M.J's personal blog

Mum’s finished the painting and Auntie Sue did all the wallpapering on wednesday. Just waiting for the bed to arrive so I can get the room in order. I think it’ll be pretty nice once I have all the other bits and pieces.

Was at Milnroe Carnival today with Bails as the local working men’s club is raising money for Guide Dogs.

Pretty tired and not sure why. Slept good last night.

Podcast went well and I’m super, super excited about Lion coming out next month. 🙂

Bails is good. Had his carrot. I’m probably going to go and make dinner after I’ve blogged on my horse site. 🙂 Got a few emails to reply to but relaxing night with a book and or a movie. 🙂

Hope all is well.
Hugs
MJ

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If anyone asked me where I thought things would be heading a few months ago, I’d tell them the same as what I’d say today, I have no clue but I’m kinda enjoying life right now.

Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs recently and battling is always a pain, but you have to keep on fighting if what you want is real in your heart.

Getting a new bed so operation rid my room of crap and junk has been active since last Thursday. It’s amazing what crap you discover when having a huge clear out. 🙂

I’ve been trying to write and need to get my ass into gear as have a few fun projects on the go right now. I’m also thinking of starting a blog dealing with learning to horse ride and stable management from a blind person’s prospective. I will get around to that hee.

Loving the new macbook pro, of course, was there any doubt? 😉

Bailey’s good. Family’s usual. Had a huge fight with dad but things seem back to their comfortable weirdness again now.

went riding today. I started cantering last week on a beautiful horse called Shadow. And got to brush some of the horses. I’m really loving it up there. 🙂

Well, this is a quick one as I’m tired and want to crash soon. Have a few other things to do before snuggling with my book and sleeping but thought I’d pop by and catch you up a little.
🙂
Hugs
MJ

Seriously, where has the time gone? Wow!

Today’s been a really good day. This week has really. Back riding and looks like I’m going to be learning to canter soon. Also learning few things around the stables. Working on taking tack off at the moment. It’s really interesting and I’m loving it. 🙂

Bailey’s getting so much of a celebrity, I swear he’ll be demanding collars made of platinum with diamonds encrusted on them soon. We were at Manchester United last week to do a photo shoot for the keepers sponsoring a puppy. It was a lot of fun.

He’s been working fab and I just bought him lots of presents from pet planet this week. 🙂

In other news, losing weight. 🙂 I hate diets as many of you know. I bitch that I can’t eat this or have to restrict that and generally quit after a few days. Anyway, Toni and Chelsea at Body Tonic in Shaw where I go for beauty and massage treatments have started selling these herbal pills for slimming. Yeah, yeah, I know, their crap, don’t work, etc , etc. Except these are working for me like you wouldn’t believe. Made purely of plant extracts and designed to suppress appetite, boost metabolism, break down sugars and fat quicker etc, etc. I’m not sure what they’re doing but they’re working.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a junk food addict. I’m horrendous for craving chocolate or cakes or crisps and wouldn’t eat salad if it was the only thing at home without bread, potatoes or pasta to go with it. But besides a two finger kitkat I had a week last Sunday, [that I didn’t enjoy one bit], I haven’t eaten or even wanted to eat chocolate at all. Haven’t eaten crisps for five weeks or so, eating baked potatoes, salad, pasta, but none of the processed crap I used to shove into my system. I’m working out in the morning before breakfast, horse riding is helping of course, walking with pup, and not snacking, and if so, having a mulla rice or a jelly which are so low fat. And all of thsi non consciously. I don’t bullshit! If you know me well enough, you know it isn’t me. If something doesn’t work, I’ll say so. But for me, these are working. Many say I’ll just start eating crap again but I’m not sure I will. By the time I take my week’s break in two weeks, it’ll have been seven weeks junk food free. Your body creates chemicals to make you want to crave junk food more when y ou eat it. And I’m not saying I’ll never eat a cake or a chocolate bar again, but I’m saying it’ll probably be on a much healthier level.

The jeans I wore today would fasten 5 weeks ago but were too tight to wear extensively, but I had to wear a belt with them today. I’m feeling happier about my body and just hope this continues 🙂

Hung out with Hannah today after she’d finished work. We went for dinner and a starbucks and I went into the Apple store and bought, yes, wait for it, my new macbook pro. Didn’t get home until 8:30 so will set it up tomorrow. And it was the 10TH anniversary of the Apple retail store today too. How cool is that? 🙂

Well, everyone’s fine here. I’m getting tired so will probably consider bed as an option soon. Speak soon.
Hugs
MJ

It has been a long but quite fun bank holiday this past weekend. Although, can’t say I’m looking forward to the one that’s coming up. Because Easter was so late this year, our May bank Holiday is the next weekend after easter and with the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton this Friday, we have 4 days off again.

Bank holidays in our house are not fun. dad sits in his chair and doesn’t want to do much. Neither did mum this weekend either. But she did come to the field where Bailey had a lovely run on Saturday and we had a picnic. sunday, dad and I took him to Tandle Hills park and he loved that. so the pup had a great weekend heehee.

I’ve not been sleeping well and can’t tell if it’s the slimming herbal tablets I’m on or the usual lapse of sleep I get every couple of months or so. But anyway, the pills are working great so I’m not complaining. 🙂

Was riding again this morning and that went awesomely. I just can’t express the freedom and joy I feel being around these great animals. 🙂 been reading a horse care book too and that’s really intersting.

Think reading will take up a lot of my time this week as not all the kids are back at school and I don’t want to risk the library. 😉

Well, not much else to say. Met up with my friend Gail and her guide dog Wanda last Thursday which was fab. Had a lovely chat in Starbucks. My cousin was up at the weekend so saw her tribe. So all in all, Easter was quiet. And I didn’t get one easter egg but that really didn’t bother me. Not craving much junk food these days which is funny. lol.

Anyway, will keep you updated.
Hugs
MJ

So I went horse riding this morning for the first time in two months and I cannot tell you how good it felt. With all the illnesses and such, I haven’t been able to go so this morning was fantastic. I was a little wobbly at first but by the end of the lesson, I was back to rising trot again. Next week should be better still. 🙂

Other than that, sitting in the garden, enjoying the sun. Hopefully be meeting up with friends this week. So fingers crossed it’s a good one. 🙂

Finished reading Jackie Collins book, goddess of Vengeance yesterday. That was a fab experience being able to buy it when it was released in the UK on iBooks. Slowly but surely, books are becoming more accessible. And as always, was a great read from Jackie, i expect nothing less. 🙂

Well that’s all. will update you all soon.
Hugs
MJ

I often say to people, never judge me until you’ve walked a thousand million miles in my shoes. I hold true to that statement. Anyone who is close to me knows I’ve been out of sorts physically and mentally for a while. The nurse suspects I had a virus that made my immune system low and prevented me from fighting the infections. With the emotional blows I’ve had in the past six months, uni finishing because of funding cuts, the up and coming changes to benefits, my dreams getting halted at every turn, friends stabbing me in the back, it’s no wonder my emotional state of health has been as depleted as my physical.

I know some people think I’ve been a real bitch lately, pushing them from my life or pushing them to the fringes and others may think I’m being cold and distant and it’s not that I want to be this way, but right now I need to be. There are a few people I’m letting in at the moment and if you are one of those people, feel privileged because there are less than five people I will share a lot of this stuff with. Even those people, I’ve not been talking to a lot.

In the past few months, I’ve been introvert in regard to my own emotion. In the past I’ve worn my heart so much on my sleeve and it’s only ever got me hurt. I can’t forgive those for hurting me right now, I’m not in that place yet, but I can deal with what has happened. I will never understand why people choose to hurt me or why I always seem to be everyone’s second best choice in everything, but guess that’s just the story of my life. I’m never going to be important to someone and I’ll always be the back up friend. Fine, if that’s how it’s going to be. But I will also put me first, if no one else will. There are a few exceptions to this theory and I thank them for being my friends throug and hopefully will keep them close.

I’ve made a few new friends in the past year and I’m enjoying getting to know them and some I feel I will hold cherished friendships with for a long time to come. I know things have changed substantially for me recently and the majority of those changes I know I’m beginning to be thankful for and will appreciate whole heartedly in the future.

Right now, I’m trying to get work, continuing my volunteering which is so far doing well and writing loads. I have been in the library three days this week and hopefully will do more in the coming months. I’m aiming to finish a rough draft of enchantress soon so will be looking to publish that and do anything at some point.

Sometimes stepping back from a situation, understanding it, can clear up a person’s mind. That’s what I feel I’ve done in the past month. I know I’m getting better. My sleeping is regular, has been for two weeks, really hoping that lasts and my inspiration and creativity is back, my energy is getting there. All I need to sort now is my riding. Once I’m back on the horse, I shall feel even better. I miss that part of my life incredibly at the moment. I would love to get back into goal ball. I really want to have a break with friends up in Windermere this summer. And the girlie weekend to London with the girls too.

I will keep trying. Despite how horrible some days have been recently and how deflated this government is making me feel, I’m determined one day I will make half of my dreams come true, at least. 🙂

I spent the day in the sunshine today. We’ve had a little drop of summer weather here this week. Hoping it’s a sneak preview of the actual summer. That would be nice. The grand national was on today, and although I won nothing, I have only been drawn more toward a career with horses. 🙂

On Thursday, I had a successful talk with a brownie group for Guide Dogs so so far so good with my speaking. 🙂 fingers crossed that all leads to something. I just would love a break. Seems a lot of my friends are getting those at the min and I’m so happy for them, would just love a good clean break for myself for once. I want to be a success, not the failure I feel like at the min. 🙂

well, that’s all for now. Just thought I’d get out some of my feelings and give a bit of an update.
will write soon.
Hugs,
MJ

Many knew that when the conservatives took over power, those on the lower end of the income bracket would get screwed over. Others knew that the vulnerable in society, despite repeated promises from said government would be left even more vulnerable and up the creek without a paddle. While few knew that some necessary changes would need to be put into place for the economy to recover but also knew that those who cannot help themselves would bear the brunt of these changes. Wherever you stood within these three areas, you were right.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper, read an online article from any leading British media outlets, watched the national and local news programmes within the last year know that this country is in financial disarray. Back in October when the chancellor made his budget speech, there was a promise to protect the elderly and the disabled. This promise has recently been shown for what it truly is; a glossy lie.

We all are aware cuts need to be made, no one is actually arguing that fact but the level of which this coalition government is stampeding its path is only going to end in misery for many.

I, like many others agree there are abusers of the benefits system but it is safe to say that these benefits sustain a good quality of life for many. The new assessments being brought in for those on incapacity, while weeding out those “fakers” will put many disabled people An on the breadline and B in a severe state of vulnerability. And that’s not even taking into consideration the future preposed changes to Disability Living Allowance. And why? Because this government has not thought through how the assessments will affect a wide range of individuals with varying levels of disabilities and illnesses.

Already the assessment was reevaluated because it deemed terminally ill individuals fit for work. And even after these changes to the assessment process, many disabled organisations say the assessment is too harsh and not detailed enough to assess accurately.

For example, a lady on the national news today who suffered with a brain haemorrhage 10 months ago, who lost feeling in her right side and has limited vision has been deemed fit to work. What this government has not taken into consideration, are the many barriers that a disability will bring up for not only the individual but the organisation that will employ them.

For an abled bodied person, reading, writing, moving around unaided, being alerted to dangers or alerting others to danger are natural abilities. For someone with a hearing impairment, sight impairment or physical impairment, this is not always possible. For example, one of the questions on the test is can you pull a pen from your pocket with both hands. Many people could do this, even wheel chair bound individuals, depending on their condition. Someone with a visual impairment could pull the pen from their pocket but would not be able to use it in many situations. For those visually impaired people, many would use other formats to write and read with compared to the majority of individuals. For someone who is deaf, they may not hear the suggestion. In an assessment environment, their focus is likely to be on the assessor but in the work place, other tasks could distract and they may not hear a command to take a note.

Another aspect of the criteria to receive the new employment support allowance is if you have a guide dog. Apparently, the government foresee a blind individual capable of employment if they have a guide dog. I’m absolutely uncertain how my guide dog makes me more employable than someone who is a cane user or someone who uses neither. Your choice of mobility aid has little bearing on how you perform in a job. My guide dog will not assist my work. He’ll help me get to and from and around the work place, providing I’ve learnt the route prior, as would a cane user. Clearly, someone in government has not explained to these individuals what a guide dog does and does not do. The same apparently applies to an individual using an electronic wheel chair. So, guide dog owners, electric wheel chair users, you should know that your dog and chair clearly help you do a job. And because of these reasons, we are deemed fit to work immediately and would be put instantly on job seekers allowance.

If anyone has dealt with the job centre and has been disabled and has had a great result, I.E., got into employment that you’ve maintained, congratulations, you have to be in the minority and very lucky. Many disability employment officers, like the government, have no idea what a disabled person’s needs and abilities potentially can be.

And for one moment, put aside the assessment, the criteria and walk with me into the work place. Many, and the RNIB estimate, 92% of employers would find it difficult or mere impossible to employ a visually impaired individual. OK, government, please consider the fact you tell us a million jobs have been created in the past three months and now tell us how many of those jobs are going to be doable from a disabled person’s point of view. And not even that, how many of those prospective employers, would employ someone who is visually impaired, deaf or a wheel chair user. And not necessarily because of their own ignorance, lets face it, they’re also dealing with the economy right now. And does the government know that anyone who is disabled automatically has an increase on a risk assessment for any work place or public building? If they’re not aware of this, they should be. Because, risk assessments lead to insurance and higher risks means a higher premium. Can many companies afford a higher premium?

As much as I don’t think this to be a valid reason for a company not to employ a disabled individual, I understand it in the current economic climate.

Thus far, we’ve only talked about the physical disabilities. Does this assessment take into consideration those individuals who have mental disabilities? I’m sure someone with a learning difficulty could indeed pull a pen from their pocket when asked in a calm, controlled environment. Would that be possible in a stressful work place? Highly doubtful.

In short, the changes to incapacity benefit, although necessary to a degree are being done with such ignorance that not only is this government putting people in more vulnerable situations, they’re not helping everyone into a secure job. I do not mean secure as in financial, I mean in the practicality sense of the word. Someone who is visually impaired would struggle working in a visual environment. Likewise, someone who is deaf would find it challenging to the point of stressfulness in an auditory environment. The government want people into work, but realistically what are they going to do to ensure that happens? Many disabled individuals of working age, want to work and would give anything to work. But is putting them on the poverty line with virtually little, specialised assistance into work the right way to go? And this is before I get to disability living allowance.

Many disabled organisations understand the people they work with. Research shows getting work is not as easy as the government would have everyone else believe. Putting this aside, living with a disability, regardless of work or not is a costly affair. Again, some individuals may use little of their disability living allowance, while others may fluctuate over the months and many others depend solely on it to live day to day with their disability.

I cannot speak for someone in a wheel chair, or a deaf person but I as a visually impaired individual rely a lot on my disability living allowance to buy computer equipment so I can read emails, search for jobs, shop independently, read letters and books accessibly. I also use the mobility component to get to places I’m unfamiliar with. Despite what our oh so wise government believes, my guide dog does not have a map inside of his head and I cannot type a post code and he’ll take me there. He only works from my commands. So if I don’t know an area, he won’t know it either and we could become lost and vulnerable. So, taxis are often a way to get around. I attempt to use public transportation where possible and of the do but there are times taxis are necessary and sometimes my only option. They are expensive and on occasion I have to pay someone to assist me somewhere. For example, shopping for clothes items. I need someone to help me around the store and although shop assistants can be helpful, it is not always the case.

A minister recently said that after three years you shouldn’t need any further financial support when it comes to your disability, I’d like to see him try. You have to replace equipment, I.E., colour detectors/scales or bigger things like computers or washing machines even. People do not realise that using a launderette is not a task for the faint hearted disabled individuals. For a wheel chair user, I’d imagine it troublesome getting to the place, with all of your laundry, then many machines are probably not designed for wheel chair access. For someone who is blind, using the machines at all would be impossible without tactile access or someone helping never mind actually getting there with your laundry.

For anyone to say that living with a disability can be got used to after so many years is an ignorant and cruel statement. Without living with one, how would you know?

I’m not expecting everything to be given to me on a plate, I never would. But I want this government and any future ones to not just penalise individuals and put them on the breadline with no hope out. They need to change people’s attitudes, change legislation for insurers and companies. Make public buildings accessible to all. Put the disability discrimination act into practice and enforce it because right now, disabled people still have no rights. David Cameron talked about the happiness and quality of life for the citizens of this country, I see nothing but misery ahead for many disabled individuals. Some have said without their DLA, their lives would not be worth living. Without help into work, without changing people’s attitudes, without punishing disabled people and actually help through work experience in practical jobs and having an assessment process that was realistic for the individuals being tested and not just convenient to down the governments numbers, I don’t see life in this country worth living either. It’s a bleak future for anyone suffering with a disability right now.

The government do need to save money, they do need to get disabled people into work but not without support and not at the expense of those people’s rights. A right to live. This could be done correctly and competently but as this new system stands, they will be putting their disabled exactly where many suspected they would, at the bottom of a pile of trash.

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  • Michael Whapples: Over the weekend I wrote to my MP about this. I too feel the government is trying to push disabled people into work without providing the help which m
  • Jen: Wish I was brave enough to still go horse riding. Loved it when I was a kid, stopped for a while, then got bitten by a random horse and that put me of
  • MJ Phoenix: I'm hoping it will become a community for guide dog owners all around the world. Hoping to do podcasts with guide dog owners chatting about their dogs

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