Wednesday, August 31, 2016

IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE


I am sure you have heard the saying, "It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole" No matter how hard you try, the square peg just doesn't fit. This analogy fits my relationship with the other residents in this facility perfectly.

This fact was driven home to me,in the past few weeks .I have tried to be friendly with other residents, specifically, two residents at my table. These two residents consider themselves a couple here .Everyone knows them. If you see one of them you automatically expect to see the other.

When I began sitting at their table they made another resident uncomfortable because they ignored them. Their excuse was they could not hear them and they were weird, The resident moved. They told me I could stay. It was the other resident they'd wanted to .move. When the resident moved, things were fine. We ordered take-out at dinner and enjoyed a glass or two of wine.  My brother began barbecuing for us,  They got steaks and salmon burgers. They were happy. I was accepted.

The couple .always did a certain amount whispering. I also watched her feed him strawberries and touch the side of his face. Lately, it has gotten worse. Last week, he turned his back to me, in his chair, so I couldn't enter their conversation. And, when he was leaving the dining room one day, I offered to stay and keep her company while she ate. I was told,"You're not the right gender." I left without saying a word.

Residents here have always looked at me like I am from another planet because I write. I have a life outside of this place via my computer. I have goals. They don't understand me. I am tired of trying to fit in. That doesn't mean I am better than they are. I am just different.

I shared a lot with the residents at my table. I knew they were not as fortunate as I am. My family gets whatever I ask for. Someone told me the were just using me. I would hate to think that's true.

The other resident at our table doesn't care if they talk to them. After this week neither do I.

It is hard to live in this facility. My room and computer are my solace.

I used to enjoy sitting in the front of the facility. I could see the road in the distance. I liked  looking at the cars on the road. That symbolized freedom to me. There are new safety rules. We are not allowed to sit in front alone anymore.I don't want to sit on the back patio with other people.  I like to sit by myself. Just relax. Guess that makes me a square too.

I know what is important to me. I don't care what anyone thinks. I like who I am. And, you know what? It's hip to be square

















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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SCOTT CLARKE MAKES PEOPLE SMILE ONE TOON AT A TIME

I have never met artist Scott Clarke in person. We became Facebook friends, in 2014, during Cher's Dressed to Kill Tour. 

I began seeing his toons on Facebook.  Scott's  toons are unique in that he adds a verse to his drawings. The verse may be a quote from the celebrity featured in the toon or a line from a movie they may have been in. Whatever the verse may be, it is always positive  and fun ..

Scott doesn't remember how old was when he started drawing. He remembers sitting next a girl, when he was in the third grade, who drew well. He coped some of her techniques. He believes all artists influence each other, no matter what age they are.  Being an only child meant he spent a lot of time alone. Drawing helped fill that time.

Scott's first drawings were of The Flintstones/ He liked the drawing style of Hanna Barbera. He even created his own versions of TV shows like Gilligan's Island and I Dream of Jeannie. As a teenager, he became fascinated with designer Bob Mackie and Cher. He began drawing his own versions of Mackie's creations for her. He/loves drawing Cher/ He has drawn over three hundred toons of her. He has drawn over  one hundred toons of Barbra Streisand  and three hundred of other stars.  He also has a greeting card line called Crabby Cards.

Scott has taken a few classes. He did not like the structure of a class. He likes to find his way on his own. If he needs direction, he'll ask.

Scott's celebrity toons started when he posted a toon of Cher on Facebook.  "People seemed to like it so I  dove into it!"

"The first toons I did were people/celebrities that were cartoonist in life, larger than life characters with incredibly recognizable characteristics. I still find those kinds the MOST enjoyable to do. Cher, Barbra, Dolly, Bette, Liza!!! All fabulous and FUN!"

Drawing a toon is not just about the drawing. Scott researches a celebrity by watching videos and reading the person's bio/ This helps him get to know artist as well the person/ It helps in the creative process .  It takes about twenty minutes for Scott to draw a toon. He may draw a toon and write the verse for it later. He draws and writes whenever the inspiration strikes him/.

Scott has never had a negative response to his art. Most celebrates are  flattered. He does his best to make his toons positive and flattering. Scott leaves negativity to the political cartoonists/ His goal is to make people happy, to inspire, entertain and to help people remember happy moments from the entertainment industry/

Scott has a list of celebrities he has yet to toon. His shining moment came last year, Cher used one of his toons on her birthday cake. Scott spoke to Cher on the phone/ She asked him to do a toon for her mom, Georgia. Georgia's happiness made Scott happy too.

Both Cher and Barbra have seen Scott's toons and they approve.

Scott also draws toons for various charitable organizations. A portion of the proceeds from Scott's Cher-toon bool are going to Cher's favorite charity, Children's Craniofacial Association. ccakids.org

The Barbra-toon and Cher toon books are just the beginning. More books are coming. Even coloring books, A portion of the profits will go to charity because to Scott that's giving two smiles in one.

Scott Clarke,is  making people smile one toon at a time.

 Barbra-toons  https://www.amazon.com/Barbra-toons-illustrated-tribute-Scott-clarke/dp/1535196629/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472052174&sr=8-1&keywords=scott+clarke+barbra-toons

Cher-toons  https://www.amazon.com/Cher-toons-heartfelt-tribute-illustration-Clarke/dp/1535196327/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472052418&sr=1-1&keywords=cher+toons

Crabby Cards  http://www.zazzle.com/crabbycards/products


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Monday, August 15, 2016

HOW DID I GET HERE?

Okay, maybe that is a rhetorical question, but it is one I ask myself a lot, late at night, as I wait for sleep to come. What could and should I have done differently? And, most importantly, what can I do to change my situation now?

I .accept the fact that it is my fault that I am here.  I didn't have the skills to manage caregivers, a house and a sick dog. Someone told me people with disabilities need to help  themselves. I agree. However, when you have been sheltered all of your life and had everything done for, as I had, you don't have a clue about how to manage your life/. At least I didn't.

The social worker who forced me out of my home only met me once. I  was not aware I had been hot lined until my family informed me five days before my life changed forever. Yes, I would have freaked out, but at least I would have been a part of the discussion concerning my life. I do not have a guardian, It was the social worker's job to inform me, not my family's. My family did everything they could to keep it from happening.

The social worker knew nothing about me, my life or what was important to me. They just did their job. They have been to see me once since I have been here. They offered to make it possible for me to play Bingo at a senior center. I declined the offer. They promised to return to discuss my options. They have yet to do so.

When you are as disabled as I am, other people always think they know what's best. They make the rules, but they don't have to abide by them.  I am sure that the social worker hasn't given me another thought. I am in a contained environment. That is all that mattered to them. Not my happiness or quality of life.

It's been almost two years. I still cannot believe this happened  to me.  Because of an anonymous phone call, the life I knew was taken away from me.

I am not supporting a candidate I am supporting disability rights. People with disabilities should help themselves. And, as a nation, we should help each other because anyone's life can change in an instant. No one is guaranteed a perfect future.

The things I want are simple:
To sleep in a comfortable bed
To be able to decide when, where and what I want to eat
To have privacy when I am in the bathroom (Last week someone from laundry came in.)
To be able to go out on weekends
To have my needs met. 
To not ht be forgotten
To know that I matter
Privacy and having choices are important to me.

I am so tired of being here. Tired of having to advocate for myself everyday.Tired of hearing staff complain about how hard their job is. That they can't  wait to go home. I'd like to go home too. And, someday, I will.

I have hope. I have to have plan that is safe and viable. It won't happen tomorrow. I deserve another chance. I know it will happen..

You all know how I got here. The question is, what do I need to do to get out?











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Monday, August 8, 2016

GOING HOME

Another weekend has come and gone. I always looked forward to the weekend when I lived at home. Especially summer weekends when it was warm and darkness did not come until almost nine o'clock.

. My caregiver would arrive at four o'clock. It took a few minutes to get ready, but as soon as we were, we'd get in my van and drive to Pietro's, my favorite restaurant., http://www.pietrosdining.com/ My mom and I ate there almost every Saturday night for many years. After she died. I couldn't image going anywhere else most Saturday nights.

We would ask for our favorite waitress, Julie. Julie only worked at the restaurant on Saturdays. Her husband taught at Meramec too. Julie would always keep me informed of anything new happening there.

One of my favorite dishes to order was Pasta Florentine. If I had room,dessert would be a slice of Tiramisu. Oh, and my dinner would not be complete with a glass of Pinot  Grigio. A good dinner in a friendly atmosphere. A nice way to spend a Saturday night.

I am now thirteen miles away from the city. Call-A-Ride doesn't come out here on weekends because this area doesn't have regular bus service on weekends. They have to make a route. It costs almost as much as my dinner to go into the city on weekends. Needless to say, I have not done it that often. I hope that Call-A-Ride will provide disabled people like me, weekend service sometime in the near future without charging us high fares

Sure, there are restaurants out here I could go to. I am sure they serve delicious food. Going to Pietro's is like going home for me.It's not only about the food, it's about the memories. We had dinner, with friends, at Pietro's before going to a Cher concert years ago. Our church held luncheons there too.

We went to lunch there after my mother's funeral. She always ordered decaf coffee with Kahlua. She would make sure to add,"And don't forget the whipped cream."  That day, in her honor, I ordered decaf coffee with Kahlua. And, I made sure they didn't forget the whipped cream. .















Tuesday, August 2, 2016

AND NOW FOR THESE IMPORTANT MESSAGES

I wanted to blog  about the groundbreaking events of last week.. Not only did a woman accept the nomination for President of the United States, but Disability Rights were front and center at the DNC. 

What could I add about the ADA and the Disability Integration Act that hadn't already been said by Anastasia Somoza, a young woman with CP, and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa?

Plus, I am a week late. I have learned, by ,writing for The Mac Wire, how fast stories become old news. You have have probably forgotten all about the speeches made last week concerning Disability Rights. I have not.

I am including them in this post.The messages in the videos are important to me and every Disabled American. Please take a moment to watch them.

Senator Tom Harkin 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXCI6TxOeOM

Anastasia Somoza
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TqWpj9Sqfk

Nursing homes are for those who are sick. I am not sick. I will not die here. I should not havebeen institutionalized because I need care. I am a person with goals. I need to be productive. I need to be a part of my community again.

 I do not know where the funds should be allocated from in order to make the necessary changes. I just know changes need to be made.  I hope that the incoming administration does not forget.about the disabled community. There are 56 million of us. We are too important to ignore.

Last Tuesday, on the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a group of disabled Americans marched in Washington. I will end this post with the words they chanted.

"Our homes, not nursing homes."