Monday, January 23, 2017

What Katy Did and disabilities

I'm working on blog entries today as I'll be away for a couple of days so the the time I'd normally use will be taken up making arrangements and all that.
A favourite novel of mine is What Katy Did by the American authoress Susan Coolidge which was written in 1872 that I've had my current hardback copy from 1989 if I remember correctly although I sure had and read it during my childhood.
Lots of editions have been produced but I love the simple unaffected illustration on the front of this one because it's inviting but clearly is of the era showing Katy Carr outside the picket fence with the traditional timber framed house in the background.
I have been re-reading this because this is book that spoke very directly to me as a disabled child where generally speaking we were not inked in the world that children saw so it was this book and the English (they'd never say British) satirists Flanders And Swann that showed we had place people could accept.
Chunks of Katy, the twelve year old, struggling at 'self-improvement', having grandiose aims and rather dashing them badly not really a bad girl girl but carried away at times was and indeed is me all over.Mischievous, getting into trouble but remorseless upon being found out, it's just so familiar because it's not that you don't have a conscience, you do, but it kicks in too late!
The other thing is really from the second half of the novel, something truly awful happens to Katy very much by accident as she goes in the Swing that she was told not to go on by her Aunt Izzie  who just expected a child to just follow the instruction rather than saying it was unsafe.
The line comes out from the staple that was designed to secure it as she soars, so she falls at speed to the ground striking her spine. It leaves her unable to walk and more or less confined to her upstairs bedroom  for a long period whereupon she is visited by her family.
Re-reading that moved me because it's similar to what happened to me just a couple years older than Katy where something went wrong with a swing and I hit the asphalt beneath with speed and at force. It didn't paralyze me although I was bruised but it left me drifting in and out of consciousness for about ten hours living permanently with significant brain damage where head struck the surface.
Part of the novel talks about how that experience affected her being in pain, feeling bitter and about how she adapts to becoming disabled when her beloved cousin Helen who also is disabled comes over explaining to her she needs to adapt, making the most of the situation she is in or risk losing the love and affection of her family though her own attitude.
Some have criticized the emphasis around her learning patience, learning to be cheerful, having hope, trying to keep things neat and getting on life as it as part of the "sainthood" attached to disabled people as if that's their only value.
To me it's to miss the point entirely which is life as a disabled person is harder, comes with disappointment, doesn't exempt you from general expectations and in my experience and a few others you just have to adapt to what is. It's a brutal truth.
It is certainly the case in the novel the idea Katy could of been looked after downstairs wasn't explored at nor is any kind of physical therapy (UK: physiotherapy) looked at which today we sure would because that was too new in the late nineteeth century.
We learn later on, Katy after Aunt Izzie dies, does begin to learn to walk again, taking on the running of the house which to me then was a sign at least you *could* have a life where you did contribute.
To me although criticized for what is seen by some as late nineteeth century (UK:Victorian) moral instruction, it's a enjoyable inspirational story whose values do align more with the 'real world' when it comes to offering the disabled reader some comfort and life lessons.
That's why I always loved it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Presenting me

I have been a bit busy working on a few things connected with the next littles meet up this weekend which Papa Bear is pleased with apart from a bit of post Christmas tidying up.
The last few days have seen me thinking a bit  about a number of interrelated things and it's really those I wish to talk about today.
Take avatars for instance. We generally see them on forums, social media, chat rooms and so on sometimes as I can well remember when I first got online, you be given limited amount of preset ones by the owners and increasing more allowed you to host one of your own subject to size restrictions then some site had image hosting that integrated that with you with resizing and a choice of 'cut outs' so things didn't have to be square shaped.
What was the point of them?
I'm very much a visual kind of person in that if I'm online I look for a familiar 'face' in a thread or forum that I associate that individual with to the point as some people in a music forum know I don't like it if you change them rather like you change your underwear cos it gets very confusing.
One problem I have is different sites have different image size and shape restrictions and small square shaped one need a fairly simple image to be easily recognized while others allow for long and more subtle ones. I like to standardize an avatar across a group of related sites.
For me an avatar is a personal thing: It's an online reflection of an aspect of me I wish to communicate to people as my 10 seconds of introduction and acceptance to you tailored to where we are meeting up so on one site it's very much my nekomimi side you'll first see while others will be tailored very specifically to it (SN followers will no doubt be smiling at this point!).
Here and on related sites it is different: It is very much about "the little girl within", my very child-like but adult regressed self which just is me because in part of what happened to me apart from those disabilities I was born with, how I see me and my life as lived with nothing sexual in it.
I did touch a bit on it on Friday, but while I don't feel significantly older than I did , that side of me in real life as even in online life too has with a lot of help has moved on being a bit more mature, moving more toward what an actual child of my developmental age would do and think even as the gap between that and a fully mature adult is painfully obvious.
That is one reason why I decided to alter my avatar here: to communicate that change even if  it lacks my beloved Junior Prefects badge.
There were others, some in squared form may of worked better but there was something else, a smiling contentedness in this that is in how I feel that was missing from them while still having something of the era I'm from.
As ever I'll add the last avatar to my list of them on the about page where I talk about their histories and have synchronized a square version with my accounts at GT and IK.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Snowed in Friday musings

Wasn't planning on writing something actually but actually thought I'd type a few words although I may not make quite as many twice weekly editions as I did last year even though I think it'll be a few weeks until I have a 'proper' cycle mapped out.
 There are a few things I am going to be talking about, one is how comments and entries not just on my blog, although as ever so long as they're fit to be printed I'm always happy for people comment on it.
I think there's a difference between talking about something, it might be drawing , an article or a story and what you feel about it and where it is about some technical aspect of it such as missing a small matching bit off a picture or perhaps not the ideal shade of a colour  in picture or a spelling or punctuation mistake in a written piece.
I think we're familiar enough  being set a task at school or college, handing it in  and being graded on it perhaps to the point of a written comment being made the sorts of things I can think of would be "Needs new paragraph", "Should be in red" or even as I had in school "See me" when I didn't really feel like putting much effort into things and things came out of draws *cough*.
Anyway that's fine and dandy for formal learning and yes even I increasing recognize the value of that and being expected to put more thought into things so we go improve in what we're doing but when we do things just for ourselves as shared "For fun" thing is that the right way to go about it?
Rather than leaving a string of comments about technical errors we can easily correct forever marring it, shouldn't we message or email any  points or suggestions that that person can put aright so while they do learn as we need to from our mistakes, our masterpiece isn't left  cluttered up by them?
Second thing is eventually I did get the second Valerie Hastings piece of classic G.O (Girls Only)  fiction in a 1968 hard back edition
 You know all about me and G.O fiction, the stuff I read at school, especially boarding school so I was super pleased about that.
I don't think I mentioned for a good while I do have a number of Angela Brazil's masterpieces of the genre in Armada paperbacks, the copies I had living as a child (well we can't truthfully say growing up!)
 I wrote about this several years back , a gripping tale of intrigue, inheritance and the lives of schoolgirls and recently re-read it.
F-f-finally as it's rather cold and snowy up here in the North-west Midlands of England, I am toying with making some slightly older avatars to test out as I do feel I'm maturing just a little more than I did a few years back which is ironic given so  much of it comes from this regressed little/middles life.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fur footed edition

I've been a bit busy with the tumblr this week and as  I type, I'm still very much at it so I thought I'd pull away from that and get around to this weeks entry.
I did mention about having some things at Christmas  and these were the fleecy booty slippers I had from Mom which are a snug fit being UK size three through five  and I'm a five having relatively small feet and small paws too!
They're not to be honest big in support like a traditional plimsoll type usually is which is what I was brought up with but they are as warm as toast once on you.
On the Tumbling front I've been working with my BFF on why I couldn't see the "Archive" button so you can all your posts and edit them where it turned out nor could she and I couldn't see the about page which as far as I was aware was set up correctly.
It turns out something was wrong with the themes so resetting it to default and reloading the details seems to have cured that as it was  starting to do my head in.
The changes around early December on it will be staying for the foreseeable feature as I don't see things returning to how they were and subsequent events have shown I have no desire having moved on to even act upon it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Riding Freedom

Seeing we've just started into the New Year I thought I'd kick off the first entry of 2017 with something that goes back to December where two friends and I read a book together, sharing our thoughts on it.
 Written in 1998 by Pam Munoz Ryan, Riding Freedom is a fictionalized story about a mid 1800's pioneering woman, Charlotte Parkhurst who was raised in a orphanage for boys  that tells the tale of her life from escaping the orphanage, becoming a legendary stagecoach driver as "Charley", getting a ranch of her own in California and being the first American woman to vote.
While the book has received a number of positive reviews from people such as the School Library Journal and I loved the gritty female emancipation theme it contains, I wasn't to taken with the way it was written.
To me it feels more a straight on fictionalized retelling of a life being more an account of  "Charley's" life from the orphanage , escaping life limited to domestic  chores  to owning a smallholding than a actual story, fascinating for the historical detail but lacking in character development in areas like examining in detail how she felt and how whole incidents really played out.
This was especially noticeable in the secondary characters such as Ebeneezer as we seldom really got to know them, having more a cursory description  that lift them more into your minds eye although there was so much that could of been made of it.
A disappointment.

Friday, December 30, 2016

365 days around the world of Joanne 2016 style

Usually around of now, I tend to look back at the year and forward to the upcoming year and to me chunks have appeared at times overshadowed by the deaths by many stars we grew up with of stage and screen that started with the death of David Bowie and ended with Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) who starred in the original Star Wars movie in Nineteen seventy-seven.
I know for a good number of us it has brought forward concerns about mortality-our own and that of others and of sort of legacy we might leave behind.
For me other people have always mattered so my focus has usually been more on leaving things for them better than they otherwise would be whither it's more an active step I take or just a matter of being around for them helping them work through some problem or other.
Cyberspace it has to be said has been a bit of a mixed experience for me, not that in getting on for nine years it hasn't been always appeared so with the pluses of Tumblr such as my BFF who I can now keep in really good touch with while sharing thoughts and ideas with each other, the many littles and middles I can share and reblog things with, it does has its negative sides such as conflicts around defining terms that are used then to define who can a friend and who cannot regardless of their posts and personal qualities.
And that's before groups start putting each others members on block lists that makes the playground of my school days sound almost grown up by comparison.
Eventually I found  a group who  felt comfortable with with rules that are fairly easy to follow so unless anything happens I'll stop with them in the new year.
The successor to Experience Project, Similar Worlds, is up and running with  some really great features but to be honest apart from feeling overrun at times with teens with a lack of any real 'common sense' and okay manners, I haven't used it much over than just a means of jotting down experiences, a bit like a dummy run for journal or proper blog entry.
In some ways I actually enjoyed more my experiences interacting on FA this last year with people be it on my journal or on others feeling more like a family to me enhanced for actually being with a few of them last year for having more depth although I'm very regressed usually on there. Anyway I can chat with Sammy easily from there!
That actually reminds me one thing I really want to do a bit more of is drawing with pencil and paper although with spacial distortion, dyspraxia and badly damaged hands through R.S.I. as I have been improving in the last few years and I'd like to do more art with my hands apart from my photography given it's an arts site.
Spending more time with people is something I enjoyed a lot last years especially as I'm getting better at dealing in real time with social situations, the "unwritten rules" and that  thanks to some guidance, feedback and reinforcement.  I do see more of the same perhaps with a  few different people this upcoming year.
I made a series of changes to my stereo over the year having had some *ahem* technical problems that have worked out extremely well for me, to the point I upgraded the stylus on the cartridge which brings lots more information from records I play which I bought a good number of this last year and some cds all of which were reviewed on here.
Music is both an art form I appreciate and a part of my age regression, taking me back not just in terms of specific era but also a gateway into little space  which is why it is blogged on here (and why the last bastion of a 'Big' blog was parked). Indeed I do have to remember on one site I am sharing space with grown ups, use groan up language and so on!
Following a series of changes in how my time was used I have been able to resume more reading which with my learning/developmental disabilities is more junior fiction than young adult so I got back in touch with some lovely people at a site devoted at a favourite author of mine and started to read more, reading with friends even at one site and talking about what we've read which is something I rather like.
I see myself doing quite a bit more reading not least with a few new books I had over Christmas  to read for pleasure writing about them on this blog which is something I'm getting much better at these days.
Here's to Twenty-seventeen!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Edition 2016

There is a bit of annual tradition on this blog from its very start of doing a Christmas edition rather like as if we'd been around of each others houses and said "How  was Christmas with you?"
For me I was a bit late getting up as I had a migraine on Christmas Eve that was reluctant to  shift so I got dressed and came down for a light breakfast before messaging my Caregiver, BFF and opening my presents.
That's some of them stacked up so I wonder just what might possibly be inside of them?

The Beano was a staple comic of mine growing up even if today it's only available on download and we always had the Christmas Annual so getting that as a hardback with the stories of Gnasher, Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and co really is a ritual I love.
 The Dandy suffered a bigger fate as it was discontinued outright but they do one off editions and a annual so I like to read new adventures of Korky the Kat and Desperate Dan of Cow Pie fame.

I love reading although with my learning disabilities I can't manage anything other than junior fiction and even then anything getting more above a reading age of 12 is hard going so Mommy bought me this First edition of the new Jacqueline  Wilson novel set in Victorian England.

She also bought me the last Historical novel she wrote in a series looking very much at life in  Great Britain from a child in hospital in the early nineteen-fifties. I'll write a full review when I've read them .

I had this originally in Paperback but had been longing to find a copy with the original text in so my Brother gave me some money toward buying this used copy lacking its dust jacket as original hard backs are really quite rare and expensive.
I had some chocolate oranges, money and biscuits too from people that care about me.