Friday, October 20, 2023

catching up 2020-2023

A year after the walking post, in October 2021, I did another Vaudeville show, this time a skit with friends trying to sell me new arms and a couple friends whose arms I tried on. While I ended up with my own arms, they still tried to charge me $70M! haha!

The real fun for this wandering blog was meeting another act that year.. David and Sunny.. who did a swing dance demonstration. In the long backstage moments, we became friends and I found out they hosted a swing dance every Tuesday night.

I finally went to the dance a few weeks later and realized I couldn't stand up to dance longer than half a song, and I'd then have to rest for another song or two. For a couple summers, I had been swimming for a good half mile 3-4 times a week, so I knew there was some endurance left in me. I ended up trying a stool, one of those little round top stools on rollers like you see in doctor's offices. It helped.

One day, I was late getting to a movie at the mall and I had the stool with me. I couldn't find parking close to the theater and ended up rolling through the mall on the stool. I feel so free! I had slowly, over the years, stopped going to places and getting out and about. I started working on building up the stool so I could take it everywhere. I had already found some roller blade style wheels for it and I got a bigger diameter so I could get over sidewalk bumps and cracks a little easier.

That's how things stayed for another year. Then, in May 2023, I moved to Wyoming. The stool makes me famous! haha! I tell people who seem interested that I invented it for swing dance.. One lady at Walmart even did a couple spins with me. I haven't found an actual dance to attend here in Riverton or nearby in Lander, though.

Now, here it is at the end of October 2023 and winter is fast approaching. It isn't always snowy so I could get away with some outdoor activity if I count cold but dry days. I don't really get out much, though, anyway, and I'm thinking about why not. I'm building a page in the blog here with details for something to help me walk far again.. actually something that will get me moving while I work on walking further and further without such a device?

First, I just had to catch up any of you who find this later.. haha!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

finally walking!

My friend Sandy and I have been pushing each other. She recently had her knee replaced and now moves at my speed.. haha! It's been great having a partner to push me and who I can help push some days, as well.

This little map shows one of our favorite walking spots. The area is maintained and surrounded by a number of medical offices near the hospital in West Olympia.

Today we went around the loop twice. It's feeling pretty good, actually. I'm surprised and pleased that most of the last few days I find myself craving the walk instead of dreading it! I don't know if I'm improving at anything else, but just feeling ready for more is enough for now!

The map doesn't show it, but inside the circle is a little duck pond. The ducks seem like they're getting to recognize us. They're mostly mallards, I believe. Sandy's favorite is all black with a funny little tuft of feathers on top of his head. He's bigger than the others, so he doesn't seem to get picked on.

Monday, September 19, 2016

onward -- day 10: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

pulling it together
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10

The final challenge is just what you'd expect. I'm done! I'm soooooo not done! haha!

I really enjoyed the writing more than I expected. I loved figuring out what's holding me back the most and seeing how much I am already heading down paths I cherish. My life is pretty awesome right now!

My favorite challenge was day 3. We just had to describe our perfect day. I was lucky in having just recently had several perfect days and thus getting to just describe what happened. I really do enjoy wandering the country and hearing and telling stories.

My huge breakthrough was that I can be incredibly more intentive (new word?) about my progress! I'm so easy to please that I just love and appreciate any success that comes along. The breakthrough is that I'm allowed and even expected to go out and actively seek success, as well. I can wish for things! I can work for things! All I was missing was just simply pausing each day to review where I'm at, what I want next, and choosing tasks to get me heading there. Each day I can do that!

So that's basically it! My next step is to build projects. I have several things I generally do each month. I turn those into projects that I list along with the overarching project of finding new projects! Then daily, I work the projects.

Simple, right?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

on the road -- day 9: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

working on the road
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9

In my own way, I'm already happily location independent. I do find myself having to catch up after I return to a home base sometimes. When I'm on the road, I don't keep up with any work. I don't keep up with exercise goals. I sometimes find myself screaming from one place to another because of poor planning on my part.

Natalie's challenge, then, is to create a day of adventure and fun that includes keeping everything running, as well. This is where I'm at. This is my own current struggle.

For exercise, I've set the goal of stopping every 60 miles or so and walking. I don't always do that. Sometimes it's from laziness. Other times it's from poor planning and needing to keep going. I also find myself scared to try certain walks or hikes because of my current physical limitations.

For work, I find myself starting with the premise that driving is good for clearing my mind and getting thinking done. Then I let my mind wander aimlessly, or listen to the radio. It's good for a while, but I feel I can plan in more productive activities while I drive. I can practice recording stories with no audience present, for example. I can plan ahead and have books and podcasts lined up waiting to teach and inspire.

Finally, I find lack of internet makes me incredibly lazy. I feel I can't do anything. I can! I can again record video and audio practice sessions, or even final versions. I can write and write and write.

What should help me pull all this together is the goal from day 8 of reviewing my projects daily and choosing three big tasks to accomplish each day. No matter where I'm at, this can always happen. Yes it can!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

adventure -- day 8: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 8

Adventure is one of the greatest parts of my life right now. I'm always travelling and often specifically choose new routes or hidden paths. I love hiking even though it's extremely difficult for me right now. I'm hoping that focusing on physical health and strength for a while can help with that.

I also love road trips. Driving long distances gives my mind just enough to do in the foreground so that I can process and meditate and really calm things down in the background. I love to take different paths and routes that I find along the way.

The other week, for example, I drove down a smaller highway over a winding mountain pass. The highway followed a swift river for some distance. Every mile or so, there would be a pull out big enough for me to park and just enjoy the sights and sounds. Just as it was getting dark, I found such an area where I could park right on the river bank. It was getting dark, so I decided I'd stay there for the night. I was worried about bugs getting into the car, so I just cracked the windows down a little bit.

I soon realized I need not have worried. In the dusky light, I thought I saw huge moths flapping past. I finally got a good look and realized it was a handful of bats! I had never seen bats hunting at dusk. They kept swooping and fluttering around silently. I can only assume the heat from my car had attracted their meal for the night.

It's just such serendipitous events that I hope to enjoy for the rest of my life! I love getting out in nature and seeing what a beautiful planet we live on!

Friday, September 16, 2016

action a day -- day 7: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

one imperfect action
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 7

This challenge is easy. I simply need to follow through with my reviews from my Day 5 schedule. That's it. My biggest breakthrough from this exercise is that I'm just letting things happen "naturally" which is to say without any true effort on my part.

If I spend the time each day to review my projects or create new ones, then choose three tasks to accomplish based on that review, then commit to accomplishing those three tasks, I will be screaming down the path of success in no time. I'll stop worrying that things aren't getting done. I'll be heading down paths I never dreamed of because I'm actually heading down paths! I'll finally see what's next because I'll be taking active productive steps into the dark and shining the light of action on the next step and the next and the next!

Whew! I can't wait! See you out there!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

findiing my tribe -- day 6: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

finding my tribe
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 6

I'm shy. I'm starting with that because finding and contacting a mentor is a huge challenge for me. Yet I've found my tribe. Twice, in fact. I discovered the South Sound Story Guild from Olympia, Washington in 2005 and then in 2014, I joined the Utah Storytelling Guild. I meet with both groups as often as possible and have discovered great storytellers to learn from.

Funny thing, though, is that I feel this was a huge task for me. I get this mindset that I have to do things my own way because of my disability. Storytelling isn't that way, though. I should seek out mentors who are doing what I would like to do. I have forged friendships with members of the story guilds, some of whom I'd call mentors.

I'm learning of people out there who I really admire. I hear not just their stories, but stories about them. I would like to meet them and talk about building a career out of wandering and storytelling. For this challenge, I'm planning to contact Bil Lepp and Christopher Titus. I love their styles and watching them on stage makes me feel like they're just chatting casually.

I'd like to ask how much work is hidden behind those stories they tell so easily. I'm curious what their typical day is like as they move from project to project. I think that's where I am right now. How do I organize myself and build habits that will improve my chances at success in this business?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

daily routine -- day 5: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

daily routine
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

To make money as a storyteller, I think about several things each day: current projects, finding and scheduling new projects, and the art of storytelling itself.

current projects
I always have several projects coming up. These can be classroom visits, or storytelling meetings, or open mics or whatever. Whenever I get an opportunity to tell stories, I need to make sure the stories are high quality and carefully chosen for the particular audience. I need to be challenging myself, as well, so I'm not always repeating stale material.

finding projects
At first, not all will pay or pay well. That will come. Daily, I just need to focus on meeting people and finding those who would like or could use a storyteller. It's pretty simple. I like the goal of meeting 5 new people a day. I'm terrible at it, but I like the idea. Part of this is focusing on my calendar and planning events around trips so I don't get stuck driving three states overnight.

art of storytelling
I also create material. I am an artist, so I produce story videos all the time. This gives me easy marketing and repertoire showcase tools that are ready to show off anytime. To create all these stories, I love reading and wandering through topics and stories to inspire and enhance my own stories.

how and where
Each day, I review all the above and pick three big tasks to work on. I love libraries, but all this work happens anywhere there is decent internet. If I am headed somewhere with poor internet, I plan ahead tasks that won't require connection. After I finish the big three, the rest of my day is mine to play and get physically healthy again!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

superpowers -- day 4: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

I don't like to talk about what's going well in my life. This superpowers activity is all about that, though. My friends and family had to remind me of a few superpowers I'm quite fond of.

tenacity and confidence
I found early and have many stories about things I'm not supposed to be able to do. The things I'm most proud of in my life are all from sticking to it and believing a project will be worth the energy and work. I failed miserably at the beginning of every one of those things. I'm always messing up and I'm always okay with that. I know failing is just the best teacher. I can learn how to do this... every time if I'm that interested. This superpower can be a weakness, however. I sometimes have to be forced to give up and move on with my life.

writing and speaking
I speak in stories. I think in stories. I write in stories. This helps me be understandable. I have a good intuition most times for what a particular audience is looking for and how to help them understand whatever topic they're learning from me. People tell me I explain things in a way that doesn't make them feel dumb. I find stories of my own learning and early failures help them realize they can get it.

humor and inspiration
I'm not sure these are a superpower. If they are, they are subtle. If I'm trying to be funny or inspirational, I feel like it always comes out wrong every time. When I'm getting into something, however, a natural sense of fun is always there. I don't get it, but I'm always hearing from others how they are inspired by something I'm doing or saying.

Monday, September 12, 2016

perfect day -- day 3: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

perfect day
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

I'm warm and relaxed, though the air is chilly. The birds have slowly turned up their volume over hours and hours. A breeze blows over my face, either through a window or outside. The air smells like nothing and like the entire world. The sky is just lightening up with reds as the sun hasn't quite peeked over the mountains yet. I lay there letting the dreams sort themselves out and watching in fascination as ideas spring up and mingle and dance themselves into perfect little stories.

Eventually I get up and wander over to a place where friendly faces greet me for breakfast. I eat slowly and read and write. Sometimes people will have time to share a moment or swap a story. I mentally wander through my day and try to imagine how it will all go. Then I drive. The mountains roll like super-slow-motion ocean waves past my car. The sage brush and dust and occasional dairy flavor the air as I drive. I stop often and walk whatever trail or path catches my fancy.

This day, I'm due to share stories with a class my friend teaches about five hours away.  I get to the school and sign myself in. I walk the empty halls to the classroom and share my stories for the day. The kids share and create along with me and we all laugh and create realities together.

I eat and drive again. I find a favorite spot along a river and park. I snuggle into my blanket and watch the sun set. The roaring river drowns out most other sounds and I disappear. Eventually I'll feel that same chilly breeze blow over my face as the birds and world and I awake again.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

finding my why -- day 2: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

finding my why
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

The day 2 challenge really got me thinking. Natalie had us listen to a podcast interview she did with David Mead who asked two questions to help pinpoint why I do whatever I do:

  1. at my very best, what has been my contribution to the world?
  2. how did that contribution impact those around me?
Those aren't quotes. That's just how I understand the concepts. The podcast is about 40 minutes long and is an excellent listen if you want to delve into this yourself. Here's me thinking out loud (?) about the questions.

Some of my best moments are when I'm challenging my perceived limits. I love playing the piano with two fingers. I love how I type with three fingers of each hand. I love riding a bike and driving my car. I love wearing shorts in the winter. I love making people laugh and seeing them change as they relax about my disability. I love showing them that if I can do it, they could too. I love that all my great accomplishments have been achieved by just trying the thing and then doing the thing.

What I find after the fact is that many people are inspired. They really do see themselves doing something they thought they couldn't do. I in turn am inspired as they push their own limits and do amazing things and become amazing people. I tell everyone again and again to just do what they love. That they can create their own selves any way they want.

So this isn't quite final. I'm surely going to play with it more, but:
I get up each morning to constantly challenge myself and others so that we can all experience the very real freedom we each have to be and do the great things we dream of.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

current challenges -- day 1: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

current challenges
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

My biggest challenges right now are probably physical and mental health. Physical health includes physical fitness, general health issues, and hygiene combined. Mentally, while I'm no longer extremely depressed very often, I'm still pretty darn apathetic about everything. I just don't care enough about very much to stay with plans or work on projects longer than a good beginning.

I've studied enough and understand clearly the two are related. I know that if I really get into a good active lifestyle, I'll find myself automatically and naturally becoming intensely curious and consistently devising and working through projects. I also know that if I can get through the apathy fog, I will automatically and naturally become more active and healthy physically.

It's clearly a chicken and egg sort of thing. I've tried working on bits and pieces of mental health and physical health... not much luck. Then I realized I could work on just one. Next I decided that physical health goals are much more easily defined and measured. Progress is undeniable. Even when I'm the most depressed, I can see that I'm walking more, fitting into smaller clothes, and so on. Mental and emotional goals are harder to measure. They are deniable under depression's dark view of things.

So recently, I started focusing on just my physical health. I started with movement. I counted steps and active time throughout each day. After just a few months, I can report it's clearly working! If I look back and see myself progressing in storytelling and other projects, I'm finding that was also when I had been most consistently active physically, as well. It's going to be a long process, but I think I'm finally heading down a good path!

Friday, September 9, 2016

project: 10 day freedom plan blog challenge

Yeah. I've been on the road all week, so I'm starting late, but there are 10 writing assignments as part of this challenge. I'm planning to post all 10 in the next couple of days. Here goes!

Monday, August 29, 2016

keeping it going (#fall7up8)

Happy Monday everyone! (Possibly Tuesday... I'm posting this pretty late.)

I've been doing a few things to get myself stronger this week. One thing I worry about is getting lazy. I do it all the time. Not just lazy physically, but lazy about keeping this little blog thing going even after a good start. I expect to post something at least once a week. During the week, I'll be working on various goals that will hopefully and eventually help me stand up from laying flat on the ground.

This week, I recorded a little video of where I'm at right now as far as standing up if I fall. It's not pretty. Here's what I got...

I was surprised at how high my stomach is off the ground when I'm laying flat! I'm thinking the "biggest" problem is likely my weight. I just can't lift that much Mitch off the ground! In the video, I mentioned "when I was younger" and I'm thinking I weighed almost half of what I weigh now.

My main goal this week, then, is to keep walking. Over the summer, I've been reporting step count and minutes of activity to my nephew, Johnathan, each day. I started out barely walking 3000 steps or doing much more than 30 minutes of exercise a day. This week, I'm planning on 60 minutes active time and 6000 steps each day. I'm just using the Google Fit app on my phone to do the counting for me.

So far, I can only walk just over 6 minutes at a time. Then I need to rest a bit before I move onward. I was really happy to have survived a half mile walk this week using a Walkstool that I carried to rest on every few minutes. Using that method, I made it to dinner and rested, then walked the half mile back home, as well!

I also went downtown to the Salt Lake City Library this weekend and spoke with the folks at the Creative Lab. They have a 3D printer and I'm thinking I may try creating a cleaner "top" for the cane my dad built me last month. Between the Walkstool and the cane as good starts, we'll get something working so I can start getting some distance.

I can't explain how useful the video above was! I don't visualize myself accurately, and seeing my own struggle on screen will continue to help. I've created a YouTube channel with the same name as the blog... mitch is wandering -- not lost. The blog and the YouTube channel are for both this project and for general posts and videos as I travel and otherwise move around in the world. I'm commandeering the hashtag #fall7up8 for the standing up project. You can follow just this standing up project by clicking on that link on the right of this blog.

Thanks for reading this far! I'm really excited you're with me on this journey.

See you next week! If you don't see me, feel free to chase me down and demand an explanation!

Monday, August 22, 2016

fall down 7 times... get up 8

This summer has been a bit of a success for me! I started really paying attention to walking. I found a coach and we have been steadily increasing how much I could walk daily and how long I could walk in a single attempt. It's been enough of an improvement that I started looking dreamily down hiking trails and wishing I could take longer walks that went places besides close to home or around my car.

Last month Dad and I designed this cane to use when I'm hiking. His pictures of the cane triggered a heartwarming response on Facebook. As we were creating the cane, however, I realized that I'm still going to fall out there.

That led to the realization that I'm going to have to re-learn how to get up after a fall. Getting up from the ground implies getting down on the ground. Looks like I'll have plenty of chances to practice falling, too. Hopefully by winter, I'll be less fearful of falling so I'll go outside more than I did last winter.

Learning or retraining myself on a physically weak area like getting up after a fall is a really visceral and physical experience. I'm hoping the experience will be more universal than just watching a guy flounder on the ground. Sharing the process with others, I hope, will will inspire others to plan improvements for their own lives.

As a storyteller, I'm sure there will be a story out of all this. It'll be fun telling the final and even intermediate stories. I can totally see myself falling on stage and freaking everyone out until they realize it's what I'm telling about.

...and that's how this project was born. I am not just creating a neat and pretty story, I'll be creating a new me. It's going to be great and fun and I'll finally be able to go on long walks and hikes and fall down as much as I want! It's going to be long and tedious and I may give up again and again.

I am starting today. This is what you're reading right now.

So watch this new blog! I'm going to fix this weakness in front of the whole world. I hope the project attracts help and wisdom I might not have right now. In turn, I hope to share that wisdom with others, as well. I'm curious what types of responses the project generates.

Come along!

Monday, August 1, 2016

what's this?

So I'm always driving and taking pictures and visiting friends and trying stuff and generally moving around in the world. I'm calling all of that wandering. This blog is where I stuff all that stuff.