Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Why Are Real-Life Beauty Campaigns Not Truly Inclusive?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 11:59 pm on Monday, May 28, 2007

Glenda Watson Hyatt - a real-life, fiery red-head woman

On today’s show, Oprah kicked off her O Girl, O Beautiful Revolution to celebrate a girl’s beauty regardless of her physical attributes. Similarly, “Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is,” is the slogan for Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which includes women of all colours with jiggly bits. These initiatives aim to embrace a broader, healthier view of beauty and to boost self-esteem. Interestingly, neither initiative included girls and women with obvious disabilities. Are we not beautiful?

Our society equates the ability to walk with valued and beauty. A questionable apartment manager once commented to me, “Too bad you can’t walk, you’re pretty.” For that moment, I was thankful I didn’t rely on biped mobility.

Like African-Americans and –Canadians who lighten their skin colour or relax their hair and individuals of Asian descendant who resort to plastic surgery in order to feel beautiful according to Western society’s standard of beauty, people with physical disabilities are often treated or fixed, or wait for a cure, to be more normal, more acceptable, and, thus, more valued.

These real-life beauty campaigns are encouraging and are definitely a needed step in the right direction. But, if we are going to celebrate the beauty of diversity, let’s make the celebration truly inclusive.

Dove, if you need a real life, fiery red-head woman, I am available!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Blog for a Year

Filed under: Blogging, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 12:19 am on Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vote for Glenda to be paid for a year for blogging

Blogging is fulfilling my childhood dream of having a regular column in which to share personal experiences of living with a disability so that readers may come to know me, the person, and to realize that I am more than my cerebral palsy. My goal is to alleviate people’s fears of those with disabilities in a non-confrontational and humorous way. Unlike writing a column in a local newspaper, blogging has allowed me to touch people from around the world. My dream would be even sweeter if I could find a way to be paid for blogging.

Charles Jolley has launched a social sponsorship experiment Blog for a Year. The aim is to find out what would happen if patrons from all over the world could come together to give one deserving writer the boost he or she needs to launch a professional career as a blogger. Blog for a Year awards one winner a year-long contract to blog full time on a blog of his or her own choosing. The award is funded by donations from participants and sponsors. The competition ends when the Blogger Fund reaches $160,000 or on January 1, 2008, whichever comes first. In either case, when the competition ends, the person with the most votes will be offered the job.

The winner will be paid $80,000 (or half of the Blogger Fund) in even bi-weekly installments, like a regular paycheque. Personally, $80,000US would keep me blogging for two or three years! The fund is currently $1350; enough to buy a bagful of pre-cut fruits and veggies bi-weekly for one year, which would save a few fingers!)

At this point, I would like to request your support in votes, please. And you can vote every day until New Year’s Day, 2008. I am several thousand votes behind the front runner, but, with your support and help in spreading the word, I am confident I have a fair chance in being offered this job.

Thanks for your support!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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The Cushion Saga Continues

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 1:51 pm on Friday, May 18, 2007

The gloriously full moon
(Photo credit: Tue Romanow)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared how my husband Darrell needs to jump through disablistic hoops to get a new gel cushion for his manual wheelchair. As a quick update, the occupational therapist (OT) – the one who assessed Darrell last year for his new electric chair – called yesterday to say his file has now been reopened, but first Darrell needs his doctor to fill out the Ministry form before the OT can assess for the exact same cushion that is on the power chair. Why didn’t the OT mention this step to Darrell two weeks ago so that he could have booked a doctor’s appointment while waiting for his file to find its way back to the OT’s desk?

The OT suggested that, in the meantime, Darrell park both wheelchairs beside the bed, transfer to the bed, swap the cushion from one chair to the other, and then transfer to the other chair. Darrell and I aren’t sure how he, himself, is supposed to get both chairs to his side of the bed and then get out again. It comes back to levitating – a skill neither one of us has mastered yet.

He does have a doctor’s appointment for the 28th to have the doctor fill out the same form as he did less than a year ago. No doubt, the doctor will charge us the same fee for completing a form! Unless I’ve missed a memo in the last forty years, cerebral palsy is still a non-progressive, lifelong neurological disorder. Why not stamp CP on our foreheads and be done with it? Save a few trees in the process. Better yet, stamp it on another body part – I would gladly moon a few bureaucrats!

Stay tuned…

Have a great long weekend, my Canadian friends!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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I Would Eat My Vegetables If I Could Cut Them

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 1:55 pm on Thursday, May 17, 2007

A variety of neatly cut fresh fruit
(Photo credit: Meliha Gojak)

In British Columbia, there is a strong push to get people eating more fruit and vegetables by the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics.

It’s not that I don’t find grocery store displays of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables tempting. It’s not that I don’t enjoy experiencing the crunch, texture and taste of a variety of fresh fruits and veggies. It’s the cleaning, peeling and chopping that I find deterring.

With my husband and me both having cerebral palsy and, thus, limited hand function, we rely on frozen juice from concentrate, frozen vegetables requiring minimal effort to cook in the microwave and easy-to-eat fruits, like grapes and bananas. We also take a multivitamin supplement fill in any gaps in our diet.

Last Friday, in a spirit of adventure and in attempt to broaden our culinary capabilities, we purchased a Starfrit Rotato Express and a Quick Chop as seen on TV. Sunday afternoon, in what felt like an occupational therapy session, we figured out how to safely use these time-saving kitchen devices. The Rotato was slick, peeling potatoes and an orange in mere seconds. The orange was so juicy and tasty!

The Quick Chop required most work than shown on TV as the pieces need to be cut to fit inside the chopper and then the chopped bits needed to be separated. It was as fast to manually tear the green peppers into bite-size pieces. Besides, precisely cut pieces don’t enhance the taste or nutritional value. It is yet to be determined whether the Quick Chop emains on active duty or dishonourably discharged to the back corner of a cluttered kitchen cupboard.

As I was wiping off the Rotato, I had a cp moment and my finger went flying across a sharp piece. Instantly I had a red geyser. Thank goodness it wasn’t my typing thumb!

My next mission is to find steel fingertip gloves. Alternatively, we stick with bananas and vitamin pills until we can afford a personal chef!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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My First Blog Carnival

Filed under: Blogging — by Glenda at 1:22 pm on Thursday, May 10, 2007

Disability Blog Carnival

I have eagerly awaited this day for a few weeks. Today, I am participating in my first carnival; blog carnival, that is. This is the closest I’ll come to joining the circus!

According to the Wikipedia, a blog carnival is:

…similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic.

…typically, someone who wants to organize a carnival posts details of the theme or topic to their blog, and asks readers to submit relevant articles for inclusion in an upcoming edition. The host then collects links to these submissions, edits and annotates them (often in very creative ways), and publishes the resulting round-up to his or her blog.

There are hundreds of blog carnivals on every conceivable topic. If there isn’t one on your particular topic or interest, then it’s easy to start one. Carnivals are a great way to build community, to organize posts around particular topics and to increase visitors to your blog.

I have been reading the Disability Blog Carnival for a few months and decided to give it shot. Coincidentally, my first carnival is themed “firsts”; hence, my post Firsts Expand Our Comfort Zones So Dreams Are Reachable. Visit The Gimp Parade to enjoy the rest of the carnival!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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