A Complex Day In Montreal

DSC01271Yesterday, we went to Montreal, a marvelous, if notoriously inaccessible, city for the day. We had planned to be in a workshop focused on using puppetry for working with businesses. Montreal is about two hours from here, so we were up early, aiming to leave by 6 o’clock. We finally made it out of the house about 6:30. The drive up was uneventful, and traffic in the city was delightfully negligible.

Usually we can find our way around Montreal with relative ease; yesterday, perhaps because we were already feeling a bit crunched for time, we were unable to find the workshop site. Even using a map, our destination proved illusive; we found ourselves driving around in circles, passing old haunts, and running into newly one-way streets and, this being the season, construction. Continue reading

Wheels

New-scooterAbout three weeks ago my new scooter came. This marks yet another transition. Like most Polio’s, I gather, I was reluctant to begin using a scooter. Finally, after several years of coaxing from the Polio Clinic, I took the proverbial plunge. Continue reading

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage, Underhill, VT Fall has come to Vermont. Having the weekend largely to myself, yesterday I drove up to Eden to see foliage. The reason I drove north was Autumn color generally moves north to south, and from high elevation to low. Here in the big valley the color is spotty at best, although the trees that have changed are often vibrant.

My preferred way of leaf-peeping is on foot, but that mode of transportation has become more difficult for me, so I drove. The problem with driving is one misses a lot. After all, a primary task of driving is watching the road. Autumn color is a serious distraction for those of us who live here; it is a huge problem for tourists. The back roads up to Eden and back were largely devoid of tourists. The spots I stopped to take photos were occupied by other Vermonters, cameras in hand. We happily teased each other about acting the tourist. (Vermonters generally appreciate tourists and tend to get a bit cranky about them when we are overrun in the Fall.)  Another issue with driving is that often there is no place to pull over when a splendid foliage moment presents itself. Often, there are cars close behind one and throwing on one’s breaks endangers the other drivers. Having local license plates makes that worse.

This year I am uber aware of the challenges of getting those remarkable Fall photos we all dream about. Gimpy legs add a whole new layer, in addition to bright midday sun, telephone pole wires, and wall to wallFall Foliage, Eden, VT photographers.

Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail Adventure

P1060444Just a quick note to share our outing yesterday.

We finally have a hitch rack that can accommodate my electric assist bike. Yesterday we went up to St, Albans and took a LONG ride on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. It took some time to figure out getting the bikes on the rack the first time. It turns out the person who installed the rack reversed a piece….. Then we stopped at the Winooski Farmers’ Market to pick up desert. We finally made it to the trail head about noon. Continue reading

Accesibility and the Dharma or The Pitfalls of Cherry Floors

Vermont Zen CenterA few weeks ago we attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Vermont Zen Center. The day was splendid, and the ceremonies moving.

I have had a rather rocky relationship with the Zen Center due to issues of accessibility. Sometimes the Center has been very accommodating, other times attending functions there has been a challenge. Visits go best when I remember to bring slippers. Unfortunately, on the day of the Anniversary Celebration my slippers were at the office and I forgot to stop and pick them up. Continue reading

Catching Up

Vertical Hong KongI realize I have posting nothing here since just before we left Hong Kong. That reflects, in part, the intensity of the trip, and of our return. India went very well, as did Hong Kong. We left South India with a new and much deepened appreciation for the immense challenging disabled people in India, and for the anxiety and resistance discussions of disability and accessibility issues engenders. there.

I cannot say enough about the work Hong Kong has put into becoming accessible. The city is hilly, watery, and vertical. There are no end of challenges for folks with mobility issues. Yet, there is a real commitment to accessibility (the buses are amazing!) and people with mobility limitations are out and about. Continue reading

Exploring Disability and Narrative Practice in Hong Kong

Hong Kong ReflectionsWe are in Hong Kong, teaching five day workshops for ADA. My workshop is titled, “Re-Storying Disability”, and seeks to further extend some of the ideas of the Narrative and Just therapies to working with Disability. My focus is on suggesting ways artists, social workers, therapists, and persons experiencing Disability may challenge normative knowledges and practices concerning disability and achieve more satisfying outcomes. Continue reading

Disabling Language: Locating Disability

Flowering Tree, IndiaI have been thinking about my workshop in Hong Kong. Yesterday a friend gave me an article on the misappropriation of the word “normal” in relationship to Disability. That set me to considering the concept of normal. Continue reading

Fear and Disability Activism

The WalkoverI awoke this morning feeling fine.  Breakfast was Indian, and delicious. Then came the fever and displease stomach. Nothing overwhelming, just enough to cancel my day. I still hope to do some work later, although that hope is fading.

Sunday we walked to the gallery where we were teaching a workshop in the evening. Near us is the major roadway in this part of the city. It is normally impossible to cross, so a walkover has been constructed, complete with elevators. However, there are rolling blackouts in the city, each lasting about two hours, and an eight-hour blackout once per month. During blackouts the elevator doors are shuttered. It turns out they are also shuttered on Sunday. (Last night we thought of crossing the highway to have dinner at a nearby restaurant, then, not knowing when the elevators would be shuttered, chose a fine restaurant across the narrow street from where we are staying.) Anyway, Sunday’s traffic being greatly reduced, we managed to cross without having to climb the stairs. Returning later in the evening, traffic had picked up, but we were with young Indian friends who stopped traffic on our behalf! Continue reading