Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Local Restaurant’s Attitude Help Accommodate Customers in Wheelchairs

Filed under: Accessibility 100 — by at 2:37 pm on Monday, November 30, 2009

Accessibility 100All too often businesses and establishments make the news for not being accessible to or accommodating of people with disabilities. Today, I’d like to turn that around by giving a big shout out to the Charthouse Restaurant in Steveston!

On Saturday, Darrell and I attended a small event at the Charthouse. We were the first to arrive, which caused some panic in the staff. They had not been informed that two people in wheelchairs were attending; the space set up for the event was up one step, making it inaccessible to Darrell and I.

While we used the restrooms, which were quite accessible, the staff quickly reorganized tables on the lower level for the event and returned the upper level to its regular layout for other customers. The staff had left plenty of space on the lower level for Darrell and I to maneuver our power chairs.

Fellow guests began arriving and settling into places around the two tables now set up for us. However, when the event host arrived, he was not content with us all sitting at two tables. He wanted us all at one table, as was the arrangement on the upper level.

Once again the staff quickly reorganized and re-set tables on the upper level. I was helped to a chair on the upper level; two fellow guests lifted Darrell in his power chair was lifted up the one step. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch, all sitting around one long table.

I would like to thank the Charthouse staff for being extremely accommodating and patient! Oftentimes a flexible and willing attitude makes up for any shortcomings in physical accessibility.

Thank you, Charthouse.

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.

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Making the Impossible Possible – Not Always Perfect or Pretty

Filed under: Blogging,Living with a disability,Motivation — by at 11:48 am on Thursday, November 26, 2009

BogWorld & New Media Expo bannerSeveral weeks ago, I had the honour of being a speaker at BlogWorld in Las Vegas.

Picking up my badge in the Speaker’s Line at Registration early Thursday morning, a few eyebrows were raised when I was asked if, indeed, I was a speaker.

Yes! Unbelievable, isn’t it?

A few short years ago, me, given my significant speech impairment due to my cerebral palsy, speaking at a large conference was Impossible. But, with advances in technology, creativity, determination, and a patient and understanding audience, the impossible became possible!

Glenda Watson Hyatt proudly holding up her BlogWorld 09 speaker's badgeThat speaker’s badge for the conference of the blogging industry represents a huge milestone in my story “Love at First Sound Byte: A Woman’s Journey from Being Labeled Non-Verbal to Being a Well-Sought-After Speaker” (potentially the title for my next book?).

Speaker Ready Room sign Shortly before my presentation time, I checked in at the Speaker Ready Room – another sign that the impossible was now possible.

I didn’t hang around in there though. I thought being in the same room as superstar speakers might cause me to panic even more; I was already feeling my athetoid cerebral palsy kicking in as my body began tightening.

The WordCamp Las Vegas sign on the room's doorRather, I headed to the room where WordCamp Las Vegas was now being held. The last minute room change was one of many glitches to befall my panel presentation.

WordCamp Las Vegas' problogger panel with Chris Garrett, Darren Rowse and Jeremy WrightActually, I wanted to catch the panel with Chris Garrett, Darren Rowse and Jeremy Wright. Even though Chris and Darren had written the very successful ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, this was the first time they had presented together on the same stage.

When i first read ProBlogger, I had goose bumps reading how Chris and Darren both got started with blogging and how they turned it into a substantial income source in their own ways. They are what I would like to be when I become a grown-up blogger.

Following such an impressive panel, I felt my athetoid-ism kick up another notch. Part way into their presentation, I even tweeted, “I’m on at 1pm after @chrisgarrett & @problogger. No freakin’ pressure here!”


Once on stage – after a glitch with the stage lift and a technical glitch with the sound system – my co-panelist Damien Patton introduced our session and then kindly introduced me. 

Damien Patton and Glenda Watson Hyatt presenting at WordCamp Las Vegas at BlogWorld

My PowerPoint presentation projected onto a large screenAs soon as I began my PowerPoint presentation, I realized the headings on the top and the captions on the bottom of the slides were cut off; apparently a glitch with the projector’s resolution. Here I am about to present on accessibility and one of my key accessibility features (i.e. captions, which took days to create) was not working. How annoying and frustrating! But, in the moment, I could not do anything except to carry on – without captions.

With all of the glitches and being star-strucked, I was not in the most relaxed state. My athetoid cp was in full force. From my side of the stage, I am sure I out spaz’d and out grimaced actor/Parkinson’s advocate Michael J. Fox and cerebral palsy comedian Josh Blue combined.

Somehow my twenty-five minute presentation ballooned to thirty-seven, leaving Damien mere seconds to give his presentation. However, a few years ago, the thought of me giving a thirty-seven minute presentation was inconceivable; impossible.

In the process of making the impossible a possibility, it isn’t always perfect, it isn’t always pretty. The key is to do! Closing in on perfection and prettiness will come from lessons learned and from refining the process. Compared to this presentation, the next one will be a breeze!

To read my presentation as an free ebook, check out How POUR is Your Blog? Tips for Increasing Your Blog Accessibility.

Our Las Vegas Trip in Review

Part 1: Hilton Room Disappoints on Accessibility
Part 2: Dreams Do Come True – With a Little Help from Friends
Part 3: Making the Impossible Possible – Not Always Perfect or Pretty

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

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Readers’ Choice to Feed 100 People Christmas Dinner

Filed under: Blogging — by at 1:16 pm on Monday, November 23, 2009

An Union Gospel Mission placemat set with a spoon(Photo credit: Miss604)

The Union Gospel Mission – the lifeline to basic necessities for thousands of men, women and children – has held a special place in my heart since our wedding day when  Mom and my brother Kevin dropped off much of the remaining food at the Mission in downtown Vancouver. Being able to share our special day with those less fortunate than us made our day that much more meaningful. Ever since, I have given to the Union Gospel Mission whenever I can.

Last December, I put together “The Best of…The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume I” ebook. With each sale, another person in desperate need received a warm Christmas dinner. Thanks to my generous readers, 100 people enjoyed a meal on Christmas! Thank you.

I would like to do the same thing this year. However, “The Best of…The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume II” is the Readers’ Choice Edition! You, the reader, decide which posts are to be included in the ebook. Here’s how it works:

  • Leave the title of your favourite Do It Myself Blog post in a comment below.
  • For now, one post per reader, please. This may change, depending on the response.
  • Each reader to choose a post will be profiled in the ebook.
  • If more than one reader chooses the same post, the first reader to leave a comment will be profiled.
  • Ideally, the ebook will include 12-15 posts.
  • Please choose your favourite post by Thursday, November 26th, 2009.

Is there anything I missed? Do you have any questions? Let me know.

Together, let’s feed 100 people Christmas dinner again!

Thank you.

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

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A Preemie Love Story

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 1:47 pm on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

March of Dimes' fight for preemies

In support of bloggers uniting to Fight for Preemies, I’d like to introduce the one preemie who has stolen my heart:

Fifty years ago, an impatient baby boy entered the world seven weeks early. Much to everyone’s surprised, a second baby boy also joined the party. Sadly, one twin brother lived only a few short days before being called home.

Darrell at 4 or 5 months propped up in an easy chair The remaining twin, weighing 3lbs 3oz at birth, struggled to survive. He was a sick little boy, prone to catching every bug that crossed his path. His development was delayed and he was diagnosis with cerebral palsy some time prior to his second birthday.

Because of his frequent and lengthy illnesses, he missed much of Grade 1, forcing him to repeat the grade. The same fate occurred in Grade 2, further dashing his self-esteem and his love for school. He went through the motions of doing his school work, without being fully engaged by his teachers or fully accepted by his fellow classmates.

That was until Grade 11 when he discovered computers that changed the trajectory of his life. He discovered a world that he understood, that he could control and manipulate as he liked; a world where he belonged and could immerse himself for hours and days at a time, a world where only his geeky friends could follow him.

Darrell at his computer desk Computers became a part of him, literally; he lives and breathes computers. Computers and what he can make them do are his passion. The guy with no spatial ability is able to see any computer screen in his mind’s eyes. Watching him solve a friend’s or client’s technical issue is amazing – and inspiring!

Initially, this guy may seem slow in thought. But, if people are patient and allow him to talk at his own pace, they realize he is wise beyond his years. Once his words and thoughts start flowing, his ideas, insights and dreams come shining through. He says the sweetest thing with such sincerity that he melts your heart and bring a tear to your eyes – or, at least, that is what he does to mine.

Who is the preemie who has captured my heart? The man I am proud to call my husband Darrell Hyatt.

Borrowing the thought-provoking question from my friend Liz, I asked Darrell, “If you could tell the whole world something once, have them believe you and understand, what would you tell them?”

Darrell responded with:

When asked to answer this question, what came to mind was "believe in yourself". I know that is not necessarily an easy thing to do when others around you don’t believe you or say things which make you doubt yourself. You are the best judge of what you are capable of and can do.

When you are faced with the challenge look inside yourself and find that inner strength and belief in yourself; it will guide you to the solution. You may not have all the answers along the way but the answers will be there at the correct time. The more you believe in yourself, the stronger that belief will become and will carry you to greater heights.

With such insight, such wisdom, can you understand why this guy, who began life so small, has captured my heart?

Darrell, I love you.

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

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Getting Back in My Groove, Finally

Filed under: General — by at 2:25 pm on Sunday, November 15, 2009

Glenda's clean desk

With the tail end of the swine flu hopefully departing, I am eager to get back into my groove, doing what I do. Yesterday my desk received a thorough de-papering and cleaning and is ready to go.  Now the left thumb needs engaging to get this office up to its full earning potential. After all, any office with a chandelier is destined for greatness!

On this week’s to-do list:

  • Write my Fight for Preemies post for Tuesday. This event now has 383 bloggers uniting to raise awareness of our more fragile babies. Awesome!
  • Get going on creating the website for a non-profit organization.
  • Conduct an accessibility review on a lawyer’s newly redesigned blog.
  • Finalize the details for this year’s ebook for raising funds to feed Christmas dinner to 100 people in need. This year, readers will choose which posts to include in “The Best of the Left Thumb Blogger…”. Stay tuned for details!

What is on tap for your week?

Make it an awesome week!

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

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