Prepping for my Life

My mind has been in a state of large curd cottage cheese.

I’ve been more concerned with politics than I want to be. The US government is in turmoil, people are being forced to work with the promise of pay sometime in the future, and I’m looking for a new job.

Sometimes it’s really, really, hard to stay upbeat and optimistic, but I stay busy, creating. Currently I’m creating one-of-a-kind blank greeting cards (see above) that are waiting to find new homes, as well as other collages and art items. And I have an idea for which I’m developing an actual business plan.

As always, my art is available for sale, and reproduction rights are also available. I have a large portfolio of photographs as well as the collage cards, and I recently did a custom book cover for “Duel Visions” which will be published in February.

My blog, “Just Visiting,” is up and running again and you’ll see new content with links to other websites — we’ll be seeing more art and crafts galleries, and interviewing the creators, as well as keeping an eye on the physical accessibility of these places. Even though I got my second hip replaced in June, I still have difficulty walking, and so I’m always on the lookout for ease of access.

Please let me know what you’d like to see! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!

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Just Visiting: Old Town Albuquerque

I had my right side Total Hip Replacement surgery on August 30, 2016. It’s amazing, this absence of pain. It, the pain, becomes such an integral part of existance that when you wake up from anesthesia and it’s gone, you’re momentarily confused.

Nevertheless, it’s awesome.

Except for the restrictions.

No bending. No bending while standing, no bending while sitting, so bending past 90 degrees. That means you use a three foot shoe horn to put on your shoes, and get someone else to tie them if there are laces, or you work out something else. You use a special contraption to put on your socks. You do not bend over to wash your feet and legs when you’ve been given permission to shower. No sleeping on your surgery side, and if you sleep on the other side, put a pillow between your legs.

And no driving.

Anyone who knows me, knows “no driving” and “MzSusanB” are mutually exclusive terms but I followed doctor’s orders.

Dr. Surgeon cleared me to drive again three weeks after surgery, on a Tuesday. The next morning I was on the road. First I wanted to see my mother in Atlanta, then I wanted to go to Myrtle Beach. Then, on the road to Myrtle Beach, I turned around and headed for Sedona, and ended up in Albuquerque.

No longer tied to my wheelchair, I was using a two wheeled walker to get around, so accessibility was still needed. Old Town ABQ is not for the faint of heart, as the sidewalks are brick, so the going is bumpy. The old buildings that make up the square often have narrow doorways, and the shops themselves are difficult to negotiate because they’re small and have steps in awkward places.

If you use a manual or motorized wheelchair or scooter, use caution.

But the air is clear and the colors vivid and I fell in love with the area.

 

 

 

Just Visiting: Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL

Life, and the Art of Accessibility

My March 12, 2016, visit to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois, was completely accidental.

I had tickets to see the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition “Van Gogh’s Bedroom.” The person I was originally going to go with pooped out on me, and so I asked Melody L. to come along with; both of us forgot that March 12 for this year was St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Consequently, when we tried to go to the Institute, streets were closed, information was nil, and we ended up at the Aquarium.

Yes, the Aquarium was jammed with post-parade families; yes, the admission price for the Aquarium and a couple of shows was enough to make me hyperventilate and wonder if I could skip a car payment; and yes, the Aquarium is pretty impressive overall.

Elevators were easy to find, halls were smooth and clean, with no bumps to surprise a wheelchair roll; I was free to look at the exhibits as closely as I could. I never felt I might lose control of my chair while exploring the venue.

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Melody and I bought admission to two shows to view while we were there — one was about monster dinosaurs, the other, the porpoise/beluga whale aquatic show.

Each of these venues had wheelchair accessible seating on a higher floor, which gave a feeling of separation from the rest of the audience.

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Even with a camera with a decent lens, it was difficult to really see the interaction between the handlers and the animals.

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Oftentimes, it feels like accessibility in venues is an afterthought — someone said, “Doh! We need to include disabled seating!” —  and so some regular seats are torn out and wheelchair access is miraculously born.

Complying with the letter of the law (the Americans with Disabilities Act) is not always understanding the spirit of the law, and the spirit of the law is to make it easier to allow differently-abled persons to enjoy the same experiences and sensations as those without challenges enjoy — such as splash zones and close-up views of porpoises and beluga whales.

Overall, while there are some minor accessibility issues at the Shedd Aquarium, I feel it is a fun and easy-to-maneuver venue, and well worth visiting.

 

 

 

 

Back to Basics

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“Basic” can be defined as “forming an essential foundation or starting point….”

I spent yesterday and part of today reworking my resume for a staffing service, and I was hung up on how they wanted me to fill out the “Career Profile.”

In six brief bullet points, they wanted me to say what I do, not who I am.

I found it difficult because I discovered that I am adjectives, I am -able words: Dependable, reliable, capable.

Is that really what I am? Adjectives?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Visiting: St. Louis Gateway Arch

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Yesterday, I spent ninety minutes on the phone catching up with an old high school friend. He’s traveled to every continent on this planet except Antarctica, and will likely do that at some point, I’m sure. He links to travel blogs and challenged me to take a shot of the Arch  that hadn’t been done before.

Since “Just Visiting” is getting back on track as an actual road-trip blog, it’s only fitting and I accepted.

Now, I have pictures that my dad took of me at the Arch in 1968, when it had barely been open a year. I was about five. When I moved to St. Louis in 1988 or 1989, I didn’t drive and didn’t know anyone with a car. I got to know the Arch grounds and the surrounding downtown neighborhood  intimately. I’ve walked it. I’ve explored it. I’ve gotten drunk on the Landing and played slots when the Admiral was a casino.

I am here to tell you that I don’t believe there is a shot of the Arch that hasn’t been taken before. Just Google-image-search “St. Louis Gateway Arch.” Your return will get a gazillion images, including the architect’s drawings and crayon drawings. Do the same search on Flickr, and you’ll find more.

Also, there is a dearth of public observation decks in this town, unless you’re connected or can rent a riverfront hotel room for a couple of hours. In going through older photos I’ve taken of the Arch, I noticed that our urban planners didn’t give us any lovely, unobstructed views of the national monument, thereby ratcheting the need for creative camera angles even higher. (In St. Louis, “planners” is a very loosely defined word.)

But it’s all good.

You learn to work with it.

The thing about the Arch is that, obstructed or unobstructed, morning or night, winter or summer, it’s a gorgeous piece of engineering.

Its stainless steel exterior plays with light – no two mornings are ever alike, nor evenings, because of the changing nature of sunrises and sunsets. I’ve seen foggy mornings where half of the structure is lost in mist, and at 630 feet tall, that’s pretty impressive. If you watch sporting events originating from St. Louis, like baseball or football, you’ve likely seen local “beauty shots” incorporating it. Standing beneath it and staring straight up to its apex can almost as exhilarating as riding up the capsule-like elevator to the top, and feeling the whole structure sway slightly in the wind as you look out of the windows at the top.

It’s perfectly safe, though, and the view is spectacular. Don’t forget to ask the docent how they change the red airplane warning light outside on top!

For more information about the Arch, hours, admission charge to the top, link here.  The Arch, its grounds, and the Jefferson Expansion Memorial (which includes the History Museum in Forest Park), are administered and curated by the National Park Service.

(All photos by me, except the Feb 15 1968 set, which were taken by my dad.)

Wishing Upon A Star

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Today’s is the last motivational/inspirational photo I’ll be posting here.

I’ve opened a storefront on Fiverr.com, wherein I will send daily photos to your inbox for $5 for 7days (that’s only 71cents a day!!).

You’ve seen the quality of my images; if you’ve enjoyed them, I ask for your support by subscribing or gifting a subscription to someone.

I’m not collecting email addresses, I’m not going to spam you, everything is handled through Fiverr.com whose site takes credit cards and PayPal.

For those choose not to subscribe, thank you for allowing me to share my images with you these last few weeks!

I’ve created a new blog around the corner to introduce the Fiverr storefront and show samples of the work.