“What do you do?”

My least favourite question right now is “What do you do?” and it’s variations.  I’m sure many (if not all) unemployed people feel varying degrees of hatred for that phrase.  Obviously there must be something wrong with you and the feeling of unworthiness washes over, not helped by the unintentional judgement that comes from the questioner.  Meaning to or not, the very question itself is the embodiment of societal convention.  “One must perform an activity that contributes to society’s big picture – unless you are not a part of that big picture (possible reasons being you are undesirable because of class, ethnicity, disability, or just bad luck, but the big picture will interpret this as laziness and just being ‘wrong’).”  Also, depending on the individual questioner, there is the implication of “Go on, impress me.”

Being as I am both disabled, and me, those around me have opinions of my unemployment on the spectrum between ‘Well, she is disabled,’ to ‘You have potential, stop being lazy.’  I don’t know what gets to me more because they both make a point, whilst ignoring a big point.  Yes I’m disabled, but I still am a person who wants to enjoy and contribute to life as much as possible.  On the flip side my personhood is recognised but limitations (mine and society’s) are ignored.  And the result is a very mixed up, self-righteous, guilt that leads to chocolate and computer games, and voluntary seclusion to escape the feeling and the question that raises it. 


Craft of Writing: Let the Reader’s Imagination Do the Heavy Lifting

To keep in mind – gotta let go of the whole ‘what if they imagine different/wrong argument.’

The Daily Post

This is the kind of flowery I can get behind. (Flowery Piano by Andreas (CC BY-SA 2.0) This is the kind of flowery we can get behind. Flowery Piano by Andreas(CC BY-SA 2.0)

In storytelling, description and detail translate what’s in your imagination into scenes and images in the reader’s mind. Can bloated description detract from your work, fill your reader’s brain with too much information, and distract them from the story? The answer is yes. In today’s post we’ll look at how to know when enough is enough.

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Escapades and accessible bathrooms

So my past weekends have been insightful – in unfortunate ways.  People are quite selfish and ignorant when it comes to using accessible bathrooms – nothing new there.  And my ability to transfer in public loos is waning, and that may mean that I can’t go out by myself anymore, and good god that sucks.  I knew it would happen eventually – Friedreich’s ataxia is a degenerative disease after all.  I’m just not ready.  So I’m gonna practice transferring more, and happily do leg exercises at gym and try to extend my ability plateau.

My two, insightful experiences may have had something to do with the different wheelchairs I was using, but really that shouldn’t matter.  The first weekend involved my power/electric chair.  I went solo to a cake show (Yeah, yeah cakes.  What can I say – cakes can be pretty and the icing or fondant can be twisted into awesomeness.  Also I really thought they’d be more samples.)  It was held at the ‘old’ Olympic Park precinct – so quite wheelchair friendly.  So my going solo shoulda been cool and it was, till I went to the loo.  I was waiting at the occupied accessible bathroom.  After the woman inside walked out, another woman appeared from behind me, walked past me and into the bathroom.  My shouts (“OI!  GET OUT OF THERE!”) did get her to come back out, at which time she ignored the fact she had pushed in front of me, and blamed her trying to use the wrong bathroom on the signage.   After having seen the responses of people looking for the bathroom, while I was waiting, I agree to an extent.  The hall for the bathrooms is a square shaped three walls, with the accessible bathroom on the side parallel to the hallway entrance, and the male and female toilets on each of the perpendicular sides.  The male and female toilets are not immediately noticeable, and because of the sign on the accessible bathroom “male symbol-female symbol-accessibility symbol-parent room symbol” there was the assumption that the accessible bathroom was the only toilet there and was for everyone, not just the disabled and parents with children.

After I had entered the bathroom and had transferred from my wheelchair to the toilet, someone started banging on the door, even after I had yelled “Occupied”.  The banging was more like someone was trying to shoulder the door open and was a successful attempt to open the locked door.  After 3-4 shoves the door burst open onto the back of my wheelchair then swung shut, and whoever it was buggered off.  Of course there was no call button, so I couldn’t get security or anything, so I then had to endure close to ten different arseho… ahem, “intrusions of my privacy”, as people kept opening the door, trying to enter.  One woman had opened the door with such force that it got caught in the back of my wheelchair, and I had to turn the power back on to move my chair.  Not the easiest thing to do, manoeuvring the wheelchair via joystick whilst sitting opposite/perpendicular to said wheelchair.

During and because of all that, my nerves were left frazzled, resulting in my physical inability to transfer back into my wheelchair.  I was having trouble trying to balance and put my weight in the right place, whilst trying to ‘swing’ my body from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. As there was no help button to press to get assistance, I had no choice but to wait a few minutes to calm down and try again.  At least I didn’t end up on the floor.

My other experience was less extreme.  Went to a musical with some mates in my manual chair.  I got to the bathroom and my fondness for using my right side kicked me in the arse as the railing was set up on the left, and I’ve somehow managed to always be out with my mum (and she could help if need be)  or in my powerchair when the railing is on the left.   Always, oddly lucky of me, aye?  The railing at the cake show was on the right.  But this was on the left and I couldn’t figure out how to make it work.  And the radio was really loud, distractingly so.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I next get diagnosed with some kind of audio sensitivity.  Anyway, so major disorientation.  I called my mate Jackie on the mobile and got her to come in and help.  She’s a nurse and one of my best buds, so it was the least awkward option.  She ended up witnessing my transferring – I figured it out somehow, but my feet wouldn’t stabilise once I stood.  One foot was even standing on tip-toe, totally rigid.  I had to keep both hands on the railing so Jackie had to help with my pants.  Not the kinda bonding you imagine with your bestie.

So leg exercises are in my immediate future.  And people are real jerks when it comes to public accessible bathrooms.


Falling is really not my favourite activity in the world.  You’d think I’d be use to it by now – in some ways I am – but it doesn’t make me immune to the associated feelings.  For example, the varying pain in the aftermath.  But during the fall, during the moment, there is this middle, a microscopically thin line where hope lives.  On one side of this line, you can still stop the fall from being completed.  On the other side of this line you’re a goner.  I hate this side, if only because it’s usually the case that, once I reach this after-point, I still have to complete the fall  only now without hope.

I don’t know why I don’t like roller coasters though – well not the ones that drop.

Questions, Answers and Facts – Liebster

Mywordsontheline has been nominated by Mark Aldrich of The Gad About Town blog fame http://wp.me/p49Ewg-6t for a Liebster Award.  Yay.  And apparently there are rules to be followed and traditions to be upheld.  Basically this past will display my woeful computer/internet ‘skills.’

First up, the rules:

If I have nominated you, and you choose to accept my nomination of your blog and continue with the Liebster award process, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog—by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget.” (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. Answer eleven (11) questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. Provide eleven (11) random facts about yourself.

5. Nominate five to 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, blogs that have less than 1000 followers each. (Note: you can always ask the blog owner for this information since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know how many followers they have.)

6. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer.

7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to then:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of this prestigious honor).

Did this award come into being on the date 11/11/(20)11 by chance? 

11 Answers

1. When I think of Upstate New York I picture Autumn leaves and concrete paths (side-walks).  I’m probably picturing the wrong place though. I haven’t been to New York and my knowledge of American geography is limited.

2.  I wouldn’t say I have trouble eating a particular food, rather how it’s served can be problematic.  As a rule, anything requiring more than a fork stab or scoop is iffy, and a *really* sharp knife helps with cutting.  i neat fine with my hands 😉  

3.  I kinda had several tree forts, but no secret clubs as a kid.  My brother and our friends used to climb my neighbour’s Jacaranda tree until Katie fell out and broke her arm.  Considering I was the clumsy one (read, undiagnosed ataxian), I guess I came off lucky.  Then there was the jungle gyms and the playground at our primary school (literally around the corner/block) that at the time was open on the weekends.   

4.  I’m not particularly suspicious of any of today’s technology.  I am very suspicious of people using tech. however.

5. First thing I do in the morning is get dressed, even before I have brekkie.  Bit of a habit I took from going on holidays.  It’s polite not to walk through the lobby and hotel restaurant in your pjs.  The last thing I do at night would probably be leg stretches.

6.  I gotta go with Mark’s answer, under no circumstances would I purposefully harm an animal.   A human?  Quite possibly, but not an animal.  Unless it was trying to really hurt me.   Ah, that’s a circumstance.  Ummmm      … don’t know what I’d never do. 

7.  “If you could ask one person one question and get a completely honest answer, who would it be and what would you ask?”  I think I might be too self-centred for that.  I don’t have an immediate answer, although I do have a curious mind.  A curious mind? Now that’s the title of a biography.

8. the first thing I learnt to cook was ‘a big breakfast’ (sausages, eggs, grilled tomato, mushrooms and onions, and toast.)   But I was more of a baker – biscuits (cookies), muffins (cupcakes), Cake and scones (biscuits served with jam and cream.)

9.  My free time seems to go to Facebook, iphone games and reading, but I am actively trying to redirect it to writing.

10.   A small decision brought on big consequences – after watching Spiderman at the cinema with my youth group, I unofficially lead us to the music store to get the soundtrack, and a quiet guy didn’t keep up and got lost.  He called his dad to come get him, and his dad called my dad, because my dad was taking us home, and basically it was a bit of a kerfuffle because I wanted a CD.   

11.  There have been quite a few historical events in my lifetime on both national and global levels.  First female Australian PM, saying sorry to the Aboriginies, Sydney Olympics 2000 (at which I worked as a volunteer), 9/11 and the subsequent war/invasion – lots of consequences for an international flyer.

11.  Facts

1.  I don’t sweat.  I perspire enough for underarm B.O., but no sweat patches, even at gym.  Not since I was walking.

2.  I really don’t like crying in front of people.  If I’m watching a tearjerker movie or tv show with friends or family, I bite the inside of my mouth to stop the tears.

3.  My favourite colours are blue and purple, but I look best wearing pink 😦

4.  I like to count the edges of things (eg. a t..v. on a cabinet) to add up to the number 20.

5.   When I have a plate of food, I save the best things till last – which sometimes backfires when people start eating the food you’ve pushed aside, because they think that means you don’t like it.

6.  Chances are, I’m not annoyed or upset when you ask me, but I will be after you do.

7.  I am an extremely vengeful person, and tend towards grudges, so it’s a good thing that I’m not involved with law and order in any way.  

8.  I’ve got really sensitive skin that jewellery turns green, unless it’s real silver or god.  Also My english-rose complexion burns way too easy.

9.  I’m not too fond of horror as a genre but I do like vampire tv shows and The Walking Dead tv show.

10.  I am one of around 450 Australians, give or take, who has Friedreich’s Ataxia.

11.  I am a slow typist, so this is taking a lot longer for me to type than you to read.

11 Questions

1.  What would you call your autobiography?

2.  What are the top three things on your bucket list?

3.  What is the story behind your childhood pet?

4.  Name a song you love but is embarrassing.

5.  What is the most unique thing that you’ve done to/for yourself?  (eg. haircut, holiday, nose piercing)

6.  Chocolate, Bacon or a Banana?

7.  Favourite genre for book, tv and film.

8.  What are your thoughts on tattoos?

9.  What is the best meal you’ve ever had?

10.  Have you invited the people in your life to read your blog?

11.  Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, and why?


AND the twist at the end is that I lack nominees as I need to get out and read more.  Also, by George this was hard.   So whilst I really, really want Mark http://wp.me/p49Ewg-6t to know how chuffed I am that he nominated me, my energy has been exhausted from filling out the ‘entry’ form.


You think you know someone

So, not a Real Time Rant per se, as there has been a sleep and a day that went by, but bear with me.  *** (kinda) Real Time Rant – first a little background, these friends and I have known each other for about 16 years.  They have been with me as my body has degenerated from walking – a drunken gait – hobbling with a walking stick – part-time wheelchair use – full-time wheelchair use, and they’ve heard me rant about, and witnessed themselves, able-bodied people abusing access for the disabled – using the accessible  parking spots, and walking out of the accessible bathrooms.  But it would appear that they view themselves different when it’s them in this situation.  Sophie* and Marcia* (* = name change) have just come back from spending the week with their mum Helga* in Singapore and Hong Kong.  At a girl’s night last night, Marcia (Sophie was sick at home) was telling us all about the holiday over pub dinners (not the best risotto I’ve ever had.  My dad cooks better, without proper cooking lessons, and without being Italian.), and got to the part where they had been to Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios Singapore and how at both places they decided to hire a wheelchair to avoid the queues.


I really had to bite my tongue to stop myself from ruining the mood by giving her a piece of my mind.  And had to shovel my lacklustre meal to help swallow my disappointment.  She obviously had not meant to let that detail slip in front of me, because she kept repeating at me “But it’s ok because we know you, and you get it.”  I have no idea why she would think that.  I’ve been to both Disneyland and Universal Studios in California a few times over the years, and each time I’ve come back with stories about the arseholes who do that.  Recently there’s been hoo-hah in the news about that Disneyland having had to change its ‘disabled guests guidelines’ because of the arseholes who do that.  Marcia then went on to try and give details about why doing that had lead to a few ‘bad experiences’ for them.  For example Helga was really heavy to push around; Sophie had lost a food decoration to the wind and couldn’t run after it because she was the wheelchair bound one at the time; oh, and the embarrassment they felt when they hired the chair in the first place at the Disneyland because the guy in the line after them had really needed a chair but they got the last one.  How hard for them. – ***