extra-ordinary ordinaryness

Image

 

This is in answer to the daily post from 13/1/13. Would love to know what you think, and how you would describe where you are sat. This is the premise: 

Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?

 

One sneaky glance, what do I see

At first glance, I don’t see anything unusual, just looks like an average living room in an average flat. The sofa splits the room and separates living room and kitchen, instead of a coffee table there is a sleek black circular table, covered in letters and cards from family and friends. There is a small flat screen television in the corner of the room, and in the bottom of the unit on which the television sits is a pile if of papers and magazines and a box of various cards, waiting to be sent as and wen there is need to,

Suddenly there is a vibration and an intrusive sound which refuses to stop. Startled, I wonder what it is, until the person who lives there tips up the noisy box and a few tablets slide out. 

Next to the television is the laptop, screen broken from one too many falls, and a digital radio sits, lifeless, on the unit waiting to be charged, next to the ironing basket with a few clothes waiting to be ironed. Next to that, are many more clothes and bed sheets, haphazardly place on the airier. This takes my eye into the kitchen which makes up the other half of the sitting room. The kitchen too, is crowded. In the taller unit at this far end sit a silver fridge and freezer. Next to that a few things are sat on the unit. On a cake rack sits a fresh bunch of bananas and a loaf of bread. A small weighing sale sits underneath that. Next to the rack is a dried up bunch of Christmas flowers that have seen better days, and a bright red bowl of soup. 

Finally I notice a few other things about the unit, how it is shorter that your average kitchen unit, with an induction cooker hob set into it. At the back of the hob sits a hot water bottle in a spotty cover, and a book of one pot recipes, a small frying pan sat just in front of it. Underneath part of that unit are a full small grey rubbish bin and an almost empty blue tub which serves as laundry basket. The next unit is much emptier, some would say tidier, containing only a black flask and empty plastic container, along with part of a small food processor. 

The rest of the kitchen is more conventional, the small dish rack full of clean dishes, as is the draining rack, the basin empty. The washing machine, with a full drum sits underneath it, and the silver microwave, silent, on the top of the next unit, next to a strange looking kettle and a silver toaster. Finally my eye sports the oven and yet another couple of cupboards. Such a lot to take in. 

None of those say much about the person who sits in the room, silent and half asleep.. A smile on their face, though it does not reach tired eyes. I look at the person more closely, wondering why they’re sat in a big clunky wheelchair. What happened to them to leave them that way? I’m lost in my thoughts as I look into the room, unusually quiet. I think of the room again, which certainly  can’t be described as ‘tidy’. Cozy perhaps, or lived in’. There’s a peacefulness in the room not often found. Just as quietly as I looked into the room, I turn around, slipping out unnoticed, leaving the smiling lady to her slumber.

Two stories, one theme: Disability

Two disability stories were prominent on BBC Breafast this morning. One, concerned with the creation of disability; strokes occurring in people under 65, all because BCC’s Andrew Marr has had a stroke; and the other that there has been no noticeable take up by disabled people in Paralympic sport after the games. Neither, perhaps is a surprise. 

Discussing Disability: Strokes

Firstly, strokes in people under 65. A dear friend has recently had a stroke, and her Facebook updates continue to amaze me, make me laugh, or make me write something in empathy or encouragement. What stokes have in common with Cerebral Palsy (CP) which I have, is that both result from damage to the brain, meaning that each person is affected differently depending which part or parts of the brain are damaged. This why discerning if people are ‘disabled enough’ to claim benefits or not. It is also why it is hard to gauge how well people ‘recover’, or regain ‘normal’ functioning from strokes. If you would like to read more on why healthy people have strokes, the Beeb have written a feature about it

Disability Sport and the Paralympics: what legacy?

The second story is concerned with disability sport in this post Paralympics era, and comes as no surprise at all to me. Nine in ten clubs saw no noticeable take up in their sport after the Paralympics.The reasons for this are many  and varied. The first comes from disabled people themselves, as pointed out in the BBC’s coverage; you are half as like to participate in sport at all if you are disabled, and if you can find a club near you which can meet you access needs you still need to be able to afford to get there, and have a way of getting there in the first place. Given the squeeze on people’s finances in general, and for disabled people in particular due to benefit ‘reform’, in my opinion this will become more and more unlikely. Of course, the head honchos disagree in terms of take up of participation as Tim Hollingworth argued on BCC Breakfast this morning that due to the success of Paralympics GB’s ‘Parasport’ and specific programs designed to ‘fast-track people to elite level disability sport. He also says that there have been clubs setting up from scratch in the post popular sports such as wheelchair rugby; However, this seems to be masking the real picture. I have pointed out before how the main men are hiding under the success of the games themselves. If you’d like to hear more on legacy, here’s an audio from Discuss winner, John Harris.

At a personal level, why do I not take part in more sport?

I go horse-riding once a week at best, thanks to the generosity of a local social enterprise, and absolutely love it, even in rain or the freezing. I have blogged about the horses before. However. to go horse-riding more often, I would have to go all the way to Middleton, to specialist Riding for the Disabled provision. They have much better facilities, according to someone I met by chance at the social enterprise’s last open day. However, as I cannot afford the taxi fares to get there, and would not have the care time nor the drivers for a notability vehicle. I have no way of getting there, or support while i am there, if anything was to happen to The Bag. 

The second sport I participate in is more mainstream. I have a gym membership that I rarely use. Some of the time this is simply because there are other things to do with my time. The other reason is that I often do not have the energy and therefore need to decide when I realy am to tired and whether I could manage it if I were pushed. I am not able to manage weights machines and things like that, more along the lines of gentle exercise  sometimes swimming, using three machines in the gym, and the toning chairs. However, I am unable to get there on my own because I cannot manage my manual chair; and there are so many difficulties with transport with my electric wheelchair. I am also unable to transfer safely onto machines in the gym without help, and this is often also true for the toning chairs as well.

Techno vs technot

Never thought I would ever get a smartphone. I never thought I would need one or want one. I also wondered if I would manage to use it. Just a little over a day have managed to use your voice function to compose texts, memos, e-mail and the like. The quality of the word predictions has also helped a great deal and been a pleasant surprise. I had no idea that this kind of technology was so easily available on such a mainstream phone.

Accessibility aside, I have managed to easily download applications including twitter facebook and skype. I’m even managed to use skype to talk to my parents. So lovely to see them even if only on screen. This too has been a surprise I thought I wouldn’t like it.

I love this technology already. However while love letter writing making cards just as much. I love receiving them even more. I love that I can have both.  I am mostly house bound  as many of you know. Little things wake me make such a difference to my week.

And tomorrow a friend is visiting who I haven’t seen for a few months. I am so excited to see her and hear about her forthcoming wedding. I have been just as excited to email friends in America to set up skype dates. I am loving the way my world has suddenly opened up. Long may it continue!

What do you think,? Please write letters it’s a dying art form. After all, aren’t an e-mail and a letter different forms of the same thing?  I would love to know what you think.  I’m  ow off to bed,  but will keep for my smartphone and a notebook beside me because the best ideas are meant to come to you during the night. Not prepared to let any of them escape however I note them down!

Ice cream yummiest food ever oh and. The memories

Either of those. Love unusual flavours like lemon sorbet or pistachio. I always have a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer. I used to love the ‘Baskin Robins’ shops with all those flavours to choose from. No ice cream for me though, as I’m trying to keep my new years resolution…!

I’ll always remember these things….

Image

Let’s get the tough ones over with, shall we?!

This is another post where I could write an epic! There’s been quite a few teachers who influenced me for the better or worse. Starting on a bad note, there have been teachers mostly nearing retirement who made life difficult for me, probably without meaning to, although my parents did go in and talk to one of them.

There have been several who made a difference, including an English teacher at high school. I don’t think they particularly encouraged me with my writing, I just remember them cos I got on well with them. There’s another English teacher who I sent a Christmas card to and ask after because they go to the same Assembly Hall as my grandparents. Another teacher who I really liked is one allegedly ran off with a pupil of another school a few years after I left. I felt so sad, for one reason and another, when I heard that.

Mr G!

My favourite, teacher of all has to be Mr Grant, who taught me for a few months in my final year of Primary School. He left because he got a promotion to Assistant Headteacher, in a different school in the region. We all loved him. That year was a turbulent one for me. My class contained more pupils than was allowed, so they had to split us up somehow, and I was one of the ones left, with people I didn’t really get on with at the time, as well and the same teacher my parents had to go in and talk to. In the end, I got moved classes because the school’s reason for keeping me behind was reason for complaint and I moved. It was such a horrible time. The teacher was hurt I think, but was horrid to me, and then so were the pupils in the class I moved to who said that the teacher hadn’t wanted me in his class but had no choice and all these things. All of this still stings now, and how many years was it?! Heapies and Heapies!

Anyway, Mr G was an AMAZING teacher, the kind who should have one an award. I remember getting extra help with P.E. by being allowed to practice netball in the school hall at break-time, and once scoring a goal in the playground! I also got extra help with Maths. I will write soon about some of the early years, but I wasn’t supposed to finish primary school at all, especially in maths, so the extra help then, and with the maths/reasoning side of Biology classes in 4th year at high school from the wonderful Mrs B made SUCH a difference.

Mrs P!

Primary School was not the same without him, though in that last year, the rest  taught by a job share with Mrs F, and the headteacher, who went with us on our class trip to an outdoor adventure place. i remember snapshots of that week well, good and bad, but do not wish to go into that here! The bit that sticks in my head is that Mrs P was fabulous that week but later showed the school photos (on acetate and OHP!!) of me reaching the top of the climbing wall, and absenting and the like. I’ll leave you with that thought….

how long have I got?!

Oh my goodness, today’s been one of those days where I haven’t got off my soap box. Spent lunchtime with a new friend waxing lyrical about the state of some parts of the Kirk and the Church, north and south, and how things can be a bad witness and all that… and about the different paths we’re walking and wheeling and where God is in it all, and before that I was on my soapbox about how various MPs, and job-seekers should spend a day with me or one of my wheelchair using friends, cos they’d soon realise the error of their ways, (that’s the hope/dream/delusion!!) 

I got home, and saw yesterday’s daily prompt and my first thought was, it’s one of the ‘I could write nothing, something, or Hundreds of words on!! 

Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

The kind of helplessness I often feel is something I am kind of stuck with as in there’s nothing I can do with it, or about it, except learn to live with it and allow it to help mature me. I’m helpless without my six-month old phone, which has just died and death, and I can’t do anything about till Thursday  I was helpless last when uncomfotable with spasms and pain, and no re-positioning the bed would help, until I was so tired, I didnt hear the intercom at all this morning. Fortunately two friends were staying overnight and one of them let the carer in! I often feel helpless about my singleness, as I wrote a day or two ago. So far, I have no control over my singleness, my pain levels, my spasms, my mobile phone; I’d love to work, but don’t have a choice about that either, as I’m just too medial complicated at the moment, and off to kip as soon as this post is done. Though I may have my sixth cup of caffeine today and soldier on! 

So, as there are so many things I feel helpless over, or not it control of, when I can stay calm, how do I do it?? well, as you can see, I love to talk, verbally or in  writing, but the main thing that helps? I remember my Lord Jesus, helpless twice, once as a wee baby, and again on the cross, and all that was for me.  

I also find things to give thanks for, for there are many of those! A saviour who loves me, and who died for me in order than my sin may not be barrier, so that I might be his. A working, customised wheelchair. Healthcare free at the point of need. Food, to the point where I had to make a resolution to lose weight, my friends, and my family. I’m sure there are more. See, starting to feel better already!

friends, family and favourites

oooh, this is awkward…

Today’s daily post is an awkward question to answer, as I don’t actually have a favourite person, if we’re talking ‘significant other’ as it were. I talked this over with a friend, and they say said, why didn’t I immediately say Jesus was my favourite person?  True enough, that’s what I should have said. As a Christian, I should  put Jesus first, before anyone or anything, my first love. Time I walk away is still harder than time with Him. I can answer the question a different way…

Jesus should be ‘my favourite’?

 

I know, looking back He’s enabled me to me walk through so many difficulties in the past few years. Things I’ve already written about, including failing my teaching degree, being ill and trying to pass a Master’s degree. Add to that, complicated major surgery, becoming a full-time wheelchair user, starting to need carers two-three times a day, and managing The Bag. There’s no way I’d still here without Him and I know He’s there for me every moment of every day, and in the happy moments too. In these times I’m reminded I am to rejoice in everything, and have joy even in the tough times. I’m still learning those things!

As I’ve written before, many of my friends are my favourite people, along with my parents. I still feel quite dependent on them, really. Odd, considering I live independently, and for the most part, have done since 2001,  That said, I owe everything to them, for lots of reasons, and often miss them. My Gran’s another favourite person as we’re quite close, and she’s a kind of mentor to me.

 

waiting

 

Maybe, just maybe

who else? Well… I haven’t met them yet, and they haven’t met me. That is. if there is someone, or if God has something else, something he considers better for me. These things aren’t easy to write. Traditionally, there’s a focus on family, in churches, and usually, Christians who hold similar views to me marry young. My parents try to encourage me with anecdotes of women they know who are older than me and still faithfully waiting for the person God has for them, and if they do not show up, they will not settle for less. Oh how I admire their discipline. I know I don’t want to compromise  but sometimes the temptation is great.

which is ‘better’; single or married?

 

According to some friends I’m good at being perceptive about people in their lives, but by my admission, sometimes hopeless with my own. I’m also aware, if I marry the wrong person, being with them, and coping with all my health problems would be hell. It feels like so much pressure sometimes, and a bit of a relief to stay single. Other times, I’d like the someone special… especially when I look at friends who have found ‘the one’ but at the same time, it hits me that I should keep waiting because it might be worth it eventually. I’m hyper-aware of the tendency to ‘over-share’… enough now.

“Nobody’s child”

Image

“I don’t remember a lot about my childhood: my very earliest memories are of living in a children’s home when I was about 4 or 5 years old.”

I didn’t remember what my favourite book was till I remembered a box of books in a cupboard. Then I had to go raking. I didn’t remember the title; however, soon as I saw it, I remembered the roller-coaster of emotions I felt reading it. Sadness, tears, loss, love, joy, laughter, they were all there. Not like most of the stories out there about abuse, it’s different from those in a way. The abuse is still there, oh my goodness you can’t forget it, but it’s somehow told in a different way. Perhaps I feel this way because I had the privilege of meeting Jon Robinson, the guy who was the little boy at the beginning of the book.

It’s years since I’ve read this book, and yet, I remember details of the story, which I am going to repeat to you now and not regurgitate the summary on the back of the book. I remember meeting him, remember liking him on first sight, I got the best hug, and we had a brilliant chat. He’s so humble, so unassuming, and yet there’s something compelling about him. When I heard he was speaking I jumped at the chance to go, and have never forgotten it. I’m not sure what he’s doing now. I’d like to find out.

Okay… so this is his story as I remember it. He’s in and out of foster-care and children’s homes most of his childhood. His is not a happy one, there is no story of redemption, at least not yet. I remember reading at the start of the book that other children had visitors on birthdays and holiday times, and he did not. He was the one left distraught. This home was okay. There’s another home I remember reading about where he and the other children were only allowed into their bedrooms when the social workers visited, and that was also the only time they could play with the toys. The rest of the time, they were locked in the cellar. At this particular home there was a wee boy, I think his name was Michael? Anyways, he finds out later that this little lad was his brother, so much later that by the time he knows the poor little lad has died.

Jon also ends up in prison, at least once, though I don’t remember what for. A long time down the story, with the support of his future wife, he asks to read, and reads his social work record. This is one of those stories in which, if like me you had a happy childhood, your eyes will open. If like Jon you were in care most of your childhood, you may well identify with it. Whatever your story, I urge you to read this book. I’m off now to re-read this gem of a book. I promise you, if you read it, it will stay with you forever, like only the best told stories do.

——————————–

Today’s daily prompt if you’d also ike to write about your favourite book.

The link to Nobody’s child on Amazon if you’d like to buy it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nobodys-Child-Stirring-Story-Unwanted/dp/1854246232/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357410871&sr=1-3

They’re special, my friends (part two)

“The type of friend you attract is determined by the type of friend you are.” #friendship

I’ve really believed this, and tried to live it for the last few years. I cannot tell you when it began. It started with a slow realization about all the people I’d hurt in the past through mood swings, things I’d said without thinking, or just for the heck.of it. There was times I was awful in school, even though I claimed I was a Christian. Once or twice it was because people egged me on to say things, and I wasn’t strong enough to say no. I was even worse when I was about 6 or 7 and onwards. I was a bossy little madam, among other things. I lost a lot of friends, as I did at other times too. It all stayed with me as I didn’t even try to change. I’ve said all this backwards.

Anyway, I gradually got to the stage where I really believe the kind of friend you are can help bring you the kind of friends you would like to have.  If you are happy in yourself, and generally peaceful, I’ve discovered this is helpful too.  I’m not sure what else. I also believe it works the way the quote says too. I have such amazing friends hopefully makes me a better friend too  I LOVE my friends. I wrote about them recently for a differently daily prompt and I can’t top what I said then. To every last one of you, thank you.

——————————-

This is a response to the daily prompt for 4/1/13

The day(s) I (almost) ‘kicked the bucket’

Image

Almost, but not yet…

I have no clue what the 11th item on my bucket list is. (Today’s Daily Prompt). I don’t even have a bucket list! This even strikes me as odd. I’m not entirely sure why. My best guesses are that I’m not that ambitious. I’ve never had a wish to see the world, perhaps because I struggle with things like travel sickness. I’ve no idea what people would normally put on a bucket list. It’s also perhaps because in general, I’m more chilled than most about the end of life thing. I almost died a few times as a baby, as I was 12 wks premature and very ill, needing operations as a tiny baby. I’ve also been in a car accident, which I wasn’t badly hurt in, but the only reason for that is there was no traffic travelling in the opposite direction, or I may have been toast. Most recently, I had a life saving operation; the one which gave me the bag on my tummy. I’ve had to face it, which is part of why I’m not afraid. I also know where I’m going when I do die, the bigger part of why I’m unafraid.

So, what’s on a bucket list?

If I were to have a bucket list, I get it might include things like getting a book published, eventually, visiting friends in America, and I’m unsure what else. So over to you! What would be on your bucket list?