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~Mama Johnnie

~Mama Johnnie

Last week Mama Johnnie lost her fight with Alzheimer’s s. She really has been gone longer. My Mom got the news late last week that there wasn’t . Sunday she flew to Dallas to see her and help my Aunt with funeral arrangements.

My brother, sister and I have been emailing stories about Mama Johnnie. Why do most of my favorites involve a gun? Words like nice, sweet or cuddly DON’T describe her! But she was efficient. She would press my hair, hot comb in one hand and hooch in the other. If I flinched she’d POP me on the head with the hot comb. She WASN’T play’n.

Oh and all these kids getting a hold of family members guns. I know the gun itself isn’t the issue. When I was little I knew Mama Johnnie had guns. Even if one of them were on the coffee table staring at me in the face wouldn’t touch it. Not because I understood gun danger. I WASN’T that smart of a kid (my name is Allison not Arthur). What I did know is Mama Johnnie would TARE my butt up if I touched that gun. I knew the word idle did not precede her threats.
This is the woman that put her loaded gun under the chin of a complete stranger. Granted the man had rear ended her car and was uninsured. Still who does that?! She gave the phrase “Balls of Steel” new meaning.

Oh but she COULD cook! You just DON’T even know! Her Gumbo, fried Cat fish, Monkey bread, barbeque, and the list goes on and on. No matter where else I’ve had these they CAN’T rival Johnnie Mays (sorry Mom).

She was very pointed where Arthur and I COULD and COULDN’T play out in front of her place. Let us not forget it was South Central LA. The front door was open but the metal screen closed. Now the TV was on, there was NO way her Stories were going to be missed! Still she would step outside on the stoop when she heard voices or a car door. Yelled at whoever it was to come meet her grand kids. I use to think Mama Johnnie was so friendly. When I got older and wiser I realized she wasn’t being friendly. She was putting them on NOTICE! You know we Never had any troubles. The thugs new Mama Johnnie had ZERO reservations using a gun. I always felt safe when I was in her presence.

So my siblings and I are buying some flowers for the services. I asked my mom what is the color scheme to which she replied pink. To which I said PINK?! She was I know RIGHT. Apparently my auntie swears it was Mama Johnnies favorite color.


In my 41 years on earth I’ve NEVER seen Mz. Johnnie Mae Rowe in pink! NO pink furnichture, blamkets, trinkets NOTHING! Nevertheless I calmed myself done and obeyed my elders and bought the pastel pink arrangement. Then LESS than an hour later I called the florist back and changed it. So it’s still in the pink family. It’s just VIBRANT pink, fuchsias, roses, etc. Johnnie was FIESTY she carried a gun!

I figure it’s one of two things. First, pastel pink is truthfully her fav but she just kept it on the down low to keep her street cred. If that’s so then my flowers are gett’n her back for hitt’n me in the head with the HOT hot come! Second if pink is my aunts favorite and NOT Mama Johnnies. If that’s true then I’ve got Mama Johnnie’s back! My flowers will truly represent her in my aunt’s sea of pastel pink.


Thank you Mama Johnnie for teaching me respect, courage and love. I love you and will miss you. Rest in peace until we meet again.


~On A DIME!!

~On A DIME!!

So last Saturday I went to Jazz Alley for a show. The last time I was at Jazz Alley I walked in on my own two feet. A different day a different way. Ok so I’m not NEW to the game. I’ve been rock’ Team Handi for liked 4 years and some change now. When I made the reservation for the party of four I dotted the eyes and crossed the Ts. You know me! YOU KNOW ME!

Allow me to recap the night like I did for their management…
I was told by Jazz Alley staff to go to the 6th avenue entrance but no one was there to let me in. Tanya, one of the friends who was with me had to call Jazz Alley and ask staff to come let us in. When they let us in, that’s ALL they did! NO escort to our seats, NO welcome to The Alley NOTH’N! GREAT security (I say with a smile and wink). We could have been there LIGHT UP joint. You never know whose pack’N heat these days! That’s why the TSA searches me and my HOT ride. Ok so there’s NO clear walkway which resulted in us bumping into people while trying to maneuver the wheelchair through the crowd. I was about to GO OFF! I took a deep breath and smiled. I remembered we were at a black show in a white establishment. We were there to see Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard. So it was sea of blackness. I didn’t want to be the ONE pop’n off. Little did I know this was only beginning of the mess…

When we finally found someone to help us. I gave them my last name and they went to look my reservation up. They returned fast but they did not have the correct “Raney”. Staff insisted that we had seats in another section however; our correct seats were in 53 and 54. Another party also had the last name “Raney” but staff did not take the time to determine that it was not me. They just insisted that my seats were in another section. They could clearly see that I was in a wheelchair so it made no sense for them to think my seats were in an inaccessible area.

Fortunately, I had a printout of my reservation which showed the correct section. When I finally reached my party’s seats in sections 53 and 54, there was a booth on one side and chairs on the other side of the table. Jazz Alley staff told me to just move the chairs on one side. That’s easy enough right. RIGHT? Ok so my wheelchair did not fit under the table. Even if my wheelchair fit, there was no room for me to move around to see the show. Like zero clearance. Oh and there are four people in our party. If my wheelchair takes up two spaces where was our fourth person gonna sit??? NOW I could understand why the staff thought these seats were not our seats. But clearly they are the ones I bought no matter how inaccessible they were.

I couldn’t sit at the tables that I paid for. I had to sit in between two the tables. Fun! NOT! I planned to order dessert while at Jazz Alley. But what was I SUPPOSE to do eat on my lap? Y-E-A-H RIGHT at this Booshie event?! It was difficult enough to enjoy a glass of wine also because of this.

Studdard’s tribute to Luther pulled me through. MAN that boy can sing. So a couple days after the show I emailed The Alley my experience as a disabled person with their establishment.

Unfortunately these sort of experiences happen to the disabled all too often. But what happened next NEVER happens. At lease it’s a first for me. The PR person wrote back immediately. OH and no form letter or cover our butt letter. I’m gonna just cut and paste the high lights…

 Jazz Alley— I practically fell off my office chair when I read your email this morning. Because the owner was not scheduled to be in today, I left him a voicemail message at home as I’ve not read or heard of a situation like this at Jazz Alley in my 15 years with the club. Everything about your experience is horrible and completely unacceptable on our end.
First and most importantly, know that we are DEEPLY SORRY. We’re very glad you emailed us about this situation. By notifying us, you are giving us the chance to apologize and dig into where the wires crossed on our end so this never happens again.

From there she told me the person that took my order DIDN’T note on the reservation I was in a wheelchair. Which about KNOCKED me out my wheelchair! I had like a 10 to 15 minute conversation with the lady. Then the she (PR rep) informed me the gal would be written up for the mistake. Lastly she invited me back and sent me four tickets on the house. I can use these on ANY show I choose. If that ain’t good customer service I don’t know what is. Nordstrom WHO?!

Over the past 18 years, this disease has dictated many different situations for me, not the least of which being confinement to a wheelchair for four years, and counting. As a result, this is not the first bad experience I’ve encountered, nor will it be the last. But Jazz Alley’s quick and thoughtful response validated me as a valuable part of society…my money is just as green as someone on two feet. I’m just say’N. Thank you Jazz Alley

~Time for a re-write!

~Time for a re-write

I just got a call from Nic. She saw on FB a friend/old colleague of ours has cancer. Oh and not the old breast cancer you would suspect a 40ish woman to get. It’s some sort of Lymphoid cancer. It breaks my heart. I still see her dancing down the aisle at her wedding. She said her wedding was a happy event and she was a happy bride. That was two kids and a divorce ago. Yet when I hear her name I will always see her dancing down the aisle at her wedding well over 13 years ago.

Ok so she goes to the doctor on Tuesday. They tell her she has cancer of her Lymphatic system and they want to start Chemo that week. To which she threw up the time-out signal take’n a knee. She was like What WHAAT WHAT. First of all give me a chance to wrap my arms around the fact that I have cancer.

So this is what I got ISSUES with. The way doctors PHOTO BOMB you. They jump all in your frame with a grim diagnosis. Then they calmly talk about treatment like nothing just happened. They did the same thing when they diagnosed me with MS and Albee with type 1 Diabetes. Now that’s some kinda sick protocol. I understand doc’s give these sort of diagnosis every day, maybe multiple times a day. But YO docs like CHECK IT! The people getting the news AIN’T NEVER heard this before! Makes me want to SPAL the professor who wrote the text book on how to give patients negative diagnosis.

When they suspected I had MS I was single, in my white Clinique get up on my way to work. I had no idea I was finna get life changing news. It happened so quick at first my brain couldn’t compute what she said. Next thing I knew the nurse was in my room talk’n fast pushing papers on me. Ok and all the while the doctor is instructing me to not pass go and to immediately go to Swedish hospital. AAAND that’s when I threw the red flag on the field. I was like I need to call my family, work and tell them I won’t be in today. Of course the first two calls to family no one answered. This was barbaric times. No one had cell phones in 96. Fortunately the third call big brother was at his desk and by my side in 40 minutes. Which was impressive because he worked and lived in O-town an hour away.

It always goes back to statistics and our kindergarten picture. We hope and the cancer, MS or any other negative number won’t land on us. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. They have to fall somewhere. Bad numbers or Statistics DON’T define us. We ultimately decide who we are. D was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphatic cancer this week. Yeah there were tears! Who wouldn’t cry? However you know what she said next? “Well I think I should ask Richard Sherman to sign my bald head”. That’s not a statistic or a number. That’s the happy bride dancing down the aisle. Keep dancing Dawnelle. I’m just say’n

~The “Funnies”

~The “Funnies”

Before I was able to read we still lived on S Point View ST. I loved that house. Those were my good old days in L.A. CA. Back when the news came in the paper form. Every Sunday morning my daddy would retrieve the paper from porch. First he would check the headlines the turn to the sport’s pages. All the while five year old me would be ask’n him to read the funnies (comic strip) to me.

I don’t know if other people called the comic’s in Sundays Newspaper the Funnies. The Funnies that were my favorite were Charlie Brown and the gang. Why did it never get old watching Lucy pull the ball away from Charlie? She would be called one of those mean girls if it was today. Simpler times, NO iPods, iPads or Smart phones…

Today most comics are played out on T.V. Currently my favorite is The Vladi and Obama Files. At first glance you would conclude it was serious stripe. Maybe even a scary one. Naaw it’s just another one of the Funnies.

It opened with Vladi (playground bully) hosting 2014 Winter Olympics. He cleans up pretty good. He put on a crisp new suit and tie. A smile on his face…scratch that. A new suit anyways. During said games the Ukraine people over threw their Dictator. Vladi pat on the bum the last of the Olympic competitor’s and sent them home. Then it was back to The Kremlin STAT!!!!

Once there he walks in the door he rips his shirt open popping the buttons off Jiffy popcorn style. This exposes his six pack abs. He turns awkwardly turns to the camera and gives his best seductive pose. Next thing you know he’s back to HATE’n the US. He blames the Ukraine situation on America call’n it the FOUL the FILTH and the FILTHY FILTHY FOUL! Then he invades the Ukraine. In what seems like one BIG smooth move. Classic Poot’n style! Have you notice his expression NEVER changes? It doesn’t matter if he is at the Olympics, shirt opened or invading a country. Blue Steele (Zoolander) I think I will call him that.

Next Obama enters the comic. Now he’s mad! Well he “act’s” mad. He talks a good talk. They impose sanctions against Russia. At first look it’s all a lot of pushing and shoving. Ok so here’s why I say that. My local news researched how much business this state dose with Russia a year. Boeing is here. So we got the whole Air-O thing going on here. If my local news figured that out you CAN’T tell me The President doesn’t know that. Oh and we are ONE state out of 51. You can’t tell me is the only state in The Union doing business with Russia. No wonder Russia is poking fun at the sanctions. It’s like watching a fight between Fezzik from Princes Bride and Danny DeVito.

The US can thank their own boy’s for inter-connecting the world. You know Barack called Gate and was like, yo Bill can we turn off Russia’s web access to the web? To which Bill was like AAAH NO! Oh and Prez why you calling NOW? You should-ah been dial’n my number to create that EPIC failure of a website. You know he was shaking his head as he hung up the phone
Forget the states how much trade and industry does Russia do around the world? That is why we see on the news the President in all these talks with various countries. He can’t fight the playground bully himself. He couldn’t tell Boeing or The Motor city STOP doing business with Russia. If he did that it would negatively affect jobs and he is trying to increase jobs in America. All he can do with sanctions is freeze rich Russian government employees money. That even backfired in a since. Blue Steele just turns around and froze rich American’s money, namely John McCains. That shows Americans McCain practices tax evasion. It’s all a HOT MESS! A HOT MESS I tell you.

Now the President keeps saying Russia is just a “regional” power. Is that really so? I mean if it is only “regional” why can’t the Dual world power stop it on its own? All I can tell you is times are changing…keep on the watch! I’m just say’n…

~Land Slide

~Land Slide

I was just laid off. The last time that happened to me I wasn’t married, walking and worked for Nordstrom. On paper I was never laid off. My boss called me in her office and with tears streaming down her face told me they were going from four coordinators to two. Yup I WASN’T one of the two they were keeping. At the same time she valued me as an employee. She was not only going to pay me the end of the month. Oh and she was NOT putting my termination papers in till then. Her hope was that I would find another position with company before then. She knew have MS and needed health insurances.

Well it’s a different day and a different way. Allow me to BACK that thing up and start at the beginning. Our washer and dryer have been on borrowed time for a while now. Albee holds his breathe lately every time he does laundry. It’s so bad our neighbors told us they hear the dryer scraping and rattle. Saturday we bite the bullet and bought new ones. Our saving almost covered. Sunday I was laid off. Monday the Block did our taxes. Yes you guessed it we owe. Thursday our dish washer stops working! Saturday my MS was like well if everything is falling apart I might as well join the club.

I’ve never been in a natural disaster. In NO shape or form do I mean to minimize the devastation. At the same time I imagine it feels like this. First It’s raining. Then it gets progressively harder and harder. The wind starts in seeming out of nowhere. Next you here and feel something, your eyes dart around the room looking for its source. Crash, crackle, POP! Am I falling? Why aren’t my feet touching the ground? I feel like someone just punched me as hard as they could in my gut. But no one stands at my side. Like most natural disasters it’s no one’s fault. The business has slowed to a crawl. House hold appliances wear out. The MS flares from time to time. The cruelty is when it all happens at once.

I don’t remember closing my eyes. But I opened them and hung up the phone. I was in that eerie calm after a storm. What just happened? I’ve been back to work since 2010. The money back then was extra. Then I found Pushing Boundaries. Truly the best thing I’ve found in my handicap life. I credit it as keeping me mobile and strong. Albee’s money covers house hold necessities. Boundaries was all me. There’s also senior-citizen sisters that use to be in my congregation I employee. Her husband died at year ago thus her financial situation changed. She needed the money and we needed the help. So one day a week she comes over cleans our condo and cooks for us. I can’t even think about how I’m going to tell her.


So Daddy and Mommy to rescue. I forget no matter how old I get I’m still their baby. I told my mom about everything. Not in an attempt of getting anything. Just purely factoid base, they’re senior-citizens on a fixed budget. Wouldn’t you know it before I could say BOO she called me back. She had talked to my dad and they wanted pay the same sister to cook and clean twice a month. Pushing Boundaries is another story. I have enough in savings to pay for the next month and half.

So I’m in the job market. It’s interesting back in 2010 I had just went in the wheelchair. I was lost. Then my boss approached me and offered me a job. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself back then. He saw value. For that I will always be grateful. The job got me off the couch, out of sweats and back on the block.

I don’t know what I will do for work, I don’t. You know how it always say’s on strip clubs, 25 pretty girls and one ugly one. Maybe they’d go for 25 pretty girls and one handicapped. Seriously though being handicapped does limit me. It’s funny my now ex-boss still view’s me as valuable, when many employers wouldn’t. He told me I can use him as a reference and if his business picks up in a few months he wants me back.

I can’t just sit and hope to go back to my old job. It could not happen. Whatever happen’s it will be ok though. I know who I am and what limitation’s I’m working with. I’m still a hard worker, loyal and do my best to give Nordie’s style customer service. Like Mz. Arie says, “I’m not the average girl from the video…when I look in the mirror the only one there is me. Every freckle on my face is where it’s supposed to be. I know my creator didn’t make NO mistakes on me…I’m [learning] to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen.” I’m just say’n…. http://www

~”We Started From the BOTTOM Now We HERE…The WHOLE Team is RIGHT HERE!”

~”We Started From the BOTTOM Now We HERE…The WHOLE Team is RIGHT HERE!” (Drake may have rap’d it but the Haws did it)

So Albee and I drove home after spending a week in central Oregon. Six hours in the car on Super Bowl Sunday. Oh and of course it’s when the Hawks are play’n in the Bowl. YES we taped the game! I even signed off ALL social media in an attempt of watching the game last night when I got home. I made it all the way to the North side of South Centre Mall when I saw fireworks. REALLY rich people! REALLY!

I say rich because they shot up from the Bellevue direction. Not to mention they were 4th of July style. You know only rich people roll like that. NOT to mention it’s winter. It probably was friends of Paul Allen. I closed my eyes as tight as I could try’n to pretend I didn’t see anything. My heart began to beat a little faster. As soon as I got home we flipped on the game. It was a quarter to eight. As you know it all started with a safety. It wasn’t a game it was an M-A-S-S-A-C-R-E! Peyton WHO? Manning WHAT? At one point I actually felt sorry for ole dude.

It passed.

I do have some words for the press. All year they had nothing good to say about the Hawks. NOTHING! When they won games they would reason the other team was having a bad day. Last week they were call’n my boy Sherman a thug last they were singing a different tune. They need to CHECK themselves. They didn’t change their strategy. They have been plat’n the same way all year. The only difference is they OWNED Peyton Manning and WON The Super Bowl. They had no choice but to RECK’NIZE. You bet they changed the game (Money Ball style). You can keep your first round draft pick they don’t need it. Oh and they got there nerve saying they wanna talk about the league wants to copy Seahawk’s the. Check it! It was fours in the making. By the time everyone catches up. The Hawks will be onto something NEW! You BEZT believe that.

Oh and thank you Paul Allen for staying true to yourself and the PNW. He didn’t put on a suit or a long wool jacket like the press or the Commissioner. He kept it real in his parka, Dockers and baseball cap! Yeah he is in the top 10 of the 1% wealthiest people in the world. Yet he is PNW first and foremost. Oh and yes she is in a band. OH and Paul thanks for getting your grill fixed before the big game. His teeth used to be JACKED! Seriously, I’m talk’n tore up from the floor up.

ONE more thing. So the press even ESPN keeps saying the Super Bowl win was the second win for the city. The last one in 79 when the Sonics won the champion ship. In truth The Seattle Storm WNBA has not one but TWO championships! NOW don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been to a game nor ever watched won. But common ESPN do’ your homework. Wikapedia even knows that!


So like I said Sunday Albee, the boys and I took a drive to the OTHER side. It takes about five hours and some change to get there. It’s well worth the drive because there is a feisty red head weighting for us. You guessed it we drove to central Oregon to visit Albee’s mom Jakki.

Anita is her name. Jakki is her alias. To date Albee still doesn’t know how she came to be called Jakki. Somewhere around his early thirties he figured out since she still wouldn’t tell him the orgin. This is a woman that was a undercover narcotic officer, race car driver and underwear model. She’s NO joke!

Albee, himself was nearly born on a pool table in a bar. Jakki had a 500 dollar bet on the game and wasn’t leaving until the game was over. At one point her contraction was coming so fast and hard see was bent over in pain. The whole bar was watching a pregnant lady shooting in between contractions. The bar began timing her contractions. You know WHAT? She didn’t leave until she won the game collected her money and her contractions were five minutes apart! Albert’s dad drove her to the hospital and Albert was borne a half an hour later.

Oh and yes the bar through her baby shower.

One would think Oregon was a lot like Washington. After all Portland is pretty much the mini me of Seattle. While that may be the case, DON’T get it twisted! As soon as your tires rolls out of Portland time rolls backwards. DON’T matter a black man is president or that the 1st Ladies brother couches college basketball at Oregon State. AS resent as 05 I was repeatedly called a Negro to my face. Oh yes I kindly corrected him by saying I’m African American. To which said I thought you were a Negro. As if it was the sixties and MLK never marched.

So no N words were used towards me this time. Well not in my face anyway. But the BEST was we went to Macys, Marshal’s and the grocery store. I’m slowly propelling myself around the stores (see Emily aka Jillian at Pushing Boundaries I did my homework while I was gone). Now in Seattle I can’t push myself a step without someone approaching me asking me if I need help. Not so down here. They give me a wide birth like I got N1. The sales people KEEP their eyes on me. When I catch them starring and look at them in the eye they look away. I swear I saw one reach down and push a button. Probably a Negro alert button. Warning the rest of the city of my presence.

You think I’m joking. I wish I was. Jakki told me when she moved there they would run blacks out of town before it got dark (it was the 80’s, YIKES). In her next breath she happily told me they have eight or nine black people now. I immediately thought to myself why would a black person want to live here. Anyway… Enough of that! I’m home and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl!

Lastly, down there I saw an interview with Meredith Vieira and her husband who has MS. He is now legally blind, walks with a can, and his voice is affected by MS. I’ve been ask several times why I blog. He has a blog and he explains why. I share his sentiments exactly. If you have time watch their whole interview. I saw so much of Albee and I in their relationship. It was a great interview with Dr. Oz. They talk about a MS research study for a new way to treat the disease.

Make it a GREAT weekend. Jump a few times for me. I was going to say walk a block for me but it’s too COLD ffor that mess. You can jump in your house :o)

~Still Try’n to wrap my hands……

~Still Try’n to wrap my hands……

First things FIRST! Allison Frances lives with M.S. a chronic debilitating disease. Ok I’m handicap and in a wheelchair right, RIGHT! Now I have issues with my hands. Whatever, it is what is. Nevertheless it is still rude to stair. Some would say it’s ruder. So we were out to my favorite interior Mexican restaurant with some friends I haven’t seen a while. I was all set to get my GRUB ON! I took a few bites and began to drift into food bliss. All of a sudden I heard a voice say, “you did that good. You didn’t even get any on you.” Then Albee retorts, “well, almost nothing” as he’s picking up some chicken off my lap and puts it back on my plate (thanks babe for putting me on BLAST!). GREAT! People are watching me eat. That’s not irritating. What am I now a side show? YO check it! You focus on your plate and I’ll focus on mind. If you must watch me DON’T let me know you’re doing it! GOODNESS!

Ok so I started to write this a month ago but decided to wait. It’s VERY important that I say that I mean NO disrespect with my observations. It’s been a month so I think the cost is clear. They aren’t new feeling. The first time I remember having these feelings I was a little black girl in Mrs. Wolf’s second grade class. I’m not sure why or what made me think about it again, but I did. Like ta hear about it? Well here we GO! F-R-E-E YOUR MIND…

OK so I’ve never understood Thanksgiving. Why does everyone observe this? When I say everyone I mean all races. Before you judge me just hear me out…
First, Black people or should I say African American to be “PC”. In any cartoon pictures or Thanksgiving plays do you EVER see us in the pictures? NO!
You may say Alley black people probably weren’t in America yet. Perhaps. But most likely we were there. We were back in the boat scrubbing the lower decks! Then in then when the country was finally was established we were cooking the turkey for someone else to eat.

The Chinese weren’t invited. They were left back in the boat cooking for the feast. Now as for the Mexican’s they had their hand full dealing with Christopher C. up in their house. Oh and in many ways they lost that fight. Think about it. Our friends in the south hold on to the Catholic faith as if it started there. The sad thing is if you asked many what their family faith is they would say Catholic and always has been. Chris C. said in all the history books he was saving the “heathens”. They did un-thinkable things to the native people to force people to convert. Don’t believe me do the math. That’s the blessing and the curse of the internet.

Then there are the Native Americans. I’ve often wondered do they celebrate the holiday. Maybe they hate the holiday. Could you blame them? I would think the day makes them sick to their stomach. Perhaps there are confused little Native American girl like me looking at the decorations. The difference being she saw pictures of her people portrayed as all happy. Yet her parents tell her when the pilgrims arrived their Native life ended. They were bullied into submission. But hey at least they were allowed to keep their religion.

If the U.S. government got wind of a country invading another country and more or less giving the native the boot what would they do? What would they do? You know it would be on LIKE DONKEY KONG! After all we teach our kids bulling is unacceptable. Unless the U.S. benefits. Then you are given a national holiday like Christopher C.

I’m not try’n to upset anyone or make a statement of any sort. More or less I’m just figuring out my own mind. Another good example of running over Native Americans is the Washington Redskins team name. Native Americans have been petioning for a name change for some time now. The owner has been very outspoken and unapologetic about he will NEVER change the name! Would he be as pigheaded if their name was the Washington Coones? Better yet the Washington WASPS or if their catch phrase was we are going to Jew’d you. There would be countries in an outrage. Some would say that’s different Native Americans don’t have a country. They DID the pilgrims’ took it. I’m just say’n.

SIDE NOTE—In the beginning I was doing blog entries weekly. Lately it’s more like monthly. It’s no because I don’t have anything to say. Please have you see the size of my mouth! It just life has just sped up. Work and everything else! I swear the amount of hour in a day has decreased! On a different note check this link out that my friend found. I about fell out on the floor.

~Back to the Hotel (N2 DEEP )… Well gym.

~Back to the Hotel (N2 DEEP )… Well gym.

Ok so I got my butt KICKED! KICKED I tell you, by a WAFE. A pretty little maybe 110 pound wet, girl. I didn’t think that was possible. Oh but I was wrong. I’m soy let me back the thang up. I’m back in the gym. Things have changed up in da place. A changing of the guards you may say. . My dude Aaron left to get his Masters. There are four new people I haven’t talked about as of yet because I’ve only had limited interaction with them. Well now I am ACQUAINTED!

O girl is one of them. Let’s call her Jill. You know as in Jillian Michael’s from Biggest Loser. She is NO joke. It don’t matter how small her waist be! I wheeled in Pushing Boundaries thinking I’d be with Popeye or Zorro. Jill said lets go. I was like ok figuring the new NEW girl would also be with us. Two women trainers works solid. So you can imagine my surprise when thin, cutie, putootie girl walked up to me.

I really think it was the hardest workout to date. I know I’m probably gonna regret saying this. The boys have never pushed me as hard as she did. She packed so much in that one hour. I don’t know it was like she believed in me a way most people don’t. I’m stronger on the left side of my torso. Sitting in my chair I kinda lean to one side. I HATE the way it looks (NO staring at me the next time you see me to try to see what I mean). No one has ever addressed it before. I figured it was unchangeable. She not only addresses it but showed me what needs to be done to fix it.

It was crazy! We did this exercise where I sat on the edge of a raised mat with knees bent and feet on the floor. She sat in front of me on a stool. Then she took a long light weight bar and had me grab it with arms spread eagle from each other. Next she grabbed Velcro do-dads that look like odd shaped mittens. Next she put them around my hands and the bar. Now there is a rope attached to each end of the bar. Jill flips the rope over her head it lands around her back. Then abruptly grabs the bar and leans back. This pulls me forward bending me over nose to knees. Then she tells me to sit up. Now mind you I can’t use my arms and hands because they are VELCROED to the bar. Then once I manage to get almost to a up and balanced in a seated potion she pulls me down again. SERIOUSLY DEMENTATED!

Apparently the exercise/torture was for my lower back muscles. I really can’t tell you how many reps or sets we did but I DID it. Secretly I loved. It was S-T- U-P-I-D HARD but I do notice improvement in my back strength. I guess it’s true no pain no gain…

The rest of the hour was more of the same. I don’t know if I hate her for how hard she worked me or for having a body MOST women would kill for. Once again like Jillian Michaels. What I would give for a small waist and average breast. I’m JUST say’n…

~Back Lash…

~Back Lash…

Ok so I’m 40 right. Oh and have MS and in a wheelchair. My body is like Vegas, week home and then Spain? Yeah well I’m glad you had fun cause you FINNA pay for it. MS was like this is MY house SON! I had an MS exacerbation. I hadn’t had one in a long time. What in the world is an MS exacerbation you ask. It can include many different things. This time for me it meant ridiculous fatigue, crazy weakness in my arms and hands headaches bordering on migraine! I was a HOT MESS!!!

So the treatment for this sort of MS attack is roides. Three consecutive days of IV steroids. I was hoping the girls would shrink. I’m tired of carrying these triple D’s around. Didn’t happen! I guess things only shrink on certain types of roides. The ones I got were medicinal roides. The first day was picture perfect. The nurse found a vein right away. The infusion was over an hour. Then I was out the door.

Second day I felt like I just got run over by a truck. Oh and not just any truck. I got ran over by an ash fault steam roller. Eight Pokes! Eight pokes to get an IV started. The first was a quick swing and a miss. NO big deal, that happens. She just called the iv specialist nurse. The IV specialist first shot was a prep shot of lido cane. Now I know that lido can numbs the skin using a tiny needle. The thought being when the larger needle for the IV goes through the same point of entry it’s numb. While yes it takes the bite out of point of entry. The down side is my picky little veins either roll, clasps or whatever, preventing the IV from advancing into my vein. So my vein rolled and her first attempt failed.
I told the nurse no lido cane on her second attempt. I’d just grin and bear it. She got in her stance and another swing and a miss. She put her hands up and said there are only two tries per nurse. I was like even for the IV specialist? She said yes even the specialist. She said she would grab another nurse. So they wrapped my arms in hot towels again. A few minutes later nurse numerous tres comes in. She then unwraps the towels on my arms and begins her inspection. Yesterday they found a vein on the first poke. Oh the difference a day makes.

She feels the same vein that they used yesterday and ask if she can use the same vein just a little higher this time. I say yes whatever works. She ties a rubber band strap around my arm. Next she instructs me to make repeated fists to try to pump up the vein. At the same time she smacks my arm (was I getting an IV or a shot of heroin?). Once that’s done she pulls the needle out sets it on some gauze, firmly wipes my arm with an alcohol wipe lastly dries the alcohol with a swipe of gauze. Grabs the needle and here’s where I look away. I don’t know how many blood drawls, flu shots or IV’s I’ve had over the years I still can’t watch point of impact. In my opinion it’s a three prong assault. First the nurse always says little poke. But it’s never little. Then there’s the initial sudden pain. Next the pain widens and intensifies. Finally I feel like I wanna throw the towel in. At that same moment she said nope I can’t get it. Let’s look at the other arm. She asks me if I’m ok. Of course I smile and say yes. You know I was LIEING! I’ve had forth failed shots and FINNA have my seventh attempt. My stomach was in knots. Long story short the fifth try was a CRASH & BURN.

On to nurse CUATRO! They call for another IV specialist. She is younger than the previous two. I don’t know if that’s better or worse. More hot towels wrapped around my arms. I was trying to relax my body before the next attempt. I have the Seahawks game on. It was a roller coaster game like my stomach. I’ve never vomited over needle pokes but I didn’t know how much more I could take. So nurse cuatro unwrapped my arms and began her hunt. She first took of the five band aids of the fallen soldiers before her. Then the ground hog day begun again. She tied the rubber band around my arm and had me pump my fist. Long story short six and seven failed. At this point I’ve been at been at the hospital two hours and have not STARTED my one hour infusion!

So as per the law of the land two failed attempts she’s done. I say nothing but she sees the look of anguish on my face. She says nothing just grab my other arm and tries again. She is a rebel with a cause! It looks like her third attempt is going to fail. But this nurse is on a mission. She fishes around in my arm with the needle (yeah that felt GREAT}. A couple minutes of that and she was in! So I of course had her leave the line and secure it. That way I could keep it in overnight. Then the next day all they would have to do is hook up the new bag of roides to it.

Needless to say I’m STILL wearing long sleeves shirts. My arms still look like an addicts. Oh an get this I told head nurse about flipping over backwards in my wheelchair and hitting my head. I said I went to the hospital and got checked out. I was just giving an FYI. She was all up in arms. Told me we can’t trust what they say. Indicating their medicine was inferior to ours. She even rolled her eyes While she was say’n it. I wanted to say SHUT your mouth you HUAGHTY American! Allen, our tour guide with MS said Spain has the best medical. He has never had such good care for his MS and no insurance is needed and he grew up in Great Britain. Oh and Barcelona had better accessibility than any US city I’ve been to. But I didn’t even waste my breath. She talked to the doctor and they decided I should have an MRI. Whatever! They ordered the $1200 MRI and I did it. Of course it came back fine. Oh and by the by head nurse Allen told me his yearly MRI is at no patient cost. I’m just say’n…….



Europe: the next frontier. These are the voyages of Albee and Allison Raney. Their mission: to explore strange new lands. To seek out new congregations, and new civilizations, to boldly go where they never went before.

The adventures began with a thirteen hour travel to Spain. We flew on KLM (Dutch airlines). They are partners with Delta. So I rolled up to the Delta counter check in line. Before my turn a Delta representative walked up to me and asked to see our tickets. Then he walked behind the counter with them. He shortly returned and told us he moved us closer to the front of the plane. Yes he moved us to the seats that have extra leg room and the backs recline further. These seats cost an extra $145 each! No he didn’t charge us (handicap hook up, you dig). As he escorted us to a special place to early board nosey on lookers looked on in envy. I thought to myself DON’T hate, your legs work! NOW walk yourself to the back of the bus!

Ok so you know how the airlines in America are all cry’n about money problems. They don’t give you blankets, pillows and nickel and dime us to death. Fuel prices go up BAM we are slapped with a sir charge. Your bag is .2 over the weight limit you are SLAPED a penalty charge. Not Dutch Airlines. Our bag was overweight a little over two pounds. They didn’t flinch. We boarded the plane and they handed us blankets and pillows. They offered us beer and wine. Of course we said no. Europe is expensive enough we weren’t goin to start spending money before we hit the ground. Besides I am armed with my air borne, no jet lag pills and a bottle of water. I am bound and determined to hit the ground running.

Then I heard magical words in the near distance…complementary. Now that’s just SILLY! It would be SACK religious not to partake. Not over partake. Just merely except the hospitality extended by the Dutch. I had a nice glass of red wine with dinner.

Oh but I was DONE! DONE I tell you! They had a handicap bathroom on the plane. They told me to give them a ten minute heads up when I had to go to the bathroom. What they do is move a retractable wall between two bathrooms and creates one BIG bathroom. The nine and ½ hour flight was like and evening on the couch. Comfortable seat, wine and a big bathroom. Oh if you are wondering how I get to said bathroom check this out. They keep on board teenie tiny wheelchair that fits between the aisle.

We arrived in Barcelona around four o’clock local time. However, the city the wedding was in was a little over an hour north. Now Albert has been to Europe several times. He’s been to England, France, Germany and more. With that said he has never driven in Europe. Well we rented a car. It would be easier with the wheelchair. When we got to the car rental place at the airport I was surprised with the cars. There were some make and models we have here. But a ton of foreign cars. Ok so you know how we have the cute little Fiat. Well in Spain Fiat sells a DOPE cross over vehicle. Oh and so does Mini Cooper. I don’t know why they be hold’n out on America. Why they be sending us these small baby cars?? Don’t they know we big people over here!

We had never heard of or seen our rental car before. It was a Sierra Leon hatch back. Doesn’t that just sound SIDIDY?! What kind of car do you drive? Why a Sierra Leon ah ha (sipping tea with a pinkie up) When we got to our car it was parked to close to the car next to it. So Albert had to back up the car before getting me in. Now the games begin. We have all seen the commercials, TV shows or movies where this happens. Ok so I’m in my wheelchair a safe distance behind the car. Now I watch Albert get in the car, start it, put it in reverse and look at me over his shoulder. Instead of the car moving backwards it moves forward ABRUPTLY! Followed by a jerk to a HARD stop. Albee’s head pops out of the car. He tells me he can’t get it in reverse. He tries again. Once again he looks over his shoulder and puts the car in reverse steps on the gas aaand the car goes forward. I SCREAM STOP! He jumps out of the car in desperation and says he doesn’t know what he’s doing wrong. At this point the car is almost completely out of its parking space and in the oncoming traffic driving area. He gets out. I tell him to go ask somebody and thus there is the ongoing war between man and woman…where woman says go ask for directions and man insists he can figure it out. After 2-3 more failed attempts, he went and asked somebody (#FINALLY). A Nice young man that worked there got in the car and showed him that he needed to push the gear shift down and over to go in to reverse…without the press down, it was not going to happen. Spain – 1, Albert – 0.

I wish I could say driving got easier. Ok what is it with Spain’s love affair with round abouts! Oh and they are not the round abouts we use to here. No, they are smaller in circumference with more street exit turn offs. Oh yeah, and the street signs were ity bity little things. You had zero advance notice the sign was at the point you had to turn off onto the street you wanted. If and when Albert missed the street we wanted you couldn’t just go around the roundabout again. If you didn’t pick a street you were dumped on the same street you were originally on in the opposite direction. Then you would have to travel to another roundabout that would turn you around so you could go back to the other one again. I really can’t tell you how many times that fiscal happened. Let’s just say Spain – 2, Albert – 0.

We drove up this dirt hilly road to reach the villa. As we drove through the second gate the 14th century villa came into view. It was breath taking. It was built with brick and stone, solid as a rock. The inside was cavernes. Vaulted ceilings and the floors were a mixture of cement and stone. Our bedroom was like a hidden room behind the formal dining room. It was down a little ramp. When you were lying on the bed looking up it was a little creepy. The ceiling was vaulted, rounded and made of brick. To me it felt like a tomb or a torture chamber. One thing for sure the houitie toutie that own the villa back in the day did NOT sleep here. That there was slave quarters at best. Don’t get me wrong it was remolded and decorated beautifully. Even with a fresh coat of paint you can’t silence what the ancient bricks are screaming.

Most mornings I would eat breakfast on the back stone patio with the Mediterranean off in the distance. The day of the wedding I was sitting on a back patio of a Villa in SPAIN! To my left down about five steps decorators were setting up for the wedding that afternoon. I could hear their chatter amongst the birds chirping. I can’t understand a LICK of it because it’s in Spanish. Oh and not in the same Spanish we hear around the way at home. Here in the homeland there are three dialects of Spanish. In the area we were in its Catalan. Catalan really is a stand-alone language. These Spaniard’s want to succeed from Spain. Why do they wanna split you ask? Well it’s pretty messed up. Apparently way back in da day a King or Dictator or Socialist ruler whatever way they govern had Hitler-itist. He tried to snuff out these people. He obviously failed like Hit but there is bad blood till this day between the groups. #upcoming war, #heads Anderson Cooper.

The chef the groom’s family hired made me eggs and bacon like every morning! Boring? NO! She didn’t even need to put her foot in it. The eggs were small and the yokes brilliant yellow. So flavorful without salt. Apparently they legally only work the chickens six months out of the year. That and they are grass feed. You don’t pay extra nor is it given the title “organic”. It’s just plain since.

Let’s talk about food for a moment. All in all it was AMAZING! The pork, the pork the PORK I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. The ham, pircutio, sausage, rib eye, bacon, and more. It’s more than the way they season. It’s not fatty or chewy. No matter how it’s prepared it just melts to a puddle of yummy goodness in your mouth. There are two reasons why. One is they have a type of pig that is only found in Spain called Ibérico Pig. The second reason is Spain is the last country to still grass feed their pigs. The groom always thought he was allergic to pork. He found out he really isn’t. He tried the bacon over there thinking he would be sick the next day but he wasn’t. The next day he pork BBQ and shoulder. He still didn’t get sick. From there it was on like Donkey Kong! Got back here and our pork made him sick. You know it’s how treat our pork out here. So hats off to Spain!

Speaking of the groom, the wedding was breath taking. It was on the south lawn at the villa. We had to take my tippers off to go down stairs to the lush lawn. Albee was so nervous being his first talk. It didn’t help it was in the high 80’s and he was in a suit. At least it wasn’t a wool suit like the grooms or the brides full wedding dress. Between the three of them I was worried someone would pass out. Not the case. It went over without a hitch. It was the most intimate, prettiest wedding I’ve ever been to.
After the wedding we went onto the veranda for aperitifs, tapas and champagne. Of course being clueless Americans we thought the aperitifs were the tapas. We chowed down on them only to find out we still had to eat an ENDLESS round of tapas before diner. Needless to say we postponed dinner and a group played croquet on the west lawn before dinner. I watched the game from the stone tiled alongside the grass. It was fun, everyone was still dressed up. It felt very booshie. I was rolling myself forward trying to watch the game. Oddly I was having a hard time gaining momentum and get slowly rolling backwards. So I reach back and gave it extra humf. I popped a wheelie doing that. Usually that’s no big deal my tippers catch me. I forgot we had taken them off for the wedding. So my wheelchair kept going flipping backwards slamming MY head on the cement tile!! Nothing like a trip to the ER while on vacation. But get this they triaged me as soon as I was in the door. Oh and guess how long I had to wait to see the doc…five minutes! No concussion! Made me think just how hard do you have to hit your head to get one.

Lastly I want to tell you about touring Barcelona. Albee found a company that did disable tours. The only day we could tour all the English speaking tour guides were booked. So the owner of the business decided he would give us the tour himself. Now it wasn’t cheap. We bought the three hour Gaudi tour. Who is Gaudi you ask. If you ask Albert he’d says he’s a WACK-a-DODDLE. He definitely was unique. At the same time a brilliant architect that designed everything from the stone tile streets, the Familia church to various buildings in Barcelona. He is for sure worth a Google hit.

Allen the owner is British. He and his Argentinian wife have lived in Barcelona for 10 years. He has MS and walks with a cane. He knew where all the accessible entrances, bathrooms and metro travel were. We bonded over our shared disease. Unlike me he’s very mobile but had excruciating pain from the MS. So like Gilligan a three hour tout ended up being longer, like four hours longer. He explained Spain is a male dominant Society. Women are unapologetically paid less than men doing the same job. Sadly last year 37 women were killed by their own husbands. That was only the beginning! He spilled other things about Spain’s dirty laundry. Once again I thought to myself Americans haven’t a clue how good they got it.

Allen not only gave a great tour he opened my eyes. He began his business in Spain but quickly other foreign lands needed accessible tours. His business operates in 50 different countries. He told us they even have a jungle tour in Thailand. The tour takes the disabled people to view the Apes there even the Silver Back Apes. They tolerate human viewing them at a distance. Only when disabled people come the Apes will come down and interact with them. They will gently touch only the disable. Sometimes will put their arms around the person trying cradling them like a child. The Silver back himself will come down and present himself. CRA CRA CRAZY STUFF!

When I graduated to the chair my life got smaller. In my wildest dreams I NEVER saw me on an EPIC trip that I just experienced. Thank you Albert, Mariah (bride), Dabi (groom), Encinitas’s (Dabi’s parents) for making this possible. Thank you Allen for opening this little black girl in wheelchair eyes. It’s not too late to dream.