Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My monday: political advocate, raccoons, and disability trendsetter?

Okay, how did I end up as a political activist? Well, I was actually going somewhere else. I was having my “out” day, which no, isn’t were I tell everyone I pass, “Hey, by the way, I’m a LESBIAN!” but where I try to do a few things in my wheelchair now that the weather is cool.

But before that, I did a few postcards which brings me to two points. First, if you liked the Puricura stickers I got from Japan, now you no longer need to go to Japan to send them BACK to me of you! Yup, thanks to the internet and Puricute you can simply upload a picture and then do the puricura experience in your own home – and have your own set of blinged up pictures to cut and add as stickers to postcards. They cost $2.99 for a sheet of heavy photo paper with sticker to peel (same price as Japan) and FREE shipping in the US, and as little as .60 for international shipping. So, drop by the site as you can send a puracute picture of you by email too (for free for those without cash! I was sent one by Devi, and I pass on the love!). I am planning on buying some, maybe our kissing in the woods picture? And what other pictures?

And also, a lot of people have said, “Look, I know how much sending me postcards and that costs, you don’t have to do that anymore.” Which is all the people I love and look forward to sending postcard to. Hey, I get something out of this too, which is making something I know you will enjoy (and filling it with little jokes!). Please do not, out of kindness, deny me the thing that I love to do; yes, change the numbers, reorder the priorities but don’t ask me to leave my friends without post. Is 78 or 55 in less than two days too many? Yes. But is 25 over a week? Let’s see. How do I turn off caring? How do I turn off wanting to make a difference? Please don’t punish me by denying me one of the things I DO like to do (send postcards to y’all).

So, on Monday, I had already finished up three postcards and went down to the post office and bought stamps for them down at the village post office at the bottom of the hill. After returning my DVD, I had a sort of “OMG moment when someone told me what the Canadian Dollar was at. For 90 days it had been at par and I was used to it being between 93 and 95 cents US. Since I buy my postcards and stuff online it is mostly US dollars on ebay and community sales of people selling off things. So with the Dollar falling against the yen, prices had gone up, with the Canadian Dollar falling against the US….. Well in two week the dollar fell from the 90’s to 77 cents to the dollar. A US dollar is now 1.30 or more. Canada has a surplus budget, we are sound but we are next to a country who is having a fire sale (like selling oil at half the price; and selling off BLUE CHIP stocks like apple, which dropped…..because obviously Xmas has been cancelled and no one will EVER want an iphone or ipod?). That was bad, I can’t source stuff from the US until our dollar goes back up to 85 to 88 at least. What suddenly hit me was that the deal we had for our oxygen concentrator was with…..A US FIRM. We would have bought it already except we were waiting to see if blue cross would cover a US firm. Well, now it is a mute point, the next highest quote is Canadian and $700 more.

So I sat there on the grass in my wheelchair and tried to stop from crying for about twenty minutes. Because I felt like all the people who have tried to get me to Seattle (we HAVE the money for Seattle), were going to want their money back if we talked about ‘a few more weeks’ and how could I blame them. And right now, with my fingers already turning purple by the sidewalk, and the idea of having to find ANOTHER $700 (on the bright side, now that is only like $500 US), it just seemed so impossible that I could never even take another weekend trip much less the medical trip I needed.

I told myself, "Suck it up, Buttercup!" after a bit and continued. Up that hill as I was going to go to XXX to help make a little gift in order to send out.

Okay, let’s just talk about this sort of open secret, which is that I send out little gift packets every week if I can. Now some weeks that is two packets (or none if I am very sick) and some weeks that is twenty. The problem is that with the Grand Mals and memory loss, I don’t know who I send to in the past. Plus I send things to people who sort of come into my view as 'that would be good for XX!". I am not playing favorites if you haven’t gotten anything because I give gifts based on who I think of and if you haven’t gotten anything, it is because I haven’t found the right gift for you. That’s it. Nothing personal. If you comment on here, you will almost certainly get a gift at some point. If you send me an gift and it isn’t like hate mail or something which has to be confiscated by Homeland Security, you will get most likely get a gift (If Linda remembers to write down it was sent!).

However, remember – I have a brain that is swiss cheese, boomed many times and also for several weeks I got Nada (as in Zip), and for other weeks Linda didn’t keep a list. If Linda doesn’t keep a list, I don’t KNOW who sent the gift. So I can’t even EMAIL you a thank you. So besides the “postcard project” there is the “surprise gift” project, which you can’t really sign up for, because I don’t know what I am going to send until it is sent! Sometimes however, I put pictures of things I have to give as gifts on the blog (for example the Native Art Print – and everyone who said, “Wow, that is really neat!” got at least a native art sticker on their next postcard…because I wrote their name down! Another time I put up something and no one said….ANYTHING. So I still have that because I don’t know who would be the perfect home for it!).

So right now I have gotten some stuff and I need to have a store do XXX to them before I can sent them as gifts and I was headed there (I try to get things that are unique, irreplaceable, match the person but also within my ‘mad money’ budget; sometimes I go overboard - gee, Elizabeth go overboard? Is that possible?). Along the way I passed what used to be a “For Lease” sign but was now the sign of Rob Reid For Mayor. They had made a sort of ad hoc ramp going to a two ton door and I grunted my way in to find people stuffing envelopes of Rob Reid for Mayor and info packets. The thing is that Wayne Hallohan who was running for Fairfield City Council spot gave me Rob Reid’s Brochure last week and I knew I knew that face. Pieta Van Dyke who is apparently already elected to represent James Bay was there also (in front of Pic a Flic handing HER leaflet).

Well, when you are a person of energy fluctuations like me, you go when you have energy, so I asked to speak to Rob. They said he would be back, I said I could wait and wheeled around and saw Pieta stuffing envelopes. Her face said she recognized me but wasn’t that excited.

I told her I had been working on the bullet points Wayne had asked for and I said that number one, considering the population of James Bay and Fairfield over 65 was to get more blue badge parking spots. I mentioned that Thrifty’s Foods of James Bay, where my grandfather shopped till his mid 80’s is half full of Cars with Blue Badges and has…two spots. She replied a bit grumpy that the parking lot was private property.

I said, that may be, but since Thrifty’s Foods makes such a big advertising issue about hiring the disabled (developmentally challenged from a particular program only!), I am sure the owner, a local, would understand the implications of pointing out that while he might HIRE people with disabilities, those who have them can’t SHOP at his store.

Then we got onto housing that had passed the counsel, how the new condo development NEXT to my parents place was to have 20 low income apartments and the council reduced that to TWO. Peita said quite firmly that those ‘cost the developer’ and it was complicated and implied I should be happy with the two instead of the twenty that the previous city bylaw required. I said, “With a half million dollar condos, 18 condo’s means 9 million dollars, I really don’t think it was that complicated, when you have a choice of nine million or making affordable housing."

The entire room, which included it turned out Rob’s adopted mother was listening to our discussion avidly.

So I brought up the new Homeless building, I said, “Do you know how they are making that homeless building?” And everyone was “no, no” (Peita was silent). I said, ‘they are destroying 14 disabled housing.’

Pieta burst out, “But all those people have been relocated!”

I turned and said quite vehemently, “No they haven’t! I have the same care workers they do, and right now the ONLY facility to get care workers which is wheelchair accessible for people my age is the building between the needle exchange (several hundred people shooting up) and the police station. I was told ‘You don’t want to live there!’” I turned to Pieta, “Do YOU want to live there!?”

She didn’t reply (which sort of WAS a reply!) but said, that well, the people who were moved out would get a chance to apply to get back into the building (which will house the 50 homeless considered the ‘worst cases to house’).

I told her and everyone that I went to the ONLY Respite in Victoria available to someone my age with a disability, the Percy Respite and that there was homeless housing above that and three to four times a day the fire alarm went off, because of smoking or a fire starting in the rooms above us. I said for someone with a medical condition, or the need for sleep, that is a serious problem but otherwise who WANTS to live a building where the fire alarm goes off several times a day? I turned to City Counselor Pieta and said, ‘do you?’

She didn’t respond (again, an answer of a sort!) so I finished by saying that my original idea when I heard it, since these were homes of people LIKE ME, was to have ALL of the city counselor’s homes RAZED, build housing for homeless THERE and THEN, offer to take the city counselor’s name to live back in their house again. How would that be enjoyed I asked? Pieta found she had something to do which took her not only away from me but out of the building.

Quite honestly, my feeling was that since James Bay is made up of people who are vulnerable and dependant, and if she isn’t ready to ask the owner of thrifty’s food much less the city counsel to add more blue badge parking spots, I will have to see if I can run against her.

I stayed on because the best way to know a candidate is to know the people who surround them. I offered to stuff envelopes and they were very surprised and I said, hey, I talked to Rob (which I did about putting in legislation about accessibility in new buildings and when current ones are modified: “You know…like your two stores…” But I got the feeling I was just another ‘special interest’ person to him) and that since I took up his time, I might as well give back. So I met his adopted mother and the other people and found out things. 1) Almost all were seniors and 2) all were runners. Indeed they had the same attitude as my grandparents, that if you eat right and keep fit, you can be 80 and do marathons. Thus, people who use walkers are losers.

I told them I did lesbian advocacy before when I was in the UK. And one woman asked if I know this man who played Jazz in a wheelchair. I refrained from saying that no, much like blacks or gays, all wheelies don’t know each other (I had previously made the point that I was a RUNNER, I had done many marathons, which sort of amazed them and I said, “A lot of people just see the chair but, I wasn’t born with it stuck to my butt!”). She said that he was such a “nice” advocate and pointed out “nice” things like how when disables go they usually have ‘Able bodied People” with them (I could tell she managed to refrain from shortening that to “people” v. disabled), and since how the people WITH them spend the money, it is good to have disabled.

As you can imagine, I responded tactfully. I asked, “How much do you think you spent in disposable income this year?” She “um’d” for 30 seconds but couldn’t come up with a number. The whole room was listening intently. I said, “I spent $40,000!” There was a collective gasp.

I said, “I got this Wheelchair from Motion Specialties,” (there was a voice, “I know them”) I continued, “a Victoria business, $5,500. A Bed, $4000+, Walker, bench, bars, arm rests, and I am going next week for a fitting for another chair for $20,000.” I let that sink in for a minute and then finished, “So tell me, who makes more of an economic impact on Victoria, me….or a tourist?”

While they were digesting that, I said, “You may not see them, but there are a lot of us, and we all spend; and spend it here in Victoria. For example hundreds to thousands people having meals delivered, meals on wheels is $7 for lunch $9 for dinner: anyone here spend $15 a day on food, every day?” No one did.

I said, “Know how you can’t go down the street without seeing someone in a scooter on the sidewalk.” They all nodded (there are so many seniors that scooters are an every block occurrence), “Those START at $4,000.” I said.

“My goodness,” one of the core volunteers said, “I had no idea!”

So we talked on but I think I made more of an impact talking with the people when then candidate was out of the room than talking to him in, like talking with his adopted mother (who gave me a cookie), he came back, surprised to see me there. I headed off to XXX to get the things done. It was an hour stuffing envelopes and taking the pulse of the people around the candidate. Is this what community activism is about? I dunno, new to me! Maybe I helped them understand a little more that we, the disabled, in Victoria have little choice and are seen as just money machines to be sucked dry. Maybe not.

The only other major change I am trying get the candidate to stop doing is putting “disabled” between, homeless and drug users or addicts and street workers as in ‘I plan on addressing many of the issues of the overlooked like those with severe untreated mental illnesses and disabled’ (Rob), or ‘the issues of homeless, the needle exchange, disabled, drug addicts and the sex trade.’ It seems we are never between the Business owners association and the woman’s business council, odd that?

Last night I went to badminton and you know how I say that all people become advocates eventually? Well, to make it very short (as I have been very ill tonight, which is why this posted at 2:30 am), when we started playing Badminton on Saturdays there was a foursome who wouldn’t play with us: Cheryl and I. As us wheelies would bring down their game. Well, I played with one of the guys from that foursome last night and we won but while playing he told me his friend had an accident and was a high functioning para now (low L-injury) and was out of rehab and looking to get active. He wanted to know about the boxing I did. I introduced him to Liz, my volunteer from Recreation Integration and talked about wheelchair bikes and racing chairs. Less than a year ago, this guy refused to play with me, now he wants to know how his friend can BE like me. I guess that whole TAB: Temporarily abled bodied is a bit more realistic than we anticipate. And that I say, we all become advocates eventually.

I won two games, and was in a good grove. On the way home, after 9:00 pm, I hear scrabbling like a squirrel but heavier. I saw a Raccoon climbing up the tree I was passing, I stopped and looked at the tree opposite and three feet away a small raccoon stared back at me, the mask, the little eyes. I looked for peanuts under my chair so I apologized and moved on, when I saw two more run across the empty street. Linda had seen a family here over 2 years ago, but I never had. It made me happy that I finally did. And last week, while driving back through the same area a brown barn owl, like one I had seen in a tree near where the Raccoons were two years ago flew in the sunset in front of our van. It has been a good few weeks; from Rhinos to the local native population: squirrels, raccoons, owls and whales (now if I could only see a cougar!).

I don’t know if I will have the energy to go to a “candidates gathering” but I definitely want to press home to whomever becomes mayor or city council that if they are not going to be the defense for the vulnerable then I will ensure they wear the name of shame. Of course I will probably say it SLIGHTLY different than that. But then, knowing me, I might not! As I said to Rob Ried, “Right now, Victoria is a city which is in Federal Violation of discrimination based on disabilities, and if you win, you inherit that. I just thought you should know.” (See my tact, I didn’t mention my appeal to the Federal Government to declare martial law and take over the city as part of a city under “civic and populance crisis”).


Kate J said...

I bet you really gave those political types something to think about. The people who make decisions that affect other people's lives - like where the housing is built, and what benefits and services people get - really need to hear from people like you. I mean, they should be actively out there,listening to what is needed, but all too often they are not. Tourism, business - all these interests have well-paid lobby-groups fighting their corner... I don't need to tell you!
And for the record, I've had two wonderful gifts from you, and at least 5 cards. Every one is treasured!

Maggie said...

hey Beth-
Sounds like badmittin was good for you and glad that you can get out a bit more now that the weather is cooler.
A bit of the EFM showing through today!

Drake said...

It's scary how political decisions and commitments end's up practically at times.

The attempt to house the "squatters" in our country, has been a bad joke.

There was so much corruption and underhanded dealing going on that it is a wonder that people actually did receive homes. The biggest lark of it all...Those that received homes, sold it off to other people so they can carry on living in a tin-shack, next to a drainage system that floods them every time the rain comes down just a little too hard or lose their possessions through a careless fire that consumes literally hundreds of shacks in a matter of minutes due to the material they use and close proximity to each other.

I am glad you were able to finally see the Raccoons ... even though you didn't have any peanuts on you ... poor things :D

I did for about a year participate in "Tene..." "Teneq"...drat! It's basically tennis with a rubber ring, before my knees brought a screeching halt to it as well as my school-career.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking disabled people would slow things down... I guess you showed them a thing or two :D. In South Africa, we have a double amputee runner that had trouble getting into the Olympics due to his running blades (Apparently unfair advantage) and currently have an advert where wheel-chair basketball players beat the socks off our national rugby team :D.

yanub said...

You make a great advocate, Beth. It's great that you knocked those envelope stuffers off their feet. You indicate that Rob wasn't exactly excited about your suggestions. That's disappointing. Does he want to have ongoing advice from you, though? Just to have a candidate who will listen is an improvement for Victoria.

An entire racoon family! How sweet and mischievous! I don't know about getting to see a cougar. It's pretty spine tingling just hearing them (they live out where Carapace does). When I hear them scream, I amaze myself at fast I can get inside.

yanub said...

Oh, forgot to add...

OK, you can keep sending me cards. But don't ever feel bad if you can't, OK?

Lene Andersen said...

Woooo! Love the advocacy, love the way you opened some minds there. Not all will stick, but some of it will. Way to have an impact!

Lovely surprise with all the woodland creatures - moments of joy.

I'm one of the people who's volunteered to get taken off the list and am glad you're telling me to shut up (see? I can read between the lines). Your cards mean a lot to me, but I volunteered because you (and your health) means more. But I'm totally fine with remaining on the list (yay - it's all about me again!), just at a reduced schedule. Compromise - who'd have thunk people like you and me could do that, huh? ;)

Don't like the mention of you being very ill. Hope today's better.

Devi said...

Thanks for the update on the candidate saga; I do hope you got some people thinking.

Also, glad you could see the racoons!

Veralidaine said...

GO BETH!!!!! That is so awesome that you are becoming a community activist and opening the eyes of politicians. See, I don't know if I mentioned this before, but for all my social awkwardness and inability to make real friends, I was raised on politics. I have memories of scolding Congressmen for policies I didn't agree with when I was as young as six. Politics is one of my talents and hobbies.

With that in mind, I think this is what you will find if you keep it up: About half of the people running for office, doesn't matter what office, don't give a damn about any opinion they're not convinced will get them elected. Of the remaining 50%, half care but are bumbling idiots who will get the wrong message no matter what you do. And probably one in ten is a really good person who will take on an issue that's presented to them by a constituent and make it part of their campaign, in a smart way, in a good way.

It sounds like perhaps Rob might be willing to be one of the one in ten. Keep after him, when you have the energy to do it!

JaneB said...

Racoons, wow! THat's a great thing to see. I saw them a couple times when I lived in Ontario and they're impressive little creatures.

Seeing wild animals living alongside humans and getting along just fine always makes me happy, even if 'sensible people' tell me that they're a nuisance.

And yay you on telling some 'sensible people' some of the facts of life! You'd enjoy living here - our local MP (who is from the political party I totally disagree with, by the way) holds street surgeries - he takes a few chairs and a folding table into the middle of the pedestrianised shopping area in town, next to some disabled parking bays incidentally, at the cross roads where just about everyone passes. On one Saturday a month. Not just around election time! And spends a few hours there talking to anyone who wants to talk, the local down-and-outs or the blue rinse old ladies, whoever. I don't like his party allegiances, but I do admire that sort of openness and availability in a politician. It takes courage to sit in a Yorkshire town on a Saturday morning and take on all comers, the locals are very... straightforward, plain talking people here and if they have opinions they share them!

Christina said...

Hey -

It sounds like you put in the good fight with Rob Reid's group. Thanks - I hope it makes a difference!

I live in Victoria and know another candidate for council that will certainly have a better grasp on disability issues in Victoria and has a better chance of being. Lynn Hunter is running council and is the chair of the local MS Society and vice-chair of the provincial chapter... her daughter has ms...


Laura said...

Wow Beth,

You did a fine job at candidate headquarters. What a coupe talking to Robs adoptive mother. I am sure that she will keep a buzz in his ear. As for the other lady...I think she will take a little more work. Perhaps another drop in or at least keeping things fresh in their minds may be a good thing.

Raccoons. I have many stories with those little creatures. I think that they are cute too but when they invade a garden look out.

Seeing an owl is a magnificent thing. I have had the honor of being up close and very personal with a couple of Great Horned owls before. Seems as though they don't get along with crows and since crows travel in coveys, they have a tendency to pick on the owls. I have found a couple of owls that have been on the bad end of the pecking order and rehabbed them. Truly a magnificent creature.

Love and Hugs,

Stephanie said...

That's so courteous of you, helping out after taking the candidate's time. And the fact that you got his attention is pretty cool, too.

I think your Postcard Project is great. I've been thinking about it a LOT since I first heard about it a couple of days ago. While I'd love to receive mail myself, I'm not going to add my name to your list. Instead I'm (tentatively) going to try to send out some cards of my own, to people that are special to me. It'll make me really happy if they got cards that they cherished. And if I really get into it I hope I'll be able to send more and more cards. Fingers are crossed that I don't just forget and/or procrastinate. I want this to stick.

Rachael said...

Oh, you're good, you're REALLY good. Usually I try going softly, softly, and THEN bring out the big guns. But I see you have a whole different approach, try to shame/scare them into it, and then, if that doesn't work, sneak around the back to help out,talk to their mates and change the world. I like it!
Still envious, we don't have racoons either - we have a lot of birds, but I seem to be wired to find mammals more engagin.
I love the green flowery girl on here - I loved the pink one - presumably from the same source- a few days ago. Where did you find them?

Elizabeth McClung said...

One thing I forgot to mention I found interesting: none of the people in the room, all runners, had done the Terry Fox run (because it isn't timed and you don't get points for it) - and thus didn't get the whole 'inclusion of everyone' feeling that it promotes - Rob didn't run it either, or I didn't see him and I was up with the front pack.

Stephanie: Please don't take my choice away, I made the project specifically for someone like you - now I am jonesing to send you a message - it is like being denied a cookie - makes me WANT cookies! I hope you do send out cards, and that I can be like your cheering section. Yes, well, after I did get to talk to the potential mayor I thought it only fair I stuff a few envelopes, I mean fair play right?

KateJ: I hope so, but the problem is that these people live in worlds where they see so few people in wheelchairs (they should come to a MS support meeting where there are 4-5 BUSES unloading wheelchairs), so I think I come across as a very limited special interest group. The one frustration I had was that everyone seemed to think I was asking for FAVORS rather than EQUALITY. And the idea that I was an equal person, that the people whose home is being razed are just as attached to it as the council people just was something they did NOT want to hear or think about. Thanks for letting me know about the cards and gifts Kate, I am glad I got good choices for you. I did right?

Maggie: Badminton was sort of oddly sobering, as while I may say, "They will all be our advocates one day" how do you deal with a person that treated you as a non-human a few months ago and now wants your advice on how their friend is to make his life as full as possible. There was no animosity, but I did wonder, "Does he even remember how he and that guy, who is now a wheelchair user, treated me?"

I do like cooler weather and it does like ME!

Drake: Yes, well you bring up a really good point, everyone talks about "the homeless" like they are some sort of lobby group with the same ideas instead of individual people. And things are passed and housing started, but the one group or people NOT talked to...the homeless. Las Vegas solved that by having a bus where they could on the spot declare the person a danger to themselves and lock them in a mental ward (if you are homeless in Las Vegas, mental assessment comes not TO you but FOR YOU! Run!).

Yes, I wrote a piece about Oscar Pistorius which got linked in the BBC oddly enough. You know if your knees are that bad I would recommend what I say to other people with impairments, "Why not try being a 'recreational' wheelchair user?" If you want to do a sport and it can be done in a chair with other people who aren't in wheelchairs with minor accomodation, FINE! I mean, half the people at the end of a wheelchair basketball game stand up out of the wheelchair and walk over to the bench. A wheelchair is a mobility device NOT a "you are X level of impaired" judgement (though socially it is seen that way!).

Yanub: Want ongoing advise from, that would be a big NO. The feeling was that I was getting five minutes 'pity time' becuase I WAS in a wheelchair. So taken as a voice to educate, not exactly. But like I said, maybe his adopted mother or one of the other workers will remember the stuff about scooters and how much they bring in and talk to him about bringing more of that up in his speeches.

About the postcards and such: deal!

Lene: With my advocacy I am used to "nice" Linda coming by after and helping them see the light. So not sure if I opened minds or just hit them with a crowbar (sorry, when someone implies or states that the person in the chair isn't spending.....ARG!).

I do wish I had my Camera as I could have had a shot but Linda had taken it out. That would have been cool - my Raccoon shot. Also glad you are willing to comprimise, as what, I'm supposed to sit here and feel in pain, don't think so.

Very ill yesterday/evening/night - not so great today but STILL GOING OUT, right after this - Because I can, becuase tomorrow is all appointments, because I am NOT "Taking it one day at a time" but I might have to CONQUER one day at a time!

Devi: I hope it wasn't too boring reading about the campaign stuff. Thanks for the Puricute link and post. I liked that (obviously).

Ack - got to run, rest of replies when I return!

Abi said...

I would be happy with getting every second postcard you intended to send to me, and having you have fun instead of the other half. I would consider that to be a great favour, especially if you reported back!

Shea said...

Wow, it sounds like you had an amazing day!!!! I am so proud of you Elizabeth.

Tammy said...

That poor council woman (sarcasm). You were probably not one of her favorite people right then.
I would never want to try to match wits with you. Even with your "swiss cheese", you could mentally whoop me, and everyone else I know.
I'm sure you really gave them all something to think about.
I think it's funny how people will assume you know someone just because you have the same disability/diagnosis as others. I've had it happen to me too.
Raccoons, love them! I'm glad you got to experience some local wildlife. Good luck on the cougar.

Neil said...

Hi sweetie: I'm with Yanub; I love getting cards (and this week's was wonderful) from you, but you don't HAVE to. Just don't feel guilty if you can't, please.

Raccoons are cool, squirrels are cute, politicians are, well, politicians. But it does show the true Beth when you pay for taking the candidate's time by helping him. If he can't handle the truth about his potential constituents, he doesn't deserve the job. I applaud you for giving them the truth.

We got a package in the mail today, Beth, but not from you. It was BECAUSE of you; I bough Francesco's Italy To to Toe and his Mediterranean Voyage, as well as Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle (the Regina Library's copy of Howl's was interesting, but kept sticking and skipping, so I bought it).

You've had a huge effect on me, dear, and my credit card bill will show it next month!

Love and zen hugs, and now I need to kick the kid off the other computer, which is switched to Region 2,

Devi said...

You're very welcome, and I wasn't bored at all!

Raccoon said...

it wasn't me! I was nowhere near there!

In any case, I'm glad you got a chance to meet them. They like cat food, by the way.

Cougars, on the other hand...

"Do you know my friend? He's the tall short thin fat person, clean-shaven with a beard, you can't miss him -- he wears a costume?" -- something a friend of mine says when people find out that he works a Renaissance Faire.

Politicians are all for photo ops with the disabled, but there's so many more AB to deal with...

Lisa Moon said...

Wow, once again you raise so many excellent points. I hardly know where to start! :)

VERY important points about the sheer ridiculousness of the expenditures persons with disabilities require. And you even have some (allegedly good) insurance coverage. I've currently got to fight the Ministry of A-holes to cough up a scooter so I can actually GET somewhere (maybe, say, my doctor's appts?!) since worker's comp might let hell freeze over before they help me... sorry, I digress as usual.

A couple of things I wanted to add, if I might:

-Alex Campbell sold Thrifty Foods, the largest private-sector employer on Vancouver Island, to Sobeys (a grocery chain), announced in July 2007. So far, they have kept their promise to keep things up to the excellent standards Thrifty's was known for, but who knows how long that will last. My point? I wonder if Sobeys, based back East, would be as attentive to local needs as Mr Campbell always was?
I'm VERY with you on approaching those twerps. Not only the Fairfield location, but James Bay is the same; massive senior and/or disabled population, the requisite 2 "blue" parking spots! I never want to use one (although I do have a placard) because there are so many more people who need one for wheelchair and/or lift vehicle purposes, etc... ugh.

- Meals on Wheels sent out an urgent plea earlier this year, as they were losing their (volunteer) meal delivery drivers due to the very high gas prices and their lack of funds to reimburse the volunteers for their gas costs. Thanks, VIHA, screw us another way (it was party VIHA funded). I believe they are either closed already or almost. Their website's last menu is for August...
When I met with my OT a few weeks ago, she gave me a resource book for the city - largely focussed on seniors, but helpful nonetheless. The pamphlet she gave me for meals is a Vancouver-based company (!) similar to Meals on Wheels. 3 course dinners are $5.75; they also have breakfasts, lunches, a la carte items and desserts. I have NO idea if they taste very good but it's pretty easy to start figuring that even a few meals a week starts to add up $$$. :(

-Currently in the Capital Region, there are over 2000 families waiting for subsidised, affordable housing. The typical wait is over 2 years to get into housing; I know personally.

- Data widely quoted in various media cite 1500 homeless currently in Victoria; due to the vacancy rate remaining virtually nil (0.04%!) we have 13,085 renters in the Capital Region (numbers from 2001; our housing costs have skyrocketed since) living in unaffordable housing (more than 30% of income), inadequate/unsafe conditions or unsuitable size for family number

There ARE committed people working endlessly to combat these conditions. The Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS) offers assistance with completing the intimidating application for Persons With Disabilities status, Income Assistance appeals/access and Tenancy issues. As someone who volunteers there, I can tell you the small but dedicated team of staff and volunteer advocates work their butts off every single day to help as many Victorians as possible. We (I'm one of their proud volunteers :) ) always need more advocates to help alleviate the massive list of those needing help to complete those applications. It pleases me to no end that, after my training, I will be assisting people to access what they need and deserve from the Ministry

Anyway, that's my little rant/plug. I wanted to pipe up because reading about your educational visit to the politico's office inspired me once again!

PS If you're interested in that resource book, meeting with an OT from the health unit nearest you or volunteering with TAPS, please let me know! I love to share resources - it's my PASSION, if you couldn't guess (blushes).

Um, sorry to hog your comment section. :P

Love you, Sister! You're so awesome!

Drake said... that case I need to be careful about going to Las Vegas ... not that I am homeless ... just a bit more eccentric than your common human being meehee :D

I hear you on the wheel chair deal...and it's a very interesting suggestion that I would definately look into.

The only problem I would have to face, is that it would drive my dad crazy to see me in a wheel chair.

My dad has very strong feelings and fears of me "giving up" and even though as you say, it does not make me disabled, he wouldn't see it that way. His dad had "given up" on life and eventually slowly starved himself to death. It was murder on my dad to see me in a wheelchair a year ago after a knee dislocation.

It's hard to try and explain things to him, especially depression as the moment I show any form of "hopelessness" or even normal sadness, even though it's out of my control, he assumes I am giving up.

My dad shows his love in very weird I am sure a lot of dad's does...

I hope you are feeling at least a little better today.

thea said...

Glad you had the opportunity to tell people that disabled people vote with money too. Important part of the economy, not to be trifled with, put away in cupboards out of sight out of mind.

Knocking down all the city councillors' houses to build social housing sounds like an interesting solution. Particularly if the councillors have to go on a waiting list to get back to live somewhere. That would make interesting TV show. Much better than big brothers and living on islands killing each other off and things like that on tv.

It would be interesting to see who persisted as politicians and representatives in this sort of context.