Making It Good-er

So things in equine-world are pretty fun right now. Piggles the Morgan has fancy glue-on shoes, and is pretty darn happy with them! I’m going to Los Angeles this weekend to get classified by the United States Paraequestrian Association/FEI to see where I classify and if this is a realistic goal. And having a lesson with their riding consultant, who also happens to be the one who has led the amazing British paradressage team for years.

I have no delusions of dressage greatness, the Paralympics or anything like that. I just want to have fun with the horses and have goals to work towards.

So in the name of working towards goals… my trainer has a new mantra for me:

Make it good-er

Yes, it’s grammatically incorrect. But the idea is this; I have a bunch of ways to do that in my riding toolbox. I can decide what to do. I can try something, see if it works, try again. I can use my experience and intellect and feel to make it good-er in a way that feels right at that moment.

There are many ways to make things good-er, and I’m cautiously approaching my non-equine life with that mindset.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Looking at, not beyond, our faces

So September is yet another Month, this time Craniofacial Acceptance Month. Yay?

One of the major, more established international craniofacial organizations mysteriously chose

#LookBeyondMyFace

As their tag line for this year. Headdesk moment. At least for me.

Isn’t acceptance looking at, not beyond?

Isn’t acceptance seeing the whole person, not ignoring something that’s a major part of them?

The politically correct thing, I guess, is to pretend that differences don’t matter, or aren’t consequential. But that is a complete fallacy. They matter.

A true acceptance or awareness campaign needs to acknowledge that they matter, not necessarily in a negative way. Mattering can be positive, too.

So that’s my hope, that sometime we can look at, not beyond, facial differences…

(Bracelet pic is a song lyric, I see you. I thought it was appropriate.)

Quitting Everything To Be A Mermaid

Sometimes in life, you need to strap on your figurative big girl pants… or in this case, a mermaid tail, and go for it.

Lots of stuff happening now, some awesome, some meh, and some that just sucks. Holy vagueness I know. But it’s all happening (cue Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights)… and it’s a bit too much.

So when the opportunity provided itself to attempt a water aerobics class while wearing a mermaid tail, I couldn’t not do it!

So some takeaways from my mermaid-ing: tails are buoyant. Sometimes too much so. But they give you a heck of a lot more power when you harness it in the right direction. Water aerobics is hard regardless, and harder when your legs are strapped together.

Wearing a mermaid tail makes everything better.

I can’t wait to do it next time.

So I’m off to channel my inner mermaid, even when land-bound…

(Mermaid-ing occurred at Mermaid Fitness at Hotel Del Coronado!)

International Assistance Dog Week


Today marks the start of International Assistance Dog Week.

I don't have the brain-power for an extensive post… but sending love to all of those in the assistance dog community – partners, trainers, puppy-raisers, supporters, volunteers.

But most importantly, sending love to my couch-warmer, picker-upper of dropped things, and wannabe-mailman.

Just breathe. 

Breathe. 

I can feel you breathe, just breathe. Forgive the randomness. I did have a short-lived country music period. 

I’ve always just kind of failed at the breathing thing. I’ve literally failed with all my respiratory stuff. And I’ve figuratively failed at just about every yoga class I’ve tried. The whole concentrating on your breath… I just never got it. My mind wanders, I can’t connect my breath to the movements… I just didn’t do it right. 

So I was skeptical when my trainer told me breathing was something that would help me get to the next level in my riding. It was one of those things that sounds great in theory, but it practice… not quite. 

A few months ago, we started working on it in my rides… expanding my breath over a few strides, breathing in rhythm with the horse’s feet… generally, just being aware of it. Then we moved to actually doing something with that breath, with moving the horse forward in a rhythm. 

I am not the most rhythmical of people or riders… but somehow, this made sense. I get how to use my breath in this way… and it works! Now that I’m actually using some sort of rhythm, the horse goes “oh, I can do that!” 

Since we had that breakthrough, I’ve gotten some really good walk and trot work, collected and really moving through his hind end. Because I’m actually breathing correctly, I’m giving my horse better direction. 

Poor guy is probably thinking, “finally!” And so am I. Now the trick is to translate that Zen from riding to other parts of life… easier said than done. 

Choose Kind, Kinda

So the trailer for the Wonder movie came out. What to say? 

Yay craniofacial conditions in the mainstream movies. Boo to the continued history of faking disabilities in the media. I get it – the pool of actors who actually have craniofacial conditions who they could have used is minuscule… but what kind of message does that send?

To the young people with disabilities, does it invalidate them being actually part of the story? Is it yet another message that they aren’t good enough? Is it yet another marginalization?

I’m hoping the media blitz associated with this movie is inclusive of the craniofacial community at least, but I’m worried about tokenism and overly-saccharine emo pieces. 

The tag line of the book and movie is #ChooseKind. Is taking actual disabled people out of the story kind to them, and to us as a community? Will it actually promote kindness, or will it further the othering of that-which-cannot-be-shown-onscreen? We shall see.

#ChooseKind, Kinda. 

‪ https://twitter.com/WonderTheMovie/status/867357023951659008/video/1‬

New York City, Spring 2017

Did my almost-yearly pilgrimage (yes, a pilgrimage. lol) to New York City. Saw some art, saw some theater, got terribly lost a few times, ate lots of food I don’t get in CA (come on Shake Shack, what do you have against San Francisco!) – here are a few pictures…

Aerochamber Bear

So I know we can’t have it both ways. We can’t complain about people with medical conditions being treated like children then gush over cute childlike things…

So I have a confession to make, I guess. I love my Aerochamber Bear. 


I mean, seriously! He’s cute, and look at the happy lungs at the end of the sequence! 

He makes me happy every time I use my Aerochamber (with Mask, hence Bear – apparently only children need masks?) 

I know I should do something and analyze why there are no non-Bear Aerochambers with masks… but I don’t want to. Mister Aerochamber Bear and I go way back, and I don’t want to jeopardize our relationship. 

So for now, we will continue our twice-daily conversations about lung health and balls with paw prints, apparently. 

#NoFilter take two

No facial paralysis filter needed!

So once again Snapchat, in all its weird dysmorphic glory, gave itself a facial paralysis-mimicking filter.

Fun times.

It’s funny, because in some ways I’m not completely insensitive to the weirdness of medical conditions. I sometimes laugh to myself as I delete the Google Alerts I get listing Moebius Syndrome as

Top Ten Weird Medical Things!!!

…but somehow, I can’t take this with a grain of salt.

I admit: I don’t get Snapchat. I’m not a fan of notifications on my phone, not an overly-selfie kind of person. So sending slightly distorted photos of yourself to friends just seems a bit odd.

Having said that, there is a difference between the humor in superimposing dog nose and ears onto yourself and playing around with morphing your face and thinking of that as funny.

There is humor in everything. Even facial paralysis. But that humor needs to come from the source. From people with facial paralysis. It doesn’t need to come from pretending and emphasizing the oddity.

I hope we in the facial paralysis community continue to create our own humor, and that it overpowers the humor of the Weird that things like Snapchat filters emphasize.