Monthly Archives: May 2014

There and back again…

A hobbit’s tale 🙂 Such a great story!

I could be a hobbit. I am short. I have brown curly hair. And I love food 🙂

Today has been a loooong, but reasonably productive day.

A more truthful post title would have been “Comfy to Crazy and Back Again” (x2) LOL.

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep and getting back at it tomorrow.

Just want to keep my readers well informed!

The weather was/is beautiful today/this evening by the way.

Later alligators 🙂


Flick the switch


Ok. I am a good person. An intelligent person, with patience and a good ear.

But sometimes I wish I could throw it all out the window and do whatever I want, without a conscience; without worrying about other people or their perceptions, or how much is in the bank, or how long it is going to take.

For once it would be nice to be the one who has all the answers instead of searching for hours for the missing information – and if all else fails, to scream in frustration; get instant gratification.

To be able to say, straight out, “Man, you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!! Please, can everyone just shut up and hear me out?”

I want back in to my comfort zone. I want things to make sense. Please let’s limit the weird, awkward, confusing situations! Seriously!

I’ll have you know that it’s not just me. I have related these happenings to others and most of them agree, “Yep, Sam that is weird, awkward and confusing!”

And I have had ENOUGH!

I am tired of playing nice, of being considerate. Of being called pet names by people who I hardly know, of dealing with others’ stupidity and shortcomings with patience and a smile.

I’ve officially gone off the deep end and I don’t care who knows it 😀

My therapy during times like these: the written word, a walk around the block, pajamas and chocolate… THANK GOODNESS FOR CHOCOLATE!

Until next time,



The Originals: Part 3

Abstract again 🙂

Wrapping up my thoughts from the last few posts on simulations and their effectiveness, and culture and identity.

Here’s  what comes to mind when I consider how the story of my life has been shaped so far (in no particular order)…


My library is full of eclectic collections of good tunes and engaging artists from around the musical universe. Fiddlers learn by ear. There are kitchen parties and ceilidhs. The artform is steeped in rhythm and tradition.

*Fiddle and violin are one and the same instrument. Violinist = classical compositions and training, Fiddle = folk compositions and training. You can do both!

Small town girl:

Small town culture definitely does exist. In this context, size matters 🙂


Some have pancakes on Sundays, 14 radios and a dog. Some have Cheese Whiz, 10 TVs and never any egg nog 🙂 The last is a composite scenario, however I honestly cannot fathom why anyone would prefer Cheese Whiz or any other processed cheese product over real cheese! Radios and eggnog are a few other Riesco essentials.


You have to live it, to know it. And everybody’s experience is different. To quote Mary Neilans, “The most important thing to realize is that not all people with disabilities, are the same. If you’re not sure how to handle a situation, ask” (“Mom, What’s Wrong with that Man?”).

In conclusion, this message I’ve attempted to communicate over the last few posts is pretty universal: You have to live it – whatever “it” may be, to know it. And everybody’s experience is different.

Recognize the similarities and celebrate the differences, whether you go through life on 2 good legs or 2 good wheels, think the book is better than the movie, or prefer cheese whiz over cheddar 🙂


The Originals: Part 2

There are original frameworks, and there are original masterpieces built using these frameworks. On some things, a consensus has been reached on what the frameworks and masterpieces should be. But after that, everything is open to interpretation and evolution.

The laws of physics and mathmatics; languages, stories, music and recipes; qualifications for doctors, carpenters and other professionals. All of these have a basic structure, set of requirements or common characteristics. A foundation on which to build and expand.

I am a fan of the work of JRR Tolkein. I love the Lord of the Rings books; I also love the movies. The books and movies are not the same. They are different art forms, created by different people, in different time periods, for different purposes. They are not the same. And I’m ok with that!

Yes, bits from the books may be missing (whatever happened to Tom Bombadil, Mr. Jackson?) and some additions may have been made. But recognition was given, similarities were noted, and a new story created for a new audience. It’s all about perspective. And here, I choose to look at the good side. The adaptation is just that, an adaptation! And a good story!

The Originals: Part 1

I recently read an article written by Emily Ladau on the Mobility Resource blog, about disability simulations- I highly recommend everyone take a moment to read the original here.*

The author was of the opinion that walking was not an experience that could be recreated, shared or simulated in a way that would ever be fully understood by the participants or even have the ability to come close to representing what life would be like with a pair of fully functioning legs.

The article drew attention to the fact that “for so many, disability is an identity and a culture” (Ladau, n.p.), that there are some things that simply cannot be simulated, replicated or compared. You have to live it to understand it. And there is no substitute for the real thing.

I agree.

These central ideas 1) simulations and their effectiveness and 2) the concept of identity and culture sent my brain into over drive 🙂

Your experiences may be similar, you can empathize with and relate to different people and things but it will never truly be “the same” because individuals, our lifestyles, backgrounds, hopes and dreams are all unique and there are so many variables that nothing can ever really be 100% identical to the original.

Really, I think that everyone and everything has a unique culture and identity. But nobody and nothing should come to be defined by just a single element. Look at all the information, all of the possibilities.

I am a woman, a person with a disability, a musician, a friend, an employee…  Each of these elements represents an identity, a viewpoint, a way of life. I am many different things, to many different people, in many different situations. And to want to use just one of these terms as a descriptor for an entire person and set of experiences is ridiculous.

Thank you

Thank you to the people who “get” me.

At times I wonder if any of you are real- but fortunately you are.

You appear right when I need you most.

The times when I can’t think straight, when my head is not in the game.

When uncertainty, confusion and fear take hold, making continuing a struggle.

When the safety net collapses and the fun runs out.

You help bring it all back on track.

Thank you.

Chicken Camp: Part 5

Everything happens for a reason. Every action takes effort. And every action has a consequence.

We all need to respect and realize this.

Dog trainers (the good ones) take this understanding, breaking each piece into it’s core components and build everything slowly up again into something new and beautiful. And it is not easy.

It takes patience, preparation, problem solving ability, knowledge and skill with equipment, dogs and their people. We must work to create an environment where information can be effectively communicated from teacher to student and student to teacher.

The roles can change. The species may be different, culture, history, age and ability may vary. But we need to find a way to get our message across. Learning should be enjoyable for everyone.

The message should be clear and it should be consistent. Recognize that learning and growth are constants, whether the knowledge precipitates a positive or negative outcome. Understand where you are coming from, and where you are going. Set yourself up for success and reward desired behaviours.

Chicken Camp: Part 4

Yes. This series is continuing!

No. This post is not so much about chickens. But it still connects to the central idea in my head, and Terry Ryan’s quote.

The past helps shape the present. And the present helps shapes the future. We know this. Past, present, future. It is all important. It helps shape us, our world, our experiences.

What matters in the moment? Nothing and everything.

In that one instant, we have the power to use everything we have learned to our advantage, to put aside the pain of our struggles, to circumvent circumstance and create a new opportunity. And yet, still there are times when circumstances will dictate the opportunities you take.

Here’s what I’m trying to say: people don’t get enough credit for being average. For just simply living their lives. For doing their best with the information and resources available to them.

Because who knows their story? Their circumstances? Don’t assume. Don’t judge. Think critically, find the information, the resources, and make an assessment. But don’t jump to conclusions.

Chicken Camp: Part 3

Welcome back 🙂

Wondering what all of this chicken camp nonsense is about?

Here’s the connection: Chicken Camp is the brain child of Terry Ryan and Ingrid Shallenberger, both animal trainers and instructors had spent several years looking for suitable training models to use for teaching their human students about the foundations of animal training, learning and behavior.

Chickens turned out to be the perfect models. For more information on why dog trainers should train chickens and Chicken Camps by Terry Ryan click here!

One of the reasons why the chickens were picked to sub in for canines was because of the fact that comparatively little was known or written about them.

Ever read a book on how to train a chicken? Not likely!

This allowed Terry to introduce trainers and chickens to one another and offer them the opportunity to practice basic skills and behaviours without having to work to overcome any pre-existing assumptions, training methods or set behaviour patterns that might have hindered a team’s progress had the chicken instead been a dog.

Chickens provided their trainers with a way forward. An opportunity to become more skilled, and better educated.