Hanging around the Web

Cruising the Web BW

A shiny robot spider hangs upside-down from a metal mesh

My son and I recently hauled a long dresser+mirror up two flights of stairs, and I cleaned up the master bedroom in preparation for the return of the new baby & parents from the hospital.  The downside of course is that after a day of labor, I must spend a couple-three days recuperating.  (In other words, I used up all my “spoons”, down to the last demitasse.)

I’m also on Day 2 of one of those low-grade-three-day migraines.  Right now it’s manifesting as misreads, which when I catch myself is kind of entertaining:

In light of all that, I thought I’d share some interesting reads/cool finds on the Web recently:

My sleep-deprived daughter would be envious of ant queens, who spend nine hours a day sleeping, while the workers must squeeze in micro-naps.

From the world of delightful architecture, an adult tree[less] house shaped like a bee skep, made of recycled lumber (wheelie adaptation not included).

The CitizenM hotels have the most amazing showers, which look like Star Trek transporter pads.  To start the shower, you simply shut the door.  I don’t know if they’re large enough for a wheelchair transfer to a shower seat, but with the zero-clearance there’s a chance of it (maybe Dave knows). Want!  (Or at least the trés geek LED shower head that changes from blue to red when your water’s hot.)

Reimer Reason posted It’s a Family Reunion! for the most recent Disability Blog Carnival.

In further hexapod news:  while I was distracted by our little geekling, Bug Girl has been faithfully covering Pollinator Week, including important information about CHOCOLATE. For more funs, Cheshire has teh latest Circus of the Spineless up.

And of course, what would a list of fun be without a LOLcat?

Six white kittens lined up and looking at the camera, while a seventh is distracted with a play ball

Six white kittens lined up and looking at the camera, while a seventh is distracted with a play ball. The photo caption reads, "PUZZLE PICTURE Find the kitten who has ADD."

A few updates

The 92nd Edition of the Skeptic’s Circle is up, and The Lay Scientist gives us the latest press conference news as given by the Team Skeptic Manager Martin, from the state-of-the-art Olympic training facility in Beijing!  Prepare to be amazed — but never bamboozled.

The July issue of the Pain-blog Carnival is now up at How to Cope With Pain blog.  Readers share a variety of subjective experiences and treatment information.

Speaking of things painful, I put up a couple of photographs I modified to demonstrate some of the visual disturbances I experience during migraines.  Due to the trigger potential, I put these on a special page.  (The images are described for those with impaired vision.)  Alas, the Kid was laid flat by a migraine today — the preventative meds certainly help reduce the numbers of attacks, but they don’t completely eliminate them.  However, he reports that the new medication is a definite improvement over the old one, wooziness notwithstanding. A quiet “Hooray” for this encouraging news.

And although the timing isn’t quite “news” anymore, it’s not so late for it to be “olds”, so do check out the 42nd Disability Blog Carnival over at Pitt Rehab, where Greg gives us a break from the usual busyness for some summery relaxation at the beach, and plenty of great links.

As for me, I have to blame day-long teacher training class all week for my dearth of posting.  It’s been really good, but so intense — having to sit and focus on attending, listening, and learning for hours on end is hard.  Every day I run an errand right after class, and then come home to crash for a 20-minute catnap for my brain to do some filing before I can even think about cooking dinner.  The fatigue is a good reminder of what it’s like for all our students!

(Now if only the tinnitus would Shut Up.)

P.S.  Time to play ADD hide-and-seek: if you were a $100 calculator left in some random location by a teenager, where would you be?

P.P.S.  We already checked the breadbox.

Disability Blog Carnival #34: Breaking Out

Yellow crocus blooming through patchy snow, with the titles, Breaking Out and Disability Blog Carnival # 34

Hooray, spring is around the corner, and the crocus are breaking out through the last dregs of snow. (Well, at least it is in my neck o’ the woods.) I chose “breaking out” as a theme for this DBC because there are so many ways that people with disabilities can “break out” of social expectations and other limitations in our lives. I hoped that the theme would be more liberating than limiting, and am delighted in not only the range of posts, but also all the bloggers whose work I’d not seen before! (Unlike some of the other Disability Blog Carnival graphics, this one does not illustrate a disability, as not all disabilities are visible.)

Watching her own crocuses, abfh notes that “A change is in the air” as news reporters begin to break out of the idea that “neurodiversity” isn’t a small fringe group, but rather the development of a larger social concept. Ettina is back, breaking out of rules that were not good for her, and finding unconventional ways of dealing with feelings. Cherylberyl is taking advantage of a Independent Study period to also break out of some bad habits and create mature strengths; it’s a very insightful post. I’m trying to deal with some feelings of my own on how to break out of obnoxious social situations of being given Piss-poor platitudes when faced with the pain of grieving (or, not grieving). On the other hand, Amanda is trying to find a way to break out of the monotony of having her thought processes repeatedly blocked by a different sort of pain — there was a thought in there about the weird fairy-tale versions of disability that others have, but then …

Speaking of fairy tales, Simi Linton at Disability Culture Watch discusses how advertisers are trying to break out of stereotypes by featuring disabled people, but in fact are perpetuating some misconceptions (the term “supercrip” comes to my mind). For something really different, Sweet Perdition describes how an old horror movie, “Spider Baby”, manages to break out of the usual nonsense to explore some concepts (but not enough!) around the social ideas of disability.

More social ideas about disability are being discussed at the Discovering Deaf Worlds blog, Dave Justice & Christy Smith report that in China, Yang Cui is breaking out of the four (and only four) traditional careers allowed for Deaf college students. The dynamic duo also describe a visit to the Deaf community in Wuhan. Fookem and Bug did not break their bottle, as they bring out an example of really old-fashioned woo with Dr Cooper’s Ethereal Oil for Deafness. The Future Doc Wilson relates the tale of how parents are trying to break INTO the board meetings at St Mary’s School for the Deaf because they are currently not allowed in, and there is plenty of contention — and secrecy — about a number of the board’s decisions.

On the other hand, did you know that the Illinois General Assembly may break out of the usual curriculum to add disability awareness teaching in public schools? Katie at Urbanagora has a whole list of things we never learned in school. (Think we can get something more than a token nod to Helen Keller, with the lousy blindfolded disability simulation?)

Omigosh, give the women wheels and they get all uppity-like! And more power to them, I say. Emma the Wheelchair Princess just had to break out of her Good Little Patient role by remarking to other volunteers that doctors don’t always know everything, especially about incurable conditions like CP. Naturally, we are shocked. /sarcasm. Frida writes up a bitching good list of 9 things, “Beep Beep Beep This Important Message for the Abled Community Beep Beep Beep.” Fruitfemme breaks out of society’s limitations by Choosing my body, pithily noting that “Bodies on the margins have always had to fight for integrity.”

Sarahspy breaks out from her usual “pop culture nonsense” to do an MS Walk. Funky Mango breaks out the crystal to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of a chronic diagnosis — and that’s a good thing. Bint Alshamsa writes from My Private Casbah, where she is breaking out from the usual oncological dichotomy: the news of being in an unexpected sort of limbo from being On the Frontier of a New Kind of Cancer Survivorship.

Just when I wasn’t sure just how to wrap up such a diverse assemblage of posts (and disability is nothing if not full of diversity), the fabulous Fledchen managed to come up with no less than seven aspects of what “breaking out” means. I can’t wait to see what she does with them!

  • Breaking Out means embracing stereotypes by reinterpreting them.
  • Breaking Out means showing that people can fit into more than one category, and in more than one way.
  • Breaking Out means that people can grow and change over time–and that they have a right to do so.
  • Breaking Out means challenging assumptions.
  • Breaking Out means acknowledging sexual and gender identity, and variations thereof.
  • Breaking Out means discussing the unspoken.
  • Breaking Out means freeing ourselves from barriers created by our own thoughts and the thoughts of others.

The next Disability Blog Carnival #35 will be at Reimer Reason, where Jodi says the theme is The Hardest Part. The Carnival’s on April 10th, so that means getting posts in by the 7th, either by posting a comment on the blog, or through the Blog Carnival site.

Are you Breaking Out?

No, not in spots …

“Breaking Out” is the theme for the upcoming Disability Blog Carnival, to be held right here. You can “break out” in any fashion, or from anything you want.

The deadline for submissions is Monday the 24th, and the Carnival will be posted on the 27th. You can post me your links here in the comments, or use this submission form.

DISABILITY BLOG CARNIVAL: A Few of Our Favorite Things


Description: a photo of part of my desktop, a faux-oak surface with several items lined up along the back edge, (left to right) a clear green plastic desk lamp; a piece of mirror glass on the desk holding the quartet of a green-swirled globe of art glass from Scotland, a faceted crystal, and a small green beaded keepsake tin, and a purple glass tray with green beach glass from the North sea and pieces of granite from Loch Ness; a green glass bottle; several clear green plastic desk accessories including a stapler, tape dispenser, page holder, a tool caddy with green scissors and pens and suchlike, and in front of these is an electric mug-warmer with an old mug bearing the inscription, “SAVE THE EARTH (IT’S THE ONLY PLANET WITH CHOCOLATE)”. The photo has the post title added in the blank area near the top that reads, “A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS”.

As you may have guessed, shiny or clear green objects are some of my favorite things. This photo doesn’t even show the prismatic green tissue box, photo frame, green fidget-widgits, or Rosie’s habitat with the green lid. Having these things on my desk to use and admire makes me happy. (And that is the mug-warmer I mentioned in my own post on favorite things.)

We all have a number of little things that not only delight us in small ways, but also make life just so much more pleasant, and even help reduce our stress loads. These tend to fall into three categories: technology that enables us to do things, creature comforts, and human interaction. Got your cuppa? Cats and dogs settled down? Then let’s begin! Read the rest of this entry »

Favorite Things

The weather for the past few days has been absolutely dreich, with fog, snow, freezing drizzle, more fog and sleet. Three of us have had migraines this week, possibly related to such. There’s nothing worse than waking up to a migraine with the blinding blue snow-glare piercing one right through the eyes to the brain, or the sleet-magnified echo-chamber effect of having a Boeing jetliner come grinding down the street and then going by again and then OMG going by a third time (jeez, it’s the bloody snow plow scraping off the ice), and let’s not forget crickets that suddenly mature to start chirping (STFU!), and lamp timers that develop annoying rattles (my apologies to recent house guests).

Even worse, the weather’s bad enough to make driving dangerous, but not bad enough to cancel school — teh suckage!

Meanwhile, today I’m snugged down at home, and have just made up some lentil soup (a vegetarian Indian recipe) in the crockery-cooker, so recipe at end of post (apologies to folks down-under who are contemplating summer fare).

But there are the very good parts, including family in town for an early Christmas, and being also blessed with necessities like warm homes, full larders and effective medications. We also have a number of little things that not only delight us in small ways, but even make life just so much more pleasant, and reduce our stress loads. As usual, “you don’t appreciate something until you’ve lost it” so we often don’t realise just how much these mean to us, and how supportive they are, until we’re away from home. Here are some of my faves, which fall into two categories: technology that enables me to do things, and creature comforts.

  • The internet. It’s hard to imagine life without this font of information, fun and community. Howdy to you all out there!
  • My MacBook. Years ago I got my first personal computer with word processing, and haven’t looked back. I store my music on it, create PowerPoints to show pictures and illustrate methods in my gardening classes, keep track of my calendar, use it to download and modify and print pictures, play games, and of course, write and store all sorts of documents.
  • To take all those fun pix I have my digital SLR. No more 35 mm film to load and get developed or slides to scan! I can shoot over 600 photos before downloading, which means plenty of shots to get just the Right One, and I can play around with interesting angles.
  • My New Beetle beeps to let me know I’m low on fuel, and furthermore, will beep again the next time I start up the engine to remind me that now I really need to fill the gas/petrol tank. It also has heated seats which sounded like a ridiculous frill until the first winter, and then I realised that I could get myself warmed up by the end of the first kilometer of driving, rather than by the time I’d reached my destination.
  • My microwave that gives me a reminder beep a minute later, when I’ve forgotten something in there after the finish beep. This is fabulous for the AD/HD brain! Sometimes it takes that second reminder beep to penetrate past the hyperfocus to alert my consciousness.
  • And since I have that extra small microwave from when I had a second home in my campus apartment, I now keep it in my bedroom where it’s invaluable for also warming up my Rice Sock. The rice sock is simply a tube sock filled with 1 lb (1/2 kg) of dry rice, and knotted shut. I warm it up for a minute or two in the microwave, and then drape it where-ever I’m cold, stiff or sore. Unlike an electric heating pad, it eventually cools down, so there’s no risk of burns, and it conforms to my body much more nicely. It’s even nice in the summer, when I keep it in the freezer to cool down by draping it over my neck or forehead. Any time of year it’s great for draping across my eyes to shut out the light. Everyone needs a rice sock!
  • Shearling slippers for the chronically cold feet; thankfully these things “wear like iron” (last a long, long time) as I wear them around the house for all but the barefoot months of the year.
  • My mug warmer, a small electric hot plate that keeps my coffee or tea Just Right for however so long.
  • Old, soft 100% cotton pillowcases, ironed blissfully smooth (bonus if the bed linens were dried on a clothes line and smell like sunshine). Cotton also feels cooler in the summer time.

“A few of my favourite things” is the theme for the next Disability Blog Carnival, being held right here on the 13th. You can submit one of your blog posts by using this page, or posting a link in the comments section here (if you can, please send in links by Today-Monday or Tuesday). More links to Disability Blog Carnivals can be found where Penny L. Richards has posted them on this page of the Disability Studies, Temple U blog. They’re great reading!

Here’s that soup recipe, for some chow to go with all that reading:


2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 cup yellow lentils (toovar dal)
1 teaspoon turmeric
15 ounce/ 400 g. tin tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red chillies
1 teaspoon salt

Sauté the mustard seeds in the butter. Add to the lentils and spices, plus 4 cups water and simmer for 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. (Or cook in crockery-cooker for several hours.) Mash or puree the lentils, and simmer 15 minutes more. Soup may be strained for a consommé.

It was a dark and stormy night …

and it continues to be a dark and stormy day, at least in my corner of the planet.  What a great day to stay home cozied up with a pot of tea and do some blog reading and writing.

But instead, this afternoon I need to throw on my rain cloak and venture forth to teach a class, and run some errands (tarantula needs crickets, cats need catnip).  I’ll probably get around to some blogging later on.  Meanwhile, you all should check out Disability Blog Carnival #24:  the 1st Anniversary Edition!


In the whole sleep-deprived fog of this achy, hot-flash of a week, Disability Blog Carnival #23 slipped right by me.  Don’t let that happen to you!  Go check out all the fun posts on the theme of, “Simply The Best”, gathered by Pedestrian Hostile.  Where else can you find delightfully chewy lines like, We are an aggressive people inhabiting impossibly fragile bodies …”?

10 things to do ^DIFFERENTLY when on holiday: Redefining vacationing

“Hey, this is the first vacation you haven’t gotten sick,” declared hubby cheerfully. I wanted to protest that I don’t always get sick, meaning coming down with something prolonged and viral, but then I realised that he meant that I wasn’t out a day or two feeling crappy from something or another. Indeed, aside from accidentally eating some fudge made with wheat flour (whoda thunk?!), I have been in good shape. A lot of that comes from more careful diet, and the rest from knowing how to pace myself.

David is in charge of the next Disability Blog Carnival, and he came up with the theme of “Top 10 Lists”. After having read everyone’s vacation experiences here in the previous post, it occurred to me that a lot of us are quite conflicted about taking trips. Too often they seem more trouble than they’re worth. Okay, when people dread doing something that’s supposed to be fun, you know that things are really Screwed Up. Something has gone terribly wrong. We need to take our assumptions and dump them, like icemelt from the picnic cooler.

You are hereby relieved of having to follow “scripts” about what people are “supposed” to do regarding vacation activities. Real life is not a sitcom or a Hallmark greeting card. A vacation is meant for fun, relaxation, and a break from the daily grind. There’s no “right” way to have a vacation, because people have different interests and needs. So here’s my Top 10 List for how to actually enjoy a vacation: Read the rest of this entry »

“ON HOLIDAY!” : Disability Blog Carnival #20

Ah, the crowd’s starting to build up … the hurry-up-and-wait part of events makes me nervous, and there’s only so many times I need to check my To Do list, or line up the dishes and flatware on the serving buffet (but look, I lined up the napkins in rainbow order!)

Over in the bandstand, Shiva of Biodiverse Resistance is putting the final tweaks on the “Top 10 Unintentional Disability Anthems”. I had the pleasure of listening to audioclips to all of these on iTunes, and found some new pieces I really like. Shiva has eclectic tastes in music, so the selections are sure to have something for most everyone.

“Ooh shiny! A hummingbird on the hummingbird mint …”

Ah, the crowd is filling in, passing through the buffet and staking out spots in the shade or a place to soak up some of the abundant warm sunshine. “Do try some of the brownies — I got the recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and they are fabulous — even if (unlike me) you don’t normally eat gluten-free food.” After the usual nattering about trifles, we finally settle down to the topic of the day. If there’s a constant about being on holiday, it’s that one frequently needs to take a vacation after having taken a vacation — we need to rest up from having fun. Or trying to have fun. Or trying to get to the place to have fun. Or trying to find something you can eat at the fun place. Or funning with trying people… Read the rest of this entry »