Walk-Standing: The Ultimate Tear-Down Activity

Some of you remember back to one of my first posts, about Build-up and Tear-down activity. Here’s a link in case you didn’t catch that one.

I just had an insight this week about the worst tear-down activity of all:  what I call walk-standing. It’s that cowlike way of moving through, for example, street festivals—you stop at each booth, often chatting with someone until you’re profoundly uncomfortable, then move on slowly until you stop again. Sometimes in my mind, I hear the parody of a White House tour guide saying, “And we’re walking… we’re walking… and we’re stopping.” I did a site visit for work last March that was like that, where we walked, then stood and talked about features of the site, my legs turning to concrete, my spine seizing at the fracture site, then we plodded along some more. By the end of that visit, my injured knee was screaming and the rest of my body felt battered.


Taming the Expectation Monster

Friends, I’m tired. Not just tired, I’m bone-weary exhausted. Yesterday I had a 13-hour day out. I did a site visit for work, which always involves a lot of trekking around, but you will see why this one was especially exhausting. During this day, I drove 212 miles and rode another 150 in a truck after joining a colleague in Seattle. I had to haul myself into the passenger side with my right leg and do a gymnastic twist to swing into my seat, but there was no way I was showing up to a client’s office in my dirty 13-year-old hoopdee when a shiny white company truck was available. (I hoped the sight of said hoopdee would offend the construction company where I left it so badly that they might wash it, but no such luck.)


Even Bloggers Get the Blues

Readers, this has been kind of a bummer week. Last week I posted about ableism at VegExpo, and how I aggravated an existing injury by attending the event. I was kind of riding high on my righteous indignation and that carried me for a few days.

Then a few more days went by and my knee didn’t improve much. I did my therapy exercises and finally took off on a short, flat bike ride to give it some controlled exercise. (My PT likes bike riding because it “treats my knee like a hinge and not a universal joint.”) I didn’t make it a mile before sharp twinges sent me back home with my right leg doing all the work. I iced and iced, and the swelling did not budge.


Ableism at VegExpo

After all my talk of taking self-care on the road, I had to do it for real this last weekend. Some of you know I’ve been “down” for about 8 months, having severely injured my knee back in September. Thanks to some excellent physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture, I’ve been coming back slowly and trying to shed the 20 pounds I packed on while I wasn’t able to move well.

Going vegan has helped with that, but as any vegan knows, there’s plenty of plant-based junk food available to us. Last weekend I attended VegExpo, a vegan event not unlike the “cons” for the sci-fi crowd. You know the drill, rows of booths and an area where speakers are scheduled throughout the day. Attendees wear their best preachy t-shirts instead of dressing up as their favorite characters.

I’m not going to be a vegan evangelist today, I’m going to pick apart the event and how ableist it was, and suggest how they could do better. I’m going to send them a link to this post as a challenge.


Self-Care III: Taking it On the Road

I love all the ideas and stories that poured in from friends when I asked for your thoughts on taking self-care on the road. Such a variety of needs and so many good “life hacks” to meet them.

My favorite (or not) story came from my sister, who travels often for business and has to bring ice packs to use at night. Hotel freezers are usually just a shallow compartment good for one tray of ice cubes. Kathy needs more space to freeze her ice packs. She checks them at the hotel desk and they often only put them in the refrigerator, not the freezer, even though she’s very clear that they need to be frozen. When she goes to the desk to get them, sometimes she has to wait such a long time that they say they’ll send them up to her room, and when they arrive, they expect a tip for delivering her own ice packs!


Finding Time for Self-Care in a Demanding World

My other sister furnished the idea for today’s post, the one who belongs solidly in my audience. Kathy has struggled with fibromyalgia for decades. She agreed with last week’s post about how our self-care is not a luxury, but noted that it’s not just a matter of justifying it, it’s often a matter of making time for it when other demands compete for your time and attention. I don’t have children, so if you do and would like to discuss the way their demands affect your self-care, please start a discussion in the comments below. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be responsible for children in this body; my cats are work enough and they practically care for themselves.


My Self-Care is Not a Luxury

It happens every so often. I go to the grocery store on my way home from a massage and get a chatty cashier. “How are you today?” the young woman chirps. I’m always in a bit of a fug after a massage, and I say “I’m in a massage coma.”  “Must be nice,” she sighs.

Not especially. Not that my massage therapist, Skya isn’t a miracle worker—she is amazing. She helps me function as highly as I can in this body. But it takes some pain to get there. For hours after a massage, I gingerly try to preserve the relaxation, because when the tension comes back, it’s going to hurt like the bejeezus. Sometimes I sleep well the night after a massage. Most nights I wake up agitated, having hot flashes, and kicking my poor cats every which way as I thrash around. I’ve learned to transition better with some light stretches my Tai Chi master taught me, but it’s not a perfect science.


Platitude Culture II: When Attempts to Be Helpful Fail


I’ve come back around to this topic recently while watching misguided attempts to console friends who have run into misfortune. These awkward and ham-handed efforts flashed me back to things that were said to me over the years since I was hit. The biggest one, the most annoying one to me, is “Everything happens for a reason.” Any student of physics knows that’s true, that cause and effect are inextricably linked, but when applied as cosmological theory, it implies that everything happens for a Reason, capital R, engineered by a cosmic chess master, and you’re supposed to embrace every misfortune that comes along as some sort of divine lesson. Bugger that.


Let’s have a chat about 4/20

Last Friday was April 20, or 4/20, which has become known as a celebration of cannabis. For those of you who don’t know, when someone says it’s 4:20, that means it’s cannabis time. It’s not certain where the term “420” came from—many conflicting stories exist, some plausible, some thin.  4/20 used to be a day when enthusiasts would surreptitiously exchange greetings and perhaps toke together in secret. Since cannabis was legalized in Washington, it’s become an out-in-the-open social media holiday here.


Something in an All-or-Nothing World: Can I Be Disability Non-Binary?

This is a topic I’ve discussed before, but it keeps coming up. In my life, I’m constantly advocating for myself as a person with a disability. The social safety net and the HR departments are set up in such a way that I have to paint myself in the most pathetic possible light in order to get any help or accommodation. I’m not able to get disability income because I try too hard. I’m able to make SEA, “Substantial Economic Activity,” therefore the Social Security Administration deems me fully able to work. Mind you, the SEA threshold is about a fifth of what I used to make, and a third of what I need to stay in my home. The SEA threshold is not enough for anyone to live independently. It is assumed that if you can’t do a conventional job, you can’t take care of yourself either. They do not think I have the right to expect to keep my own place. I’m supposed to settle for a reduced standard of living—so reduced that privacy and autonomy aren’t part of the picture.