Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Great Company

Our DNC volunteer guests left early on Wednesday morning to head home after four days of political life/festivities. I feel incredibly lucky to know Carrie and Jonas! I love Carrie to death, and I wish she lived closer - she's one of those people I just wanna be around - partially because I don't know what she's gonna do next! This Obama Mama/Baby pair is hilarious! Luckily, Carrie was into our 80's nights with PUNKY BREWSTER, 3's Company and the Golden Girls.

We have great company this weekend - Vanessa and her sweet barely 2 year old boy, Cedric, are hanging out with our brew until Tuesday. Interestingly enough, Vanessa worked as my PCA during most of my pregnancy with Benny, then ~21 months later returned to work for me for most of her pregnancy!



Yesterday we ate with the fish ------ literally -------- at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver! Vanessa had Grilled Mahi Mahi & Shrimp, Dustin and I split the Fish 'N Chips and the three kiddos had Mac N Cheese, of course. Guests eat around a 150,000 gallon aquarium filled with fishy creatures..."Which one's sister/brother am I eating?" It's a great restaurant to take young'ns to, because it's loud enough to not worry much about voice volume, and the fishies are quite entertaining while waiting for grubs. The fish is always extraordinary fresh and tastey too! ;-)

The actual aquarium is fabulous! These are a few video clips...
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There's even a flash flood simulator. Desty and I got SOAKED! She is such a soap star!

video

And Benny, Desty and I got shot by the Big Squirt on our way to the van... video
It was truly a great time for all! THEN I realized how much dinero we spent :-0

Oh man - what have I done?! Seriously - I remain stunned sick at the price of 2.5 hours of food, fun and education!

On Saturday, we went to Boulder's 10th annual Hometown Fair. It was HOT for the mamas and the papa, but the three tots had a great time. Cedric is train-crazy...

video

Play this next video for a surprise.......
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And when Vanessa and Cedric fly out tomorrow, Dustin's sister flies in for a week! Rayna flies out on the 9th of September, and four days later, we are bound for DC!

School for both Benny and I, Music Lessons for Benny, and Swimming for both kids begin this week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Speech Undelivered/Brain-Dump

A Brain-Dump....

My day began by terminating one of my new Personal Care Assistants.

So this afternoon, I was at the Rally to Fix Healthcare Now at the DNC, and as I was being ushered toward the stage's ramp, the head honcho/manager stopped me. It seems I was not on the master schedule. LOL I will spare you what I went through to prepare the darn speech, make arrangements for the kids to stay in Boulder, and just get there and back in time to retrieve the kids. Yes, I am annoyed/exhausted/deflated regarding the disorganization of the rally, but from what I could see and hear from behind the stage, it was really an awesome rally with an unbelievable turnout.


This is a great lead in to try to explain a controversial subject. I am obviously a fairly die-hard ADAPTer. I also support the Colorado Quality Home Care Campaign, work of the Service Employees International Union, and giving our employees the option of organizing. Yes, we must free folks and get community based services and supports. That's a given! But let's take it one step further. When we are in our homes, getting these services...the system is often broken. Agency-based home health care is just terrible, in my honest opinion, at least for the Tammy's of the world. I won't settle for anything less than Consumer-Directed Services.

My disgust with agencies is not for this post; here I reference Consumer-Directed Services. Personal Care Assistants are paid crap for strenuous labor. They have no benefits. They must work long hours to keep bread on the table. They assist us in our daily lives; to be able to live independently. That is worth something! What happens when a PCA gets sick? We can't assist them in return. No health insurance. Now think on this: You have a disability such as mine, you have an PCA that works 30/40 hours a week and you truly value their performance. They get sick. No health insurance. As much as they may love working for you and vice verse, it is certainly not in their best interest to continue. High turnover! No attendants. Constant struggle to keep a workforce. And if employees are paid crap, can you really expect high quality care? NO!

Why in the heck does society not value 'caretakers'???

Some people may think it's wrong to fight for "quality" when a lot of folks can't even get services, or that valuing the workforce will take money away from serving more folks. I simply disagree. People with disabilities who cannot keep PCA's to provide essential services, often end up institutionalized or re-institutionalized, PEOPLES!!! (Like my grammar? ;-)

This issue really frustrates me. One issue does not take away from the other, for goodness sakes. The way I see it, freedom/community choice and quality home care are complimentary, as are freedom/community choice and health care. After all, if we're dead from lack of health care, we do not need home services! EVERY AMERICAN NEEDS QUALITY HEALTH CARE!

If this post is clear as mud, we're in the same boat! Can I have my cake and eat it too.....please? ADAPT is a very strong, wonderful and proud group. But, in the end, I could care less if it's ADAPT's bill or Easter Seal's bill (LOL) that sets our people free! Freedom will reign! Everybody wins!

At one point, several years ago, ADAPT was fighting to close a huuuuuuuge institution in California. SEIU was fighting to keep it open so that the workers would remain employed, from my very limited understanding. I actually remember protesting at SEIU. Our pressure worked, SEIU became supporters. They realize that these nursing home jobs will just be shifted into people's homes, etc. SEIU is all for home care now. The disability community/ADAPT and SEIU have actually created successful partnerships in a couple of states; their systems are better! Generally, however, distrust persists.

Can't we all just move onward and get along?!

----------------------------

Before the Healthcare rally, we went to Atlantis Community, the home of ADAPT's birth, and listened to a quick speech by Kareem Dale, the Obama's National Disability Vote Director.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Breaking News and Cutest pics

BREAKING NEWS:
I am speaking at the
Rally to Fix Healthcare Now

at the
DNC this Wednesday!
AND.....
I got a C+ in Accounting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM THE CHAMPIAN!!!!!!!!
I WILL GRADUATE IN DECEMBER
AND
I NEVER HAVE TO GO BACK TO THAT AWFUL CLASS!!!!!

This weekend we made a round-about trek up to northern Wyoming to visit Grandma Miner. Not an hour out, we were rear-ended by a little girl with a driver's license. After massive spinning by the girl, and swerving by us, everyone was physically unharmed. It was truly a miracle that Dustin was able to keep us on the road, and even moreso that a semi stopped just before hitting the girl. Our lift slashed the front of her already beat-up car, but the lift is basically as it was prior to the incident (this just two days after its nearly monthly $90 tightening). Events such as this renew my gratitude for life, and I am reminded that accidents can happen to anyone. I still worry about the girl...

When Dustin was eight years old, his family hatchback (six people squished inside) hit a semi truck. Family members flew out of the car - there were serious injuries but all survived. I used to be freakish when we'd take road trips - I lightened up when my friend lent(gave?!?) me this magnificant HoMedics Squish Massaging Neck Pillow- my special travel lover. Okay - I'm freakish again!

We were up there for just one full day, but it was long enough to snap the cutest picture in the world!

Ohh! and the second cutest picture in the world! Benny and Desty came home to a huge sandy surprise! While the kids were away, Lowell and a friend built Benny a 5X5 homade sandbox as a belated birthday gift...
It's portable and perfect for our dirt/weed/compost corner behind the shed. They played 'til bed, and quickly got dressed this morning to continue the fun.
Our kids are VERY loved! ;-)

We are hosting the coooolest DNC volunteers in our home this week! Thanks, Holly, for leading them to us! A liberated mama and her 5-month-old future politician are helping Obama's campaign - Mamas & Babies for Obama! LOL The little guy is so cute! And, I can't help but mention, this fabulous duo is LDS! Verrrrrry cool stuff!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fundraising Marathon

***If you were referred to this blog by Boulder ADAPT activists, WELCOME! You may want to check out these previous posts: Boulder ADAPT, Awesome Footage and Creedo for Support.


THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!***


WHATTA WEEK!!!!!!!! Boulder ADAPT has been doing a fundraising marathon since last Friday. Seven straight days of soliciting to the generous patrons of our local grocery store. Seven days, or 14 hours to be precise! We raised $902.00 all together and easily educated over 1,000 people. The engaging discussions made up for the moments of discomfort. We live in a truly wonderful community!


Dustin catches folks interest with his natural salesmanship and his passion for the cause



I choose a different approach since I talk pretty slow..."Hi! How are you today?! Have a great day!" and if they gave me a few seconds, "We are trying to raise money to go to Washington DC........". If they took info, I was thrilled!

Other Boulder ADAPTers helped throughout the week, making this fundraising marathon a huge success!

As of today, THE BURTON's WILL BE AT THE ADAPT ACTION IN SEPTEMBER! We purchased the airfare tickets early this morning for just $242 per ticket - not too bad! Now, all we hafta do is raise enough for the second half of the room fee - ~$700 more to go! Just shoot me!!! ;-) Nah, it shouldn't be that hard, as we have others raising $ too.


Now for a laugh......Okay, the fundraiser definitely took a toll on my mind! Here are my ideas for our next fundraiser.

You Decide!

Fundraising Idea #1: I hear that if you donate $5 to the Hillary campaign, you can be entered in a drawing to win a dinner with her, because she "wants to hear your ideas about America!" We can make it work for us.........Donate $10 to Boulder ADAPT, and a member will come to your house for a home-cooked meal that you prepare, because we want to hear your ideas about disability related issues (and we're tired of mac 'n cheese!)

Fundraising Idea #2: Selling "Alien Sighting" photos for $15/each. Get 'em before the government confiscates them!



My next post will be on a completely different subject, rest assured!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Kindred Spirits and Awesome Footage

As you may recall from my "A Blogger's World" post, I'm on this Boulder Mommy's Listserv that goes out to 1200+ moms. I sent out an announcement for our grocery store table fundraiser - that is definitely not what is soooo great! The greatness lies in this reply from a mom named Mari Dart, and that several hundred+ people are going to read it, and think "Wow! This is a real issue!"

Read below...
Thank you for posting this!
Most people don't know that there are 51 million Americans with disabilities today - and that number grows everyday.
While many people are vaguely familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act
(passed in 1989), they don't know that it was the first legislation of it's kind in the history of the world; that it freed and empowered MORE people than the original civil rights legislation of the early 60's; that it kicked off world wide awareness and passage of laws to empower people with disabilities, that continues to this day.
It has been argued that it is perhaps the most important civil rights legislation in the 21st century. But it has been under attack from the far right and people who do not understand nor have read the language of the act. It's protections have been chipped away at steadily for the last 15 years.
ADAPT and other disability rights groups are at the forefront of this fight. They are fearless, tireless and vital soldiers in the quest for justice and acceptance.
The odds are that someone in your family either is or will be disabled in the course of your lifetime. This is NOT someone elses issue, it belongs to and effects every
single one of us.
Your support is deeply appreciated and DOES make a difference.
She then sent me a link, which led me to discover that she is Mari Dart, niece of "Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act", the great Justin Dart.

Words fail to describe my feelings at this point.
We now believe we are kindred spirits, and I'm looking forward to sharing stories, and love, with Mari.

So ENJOY some awsome footage of last Saturday's Fun Run

Find more videos like this on EndeavorFreedomTV

Courtesy of the one and only, Tim Wheat!

The pic below was taken in April, at ADAPT's 25th Anniversary Celebration in DC, where, among other things, we ran in a national fun run. This is my favorite pic!

I also really like this one!


If we can go, September's action will be Desty's induction into the ADAPT fold!


AND FINALLY....A DIGITAL ANSWER TO THE QUESTION...

"WHY????"


Find more videos like this on EndeavorFreedomTV

Again, courtesy of the one and only, Tim Wheat!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Before/After Preschool and.....the VOTE!

Benny went to Sunflower Preschool this morning looking like this:
And 4 hours later when I picked him up, he was a.....

SCAAAREY ROARING LION!
HOLY LION!!! YAY FOR SUNFLOWER PRESCHOOL!!! (applause please!) Today wasn't even his day to attend but we have a scheduling conflict on Friday, so today was his lucky day!

-------------------------------------------------
Today was Primary Election Day for Colorado. Introducing...........
The Three Amigos VOTERS


Dustin, Lowell and I celebrate voting!

DID YOU????

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Blogger's World! and Benny Moment

Typically, I would not post twice in one day, however, I CANNOT CONTAIN MYSELF!

Many good things have come about from The Life and Times of a Mom On WheelZ! I have reconnected with many old friends, which means a great deal to me. We have printed each post and created journals for the kids. Many people have thanked me, as through this blog friends are able to learn so much about me and us, that they'd otherwise never know. I love those e-mails! It means that this blog means something to someone more than myself, and that it's working...People are being touched, entertained, and maybe even a little bit enlightened. That is cool; that was my point in creating this silly blog.

One of my favorite things about this blog is this: My readership is truly ecclectic - friends and readers from every point on the continuum read and comment. They, at either end, may not agree with everything they read, sometimes I will get under their skin, but hopefully they will come back again and have a completely different experience!

THAT is the sign of a great blog, in my opinion. So far, so good.

Let me tell you a couple other cool cyber-related things that have happened in my life this week...

I'm on this Boulder Mommy listserv, and to make a verrrrrrry long story short, I was sick of mommy's being judgemental of other mommy's, and posted about my sins as an imperfect mommy, and called for an end to, basically, mommy elitism. My "call" ain't gonna change crap with all the estrogen permeating thru the life of this group; in fact, it was simply my estrogen working at it's best! Whatever you wanna call it, my post drew several good responses from other "sinful mommies", and perhaps I even made one or two imperfect mommy friends! I may start a listserv, Boulder's Sinful Moms, for those of us that do two or more of the following:


  1. Make kids sleep in their own bed

  2. Let kids have binkies

  3. Let kids watch *some* TV shows

  4. Do not purposefully sicken kids with Chicken Pox

  5. Vaccinate kids

  6. Let kids cry it out

  7. Have kids that have tantrums (LOL No joke!)

  8. Breastfed for 1 year or less

  9. Use store-bought diapers

  10. Dress kids in standard fabric clothing, and feed kids with standard kid diningware

  11. Take kids to fastfood Playlands

  12. Use strollers

  13. Use bouncy-seats, swings, etc.

  14. Don't eat all organic

  15. Work

  16. Sneak to Wally World once in awhile to save dough

  17. Get tired

  18. Need breaks and leave kids with sitters or family

I'm sure the list could go on. Note my sarcasm on the issue. No, I actually get lots of good ideas, recommendations, etc., from the Boulder Mommy listserv - I just hate the "my way is supreme, and I'm a better mom than you" attitudes. LOL My original point being I seemed to reach out to, and in the end after more communication, educate folks by posting.

And today I received this e-mail:

Tammy,


I am a member of a kids group called Heights Kids Group in Houston, TX. I recently posted a comment on the HKG website asking if there was anyone out there who was parenting with a physical disability. The only response came from someone who reads your blog. She gave me your email and the link to your husband's book recommendations on Amazon. I am interested in reading your blog. Can you send me the link?


Thank you.



Thank you to all my readers for your support!

As a final thought...I am short and fat (and trying to be proud of it!) When I sit on my knees at home - I'm kinda like a big beach ball ;-) Benny was hugging me, sitting in my lap today, and out of nowhere, he says, "Mommy, you are just the right size!" I asked, "What?!" and he said it again. I thanked my boy, and asked him to go tell his Daddy!!! LOLOL

Last Week As Seen On BlogSpot

Burton News Flashes:

1) Benny started Sunflower Preschool Camp and loves it! He goes M, W and F from 8:30a.m. - 12:30p.m. for one more week to learn the ropes, takes a two week break, and then officially starts at Sunflower Preschool on September 2nd, and goes Monday - Friday, same time. His favorite activities so far consist of working (transferring water and sand from pales, etc and making ditches) in the GIANT SANDBOX, working at the water tables, playing in the wading pool and running through the sprinkler, building huge cities with real wooden blocks with the other boys, painting and finding large plastics insects all over the outdoor classroom and inquiring, "WHAT IS THIS??" He went on his first fieldtrip to the park on Friday and loved it. Monday was hard on his Mama - I was just dying to pick him up by 11:30, but I was good and waited! ;-)

2) I hired not one, but two of the candidates I had interviewed the week before to be my Personal Care Assistants! Amy started on Monday, and I think she'll be fabulous; Ashley, I believe will start regularly the Saturday after next, and I'm sure she'll be wonderful to have around - yo quiero mucho! Amy was indoctrinated in disability rights straight away, as we attended a union organizing meeting for attendants/PCA's on Wednesday (a complex, highly controversial blog entirely of it's own!)

3) Dustin became an Amazon Marketplace seller, donating proceeds from "Zoom!" and "A Rainbow of Friends" to Boulder ADAPT. If you want copies, he'll give 'em to you cheaper!

4) We bought (actually paid for by someone else!) a very snazzy and durable Bob double jogging stroller - a definite highlight of our week! It's light enough for me to handle very short distances, when needed. Before moving here, we bought a used dual Gozo stroller, and it got sooo much use, the metal frame broke in June. I have been the jogging stroller ever since!

5) Our FUN RUN was fuuuuuuuuuun! Our family combined ran/rolled 14 laps for Freedom! I think members have raised ~$500.00 in two days, and we expect more donations in the mail soon. We have ~1/3 the money needed for the September action in DC, but we miiiiiiiight actually make it! YAAAY!!!! I'll know more next weekend! I'm about to teach Desty to pout and say "but I'm only 1 and a half!" for free airfare! LOLOL She's saying "I'm two and three quarters!"

6) Do I really wanna graduate?

Better Than Late Night Entertainment
video

Yes, we love to match!

Nature Anyone?
video

Friday, August 8, 2008

Boulder ADAPT

As I prepare to do a last minute fundraising push for Boulder ADAPT and the September 13th - 18th action in Washington DC, I am doing some self-reflection as to why I want to go next month, and why our family should go.

I hate fundraising! This is a rather recent discovery LOL since returning to Boulder ADAPT. In Utah, it was covered by ADAPT Utah's parent organization, DRAC. In Montana, I only had to raise enough for one room, and one flight, and living in a smaller community, it was easier to get small businesses to chip in. I had more time. I had more energy. I was an ADAPT newbie, the Purple Pistol, a frontliner. ROOOAAAR!!! My ADAPT birth took place right here in Boulder Colorado ten years ago. At the time, Boulder ADAPT had the financial support of it's then parent organization, CPWD. Boy, those were my wild days! Now we are our own 501(c)3, I'm the treasurer and seem to lead the fundraising efforts. I hate fundraising! ;-)

I have ~15 friends that I routinely hit up. The rest of you either are fundraising for ADAPT yourselves, or poorer than dirt like us or even moreso! I'm a mom, most of my social life is virtual nowadays. There's not much new blood to suck! So, we set up tables in front of grocery stores for two hours at a time, and a good day we make $125. Or we do mass mailings and get $500 profit. Our biggest fundraiser is a national ADAPT calendar, which someone else in our group so graciously produces. When we, 7/10 or so of Boulder ADAPT, go to national actions we need 2 rooms ($1000/room), and seven roundtrip tickets. You do the math! I hate fundraising! ;-)

But Dustin and I are passionate about the cause - that freedom is a right for those not convicted of a crime. That community choice (as opposed to nursing homes) should be an option everywhere in this country, to all the people of the land. That America needs accessible, affordable, integrated housing. Yah, yah, you've all heard this before LOL!!!

Our family may not be able to go this time -I haven't had the time or energy to invest, and we all will live. But it'll be like missing a family reunion, but better because we all choose freedom, and to fight for our rights!

Our last minute fundraising push is a fun run tomorrow morning. If I didn't hit you up for it this week and you want me to, please let me know! Small flat donation ($5, $10) are great - they add up!!

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What/Who is Boulder ADAPT?
Boulder ADAPT is committed to the complete integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of community life. A monetary contribution to Boulder ADAPT is not charity; it goes exclusively to further education efforts to see systematic changes in our society for people with disabilities.

For nearly a decade, Boulder ADAPT has worked to change the institutional bias of Medicaid. Our federal long-term care policy requires institutions, while support for people with disabilities in our own homes is a Medicaid optional service. We have made much headway in changing the system, but the bias still remains in the federal program.

Reasonable housing options are also necessary to accomplish our goal of community integration. Obviously, to get people with disabilities out of nursing homes and institutions they need to have accessible, affordable places to live. In this, the need to end the institutional bias, and the need for accessible, affordable, integrated housing go hand-in-hand.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990, and today people with disabilities are still being excluded from businesses, employment and programs due to lack of access. Much of Boulder ADAPT’s local work is concentrated on accessibility; Access is a Civil Right!

Active in our Community
In 2007 and 2008, Boulder ADAPT members . . .

Worked with Boulder Parks & Recreation to understand the need for Accessible Playgrounds, and embrace their responsibility for providing recreation for all families.

Demanded and received physical access into Parenting Place.

Requested the removal of the outdated and unnecessary “handicapped” descriptor in reference to people with disabilities.

Presented a workshop on Disability Rights as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Conducted an accessibility survey for Gunbarrel/ Twin Lakes area and presented our findings to Boulder County Commissioners.

Testified before the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care.

Supported a mother with a disability during a custody hearing in Boulder.

Spoke before Boulder City Council regarding the lack of snow removal and the barriers this presents to citizens wishing to participate in our community.

Boulder ADAPT demonstrated once in Chicago and three separate times in Washington DC.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Creedo for Support

I watched this video for the first time when I was living in Billings, MT nearly ten years ago. I was ~ two years being into the official disability rights movement. I had all sorts of feelings, but didn't know how to express them. LOLOL Now I do! ;-)

After so many years, I have found this, and you need to watch/listen to it! Then comment and tell me what you think! It may even get under some skin!


Find more videos like this on EndeavorFreedomTV