Monday, October 25, 2010

sick . . . sick . . .

In addition to having a great time at the conference (see the last post) and learning a lot, I also picked up a nasty, little bug. I spent the entire weekend doing one of the following:
  • sleeping
  • trying desperately to breathe
  • trying desperately to swallow*
  • blowing my nose
  • shopping in Jackson (hey, I gotta go when I have time off!)
*Keep it clean, Edvalsons!

the conference

I spent last week in Laramie with a bunch of the clients where I work, attending MEGA Conference. (I don't know what MEGA stands for, but it's always capitalized, so there you go.) In case you were wondering, the drive to Laramie is awful and ugly, and the city itself is a shit hole. (When I told my parents that description, they were not amused!) I do not like Laramie and I couldn't wait to get home. The conference was really good, though. They do it every year and it's for people with disabilities, as well as their caregivers and family members.

There's a keynote speaker every morning and then breakout sessions. The keynote speaker this year was actually the same guy on both days, but he talked about different topics. Anyway, this guy was awesome (and super hot!). His name is Kevin Connolly and he was born without legs. If you've never heard of him, you can check out his website here, his photography work here, and his YouTube videos here.

I went with the clients to their sessions, so we learned about fire safety, voting (which was good, since sadly I have never voted), how words can hurt, and some other ones I can't remember off the top of my head. My favorite, other than the keynote speaker, was the session on how words can hurt. They had several people with disabilities get up and talk about bullying and how people have treated them in the past. They also then talked about the support that they have received from people around them and how little things can make a difference. It was really touching.

The last night of the conference we went to a banquet and dance. I wanted to avoid the dance because I have an insane fear of public dancing, but I ended up kind of participating. You see, one of the clients has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. It took a while for her to want to get out on the dance floor, but when they finally played some music she liked, she asked me to take her out there. I helped her dance for about an hour and a half and it was amazing. Her favorite person in the whole world is Martina McBride, and when they played "Independence Day", this girl danced her heart out (meaning she moved her arms around 'cause that's pretty much all she can do), and sang every word. The look on her face was one of pure happiness. I will be the first to admit that it made me cry a little. We tend to think of these people as being handicapped and forget that they're people first. It was really awesome to see all of them out there dancing, having a great time, and not worrying for even a second about how they look or if they're doing it "right". Seriously-it was awesome!

So, all in all, I had a great time, despite the conference being in Laramie. It was really eye-opening and a little (actually a lot) humbling to be around so many people with disabilities. During these past couple of months I've learned to see the person first, and not their disability. In the past, if I have ever encountered someone with a disability, I didn't know how to act, so I avoided them. Now I think I would feel comfortable being my normal, friendly self (hahaha!) and interacting with them. I think about the number of people I've met that have been rude or snobby or whatever, compared with the number of people with disabilities that I've met that have been rude (a big, fat zero!) and I wonder who really has the disability. Huh . . . that was really profound! Hopefully you didn't skip this blog post because it was long, 'cause that means you totally missed out on that little nugget of wisdom!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Grrrrr . . .

I went to get my Wyoming driver's license today and since I wasn't born in the USA, I couldn't get it without my birth certificate or passport. Nevermind that I have a valid Utah driver's license and wasn't required to have anything extra when I got it. Grrrr. Plus, the DMV here is only open on Thursdays and Fridays and apparently there's only one person who works there. And the line was long. And I was stuck behind an old guy with an oxygen tank.

Monday, October 11, 2010

here's what's been going on . . .

  • Work, work, work.
  • And when I'm not working, I've been enjoying these new tv shows:
(Sister Wives on TLC-more on my thoughts about this show later.)

  • I've also been watching and rewatching my niece, Sariah, preparing for when she turns 18 and can audition for So You Think You Can Dance.

  • I've also been obsessively listening to these songs:

  • I've also (since last night) been wanting to make this cake.
  • I've also been spending a good deal of time avoiding deer in the road. I saw 24 on Saturday and 17 yesterday.
  • Oh yeah, and I've also been enjoying views like this:

(None of these pictures are my own. So sorry if you are the person I stole them from. Nice picture-taking, though!)