I was supposed to be drafting a fee petition yesterday but . . . . squirrel!
I haven’t been very good at photo-of-the-day-ing, but here’s a winter photo dump. Mostly dogs. Preview:
In yesterday’s installment of “adventures in remodeling,” we packed up our kitchen. For the next few weeks, we’ll be camping out in the living room, cooking with a single burner and a microwave. In other words, the same way we’ve been cooking for the past 20 years, but in the living room.
This process required us to pack up everything except a small collection of kitchen equipment that we’ll use in our living-room camp-out. I thought it was telling that our first two must-have choices were a martini glass (Tim) and a colander for pasta (me). What we’d want on a desert island.
As I packed up the various drawers of random kitchen equipment, I came across a couple of interesting items that I think I tossed in the boxes coming from my Dad’s house in 1997. I find them funny for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is: my father essentially didn’t cook. He knew how to make his own standard breakfast (two fried eggs over easy; burned* & buttered toast); a couple of standard dinners (hamburgers;** steak; roast chicken****); and vacation food (lobster*****). I don’t think he was unable to cook; he just liked those things and didn’t see any reason to expand his food horizons. When he and I traveled to China in 1981, he survived largely on packaged peanuts.
Anyway, here are some of the tools I inherited from Dad. First, a snicker for your inner 11-year-old:
* Intentionally. And when he ordered bacon in a restaurant, he would go to great pains to insist that it be burned as well.
** Classic divorced dad moment: he wanted to make hamburgers for us; little shits that we were, we*** wanted McDonalds. Dad: “OK, then, if you want a McDonalds hamburger, I’d be happy to step on your burger before I serve it to you.”
*** And by “we” I mean “Bruce.”
**** IIRC, Dad’s recipe called for dowsing the chicken in butter every five minutes while it roasted. No question, that was an excellent roast chicken.
***** Steamed; dipped in butter.
****** This has to do with the temperature of light, not some weird-ass reverse affirmative action.
When I found this in the middle of the kitchen floor this morning, my first thought wasn’t “ew!” but “that will be an excellent photography subject!”
The culprit is undoubtedly Holly, our year-old Golden Retriever, who has proudly retrieved — and often attempted to eat — sticks, mulch, a bird, a plastic box containing mouse poison,* and a four-foot length of plastic piping that was only recently an integral part of our sprinkler system. I guess the fact that she retrieved a tissue-thin wasp’s nest and deposited it in the middle of the kitchen floor shows she can be very delicate — the “soft mouth” so valued by hunters. Given her soft mouth, excellent retrieving skills, and laser-like focus on the squirrels, rabbits, and birds that frequent our backyard, I fear she’s wasting her true talents with indoorspeople such as Tim and me.
* After a quick trip to the vet and a couple of induced pukes, it was determined that she only ingested a couple of shards of plastic, and no actual mouse poison.
I got to do one of my favorite things on Friday: talk about the ADA to a bunch of disability rights advocates. Even better: the advocates were with the Southwest Center for Independence, and were in Durango, Colorado. I had the choice of six* hours of driving (each way) through the amazing Colorado countryside, or an hour (each way) bouncing over the mountains in a regional jet. I chose the drive without a second thought.
So Friday morning early, I lit out for Durango and because Holly still isn’t fully house-trained, and thus can’t stay alone with Tim, I brought her along for the ride.
It’s almost as if I bought the CRV with the dogs in mind! Oh, right. Turns out it has an added feature I hadn’t even known about. For those awkward moments when she poops in the middle of a scenic overlook that lacks a trashcan:
Always pack out your trash!
Anyway, I chose the southeastern route in the map above — down I25 and across Route 160 — because I’m not a big fan of pass driving. Google Maps helpfully sets out various routes, and then lets you choose your mode of transportation: car; bus; on foot. To accurately calculate our time, however, they need another option: traveling with puppy.
We stopped every hour and a half to two hours to find Holly a grassy spot. Besides that slight inconvenience, though, she was the perfect traveling companion.
Driving in Colorado: breathtakingly beautiful.
Breathtakingly . . . obvious?
Got to Durango without a minute to spare before the talk. That is, though I didn’t have any minutes to spare, I spared a couple, and ended up about 5 minutes late. It was my favorite kind of talk: with interested advocates who had great ideas and great questions.
After the talk, Holly and I set out to explore Durango a bit, and found a path by the river that was perfect for a post-driving-trip stroll.
Obligatory “Holly Posing Because She Knows Just How Cute She Is” photo:
Dinner was yak stew — a first for me! — and lamb dumplings at The Himalayan Kitchen, then back to the hotel, where Holly checked out the accommodations.
For the drive back to Denver, I chose the more direct route — in blue in the map above — that took me on Route 160 as far as Del Norte, and then Route 285 northeast through the mountains. There were a couple more passes, but either they were relatively easy passes or I’m finally getting use to pass driving. Or possibly exchanging the 1988 Accord for a 2013 CRV just makes the whole thing feel safer. But I also took the time to stop for photos. These first four were processed in HDR:
Uh oh! Better behave myself!***
I arrived home, tired and happy, yesterday afternoon, very grateful to live in a state of overwhelming natural beauty and kick-ass disability advocates.
* Actually, I have to confess, when I first learned I would be going to Durango, I thought, “it’s in the same state; how far can that be?” Having grown up out east**, I assumed that anywhere you had to go within a single state couldn’t be more than a couple of hours’ drive. Soooooo it turns out they make states bigger out here. So the six-hour drive was a bit of a surprise, but ultimately a pleasant one.
** I’ve been overthinking the phrases “back east” and “out west” recently. I use the phrases mostly because they reflect my path. I started life on the east coast, and I’ve migrated out west. But it occurs to me that these common phrases are not only sort of east-coast-centric, but also reflect a European-American-centric path (my peeps mostly entered the U.S. from the east coast and headed west) as opposed to an Asian-American path, as many Asians entered the U.S. from the west coast. So I thought I’d try “out east” for a while and see how it sounded.
There is an amazing variety of people in Las Vegas: young; old; fat; thin; rich; poor; barely-clad; wildly overdressed; fancy; schleppy; drunk; sober.
Middle-aged ladies in Bryn Walker linen and Børn* sandals are, as a general matter, not one of those categories. At my age, I would fit in better in either (1) dyed-brown helmet-hair and Talbots; or (2) a dyed-blonde bouffant and stretch capris.
Corollary: I can’t go shopping in Vegas because casino shops generally don’t have Bryn Walker, Børn, Lands End, LL Bean, or Best Buy.
New business plan: The Introvert Hotel and Spa. Next door to — but separated by weapons-grade soundproofing from — an ordinary casino, the IHS will feature quiet, sunny, reading areas with quiet waitstaff quietly bringing you umbrella drinks and quiet spa facilities where quiet massage therapists deliver relaxing, yet quiet, massages. Projected client base: nerdy introverted spouses of nerdy introverted poker players.
Related observation: MGM moved its poker room from the former, centrally-located, area next to what I think was a strip bar with a limited playlist of brain-liquifying techno music, to a side area that was quieter than the entire rest of the casino. Perhaps the MGM has realized that poker players are different from the rest of their slot-playing, beer-bong-toting, bachelor-party-reveling patrons.
Unrelated observation: Who on God’s green earth brings their infants and toddlers to Vegas? It can’t possibly be fun for either the kids or the parents.
Lobster corn dogs: just the wrong amount of wrong.
Gatorade looks awesome in a wine glass:
* Yes, I enjoyed finding the “ø” in WordPress, but then you knew that.
There is finally a stock photography site full of real, active, did I mention real? people with disabilities. PhotoAbility.net has apparently been up and running for a couple of years; I just discovered it because its founder, Deborah Davis, was featured as New Mobility’s Person of the Year.
We first used stock photography in a monumentally misguided* attempt to settle a case by presenting the defendant with examples of how people with disabilities could be part of its advertising and outreach. Seeking stock photographs, we ran searches like “wheelchair,” “disabled” and of course “handicapped” in the various mainstream stock photography sites. What we found were (1) hospital and medical images; and (2) essentially fake images in which obviously non-disabled people had seated themselves in crappy gray-vinyl hospital wheelchairs to undertake random daily tasks.
When we finally found a couple of images that seemed genuine, we bought them, and then discovered such images were so rare, we saw the same folks all over the damn place. I’m guessing, for example, if you read any sort of disability-oriented publication, you’ve encountered these photogenic folks:
We had such little luck finding real images that we solicited some from photogenic friends doing photogenic things with photogenic kids, and then took one or two ourselves. This, for example, is our friend Julie, her two older daughters, and our dog in our backyard. Think PhotoAbility would be interested?
We continue to use stock images on our website and in educational materials, so I’m very excited to learn about stock photography with gen-u-ine pwds doing genuinely cool stuff. Also that PhotoAbility is part of a network of great sites at PushLiving.com about inclusive travel, lifestyle, design, etc. Check them out!
* Part of a hilariously grandiose settlement attempt suggested by new and (as it turned out) temporary co-counsel. We appeared at a meeting with the defendant’s general counsel and her posse with a bunch of spiral-bound glossy brochures featuring our purchased and home-made stock images and a bunch of powerpoint verbiage about how wonderful and inclusive access was and how it would enhance their image, etc. etc., and of course they could not possibly have cared less. They wanted to know what it would cost, thanks for making the trip, goodbye. Luckily, since it was early in our practice, our dear, wonderful copy people “forgot” to charge us for the glossy brochures and spiral binding. The case finally settled — three general counsels and two outside counsels later. So it goes.