Scooting!

Thank you to everyone that supported my scooter fundraiser, whether that was financially, socially (sharing), or emotionally.  As I’m from a good ol’ American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” family, it was really hard to even start the thing.  Add to that the frustrating level of ableism and sizeism, both internal and external, and it made me a ball of nerves for a long time.  I’ll start with the TL;DR….it’s on its way, even though we didn’t hit the goal!

Thanks to some awesome networking like Atchka from Fierce Fatties (where I guest blog about once a month), I was able to raise a significant amount of money…but we still weren’t able to get to the amount I needed to get the right scooter from my needs without doing a media push (which I thought about, but with the combination of old health crap, new health crap, a new semester that includes teaching by myself for the first time, there was just no way that I was going to have the spoons to make that happen properly.

The next big thanks to Marilyn Wann (the author of the gateway-to-fat-acceptance book Fat!So?), who knew about my fundraiser to get a scooter to have a better quality of life and to move through the world on my terms.  She heard of someone selling their couple year old TravelScoot so they could upgrade to the deluxe model.  The price point was under what I raised which will let me buy the specific attachments I need that aren’t coming with (like the baskets, the travel case, et al).  While part of me is a bit nervous about buying this used, I’ve asked the right questions and am pleased that the scooter is on its way from California.  If all goes well, it will be here in time for the second week of the semester and will finally allow me to get around campus like a proper doctoral student.

I’m leaving the GoFundMe up if people still want to contribute.  Mechanical things sometimes need repairs, and while I imagine that I’ll learn how to do some of the repairs myself (like with my manual wheelchair *glares at Delta Airlines’ baggage people*).  I’m also leaving it up because my next medical expense is getting a supportive seat back on my manual chair (as it is my preference to use my own strength to get around whenever possible, like academic conferences or shopping at the grocery store).  Anything helps as my health insurance as a doctoral student is barely helpful *glares at all the medical bills that I’m trying to make payment arrangements on*

Thank you all again!

❤ Casey

Geek on Wheels: CONvergence part 3

As usual, life got in the way of blogging (partially getting my incomplete coursework closer to done and prepping for my first solo teaching gig). I’m going to post pictures from the last leg of the trip in Duluth, MN (where I got my bachelor’s degree) and do a little commenting on them….then I’ll hopefully be able to do the next Geek on Wheels post on Gen Con!

Lake Superior on a sunny day. A few puffy clouds, a boat in the blue-grey water
Lake Superior on a sunny day

2014-07-07 14.25.49 HDR 2014-07-07 14.31.13 HDR

The lighthouse at Canal Park on the left, the aerial lift bridge on the right.  Canal Park itself is mostly accessible with lovely flat places to roll and gaze at the lake.  The lighthouse didn’t have a ramp (that many stairs was not happening with my pain level that day), but I still got a good view of the bridge.

 

2014-07-07 15.43.30

Class of 2006 signature wall at my alma mater.  It started as a tradition in 2004, the year I (re)started my bachelor’s degree journey.  I don’t think 2006 me would believe that I was living in North Carolina, married with two cats, with the master’s degree I have or the PhD journey I’m on (I was trying to get into health psychology with a focus on psychoneuroendocrinology…a fancy way of saying how hormones impact the brain & behavior).

 

For People who Hate Exercise

This is a great adjunct to the post I recently wrote for Fierce Freethinking Fatties! Here’s the post for anyone that wants to read: http://fiercefatties.com/2014/07/30/fatties-arent-supposed-to-enjoy-physical-activity/

First and foremost let me tell you that it is completely within your rights to hate exercise.   It is also completely within your rights not to do any exercise at all.  You get to be the boss of you.  That means you are under no moral or social obligation to exercise or even think positively about it.

Personally, I’ve grown to love exercise and love what it does for me.  And I love to teach other people to exercise and to share my love for exercise with folks.  Some people will never love exercise or even like it.  And that’s okay.  But I think sometimes people who think they hate exercise, really only hate one aspect of exercise.  And sometimes (but not always) I have been able to help people move around, over, under or through those barriers to exercise and they find that they do really like exercise after…

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Geek on Wheels: CONvergence part 2

Sitting with legs tucked, RMN gear, & smock holding a lightsaber
May the force be…with the Royal Manticoran Navy? (I was badging and a guy cosplaying a Jedi asked me to hold his lightsaber so he wouldn’t break it in the restroom…I said yes if he would take my picture)

For Part 1 of this adventure, click here.

I made sure to not sign up for any particularly early badging shifts on Saturday so I could attempt to get some sleep (no sleep equals more pain & balance issues).  Unfortunately, extra sleep did not end up equaling a smart and observant Casey as I managed to lose my own badge on the way to a badging shift on the gaming floor (I disconnected it at the volunteer’s table to get my updated volunteer ribbon, then forgot to reattach it)!

As getting my badging hours in was my primary concern, I didn’t go to any of the panels I was hoping to go to…but that meant that I was able to see more of my Minnesota friends, so it paid off in the end.  I also had a chance to badge in several different areas (gaming floor, dealer’s room, consuite, party rooms) which made badging more fun and mentally engaging.  It also had the bonus perk of people saying that there seemed to be Royal Manticoran Navy people volunteering everywhere and con staff.

That evening was the RMN awards ceremony.  The neat part is that last year’s ceremony was what prompted me to finally join the organization after seeing them year after year around the con.  It was really neat to be a part of that, with all of our black, green, and white berets and black shirts or uniform tunics.  Although my partner (who is also my XO) was my only crewmember at the ceremony, we were able to talk with a lot of people that we wouldn’t normally get to hang around with.  We also saw several members that we knew on Facebook get various service awards (although the acoustics were absolutely awful, so we couldn’t understand anything being said…I had to ask my partner if he was having trouble too because I thought I was having a weird med side effect).  Unfortunately, I can’t find many photos of the ceremony as they haven’t surfaced yet.

After the ceremony, the three of us were famished and decided to head to the hotel across the street from the con to eat (it’s become an annual thing as the food is stellar).  The hills and ramps involved are utterly terrifying while riding a wheelchair.  The slopes might be barely legal at least on the ramps, but the pavement has cracks and holes and in some spots isn’t actually flat.

Uneven pavement on a ramp
That’s the top of a steep ramp…it has a 1-2 inch lip and is NOT safe. Had I not made my spot check, I would have fallen face-first.

Here’s another pic to show the slope of the ramp (if you look closely, one of the other ramps is visible in the background…it has a sharp ninety-degree turn at the bottom right before the road).

Picture of a steep concrete ramp with black handrails
Steep ramps of steepness

I jarred my spine several times in this hellish maze of up and down ramps and crappy curb cuts and steep parking lots, but I refused to risk the shuttle this year (last year it didn’t follow the route and got me separated from my people for 45 minutes, then had the shuttle driver try to chew me out for not walking across the street despite my crutch in hand).  I was a bit cranky and in pain, but managed to push through to do my badging shifts.

The night ended with me finally seeing a friend of mine cosplaying Maleficent (for a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser she’s doing) and then hanging out in the RMN party room with my fellow Manticorans.  It ended up being a pretty good night even though my partner and I were volunteering so much that we didn’t see each other much.

Since I’d finished my 25+ volunteer hours plus a long drive in the evening to Duluth, I

During one of my badging shifts, I babysat a deactivated robot (someone's costume so he didn't have to haul it to his room).
During one of my badging shifts (and being silly as usual, I babysat a deactivated robot (someone’s costume so he didn’t have to haul it to his room).

decided to keep Sunday as lazy as possible.  We spent time in the Dealer’s Room (I’ve been staring at a certain leather bodice with a hood for years now…one of these years it will be mine!), the Artists Alley, and ended our convention with the TARDIS Tea Society’s tea party.  I had a last chance to see some of my Twin Cities-based friends, which is always bittersweet but I’m thankful that I have CONvergence available to see so many of them so easily.

Part three up soon…it will likely be mostly pictures of Duluth, Minnesota where I finished my bachelor’s degree.