Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Christmas time!

It's the time to be around family and friends. I always love getting together with my family but some parts make it extra special. Our stockings are filled with lots of little gifts. A few years ago my mom sewed us all new stockings with our names on the toes. Every year we receive a new set of pyjamas in our stockings. We've done it since I was little and it's one of my favourite things about the holiday because I love pyjamas!

When we were young, my two sisters and I went to our friends' house and they had this salad out on the table. We didn't know what it was and had to ask our friend, “It's apple salad”. It was delicious! It was chopped up apples and whipped cream. We got home and my sister kept telling mom how she should make apple salad. My mom does make apple salad but she only makes it Christmas, making it my favourite Christmas dish.

There used to only be five of us: my parents, two sisters, and me. Over the last seven years it's gotten bigger. We have more family and that's what I love most about Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

About Me!

Who am I? My name is Shawna Mattinson, I was born in Grande Prairie and grew up in Airdrie. When I was eighteen I moved out of my parents house and into Calgary. I enjoy being independent and making my own decisions. I would love to purchase my own home one day. I have loving parents and two wonderful sisters, one is older and the other is my twin. I love spending time with my family, they are a big part of my life.

I am an active person who loves meeting new people and experiencing new things. I enjoy going out with friends, movies, reading, and television shows such as Big Brother, Survivor, and Glee.

I have worked very hard at learning how to use a computer and am proud to say I am quite good with one now. I cannot use the mouse, but have learned how to navigate the tool bar to complete what I want done. My entire book was written on a computer and now I have a laptop which I take with me everywhere I go.

I have recently graduated from the Web Design program at Academy of Learning.
Before I took the Web Design program I volunteered in positions where I used computer skills I had learned during school. These positions were in a variety of settings such as an office, golf store, book store. Now I happy to say that I am working at E-Debit Global Corporation.

I am writing a book about my life and living with cerebral palsy. This book is taking me a long time to write and includes my thoughts and feelings about my life and having cerebral palsy. It's in the final writing stages and I'm hoping to get it out soon! Check out the “My Book” link for an excerpt and publishing information when it's available.

I enjoy travelling and have taken trips with my family and friends. We have visited relatives in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Our last family holiday was to the Dominican Republic. I also went to Mazatlan, Mexico with my best friend. I enjoyed touring around looking at various sites and spending time on the beach. My list of places to visit includes Denmark, Paris, and London.

In the future I would like to open a coffee shop that is wheel chair accessible, making it easier for everyone to get together. People could sit and read magazines while drinking their coffee. Of course my book would be available for purchase too! I would also like to publish a magazine aimed at people with disabilities, focusing on their accomplishments and goals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winter sucks!

 I wish I lived in California and didn't have to worry about the weather. It's hard to get around when there's snow on the sidewalks. Some parts of winter are nice: the snow on the trees, Christmas time, twinkling light decorations. That's all. It's cold! And hard to get around in my wheelchair!

The roads are bad are snowy and icy so the bus is always running behind and I arrive late. The snow gives me a headache. If I need to go outside, I have to look ahead to my route and plan around snow drifts and unplowed sidewalks. Sometimes I have to turn around and take another route. It's easier when you're walking. You can go faster, you can take any city transit bus, you can step on and over piles of snow. At every crosswalk, there's a pile of snow from clearing the roads. If it's too high or too sudden, I can't make it over in my wheelchair. I have to turn around and find another way. It might mean I have to go on the street instead of the sidewalk and I don't like it. I don't want to be hit by a car. I wish that it snowed on Christmas eve and disappeared on Boxing Day.

When it's cold I need all those extra things to stay warm. I don't like wearing hats, mittens, toque, everything! It helps for when I'm outside but then I'm inside and stuck with all these extra layers.

When I was a little girl, I always played in the show. I would go sledding with my friends and family, it was fun. Now it's fun to watch my nieces enjoying the same things I did in winter. Enjoy the cold weather and I hope everybody has a good winter!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Last Thursday I went in an electric wheelchair for the first time to work. It went really well. I felt independent again. No one was there, I did it all by myself. My co-workers helped me set up my laptop and what all I need. If I need any help, I can let them know. I’ve been working there a month and before this week I went in my manual wheelchair with a worker. My manual wheelchair means I need someone to push me everywhere and I don’t like that. It makes me feel like I have to rely on people when I don’t need to.  The manual wheelchair doesn’t give me enough support and by the end of the day my back was killing me.
My one worry about taking the electric wheelchair was getting into the little half bathroom. It’s pretty small and my wheelchair can’t fit in there. So I left it outside the door, and walked in. I held onto the door and wall but got in there without any problem. It ended up being fine and it’s no longer a concern of mine.  It was the first week where I felt like I was a normal person and a member of the team.
            I’m with an agency that provides me with workers and support to be out in the community working. However I was ready to try this job on my own without someone being there the whole time. One of my coordinators met me at work on Thursday to make sure everything would go alright. He filled my boss in on my decision and what I wanted. Sometimes people who have only known me for a little while have trouble understanding what I’m saying. Even people who have known me forever stumble over a word or two. My coordinator explained it to my boss so there was no confusion and everything was clear. He left my boss his contact information and explained how we could contact him if there were any concerns. My boss looked at him, “We’ll be fine”. My coordinator asked if there was anything else I needed. I said no but looked at my boss, “Do I work on Fridays?” “Yes, if you want to”. I turned to my coordinator and asked if he could book a bus for me. “My pleasure Shawna, I’ll do it when I get back to the office. You both have my email if there are any problems and you can phone me”. My boss replied “Yes but there won’t be any problems”.
            When I started this job with my worker, I was completing my tasks quicker than expected so I usually ran out of work on Fridays. One Friday I didn’t have any work to do the entire day. My worker shared the idea with me of how we could take Fridays off. In my mind, I really wanted to say “No, this is a new job, I don’t really want to take off Fridays when they expect me there three days a week”. But I couldn’t say that, instead I said we could check with my boss about it. My worker talked to my boss about it and I ended up taking one Friday off. When I started going independently this week, I wanted to know how many days I would be working.
            After my coordinator left on Thursday, my boss and I went to our desks to see if I had any new projects to complete. I am working under a web designer and he gives me tasks to help complete projects. He’s only in the office on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. I work Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday so a lot of our communication is through email. Before this week he would send the tasks and projects to my worker who would pass it on to me. But when I checked my email on Thursday morning I saw he had sent me instructions about how I needed to format a file into a table format. It was my first time receiving instructions directly. I felt kinda happy and hounored that it was going to someone else. It was coming right to me! My boss returned and when I told her how the web designer had emailed me work, all she said was “ok, go to it!”
            But I thought I would get the Powerpoint done first for her. I only had a few more slides left. I knew she didn’t need it until the summer but I wanted it done and out of my hair. I finished it at 2:30pm and started the work for the web designer but didn’t finish his task. On Friday I kept working on that project and completed it. It made me feel like part of the team and I hope I make them happy with what I can do.
            I like working there. It’s fun and I don’t feel like I have a disability when I’m there. I’m so happy I could start doing it alone: without someone coming in with me everyday. I want to try being more independent. I see a lot of people on the Handibus going to work and I used to wonder if I would ever be like them. Now I am and that’s a big honour for me.