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Remembering Today

Growing up I would always hear people in my parents generation talk about where they were when President Kennedy was shot or my grandparents talk about when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Tragedy is an odd way to benchmark time and space. Yet, those of my generation are sure to remember this morning just where they stood when airplane one hit and then again as the horror of another and the realization fell upon us all that this was no accident.

Me? Bob and I had just woken up and heard the news on the alarm clock radio about the first plane. We were saddened hearing about such a tragic accident but continued to get our adorable little blond haired Kindergartener ready for school while getting the cute little 3 year old out of his crib. By the time we got downstairs for breakfast in our tiny little starter home, we knew it was not an accident. I can’t remember why but Bob continued to take Connor to St. Francis for school and headed to work at  a bank in downtown Phoenix. They were on the freeway 20 mins before I was frantically calling them to come home. Everything was closing. Everyone was being advised to stay home. Everything was wrong.

Photo credit: CNNFast-forward to when Connor was a Freshman.  His history teacher lamented at Parent-Teacher night how his was the first class that did not remember where they were when the airplanes hit. I hadn’t thought of that, but how true. They were the first to not remember a world pre-9/11. I certainly remember where he was and how panicked I was to get him home. I remember the fear instilled in my heart that day. An innocence of a generation lost who had not yet seen a foreign attack on American soil.

His teachers truth made me oddly happy. I am happy my boys were just 3 & 5 on that horrible day. I am glad they don’t remember. As I said before, tragedy is an odd way to benchmark time and space and I feel blessed that they have yet to truly understand that lesson.

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Getting Rid Of Kiara

I tried. I really tried. But I just can’t keep Kiara. It’s me. Not her. Even if she does steal my yogurt cups. She swears she doesn’t but I think we can all see what is happening here…

Leonberger Puppy With Yogurt on Her FaceBut that really isn’t why.

It’s just that Kiara does not suit her.

Yes, I am renaming her.

What did you think I was talking about?

We tried calling her that for 4 weeks. I never liked the name but the kids really wanted it.

I was at an event the other night for Goose Island Beer and we were painting this…

Sophie Beer Painting #goosecoAnd I made the comment “SOPHIE! I don’t know why I didn’t think of that for Kiara. It’s perfect” But of course….too late. Which I don’t think was the point at all of the PR event but hey, now they have a good story.

I came home and oddly enough Bob was talking about Kiara and made the off the wall comment that he really didn’t like her name. I casually said “You know? I thought the same thing today and actually found the perfect name.” He agreed! I thought we must be crazy.

We asked the boys who so wanted the name Kiara and BOTH of them said they liked Sophie for her much better. “It just fits her mom. Change it” they said.

So we tested calling her by Kiara and she really doesn’t know her name. She came no matter what word I called her as long as I said it my happy, sing song voice.

I asked on Facebook to see if people thought it was crazy. Most thought it was perfectly sane.

So we did it. We amended her name to Sophie Kiara Baca and we will call her Sophie. Which fits very nicely with Floyd’s new amended name of Floydrick Eugene Reginald.

I know, I am crazy…

 

 

 

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If You Don’t Have a Disability in Your Everyday Life, You Don’t Get To Have One In Line at Disney

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Wheelchair users love Disney Parks. They are one of the few places where being ‘special’ pays off. Despite spending the majority of your time looking for accessible entrances, staring at people’s butts in crowds, and trying to smile politely when people run into you because they didn’t see you ‘down there’, there is a major perk to being a chair user.

You get to skip most of the lines.

That’s right, when there is a 90 minute wait for Toy Story Mania, wheelchair users roll happily past to a private loading area where they usually get on in less than 10 minutes. Want to know an even bigger secret? If there are no other chair users in line, Cast Members have been known to let you ride over and over to your hearts content.

Why?

The answer usually comes down to logistics and a little bit of sympathy. Most ride vehicles have to come to a complete stop and it takes quite a bit of extra time for a wheelchair user to transfer themselves. The process isn’t pretty and usually involves having a family member lift them into and off of the vehicle or completely strapping down the wheelchair. Instead of stopping the ride each time a chair user wants to load, making everyone in line miserable, they have a separate loading area. Once loaded they send the car into the regular track line, limiting any down time to the ride and the typical passenger experience. Most Cast Members who see what a family goes through to get their loved one on the ride are kind enough, if they can, to let them get a few chances at it while they are on.

I made this video at Disneyland a few years ago if you want to see how this separate loading area works.

While we know it really isn’t done for the pure benefit of the chair user, most of us families consider it a perk. Hey, we don’t get many so we will take it.

dog in line at disneyExcept it isn’t so much anymore. Everyone and their dog (literally) have figured out this one small benefit we had. And they want in on it, all but ruining one of the few things we had to brag about. Year after year we have experienced longer and longer lines in the wheelchair entrance. You would think there was an epidemic of people becoming chair users. But no, because its seems the second these people get out of line they are miraculously healed as they run to push their rented wheelchair to the next attraction.

It happens all the time.

And frankly, it ticks me off.

And it ticks me off even more when the cast members working the lines don’t do anything about it.

But what ticks me off the most is that they can’t do anything about it. Due to the ADA and the age of political correctness we live in, they literally have to accommodate anyone claiming to need it without questioning them and with a smile on their face. They may not be able to cry bullcrap to this but I can. And I do.

It’s complete and utter bull.

stroller in wheelchair line at DisneyWe got in line at Kilimanjaro Safari in Animal Kingdom with a family of 5 in front of us. My mouth hit the floor when she argued with the Cast Member that she had to have the wheelchair car for her stroller because she didn’t want to wake her baby up. She was quite upset to find out that while the safari cars can lock a wheelchair in safely, the baby would have to be held on the ride. The poor Cast Member gracefully listened to all her whining while trying to explain that she wished she could help but it just wasn’t safe for the baby. The way she went on I expected the baby to have all kinds of tubes and tanks attached to it. Nope. From all accounts it was a typical, healthy baby. Why does this woman have a guest assistance pass in the first place?

You can’t even come up with a scenario like an invisible disability for that one. The 2 month old could have cared less about the safari ride. Why isn’t one of those parents taking the older kids through the regular line if the baby needed a nap? I’d love to know what they said at Guest Relations to get it. The sad fact is that Guest Relations can’t even ask why people need them anymore. They can ask what accommodations they need but can’t ask why. I long for the days when you needed a doctors note to get one of these. The note didn’t have to explain why and violate your privacy. But it was an added step that made it a little more difficult for people to game the system.

I understand that there are plenty of people that invisible disabilities that need shorter lines, or cooler places to wait. I have Lupus. Most people seeing me in the parks probably would never guess. Kids with autism and plenty of other things need accommodations. Carter is autistic as well. We get this. We also get that people book their trips a year out and someone breaks their leg 2 weeks before the non refundable trip. I am not talking about any of that.

What I am talking about are the people that deliberately game the system and the fact that nothing can be done about it in the name of political correctness.

It’s wrong. It’s insulting. And it’s bologna.

If you don’t have a disability in your everyday life, you don’t get to suddenly develop one in line at Disney. Unless your disability is being an inconsiderate jerk. In that case you probably are afflicted in your everyday life and just don’t realize it.

PS–don’t ask me what was up with the dog. All I know is that the “service dog” was in the wheelchair line and then got on the ride in his little purse. I wonder what his high score was?

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Fairy Gardens | How I Love Them

Fairy gardens make me happy. There I said it. They are silly and fun and girlish and I just love them! Lately I have had some friends have some awful things happen in their lives. I feel surrounded by sadness and I just want to share some pictures of the fairy gardens they had last year at Tagawa Gardens because well, they just make me smile. It’s blizzardy and blustery here in Colorado today and we could all use a light dusting of fairy dust!

fairy garden sign

fairy garden with bridge

fairy garden chairs

fairy garden windmill

fairy garden castle

For all my friends having darkness in their lives I hope for you some fairy magic comes soon….

fairy quote

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No Mas Silence!

It’s funny. I just wrote the title of this post while sitting in the living room with the family and I had to get up and leave to retreat to the silence of my room, as I write about No Mas Silence.

I need the quiet retreat because I need to really think about how I want to frame my words explaining why I am getting louder.

To put it simply, I have finally found my voice.

After years (14 now to be exact) of trying to find my voice online and letting plenty of other people do it for me, I finally said No Mas late last year.

no mas silence badge from momofftrack

No Mas to caring if I lose campaigns because companies don’t like my language, or my politics, or heaven forbid, ME. No mas to caring if people unfriend me on facebook because I support the 2nd Amendment. No mas to caring how many online friends or followers or likers I have.

Maybe 40 finally caught up with me. Or maybe my beliefs became more important than my “popularity”. Or maybe I just realized that after 14 years at this, my internet life really is a “jobby” (a hobby meets job). And a jobby is not worth the loss of my true voice.

Whatever it was that pushed me over the edge, I am grateful. In the last few months you may have noticed I type more like I talk (which is really like a salty sailor or dirty truck driver), I am more inclined to show my Libertarian (note that is SO not the same thing as I Liberal if you were unsure) side, or just plain reveal my snarky-ness more. I am getting more involved in politics and losing lots of “friends” over it. And I am totally, 100% OK with that. If you don’t like me because I like guns or I am one of those nutter preppers, trust me, there isn’t a whole lot we were going to agree on anyway. My real friends are OK with us agreeing to disagree and respecting one anothers values and value as human beings.  I remain, above all, adamantly respectful of the liberty all Americans have in using their voice.

And you know what is funny? As soon as I walked away from letting other people tell me what my voice should be, I started getting more and more business thrown my way. In fact, I am busier turning down more campaigns now than I ever was accepting them. And that feels really, really awesome. Because I only take what truly speaks to me….

Like this No Mas campaign. A campaign that celebrates the freedom of expression. MY freedom of expression. YOUR freedom of expression. Our civil right and responsibility to exercise the freedom of speech we are guaranteed by our Founding Fathers. THIS is the kind of campaign that aligns with who I want to be. Someone who isn’t afraid to speak up, share my self in a real way and listen to your voice as well. I firmly believe that we cannot grow as a friends, a community, a nation, and planet if we all don’t start to do two things:

Speak and Listen Equally.

So, over the next few weeks while I am working with No Mas please look for stories I will share on twitter and facebook and G+ about people that are being imprisoned, threatened or even killed for expressing themselves around the world. For this is something I think we need to guard against here in our own country and channel our collective voice to push for the freedom of these victims in others.

Sometimes my No Mas badge maybe silly. Sometimes it maybe snarky. Sometimes I may be serious. But at no times will my No Mas badge be Silent from this point on. There are just way too many things to talk about.

no mas blank badge

So, what about you? What are you saying No Mas to? It can be as silly or as serious as you want. Go make your own badge, share it wherever you want. But please let me know in the comments what it is! I’m so nosy like that!

 

FTC Disclosure: Thanks to Participant Media for sponsoring today’s discussion! I appreciate you paying me to blab on and on and on like this.

 

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