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self awareness | The view from down here

Tag: self awareness

Bag Hag

I’m something of an organisation junkie, though the physical evidence particularly offline might not bear me out. I tend to be an organised thinker, planner and communicator more than live in a pristine environment and be able to find the right piece of paper at the right moment. I’ve read and implemented at various times both GTD and FranklinCovey. My newish most expensive shopping weakness after years of it being handbags is now stationary and Howard’s Storage World!

However, as I said, in the bottom of my handbag you are just as likely to still find random receipts for things I don’t need to keep the receipts for, (while losing the ones I meant to file), melted forgotten chocolate and the ever frustrating tangled headphones (while the Bluetooth ones sit around my neck).

Friends of mine also use wheelchairs have in place of handbags; backpacks and/or a thing called a caboose. Now I don’t mean a bottom. In many cases the caboose is integrated into the wheelchair, either as a wire or mesh net or as a secret compartment in an armrest or behind the legs. It was only recently that I discovered the concept. Given I haven’t yet had a custom-built wheelchair I haven’t had one built-in. Also for a long time handbags were the easiest and most independent accessory I could go for. However handling a handbag when you are so short in the torso, low and effectively only have the use of one hand is challenging. Especially when you’re trying to look like you have it together enough so that strangers in supermarkets and taxi drivers don’t feel the need to rush to your defence or protection, regardless of whether you need it.

So, given all the above, it is not surprising that my eyes were drawn a while back to a blog post on the organisation of one’s handbag. I have cut back on the variety of handbags I use and have recently switched from a Tony Barlow that I used over Summer/Autumn that was beginning to slouch to a smart black Guess number.

I seem to have worked in reverse order according to her list of tips.

A while ago, I picked up two inserts and now use one for makeup that I use daily at home. I like the fact they are clear sided and even with the older floppier bag it made finding stuff buried a little easier. Now that I’ve got in the habit of using them it is nice to know that even when I’m at home everything is only in one place.

Of her other tips:

Start From Scratch

Yes, I did empty the bag on to my desk. Because I’m already using a liner, this was easier and neater than it certainly would have been. I admire those like a close friend who have mini-bags compartmentalising everything. My beloved late maternal grandmother did the same. I tried. It looks neat on other people, but too fidley for me in my one-handedness. The liner needs to be the only extra bit. In an ideal world those liners would have many unzipped compartments built to fit my bits and pieces and in a material that balanced flexibility and firmness perfectly.

Make-Up Minimalism

I’m usually a minimalist when I’m out anyway, as I rarely have the energy unless I know that I can see into the mirror, after getting into the bathroom. I used to carry a lot more and as the article suggests, I too rarely get round to using it. A brush, hand sanitiser, mirror and lipstick will do me, unless I’m feeling particularly ugly, guilty or have multiple high-octane events. Oh and chewing gum, because I tend to like raw onion on my salad!

Money, Money, Money

No, I don’t have a separate coin purse. I find because I have the use of one hand and most vendors give me notes, coin and receipt in one hit (and then watch me intently and worried as they wonder how I manage and if it would be rude to serve the next person while I put it all together. It’s too fidley and too slow to play with multiple containers. I dump the coins either in the handbag to go straight in the coin jar at home in the reckoning, or back in the coin section of my purse.

General Electrics

Being a geek, this is perhaps where I predictably come undone. I can’t easily wrap cords around things even at the best of times, not well enough for it to be useful. And I like to keep my options open, so I’d like to carry a charger for my iPad/iPhone, as well as the spare earphones for when the Bluetooth ones that fit me best go flat. But I do make space for both iDevices most days. The tough bit is that I also like and carry notebook and pad for scribbling and tangibleness. And after all that, I still feel under-prepared. I used to try to carry my Kindle too, but now I use the Kindle app on the iPad (strange reading the Steve Jobs bio kindle book on an iPad). Kindle sits on my bed head at home.

Colour Code It

I don’t tend to do this by colour. I tend to do my digging by feel much more than looks. This is where texture comes in for me. Knowing the shape and approx location of items. Keeping my cheque book on the opposite edge to the letter writing stuff is key here. Having a lilac case on my phone and an interestingly shaped wallet are both useful for different reasons.

Key Party

Nope. Just goes in the liner. I find those clip things too awkward. I like having a distinctive key ring though. Heavy and large. Speaking of which I need a new one as I ran over the last one and busted it whilst trying to pick them up. Occupational hazard. Same thing tends to happen with sunglasses and earphones which is why I never spend more than $20 on sunglasses or earphones!

Survival Kit.

Good idea. Some of this in the main liner; medication and personal girl things and $20 in a hidden pocket. Check! I don’t repair my own clothes and going through airport security would be too hard with a needle.

I also carry gloves, 5 taxi subsidy forms (as important as cab money to a chair user in Sydney), stamps, and a cigarette case which ironically seems to stop me from wanting to smoke. Given that works I’ll keep it up.

In addition to the iDevice charger, I wish I could also carry and easily use an umbrella and a water bottle. But alas.

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identity matters

This is a good post about identification as a person with a disability, for a women with a mental health issue.

It brings up some interesting thoughts for me about “what actually is disability?” That’s medical vs social model stuff, but its not just that. Its about the labels we as people with impairments use to define and describe ourselves. What boxes we put ourselves in and how easily or not we communicate with those in the other boxes of disability.

I find myself now straddling two of those boxes more often these days. So now the whole question is “to tell or not to tell” is a live question where before I did not really understand it; except as I defended theoretically an individuals right to non-disclosure. I could not understand, untill recently how people could choose not to “give details” and yet still want to use the political, social and practical elements that come with the tag. i fought for the right to non-disclosure¬† because it is an option and I’m all for individual choice. I have many friends with non-aparent and often non disclosed disabilities whose choice I respected. As is often the case though it is not until one is given the choice that one is aware one has a choice….

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now published

It was a strange day earlier this week when one evening PB teased me with the dreaded “surprise”.

Buried in the caboose was a copy of the October issue of Link magazine. Published five times a year Link is “Australia’s leading national cross-disability magazine.” Lo and behold an edited version of the organic fruit blog post was on a two page spread with a bright shiny red apple smiling back at me. Wow. It was a strange feeling seeing my name as a byline. A small part of a dream and an ability bourne out of my own self acceptance as an educator and as a former colleague once discribed it a good “translator”.

So the original post is no longer protected (as per agreement with the magazine editor) so enjoy. yes there are more pieces in draft form.

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Deja vu

It’s late. It was a case of too much coffee for once having the effect on me that everyone complains of. I am as “they” say … wired.

PB and I went down to Melbourne on Wednesday for a little R and R. It was a little surreal for me on a few fronts. Firstly It was the scene of some unfortunate events during a previous relationship. In fact the anticipation of ghosts around every corner was far worse than the actual experience this week on that front. I’ve been there once since that fateful trip (see below), so perhaps that mitigated those poor ghosts some. They were there to be sure but there was a calm forgiveness about them.

The other element of surrealness comes from the fact that PB and I were visiting Melbourne last year attending a set of work meetings together, purely as supposedly dis-interested but friendly colleagues. At that point in time certainly we were both (I’m pretty sure) determined to keep it that way. It concerned us both how we would be percieved regarding our worklives. Credibility and independance and all that sort of thing. In the end I think we did the right thing both in delaying the relationship till I was well established and also “coming out” slowly when it did blossom, only a month or so after the trip last year.

However, I digress.

I remember with trepidation the nervousness that enveloped me when I suggested we could get a single hotel room as long as we made sure there was a fold out bed available as well. I was amazed when he without too much hesitation accepted. Thus we slept for 2 nights and behaved – a nervous little peck on his check with a blush as I left alone for the airport.

It was the trip that saw the origin of the now common routine of him holding on to the side of my chair so that we might roll in unison.

It was different yet similar as his girlfriend this time. This in itself was lovely.Biggest differences? No meetings and going into a menswear shop with him

Like last time: he went bush for a few days. Like last time I came back to Sydney.

Like last time I miss him.

This time though — he might understand why.

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Reflections

I’ve been watching DVDs lately of Sex and the City in preparation for the movie that opens here on the 5th of June. It started out by being a pastime – a thing of lightness and fluff to compensate for a heaviness and intensity that is part of my life at the moment. (more…)

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