Monthly Archives: August 2018
I had a busy week this week doing a lot of socializing and catching up. Once upon a time, a long time ago I was involved in High School theater. We had a foreign exchange student from Amsterdam who joined us backstage.
The theater bunch in high school was pretty tight. We all spent whatever spare time we had hiding out in the theater shop. We were also, many of us, involved with band and/or choir – which meant pep rallies and marching band. There were days when I would get to school before 6am and not leave again until after midnight.
Many of us have stayed in the area and stayed in touch. This week we had the honor of being visited by our dear Dutch friend! The opportunity for a reunion was enough to get a few of our out of state friends to fly in as well.
I didn’t participate in all of the activities, but we did have a lovely get together and reminiscence on Monday evening. Many of us also got dolled up to go swing dancing at the Wabasha Caves on Thursday.
In addition to all of the walking down memory lane I managed to acquire the grandpuppy for the weekend. She needed some walking as well!
Another friend (this one more recent) remembered she’d bought tickets to a water lantern festival. She was going to be out of town and offered the tickets up. Different group this time, but still connecting with friends and being out and about.
I’m really grateful for the opportunities this week. Besides the public transitions of John McCain and Neil Simon there are also several others happening both in my family circle and for other close friends and their families. It’s nice to have a distraction, and to be able to share memories.
One of the hardest things with loss is that the person who dies takes your shared memories with them. That’s true with divorce, with breaking up a friendship, and especially true when a good friend or close relative dies. Getting together with my high school bunch helped me to remember, and also made me appreciate how we share those memories.
The water lantern festival (in it’s non-culturally appropriated form) is also an opportunity for remembrances. Both of the friends I attended with took the opportunity to acknowledge the people they have lost on their lanterns. I am grateful as well for the opportunity to make new memories and cultivate new friends.
The air quality is pretty bad here, I can’t imagine what it is like in California. This time of year the air here tends to be thick with humidity and still so the particulates from the Canadian wildfires hang in the haze. The weather forecasters keep predicting rain, which would wash some of the particulate out of the air, but we’ve been dry for quite a stretch.
Why is this relevant? Well, last week I missed posting because I was outside breathing the “fresh” air. I was camping north of the Twin Cities. Spent the first couple of days in a tent and then the next several in a trailer. The advantages of trailer camping include air conditioning and last week that made a world of difference.
I’ve never really trailer camped before so I don’t understand the ins and outs of hook-ups and reserve tanks. I do have a friend who, having just purchased a trailer, asked for my help getting it parked and set up. In return I’ll have access to a retreat in the summer – air conditioning included. Seems like a win-win to me!
The last time I was tent camping I ended up in the ER. I threw my back out, badly. This time I had enough help and support (and I didn’t have Orion with me) that I did fine. I even managed to be a real help to the people I was camping with. I also took care to go to bed when I was tired (much earlier than I would at home) instead of staying up half the night around the campfire. I made sure to stay hydrated. I didn’t “settle in” and stop moving.
Even so I had a nasty allergy episode. Someone decided to spread an allergen (they had been specifically asked not to use) around the ritual circle. This is a particulate that contains a volatile oil. In this environment, especially with the heavy, still air, the allergen doesn’t dissipate and instead continues to be reactivated and spread. It meant I had to miss out on much of the community activities and stay close to our campsite. It actually could have been life-threatening if I was less careful or less well equipped to handle my reaction.
The thing about accessibility is that accommodations were made and someone chose to ignore them. I see that a lot. People block aisles, drop into parking spots “for just a minute”, use public accessible bathrooms as employee changing rooms or (as in this case) think their experiences with disability are equal to everyone else so if it works for them that means it’s accessible. This behavior is nasty when done in ignorance and down right evil when it is done with self-righteous intention.
I have spent 50 years of my life with an awareness of access and disability. My sister had sever enough allergies growing up that we had to leave the city at this time of year because the air quality was too bad. That was before the advent of central air commonly available in housing. I’ve cooked around food issues (for friends and family, conference style events and as a personal chef). I’ve been pushing Orion around in a wheelchair for 25 years. I have had my own experiences with access issues as well.
If I’ve learned anything it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all. I know my son’s wheelchair is not as wide as standard and just because he can get somewhere does not mean it is “accessible”. I know that what we need in a parking spot is different than what a driver with a disability might need, or someone with a scooter. I know that distance isn’t the same issue for someone pushing Orion as it is for someone dealing with Fibromyalgia or a breathing disorder.
Many people, myself included, who deal with asthma will joke that “breathing is over rated”. It’s actually not, and that’s why people die of asthma. That’s why environmental controls on air quality are not just an inconvenience. That’s why setting off fires, that become forest fires, that impact air quality across states is criminal. That’s why I run my air conditioner all summer long, it filters the air. It makes it possible to breathe.
Everywhere Orion and I went this week it was busy. Maybe it was my timing, but busier than what I usually find all the same.
I took Orion to get his haircut and we waited a good 1/2 hour on a walk in appointment. Now, I could have “checked in on-line”. I could have gone earlier in the afternoon. I could have gone during the week and not on a weekend. Sometimes I do. Often I don’t. This week, things were busy.
We went to the movies, afternoon matinee. I was hoping for Christopher Robin thinking we might be hitting the “naptime” show. Things never bode well when ALL the accessibility spots are filled. When that happens I’ll often say, “forget it.” But I really wanted to be out and about with Orion. (Dinner at the theater rather than cooking was also a bonus feature.)
I didn’t get into the movie I wanted. All the accessible seats were filled. In a matinee for Christopher Robin! I guess nostalgia goes a long way. There was another movie on my list screening at the same time. We snagged the some of the last seats for Mama Mia 2.
Because we stood in line for food and read the tickets wrong about which theater we were going to, we missed some of the previews. Not only that, there were people in our seats! An elderly couple, who needed accessible seating and were hoping to sit together. Guys…..
It all worked out, kindly and peaceably. Minnesota nice does occasionally help. The movie was not as much fun as the first, but still a summer romp. We went home and listened to ABBA for the rest of the evening.
Even the grocery store (co-op) was busy. There it wasn’t so much the volume of customers in the store. It was more the staff desperately trying to restock from what looked like hoards of shoppers we’d just missed. Still managed to find what I was looking for, pretty fresh vegetables!
I guess I just wanted to be a grasshopper this week and everyone else decided to be ants. busy busy.