Friday, January 28, 2011

An open letter to hotels about handicapped accessibility

Another night in a handicapped accessible room at the Hilton and I’m still disappointed- and frustrated- at how inaccessible these “accessible” rooms really are. To wit:

Unless someone is in a wheelchair because they have a sprained ankle, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to get in and out of a bathtub. Imagine that- you’ve come into the city for a relaxing weekend and arrive in your room only to find you won’t be bathing for a few days. Demo the bathtubs, and install a roll-in shower instead. The shower shouldn’t have a lip at the bottom, but should have a chair, and the shower should have a handheld sprayer, with easy to reach off and on and hot and cold knobs. 

Sinks should be low enough for someone with a wheelchair to roll up and wash their hands. Toiletries and Kleenex should be at the front of the counter, within grabbing distance. 

In a room with double beds, the area between the two beds should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and a person standing next to the wheelchair. For all sleeping areas, easy to access bars should be alongside the bed on the wall. Even better? Install a pole from ceiling to floor about one-third of the way down from the headboard, with handgrips. This allows someone in a wheelchair to grab a handhold, lift themselves out of the chair, and pivot onto the bed. It doesn’t have to be fancy- PVC will work fine. Genius. 

Beds should be low enough for someone in a wheelchair to roll up and easily get on-and off- the bed. A rubber floormat with sturdy grips is ideal next to the bed. This allows someone in a wheelchair to get their not-always-stable footing in a way that they are unable to do on your slippery carpets.

A desk chair isn’t really necessary. A desk a wheelchair can easily roll under, and a phone placed at the front of the desk works fine.

A small end table on rollers somewhere in the room gives handicapped visitors a place to easily access their cell phone, the newspaper and the television remote.

For your lobby bathrooms, your handicapped stalls are great. The towel dispenser placed 5 feet off the ground? Not so great, and not easily accessible to anyone in a wheelchair.

Dear hotel owners and operators, I don’t know if you’ve made the error of assuming that everyone in a wheelchair has someone to help them. You’ve definitely made it a requirement. I’d like to think you’ve just never tried accessing one of your handicapped rooms while in a wheelchair. Try it once. You’ll likely be flummoxed. And, you’ll probably find a dozen more ways that handicapped accessibility could be elevated in your hotel.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beekeeper Classes in Portland

If you've always wondered about beekeeping, and you'd like to learn more about the craft, LiveHoneyBees has come to the rescue. Throughout February and March, LiveHoneyBees will offer a series of classes designed for the urban and the suburban beekeeper. 

Beekeeper Classes in Portland 

The class will go on a swarm-catching adventure, and LiveHoneyBees will provide ongoing assistance as you learn how to become a beekeeper. You'll learn about hive types, site location, tools and equipment, year ‘round management, how to harvest honey—and much more.

Learn How to Become a Beekeeper

The beekeeper classes will be held in February and March in Portland. The classes consist of three Wednesdays, from 6-9 pm, catching a swarm, and 1 on 1 help for tending your bees.

  • 1st Session Feb 16 includes hive siting, equipment and good neighbor coaching
  • 2nd Session Mar 2  focuses on spring and summer bee tasks
  • 3rd Session Mar 16 prepares you for fall and winter bee tasks
  • 4th Session TBA covers swarm catching and start up support

Alternate dates also available. For more information, visit LiveHoneyBees, email Brian, master beekeeper or call 503.975.2391.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh…Canada. The longest kilometer part deux

The Patriot Race is one of many challenges you’ll face when dating a Canadian. A skillful battle of wits (thrust, parry, stab and duck), the  game is a true test of wills, with no boundaries or limitations. The rules of the Patriot Race are simple. No matter what aspect of the entertainment industry we’re discussing- music, art or film, suddenly, it turns out all of the superstars are from Canada:

Me: “Well, what about _________?”


“Well, I think…”


But don’t you think he…?

“Lived in Canada during his undergraduate years.”

“I’m quite sure that she…”

“Wants to be Canadian.”

Canada always thinks they’re in competition with the US. The US always forgets they’re up there.