About Me

My photo
I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Safety Concerns

Internet safety has been a hot topic lately. It seems that every talk show, every news program, and seemingly every magazine feature segments and articles warning internet users about the possible dangers of utilizing the internet. While these risks are real, I tend to think that the sudden attention stems from the desire to provide back-to-school coverage rather than any new hacker advances. 

Recently my Facebook wall has been filled with a post warning about the dangers of posting and sending photos from a smart phone. I was surprised that my location is automatically embedded in the files that I have been freely posting. Then I began to think about it, and I realized that I often tag myself on Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare, so a hacker probably doesn't have to dig too deeply to figure out where I am.

I was introduced to social media as an avenue to reconnect with friends and family. Unbeknownst to me at the time, these avenues would become a new career. I love what I do and each day I'm thankful that I get to work at a job that I find so personally rewarding. Because of my visibility online, I do not weigh safety lightly.

As Robby is becoming older and as I am becoming more informed about the security issues of the internet, I have become increasingly concerned about our cyber security. I have recently begun utilizing a VPN on my computers and smartphone allowing me to mask my true IP address. Since installing Hotspot Shield, I am reassured that my physical location cannot be tracked through my emails, or when I use the chat features.

Since learning about the dangers of sharing smart phone photos, Scott and I have both reconfigured our cellphone settings to remove the GPS information from all of our files. (If you follow me on Facebook you know that I post a lot of photos!) I am going to continue to tag my locations (when appropriate), but I will change the timing of these posts. Now instead of using the feature to announce my arrival, I will start doing it as I leave. People will still know where I have been, but I won't be there when it is posted.

Because of my blog and my social media work, I have chosen to live my life in the public. There is very little that I conceal or hide about myself. I enjoy being accessible to others, but I am also not foolish about safety. I am going to continue to make simple changes to safeguard myself, but I do not want to change the way that I interact with others. This is going to be a balancing act that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dutch Wonderland

Yesterday we embarked on our traditional end-of-the-summer amusement park trip. Considering that I was still spinning (literally) from the fair, I wasn't sure how much fun we would have at the amusement park. But the plans were already laid, the weather was beautiful, and we had already revealed the adventure to Robby. In retrospect, I should have know that seven year old boys can never be fully satiated with speed and swinging around in circles.

Wanting to be proactive, I decided that I should take motion sickness medication before entering the park. I have never tried this prophylactic medicinal approach, but it seemed logical.  I relied upon the medication when we were on our cruise and although I felt queasy at times, I never became ill. I was optimistic that the same magic would work at the amusement park. After all, I figured that the body doesn't know whether it is being spun in circles or adrift on high seas. If the medication worked in one situation, surely they would help in another.

Apparently I don't understand pharmaceuticals. The vomit I not-so-discretely deposited into the bushes behind The Twister completely debunked the theory.  I spent the remainder of the day patiently waiting for the boys to disembark from rides and escorting them to another line. Although I would have loved to have ridden rides with Robby, I am beginning to accept that my body does not agree with my heart. I am simply too old to ride the attractions at amusement parks. 

Although I was disappointed that my motion sickness solution flopped, we had a great day. Scott and Robby thoroughly enjoyed all of the rides and emerged from the gates with huge smiles after each ride, racing each other to the next attraction. I wish I could have participated more, but I also think that it is important for them to have experiences without me. At least, that's what I kept reminding myself as I was sitting on various park benches waiting for them to emerge through the exit gates.

Yes, they were really good sports and agreed to pose in these costumes for this photo.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Even when an excursion is a surprise, like going to the Fair this past Sunday, I always try to lay some groundwork. After all, trips are always more fun when I can build the excitement to a fever pitch level.  On Saturday evening Robby and I curled up on the couch and watched a show comparing various fair foods from around the country. I was hoping that watching the show would contribute to his enthusiasm when we took him to the fair. While he was interested in the show, one unfortunate segment profoundly impacted his impressions on the culinary treats sold at fairs. 

I wish I had a camera recording Robby's reaction when the show highlighted the unusual fair food selections in Texas. "Momom, did he just say fried bull testicles?" After I nodded, he became highly animated. "No wait a second. Are we talking about real testicles, like these?" Before I knew it he was standing in the living room with his pajama bottoms down to his ankles.

Pulling up his pants, I tried to explain that some people consider the testicles to be a real treat. This apparently is a concept that my little guy could not wrap his head around! He went sprinting down the hall, screaming for Scott, "Daddy, DA-DDEEEEE. Did you know that people eat cow balls at the fair!!"  Yikes, this was certainly not the hype I had hoped to achieve.

Although we desperately tried to redirect the conversation, Robby remained stunned and fascinated by this epicurean choice. In hopes of ending the discussion, I finally agreed to let him to enlighten Mr. Bill about the fair food. I was able to surmise that Robby told his friend as soon as he opened the screen door because I could see Bill begin to laugh from my front porch. 

Driving to the Fair on Sunday, Scott and I both drilled the point that they do not serve deep-fried cow testicles at our fair. Although we tried our best to convince him, Robby remained weary. The fact that the first pedestrian we encountered was munching on a giant meatball on a stick did not help our cause. Robby was convinced that cow balls were being fried and sold, even prompting him to talk with the ride operator. "Um, excuse me. If people want to get on here and they are eating a ball on a stick, I wouldn't let them on if I were you. They are eating cow privates, and that had to hurt the cow a lot."

We were at the fair all evening, but Robby refused to eat anything but french fries. He said eating anything else "wasn't worth the risk." I had him watch the show on fair food to build a buzz and excitement. Instead it resulted in us eating dinner at IHOP at 10:00 after the fair closed.  I am fairly certain that Robby won't be asking for meatballs anytime soon! So much for trying to whip him into  frenzy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Scared Comes Out...

Although rain had been forecast, the weather on Sunday turned out to be gorgeous. After running errands in the morning and working through the afternoon, I was ready to get out of the house and take advantage of the warm temperatures and bright blue skies. It didn't take long to convince Robby and Scott to walk away from the XBox, in fact it only took five words. I said, "Let's go to the fair" and both boys jumped off the couch, threw on their shoes and ran out the door. To be honest I'm not sure who was more excited, my 7 year old or the 47 year old!

To my surprise (and delight) the Fair was not crowded. I assumed that the pathways, exhibits and rides would be packed with fellow Fair enthusiasts, but we had room to stroll, and the animal barns were nearly empty. In reality we spent about five minutes exploring the animal exhibits. Robby is used to touching, feeding and caring for the animals at the Animal Park, so being forced to stay behind the rope was understandable but a tinge anticlimactic. When we walked out of the chicken house, Robby spied the Ferris Wheel. He grabbed his Daddy's hand, screamed, "See ya later, Momom" and took off running towards the rides. 

I must give credit to Scott who dutifully rode the Fair rides for four hours straight. He endured being spun, flipped and swung in every direction possible. His Herculean efforts kept me from having to ride, thwarting the vomiting and dizziness which always ensues. My job was to hold the food, water, and assorted toys which were won and patiently wait for them to disembark. I have never been so happy to be relegated to a Sherpa!

Because Robby was so excited and because there were virtually no lines, he didn't stop to look at the road before embarking. I'm fairly certain that had he or Scott seen the Hi-Roller in action, both would have quietly walked away. Instead they were fully strapped in and secure before either of they overheard a conversation from other passengers about what they were about to experience. I watched the ride with my jaw dropped, worrying about both of them.

The ride started off benign, just swinging pendulum style back and forth, each time attaining a higher altitude. After three or four swings it went completely upside down. Then it took the passengers upside down and kept them in that position for several (extremely long) seconds. I can only imagine what was going on inside that little enclosed cart! Once the carts were released and upright again, the ride began to swing in the opposite direction, repeating the pattern and again suspending my little family upside down. 

Scott staggered off the ride, sweaty and disoriented. Robby followed, with his head down but seemingly unaffected; until I noticed the wet spot in the front of his shorts. He was quick to explain, "Momom, I did not have an accident on that ride. But I think that being upside down might have might have caused some scared to come out of me."  Hmm... I did the only thing I could do in this situation. I quickly took him to the swings so that he could air dry and continue with the fun, and I bought a bottle of water and a bucket of fries for Scott. Needless to say, the Hi Roller was the only Fair ride that did not garner a return visit from my boys!
The world's most expensive stuffed turtle was "won" at the Fair. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Just Say NO?

I have come to the conclusion that I need to utilize one small, simple word more often. Although only comprised of two letters, refining my ability to say them together will simplify my life and would inevitably save me from hours of head banging frustrations. I am not just very good at saying "No," but I vow to become more adept and comfortable with it!

I agree to far too many favors and concessions simply because I have an aversion to "No." It isn't that I fear hurting somebody's feelings, but rather at times it is just simpler to agree and follow through with something instead of holding my ground. Unfortunately, it is only easier in the moment, and I spend every moment invested in the undesirable activity lamenting my participation. 

My schedule has been upset and redone more times than I can count because I haven't been able to speak up. Whether it be agreeing to a last minute visit or helping a friend with a yard sale, I always seem to be the one who has to rearrange her plans. I become frustrated with myself for agreeing and the requester for asking. Simply put, I am tired of always missing out on what I want to do!

I realize that this issue is mine and not my friends. Many of them seem to have no problem standing their ground when it comes to previous engagements. I wish I had the same ability to deny somebody something because it wasn't convenient for me. Unfortunately, I have a horrible track record of putting the needs and desires of others above myself. 

As I am getting older, I am beginning to prioritize myself. I am not feeling as guilty about taking time for myself, and I have been working to release some of my self-imposed pressures. I look at people around me and none of them seem to have an issue saying no. It isn't a bad word, and I should be able to employ it without guilt. I don't mind helping out and I'm always willing to lend a hand, but I do mind being a doormat. To add insult to my frustrations, nobody is at fault but me!

I have a lengthy and well formed track record when it comes to agreeing. I know that I'm not going to be comfortable saying no for a long time, if comfort is even attainable. But for my own sanity, I have to try.