Making Dinner

You know what I never thought about as a kid? Dinnertime. Or, really, meals in general.

I mean, I knew we had to buy the food and then cook it to make a meal, but basically as a child food just existed. I never thought about the effort involved in making sure I had three squares a day even though I spent a lot of time helping out in the kitchen. Insomuch as I was present in the kitchen and not doing all the other things children do to fill up their days when they aren’t asleep or actively draining their parents’ paychecks. I think the accepted term is “playing.”

A bowl of Parmesan-pesto chicken soup and a piece of crusty breadIt dawned on me tonight as I puttered around in my kitchen trying to decide what I wanted to do for dinner. I have leftovers, but since I had those for lunch that didn’t seem enticing. I could order out, but then I already have plans to eat out twice this week. The realization that my only real choice was to make something was quickly followed by overwhelming exhaustion from an incredibly long and very frustrating day. And I’m sure on several occasions both of my parents must have been in a similar state, but somehow there was always dinner. Certainly starving me wasn’t an option. At least not if they wanted to keep being my parents. But seriously, I don’t understand how they did it on days like today.

It’s funny how the adults from my childhood seem to handle that whole adulthood thing with ease and yet now that I’m actually one myself I can’t help but marvel at the reality of it. Because, let’s face it, being an adult really stinks sometimes.

Art & Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be more consistent with updating and at the risk of sounding like a broken record I made a few decisions that should help with that and I’m really excited about. Specifically, I’m going to utilize the different domains I have that are basically dormant and focus my posting. However, I also just started a new job and so presently most of my time has been spent either working or sleeping with occasional eating thrown in to keep me from keeling over unconscious. So, despite my enthusiasm to do so I’m opting not to fiddle around with websites for the time being.1

Instead, I wanted to share this wonderful drawing Dany Gonzalez did of me and the girls:

Graphic artwork of me practicing yoga with Yara, Uschi and Dolly playfully surrounding me

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect piece of art to print and hang on my living room wall. The more I look at it the more things I notice. I really dig Dany’s style and I’m impressed by how faithfully each of the girls have been captured. But since this was a collaboration, there’s also a lot of history that’s showcased here from the girls’ reactions to me practicing yoga to Dolly stealing my harness.

  1. Except, of course, the few changes I already have made around here.

Service Dogs and Public Access

I don’t often cross-post things, but I recently replied to a Tumblr “rant” about service dogs in restaurants and I really wanted to share it here. Plus, it’s International Assistance Dog Week!

The original post, titled “A disservice to service dogs” begins:

Look, I get it. People around here love their dogs, more than children it seems. But do you know what? I do not enjoy dining where your furry friends have been joining you at the table. I mean it’s different if they’re chilling on the ground in the patio being well behaved, that’s different.

Just the other day I answered an ask that is very appropriate to this poster’s feelings about dogs in restaurants. It was about the time I got thrown out of a liquor store because, essentially, the owner didn’t want a dog in his shop despite my rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As I noted in my response on Tumblr, the personal feelings of whether or not a service dog should be in a public place are entirely irrelevant. In my original reply, I used the comparison example of having to share space on public transportation with others who perhaps don’t bathe themselves well enough. Unfortunately, I have to deal with it because they have just as much right to occupy space on a CDTA bus as I do.

The post continues:

Just the other day I was a popular San Clemente restaurant where dogs aren’t allowed, and all of a sudden I hear barking from several tables away! “That’s weird” we thought. The barking continued. We complained to the hostess. But because the dog had a “service dog” tag, they said they couldn’t do anything about it. First off, I could put a raccoon on a leash and it would be better trained than this dog. Second, what a tiny yorkie going to do for you? I  kinda get the idea of an emotional support animal but on a cool morning you could probably take your buddy out to the car if it’s acting up.

The 2010 revision of the ADA included a new definition for “service animals” and it is very clear on public access rights. Service animals are permitted wherever the public is and that includes inside restaurants. However, it is expected that the animal be under control of the handler at all times. Anyone who has ever eaten with me at a restaurant knows that my absolute favorite thing is when we get up to leave and I recall my guide dog from under the table to the surprise of staff and patrons. Why? Because that’s exactly what should happen; it proves she was doing her job the whole time and remained entirely unnoticed by everyone but me.

The service dog referenced was obviously not behaving properly and was causing a disruption to the other patrons. The hostess was incorrect in saying that the staff had to ignore the issues because it was a service dog and in fact they could and should have requested the handler leave.1

The rant continues:

Who am I kidding here; you and I both know this was no service dog. For just 79 dollars you can register any animal as a service animal and get to take your buddy anywhere you want, and those mean people who hate dogs can’t do anything about it. If you don’t want to “register” your dog, you can just buy a service dog ID on Amazon for $15.  It’s stuff like this that gives real service animals a bad name. This is what’s going to get the government to regulate service animals, making life difficult for people who really need them.  Knock it off people.

Actually, what makes it difficult for service animal handlers is misinformation about the law. There is no mandatory registration! And there is also no legal need to have an ID or other certification that your partner is in fact a service animal. Yes, that opens the door for people to waltz fake service animals through the doors of any public place, but if that dog is behaving itself like a real service animal then it’s hardly causing an issue for future handlers.

Additionally, there are many types of disabilities that are not readily apparent to the casual observer. Even as a blind person, which you might think would be terribly obvious to the public, I am constantly queried about what my guide dog does and how she specifically aids me. Likewise there are also many different tasks that service dogs perform. Perhaps this dog was trained to alert to an epileptic seizure or diabetic shock.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was a fake service dog. It’s honestly difficult to prove. And the law is fairly specific as to what is considered an acceptable line of questioning. However, that said, in my personal experience as a handler I find we’re generally pretty tolerant of being asked about our partners. If you aren’t rude or accusatory, you’ll likely have similar results.

  1. The law also stipulates that in such cases, the same goods and services should be provided in the absence of the service animal.

Yara is Ten!

Yara and me lying in the grass together

My beautiful retired guide turns ten today and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

Happy birthday, Yara! <3

Old WordPress

It’s no secret that I really love WordPress. Almost every site I’ve made in the last decade has been based on it and I’ve powered my own website with it since 2004.

Yet, I have to say I kind of miss this:

The 'write post' screen from WordPress version 1.2

Sure, it lacks a lot of the frills that WP core has implemented over these many years. There was no need for a “distraction free” writing environment because, well, there wasn’t much there. The only organization for posts was categories. And there was no auto-save feature, which has admittedly saved me a fair number of times when my router has decided being connected to the Internet isn’t a thing it should do!

The “famous five-minute install” was touted a lot back then. And, in fact, if you didn’t have a god awful connection, you could probably upload all of the core files and still manage to get that install done in those five minutes. That is definitely not a thing of today. I have fiber and the last WP site I had to fully upload and install took me almost a half hour.1

Of course, the userbase has evolved and WordPress isn’t just a blogging software. Rather it’s become a full content management and publishing software.

I think that’s wonderful, but sometimes I think it’s just too much for what is needed. I’m going to sound like a senior citizen yelling at children to get off my lawn, but damn it if sometimes I don’t want or need a full C.M.S. to power the site I’m building despite the simplicity WP provides in pushing content to visitors.

Sometimes, I just want that small, little blogging software from 10 years ago!

  1. To be fair, I was also poking around on YouTube to bide my time and there are at least six other things connected to the router sucking my bandwidth.