Monday, March 29, 2010

A Wheelchair, a cup of Coffee and an Airport

While waiting in line for coffee at the airport today, a woman pushing a wheelchair insisted on cutting in front of me because "she had a wheelchair."

Had she said, we are running late and my client desperately needs a cup of coffee, I might have been more sympathetic. Surely I could understand a situation like that... there I was, in line with a whole lot of other people, waiting patiently to order a cup of coffee.

The mere fact that a person was being pushed around in an airport wheelchair is not a reason to jump the coffee line and frankly, I think it is rude to expect it.

I feel some people must think I'm a jerk.  So before you start going crazy about disability rights and awareness, please continue reading.

Yes, having a wheelchair provides certain line jumping privileges. Privileges like access to the crew line for airport security and boarding the aircraft first. But with these line jumping privileges comes getting off the plane last. There is no altruism here. People who use wheelchairs don't prefer to be patted down by TSA agents in full view or enjoy sitting on planes more than people who don't use wheelchairs. It is done this way because it is easier for the staff.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that my husband uses a wheelchair. You could probably even surmise that he would never expect to be moved ahead of someone because he has a wheelchair.

Even with a present need for coffee, he would wait his turn.

Which makes me wonder, did the people in line behind me actually think that having a wheelchair was a valid reason to jump the line?

The woman pushing the chair looked at me like I was rude for not letting her cut the line. So I can only assume that the people behind me might have had the same thoughts.

Her reaction angered me. I don't like being angry, which angered me more. Honestly, there are so many ways to  make everyday life easier for people who use wheelchairs.  Acting like a victim so you can get coffee a few minutes earlier is not worth the ill will it causes.

If you really want to make life better for someone who uses a wheelchair, consider installing things like curb cutouts and wider sidewalks and aisles.  Consider installing ramps, elevators and automatic doors.  Consider removing all carpet and stairs.

If buildings and public spaces were designed with wheelchairs in mind, they would be easier for everyone to access.  Have you ever noticed how places that are easy to take baby strollers are also easy for wheelchairs to navigate?

I think we should all consider these things.  None of us are getting any younger.  May we all be lucky enough to become old enough, to have the opportunity to use a wheelchair to get around.

As for the woman pushing the airport wheelchair this morning and the many people in line behind me... offering someone a position ahead of you in line is polite. Expecting to be given an earlier position is rude, regardless of your ambulatory abilities.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


One of the things that came with our new-old house was a hot tub with a shelter.  We didn't liked the shelter and were planning to take it down this summer.  But last week's spring snow felt we weren't moving fast enough.

It was about 10 inches of that heavy, wet spring snow we get in Colorado. Fortunately, we only lost this structure and one tree branch.

I'm pretty sure the hot tub will be going too, but that will be another day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Frog it or Shelve it?

I have grown so frustrated with my Twitter Knit Along Shawl that I nearly frogged it on Saturday.

I had ripped it out to the life line two more times after my last post

I was only a few rows into the latest attempt at the lace and feeling cautiously good about it.  Then I knit two of the same rows in a row.  Well, I actually only knit about 25% of the second row, but insert profanity here!  I just about ripped out the entire thing.

I learned a long time ago, sunk costs are sunk.  They should not be weighted too heavily when deciding how or whether to move forward.  Fortunately, I've also learned not to make these sort of decisions when my blood pressure is elevated.  So I ripped it out to the life line and packed the shawl into it's project bag and prepared to work on something else.

I know.  I said I was going to finish it and wear it with pride.  I still may, but for now it's going on a shelf.

Please enjoy more fiber stories at Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Posts

I read several blogs for several different reasons. 

After a while, I begin to feel like I know the author...  At least I begin to know the part they share on their blog.  Whether it's personal or business, I begin to understand how they think and what they think is important.

When a blog has made it to my Must Read list, I begin to wonder why the author started blogging in the first place.  I mean, I know why I started blogging, so I wonder if they started for the same reasons.  Which means sometimes I will go in search of their first post. 

Some of these bloggers have hundreds or thousands of readers.  However, at one time they all had zero readers and zero comments.  Which makes it really interesting to read some of the early posts.

Here are links to the first posts on some of my Must Read blogs.

Wisdom Begins in Wonder: March 2009
Alpaca Farm Girl: August 2008
Alpaca Homesteading - A to Zena: August 2009
Seth's Blog: January 2002
Sasha Dichter's Blog: July 2008
Springtree Road: January 2008
Indexed: August 2006

And just for grins, here's a link to my first post: October 2008.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rearranging Alpacas

We have had our alpaca herd on our own place for nearly 3 months.

We built the minimum amount of infrastructure possible to bring the herd up, so we have only 3 corrals and loafing sheds for 3 groups.
  • The Ladies: dams + maidens + nursing cria
  • The Big Boys: older breeding, near breeding and gelded  males
  • The Little Boys: younger males
This made a whole lot of sense to me when we started.  There was only one problem.  We had three cria that needed to be weaned and one was female.

We decided the younger boys were young enough to not realize that Frieda was a girl.  So we put the three cria into the corral with the two younger boys until the moms dried out.

The next question was, "How long does it take for the mom to stop lactating?"  The answer is definately longer than 2 weeks.

Last week, this weaning attempt had reached 6 weeks.  I realized that Frieda was now 9 months old and that Yoda was 2 1/2 years.  She is technically too young to breed, but not outside potential.  He is old enough and has showed some interest in our maiden, so I know he's getting close.

Since Hubba was at the Los Angeles Marathon, my mom came over and helped me catch and hold Frieda's mom so we could make sure she was dry before moving Frieda.

Fortunately Kocoa was dry and Frieda had a little halter training experience. 

She wasn't too excited about the halter at first, but agreed to come along.  Augustus (19 months) mounted her as we were leaving the corral.  He didn't know what to do at that point, but it was clear that he knew she was a girl.

My mom told Frieda, "That's why we're moving you today."

She seemed to understand and walked very easily to the Ladies' corral.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Los Angeles Marathon - Results

This morning was the 25 annual Los Angeles Marathon.

The wheelchair start was supposed to be 5 minutes before the broadcast began, but due to traffic delays the wheelchair start was shown during the broadcast.  So I was able to see my husband start the race.  Which of course made me very happy.

The broadcast included the starts of the wheelchairs, elite women runners, elite men runners and the citizen's race.  It did not include the hand-cycle start nor the wheelchair or hand-cycle finish.  In fact, I did not witness any wheelchair coverage after the elite women's start.

While I am thrilled to have been able to watch a US road race during a live national broadcast.  I am disappointed that the coverage was so poor for the wheeled athletes.

Krige Schabort won the wheelchair race in 1:39:15
Hubba finished 6th at 1:58:07

Edna Kipligat won the gender challenge today in her second marathon ever.

You can watch the entire broadcast on demand at Universal Sports.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Aside from recognizing a few characters and saying hello, I don't speak it, read it or write it.  I wish I did. 

I have been to Japan.  Once.  I loved it.  I want to visit again.

I bring this up because, someone has been commenting on this blog in Japanese.  There are always a few characters and then a long string of periods.  Since I don't read Japanese and a long string of periods seems fishy, I have been deleting these comments.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Los Angeles Marathon

The Los Angeles Marathon is Sunday.

They are debuting a new course this year as well as broadcasting the race live.  The race starts at Dodger Stadium and ends in Santa Monica.

If you are in the Los Angeles area you can watch it on KTLA - Channel 5 or listen on AM 570 KLAC.

Universal Sports will also be broadcasting the race live.

Finally, you can watch online at or listen at

Since I will not be at the race this year, I am thrilled to know I will be able to watch it from home.  As usual, Hubba is competing in the push-rim division.

The start times are as follows (PDT):
  • Push-rim Wheelchairs – 6:55am
  • Hand cycles – 7:00am
  • Professional Women - 7:05am
  • All other participants – 7:23am
Usually the LA Marathon gives the professional women a statistical head start based on the professional field, then gives an award for the first professional runner to cross the finish line.  I'm not sure if they are doing that this year since I havn't been able to find any information about it on the LA Marathon website.

With that being said, 234 people have completed every LA Marathon since the first in 1986.  That's 25 years!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Win an Alpaca Fleece

One of my favorite alpaca breeders is having a giveaway. 

She is giving away an entire cria fleece after shearing this year.  The fleece will be raw, which means you can process it yourself or have it processed how ever you wish.

Please visit the Bluemoon Ranch Blog and Etsy site to get more details.

Good Luck.

More Halter Training

Yesterday we spent a little time with our two youngest alpacas and the halter. 

Our smallest halters are still too big for these little guys, but I feel the sooner they get comfortable with being caught and haltered, the better it is for all of us.  So my goal was to have them stand quietly with the halter and lead in place.  Both Captain Jack and Eduardo reached that place as well as took a few steps when I asked them too.

Captain Jack, like his sister Daisy, was a bit of a drama queen at first.

Gus and Yoda came over to check on Jack, while Frieda and Eduardo watched.

Jack did relax.  He stood here for quite a while.  Then took a few steps on the lead.

The alpaca dog was not allowed to help.

Eduardo was second up, and took the halter very well.  He relaxed and started walking very quickly.  Perhaps watching Captain Jack helped him feel more comfortable.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Aaarrrrgggghh

I realized this week that I have made a big mistake on my Twitter Knit Along Shawl.  Actually I've made a lot of mistakes on this shawl, but I just realized I have made a big mistake.... over and over again.

Last week I mentioned that I was not happy with how the shawl was turning out.  Mostly this was because the edge didn't seem right, but the lace pattern didn't seem right either.  I assumed it would be resolved with blocking.  I don't actually know since this is my first time with lace and I've never blocked anything before.  So that will be a new adventure.

Anyway while I was contemplating the shawl this week, I picked up the pattern and saw these instructions:

The lace charts should be worked as follows:
RS: k2, yo [work chart to last m], yo, k2.
WS: k2, yo [work chart to last m], yo, k2.

Prior to starting the lace section, the instructions say to remove the center markers.  Unfortunately I read it as remove all of the markers and then missed the instructions above.  Which means I did nearly two repeats of lace chart A end-to-end.  No yarn over and no knit two.  Argh!

The silver lining?  A few knit-along-ers had metioned adding a life line before they started the lace charts.  Fortunately, I listened and added my own life line of dental floss.  As a result, it was very easy to rip out and put the shawl back on the needles.

So now I am ready to start lace chart A one more time.  Isn't learning fun.  ;-)

Enjoy more (hopefully successful) fibery posts over at the Wisdom Begins in Wonder Blog today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vancouver Paralympics - Update #2

Many thanks to Lynda who mentioned that there will be Paralympic coverage on CTV in Canada as well as online here.

Vancouver Paralympics - Update

It turns out NBC and Universal Sports will be offering some network coverage of the Vancouver Paralympic Games.  The following information was provided by the US Paralympics Newsletter.

NBC Sports
  • Opening Ceremony highlights – Saturday, March 13, 1-2 pm ET
  • Paralympics recap – Saturday, April 10, 3-5 pm ET 
Universal Sports
  • Monday, March 15 – Tuesday March 23, 7 p.m. (re-air at 11 p.m.) ET, will also offer video and highlights of the competition from Vancouver.

Vancouver Paralympics

The Vancouver Winter Paralympics are starting on Friday.  Like the abled-bodied Olympics, the Paralympics is the premier competition between the best athletes in winter sport.

The same venues are used.  Many of the same sports are played.  Some of the rules are modified.  They are classified between men, women, sitting, standing and visually impared.

NBC doesn't typically provide much coverage of the US Paralympic Team and I don't think the opening ceremonies are scheduled on network tv.  However, you can see all of the events live and on demand on Paralympic Sports TV.

The opening ceremonies begin at 18:00 PST, Friday, March 12.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It's been about five weeks since the incident with and gelding of one of our alpacas.
My goals have been simple and progressive with a specific endstate in mind.
  • First to enter the corral.
  • Then to help my husband with the chores.
  • Feed the big boys by myself with my husband standing by in the corral.
  • Enter the corral alone, with my husband standing by outside the corral.
  • Do the chores by myself with my husband outside of the corral.
  • Finally, do the chores entirely by myself.
Yesterday, we accomplished major goal #1 and repeated it today.  I did all of the chores entirely by myself while my husband watched from the house.

This is significant.  Since the marathon season is starting soon, my husband will be travelling more frequently.  Which means I needed to reach the point where I felt comfortable doing the chores by myself, un-escorted.

I am very proud of myself and of our alpaca.

Our next major goal is to reach the point where I can halter and handle the alpaca prior to shearing toward the end of April.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Little Halter Training

The weather was beautiful this weekend.  Most of the snow has melted (finally) and there is rain in the forecast.  There is still snow, but there IS rain in the forecast.

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and work with a few of our alpacas on a halter. 

These are pictures of Blue Mesa Yoda, one of our Junior Herdsires. 

Yoda is a Legacy grandson and Shockwave son.

He was quite interested in our girls.  Which is good since, we plan to breed him with Kocoa Moon in he fall.

Yoda is very easy to handle and stood quietly when I asked him too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saying Hello

Our Maiden, Daisy, is very curious about the alpaca dog.  She likes to chase him and is always curious about what he is doing.

A few days ago, I was able to capture some of the infatuation.

Daisy (the darker one) can usually get Kocoa to play with her.  But notice Keyla (the white one) is eating behind the shed.

The girls spent quite a lot of time following the dog around.

Daisy looks like she wants to goose the dog.

They seem to be plotting a strategy.

Hubba decided to give the girls a little help.

Ooops, I've been spotted.  But Keyla never stopped eating.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Meeting the Neighbors

The neighbors behind us have a few horses.  Yesterday, the alpacas and horses realized each other was there.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Look what I found this afternoon in my garden...



Fiber Arts Friday - #TwitKAL

I've been working on the Twitter Knit Along for some time now and still have a ways to go.

We officially started on January 27th (yes this year, I haven't been working on it that long). I actually started one day early since I was confused by the pattern and was given advice on how to get started.

I ended up starting this shawl 5 times and finally changed to a less slippery yarn which helped alot.

We were supposed to finish on 2/17.  However, with all of the new to me stitches and the fact that this is a shawl and not a hat, I thought four weeks was agressive.  I figured it would be a good challenge and with so many other people working on the same pattern, there would be some resources available when I got stuck.

I think most people finished on time, but a few of us decided the new deadline was April 30th.  Since that is still almost 2 months away, I think I might make it.

I have really enjoyed seeing other people's progress and feel like my knitting skills have grown. 

I'm not thrilled with how my shawl is turning out but will finish it and wear it with pride.  Mostly though, I am happy to have added a few stitches to my knitting repertoire and really enjoyed the virtual knitting circle of the #TwitKAL.

See more fibery goodness over at Wisdom Begins in Wonder today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Shining

Yesterday I was talking with a hotel clerk about Colorado and how beautiful it is. He & some friends want to visit, but have never been.  So I pulled out my trusty iPhone to show some pictures of Estes Park and the Big Thompson canyon. Both are close to my home and in my opinion the most beautiful part of Colorado.

As he looked at the pictures, he said they reminded him of The Shining. I thought that was interesting since the Shining is said to have been written at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

I've never read/seen it because I have been way too chicken. But since this is the second time it's come up recently and it's part of the local history, I feel must give it a shot.

I'm going to update my Netflix queue now.