October 20, 2013
I would like to correct an error in a previous blog posting.
The error was unearthed by a wise reader, who wrote: “Hi, you had written that Hamlet said, ‘In my heart of hearts (the second “heart” isn’t plural.) Like everyone else, Hamlet only has one heart. Feel free to look this up to be certain that I am correct.”
You are indeed correct, gentle reader. I went online and searched for the phrase and found very few references to Hamlet’s heart of heart (one heart, that is). I think it’s fair to say that most of today’s readers and writers — and I include myself in that group — seem to have bastardized the phase at almost every opportunity. In fact, the only correct reference I found was in William Shakespeare’s original work, “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”
Thanks, again, dear reader. I am happy to set the record straight.
July 13, 2013
I’m an introvert at a writer’s conference in LA (lower Alabama). The Alabama Writers Conclave conference, to be exact. So I thought that in order to network more successfully today and tomorrow, I should pretend I am an extrovert. But then I immediately took that thought back mentally — if that’s possible — because it’s just way too scary. And I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could move toward extroversion on the introvert-extrovert scale.
So I Googled, “What is the word for being halfway between an introvert and an extrovert?”Google said the word is “ambivert.” So that’s what I’m going to be today and tomorrow — an ambivert. Or at least a “playlike” ambivert, as we say in the South. It’s a step in the right direction, anyway.
I like that word: ambivert. It sounds as if I don’t give a damn either way.
April 25, 2013
April 21, 2013
I blogged on January 1 that one of the ways I would manage my MS symptoms this year would be to eat according to Dr. Wahls’ dietary protocol — it’s dairy free and gluten-free and involves eating lots and lots of dark green leafy vegetables.
I have kept that resolution for more than 90 days … well, for the most part. Let’s just say I continue to ease into my new eating habits.
Dairy free: No milk — I can do that. No yogurt — okay. But no cheese? No way, at least for now, because cheese is just too tasty. I sneak a little cheese into the occasional omelet, and I sometimes nibble on cheese while cooking those oh-so-healthy meals. I have yet to ban it from the refrigerator.
Gluten free: The sad truth is that I crave carbs — especially bread, from whole wheat loaf bread to Southern biscuits to Yankee bagels. And dinner rolls, pita bread, English muffins and banana bread. The list goes on. Staying away from bread products for the past three and a half months hasn’t been easy, and I’ll admit that I have cheated from time to time. I have been known to reward myself with one plain croissant (or a chocolate croissant if they are out of plain) after I finish my weekly grocery shopping. But when that croissant doesn’t keep the gluten monkey off my back, I would gladly serve hard time in healthy-diet jail just to get my hands on one Panera Bread cinnamon-crunch bagel, toasted, with butter.
Lots and lots of dark green leafy vegetables: That means greens — as in those Southern delicacies, turnip greens and collard greens. Who knew they would be good for you. And don’t forget kale. Dr. Wahls recommends the dreaded kale because it provides so many of the nutrients that I need. But to tell you the truth, I find it difficult to eat turnip greens or collard greens, much less kale. When I complained about the taste to my doctor, she suggested I put the kale in a juicer and make a smoothie. I told her I would try it. And just like that, an image of Yoda popped into my mind, as he told Luke Skywalker, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” I don’t think Yoda ever tasted a kale smoothie.
I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of organic kale. When I got home, I opened Dr. Wahl’s book to the recipe section and made a Kale and Pear Smoothie. At least the pear part sounded good. As I tasted my green drink, which also included grapes, lemon juice and a banana, I remembered an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show in which Dr. Mehmet Oz made one of his famous green drinks for her. As I recall, she took a sip and said, “It’s a glass of fresh.”
Oprah, I hate to disagree with you, but my green smoothie did not taste like a glass of fresh. It tasted like I had opened my back door, walked into the yard, gotten down on my hands and knees, and grazed on zoysia grass.
I have developed a theory as to why Oprah would think that Dr. Oz’s green drink is “a glass of fresh.” Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Miss., and lived there until age 6, so she had the opportunity to acquire a taste for greens at a young age. And that’s why the green smoothie tasted like a glass of fresh to her. I, on the other hand, grew up in northeast Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. We ate the turnips and fed the greens to the hogs. Not that we ever raised hogs, but if we had … .
I understand that Dr. Wahl lives in Iowa now; however, I can’t help but wonder if she grew up in the South.
April 1, 2013
(Part Three of a three-part blog entry)
At about this time last year, I wrote an op/ed piece that was printed in a local newspaper (Trip to Jefferson County courthouse with MS an unpleasant one), in which I told about the problems I encountered because of my inability to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time. Well, here I go again: I’ve climbed back up on my virtual soapbox to blog about people who work in the customer service business and provide them with some suggestions to help them better serve customers with disabilities.
Part One of this post, published Feb. 20, addressed my concerns involving restaurant staff members who seat people with disabilities. Part Two, published Feb. 27, examined a lack of sensitivity among managers and employees of big-box stores who are responsible for maintaining the store’s motorized shopping carts for people with disabilities. And, Part Three — this post — focuses on ways that hotel and motel staffers can better serve guests who have a disability.
PART THREE: GOING OUT OF TOWN
Travel can be difficult for people with disabilities. Most hotels and motels have handicapped accessible rooms, but not all handicapped rooms are alike. For example, some of them have wide doorways that accommodate wheelchairs, while others have grab bars in the restroom, and still others have both. It is important for you to match the handicapped features of a hotel or motel room to the accommodations you need.
Here are three things to remember when reserving a handicapped room:
1. Make your room reservation as soon as possible. Some hotels and motels have a limited number of handicapped rooms. A few do not have any handicapped rooms.
2. Make your reservation by telephone and speak with a real live person. If you make a reservation online, you probably won’t be able to ask questions about the features of a handicapped room. (However, a few hotel and motel websites describe the features of a handicapped room, or, better yet, have a virtual tour of one of their handicapped rooms.)
3. Ask the reservations clerk enough questions to ensure that the room incorporates all of the accommodations you need.
Sounds easy enough. But I learned my lesson the hard way a few months ago when I reserved a room that did not have the accommodations I needed. When I made the reservation, I asked for a handicapped accessible room, but I didn’t ask about the specific handicapped features of the room.
When I checked in, I realized that the reservation clerk had assumed incorrectly that I would be using a wheelchair. The room was located on a long walkway with rooms on only one side, and I counted 19 rooms between mine and the front desk. The meeting rooms were even farther away. After I made the long walk from my room to a meeting room and back, I knew that I needed a room closer to the hotel’s facilities.
I called the desk and was given a room much nearer to the rest of the hotel. Even though the room was not considered handicapped accessible, it met my needs. (I was fortunate that another room was available.) I know now that I could have avoided this inconvenience if I had inquired about the location and accommodations of the room before I reserved it.
It also would have been helpful if the desk clerk had noticed I was using a cane and had taken the initiative to ask me if I would have a problem walking the distance to the room.
I suggest that the management of lodging establishments provide their employees with additional training to ensure they can meet the needs of travelers with disabilities.
February 27, 2013
(Part Two of a three-part blog entry.)
At about this time last year, I wrote an op/ed column that was printed in a local newspaper. (Trip to Jefferson County courthouse with MS an unpleasant one) In the column, I recounted an experience that was fraught with problems because of my inability to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time.
Well, I’ve climbed back up on my virtual soapbox to communicate with people who work in customer-service jobs. I hope that the suggestions I make here will help them better serve customers with disabilities.
Part One of this entry, which was posted on Feb. 20, addressed my concerns about restaurant staff members who seat people with disabilities. In Part Two, I have written about a lack of sensitivity among managers and employees of big-box stores who are responsible for maintaining motorized shopping carts. Part Three, which will be posted soon, will focus on hotel and motel staff, and will describe how they can do a better job of finding appropriate rooms for guests who have disabilities.
PART TWO: GOING SHOPPING
I prefer to shop in locally owned, smaller stores, but sometimes, a big-box store can be a more convenient choice. However, when I enter a large store, I often find a shortage of motorized shopping carts.
This situation can happen if store personnel leave carts in the parking lot instead of returning them to the store to be recharged. And, even if the carts have been returned and recharged, they may have been configured so that an uncharged cart blocks my way, making it impossible to access the charged carts behind it.
A partially charged cart can cause additional problems. If I unknowingly select a shopping cart that is only partially charged — because its indicator lights make it appear that the cart is fully charged — I may soon find myself stranded in the back of the store, sitting in a shopping cart that literally won’t move an inch.
When that happens, my choices are few; I can flag down an employee to help me, or, if I can’t find an employee, I can attempt to walk back to the front of the store with my cane and purse but without the items I plan to purchase.
I have attempted to contact the managers of the three big-box stores where I shop to discuss these problems. The results have been mixed.
I was unable to contact one store manager by phone. The two managers I spoke with responded as though they were sensitive to my needs. One even apologized for the situation, citing that some of their motorized shopping carts were being repaired. But the next time I went to there to shop, I was again unable to find a cart that was charged and operable.
People with disabilities often find it difficult to manage their lives from day to day, even if those disabilities are as minor as my being unable to walk long distances. So if you work in a big-box store, I ask only that you be more sensitive to the needs of people like me. Please bring those motorized shopping carts in from the parking lot. Please configure them so I can get to them. And please, keep them fully charged so that I don’t get stranded in the back of the store.
February 20, 2013
(NOTE: This is a three-part posting.)
At about this time last year, I wrote an op/ed column that was printed in a local newspaper. (‘Trip to Jefferson County courthouse with MS an unpleasant one‘) In the column, I recounted an experience that was fraught with problems because of my inability to walk long distances or stand for long periods of time.
Well, here I go again. This time, I’ve climbed back up on my virtual soapbox to communicate with people who work in customer-service jobs. I am hopeful that the suggestions I make here will help them better serve customers with disabilities.
Part One is intended for restaurant employees who seat customers with disabilities. Part Two will address employees of big-box stores who are responsible for maintaining electric grocery carts. And Part Three will focus on hotel and motel employees who reserve “handicapped” rooms.
GOING OUT TO EAT
Even though I use a cane and sometimes walk with a pronounced limp, I have found that restaurant employees tend to seat me in or near a corner of the restaurant that is equally distant from the restaurant’s entrance and the restrooms. I do not find this practice to be acceptable.
As a result of this situation, I have learned to ask these employees to “please seat me nearby” as I am led away from the front of an establishment. When I go to a restaurant that I have not visited before, I have to remember to ask the same question. Otherwise, I may find myself seated in a back corner of the dining area, from where it is difficult to make the long trek to the restroom or back to the entrance.
While I don’t speak for others with disabilities, I know that I find it difficult at best to manage my life from day to day with even a relatively minor disability. So, if you work in a restaurant, would you please be more sensitive to the needs of these customers?