H is for Handicap

I prefer Disabled, but today is H, so I’ll go with Handicap.

First of all, not all disabilities are obvious, so stop judging. In addition to visual physical challenges, there are chronic illnesses, mental disabilities, and the ever so lucky temporary situations. Seriously, STOP JUDGING. And if you are one of the few who is not affected by your or a loved one’s disability…….Be grateful.

Be respectful.  I don’t mean just opening the door for someone using a walker; although that is appreciated so continue to do so. Don’t stare; it’s not nice. People with disabilities can feel like they are in a fish bowl; please don’t feed that. You know that handicap parking space and the striped (gore) area around it? If you don’t have the credentials; don’t use it. Nope, not even to run into the store and especially not to return that DVD.

Become educated: Disabled people come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  The ADA that was signed in 1990, I know it wasn’t that long ago, is described as a civil rights legislation. In my personal experience, when someone’s actions take away the civil rights of another, it is due to the first person’s ignorance of the second person and their situation. Your actions will teach future generations.

Be helpful:  Let a parent know they can meet with school officials so that compensations can be made for their child, no matter what the disability. Trust me, if they don’t know, school officials are not likely to be the ones to tell them. Offer to help the mom whose child broke a leg and will be in a cast for 3 months. Stand up for a co-worker who may not know that your employer is by-stepping the law. Be an advocate for a friend or a loved one and help them navigate the red tape. 

But most of all, Be Human. No one walks in and says, “Hey, I’ll take the Handicapped Card, cause I’d like my life to be more difficult.” As a rule of thumb, Be Human to everyone, cause you just never know what they might be carrying around.

 

G is for Google

I toyed with a variety of subjects today: grammar, grandparents, ghosts, gratitude, and even garbage. I finally settled on Google. Kind of just knocked me on the head as I was sitting at the computer working out this entry. My mind kept wandering and in an effort to come up with an interesting blog, I found myself on the internet.  Google is becoming the  “Kleenex” of the search engine world. I know there are other great engines out there; some even better, but I like Google.

Googling is the virtual equivalent of searching the stacks via card catalogs, an ancient practice. Most library’s catalogs are computerized now. I loved flipping through those cards, I often wonder how the children of today discover new subjects.

Google is more than a search engine, it is one of the wealthiest companies in the world and my calendar of choice.  They have acquired and/or partnered with a long lists of internet heavy hitters. The Wikipedia article outlining Google’s short life is long in length and mind blowing. 

In addition to its search engine and calendar, I use Google’s cloud to back up files on my cell phone that I’d prefer not to lose again. You know the feeling; lost phone…….my pictures!  My contacts!!! My grocery list!!! Ok, I wouldn’t really freak if I lost that, but I would if it was my To Do list.

If you haven’t tried it, check out Google’s Timer. Just google the word “timer.” Makes me giggle thinking about googling Google. Once the time comes up, hit reset, type in the amount of time you want it set for and then hit start. (It doesn’t work if you don’t click start; not good.) It might not prevent you from staying up all night cruising the information highway, but just possibly, you’ll be reminded to go to bed.

 

 

 

 

F is for File Cabinets

I have often referred to my brain as a file cabinet; a place where I store all kinds of information. Some of it useful, some is the stuff that ends up in a bathroom reader.  For some reason, I have the ability to retrieve what I need at any given moment. This is useful and time saving, both for myself and others as I am often called upon for my opinion or experience. The caveat is that my brain is also a sieve, in that it drains out most fiction. I’m not sure why that is, but it is problematic at times and a blessing at others.

Imagine you are reading a really long book. Near the end of the book, a reference is made about something that happened in the first few chapters, only you don’t get it cause you don’t remember. Joining a book club? Not likely, no one would believe I had actually read anything.

Now, imagine you’re at the movies. Popcorn, candy, the whole works. You’ve been waiting for months to see this movie, cause well you loved the book. The canvas is BLANK.  Yep, that’s right, you don’t remember how it ends, who dies or how, or basically a lot of things. You enjoy the expereince like it is the first time you have heard this story.

I asked my doctor about this once, as my daughter feared I was having early signs of dementia. He explained to me that as we get older (wincing at his words, but agreeing), we become less able to absorb information from muplitle sources at once. Makes perfuect sense to me and explains how I could do homework with the stereo blasting in my youth and now I can’t watch TV and carry on a conversation at the same time. I’m satisfied with my doctor’s explanation, gives me a great excuse should I ever need one.

I am quite content with the priority my mind gives information. I may not have a handle on all fictional references, but I do remember some pretty amazing things. And Rosebud; I’ll probably never forget that.

 

 

 

 

E is for Electroncis

A number of years ago, there was an article in a men’s magazine that stated buying the woman in your life anything that plugged in was unromantic and would result in said male ending up in the dog house of gift giving.  My response was simple: If it doesn’t need a plug, I probably don’t want it.

Electronic devices; computers, kitchen appliances, sewing machines, palm pilots (remember those?), and yes even vacuum cleaners have been some of my favorite gifts. I am in awe of what these things can do and eagerly sit back to read the manuals so I won’t miss anything. I got a label maker once. Step one: label all the removable cords that go with above devices.  Do you have a collections of unidentifiable cords? Me too, but it’s not as big as it used to be.

I doubt I would have been successful as a pioneer woman, or man for that matter. Making toast over a fire with bread kneaded by hand. Washing clothes without the aid of modern technology? Sewing by hand? Making Coffee? All admirable skills, yet not ones I care to hone. We are at a time when the economy has forced us to look at our lifestyles and many are opting to walk away from the conveniences of the 21st Century.  Going back to a simpler way of living. I do admire those who are taking that path; I’m just not following them into the woods, well at least not for longer than a mini-vacation. Definitely not without a GPS to get me back home.

For me, simpler means less “stuff” that clutters my space. Knick knacks that don’t mean anything, unused serving dishes and linens, clothes, and duplicates of almost anything. Simpler does not mean I’m giving up my sewing machine or toaster over and don’t even think about taking away my electronic coffee maker.

 

D is for Digital

I love the digital world. I was with a group the other day and someone said they’d be lost without their little notebook; the kind with paper. Not sure why I needed to clarify that. Me? I’d be lost without my phone, or tablet, or laptop for that matter. I love that you can write stuff down and then delete it.  I love that I can keep my entire grocery list on my phone. I love that I can carry dozens of books with me so that no matter my mood, I’ve got something to read.

I remember when I was in my twenties, my most prized possessions were my stereo and LP collection. I had heavy boxes filled with albums. Super fun, especially when the apartment I was moving into was on the second floor.  I moved a lot back then, but no matter how far the move or the time of day, the stereo ALWAYS got connected before any box was opened. Music filled my new home as I unpacked.  Now I can carry my entire music catalog in the palm of my hand and with wireless speakers I’m always connected.

I still own most of my LP’s and yes, listening to music on vinyl has a crisp raw sound, but I’d trade space and weight for crisp any day.

 

 

To read about how I use digital media in the sewing world, click here.