The Sammy Shuffle: part 15


So, I came across this article the other day and quite enjoyed reading it. It was really good! About 20 out of the 23 also apply to myself as a crutch user. I laughed out loud at #3, and #17… 🙂

Click to read the whole thing… 23 Things That People In Wheelchairs Have To Cope With




Saturday Wanderings:

Red maple leaves

Saturday was a lot of fun. I spent the day with my mom and sister, exploring.

Thrifty finds include Chicken Soup in Spanish and a fascinating NatGeo World Atlas from 1975 (that weighed about 10 pounds) for only three dollars.

We stopped in at more than a few little bakeries, consignment shops, parks and restaurants, went for lunch at Anton’s Pasta Bar –so delicious!– and came back to Rube’s for tea and cinnamon buns, before once again heading out, on the bus this time, for Downtown and home.

There was lots of laughs, lots of walking and plenty of sunshine and food, which all combined to make the day a great one 🙂

Do talk to strangers!

There was an article written recently on a legit scientific study that concluded that talking to strangers actually increases a persons level of chronic happiness. You can read more about it here.

I think chronic happiness is a rather weird way to put it, considering that the connotation around the word chronic is often one of pain and illness, and generally an undesirable attribute. But the true meaning of chronic is ‘persisting for a long time’ –and who wouldn’t want to be chronically happy?

Maybe that’s part of the reason why I am happier these days? You meet and talk to a lot of strangers in the city, on the bus, on the street. Just a thought 🙂

Eat! And other things

Haha, ok.

Seriously, I’m so, so hungry right now.

Waiting for the rice cooker to finish cooking my rice is, quite frankly, torturous and inhumane.

I need a moment to stuff my face. And a moment to give some serious consideration to Environmental Geography and First Nations of BC, which up ’til now, I admit I have been shirking– we can’t all be perfect all the time, can we?

Don’t answer that.

The right answer is no, we can’t.

I feel like my head is going to explode with all the things that I want to say and share. But I need to keep a lid on it, for now, or risk descending into incoherence, the ravings of a mad-woman –without rice 🙂

More later, promise.Photo on 2015-09-22 at 8.49 PM

On weekends…

I really needed this summer, and I really benefited from it. It was amazing, truly. And I’m thrilled it’s now fall.

Everything is just moving along great –nothing earth-shattering; events have been varied but balanced, and incredibly satisfying, like a chef’s salad 🙂  And… I’m so happy it’s the weekend!

Honestly, I’m just always happy for weekends. Weekends for me are those days when you can relax and enjoy yourself, or really knuckle down and work on a project –anything goes on a weekend.

Maybe I’m just being silly, but during the week, I feel like everyone expects everyone else to be working their butts off earning a respectable paycheque, to be gainfully employed offering society something of value. What the definition of respectable and valuable is in this context, of course differs from person to person.

And yet, this perceived expectation of usefulness seems to lift once we reach Saturday… We are free to do our respective ‘things’, whatever they might be, and that is cause for celebration, is it not? 🙂

Kitchen Party

Grandma had a party to finish the summer. It happened on a tumultuous Saturday where Southwest BC saw the worst storm in a decade, with winds climbing over 80 kilometres an hour, power out across the region, murderously dark rain clouds, and of course, sheet after sheet of water falling from the heavens.

The phone call came the day before… Bada bada, bada bada, bada bada ba — it’s the world’s most annoying sound, for a reason. I don’t have a lot extra to spend on random phone calls to my cell, so to discourage myself from picking it up on the off-chance anyone actually calls, I’ve chosen what is, in my opinion, the worst possible combination of notes ever to be deemed ringtone-worthy. The tactic works fantastically well, usually.

‘Grandma Shirley’ flashes on the screen and the assault on my ears begins. AAAHHHH! I can’t take it anymore! I answer the phone: “Hello…” I say, in my best happy-voice.

“Well, hello you!” laughs Grandma, “I was just about to hang up. Anyways, I just talked to your father and he said Ruby’s coming and they’ll be here tomorrow, and can you please bring your fiddle? Ruby’s bringing hers and your cousin Gord’s bringing his guitar and Dad can play one of Grandpa’s.”

“Yes, ok. For sure. Absolutely.”

“Oh, fantastic! It would just make it so special.”

Tomorrow comes– Apocalypse would be more appropriate considering the conditions outside– but hey, it’s time to party.

I text the fam. They’re on the ferry. Did you bring your fiddle, Rube?

Well, yeah. But IDK about Grandma’s…

Oh, for crying out loud! Bring your fiddle. I’m bringing mine.

What is it that makes this so difficult? We can all play. We can all play well. It’s just for fun, so the fact that we haven’t rehearsed anything is not a huge deal, and we have literally hundreds of tunes to choose from once we give our heads a shake and remember the first few notes.

And I will not be the only one to come out of the rain with a fiddle on my back, as I was given to understand it was all tickety-boo –everyone would bring an instrument, everyone would play… And it will be fun! Bring your fiddle!

And it was fun. Though, I could have played a lot longer. You can’t really call it a kitchen party with only the French Set, Innisher, Orange Blossom, Jig Set, Growling Old Man and Tamlin and one other. It would have been nice to relax into it a bit more, you know what I’m saying?

It was great though. I got some really good hugs, had some good laughs, some shortbread and eggnog…meatballs, buns, salad… and bid summer a fond farewell.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling: A Year in the Life… I recently happened across this documentary on Youtube, scrolling through videos on various topics, looking to be entertained on a windy, rainy afternoon.

Watching the first few minutes and finding them intriguing, I uttered a short I squeak of delight, jumped up to make a bowl of popcorn, climbed gleefully into bed minutes later and settled down in fascination to watch the entire feature. I was not disappointed.

“What’s the worst that could happen? So it gets turned down by every publisher in London, big deal.”

And yet, the book series has sold over 450 million copies worldwide, been translated into 77 different languages and declared a global cultural phenomenon, with Rowling being the first person to become a billionaire by writing books… 🙂



I’m craving nachos so, so bad right now –Blackfish nachos with family and friends.

I’m laughing at the phenomenon that is a reflection of the joys of summer; that each September I witness the community of crutching neophytes emerge en masse with broken limbs and sore muscles, bumps and bruises, and a complete innocence of the dangers of puddles 🙂

I am exhausted. A week of waiting, hoping, fearing, urging and a mix of minor and major events has me ready for a very long sleep. It’s been a blur.

I want to hug those close to my heart.

I must make chili, eat it and watch a random episode of Grey’s Antatomy.

The Sammy Shuffle: part 14

Getting Dressed:

I love fall. I love the colours and the quiet and the rain, the lower temperatures, and early evenings filled with comfort food and books. One thing I will miss about summer, however, is the wardrobe.

It’s so easy to get dressed in summer. Shorts, undies and a t-shirt. Sundress or swimsuit. Done. Slip on a pair of sandals and you can go anywhere. In fall, there’s hats and scarves and gloves, coats and sweaters and layers and socks and boots and tights, or nylons or jeans, or whatever… And that’s just for your regular ho-hum kind of day.

Come fall and getting dressed in the morning gets a little more interesting. For instance, tights are comfy, cozy, and pretty common fall attire. But where my sister might just slide into hers, I battle with mine. Let’s just say spasticity and stretch fabrics don’t really mix 🙂 And I still remember the time Mom and I went coat shopping, returning triumphant with a small down-filled jacket that fit well and was warm, without being too bulky to fit my crutch cuffs or inhibit movement. The fabric wore through less than a week later, unable to stand up to the repetitive arm motion and slide against the back of the cuff that comes with the use of crutches– which I use vigorously, everyday.

I have a modified swing-through crutch gait. I can move fast and well, and it’s easier for me than walking. But my shoulders especially, and upper-body in general has to be able to move through the full range of motion, unencumbered for this to work. Most people don’t think of these things; why would you, if you don’t have to?

So, you can’t wear this garment and reach above your head, stretch forward, backward or set your ams a-windmilling without tearing a seam or a muscle…For most people, this is not a big deal. But this is what I look for. What is the range of motion? What is comfortable? Does it fit across the shoulders and chest? How bulky is it? Can I get the crutches on? Off?Also, does it look nice? Is it waterproof? Because I don’t want to look like a ragamuffin or the Michelin Man and I can’t rely on an umbrella to keep me dry.

I need to be able to do all of my everyday activities in this garment –my happiness, safety and independence depend on it. I don’t like wearing frilly tops, or anything with poofy sleeves or legs, because they get in my way and inhibit my movement. Pockets are an asset, but only if they are accessible and can be closed securely, otherwise, they are a hazard. Items can fall out, or my grips can become trapped, sending me lurching over to one side or down to the pavement. And I am not willing to compromise, to slow down or do less, just because my wardrobe can’t handle it. I will look long and hard until I find something that works, in every sense of the word.

I value my mobility, I value quality and I care about my comfort and appearance. But getting it all, requires a little extra time and consideration — especially in fall :).

Pit Stop

My apartment is nice, awesome actually. Clean, simple, bright, with just the right amount of elderly charm. I just love it to bits. My aunt referred to it as ‘Sami Central’ once, in fun, dropping me back home after a family function, and I immediately scooped the name up. It just suits my place so well 🙂

But honestly, a cruder renaming has been occurring covertly. ‘Pit Stop.’ That’s the new name. Or maybe ‘Free Wifi’? Because nine times out of ten anyone who stops by doesn’t actually visit, they just need the bathroom or the internet, or a couch to take a brief respite on between the day’s activities. And I’m a little annoyed. And offended.


The other day I asked my parents if they had time to stop by my place for 45.

“Yes…? Just wondering what for?” was the response. Oh, I don’t know…heaven forbid you might actually want to have a relaxing conversation with your firstborn on her own turf… Or engage in the social activity otherwise known as ‘visiting’?…Sheesh!

Allow me to demonstrate: just you (the visitor), me, my apartment, some tasty edibles, some drinks and a good old conversation. Maybe we do some window-shopping, maybe we go for ice cream. Maybe we watch a movie. But nobody is running around like a headless chicken, this time together is not an afterthought, modes of transportation and schedules are of no consequence, and no one is compelled to utter the word “Sorry” or constantly monitor one’s electronic devices; stress levels are down, and happiness is up.

I firmly believe it can be done.