Spin Those Plates - And Look Good Doing It

Lately this is what my life feels like. platespinner

As a disabled person I have always begrudgingly accepted that I can't do things quickly or multitask as much as I'd like to. As I have gotten older and become more limited I've had to edit out some activities entirely and prioritize those things I can still manage that are important to me.

When it comes to this blog there is so much I want to do with it and I never seem to have enough time to do it in. I can only type with one hand and it's becoming compromised. Writing my posts, reading and answering your comments then visiting your blogs to comment, takes up a considerable amount of my time.  As much as I'd like to there's no way for me to read everything that my fellow bloggers post. I marvel at those of you that I see constantly tweeting on Twitter, posting to Facebook and G+, pinning to Pinterest, uploading to Instagram, creating sets on Polyvore. Many of you host themed linkups, secure sponsorships from businesses you believe in, and giveaways of products you love and endorse.

So I'd like to pose this question to my readers and fellow bloggers. How do you find the time to do it all? How do you juggle your time to best use it towards your blogging aspirations? How do you maintain and promote your readership without neglecting those that are following you? How do you approach companies you believe in for sponsorship and giveaways? What are your strategies; what am I missing?

How do you keep all of your plates spinning?

Get A Handle On It

We all have limitations. It's just a fact of life. Rather than waste time fretting over them use that energy to work around them. I do.

Here's a prime example of a problem I have that's related to my Cerebral Palsy.

PhoneStrap1

This is one of the newer Samsung Android phones. As cellphones go it's pretty huge, especially in my little hands, and it gets even bigger when you add the Palsy-proof case. In order to use any of the phone's functions I have to be able to hold it in my left hand to leave my dominant hand free to type or scroll. The problem is I have a grasping reflex in my left hand. In other words, I can't delicately handle an item. Instead, I end up squeezing it for dear life. In the case of a cellphone my fingers end up touching the screen and activating all kinds of goodies I don't want opened - not to mention after a minute or two it starts to hurt.

Fortunately, I have a very ingenious husband who set about solving this problem for me - after a quick trip to Michael's for supplies.

Mr Spashionista started by removing the outermost back cover from an Otterbox Commuter case and measured out enough new elastic cords to fit diagonally around the cover. Care was taken so that the camera, flash, and speaker openings at the top were not obstructed.

PhoneStrap7

He then disassembled a pre-made bracelet and restrung it onto the new lengths of elastic.

PhoneStrap4

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A few secure knots before reassembling the Otterbox case and the Spashionable phone handle is ready for use!

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This works wonderfully! Because my hand slips in so easily I don't have to be petrified I may drop the phone any minute. As an added bonus, because I can keep my palm fairly open there's no dreaded grasping reflex!

After testing the rig for several days some "stability bling" was added to the opposing corners using glass bead adhesive to keep the phone from rocking excessively when it's used on a flat surface.

PhoneStrap16

Problem solved for about $10! Of course, now I've started a trend and everybody wants one.

You Gotta Have Friends

In this the last installment of my Cedar Rapids adventure it's only fair to introduce the people and resources without which I would never have attempted this trip.

Meet my friend Glenda Watson Hyatt. She writes a terrific blog called Do It Myself and is the author of I Can Do It Myself, an autobiographical account of living with Cerebral Palsy. Glenda has made it her life's work to help make the world more accessible for everybody, so when I seriously contemplated making this trip she was the first person I turned to for advice. She gave me a few pointers in selecting a truly accessible hotel room, then referred me to her friend in Iowa, Deb Brown. Deb is an entrepreneur and founder of Debworks, which specializes in helping businesses get the most out of the ever-expanding world of social media.

The first - and best - thing Deb did was point me towards the right city! For whatever reason, the website from which I initially learned about the Alphonse Mucha exhibit listed it as being in Des Moines, not Cedar Rapids. The next was to send someone out on my behalf to physically inspect hotels to confirm that the amenities listed were, in fact, available. Based on these findings I chose the Hampton Inn North in Cedar Rapids.

 

The room we stayed in featured one king-sized bed with enough room to wheel up to on either side, and an accessible bath tub and toilet. The desk was wheelchair accessible and the closet, which is not pictured, had a lowered closet rod from which to hang your garments. Likewise the dresser and TV stand had drawers that were easily maneuvered from a wheelchair. The room also had a visual alarm and notification devices for the doorbell or door knock and incoming phone calls. Last, but not least, it had a coffeemaker; vital for my existence!

The staff was very friendly and helpful. I only have two complaints about the accommodations. The door to the room was impossibly heavy. If my husband hadn't been with me I don't think I could've opened it on my own. The other, bigger problem was the bathtub's floor was as slick as ice. There were plenty of grab bars and great access to the shower head, but as soon as I sat down I slid to the front of the tub! I solved the problem by using a hand towel as a tub mat of sorts.

To be fair, I was contacted by email after we got home to inquire about our stay and when I shared my concerns was assured that maintenance would be notified and the problems fixed. If I ever have occasion to go back to Cedar Rapids I wouldn't hesitate to stay at the same hotel.

I also had the pleasure of meeting my new friend Deb Brown and her friend Melanie, for lunch at the Ox Yoke Inn in the Amana Colonies. The food was delicious and the company was easy and fun. Deb has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, which I deeply appreciate, and Melanie is a really sweet lady.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App That's Melanie, Deb, and myself from left to right.

Interestingly enough, Deb is a regular speaker at the Small Town State of NOW, which was, “Originally called the 140 Characters Conference, aka #140conf, the State of Now takes online interaction and turns it into an in-person conference. The State of NOW is made up of immediate communication tools  like Twitter, Google +, Facebook and many others. The 140conf explores how the State of NOW is disrupting business, education, agriculture, media, celebrity, music, politics, public safety, and our culture.”

"You have to speak at State of NOW Nashville." She insisted.

How can I refuse a chance to be "disruptive"? Glenda wants in, too. We're all trying to get the details and logistics to bring this to fruition. I'll keep you posted.

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