>Meeting Margo, a touch of TMI, and Hurrying Up to Wait

>I met Margo yesterday (who hopefully will fix her blog soon so that link actually works! She said she planned too). Very fun and great to meet her. I didn’t expect her to sound like she does though. Which totally makes no sense especially as I couldn’t figure out how I had expected her to sound.

Actually that seems to be a bit of a theme with me and meeting online friends in person because I was surprised by the way Jo sounded when I met her and Hannah a few years ago. But that was even more ridiculous because she has a birmingham accent and I knew that’s where they live so it shouldn’t have surprised me!

Anyway, I digress again.

The focus group was pretty interesting but again not really what I expected. Thought provoking, both the situations we discussed and also some of the reactions of others in the group surprised me. Mum and I had a laugh about that when I told her last night. I’d thought I’d of had a lot more to say than I did. The heat did a pretty wicked number on my head though which didn’t help. Neither did my own confidence issues to a certain extent. And of course I’d have more to say now if I went back because that’s always the way! I don’t want to say too much about it specifically though because it’s Margo’s research.

One of my friends tells me I get scary when I get my activist/advocate hat on and go off on one about such things. She should have met a couple of the other women at the focus group (everyone was a wheelchair user and actually everyone was female although that wasn’t deliberate). They were so activist-y I found them kinda intimidating and scary. I can’t decide if that’s a goal to aim for when I grow up or now. To be honest right about now I think I’m happy falling into the middle ground amongst the shades of grey.

I got to the station and they said “you’re really early. Can’t put you on an earlier train though it’s the one on the platform, won’t get you there in time.” So I had to hang around for an hour which was fine until the guy told me the train was nearly in and moved me right into a suntrap for half an hour. Back came the headache, slept a bit on the train which did help. I missed my codeine though. Stupid girl for thinking I wouldn;’t need it. Then we got to Coventry and my half an hour between trains turned into an hour and a half as all trains in and out were cancelled for a good hour. Thankfully my wicked bad headache cleared up around that point – but only after I threw up twice. Thank god for RADAR keys, otherwise that would have been my second throwing up in public event this month (I’ve been really classy lately, can’t ya tell?) The next hour sat in a shady spot in the station was very annoying but probably a blessing as I cooled down, pushed fluids in and lost the headache by the time we moved again.

There was a point to my humiliating myself mentioning the puking in public thing. I’ve come to the conclusion that all the people who stop me and ask if I want help only do so to look good and don’t expect me to want help. Because with both the times I’ve been ill in public people have walked past me, looked at me and gone on. I didn’t need help either time and would have asked if I did – BUT I could have understood why people might stop and ask then and even would have found that easier to deal with.

It was very very much hurry up to wait and it wasn’t fun travelling but over all I was glad I went. Today I am tired and I’ve been either in bed or six inches away from my fan all day but am off to see Mamma Mia in five minutes so I must run.

>Carrots

>I spent an hour and forty minutes in the hairdressers earlier today.

Got myself all primped with £54.20 worth of cut and colour (yay colour sale!)

Love the cut, mostly love the colour.  The colour came out very different to what I expected but it is cool and very me.  I asked for vibrant and obvious and that’s what I got.

Then we went sailing this evening and for the second week running I didn’t sail but was hanging around on the beach and in the club house when it got colder.  And this random windsurfer came up to me.

“I love the colour of your hair!  It’s very carroty.”

Yeah, the jury’s still out on that one!

>Accessibility, Bondage, Awareness.

>Sometimes I swear the world is trying to make me crazy (or maybe thats crazier?). And I am so SICK of all this stupid stuff thats been going on lately.  On my 101 in 1001 list (linked over in the side bar) I had write three letters of complaints as one (believe it or not I used not to be such a good advocate) and three praising good service.  I’ve sent more than three complaint letters since I set that goal in 2006.  But as for letters praising good service?  Nary one.

Also, it please me most of the time to be an advocate and stand up for myself and others.  I do think it’s very important.  But just lately I can’t help feeling and/or getting the impression that it’s making others think of me as something of a bitch who is never happy.  Being a constant advocate drains me a little at times too and now is one of those times.

I spent 20 minutes on the phone trying to book my assisted train travel to go to Milton Keynes on Wednesday.  The woman was insistant that the way I want to go (changing at Oxford and Coventry) wasn’t valid and that I had to get a train to Paddington, travel across to Euston and go that way.  I asked her how I was supposed to travel across London given that the tube basically isn’t wheelchair accessible.  She put me on hold and then came back saying that her colleague agreed with her that the tube is accessible at most stations, I can have help, they do have ramps and it would all be fine.  It would also be really, really difficult for her to arrange for me not to go via London.

I told her that as far as I was aware the tube wasn’t accessible and I didn’t want to chance it, please make the arrangements I had asked for.  She suggests I take the transport for London phone number and call them where they would tell me it was accessible and I could do it.  If they said it wasn’t, and she really did *think* it was accessible, I could call her back.  The arrangements I wanted would be difficult to arrange.

This, clearly was bullshit (being I wanted nothing more than I usually had I just didn’t want to go to fucking London and it;s stupid tube system) and I pushed her until she made them – she had to do it as two separate journeys – one from here to Oxford and one from Oxford to MK as otherwise her computer would explode or some such rubbish.

Sorted.  But then again she tells me the tube IS accessible she THINKS and suggests I call them (she’ll give me the number) so I can AVOID the HASSLE if I want to do the journey in the future.  At this point I should have told her the only hassle about it was her being so bloody minded and argumentative.

I told her I didn’t want the number.  And then I went onto the transport for london website.  Neither of the tube stations I would have to use to travel across London have full access – they are marked on the accessibility map as having no access in and out of them from the street but you may be able to change trains between certain lines.  Also, they don’t do ramps or booked assistance – the accessibility page warns that in some places the gap between train and platform can be 12 INCHES HIGHER!

Oh and out of 275 tube stations in London?  48, that’s FORTY EIGHT, have step free access from street to platform.

It’s a bloody good job I stuck to my guns.  But why she couldn’t accept what I wanted in the first place.

Maybe I should see if I can get one of those heavy old NHS standard wheelchairs and some bondage stuff (I hear they’ve got some good handcuffs in there lately!) from Ann Summers.  Perhaps if I tie the idiots I’ve been dealing with lately done so they actually are WHEELCHAIR BOUND they might get it.  Or at least stop be so bloody minded and start being more aware.

I deal with the public a lot and I know that the customer isn’t always right but clearly what she doesn’t know is that when I am the customer I AM always right.

>2

>I made a small start back on the weight loss thing this week.  I’ve lost 2lb.  It’s a start and I’ll take it.

But I can’t help thinking that I have a hell of a long way to go.  And I do.  I need to lose at least 70lb, more like 100lb.  I’d be happy with 70lb though.

Actually, screw that.  I’d just be happy if I could stop gaining weight.  Three stone this year is a ridiculous amount of weight to have gained and yet I gained it, just like that *snap*.

If only I could lose it just like that *snap*.

Still, 2lb.  I’ll take it and I’ll be pleased.

>Unnecessary Reactions

>It’s weird how the smallest things can just make you react.  And then afterwards you (or I in this case) stop and think and wonder just what it is that made you react that way.  Especially when there was no need to in the first place nor any sign that there might be.

When I got off of the train in Oxford today, Julie asked if she could have a word.

And that was it.  I started panicing.  As I was wandering over the platform and through the barriers, accross the concourse and outside the door where we stopped to chat I was thinking “oh my god what have I done wrong.”  “Argh I hope she isn’t too mad with me.”  “I’m gonna start crying if this is a big deal” “argh argh argh”.

It was nothing of the sort (she’d heard I’d been upset a few weeks ago and wanted to know if I was ok).  I’d had nothing to worry about but as soon as she “wanted a word.” I panicked.  It’s not the first time over the last few months that someone has said they need to talk to me or some such and I’ve reacted like that.  I don’t really understand why I do it but it seems it’s some sort of inbuilt thing, part of what makes me “Emma”.

Something that needs to stop.

>Lucky

>It’s easy at times to say that you have a tough life or that things are hard or bad.  I know I am frequently guilty of thinking that – you know the old “today was the worst day ever” sort of thoughts.  It’s something I’ve thought or said several times over the last couple of weeks.  And yeah, maybe I could have had better days than I’ve had.

But equally I could have had things a lot worse.  I keep hearing of things that have happened to others like that.  And I hear those stories and I’m reminded that my life isn’t so bad after all.  In fact, it isn’t bad at all.

And today?  Today I am thinking that I am lucky.

>Upcoming Events

>

After I came back from Birmingham on Saturday I couldn’t help thinking that was it, nothing much to look forward to in the near future.

But then I stopped and actually thought about it – and I have plenty of “big things” arranged for the next few months. So given that and given the fact that I just arranged two more “big things” this year I’ve made myself a new page on my blog. It’s called Upcoming Events and is permanently linked on my sidebar. Looking at it, it seems the only month left of this year that doesn’t have an event to look forward to in it is November.

Ages ago when talking to my GP about depression and such like things she said it’s always good to have things to look forward to. Be it big things like I have listed here or little things like a book I want to read being released in a few weeks. Or even e-mailing an old friend and looking forward to the possibility of a reply. She’s not wrong – I like to live in the moment. But I also like the anticipation of knowing something is coming up.

So this is just my way of having a cheering myself up page on my blog – or a big list of big things to look forward too. Only thats a bit of a huge mouthful for a page title so I called it Upcoming Events

>Anything Can Happen

>I travelled up to Birmingham yesterday and met up with my friend Rachel who I met at university and lived with for a year. It was really fun. Long, long day though. I ended up being out of the house for practically 12 hours (literally five minutes more and it would have been 12 hours). But so worth it.

I had a wander round the shops while I was waiting for her, we went to Pizza Hut, had another wander round the shops together and then went to the theatre to see the Mary Poppins musical. Went to Starbucks for a drink after (couldn’t track down an accessible pub on our way), wandered a little in paperchase then came home. Didn’t buy anything in all that shopping but I did get some merchandise at the theatre.

I loved loved LOVED the show. It’s touring at present but instead of a week here and a week there it’s just doing a couple of months each in about four or five places. I’m glad I had my initial “Birmingham is too far” thoughts (figuratively) slapped out of my head and arranged to go. The best bit was seeing the different ways in which they did things which were in the film. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was probably the best of those.

Some parts of the show aren’t in the film and vice versa. Rachel said she didn’t like one of the songs that isn’t in the film and whilst I didn’t think it was the best of the songs I wouldn’t go so far as to say I didn’t like that. To me the differences were part of what made it so magical.

And it was magical, it really was. There were stunts done in there that I didn’t think were possible in a small touring production. But then again 1) I don’t know this can be called “small” and 2) I suspect that might be part of the reason why they aren’t doing a huge multi-venue tour.

I think my favourite-ist song was one that wasn’t in the film – Anything Can Happen.

It’s got great lyrics which make me laugh and smile. And a fabulous message, one I need reminding of now and then – Anything can happen if you let it – I’d not thought I needed that reminder now but I guess I did because it’s made me feel more determined about a few things I’ve been debating.

[MARY POPPINS]
Anything can happen if you let it
Sometimes things are difficult but you can bet it
Doesn’t have to be so

[JANE]
Changes can be made

[MICHAEL]
You can move a mountain if you use a larger spade

[MARY POPPINS]
Anything can happen, it’s a marvel

[MICHAEL]
You can be a butterfly

[JANE]
Or just stay larval

[JANE & MICHAEL]
Stretch your mind beyond fantastic
Dreams are made of strong elastic

[MARY POPPINS]
Take some sound advice and don’t forget it

[WINIFRED, JANE & MICHAEL]
Anything can happen if you let it

[WINIFRED]
I wonder…

[ALL]
Anything can happen if you let it

[WINIFRED]
You won’t know a challenge until you’ve met it

[MICHAEL]
No one does it for you

[WINIFRED]
No one but yourself
Vacillating violets get left up on the shelf
Anything can happen, just imagine

[MARY POPPINS]
That should be epitaph
I wear the badge in
Hhonour of this world’s free thinkers

[WINIFRED]
Those who see beyond their blinkers

[JANE & MICHAEL]
Jelly isn’t jelly

[WINIFRED, JANE & MICHAEL]
‘Til you set it
Anything can happen if you let it

[MARY POPPINS]
Anything can happen if you let it
What good is a whistle

[BERT]
Unless you whet it

[MARY POPPINS & BERT]
Broaden your horizons

[BERT]
Open different doors

[MARY POPPINS & BERT]
You may find a you there that you never knew was yours

[BERT & MRS CORRY]
Anything can happen

[MRS CORRY]
Raise the curtain
Things you though impossible

[BERT & MRS CORRY]
Will soon seem certain
Thought at first it may sound clownish
See the world more upside-downish
Turn it on its head then pirouette it

[BERT, MRS CORRY & LAMP-LIGHTERS]
Anything can happen if you let it

[MARY POPPINS]
If you reach for the stars
All you get are the stars
But we’ve found a whole new spin
If you reach for the heavens
You get the stars thrown in

[ALL]
You get the stars thrown in

If you reach for the stars
All you get are the stars
But we’ve found a whole new spin
If you reach for the heavens
You get the stars thrown in

Anything can happen if you let it
Life is out there waiting so go and get it
Grab it by the collar, seize it by the scruff
Once you’ve started living life you just can’t get enough

Anything can happen, it’s official
You can choose the super or the superficial
Sally forth the way we’re steering
Obstacles start disappearing
Go and chase your dreams you won’t regret it
Anything can happen
(Anything can happen)
Anything can happen

[MARY POPPINS, JANE & MICHAEL]
Anything can happen

[ALL]
If you let it

>Final Race for Life Total

>As of this evening the final, final, final total amount of money I raised doing the Race for Life is

£262

Many, many thanks to everyone who sponsored me and helped me to raise two and a half times the amount I hoped to raise (£100 – an amount I thought I would struggle to raise).

And that’s it, until next year!