Windchime Walker

Windchime Walker <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 

If this blog were to close down right now, I would still consider it a success. For through it, I have come across a treasure.

I've just spent the last half hour or so reading a web site that came my way through a comment posted to yesterday's entry. It is called and is put up by Katja Stokley. I'm afraid I'm going to become overly effusive in my response, but that's what good writing, exceptional maturity, a dry wit, information based on both personal experience and in-depth research, honesty, and stunning, user-friendly web design can do to me! WOW!!!

Now I need to ask a favor of this amazing woman, Katja. Since I'm struggling--hopefully temporarily--with an email software program that has decided to close me out, I am currently unable to click on email links to send messages. My earthlink webmail online--which I've been using in the interim--won't kick in for email links, so I'm left out in the cold. If Katja happens to return to my blog, could you please email me by either clicking on this link or on the one above my photo? I'd love to connect with you.

To all my readers, I send best wishes for a good New Year. May 2004 bring regime change at home and peace on earth...for without the former, I fear we haven't a chance of experiencing the latter.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Manual Folding Wheelchairs 

I've been at the computer much of the day researching manual folding wheelchairs. Gawd, what a complex subject!!! You're not just dealing with what model to get, but what kind of tires, what casters, what size rear wheels, how much camber (angle) to the rear wheels, front taper/offset, seat/frame width, depth and height, legrest, backrest, seat cushion and other fine points of fitting/customizing. Very intimidating! But, thanks to advice and links provided by my new friends on the bulletin board, I think I've found the model I want--the TiLite TiSport XC. This titanium (18-21 lb.), custom-built chair folds for easy transporting by car, yet seems to offer the advantages of a rigid wheelchair. Now I'm looking into dealers. But before I order anything, I need to do LOTS more research. Buying a wheelchair is not like going into a car dealership and just choosing the prettiest thing on the floor. Would that it were!

Monday, December 29, 2003

News Items 


How Three Threats Interlock by Amin Saikal, published 12/29/03 in The International Herald Tribune.

"Three minority extremist groups - the militant fundamentalist Islamists exemplified at the far edge by Al Qaeda, certain activist elements among America's reborn Christians and neoconservatives, and the most inflexible hard-line Zionists from Israel - have emerged as dangerously destabilizing actors in world politics."

With a Whisper, Not a Bang, "Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law...stealthily", by David Martin, published 12/24/03 in The San Antonio Current.

"On December 13, when U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush not only celebrated with his national security team, but also pulled out his pen and signed into law a bill that grants the FBI sweeping new powers. A White House spokesperson explained the curious timing of the signing - on a Saturday - as "the President signs bills seven days a week." But the last time Bush signed a bill into law on a Saturday happened more than a year ago - on a spending bill that the President needed to sign, to prevent shuttng down the federal government the following Monday."

Shooting of Protester Sparks Debate in Israel, "Army tactics questioned after ex-soldier is shot", by Peter Hermann, published 12/29/03 in The Baltimore Sun.

"The commander of the soldiers who opened fire only fueled the argument that raged in Israel's press yesterday by telling a local reporter: "The troops didn't know they were Israelis" - raising the issue of a perceived double standard on how the army deals with the Palestinians and its own citizens."

Hijacking "Him" for Empire by Ray McGovern, for, 12/29/03.

"Put It On Your Shield or on your Christmas card, as did Vice President Dick and Lynne Cheney: 'And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?' This, of course, is not the first hijacking of 'Him' for the needs of empire."

Jobless Count Skips Millions, "The rate hits 9.7% when the underemployed and those who have given up the hunt are added", by David Streitfeld, published 12/29/03 in The Los Angeles Times.

"The nation's official jobless rate is 5.9%, a relatively benign level by historical standards. But economists say that figure paints only a partial and artificially rosy picture of the labor market."

From Baghdad: A Better World by Kathy Kelly for, 12/26/03.

"Several days ago, next door to our home in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood, baby Noor was born. Her dark, damp, chilly home resembles a stable. Baby Noor's grandmother begged us for a blanket in which to wrap the newborn. Her aunt, ten year old Eman, has no socks and no coat. She smiles as she shivers. Yet Abu Noor and Umm Noor, the proud young parents, are beaming with gratitude and pride as they hold up their newborn. Leaving their home, I realize that they are slightly better off than the family across the street. At least they have a roof overhead." 

It's late--well, EARLY would be more accurate--and I'll be heading off to bed as soon as I finish writing this post, but I'm too excited not to share what I've just discovered. An online bulletin board community of gimps like me! It's called and is an extremely active site. I found it during a google search for wheelchairs.

After experiencing a pretty blue time tonight, I decided that it was time to expand my range of disabled equipment from scooter and walker, to give myself the option of using a manual wheelchair too. What I want is a lightweight, jazzy, fast chair that can be folded up and put in the backseat of my 4-door Neon. I am totally clueless as to what to look for, and that's where the bulletin board comes in. I registered and posted a request for info, so we'll see what folks have to say.

When I scanned their past topics--there are hundreds of them--I realized there is a world of people like me out there, people who understand what I deal with every day. For some reason I've not had much contact with other folks with disabilities, except at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival every August. In the DART (Disabled Access Resource Team) area where I've camped for the past 9 years, I've gotten to know some of the most powerful womyn on wheels imaginable. Well, now it's time for me to find a year-round community of people like me. I need to feel less alone in this part of my life.

And now to bed...

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Response to Yesterday's Blog 

Apparently the comments section of my blog has a limited capacity, so if you get a message saying your comments will be "truncated", please email me with your message in its entirety and I'll post it for you.

A reader kindly did this today, and I'd like to post her comments in full. By the way, Carol is a individual who has educated herself about issues regarding our earth, its climate, air, land, water and species. She truly walks gently upon the earth. And this is her response to yesterday's blog entry:

"Thank you, Patricia, for reminding all of us that everything is connected! The way in which global warming manifests will never be simple (uniformly warmer temps) but will be characterized by "extreme weather" of all varieties. While earthquakes may or may not be directly associated with climate change, I do strongly believe that they are an indication that Earth is saying "enough!" -- enough drilling, enough blasting, enough bombing, enough disastrous mountaintop removals. . .

"One organization in New England that is working to raise awareness is "Clean Air/Cool Planet" -- they provide much useful information and I recommend them highly. (Also of course, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and many others.)

"I take it as a hopeful sign that the 2004 Toyota Prius gas/electric hybrid (which uses less than half the gas of most vehicles sold today, and produces almost no harmful emissions) has had a successful launch in the U.S. this fall and the factory had to step up their production to meet orders.

"Another thing we can all do to help is to advocate for renewable energy power generation-- wind and sun in particular (and *small* hydro) generate no emissions and new sources of renewable energy can displace old, dirty power plants. And of course, conserve energy whenever possible!!

"I look forward to future blog postings on this topic. Thanks again Patricia, and as we go forward let us keep the suffering people of Iran -- and all those who are suffering -- in our prayers."

-Carol from Massachusetts

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Global Warming 

I have this uneasy feeling that the beautiful warm day we experienced here in Michigan and the horrendous earthquake in Iran are somehow connected. Global warming comes to mind.

As I understand it, our planet reacts to global warming like a body reacts to unbearable stresses: its skin stretches and cracks; its body temperature heats up or cools down; it retains fluid or sweats profusely; it generally loses its normal sense of equilibrium.

Reports out of Bam, Iran are estimating that the deaths could be double what was originally thought. They are now saying that as many as 40,000 persons may have lost their lives in yesterday's earthquake.

40,000. I can't even conceive of that number. When I try, my mind shuts down. Maybe not my mind. Maybe it's my heart that shuts down. How can one's heart accept the loss of 40,000 women, men and children? Or even 20,000. We have to numb ourselves so it can't sink in. If it did, we wouldn't be able to stand it.

Not just the dead; but what about the wounded? The survivors? This was an ancient city with 80,000 residents. The Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari told reporters, "There is not a standing building in the city." An article--"An Unbelievable Human Disaster Has Occurred"--in the Independent/UK reported that:

"Two hospitals were among the buildings that collapsed in seconds, crushing hospital staff and focusing medical efforts on nearby towns. The injured, many in critical condition, were being flown out of Bam for treatment as the emergency relief effort got under way within hours of the quake. A nurse in Kerman said that 2,000 people were packed into the hospital which had 600 beds. People arriving from the quake zone were being sent away to other cities."

I know there are many who would disagree with my assessment that this tragedy was related to global warming. They would remind me (with a pat on my liberal-leaning head) that Iran has a history of earthquakes, and that Iranian quakes always cause thousands of deaths because, as the Independent/UK article points out, "...hardly any buildings in Iran are built to withstand quakes." I would answer that that may be so, but when we look at the number of climate-related disasters in 2003 and compare them with such disasters even two decades ago, we must acknowledge a vast increase in the numbers. And then we'd have to ask ourselves why?

It's too easy to say, "Oh, earthquakes, floods, droughts, heatwaves, typhoons, tidal waves and other natural disasters will always be with us." Maybe they will, but why are the numbers and the degree of severity increasing so drastically? And why did the World Health Organization report that 150,000 persons lost their lives in 2003 because of climate change if global warming is a non-issue? Did you know that one heatwave killed 20,000 persons in Europe this summer?

If we even suspect that global warming is having such a detrimental effect on our planet, wouldn't you think we'd take it seriously enough to cut back on using products that we KNOW add greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere? I'm inclined to think that we in the industrialized nations--especially we here in the United States--keep our heads in the sand because: 1) these natural disasters rarely affect us; 2) we don't want to give up our gas-guzzling SUVs, cars and trucks because we like them; and 3) our governmental leaders, especially President Bush and his cronies, will never regulate industries and power plants that spew greenhouse gases into the atmosphere because too much money goes into their pockets and campaign coffers by just such giants of our economic system.

So how did the Bush White House respond to the reports of 20-40,000 dead in the Iranian earthquake? "We are offering humanitarian assistance," President Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, told reporters. "This is a terrible tragedy," he said.

I say why don't you sign on to the Kyoto Agreement, President Bush, and do all you can to put a halt to global warming while we still can? Why don't you leave off calling countries like Iran part of the "axis of evil." Why don't you stop your sabre-rattling, roll up your sleeves and help our neighbors by sending heavy equipment and personnel to help dig out the survivors? Why don't you take those troop transport planes you've got in the Middle East, and send them to Bam to help evacuate the wounded to hospitals where they can be treated?

There is SO much we could do to help. I just wish we would.

Friday, December 26, 2003

News Items of Interest 

More Than 20,000 Killed as Huge Quake Devastates Ancient Iranian City

IDF to Probe Shooting of Two Peace Activists in West Bank

Father Pays Tribute to 'Extraordinary' Greenpeace Activist

'Staggering': Medical Evacuations from Iraq Near 11,000

Coffee, Tea or Handcuffs?"

A Repressive Embarrassment

Is the World Safer Now? 

In the days since the arch-villain Saddam Hussein (whom, when it suited them, the US armed and encouraged in his villainous ways) was captured, I've been thinking of a woman with whom I swim on Monday and Wednesday evenings at a local middle school. Weeks before Hussein was caught, she and I had a brief discussion in the locker room about the continuing war in Iraq. At that time, she declared, "If only they'd get Saddam Hussein! That would be the end of it." I disagreed. If I recall correctly, I said, "Catching Saddam won't make any difference at all. The resistance will continue." She shook her head and the discussion ended.

The Monday night after Saddam had been caught, this woman cornered me as I was transferring from my scooter to the disabled lift I use to get into the pool.

"Ah", she said, "I thought of you yesterday."

I said, "You did?"

"Oh yes indeed. I thought of you when I saw they'd captured Saddam Hussein. I remembered how you said it wouldn't make any difference. Well, you can't say that anymore!"

I simply said, "Time will tell."

Well, time HAS told and things are as horrible in Iraq as ever. From Christmas Eve to this morning (Friday), 8 American soldiers and at least 6 Iraqi civilians, including a 13 year-old girl, were killed. The number of Iraqi deaths was definitely higher than 6, but since no one is keeping count, it's hard to know. The medical director at the city mortuary in Baghdad said that 20 bodies were delivered to their facility on Christmas morning, all of them Iraqis and most of them victims of violence. The killing goes on, Saddam Hussein or no Saddam Hussein.

I got this news from the one reporter I still trust, Robert Fisk of the Independent/UK. I read it in his article, "Deaths Mount On Both Sides On Christmas Day In Iraq." This man has been in Iraq off and on--mostly on--since before Bush & Co got their wish and attacked Iraq last March. Fisk was the first one to tell of the looting of the museums, libraries and national offices (except, of course, the Ministries of Oil and the Interior that were heavily guarded by American and British troops). Whenever I want to know what is really going on in Iraq, I go to Robert Fisk. He never overstates the facts--he doesn't have to--but reports what he has seen and heard himself. His articles can often be found on my two favorite alternative news sources: and . But I warn you, Robert Fisk doesn't sugarcoat anything; truth is truth. Just the way it needs to be in these times of lies and deceit.

Lakeside Idyll 

What a bright sparkling winter day! Even though I was feeling lazy, I couldn't stay inside; I HAD to get out in it. So I bundled up, hopped on Ona my scooter and off we went down to the park. As those of you know who are regular readers of my journal, the park I'm referring to is on the lake only three blocks from our house. This is a BIG lake, a lake that looks like a sea. To the north and to the east, you see nothing but horizon. Looking to the south you see the distant shores of Ontario. Detroit is the only place on the continent where Canada is south of the United States, and we love talking about "our neighbors to the south!"

For me, just being by the water is soothing and/or invigorating, depending on weather and water conditions. Today it was showing its peaceful side. A lot of the snow had already melted but there were enough reminders to give me the feeling of winter. However, there was absolutely no ice in the harbor, which is unusual for this time of year. Hopefully soon I'll be able to show rather than tell you about the kids' ice hockey games in the harbor, the ice fisherpersons and their shanties on the lake, and the ice skating by young and old on the parking lot-turned ice skating rink.

But today it was just me and the gulls, geese and ducks enjoying the sun and water. Quite lovely.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

A Family In Baghdad 

One of the blogs I visited today--thanks to a link posted by Salam Pax on the Where Is Raed? blog--is called A Family In Baghdad. This is a most important resource that should be required reading for George W if he read which he doesn't. In it, Fayza and her sons--Raed, Khalid and Majed--tell the TRUE story of what is happening in Baghdad as the Americans continue to "liberate" the country they first destroyed and now control with bombs, missiles, razorwire, guns, tanks, etc. But let Khalid speak for himself:

"Ann Garrison..Is a really nice American lady..Who sent me a mail telling me that herself and her husband(who served in the war) respect our rights in freedom and dignity..And that they both really want to help us..And that they pray for us to build our own civilian proud country.
she is really sincere..I could easily c it through her words.
well..Here I have to say something..Speaking for myself,,I have nothing personal against the soldiers here..And ofcource not against the civilian American in their country..And I have no dout that most them really wanted to help and to do something good for this country.and for Iraqi people. But what I want to say is that some people with suits and large desks in the white house and other places..Are NOT that nice and sincere,,and..
we have a say : believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear...And believe me..The man who made this say..Never saw the media of these days..Cause if he did..He would have said " believe nothing at all..And kill journalists"
guys..Let me say this:
what if somehow..Lets say Russia occupied your country (which "happens" to be a really rich country with oil and other resources) and actually destroyed the whole country..Killed civilians..Used cluster bombs..Chemical weapons(believe it or not..I have the pictures of the dead bodies)..Destroyed houses..Caused the looting of the whole governmental system..The ministries..All the police stations and fire departments..Airports..Whatever you think..And after that..They make a new TV and newspaper and radio station and start telling you how happy you should be and how grateful you must be for them for liberating you..And a while after..They put the pictures of your country president (doenst matter if you hate him or not) on TV with people playing with his face....Now take a moment..Close your eyes..Look through the window..And imagine that everything you c is destroyed..Every place you love is either bombed or looted..Everyone you love is probably dead or injured..And add to that a vey cold weather..No electricity..No petrol..Now open your eyes and tell me...Does it really matte if the soldiers or their families are kind people?"

# posted by khalid : 12:17

White Christmas 

We here in Detroit awoke to Bing Crosby's dream come true--a white Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate this holiday--I don't--you couldn't help delighting in the beauty outside your window. The snow continued to fall until just a few minutes ago..those wet, fine-grained flakes that outline everything in white. Quite magical! The kind of day that calls for a cuppa hot tea, music on the CD player or radio, a good book, snug slippers on your feet, and no place you have to go. Or if you're a new (and very excited) blogger, it is the perfect day to sit at your computer tweaking your new blog site, checking out other blogs, and generally having a geek-kind of Christmas. Ho ho to all my friends far and near...

A Creative Mistake 

When making art, I always found that the best way to push beyond where you thought you could go was to make a mistake. Some of my best paintings taught me this hard-earned lesson. And now tonight, I learned it again...but this time as a blogger.

While looking at possible templates, I was attracted to one called "Jellyfish", so, like a jellyfish, I unthinkingly clicked on the button, "Use this template." Well, I liked the way it looked, but discovered that I had lost EVERYTHING except the postings. All Mark's hard work gone at the click of a button! SOOO, after an expletive or two, I went to the working area called "template"--where all the HTML commands reside--and applied some of what Mark had patiently taught me this afternoon. Believe me, I never thought I'd get the hang of using HTML, but, because I'd had such a good teacher, it wasn't too hard, simply time-consuming.

Actually, I'm pleased with how the page now looks...and I'm glad to begin to have the tools to maintain it myself.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Thanks to my Blog Guru 

WELL...and that is a H-U-G-E well--my blog guru, Mark Dilley, has, in less than 24 hours, become my new best friend! What this man has done for me yesterday and today is beyond belief. He singlehandedly turned this individual online journal-keeper into a BLOGGER. I am SO psyched!!! We just had an hour-long tutoring session by phone and I think I now know what I need to know to keep a daily blog with photo links. But even if I have problems, Mark says he's there to help, by phone or by email. I'm keeping him on as co-administrator so that when I need help--which I'm SURE I will--it will be easy for him to wield his magic wand and fix it. Would that every blogger had such a resource!

We started working on this project late last night and I was so excited I didn't go to bed until after 2:30 AM. Then I dreamed about being a blogger, except in my dream I wasn't sitting at my computer but was at an outdoor gathering of hundreds of people...and I was the main speaker! I was to read from my blog. As long as I stayed with the text as written, folks quietly listened with respect. But when I started editorializing, hands flew up and voices were raised in protest.

There's a lesson there! May I stay to the text of my life and not go flying off into places I don't know anything about.

here is a link

Photo (walker) 2001 Steve Klein

A Brand New Blog! 

It's 2:11 AM and I am VERY EXCITED to be a blogger (thanks to Mark). It only took me 4 years (next February) of keeping a daily online journal and 5 years (almost) of having a web site to come to this Monumental Day. YIPPEE!! Am I the oldest blogger (at 61) on blogspot?

This has taken not much time, between my cats!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

we can just play with this one for a second, delete it or redo it. no worries :-)

test post

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
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