Disability Blog Carnival – January

Welcome to the first edition of the new version of the Disability Blog Carnival.  It’s great to hear from so many people who are glad to see it continuing.  I’ve only had two submissions but I’ve also spotted a few interesting posts so I’m including those too.

First we have this post from The Goldfish – The Sessions: Discussing Disability and Sex Work.  The Sessions is a film based on an essay by a disabled man discussing his use of a sexual surrogate.  I’ve not seen it as it’s not been on locally to me but I’d like too.  The Goldfish manages to discuss the issue from many angles and raises several good points.  As always I come away from her longer posts with plenty to think about and feeling like I need to go back to it when I’ve had my thinking time and reread it.  There are no spoilers for the film in her post but she does link to the original essay which obviously, could be spoilerish.

As I think I wrote when I posted the call for submissions one of the things I like about the carnival is finding new blogs.  Yasmin’s blog is called Damn The Muse and is a new one to me.  She submitted her post Attempting to remain disABLED about her scooter breaking and trying to fix it herself when the system is causing problems and delays in doing so.

Now we come to a few posts that I’ve spotted on my travels around the net:

In Brightest Day: Ableism in Harry Potter contains some of my favourite things.  Harry Potter and a discussion on disability issues, specifically the ableism (referred to by some as disablism) faced by Remus Lupin and Gilderoy Lockhart.  I knew that there were several disabled characters in Harry Potter but Lockhart hadn’t occurred to me.

Awareness can be a bit of a touchy subject.  I have done disability awareness talks in the past.  But what I always try to do with those is show that being disabled doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  It’s got it’s negatives and it’s challenges but that’s just life for everyone be they disabled or not.  Facebook seems to forever be full of posts encouraging me to post this or sign that or share this status to raise awareness of CP or childhood cancer or special education (every week seems to be special education awareness week to judge by facebook).  And a lot of the time I read those things and I scroll past thinking “why do I need people to be aware of my CP? What difference will it make to me.”  I’d much rather be known as Emma and show all the interesting things about me than be known as the girl with CP who only talks about disability stuff.  Besides, what would you rather read on my page, the fact I need you all to be aware of CP and the fact it’s my disability or the fact I had chocolate digestives for breakfast (I didn’t today but that was my status a couple of weeks ago) and finally got to leave the house on Friday after being snowed in for a week?

It can be a little bit controversial to share that I don’t often get the point of awareness raising posts so to be honest I’ve been keeping my mouth shut and my fingers away from the keyboard.  But that’s why this post from Grace Quantock (another new to me blog) Why I don’t support awareness raising had me nodding along and saying “yes” as I read it.

I spent a lot of yesterday giggling at the “normal awareness” posts on facebook which were started by Disability and Representation and seriously cracked me up.  A tongue in cheek look at the inspiration porn disability photos that frequently show up online.  Although I strongly suspect based on comments I saw that a few nondisabled people didn’t get it!  Tonight I discovered their blog and How to talk to normal people: a guide for the rest of us has totally made my day.  I love it.

And something I don’t love so much but which has been entertaining me tonight is the Heard Whilst Disabled hashtag on twitter.

The next carnival will be on 28th February.  Submissions can be left in the comments here, tweeted to me @FunkyFairy22 or emailed to ejcrees@googlemail.com.


State of the Emma

I was quite torn whether to call this entry Random Bullet Points of Life or State of the Emma.

If I’m completely honest I’m not sure I’ve really got any news to share here but it feels like absolute ages since I posted something here that wasn’t a book review so I figured I probably should.

Generally things seem to be going well. I started the year off with a bang when I got a UTI a few days into it but that cleared up easily and with just one course of antibiotics so it’s all good. I am beginning to wonder if nitrofurantoin needs to be put on my do not take list of drugs though. I seemed to feel crap the whole time I took it.

The other thing that came out of that appt was that my blood pressure was checked and it was really high. I had had a really stressful morning trying to get out of the house, having shedloads of spasms and throwing my handbag across the waiting room being some of the highlights. And then I tried to ask the locum GP to check how long a course of antibiotics I usually have in my records because I have it longer than she said usually and it didn’t go too well. So it’s not overly surprising that my blood pressure was high. I had an appt to go back and get the nurse to check it but thanks to the snow I had to cancel it.

I was snowed in for a week (I could possibly have gone out the night before I did but decided not too as it was dark and I knew the paths were still icy). For the most part I coped really well with that – in fact it surprised me how unbothered I was by it. I did loads of reading and crochet and started a sort out that’s been on my todo list for ages.

There definitely was something else I wanted to mention under this heading but I’ve lost my train of thought and have no idea what it is!

I’m trying to make serious inroads into my TBR stash which has surpassed pile status approximately a year ago and has been up around the level of mountain for quite some time. The snow helped with this a lot but there is a way to go yet! I’m considering implementing a book buying ban for the next two or three months.

I also briefly considered earlier that I might make 2013 a year in which I don’t buy yarn. But then I remembered that not only did I buy a 300g ball of blue aran a couple of weeks ago, I bought a ball of yarn yesterday. Clearly this is a plan that requires more thought but certainly my stash there is in need of getting under control. That’s part of the sort out I started and I’ve been putting it into piles of yarn I think I’ll use and another of remnants and other bits I don’t think I’ll use (subcategory what the hell was I thinking buying that?!) It’s interesting how much I’d forgotten about but then find and remember what I used it for (or more likely what I wanted it for) and bits like where I bought it or when or… Memory is a strange thing sometimes isn’t it?

Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Fever by Mary Beth Keane is another of the books I picked up an ARC of when I went to the Simon and Schuster blogger event back in November.  It’s coming out in April.

When I blogged about the event I wrote the following about why I picked this up:

This is historical fiction which isn’t always something I’ve gotten on with.  Someitmes I enjoy it and others (like Phillipa Gregory) just annoy the hell out of me and I put them to one side. But lately I’ve been talking books a lot with a friend who reads a lot of historical fiction and made it sound good so I thought I’d pick this up and give the genre another go.

Picking this up was definitely the right thing to do.  I enjoyed it a lot and have come away wanting to read more about the subject.

Here’s the synopsis:

Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant in turn-of-the-century New York, is headstrong and brave, a woman who has battled fiercely to better her lot in life and keep her wayward lover Alfred on the straight and narrow. She works her way up the ranks to cook for the wealthiest families in Manhattan, but leaves a trail of death and disease in her wake. When she is imprisoned in complete isolation, despite being perfectly healthy herself, she refuses to understand her paradoxical situation. Condemned by press and public alike, she is branded a murderer, but continues to fight for her freedom.

This is a fictional tale based on the life of the real Mary Mallon – who nowadays is probably better known as Typhoid Mary.  Previously fictional accounts of real people have annoyed me because you don’t really know if it’s right but this one didn’t.  Possibly because I knew nothing about Mary Mallon before I started reading it and was only vaguely aware of the story of Typhoid Mary.  Reading this has made me want to learn more about her and the situation she found herself in.  I found this wikipedia article very interesting for that.

I enjoyed this much more than I expected to.  I’d anticipated that it might be quite hard going and had been putting off reading it.  But the recent snow and the fact I was housebound for several days had me delving into the TBR mountain in my flat and looking at all of my more unusual (for me) books for something to read.  It hooked me in and was nothing like hard going.  The subject matter is gripping but not overly gritty as I’d expected it might be.

The author has done a brilliant job of making Mary Mallon – someone who is feared in her guise as Typhoid Mary and who caused many people illness and several deaths (at first unknowingly but later after her first quarantine knowingly) – come accross as personable and as though you can understand why she acted the way she did.  Not that I agree with what she did but in the book at least it made me think what I would do in her situation and I could see why her actions were the only ones she felt able to take.  Part of me does wonder how close to the reality it is.

A word that comes to mind when thinking how to describe this book is haunting – because it makes you think and for me at least has me still thinking a few days after I finished it.  I’m glad I decided to give historical fiction another go and picked up this book.

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris

I picked up a copy of The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris when I went to the Simon and Schuster blogger event back in November.  It’s her second book and I previously reviewed her first one, Miracle on Regent Street. I’m keen to reread that.

Ali was one of the authors at the event and it was very interesting hearing her talk about writing and the book.  She very kindly signed my copy for me

Here’s the synopsis:

How do you hold on to a love that is slowly slipping away from you? Can you let go of the past when you know what is in the future? And how do you cope when you know that every kiss is a countdown to goodbye? This is the story of a love affair, of Ryan and Molly and how they fell in love and were torn apart. The first time Molly kissed Ryan, she knew they’d be together forever. Six years and thousands of kisses later she’s married to the man she loves. But today, when Ryan kisses her, Molly realises how many of them she wasted because the future holds something which neither of them could have ever predicted…

This is chicklit.  It’s not the really fluffy chicklit.  But it’s good.  It’s a love story told over the years and through all the real life trials and tribulations.

This doesn’t have the big will they or won’t they moments culminating in the dramatic reconciliation at the end.  Instead it moves backwards and forwards throughout the course of their relationship.  The moves are seemingly random and although once or twice it moved back in time when I wanted to know what happened NOW it worked really, really well.  The way songs and films are seamlessly mentioned help to realise just when each bit is set.  At the blogger event Ali said this was written in chronological order and she then sat with a friend and worked out the best order for the book – I can’t imagine that it would work anywhere near as well as it does in any other order than it’s in.  If it had started at the beginning and ended at the end I don’t think it would have drawn me in anywhere near as much as it did.  Starting towards the end and then going in and out of the story at different points working back towards the end is what definitely made it work.

When I was reading this book I saw on a tweet from someone saying they were reading this book and that it was book in the freezer time (referencing the episode of Friends where Joey is reading Little Women and gets to the part where Beth is dying and puts the book in the freezer to stop it happening).  I was a bit surprised by that because it was a little bit sad but it wasn’t that bad.  But then I got further on in the book and suddenly realised that yup, it’d turned into a real tearjerker and a book in the freezer might be a good idea.  At the same time I didn’t want to put it down and I actually read a little less than half of it in one hit – having planned to only read for half an hour or so I was still under my duvet reading a few hours later.  It wasn’t depressing though, just sad at times in a way that was brilliantly handled.

Well, well worth the read.  I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much – I think it was probably last spring if not before.  Just make sure you have someone ready to hug you at certain parts.

Disability Blog Carnival – Call for Submissions

One thing I’ve really enjoyed about blogging over the last few years is the Disability Blog Carnival that’s been run by Penny Richards from the Disability Studies, Temple U blog.  It’s been a great way to meet new people and new blogs.  And it’s made me think and learn and write about things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve especially enjoyed the many times I hosted the carnival on the various forms this blog has taken over the years.

With the plethora of social media out there now the demand for the carnival has died off and Penny decided that she wouldn’t run the carnival any more.  I’m sad to see it going and offered to make something of a last ditch attempt to keep it running in a slight different form.  Twitter and facebook are brilliant for links but if you miss the post you miss the link and it’s very difficult to scroll back and find them again.  This is a collection that you can return to again if you want.

On the 28th of each month I will post a collection of links to different posts about disability and/or by disabled bloggers.  Things that have caught my eye but also things that people send me.  My plan is that for the first three months I’ll host it here to get it started but then from April I might see about getting different hosts and it moving around again.  There will be no set theme of the month so with the exception of blatent advertising, and hate I’m not going to say “anything goes” but it pretty much does.

The first post will go up on Monday 28th January 2013.  I’ve already got a couple of links in mind to share but suggestions can be left in comments here, tweeted to me @funkyfairy22 or emailed to ejcrees@googlemail.com

Project 365 – Week 1

One of my goals for this year is to complete Project 365. One photo a day, everyday, for a year. Or at least to give it a really good go. It’s something I started doing at the beginning of last year but gave up on by the 4th or thereabouts because most of my photos were on my phone which went missing and I lost them all. So this year I’m trying it again.

Here are my first week and photos

the view as i wandered home. blue sky, buildings, cars and the power station in the distance.
Day 1
I took this on my way back from the supermarket. I wanted to take something to show how blue the sky was because it felt like it hadn’t been nice like that for ages. And then I realised that on 1st January 2014 I wouldn’t have that sight. The power station is due to cease generating this year and then be knocked down. A lot of people think it blights the landscape and it probably does BUT it was also an integral part of my childhood. In part because my Dad worked there for many years but also because you can see it for many miles. When we would be coming back from holiday we’d watch out for it and want to be the first to call out “I can see the chimney pots.” The saying was always that we weren’t home until we saw them. It might seem strange but I think I will miss seeing it in the distance.

the control and charger for my powerchair.

Day 2

This is the control and charger lead for my powerchair, whilst my chair was charging. The charger wire are showing a little bit. I took this because I wanted to send it to someone but as I’m writing this I’ve just realised I never did send it. Oops.

a large Christmas tree outside in the dark, lit with blue lights

Day 3

The Christmas tree in town, lit up. Mostly because I didn’t expect it to be there still and it is kinda pretty.


Day 4
Last night’s dinner. Pancetta and roasted veg (mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and peppers) cooked in olive oil and garlic. Very yummy. I use frozen veg and small new potatoes that don’t need prepping. Plus, pancetta that comes ready cubed and garlic granules. Out of the packet, into the oven tray and onto the plate. Easy.

My TV showing the Fraggle Rock ident on the screen.

Day 5
CITV (children’s ITV) turned 30 this week. To celebrate they’re having an Old Skool weekend and showing programmes that span the whole period – mostly old shows that aren’t on any more or older episodes of current shows (I think). I watched a bit. I didn’t make a particular effort and when I looked back at the listings I missed several of my favourites but it was cool to see stuff like Funhouse again. Fraggle Rock was something I really wanted to see so I took this picture of my TV with the Fraggle Rock ident on the screen. I have to say it was a little disappointing (but I was kinda distracted at that point) but I still freaking love the theme tune!