The Beautiful Men of Minneapolis

One of my most favorite pastimes since locating to downtown Minneapolis is enjoying the visages of the beautiful men that work in my fair city. And there are quite a number of them I assure you. More than any girl like myself could ever need. With the high percentage of law firms, banks, and other corporate entities that are located in the downtown zone, handsome men in their 20s and 30s are everywhere; simply and fantastically, everywhere.

And when a cute gal like myself needs a boost on her Happy Meter, a jaunt downtown has always been the sure thing. It never fails. Seriously…what’s better than a tall, graceful man in a perfectly tailored suit, smiling at you as he walks by? Absolutely nothing. And on many a sad, depressing day when I can’t bear to live another minute with this wretched SCI, the sight of a beautiful man has always made me reconsider any preposterous thought. This is especially true when they say hi. Giddiness ensues…

Many say that women are God’s personal handiwork; that they are the most beautiful sex, but I disagree. A young, in-shape, and well-dressed man is at least comparable, and even fairer, if you ask me. Luckily, I’ve had a few notable beautiful men in my day. Some weren’t all that easy on the eyes, I’ll admit it, but the ones who were lovely…oh, I’ll remember them forever…

If my knees could go weak (you sing it SWV), these are the traits that will always and forever, drive me wild: Dark, chin-length hair, sexy eyes, broad shoulders, fashionable clothes, lightly pin-striped suits., cool shades, a low, husky voice, impeccable taste in food and wine, a witty sense of humor, an aggressive personality, graceful hands, and better taste in music than even me, which btw, I highly doubt is possible 🙂

Sans Les Panties

Did you know that wheelchair-users everywhere – like the old dude in the Hooveround at Barnes & Noble, the young Mexican dude (with a grill) rolling down 5th Street, the hottie in the powerchair at your favorite after work bar – are all going out in public without their panties on? Ha! That’s right, folks. The joke is on you!

Hey, it may gross you out or it may give you a laugh, but I know for fairly certain that over 75% of every wheeler you see out in public is going commando. I can assure you however it isn’t out of some sick and twisted perversion. It’s out of necessity!

That’s right: Panties are pointless. All they do is dig into your skin and leave marks (hello? sitting all day!), which could turn into sores, and then you’re sorely screwed. So don’t wear ‘em ok? Like anyone is gonna know 🙂 Save yourself the hard-earned dough you made at your customer service job this week, and instead of spending it on a pair of rhinestone encrusted black satin panties from VS, put it towards something more meaningful…like a bottle of some delicious Stolichnaya.

That’s right….sweet ‘n tasty Stolichnaya. Yummmms…..

– Tiff

Every C6 Quad’s Best Friend…

…should be this; the SUPER-fantastic enclosed makeup pencil sharpener. All your shavings get caught automatically in its plexi-glass enclosure. Now, how cool is that?

Brilliant, and 100% necessary, for any C6 quad with a hankerin’ to line her eyes a la Cleopatra…

Yours truly, Tiff

As a Power Chair-User That Flies, I’ve Learnt My Lesson: Print Out Your Own “Be Careful” Signs

“Be very careful with this wheelchair! You are handling a $15,000 piece of equipment. Any damages will be considering grievous and handled by my lawyer. HANDLE WITH CARE!”

That’s the sign (one of them), that now goes on my chair each time I fly. You see, I’ve learnt my lesson the two times I’ve flown this year (the first time was to L.A. in June for a Christopher Reeve Foundation event, the second time was for a weekend getaway to Las Vegas in late July): When flying (or with Sun Country Airlines, at least) you simply must print out your own “Handle with care” signs and tape them all over your chair before handing over this very important piece of medical equipment to the lions (and believe me, they are lions). Each time I’ve flown this year the irresponsible luggage handlers (the guys outside who haul your 300+lb wheelchair in and out the belly of the plane), have severely broken my chair.

This is an extremely maddening experience. The first time around they pulled too hard on the harness (aka “the big fat cord”) that connects my joystick to the computer chip that runs the chair. I literally got stuck in the elevator at my posh L.A. hotel and went up 14 stories, unable to exit the elevator, as my chair broke down. When I flew to Vegas, it was my beloved elevator seat that got shat on. They somehow while lifting the chair up, hit the box UNDERNEATH my chair that runs the elevator seat (a $7,500 piece of equipment), making in unfixable. For the Vegas trip, I printed out 3 signs and taped them onto my joystick, my backrest, and behind the backrest; all in the effort to let the handlers know that this wasn’t just another piece of equipment they could toss around.

So when I fly next week, wish me luck! I’m going to print out double the amount of signs with the font extra bolded, just to be sure they’re more than extra-careful with my precious wheels. These are my legs people! I mean, for serious…

Macaulay Culkin in “Saved!”

I just watched the 2004 movie starring Macaulay Culkin (as a paraplegic no less) in “Saved!,” for the second time today. It was like watching it for the first time though. My memory usually fails me at remembering every part of a movie if I’ve only watched it one time, and yup, this time was no different. The great surprise about watching this film for a second time around however was the smile that got plastered all over my face after watching Macaulay Culkin’s character on-screen. Can I just say for the record how kick this character was not only written, but acted?

Kudos to Macaulay and to whomever the writer was; for reals. Usually when I watch a character on-screen with a SCI, my usual reaction is a deep, face-reddening cringe. I actually get embarrassed for the actor when watching a poorly written SCI character! I can’t even stand it most of the time and walk out of the theater if it gets really bad. But “Roland,” Culkin’s character in this film, was dead-on perfect. The chair, the way his legs sat, the wheelchair-van, the hand-controls in his girlfriend’s car (that she installed just for him), to how he was constantly reading a magazine in high school whenever he got bored or ignored (while riding in his van, in P.E. class…), was beautifully accurate.

And the best part of the film has got to be the romance he has with the quintessential “bad girl” at his over-the-top annoying Evangelical high school. She’s Jewish, a rumored stripper, an Atheist (just like him), and only goes to their school because she was expelled from every other school she’s gone to. “I wonder if everything below his waist is paralyzed,” she hysterically wonders during one of their daily mandatory prayer sessions. I mean, for serious, can this film get any better?


The Crazy Ways I Stay Warm Each Winter

When I broke my neck at the end of the summer in 1993, little did I know what I was in for in the long upcoming cold season. I soon discovered by October that my body was far from what it used to be when it came to its ability to regulate temperatures. I was screwed. No matter what I did to compensate for my constant coldness – turtlenecks, space heaters, heated blankets – nothing made me feel the blessedness of body warmth again. It was a perpetual Artic Hell.

Fast-forward four years later at the Courage Center (I eventually moved into this independent living facility to learn how to live on my own), and I began to be a social smoker. A lot of my new disabled acquaintances were hardened “crippled” badasses who smoked all kinds of things (grin), had piercings, liked Marilyn Manson, and pretty much broke every rule that was put in place for the residents. I was like Winona Rider and there were like the collective version of Angelina Jolie in the movie, “Girl, Interrupted.” This novel activity of social smoking outside (we couldn’t smoke indoors), unintendedly made me stop feeling the unbearable coldness that my sluggish blood-flowing body had been forcing on me for all these years. I still hold to the fact that the reason for this was simple: The cigarettes not only provided a small amount of visible warmth, which tricked my mind into thinking of the cigarette as if it were a mini-bonfire, the Nicotine also numbed me to the cold.

Now, I don’t recommend that every freezing quad out there should take-up smoking to cure their neverending bout of freezingness. But I must admit, it was the only thing that worked for me; and I eventually quit smoking years ago. I can still zoom outside, sans jacket, in 40 degree weather for 15 minutes and not even feel the cold. It’s crazy to think about (I never thought I’d get to this point), and I’m incredibly grateful. I live in Minnesota and even though we truly are experiencing global warming (no matter what some crazy Evangelicals may say), balmy Florida-like winters are hundreds of years off. And I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. So as you can see, getting used to the several- month-long winters we have is essential for my sanity.

For you folks with SCI out there reading this, it all really boils down to mind over matter. The cigarettes and the Nicotine screwed with my mind, making the permanent chill I was experiencing become nothing more but a very, un-fond memory. I’ve also found a few other tricks, that I’ll share with you now, that have helped me stave off the “cold:”  Microwaveable neck warmers and drinking hot water vs. cold water (room temp water also will work). These two seemingly minor things blocked the cold from entering my sensitive quad bod. And there’s no need in saying that I had to discover these things on my own. Rehab OT and PT therapists once again proved useless in providing any real, beneficial help to me. I swear, most of everything that helps me on a day-to-day basis I figured out on my own.

Anyways, enough of that. Stay warm this winter all of you quads out there! The Discovery Channel Store sells really nice microwaveable neck warmers, FYI.

Grape-Pop Sexified

I rolled into a Vickie’s this weekend, smacked down my Angel’s card like a good American “hunter and gatherer” female, and bought a sexy-striped chemise from their new Pout line and two of their Beauty Rush body splashes – Juiced Berry and Grapsicle.

Yup, that’s right: GRAPESICLE! I currently smell like someone poured a can of Crush Grape pop all over me, and it’s glorious.

In other scent-related thoughts, I wish someone out there in the wasteland of humanity could also recall the OLD school Victoria’s Secrets scents that were produced pre-1993. Anyone remember Tranquil Breezes cologne from their old “Herb” collection? God that stuff was the most beautiful scent ever bottled! A mix of cucumbers and melon. Better than Jesus’ B.O, and way better than anything Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Kiera Knightly, or Liv Tyler are pimping-out these days on TV the week before Christmas.

(The perfume commercials are starting to feel like the most melodramatic soap opera ever. Puke)

Laters – Tiff

“Push Me Through The Snow, Mister?”

We here in Minnesota got over 15″ of snow in the last week. It’s been wretched and awful. My new mini-van doesn’t want to start (bad battery? who knows) and there’s so much snow on the streets that the snowplows just push the snow outwards, like the wake of a boat, blocking the curb-cuts with several feet high snow piles. It’s making my life as a resident of Minneapolis not very appealing these days. I use a wheelchair, yo. And my arms are weak. There’s no way in Hell I can carry a mini snow shovel with me as a meander down the sidewalks, shoveling my way through snow-packed street corners. What to do, what do…?

But I guess this situation isn’t brand new to me or anything. I’ve been dealing with “snow + wheelchair = really annoying” fiascos for over 14 winters now, and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon either. I live in a fancy new condo owned by a family member, my family lives here, MN Medicaid is great, my bf lives here, and I have a ton ‘o friends too. Why in the Hell would I move? Should I let the 3 months of snow and icy cold weather we get each year make me run off to Texas, Florida, or <insert warm weather state here>? Nah, I love it here. But bring on the global warming, folks! 😉 Buy your SUV’s and drive 50+ miles a day so little ‘ol Tiffiny up in Minnesota can drive her wheelchair downtown in December. Ha 😉

Why Don’t Docs Do Housecalls Anymore?

Some of my friends from the UK and Holland (and myself being from the USA) were talking yesterday about the phenomena of housecalls made by doctors, whether or not they still do them where we live, and why or why not. According to my friend Karen (who lives somewhere in England), her doctor makes housecalls to her on a regular basis. She has a spinal cord injury and doesn’t have accessible transport. So because of this, whenever she needs to see her doctor, her doctor comes to her. Never the other way around. She says that housecalls are still very common in the UK and that up to 50% of patients are still seen by their doctor in their home, instead of going into the clinic themselves. Now as a resident of the USA, this sounds refreshing! She even went on to add that housecalls are gaining in popularity (this were her opinion at least).

Now being that I as well have a spinal cord injury, knowing this tidbit of UK-information makes me yearn for the Golden Years of the USA when doctors still made housecalls. Even though I have a modified mini-van which I can drive, it would still be nice to have the option of him visiting me instead. But no, I’m pretty sure if I called my doctor’s office and requested a housecall, the secretary would laugh in my face! And I’m not 100% on this, but I’d bet housecalls went out the window once everyday Americans could afford to buy a car; probably somewhere between the late 1940’s and the early 1950’s. I remember seeing quite a few old movies where the doctor would come to visit you if you happened to live in the Western-era or in the Victorian-era, but that was a long, long time ago.

What about where you live? Does your doctor ever make housecalls?