>101 in 1001 – Update

>A few thoughts on my current (second) 101 in 1001 project.  The list and the full explanation (along with the first list and what I completed) is listed under 101 in 1001.  On this current template its at the top near the header image but if I manage to actually redesign this blog this week it will move to the sidebar.  That’s a pretty big if but there you have it…  This is also a pretty long explanation and it would have probably been quicker for me to find the URL and just link to the damn page but there you have that as well…

I have not completed a single thing off of the list this month.  Which is fine and has no bearing on anything.  I had half planned to try and complete at least one thing and blog about it each month but as long as I am working on things it doesn’t matter.  And I am.  Some of the reading ones, mostly.

Sadly three things have had to be marked as failures. Write to friends at least once a month, take part in race for life each year and finish a knitting project each month.  

I find I don’t really care about that as such because this was never a project I intended to complete fully – too much of an unrealistic goal as I’ve written here before, especially as this is meant to stretch me but overall to be fun.  

The only real downside is that one of my friends sent me a text moaning she hadn’t heard from me in ages.  I’m sure you can imagine how well that went down with me despite it’s truth.  A reaction that has probably led to my making the situation worse and one I should deal with but which at the moment is beyond me.

Anyway, I digress as I seem to have a habit of doing in these blog entries.  Back to the 101 in 1001 update.

Current 10 items are completed and June will probably be a month of working on some of the writing related goals.  Or at least that’s the plan.  Obviously we all know what I’m like when it comes to plans so who knows what will actually happen.

>Hard but Right

>I’ve sadly come to the decision not to take part in Race for Life next weekend.  I’m disappointed by that decision (partially because it feels sort of though I am letting the depression – which isn’t great at the moment – win) but it’s the right one.

I’ve done very little training and haven’t covered much distance in what I have done.  The weather has played a part in that but so has my depression which is why it sort of feels like it’s winning by my choosing not to participate.  

But I also know that with the little training I have done coupled with the fact that RfL in Oxford is not on an easy wheelable surface means that potentially (particuarly if they current hot weather continues) I would just be putting myself at high risk of falling out of my chair or otherwise injuring myself.  It’s not worth it for something that’s meant to be fun – and that is a goal I achieved last year.  I don’t want to say been there, done that… but I sort of am.

I keep thinking I probably could do it but… I know if I went and struggled I wouldn’t give up and that would be bad.  And the distance would be fine without the training on decent wheeling surfaces or the crappy wheeling surface would be fine for a lot shorter distance – the zoo yesterday was similar and I did just cope.

A couple of weeks ago at the regatta that (for me at least) wasn’t Geoff Holt came and did a talk – I wrote about it briefly already.  One of the things he said really struck a cord with me.  I can’t remember exact words but the gist is that sometimes the bravest, best thing you can do is weigh up a situatio, realise it’s too much and decide not to continue.

And hard as it is, that’s what I’m doing.

>Thoughts From A Day At The Zoo

>Went to Cotswold Wildlife Park today… great fun.  These are random thoughts and observations.

I forgot to take my camera.  Ever since I was asked (yesterday) if I wanted to go I had “we’re going to the zoo tomorrow” going round and round in my head.  And then just after we left I thought of a great idea of a post revolving around a line in that song but i needed my camera.  But as I currently have camera problems it’s probably better I did forget it.

When we were getting out of the car my friend’s little boy (age 3) went “Emma, do you want your wheelbarrow?” which caused much laughter from me, his mum and his grandma.

There is a sign on the door of the disabled loo that identifies it as such and then says “able bodied persons must not use this as they may prevent someone more deserving from doing so”.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “deserving” used in that context before.  But obviously it’s right because only the crips deserve to go for a wee, everyone else must suffer!

As I was going into the disabled loo there were two little boys coming out of it (able-bodied and it did not double as a baby change nor were they young enough to need it).  One of them walked out and that was it.  The other walked out, saw me, then walked back in.  Saying to me as he did so “It’s ok, I’m just washing my hands you can come in too.”  Seeing as how it was one of those sink and loo in the same bit disabled loos I didn’t take him up on that offer…

The display of various bird eggs is the most interesting and exciting part of the zoo. If you are 3.  If you are 27, however, the most interesting and exciting part of the zoo is probably the tiniest meercats you have ever seen.  Babies that I don’t think can have been very old at all.

We also saw a huge snake… at least one of them looked like it was too long for its enclosure thing  the way it was curled up in places and I seriously didn’t realise snakes came that thick… I thought snakes could be long but were generally always skinny things.

I have come to the conclusion that Zebra’s are white with black stripes and not black with white stripes.  Also I wonder if you could ride a zebra like you could a horse.

Riding thoughts were triggered by the fact that I think I might have seen someone I used to know through horse riding many years ago.  It looked like them and they had a very CP walk plus two kids… and I did hear a few months ago through a friend of a friend that theyhad at least one child.  I didn’t go over and speak to them though just in case.  That and the fact we were never really long term friendly as such.   

I did then spend a good few minutes trying to remember her full name (one of those I know I know it but what the hell is it things) and I searched on facebook just out of curiousity.  Result being there are over 500 people on facebook with variants on that name, most have no profile picture and the majority are in the Wales network (out of the first chunk of pages which I looked at before getting bored).

The train at Cotswold Wildlife park is accessible and its accessible in a low key kind of way.  Which is the best kind.

It really was much too hot to be there today and I felt old for struggling with the heat so much.  But I did wheel myself 95% of the time and didn’t struggle with that too much. And I really did have fun.

>Random Bullet Points of Life

>I had a week off from a lot (most) of things last week.  And it was lovely.  I didn’t actually intend for it to include blogging but it seems it did.  Now I have quite a lot of things I have been thinking about that I want to blog about so I should hopefully be here a lot in the next couple of days.  In the meantime just in case you haven’t noticed… I’ve been doing a lot over on twitter and that usually is a place I can be found at least once a day most days more.  My twitter feed is over in the sidebar with a link underneath to click to visit the actual page.  I believe it even has its own rss feed on there too.

Mostly on my week off I spent a lot of time reading… I read seven books over the last 11 days (the 11 days until yesterday).  And for the last few days I’ve been outside in my powerchair reading too.  My powerchair is great for sitting out the front reading as it has both tilt in space and a reclining backrest… I tilt it completely back and recline the backrest a bit and it’s perfect.  Which is why I sit out the front despite it being onto a public footpath and the fact I have my own garden out the back – the garden is on a horrible slope which would not be comfortable in a tipped back sprawled out powerchair.  And in the late afternoon, early evening there is a nice shady spot by my front door.

Race for life is in less than two weeks and unlike last year I’ve done basically no preparation.  I’m sure it’ll come right on the day but really I should do a little preparing.  I also have no sponsors mostly due to the fact i’ve not been asking for them.  But that doesn’t really bother me this year as the only reason I’m doing it this time round is because I can’t find another vague accessible local 5K to do.  That and the fact I ended up with more than two and a half times my target sponsorship last year.

The no coke drinking thing lasted 12 days.  And strangely I got my period during that time without any major PMS related depression which is both amazing and huge.  I am now wondering if caffeine (or something else in Coke) is a depressant.  I am trying to drink less coke and plan to cut it (and chocolate this time) out again next week.

My sister’s 21st birthday party was this weekend.  It was really fun once the DJ started playing the usual disco classics (at least to start with I didn’t know a lot of the music and thought most of it was rubbish).  I drank quite a lot but wasn’t really drunk at all… it was so bloody hot in there I’m thinking I probably sweated out all the alcohol.  My photography skills appear to have sucked on that evening though so I won;t be posting any of the photos I took.

Several family members I haven’t seen in quite some time were at the party.  It was really nice to see them but difficult to get much of a chance to chat to them and catch up…  I left the party without having even spoken to two of them.  I know my Mum’s side of the family I’d not seen since Sept 07 because one of my cousins (who didn’t come to the party) got married then.  It’s not that unusual for us to go long periods of time without seeing each other,  especially since my Nanny died, as we aren’t close in terms of location.

I’ve been trying to figure out when it was with my Dad’s side.  I saw my uncle about a month or six weeks ago (possibly slightly longer).  And I have no idea when I saw the one of my cousins on that side who was there… but we talk on a regular occasional basis on facebook.  His brother I’m pretty sure would have been 2007 I last saw him too and again only briefly.  But what really surprised me and I still can’t figure out the details of is how long it had been since I saw my uncle’s partner.  I really had no idea it had been so long until she went “ooooh you’ve had your hair chopped off.  I like it!” – my hair has been this short since September!

Oh and using short hair as a kind of link to my next subject, sailing was cancelled tonight due to too much wind.  We tried going to the pub instead.  For various reasons (ridiculous ones) it was an unsuccessful trip and we won’t be going back for a while.  But anyway that wasn’t the story I wanted to share.

Dad and I looked at the menu, put it down and Dad went off to the loo.  For some reason the staff never gave my friend who was with us a menu so he asked for one.  The waitress bought one over and then turns to me and goes “Would you like to see a menu as well, Sir?!”

I just turned to her and went “I’ve already seen it.” and she walked off without another word… leaving me muttering about the fact that I might have short hair but my boobs are ridiculously big…

>Answers to a couple of questions

>I have a spare five minutes and a couple of people asked questions so here goes.

Karen asked me which two books I had signed.  On 1st May I went to a book signing by Jodi Picoult and she signed a copy of Handle with Care (her new one) for me.  I got to speak to her briefly and have a photo taken.  She was really lovely.  Don’t have time to search for the link but the photo is in an earlier entry which is titled “guess who”   She wrote Emma, enjoy and signed her name.

The second was signed on Saturday and is Walking on Water by Geoff Holt.  That was at the regatta I was at this weekend where he came and did a talk.  It was very interesting and I look forward to reading the book soon.  I’m also looking forward to following Geoff’s progress on his next challenge later in the year – becoming the first quadraplegic to sail the atlantic with no help in the sailing.  I wrote an entry about that before which you should be able to find under the sailing category.  He wrote Emma, “no excuses!” Geoff, Farmoor 09

That sort of made the weekend for me as the wind was so high I didn’t get to sail at all despite being there for three days.  Thankful however it was Farmoor (Oxford) so we weren’t staying away or anything.  Being so close to home and at home every night makes a difference then.

The second question I can’t remember who asked it despite the fact I just saw it.  But it was about my post revisiting the unread book meme from last week.  They asked that I could use text to indicate what each book was classed at next time I did something similar as screen readers skip formatting.  That was something I had wondered about but didn’t realise.  I will try to remember to do so next time as I think accessibility is important and do try to make my entries accessible where possible/where doing so wouldn’t ruin the entry (for example usually I would say “this is a photo of me and so and so” but in the entry I talked about above with the pic of me and Jodi Picoult I didn’t because I wanted people to “guess who”)

>So Cool

>Just thought there were a few people who read this that would like to know I’ve bought three books so far this month.  And two of them have signed “To Emma” type dedications.

Sooooo cool.

>It’s been one week…

>I went to the nurse this afternoon and she suggested that I should write this down somewhere so I’ve got a record.  I’m not 100% clear on her thinking behind that but I agree it is an achievement of sorts.

Anyway I’ve not drank any Coke at all since last Wednesday night!  

It’s been relatively easy which just goes to show how much of a difference mental attitude and doing things at the right time can make.  I’d tried a couple of times earlier in the year and ended up with headaches so bad I was throwing up.  Basically the majority of what I was drinking was Coke (at least a litre most days).  It’s now water.

I do feel a bit better for it.  Pretty tired lately which may or may not be that.  And I do have to keep going for a wee all the time which is definitely that.  I was told a while back that you should try a week without caffeine if you think it’s affecting you to see whether it’s absence affects you.  But I suspect when you drink as much as I do it may take longer.

>Zoo Station – David Downing

>Dave recommended this book and is hosting one of his occasional Chewing The Fat Bookclubs today discussing this.

I’m not going to say too much because there isn’t much that hasn’t already been said (and said much better than I could say it) in the review over here.

I really enjoyed this book.

I think that if I hadn’t wanted to take part in the CTF bookclub it’s probably not one I would have spotted in Waterstones and picked up.  But when I read the reviews on Amazon I was intrigued.  The period of the Second World War has always been one that’s really interested me (I’m a bit into history) and I studied it a lot doing my history GCSE.  So I know some of the educational side of it – although a lot is now lost to the vagueness of time.  And fiction set then always appeals.  I think what probably would have put me off is the fact that it has a spy element to it.

I was reading it on the trains to and from Birmingham on Saturday.  Had about sixty pages left when I got home and finished it yesterday (including the thirty minutes between trains I ended up travelling two hours each way).  It was one of those hard to put down books.  I had about forty minutes between there and the friend I was meeting getting in.  Had arranged to meet her outside boots so I was mooching in the shops near there.  One of which is Borders and I enjoyed Zoo Station so much that once in there I went straight to see if they had the sequel even though I’d read less than half of book.  They didn’t so I will have to order that soon.

There is an element of eugenics in this book which I had expected to find hard to read but it was handled very matter of factly and like it mattered a lot.  So it was easy to read despite it being a tough subject matter.  The thoughts on this part of the book are what makes the review I linked to above such a good read and description.

One slight criticism I have is that the book just seems to end and it’s resolved but its also not.  Some books do that in a really good way but in this one it could have been a bit better.

Still a great book and I’m hoping to read the sequel soon.

>Unread Book Meme: Revisited

>I first did this meme a year ago and thought it would be interesting to revisit it and see how it’s changed.

As before:

Bold is read in full
Italic is partially read but unfinished
Anything bold or italic with an asterisk was read at school

And this time round anything in blue be it bold or italic has had it’s status change in the last year. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

>She says, cynically.

>On Friday after the book signing I was asked by the owner of the shop if he could post one of the photos of me and Jodi Picoult (he took some on his camera too) on the bookshop’s blog.  Of course I said yes and I was happy for that.  I did ask he e-mail me copies too – he took the same shots as my Dad did with my camera but they may have come out better for all I know.  As yet I don’t have e-mails and the blog hasn’t been updated.

As we were driving back home afterwards my Dad and I were talking about what happened, what Jodi said to me etc.  And about the fact they asked if they could post my picture on their blog.

I said that I saw him take a few pictures of some of the first people who had photos taken with her (I was about 10 or 15 people back in the queue) presumably in case she started being pushed for time and had to decline others later on.

And that I figured he asked me for the blog because I’m in a wheelchair.  Dad didn’t agree with me and I just went “She says, cynically” and that was that.  But then the next day I was telling Soph and she immediately went “probably because you’re in a wheelchair, you’re diverse” (or at least i think she said diverse).

I don’t actually care either way but I did find it pretty funny that Soph and I both jumped to the same immediate conclusion.