Nice day

Apr. 22nd, 2009 06:58 pm
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The weather today is dry and cool. I'll take it. Here are some quick things while [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne is off doing the Rare Book thing in French.

1- I've managed to increase my volunteer workload again. I'm now on the RAMP Wheel-A-Thon Steering Committee (RAMP is our local disabilities advocacy agency). Many of you might remember our fundraising efforts last year. It shouldn't be too much of a time sink (I hope). I'm also going to be working with the City of DeKalb's IT department as they redesign the city's website. I'm the member of the Disabilities Commission who will help them with ADA compliance.

2- I spent the afternoon out at the independent coffeehouse. It's called The House. I'm usually only they for evening live shows since they're closed in the morning. The place is a mix of aging hipsters and NIU art kids in retro-kitsch surroundings (so much velvet). I sat there drinking my coffee, reading Gregory Frost's Shadowbridge, and eavesdropping on conversations. Good times. It was nice to get out of the house and actually take some time off. Also, very little has changed since my coffeehouse days over a decade ago. It's like college culture got frozen somewhere around 1994.

3- The Cubs are still chugging along. Dusty Baker's Reds...not so much. We're not a perfect team, but our division blows. The Cardinals and Brewers have good points, but the Reds, Pirates, and Astros are putrid.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
I think Deadspin's title says it all:
"High School Basketball Team's Season Canceled Over Pee-Soaked Locker Room Incident".

As [livejournal.com profile] 1crowdedhour said, "It has been a long winter, hasn't it?"
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Here in the Midwest, you don't screw around with cheese fries.
michaeldthomas: (Doctor Venture)
As a family, we’re pretty bad at relaxing. Our plates are extremely full, and we invariably say yes when people ask us for more. This weekend we finally stopped and relaxed. It has been lovely. We read, ate, watched fluffy movies and TV shows, and pretty much avoided any serious household tasks.

The weather today was beautiful, so we took a walk to Downtown DeKalb. This is the weekend of the annual maize orgy that it CornFest. It’s the usual village fest of funnel cakes, unsafe carnival rides, and has-been musical acts (this year: Travis Tritt). And corn. Lots and lots of corn. Due to construction concerns, this year they moved CornFest from Downtown to the airport. To make up for the move, the local merchants decided to have a sidewalk sale. We chose the shopping.

Downtown DeKalb isn’t much, but there are a few nifty gift shops and clothing boutiques. Lynne bought a silver heart pendant necklace, and Caitlin got a Yellow Submarine t-shirt. I drank a lot of free coffee.

We finished at The House coffeehouse where they had a Dixieland jazz band playing. The audience was older than the songs, though there were a couple of couples our age. They even danced, because damn it, they paid good money for those swing lessons ten years ago. Caitlin loved the music.

I suppose that I better come up with some ideas for dinner. We’ll probably finish the evening by watching The Dark Crystal.

Just finished reading: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Currently reading: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 2)
Caregiver Edition.

1- There was lots of Aicardi Conference Planning silliness this week. It was the pretty typical committee breakdowns with miscommunications and misunderstandings. I am fairly aggravated by things at the moment. It will be sorted out in the end, but at the moment it’s just more fodder for me leaving the “organization” after the conference.

2- The City of DeKalb Advisory Commission on Disabilities meeting went well. It looks like the mayor is reappointing me for another two years. We have some great plans for the future. The only crazy thing from this meeting was the commission having to deal with an individual who is going around town pretending to be a member. It wouldn’t be so bad if this individual wasn’t aggressively confronting business owners and landlords and threatening them with his nonexistent power to levy fines. We are tackling this the way every commission tackles issues; we are issuing a strongly worded letter.

3- Caitlin had a good, healthy week. We were even able to go out and walk in Downtown DeKalb thanks to some good weather. We are getting a Tapas restaurant there, which is kind of cool. It was a nice walk, but it is frustrating that a good number of businesses aren’t even remotely ADA compliant.

4- Caitlin’s transition planning has started. Next fall she will be in Kindergarten at a new school. Change frightens me.

5- Caitlin’s OT is also leaving the Elgin Easter Seals. This really sucks. We like her a lot, and she’s been with Cait for years.
michaeldthomas: (Doctor Venture)
Sweet Zombie Jesus!!! It’s snowing again!!!

At least I finally have my frickin’ gutters and softit installed.

In other DeKalb news, it’s always fun when you assure your spouse that the loud noise outside was nothing and then find out that it was actually a couple of small explosive devices going off in your neighborhood.

Hooray for safe rural living!
michaeldthomas: (Default)
This week was a lot harder than I expected. Caitlin’s been fine. That’s always a good thing. Some of her Aicardi sisters have not been doing as well, so please keep them and their families in your thoughts and/or prayers.

The weekend was an odd mix. The great part was that my aunt and uncle were in from California. It was wonderful to see them. They’re funny, smart, loving, and we just don’t get enough time together. The bad part was that they were out here due to my grandmother’s declining health. She’s back in ICU with numerous health problems. It’s really been hard for all of the family, especially for my grandfather, mother, and my aunt who is her caregiver. The doctors seem to be trying their best, but my grandmother’s problems are in all likelihood insolvable.

Back here in DeKalb, the town is still very much in mourning about the shootings at NIU. It’s still the topic of conversation everywhere we go. There’s a mix of fear, anger, and sadness that I haven’t been around since I lived in Southern Connecticut after 9/11. Everybody here is somehow connected to the school and the victims. Time will give us all closure, but it hurts like hell in the present.

It looks like the weather might cooperate enough this weekend for us to gallivant in suburban mall-land. It will be nice to get out of the house. Some retail therapy with a trip to Alien Entertainment for some Doctor Who swag will do us good.
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 2)
And so ends another winter week in the Barb City (they invented barbwire in DeKalb dontcha know).

This week featured my City of DeKalb Advisory Commission on Disabilities meeting. It was a bit of a bummer. The city is having financial problems. This is not a shocker. You see, like many cities, DeKalb has had years of growth by giving developers and businesses big tax breaks and no impact fees. As my friend Sarah pointed out, if you play Sim City enough, it should be obvious to you that eventually you will pay the price. We are there. The infrastructure isn’t in place to support a city our size. The general fund was $500,000 short last year, and the city manager is eliminating 20 jobs to compensate.

This is a bad thing. It seems that one of the commission’s biggest allies might be part of the forced retirements. This person was instrumental in us getting anything done for people with disabilities. These financial problems also make the future existence of our commission a bit cloudy. I am not happy about this.

We’ve done some good things while I’ve been a member. The commission was able to get most of the city to change the accessible parking sign fine amounts to reflect the changed state law. Businesses had been ignoring it until we started going business to business. We’ve also been able to make sure that new building plans comply with ADA. Additionally, we started working with the Park District in order to bring more accessibility to the parks and playgrounds. My daughter can now swing during recess because of this.

Hopefully, the commission will evolve and continue to do good works. It would be a real shame if couldn’t because of poor planning. People with disabilities need a voice. My daughter and everybody like her deserve a city that complies with federal, state, and local law.

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August 2011

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