Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Do It Myself Blog Kicks Ass

Filed under: Blogging — by at 12:45 pm on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To reach my goal of becoming the first ever Six-Figure Left Thumb ProBlogger, I am realizing that will entail more than pumping out quality content on a consistent basis. It will entail significantly increasing blog traffic (plus countless other tasks). In the past couple of weeks, Do It Myself Blog has received two unexpected nods of approval that will hopefully translate into more traffic.

Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

The first nod comes from Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop – an “online magazine rack” that aggregates the five most recent stories of the top 100 or so feeds of websites and blogs. My blog is now listed in the Disability Category – a great resource for the latest disability-related news, insights and opinions in the blogosphere. Thanks Guy for adding Do It Myself Blog to Alltop and for confirming my blog kicks ass!

Do It Myself Blog at Blogged

The second nod came this morning in an email from, which, in part, reads, “We evaluated your blog based on the following criteria: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style. After carefully reviewing each of these criteria, your site was given its 8.0 score (out of ten).” Wow, what a way to start my morning! Thanks.

Slowly but surely and with amazing support from the blogosphere, I know I’ll reach my goal.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Resisting iPhone 3G Mania

Filed under: General — by at 12:49 pm on Friday, July 11, 2008

The must-have-latest-gadget world is buzzing with today’s worldwide release of the iPhone 3G. People began lining up last night at their local mobile phone stores to be among the first to scoop an iPhone.

Combining “a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough internet device with rich HTML email and a desktop-class web browser,” the iPhone 3G redefines what a mobile phone can do.

The Left Thumb Blogger awaits release of Thumb 2.0

The Thumb 2.0 will be compatible with all PC and Mac systems, and usable with all applications, including email programs, word processors, blogging platforms and multimedia packages. Its sleek, compact design and universality will ease travel anywhere in the world. The Thumb 2.0 will never encounter system failures, corrupt files or network outages.

Unlike the iPhone 3G, the Thumb 2.0 will not require expensive service plans. Requiring no batteries to recharge, the Thumb 2.0 will not put a further drain on the energy resources nor contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions. And, there is absolutely no risk of causing brain tumours.

Enjoy your iPhone. I will be first in line when the Thumb 2.0 is finally released.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Modeling My AFO

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 11:27 pm on Thursday, July 10, 2008

Glenda Watson Hyatt with cerebral palsy wearing her AFO – ankle-foot orthotic
(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

Because a few of you have found your way here after googling phrases like “AFOs”, “cerebral palsy braces”, and “cerebral palsy shoes” – for which I thank you, this post is for those looking for more information on AFOs (ankle-foot orthotics). Having nothing to hide, I gladly share mine with you.

The AFO is a custom fitted brace made from heavy plastic (or perhaps fiberglass, I’m not sure, but it isn’t as heavy as the metal braces from the old days). The process begins with a casting. It took three casts to get my foot and ankle in the best possible position. I was sore afterwards, after having my body torqued in directions that it doesn’t usually go.

Then there were a few more appointments for further tweaking to make it as comfortable as possible. Imagine making a stiff, hard casts comfy. No matter what is done, it doesn’t feel like bedroom slippers!

Some AFOs have articulated joints at the ankle. The doctor wasn’t that kind to me. My foot doesn’t move at all! This makes getting up into the standing position because I’m teetering on my heel until I’m fully up and can put my foot flat on the ground. Not great for someone with tenuous balance at the best of times!

Because of the width of the AFO (also dubbed the Anti Fashion Object), I must wear wide men’s shoes, thankfully with Velcro fasteners. I’m searching for ultra girly tops to counterbalance the male bottom.

To be honest, I am not keen to be back in a brace. I thought suffered through triple arthrodesis surgeries the summer before Grade Six, many moons ago, freed me from braces forever. But, the surgeon did warn the bones may slip at some point in the future, which I feel occurred a few years ago even though today’s doctors say nothing has moved – not that they’ve compared current x-rays with post-surgery ones. My ankle has been sore and slightly swollen most days for these past few years.

Wearing the AFO does put my ankle in a better position. Some days it relieves the pain. Other days it exacerbates the discomfort. I choose when I wear it. If I am going out and may be using less than ideal washrooms, where I need to be solid on my feet, I don’t wear it. And, on these hot summer days, when my ankles swell anyway, forget it! If my foot is extra sore, I put the thing on to try to get some relief. Because I’m now an adult, I now have that choice!

For parents researching AFOs for their child with special needs and for adults with disabilities facing the possibility, I hope this helped. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and I’ll try to answer them.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Accessibility: A Personal Perspective

Filed under: Accessibility 100,Living with a disability — by at 3:06 pm on Friday, July 4, 2008

Accessibility 100

When talking about accessibility, it is easy to get caught up in the necessary width of doorways, the need for ramps built at a certain incline, and the height to install grab bars in wheelchair washrooms. And, of course, the cost of it all! But, what is often missing from the discussion is the why. Why go to the bother and cost of making places accessible? Why does it matter?

Please allow me to share my “why”:

On Tuesday, my husband and I, both wheelchair users, decided to go out to celebrate our nation’s birthday with fellow Canadians. Without a definite plan in mind, we took the Skytrain into Vancouver. When the elevators are working, the Skytrain is an easy mode of transportation for us. We merely wheel into a train car and then wheel off at our destination.

2010 Olympic Athletes Village under construction

Getting off at the Main Street/Science World Station, we first took in the progress of the Athletes’ Village for the 2010 Olympics. What an amazing sight seeing a dozen cranes in one location! All of them operating at once must be quite a dance.

Then we followed the path around False Creek, with the rest of the cyclists, inline skaters and walkies. This route is one of our favourite outings because it’s nicely paved and bricked, fairly flat and no car traffic to watch out for. We can go for miles without needing to contend with barriers.

View of False Creek

Some of the sights leave us puzzled though. We have no clue what this tripod structure is: a piece of abstract art, a marker of some kind or alien spaceship?

We stopped at Urban Fare for a bite and our first iced mocha. Those could be addictive!

At my age, I have learned not to pass by an accessible washroom without using it – there isn’t always one around when needed. Urban Fare’s accessible washroom was pretty good; definitely doable – and that is what counts!

From False Creek, we headed across downtown to Canada Place, grateful that there were sidewalk curbcuts on every corner. Where possible we avoided a few curbcuts that either were a little too steep or went out into of oncoming traffic.

Dal Richards performing at Canada Day

Unknowingly we arrived at Canada Place in time to catch Vancouver legend Dal Richards and his band perform. Watching him took me back to the early days of the Variety Club Telethon where he conducted the orchestra for the entire twenty-two hours. Now at 90, I’m sure it is his passion for music that has kept him so young!

Sunset at Harbour Park

With the festivities at Canada Place over, we found our way down to Harbour Park to wait for the fireworks. Alternative sidewalks around construction sites were accessible. Long ramps at the park made it possible for us to get down the harbourside, which gave us a perfect vantage point.

Once again, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to use the public washroom, which was, again, quite accessible.

After putting several miles on our chairs, we took the Skytrain back home to Surrey.

Canada Day 2008 Fireworks
(Photo credit: Darrell Hyatt)

I honestly do not know how much it cost to make that day accessible for us and other wheelchair users, for parents with baby strollers, for cyclists and for others on wheels. But, I do appreciate being able to get out in the community like that.

Being able to “ooh aah” fireworks with fellow Canadians: priceless!

Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog by filling in the form in the upper right corner or by subscribing to the RSS feed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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2008 in Review – So Far!

Filed under: Blogging,Motivation — by at 12:35 pm on Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Proudly waving my Canadian flag

Where the heck does the time go? 2008 is already half over! Canada Day is already here, marking the beginning of the second six months of the year.

I figure it is good time to review my goals for the year and see how I am doing.

My Contribution to the Blogosphere

My goal was to comment on ten blogs per week – five comments on blogs I had previously commented on to further strengthen those relationships, and five comments on new-to-me blogs to expand my network by forming new relationships.

Well, results are less than stellar. Some weeks Friday comes around and I realize I haven’t made any comments! By now, I should be approximately halfway to 520 (or 260) comments; yet, my total is only 89.

However, I am not including the comments I make on Disaboom blogs since they don’t link back to this blog. Besides, reading Yaro Starok’s Blog Profits Blueprint, I’ve learned that blog comments create traffic streams, not traffic rivers. Although, my intention was to contribute to the blogosphere, not to generate traffic – that’s a side benefit of leaving comments.

Am I beating myself up for not meeting my goal? Nope! Those weeks that I can do better, I will try. The world will not end if I don’t reach 520 comments by December 31st.

My Word for the Year

I chose FOCUS as my word for 2008. To me, FOCUS entails minimizing my technologically-induced ADHD, decluttering and simplifying my surroundings, multi-tasking only when appropriate – tasks requiring my full attention will receive it. The results have been mixed.

When my husband had an unexpected two-week hospital stay in March, nothing else mattered. I was focused on what was happening with him and getting him well and home again, as I should be.

My desk remains fairly clutter free. The rest of my office still needs decluttering – like I have had time!

After blogging at Disaboom for five months, I finally found my blogging groove there and have a direction for that blog. That made writing June’s posts much easier because I wasn’t scrounging for post topics. June is the first month I maxed out the number of paying posts I can write for that blog. Can I continue that through July and beyond?

Reading ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett reconfirmed, yet again, that blogging is my future and that I can make a decent income from it – if I focus and work off my bootie! I publicly declared my goal of attending SOBCon 09 – the business school for bloggers – to learn how to become a better and more effective blogger. My ultimate goal is to become the first ever Six-Figure Left Thumb ProBlogger!

Launching Accessibility 100 has provided my blog with some direction and focus.

But, I still suck at curbing my technologically-induced ADHD! I’m easily distracted by email, Twitter or whatever rather than focusing on the task at hand. There is definitely room for improvement. I’ll keep working to maser my high distractibility over the next six months.

My Bucket List

Wow, search engines love my bucket list! Currently, this is the top-ranking entry page on my blog. Go figure!

  • Spend more time with my kitty purring in my ear. – I do whenever she decides to cuddle.
  • Listen more to my husband’s beating heart. – We’ve talk quite a bit and I try to really listen to him. I also like listening to his heart beat; it’s such a comforting and reassuring sound.
  • Write love letters to him. – None yet. Expressing what he means to me is difficult to put into words.
  • Find a way to get to the north shore to watch the eagles soar. – I still need that magic carpet ride!
  • Meet more of my invisible friends. – Yes! I’ve met Suzie Cheel in Australia and Todd Jordan from Missouri!
  • Be in the ‘real’ world more. – Hmm, how should I measure “more”?
  • Connect with more of my invisible friends in a real way, if I can’t meet them in person yet. – I’m working on it.
  • Become more physically active. – In this heat? Are you kidding!
  • Finish selling the first print run of my autobiography. – Autographed copies are still available!
  • Continue searching for a cp-friendly bra. – Still searching! (I don’t believe I included this here.)
  • See Anne Murray in concert, finally! (I’ve wanted to see her for years and she is finally coming to town on May 5th!) – She was fabulous!
  • Get organized for when I do kick the bucket. – It’s a good thing I haven’t kicked the bucket yet!
  • Make a positive difference or impact on people’s lives. – I hope I am. You, my readers, are in a better position to say whether I’m succeeding here or not.
  • Reconnect with my penpal Paivi and my Brownie friend Karen. – Yes, I’ve managed to find email addresses for both and have contacted them!

That is my six-month progress report. Not bad, eh?

How are you doing with your 2008 goals? Are you still on track or do you need to refocus?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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