Yesterday I participated in Northern Colorado’s Annual Jingle Bell Run – the Virtual edition of 2020.
This weekend, Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Runners across the country have been coming together to attempt to break the Guinness World Records® title for the largest remote 5k in 24 hours. To be included in the world record attempt, your virtual “run” must be logged on the RunGo app between 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 12th and 12:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 13th.
I started running/walking the Jingle Bell Run back in elementary school – though truly I only remember back to the walk I did in Middle School. I wasn’t really into running until college – so these ‘runs’ were always walks. They were also usually at the Oval on the campus of Colorado State University. I miss running in the snow on the Oval!
Yesterday I walked down to the waterfront – Canton Waterfront Park – specifically and then back. There were TONS of people out in Baltimore yesterday as the weather was nice and in the 60s. I’m assuming it’s only worse today. Canton is particularly bad for lack of social distancing and mask wearing compliance.
Once I stopped at the waterfront, I immediately went northwards on a side street and made a point to avoid the main thoroughfares where lots of unmasked people were congregating. Getting outside makes a huge difference in my mental health but with my chronic illness I really want to avoid any exposure to the virus. My illness is on the list of particularly high risk – and outcomes of people who have it and get Covid are really bad right now so I am doing everything in my power to stay safe.
I spent a lot of my young adulthood running. Running away from the terrors in my head, both literally and figuratively. I started training for triathlons in a practical sense during my senior year of college. I always struggled with sleep and running, or swimming in particular, was the only way I could sleep – I had to wear out my body so my mind would quiet enough.
I graduated into a recession – many of us in the mid 00s did. I had spent my whole life being told that if I worked hard, graduated from high school, went to college, and graduated with the best grades I could get, that I would be able to find a job that was reliable and steady and would overlook my disabilities. That was not the case.
So I ran. I ran to outrun the voice in my head that told me I was an absolute failure. That all my hard work was meaningless. I ran to get away from the fact that I hated myself for all of that – for the failure, for the disabilities that I could mostly hide but would never be able to ignore or forget.
When I finally got a ‘real world’ job, it was one of those places where I felt like a replaceable cog in the machine. I ran there too – I would take my lunch break, lace up my sneakers, and run around the lake just down the street from our building. I would cry as I ran because I was constantly feeling left out, not understanding or being included in office gossip even though our cubes all looked out to each other and I could see everyone talking and laughing without me.
I worked hard at that job. I loved working in filing and I loved organizing – I also loved the fact that it didn’t force me to sit on my butt all day. I coped with not being able to hear co workers by walking over to their desks to ask questions and get directions – rather than phoning them, which everyone else did. I knew I needed to lipread them to be able to follow so this was my way of getting my needs met without outing myself as a disabled person.
I woke up really early most days and I would either walk out my front door and run down the street – or I would hop in my car and jump on a treadmill. If I was at the gym and on the treadmill, I would lift afterwards. Every other day I would absolutely go swim laps before my brain woke up enough to complain to me about the cold water.
I don’t know how I managed to keep going like that either, when I finally quit that job and moved away from my home state I wasn’t running to get away as much. I was running because it made me feel good, because it was a way to get to know my surroundings, and it was a way to build a community in a new place.
Because things changed – I started processing all the reasons behind my running/workout obsession. It was a good thing in many ways, but it also brought to light a lot of really difficult internal processes. It’s something I am still working out to this day. Maybe you can relate.
What things have you used to cope or how have you run away from things in your life? Comment below!
Happy holidays! Well, in preparation of the holiday party and New Year season, I have a little recipe for you all. I have seen feedback that many people don’t like getting a story before the recipe so I’m going to post the recipe straightaway. If you want to hear about Wassail – go read below the recipe for that.
2 Quarts apple juice or cider
1 pint cranberry juice
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp whole allspice
1 whole small orange, studded with whole cloves
1 cup rum (optional)
1 tsp aromatic bitters (optional)
Put all ingredients in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 to 8 hours.
Serve warm from crockpot..
Wassail is hot mulled cider – many different formulations exist over different cultures – my mother’s family is part British so it’s possible this is an old family tradition. I was always under the impression that most of my family’s traditions derived from their time spent stationed on the Army base in Germany though.
The word, according to Wiki, is derived from the Medieval Christmastide tradition of wassailing – or an English drinking ritual to guarantee a good harvest in the new year.
Wassail is a drink that we have made every single holiday as far as I can remember. Thanksgiving – when we celebrated it – included putting the Wassail on early in the morning and beginning to drink it by noon. Also, I personally have never had the alcoholic version, so this was a very innocent tradition from my childhood.
When I had my first holiday party in our home in Atlanta, I made wassail as one of the things I had – it was one of the biggest endeavors I ever undertook – but it was so much fun! I haven’t managed to replicate it in Baltimore mostly because of the size of our row home.
Hopefully you enjoy this recipe too! Let me know what you think.
This holiday season is challenging for me, now that we only have two dogs and my longtime service dog has gone over the rainbow bridge. But for some reason, concentrating on the pet dog and service dog in training we do have is helpful to distract me and make life a little brighter.
There isn’t much more fun for me than giving my service dog in training pup new toys and sometimes finding new (or replacing old) devices that make our lives with pets easier.
SpotBot Pet Handsfree Spot & Stain Cleaner – We have replaced this a few times. Not by any fault of the spot bot itself, more because of inattentive cleaning patterns. It works GREAT. Got our carpets in our old rental that were off white when we moved in back to true white when we moved out in SPITE of five years of pets and being right on the backdoor. – If you have ADD be aware that it needs to be immediately emptied and cleaned when it’s done cleaning the rugs otherwise it does tend to gunk up the gears.
Dog Safety Vest Harness – We bought two of these for use in all car travel with our dogs. It keeps them safe and keeps me from spending all my time being worried about them falling off the seat.
Automatic Ball Launcher – I do not have and have not used this, but it looks like it would be a really fun toy for both our toy-chase obsessed SDiT and his buddy the cat.
Natural Cow Hooves for Dogs – We have these and have replenished them for the dogs every year or so. There are plenty to go around for the two of them and they last a long time.
Zuke’s Mini Natural Soft Treats – Dog treats are a very individual sort of thing, but we have used these mini treats very successfully in training and the pups love them. The size makes it much easier to avoid overfeeding.
Deer Antler Dog Chews – my older dogs never got into these antler chews but the SDiT loves them so he’ll probably get a pack in his stocking this year.
Dino Dog Toy – This dinosaur dog toy has chew guard technology. It also has a squeaker – which is one of my dogs favorite things ever. We haven’t tried the chew guard technology yet, but I’ll report back!
What are your pet’s favorite things? Any toys we should look into?
Knowing what to get for your friends who are disabled, or chronically ill is sometimes challenging – there are allergies to consider, many are poor, living in very small spaces, and often your best bet are things to help comfort – or checking their Amazon wishlists!
Here are a few things that I personally use and appreciate for comfort when I am dealing with pain flares, ongoing colds during the beginning of winter, and being stuck in the house because of illness.
Weighted Blanket – This has been invaluable to me since the loss of my service dog. He used to provide a very direct weight to help me sleep, and this blanket does a fairly decent approximation. It has also anecdotally helped many other people both disabled and abled.
Electric Blanket – I prefer the Serta and Sunbeam brands – and I especially love the reversible sherpa and fleece throw I have on the sofa right now.
Kindle or E-Reader – I get so much mileage out of my Kindle, in general, but especially when I’m sick. Cold and flu season means I spend a lot of spare time inside in bed or on the sofa catching up on sci-fi reads. E-readers are especially good for disabled people because we can check out books from the library on them – you can change the formatting to larger or smaller letters to help with vision – and they are much lighter than chapter books or other tablet readers to hold for long periods of time.
Car Adaptor Electric Blanket – This blanket is ideal for long car rides over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house – or Aunt Janelle’s in my case – I love it because we have to keep the car colder for both my partner AND my service dog. This helps me regulate my own temperature and stay comfortable for long periods of sitting.
Contour Orthopedic Cervical Pillow – This pillow has helped immensely with neck and back pain from a pinched nerve. Supposedly sleeping on our backs reduces pressure and compression to help with chronic conditions. It is also helpful if you have sinus problems – for example – I notice my partner snores if he’s not sleeping on his back, it’s particularly bad if he ends up on his stomach. We both have these kinds of pillows to support back sleeping.
Bathrobe or other cute loungewear – I personally linked the bathrobe because I like that it goes well with my final dream gift, and it is nice to have something easy to throw on to answer the door when you spend all day on the sofa.
Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub – This hot tub was a wishlist purchase. After spending a weekend at the hot springs in Colorado, we realized that a lot of ongoing pains we had were drastically reduced. So my partner started investigating how to go about getting a hot tub in a Baltimore row home — let’s just say that wasn’t a very inexpensive or easy endeavor. He finally came across the Coleman hot tubs and realized we could do it! We got the square one because we’re very particular about shape and aesthetic but the round ones are even cheaper! This is a GREAT family gift.
Let me know if there’s any particular disability mitigating gift you’ve thought of or given that you loved over the years. Thanks for reading!
I’m afraid I’m not the first person to say this, but living in a tiny home on wheels is a dirty business. Even when we take our shoes off immediately upon entering Twinkie – there’s still going to be an abundance of dirt, leaves, and rocks depending on the weather, the time of year, and the environment you’re staying in. I have only encountered paved RV parks a few times and honestly, it takes something away from the appeal!
That being said, we also have two miniature schnauzers. Even if we’re only gone for a week, they have a tendency to get leaves stuck in their beards, and even though we don’t keep them in show style cuts with the finishings – they track in all sorts of things on their fur (usually leaves, thankfully not too hard to clean up).
Our current rug has been in this Airstream since we bought it. Airstreams are generally not carpeted, especially not the modern ones. Ours is no exception, with the flooring throughout being a light grey pebbled look. I bought the rug on a whim and I rather enjoy the colors although they don’t entirely take into account our decorating scheme – they are a medallion print in orange, tan, and grey.
We have worked hard to keep this typical rug clean over the years – we usually spray a diluted mix of Oxiclean and water on it and vacuum to dry – and obviously vacuum the worst of the dirt up often! (I will give a hearty support to Oxiclean, though! Our best friend spilled chinese food in the back of our then brand-new truck and Oxiclean got it out! We used precisely the method I mention above.)
That said, this rug has kind of worn out it’s welcome. It’s tired, and we’re tired of it after five years. I think that length of time means it’s probably acceptable to replace it. Enter, Ruggable. I saw my first Ruggable rug in either an RV showroom or a camping store and immediately knew this would solve so many problems! However, the color they had wasn’t great with our Serenity’s color scheme so I waited until I got home to look for a runner that would be a good fit. A peek at our current runner below (and color scheme).
Ruggable is a 2-piece rug system that consists of a removable, waterproof and stain-resistant Rug Cover and a nonslip Rug Pad. Finally, a rug you can actually throw in the washing machine! This is the thing the RV community has needed for years! Anyway, we checked them out online, here.
Below we have a selection of runners my partner and I have narrowed down to choose from – and here’s where we’re stuck! We like different runners for different reasons. So I am going to attach all three in a gallery, and then add links. You let me know in the comments which runner you would choose for our space!
If you’re interested in Ruggable, you can get a discount from them on your first order by following this link. And I might get a discount eventually too. Win-win.
Truly, we would love your help making this decision! We love them all for different reasons. The first reminds me of what we currently have (though I have no idea why), the second is very reminiscent of our time and upbringing in the American Southwest, and the third, an ikat print, is my very favorite print that ever existed, but I’m not sure about it on a rug.
What do you think?! Would you use a Ruggable in your home? I’m looking forward to your input on my dilemma.
I am not entirely sure if this is going to become a new series, but currently, I have a few major favorites for the changeable season and I am hoping that by hoping hard enough we can get a sunny, warm, long fall before the too many months of winter hit the Mid-Atlantic. (Without hurricanes, please).
I am a fan of everything pumpkin spice but in the last few months I have been struggling with a sensitivity or allergy that means I am transitioning more fully to lactose and dairy free. I miss my cheese! But in this transition, I have found some really great products and I still get to enjoy my pumpkin spice.
NutPods Pumpkin Spice Creamer
I initially was comparing this creamer to the flavor of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte – and that wasn’t working! After the second try, it did start to grow on me. I really enjoyed the strong cinnamon flavor and the fact that I haven’t had any ill effects from it either. Great option if you’re looking for ways to reduce your dairy intake with coffee and especially if dairy and coffee together make you sick.
BareMinerals bareskin brightening foundation in 06 – Bare Satin.
When the weather starts changing with the seasons, my skin gets more difficult to manage. Especially in spring and fall, I do not feel confident enough to go out without makeup for special events although I truly do not wear make up often otherwise! This BareSkin foundation has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. It’s easy to use, it travels well, the brush is one of my favorites in general, and it requires very little thought to use (which is great when brain fog is the order of the day). Check it out.
OGX Organix Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner
When the weather changes and particularly after a long summer of lots of swimming and time outdoors, my hair is dry and I end up using far more conditioner than shampoo. Since March, I have been using this Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner set. I wash the roots of my hair every third day with the shampoo and then every time I have trouble brushing it, I will wet it down and use this conditioner (rinseing afterwards!). It has made a lot of difference in the strength of my hair and I have had far less breakage and flyaways.
What are some of your current favorites for the fall? Let me know in the comments!
Really lovely concept. This book is about a man from modern day who uses ‘magic’ to time travel back to the 1920s. He originally goes looking for his sister – and he finds a lot more than he bargained for.
I love history, particularly the 1920s. I loved the ideas in the book, and even got into the paranormal themes. However, I felt like there was no real wrap up – even in the sequel and the prequel (I read both, trying to get a satisfying ending).
I’m also not entirely sure where disability own voices came in. I can see LGBTQIA own voices pretty clearly in the book – as the main character Lew meets a gentleman who becomes a fling in the bathhouses – and then falls for another main character.
If you’re looking for a good story, it’s a fun read, but if you REALLY want your books to have a satisfying ending – I would avoid.
If you’re a disabled person considering visiting ARTECHOUSE in Washington, D.C. here are a few things you will want to know before heading out and shelling out for a ticket.
First, the location is nondescript – the entrance is next door to chain restaurants well outside the typical D.C. center – don’t plan to walk to this museum from your stop at the Capital or the Lincoln Memorial.
Be prepared to do a lot of unusual standing and sitting. The foyer where you enter the museum is a small square space, all hard surfaces with only a few small benches. Everyone has to read and sign documents upon entering about understanding the nature of this exhibit – even before you get to see what it is, or have an idea what you’re agreeing to.
There is one elevator that services the museum, however, it is very small and as we are not wheelchair users, we were not able to absolutely tell if it was possible to get down to the museum level by elevator (or other accessible means).
When you get to the rooms where all the technological art is displayed – there are warnings at every doorway to let you know that if you have vertigo or any issues with flashing lights to not enter. I’m sure it was somewhere in the initial paperwork we signed as well, but it *is* disorienting if you ever have issues with balance or flashing lights. Be aware of this. I have vertigo and was mostly ok, but if I was having a bad day it would not have been the place for me.
The whole point of the exhibit was the special Infinite Space room, which required signing up again, and waiting for up to 30 minutes – for what was a mere 2 minutes in the exhibit – shut in with two or three other people you didn’t know. Something to be aware of. We ended up in the space alone because of being Deaf and having a lot of difficulty communicating with the staff members who were taking names and making phone calls for turns.
We did enjoy hanging out in the beanbags and getting kombucha at the bar.
As the current iteration of ARTECHOUSE is data based, my computer programming partner looked over all the code he could see and was not impressed. We still enjoyed the overall experience, but if you’re knowledgeable about data and coding this might not be much fun for you.
All in all, it was an interesting experience – worth it for one trip – and probably not something we would ever venture out to see again.
I read this book as part of my review of #OwnVoices disability authors/writers for disability pride month.
This is a sweet, cute, quick read about a romance between a mermaid and a witch. The witch is sad, lonely, and traumatized because of how she ended up being the person to sing in the tides. The mermaid she meets is also sad, and literally starving – they connect and it is a lovely story of friendship and care taking that becomes love.
I judge books by several things – character development, world building, story, and how quickly I want to read it all! This book easily met my requirements. I suggest it if you are looking for a sweet, quick read.