ShellyBlog Shelly Brisbin's life consists of several long tails. She writes about them here.

May 18, 2009

Healthy and Doing Fine

Filed under: Access and Disability,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 12:32 PM

Birth announcements almost always end the same way. Baby is healthy and doing fine. That’s what we all hope for, right? And mostly, it’s what parents in the United States can expect to get. But seeing those words once again on a birth announcement made me wonder. What’s the best ending line for the announcement of the birth of a disabled child? Should parents be less giddy and thankful when they learn their new son or daughter can’t see, won’t be able to walk, etc? Should they equate disability with unhealthfulness? I don’t think so. No parent wants their child to be disabled, but let’s not begin separating our disabled kids from everyone else right away. My mom certainly didn’t.

January 26, 2009

Austin Social Media 100

Filed under: Announcements,New Media and Tech,Podcasting,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:55 PM

I just learned that I’m listed in the Austin Social Media 100, in the tech category. I can’t say that I know much about this set of rankings, but I’m flattered to be included. I’m also mining the rest of the list for fun and interesting people to follow on Twitter or elsewhere.

January 21, 2009

I Know Strange Things

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 3:25 PM

Twice in the past 24 hours, I’ve “showed off” my presidential geekery on Twitter. One has to do with Grover Cleveland (the only president elected to non-consecutive terms) and the other recalls the fact that it’s ben 150 years since a Secretary of State went on to become president. I double-checked that one before posting.

It is an old habit, but not entirely my fault. You see, I became interested in history at a very early age when someone slipped a history book onto my elementary school reading list. From then on, I dug in, staying happily at the library next door to the grocery store while mom shopped, and reading everything they had about the presidency of the United States. I checked out books, and either took home or semi-memorized encyclopedia entries (I loved me some World Book) about each president. For my crowning single-digit age achievement, I learned to say the names of the presidents (middles included) non-stop, and all in order. It is this last part that calls up a memory of my dad. When he learned I could do this parlor trick, he began having me recite at family reunions. The impact was greatest because I would say my piece to one relative at a time, not to the assembled group. It meant dad could brag on me over and over again.

The thing is that while I appreciated the fuss dad made, it did get to be embarrassing after the first few times. And you see, that’s what the people want; a performer who can be a little humble in the face of her own achievements.

Oh, I can still recite the presidents, though a few have been added since I was eight. Perhaps I should have appended that to my eulogy for dad. I bet he would have liked it.

January 15, 2009

Windel Brisbin

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:18 AM

My father passed away on Sunday, January 11, 2009. Here is his obituary.

Mom and Dad at my wedding

Emma and Windel Brisbin

December 19, 2008

Blog Bullets

Filed under: Politics and Public Affairs,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:45 PM

Shorter, more frequent blog posts: New Year’s resolution, or crazy pipe dream? Dunno yet.

I’ve been thinking about several topics this week, and here’s my a quick roundup.

  • My dad continues to struggle. From rehab this week, where he had been struggling to get stronger and recover from both a stroke and a brain injury caused by a fall, he went to the hospital when an ulcer began to bleed. It’s really hard for him to be confined (and that’s the way he feels it) in hospitals. And my mom is sooooo tired.
  • Christmas is coming, yo. No one is expecting me to be filled with the Christmas spirit this year, so that’s good. Not angry, just not feelin it. I have been avoiding conversations about gift-giving and holiday preparations though. Some things for the kids in our family, and helping my mom work through dad’s illness is about all I really think is important. But our tree does look nice, thanks to Frank.
  • Perennial Austin City Council candidate Jennifer Gale passed away this week at the age of 47. For the most part, reaction from my fellow citizens has been kind and good. Even the City Council saw fit to honor her, which I thought showed tremendous class. Not every city would accept a homeless, transgendered singer of songs and runner for offices, and, to tell the truth, some folks in Austin did not always welcome Jennifer Gale. I didn’t know her or much of her story, but I did kick in $20 over at Burnt Orange Report’s House the Homeless donation page.
  • The Obama cabinet is complete, and he’s getting lots of points for picking a middle-of-the-road, ethnically diverse group of people. Um, how is it good to have so many legislators and politicians in the cabinet? I would actually like to see people who know something about running large bureaucracies in there. It’s cool with me that the president and vice president are senators, but I would prefer some managers in the cabinet.
  • Macworld Expo is coming right up. I won’t be there. Haven’t missed one since 1991. I would go, if only to keep the streak alive. But I really don’t have work reasons to go, and I’m feeling frugal, too. I’m sure that I’ll think about going two or three more times before the end of the year, as party and event announcements come my way, and friends ask about my plans. So far, I’m staying strong.
  • Dang, I really need to do some podcasting.

December 3, 2008

Tag, I’m It…Again

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 1:49 PM

I have been tagged yet again, this time by Daryl. At least I don’t have to do much work. This is called the Sixth Photo Meme. If you’re a Flickr user, go to the sixth page of your photostream, choose the sixth photo and post to your site.


We ran across this unusual sight one morning while eating at the Taco Shack, here in Austin. The dog’s owner sat nearby while everyone in the pace made a fuss.

I tag Tim & Nanette, Charles, Matt, Dan & CJ, and the other Matt.

November 28, 2008

Dad Update

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 4:44 PM

My online friends have been a real help to me in the past few days. Thank you all. A hospital room is a decidedly offline place; not very connected at all to the usual kinds of communication and trappings of a plugged-in life. So when I come back to my computer, it’s both comforting to find you here, and jarring to the part of me that has just left the institutional environment.

Dad did indeed have a stroke; two small ones, actually. Various tests and scans are ongoing, and he’ll have a heart scan on Monday (Monday is a long way away when you’re in the hospital) to examine the back of his heart for any damage or clots. When he is released from the hospital, he’ll have to spend some time in a rehab facility.

Being in the hospital and under the control of others would have been tough for my father under the best of circumstances. But with a droopy left side, and bouts of confusion, it is pretty harrowing. He doesn’t want to be there, and he gets agitated about that. It’s our job to keep him calm, be with him, advocate for him, and remain sane ourselves. Difficult stuff.

Thanks again to all of you who have reached out to me. It really, truly means a lot.

November 26, 2008

My Dad is in the Hospital

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:25 AM

Good news first. My dad is alert, awake, and cranky about being stuck in a hospital bed.

This post is mostly about getting the basic info out to all the wonderful people who have been supporting me and my family with prayers, virtual hugs, and best wishes. Thank you all. It means a lot. I’ll post more later about how we’re all feeling. My coping mechanism is to be very focused and to try to ask the right questions.

Last night around dinnertime, my dad, who uses a wheelchair, was unable to get himself from his recliner into the wheelchair, and my mom was unable to move him. He was very weak, especially on his left side. It is possible that he had felt this way for some time. My dad is not one to let anyone know when he’s not feeling well. He’s a “tough it out” kind of guy.

While trying again to get himself out of his chair, dad ended up on the floor, and, because of his extreme weakness, mom called EMS. From her description, Frank and I suspected a stroke, though the EMS people initially said they didn’t think so. His heartbeat was irregular.Frank and I met them at the house and followed to the hospital, where my sister (who had been maddeningly stuck in traffic) met us. Dad had an EKG, chest x-ray and CAT scan, and was finally put into a hospital room five or six hours after arriving. One of the doctors did suspect it could have been a stroke or something to do with his heart, but the EKG and CAT scan were inconclusive.

This morning, he’s having an MRI and other tests. My sister and mother are there now, and I’ll take over for my sis later in the day.

Thank you all again for your concern and support.

August 6, 2008

Six Random Things…

Filed under: Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:02 AM

I’ve been tagged. The delightful folks over at For Whatever Reason insist that I share Six Random Things About Me. I’ve done this before, but what the hay? Also, don’t it seem as though the very act of podcasting consists mostly of random things about oneself?

The Things:

  • When in my own home, I am usually barefoot.
  • At age 10, I accidentally stabbed myself with a Girl Scout pocket knife. I have the memories and a little scar in my right palm.
  • My dad’s nickname for me was Chickadee. (chirp, chirp).
  • I built my first Web site in 1994.
  • My first trip on an airplane was on Texas International Airlines. My mom made me wear a dress!
  • I can sing an alarming number of the songs from Sweeney Todd. It scares the cats.

All righty then. Time to spread the tagging love. I choose Rod & Chrystal of The Life of Spaguy’s Wife,, Dave, Dawn, and Tim and James of Tastes Like Burning.

Oh, and here are the rules for your tagging reference.

The rules for the game are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

May 19, 2008

FriendFeed and Me

Filed under: New Media and Tech,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 7:02 AM

God help me, I signed up for FriendFeed, just to see what it’s all about. Mostly, I’m upset that the username Shelly was already taken. It’s mine, I tell you, mine!

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