkin spice? It’s still in the 90s here, so I have no interest in autumn drinks yet. But it’s time for the last ‘get to know me’ post unless someone picks another prompt or I decide to cheat and pick one myself next week. I might even look for new lists like this. I saw one about books the other day. Maybe I’ll hunt that one down for October or November. It’s just so much easier to write a post from a prompt. Anyway, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know that we’ve covered 47, 13, 43, 33, and 11. Today, Jen chose 27. The prompt is ‘work from home or office culture.’ I have no office experience, but I’ll try to think of something to say.

The list one last time.

I’ve never really thought about office culture before. If I compare it to college, I probably wouldn’t mind it. Being in a company where I’m doing my own assignment/job and mostly interacting with co-workers in need be or even semi-social situations doesn’t sound entirely horrible. Now, if it’s a group project, hell no. I hated them in school and would hate them at work. I was usually the one doing most of the work because I valued my grades. Put a paycheck on the line and I’d end up doing all of the work. No thanks. But yeah… as long as I could keep my head down and do my own work, I wouldn’t be opposed to a mundane office job. Pre-plague anyway. I wouldn’t want one now.

Working from home is fine. It’d be easier on me because my computer and everything is already set up for me. Being able to do things via email instead of face to face is divine. I would hate it if I was required to make phone calls. And random Zoom meetings would be horrible. But working from home sounds like a better choice overall. Which is why writing seemed like a good fit for me. I do the bulk of things on my own and (so far) everything else is done through emails and submission portals. No one has to hear my voice and that makes me very happy.

It’s me! And video calls are worse.

However, working implies that I get paid regularly, which I don’t. So, I can’t really tell you which of these scenarios I would prefer. I have to be super careful about any paying job I get because I have to worry about losing my benefits. It’s a whole thing. I mean, they took away my SSI and made me apply for a different version of Medicaid because the government started paying me a whole $12 extra a month which put me above the SSI cutoff. Not that anyone could actually live on what the government gives me. But I require Medicaid in order to survive, so my options are get a super high paying job with excellent benefits even though I have zero work experience, marry a multimillionaire and hope the prenup gives me a few million to live on just in case, or stay poor. So, yeah. Easy-peasy, right?

There you go. I’m not opposed to office work, but work from home sounds much better. What about you? Are you an office minion or do you prefer doing your work in your underwear? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages!

I’m Not Stylish

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing today? I’m currently feeling better. It’s been a little up and down since I started the antibiotics for my sinus infection, but I feel better than I have in a while, so fingers crossed. The pain is way down and the pressure is fading, but my mucus is clouding up again. We’ll see how goes. But let’s get back to the ‘about me’ thing we’ve been doing. I’ve done numbers 47 (you can find the list of prompts in that post), 13, 43, and 33. Number 27 will be the last one unless someone picks another number. Today, I’ll be answering number 11 for Danielle! The prompt is: favorite style of clothing.

Are we talking about clothes I wear or just clothes I like to look at? I’m pretty sure I recently did a post about pretty clothes I like to look at. Yup, here it is. As far as what I actually wear goes… jeans and shirts. In the summer, I mostly wear cut off jeans (jorts if you’re into portmanteaus) and t-shirts. It’s the easiest stuff to get on and pretty much the only stuff that doesn’t look completely stupid on me. I have to wear tops larger than I actually need so they will have enough give to get over my arms (they don’t move much, so the shirt has to stretch). T-shirts look fine no matter how big they are (to a point past what I need anyway… I wear XL, but 2XL looks mostly fine, and 3XL starts looking wonky). Fancy blouses, not so much.

I also occasionally wear dresses during the summer. If we’re going somewhere. So, I haven’t worn one since at least 2019 thanks to the plague. Most of my dresses came from Earthbound Trading Company and have that stretchy crinkle top that flares out into a skirt. They look okay. I also have a dress I got from Scarborough Faire that I actually kind of like. I like all of my dresses. I mean that I like it on me. My closet needs to be cleaned out, though. I never wear any of my skirts or stuff like that.

It’s far too hard to find a picture of me in a dress, so here’s one from when I was young and brave/stupid and went to clubs. And (holy crap) I actually kinda believe I look attractive in this pic.

In winter, I switch to jeans and long sleeve shirts, most of which are henleys. Same reason as why I wear mostly t-shirts. Easy to get on and look acceptable in larger sizes. Plus, most of my winter shirts are warm and snuggly. That’s about it. I do have a handful of sweaters, but I should probably replace most of them. I only really like two of them, but one is old and a little tight and the other looks plain. The plain one is great and cuddly, but I really only wear sweaters when we’re going somewhere nice. I’m not really sure it counts for that. Also, my sweaters are in women’s sizes, so they’re smaller than most of my tops. I usually buy unisex/men’s sizes since they’re about half a size larger.

But mostly, I like shoes. At home I’m almost always barefoot or wearing fluffies (slippers). But I love my Converse. I have a black pair and a white pair with shiny rainbow stars. I switch between those and flip flops or sandals in summer. In winter, I tend to wear boots if we go somewhere. I love my biker boots that I bought when I was sixteen or seventeen. My other favorite boots are a bronze pair I got a few years ago. Only got to wear them twice before the plague ruined everything. It’s been so long since I’ve worn any of my other shoes that I can’t remember which ones I still have. Oops.

And that’s enough rambling about clothes. I love lots of styles, but this is what I wear. Sorry for rambling and not actually saying anything interesting. Gold star to anyone who makes it this far! As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media pages.

Gotta Get Outta This Place

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone today? As I’m typing this (Tuesday afternoon/evening), it’s kind of dreary and the sky spit on us for the first time in a while today. Not much, but at least the ground got wet. Anyway, it’s time for another ‘get to know me’ answer post. This week, we have the number 33 for the lovely Alena. I’ve already done 47 (you can find the list of prompts in that post), 13, and 43. I still have 11 and 27 to go. Feel free to pick another prompt or number between 1 and 50 and I’ll add it to the list. Today’s prompt is “which country do you wish to travel to?”.

Not really.

When I was younger, this would’ve been an easy question. Japan. It’s always been the place I wanted to go to the most in the world. I mentioned I was a weeb in the last post, so this should come as no surprise. Aside from anime and manga, I love the music and the food looks amazing and I’m interested in the culture and all of it. So, of course I want to go there. It’s still in my top three places to go, but slow boats are expensive and I have to worry about accessibility and finding places that meet my needs and all of that crap, so travel in general is difficult. Plus, as I’ve grown, I’ve realized there are so many other places I want to go to as well.

Like England or Ireland or Scotland. All three if we ever actually made it that far. Plus other places. Go big before we go home. We watch far too many British cozies and occasionally find Irish and Scottish shows as well, so they’ve piqued our interests. Mostly the ones with the really nice scenery. Plus, I’ve seen the giant butt plug shaped building in London enough on TV that I kind of want to see it in real life. I don’t understand some of the architectural decisions over there. They had to have seen it in the design phase. Someone had to have pointed it out. But it would be nice to explore the more scenic parts of these places.

It’s called the Gherkin, but it’s obvious what it is.

Australia would be fun too. It seems like a gorgeous place and has amazing animals (flying foxes and wombats!). I guess I don’t really need an excuse to want to go places. Just a desire to go. Australia is one of those places. No idea why I want to go. It just seems like a good idea.

But, like I said, traveling is hard. I can’t fly. Technically, I suppose I’d have to talk to my pulmonologist now that I’m on the vent, but I was told a long time ago not to do it. Even if my lungs could handle it though, I still can’t because in order for cripples to fly, they have to transfer you out of your wheelchair and put it in with the cargo. That’s a big nope. And the horror stories about broken wheelchairs at the other end of flights… no, thanks. So, flying is out. Maybe one day I’ll be rich enough to afford a cruise somewhere nice, but for now, I’ll just dream about it.

Wombat! Look at it! It poops cubes.

Plus, there’s a plague, so I’m not leaving the house anyway. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions here or on my social media page! See you next week for more randomness.

On All-Nighters

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? It’s currently 6:30 in the morning on Tuesday and I’ve been up all night. Why? So I can answer the phone in a couple of hours and talk to the Social Security Administration about that thing we’ve been trying to work out since July. Why not just get up at 8:30 like a normal person? Because cripples don’t have that luxury. At least I don’t. Both the getting into and out of bed processes take like two hours each (and Dad has to go to bed after he gets me in bed/get up before me), so it’s just easier to stay up when it’s just an anomaly (we never schedule morning appointments, but the government doesn’t listen when you request afternoon ones). Anyway, I used to LOVE staying up all night, especially when I could sleep all day. But now I’m old and this shit is boring.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, staying up all night was basically a sanctuary. It was the easiest way to spend as little time with my mom as possible. She’d sleep until three or four in the morning, get up and put me in bed, do whatever she did during the morning, then get me up around two or three. It didn’t keep us from fighting all the time, but it helped a little. It also caused some arguments with Dad because he didn’t like me staying up all night (sorry). But those quiet hours between about midnight and three were the absolute best. I miss them a lot sometimes.

But that was back in the days of Yahoo chats and when fansubs (both anime and manga) were spewed all over the Interwebz. Entertaining myself was easy. Finding people to hang out with and be weird with was simple. And being productive (doing school stuff) came naturally during those hours. It was peaceful and wonderful and I’m probably forgetting how boring it actually was, but I’m allowed to romanticize things once in a while.

Now, it’s generally unnecessary (I have no one to avoid anymore) and boring as hell. Tonight, I finished the third Simon and Baz book, read four chapters in this month’s review book, wrote this post because if I waited until this afternoon the entire post would be ZZZ…, and spent far too much time prepping for this upcoming appointment that should really be quite easy (but it’s the government, so I’ve just learned to prepare for hassles). Productivity achieved. But I no longer have friends in distant time zones to be weird with at ungodly hours. I did pester my friend who’s in Germany, but only for a few minutes. Otherwise, I scrolled through Facebook, checked my email like fifty times, and ordered a shirt I really don’t need. It’s just not worth the sleep deprivation anymore.

That’s enough rambling. I’m going to go play some mindless games until closer to the appointment time, then I’ll switch to obsessively checking my phone which is right in front of me with a decent charge and good reception. But I’ll still be in panic mode until the call is over. Enough about me, what about you? Are you a fan of all-nighters? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts here or on my social media pages!

A to Z of Me

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing this week? Things here are good. I’ve been writing and all of that fun stuff. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up! But, I’m not really here to talk about that right now. It’s my birthday tomorrow (actually today when this goes live), so I thought I’d do another “getting to know me” type post. Instead of 36 random facts about me, I decided to look for one of those A to Z questionnaire things. They’re shorter and I don’t have to think as much. I randomly found this one during a Google search, so here we go.

A… If you were an ANIMAL, what would you be?

Probably some kind of fish. One of those ugly deep sea fish with the little light lure thing on its head. An anglerfish, I think. That might be cool.

B… BOOKS: What’s on your reading list?

Right now, just the book for January’s review post and one I ended up with to review in mid-February. Otherwise, my list is mostly the same as the last time I posted about it, but I’m slowly chipping away at it and randomly adding new stuff. I’m sure I’ll run out of stuff to talk about and share a list soon enough.

C… COMPULSIVE about anything?

Far too many things. I have a few weird rituals that I do repeatedly throughout the week, mostly when I’m in my lift for an extended period of time. It’s stupid and does nothing, but it makes me feel slightly better.

D… DREAMS: Do you… dream in color? remember your dreams? keep a dream journal?

I don’t journal at all. And it’s rare for me to remember my dreams. They’re either super mundane or straight up nightmares, nothing in between. Almost always from my own perspective and in color.

E… EATING: What’s your usual snack?

I don’t really eat snacks unless Dad and I are having a lazy day. I guess chocolate mostly. I’ll have a piece before bed if that counts as snacking. Chips if we have them. Once in a while, popcorn. Or whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

F… A Few of your FAVOURITE Things?

Food. Animals. Books. I could go on, but you just asked for a few.

G… GIGGLES! What (or who) makes you laugh? Do you have a good sense of humor?

I basically have the sense of humor of a 12-years-old boy. It’s not hard to make me laugh. Dad jokes, puns, innuendo. I’m not picky with my humor. It ranges from actually funny to completely inappropriate.

H… Major HOT Button:

I don’t really have any. I know I should probably care about stuff more, but the truth is that people are going to think what they want regardless of what I say. The only reason I ever debate anything with people is because I’m bored, but then I just get annoyed, so I don’t see the point in it.

I… I am:

A cripple. A writer. My father’s daughter. And much more.

J… JOBS: What do you do? What have you done? What would you like to do?

I’m a writer. That’s about it.

K… Also KNOWN As: Aliases? Screen names? A non de plume perhaps?

Cyn, because my old screen name was cynicalcripple and my friends were too lazy to type it out. Sak or Sakura for basically the same reason. I also have a pen name, but I haven’t published anything using it yet. When I do, you’ll know.

L… I LOVE:

Dad. Jen. Danielle. Heather. And some other people.

M… How do you feel about MEETING people? Do it all the time? Rarely? Parties or 1-on-1?

Please don’t make me. I’m not good with people. If I have to, I prefer email or text.

N… What’s the story of your NAME? Were you named after anyone? Do you go by a nickname? Any aliases?

I was named after Sean Connery and Nichelle Nichols.

O… OBSERVANT: What’s around you right now? What do you see?

My desk and armoires and sticky notes and tins of peppermint bark. Darkness outside my window. I have the front camera on, so I see the vans and trailer and truck. The heat is currently on. I can’t really smell anything because allergies suck. My ventilator is whooshing. I’m too lazy to keep listing things.

Old picture, but similar set up.

P… Who are the special PEOPLE in your life?

Just Dad, really.

Q… Any Little QUIRKs About Yourself?

I have a lot of quirks, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head. What quirks do I have?

R… What do you like to do for RECREATION?

I read books or manga. I watch anime. And I play mindless games while blasting music as loud as it will go. I’m not an exciting person.

S… Do You SING in the Shower? In the car? For your friends?

I try to only sing when I’m alone or the music drowns me out. Sometimes I slip up. Ah well.

T… What’s at the Top of your TO DO list?

Writing. Need to get back into a rhythm.

U… Any UNUSUAL Experiences?

Far too many to talk about here. Maybe in a different post. But I did have a woman sing a full on gospel version of happy birthday to me in a dance club bathroom, then she told me I was beautiful and if anyone told me different she would slit their throat. I stopped letting my sister drag me into public bathrooms after that.

V… VEGAS, Vienna, Venice, Vladivostok: How far have you travelled? What’s your favourite City?

None of those places. I do remember stopping in or near Verona, New York. Pretty sure that was the place with the awesome La Quinta. I’ve been all over the eastern side of the U.S. and up into Canada. I’m partial to the northeast.

W… WINTER, Spring, Summer, Fall: What’s your favorite season? What makes it special?

I live in Texas. We get summer and a couple of weeks of winter. Summer is better.

X… EXes: They are ex for a very good reason.

I wouldn’t know. Don’t have any.

Y… Any secret/deep YEARNINGS?

Unless you count milkshakes as secret desires, no. Not really. I’m good.

Z… ZERO to ZENITH: Where are you in your life? Still growing? On an upward (or downward) curve? Just skating along?

Pretty much just skating along right now. I think that’s what most people are trying to do thanks to COVID. Hopefully things will eventually get better.

End of Year Rant

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing? Are you ready for the coming year? Things here are annoying, so I thought I would vent a little. It’s nothing super important or life and death or anything. It’s just irksome. The government is involved, so of course everything is taking way longer than it should and it’s all a giant hassle when it should be easy peasy. They’ve had years to streamline the process, but they have not. Just like with everything else they’re involved in. Things shouldn’t be this complicated. But anyway…

Some backstory. Dad started collecting social security this year. Well, according to a lawyer we went to when we made our wills (he specializes in cripple stuff), since I’m cripple, I should’ve been eligible to receive some benefits when Dad started collecting. We knew this, but we didn’t know what all we would have to do when the time came. So, when the SSA said we needed to complete a form for me to receive the benefits, we searched high and low on the website for it, but couldn’t find anything. Ugh. We called on July 23rd to find out what to do. Long story short, I would need to set up a phone meeting and answer some questions (no mention of a form), but there were no appointments available at that time. They would be in touch.

Fast forward to October when Dad starts receiving his benefits. We still haven’t heard anything about my appointment, though we have been calling at least once a month to make sure no one has forgotten. The nice SSA people all assured me it was just a matter of waiting, but that I won’t be penalized because they know I’ve been in touch and trying my best to move things along. The waiting game continues until Dad gets a super weird letter and calls them again himself in November. The lady he talks to thinks the wait is ridiculous as well and puts him in touch with a woman who sends our issue up to her bosses.

Are we, though?

At this point, Thanksgiving is upon us along with the rest of the holidays. More waiting. Then, yesterday I get an email from an ssa.gov email address that contains the correct national phone number to call back, so I open it. My appointment has been scheduled! For February… at like 9 in the morning despite my requests for an afternoon appointment. Whatever. I will make it work. And I will call today to confirm that the appointment is legit, that they have my correct contact info, and who I should call in the event that no one calls me.

Again…

But seriously. Why has it taken over six months just for an appointment? And there’s no guarantee that the appointment will be the end of this process. It probably won’t be, because at that point, they’re probably going to give me trouble about keeping my Medicaid, which will start another cycle of drama. I’m dreading that one even more than this whole mess. Why do they make everything so complicated? Ugh. Wish us luck. I’ll be back next week with my regularly scheduled book review. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and stories here or on my social media pages!

You Thought You Were Done With Pride Month, Didn’t You?

Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? I hope everyone survived the fireworks and what have you with their sanities, pets, and houses intact. Three days to celebrate the 4th. Why did it take three days? Anyway, I don’t really have anything to ramble about, so I thought I would take the chance to remind people that the LGBT+’s Pride month might be over, but July happens to be Disability Pride Month! Most people still don’t even know it exists. I didn’t know until last year. Apparently some cities even have parades and crap for it. Not mine, but Chicago has been doing one for like 18 years. I believe NYC and LA usually do something too. There’s even a flag.

It’s not my favorite flag in the world, but it’s something.

So, why do we need a Disability Pride month? A few reasons, really. One, to help normalize disabilities and fight against the ableism that runs rampant in the world. I’ve always rambled on this blog about the various ways people treat me just because I’m cripple, especially when I get ignored at restaurants. I brush it off as people being idiots, but it’s blatant ableism. And it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different forms of ableism that it’s hard to keep track. Aside from the way people treat the disabled community, there’s also lack of physical access because for some reason the government here in the U.S. thinks old architecture is more important than making it accessible. So, they grandfather buildings to make it so they don’t have to be ADA compliant. And these are just examples of things I have to deal with. There are many other disabilities, all of which have their own issues to face. Ableism is so ingrained in our society that even I’m guilty of it. I’m trying to be better, but it’s hard. Helping people to understand disability and to recognize that it’s a normal part of life is the only way to move forward towards a more inclusive future.

Two, to help fight for equal rights. In the U.S., people with disabilities are discriminated against all the time. Most of that stems from ableism, but we also have to contend with idiotic laws. We’re forced to choose between our benefits and things like jobs or marriage. And most of us can’t live without those benefits. I can’t live without Medicaid because it funds the program that pays for someone to take care of me. If I lose Medicaid, I lose that. But because the only way I could get Medicaid was by getting on SSI, a program designed for the indigent, I’ll get kicked off if I make too much money. So, I can’t get a job unless it’s a ridiculously good one (for someone with no real experience and zero references, hahaha) and I can’t get married (they would start counting my spouse’s income against my benefits). It’s basically forced poverty and it’s ridiculous. Disabled people deserve to be able to contribute to society or get married without risking our benefits. Sure, if I get rich and no longer need the benefits, kick me off, but I can’t get to that point without working.

Me after dealing with the government.

Three, to help disabled people remember that they are indeed people and that they aren’t alone. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Disabled people internalize ableism as well. It’s hard not to feel like a burden, especially when you have to ask for help or accommodations or whatever. Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was constantly reminded of everything my mother sacrificed for me (she was a toxic narcissist, but she’s dead now, so yeah). I still have a hard time even asking for stuff I need (like having my nose wiped or needing pillows moved at night or whatever) when I know it will inconvenience someone (usually Dad). Part of that struggle is just left over from my mother, but part of it is the whole cripple burden thing. Seeing that I’m not alone, that other disabled people exist and live happy lives, helps a lot. So, yeah. Disability Pride Month is good for educating others, but it’s also good for people who live with disabilities every day.

I chose a creepy picture because that’s who I am, but it’s good to see I’m not alone in my struggles.

Like I said, the examples in this post are my own. Other disabilities have other issues, but there’s always going to be some overlap. Anyway, happy Disability Pride Month! As always, feel free to leave your comments, questions and thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Tricking Myself into Writing

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing today? It’s a gloomy Monday as I’m writing this and I don’t really feel like doing much of anything. So, I decided it’s as good a day as any to write my post for the week. The problem? I have nothing to ramble about. I should probably be working on an actual story or writing my May book review post or something, but I don’t want to. I can do that stuff tomorrow. But I am slowly starting to write again, thanks to the new computer. I guess I can ramble about that. It’s one of those weird cripple things, so be prepared to give me your best “huh?” look.

Yeah, that look.

When I first started using a laptop (actually, any computer), my typing options were to either figure out how to make the keyboard work for me or use Dragon Naturally Speaking (a dictation program). I tried the latter and it was horrible. No matter how much I trained it, at least every other word was wrong. It was more trouble editing stuff than it was worth. So, I decided to use a backscratcher in my right hand and my left index finger to make the hunt-and-peck method of typing work for me. And I was good at it too. Fast enough to keep up with multiple Yahoo chat conversations in a timely manner at least. And accurate enough that I rarely had to fix any typos. It was less hunting/pecking and more just my own form of two “finger” typing. But all good things must end.

After I went through a few different wheelchairs and just as many computers, I eventually reached a point where typing became more difficult than it was worth. Basically, each new chair changed the positions of my hands, the ease with which I could reposition my arms, etc. and each new computer positioned its keyboard and touchpad slightly differently until it all combined to screw with my typing (slowed it down and made the position I had to maintain uncomfortable) enough that I looked for alternatives. By that time, Microsoft had started getting into accessibility features and had added an on-screen keyboard. I’m certainly not as fast with it as I was at typing, but it works well enough. It got me through Stonecoast and has helped me write the majority of the stuff I’ve written since then, so I can’t complain.

Don’t feel bad. Losing stuff like the ability to type is a normal cripple thing.

When this computer arrived, I decided to try typing again. The keyboard is just too pretty not to touch. So, a couple of weeks ago, I started trying to type for 30 minutes at a time. The range of motion in my left arm is absolute shit, which is to be expected. I can’t even reach the E, R, and G keys enough to press them anymore. The number keys (I used to be able to press 1-4 with my left hand) are completely out of reach. And I have to nudge my hand with my backscratcher in order to reach the Q and W. But for some reason, I have a better reach with my backscratcher than I used to, so it compensates a bit for the lack of use in my left hand. Hopefully, with practice, I’ll at least get back enough range of motion for E, R, and G.

Don’t get too excited. I’ve only done this 5 times so far. It’s annoying getting my hands into position, but that should get easier over time. My muscles tire out well before the 30 minutes are up, but I push through and it’s already getting better. I started at 75 words in 30 minutes and have increased each time (reached 245 words when I did it today). I can do 350ish words in a half hour with the on-screen keyboard, so if I can break that, I’ll definitely keep it up. Hopefully, my arms and hands will keep cooperating with me. I don’t fully trust them yet.

Idle Hands. They have a mind of their own. Am I the only one who remembers this stupid movie?

Anyway, in order to practice typing, I needed something to write, so I started a short story. It’s already 1,500 words long because it starts out as typing practice, then I’m in a groove, so I write a little more with the on-screen keyboard. But yeah. All this post is meant to say is that I found a way to trick myself into writing even though I have no motivation. Wootwoot!

What about you? Do you have any weird ways you trick yourself into being productive? As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments and questions here or on my social media pages!

Disability “Pride” Month

Hello, hello! July is chugging right along. How is everyone doing? I’m not as productive as I should be, but I’m still getting stuff done. I switched both of my remaining yearly check ups to televisits, so I don’t have to worry about going to UT Southwestern this year (huzzah!). Otherwise, I’ve been procrastinating and writing and reading and submitting and querying. It sounds like a lot, but I could be writing more. Anyway, I recently discovered that July is Disability “Pride” Month. I have conflicting feelings about that name, so I thought I’d ramble about it for a bit.

Disability-Pride
It’s a thing.

I’ve never really been comfortable with pride months/weeks/days/whatever. Especially when it’s referring to something genetic. I can’t think of one good thing that has come from people being proud of their genes. It’s creepy and you literally did nothing to be proud of. If anything, you should be proud of your parents for having sex and making you.

Not all disabilities are genetic! I know this. If you survived an accident or something, you deserve to be proud of yourself. You even deserve to be proud of yourself for living with a disability. It’s hard work. I should know. My issue is that “Disability Pride Month” makes it sound like we should be proud of being disabled. I mean, if you’re proud of your disability, more power to you. But I’m not. I had no choice in the matter, so why should I be proud of it? I’m proud of myself for earning an MFA in creative writing. I’m proud of myself for trying again and again despite the plethora of rejections I receive. I’m proud of myself when I come up with a solution for something like reaching a pen that’s an inch too far away. But my disability isn’t something I’m proud of. It’s neither here nor there. I just have to deal with it. 

tenor (12)

Personally, I’d rather have a Disability History Month. I’d love to see the TV stations doing specials on people with disabilities or airing little factoids during commercial breaks like they do for other history months. And I don’t mean inspiration porn type stuff. I want to learn about Helen Keller the activist, the first blind and deaf woman to earn a BA, the author, etc. I want to hear about how Sir Anthony Hopkins delves into a role and how his acting style may have been influenced by his (until late-in-life) undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. I want to see something about Justin Dart Jr. (a survivor of polio who ended up in a wheelchair because of it) who played a major role in getting the Americans with Disabilities Act passed thirty years ago. There are so many interesting people with disabilities, so it would be neat to actually learn about them without the whole inspo-porn twist that gets thrown into similar stories.

theonlythingworsethanbeingblind

That’s just how I feel. The word choice creeps me out, but I’m okay with having a month where people get to learn about people with disabilities. I know some people will get in huff about “why isn’t there an Able-bodied Pride/History Month?” but whatever. People just like to complain when they feel left out even though it’s not really meant to exclude them, but instead, it’s an invitation to learn about something outside of their bubble. As usual, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!