Saturday, February 12, 2011

Time for an Update

February 12, 2011

It has been quite awhile since I have posted on my blog. This will be a short one, but will try and post again soon.

My family and I went away for a month from the middle of December to the middle of January. We had a great time in Fountain Hills, Arizona and rented a great house facing a ravine and desert. It was so beautiful and serene. The weather was fantastic. Not too hot and actually, just right. Lots of sunshine and very little rain. I got to visit my fifth grade teacher who now lives in Tucson and had such a fantastic time seeing her again and having a great lunch at a Mexican restaurant. We also visited with one of my brother's college roomates who lives in Phoenix and got to meet his new son and two fabulous dogs! We also visited the place where our accessible van was modified about 10 years ago and got to see the whole process of how it is done. Also spent a great time with the CEO who we met 10 years ago and hadn't seen until now. We are hoping to go back next February and rent the same house. It was absolutely perfect. All on one level, hot tub, pool, and even a theatre. couldn't have asked for more.

I am taking a new Sociology class this semester in college and really love it. The Professor is one of my all time favorites too.

Yesterday I went back to my elementary school for their annual event called
Jump Rope For Heart. They have an award named after me for participation and I go back every year for the event. It was so much fun!

I really have to start doing this more often! I love it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Challenges In My Life

To all my friends and family,

I feel I am at a sort of a crossroads in my life and need to share my thoughts with the people who matter to me. Periodically, things happen both physically and emotionally. Some are easier to deal with and pass. Others come and go. And some are extremely difficult and painful. I am in the midst of one of those times now.

There have been some major changes going on around me for a number of years and all at once, I have reached a crisis point in dealing with them. After graduation from high school, it was very hard for me to see the changes that were happening. Many of my friends went away to school and I was not able to see them as much as before. We still talked and e-mailed, but that is not the same thing as seeing them face to face. I saw them living on campus somewhere independently, and that just was not an option for me. Rationally, I could understand that and tried to deal with it the best I could by going to community college and still have the support from my family. Even though I understood my limitations, it still hurt and still does. Then, some friends entered into relationships, got married, moved away, and then things changed even more.

Most people have always seen me as happy and content with my life and for the most part, that has been true. But now I am looking forward to what is ahead for me and hurting inside. I feel more pain, anger, and frustration that I have never really been able to express fully. This all has culminated in physical and emotional problems that are causing panic attacks. I have never had anything like this before and it is truly frightening. We have been working as a family to try and find ways to deal with this and part of the process for me is being able to share my thoughts and feelings with all of you.

Those of you who know me really well, understand that I am fully cognitive and intuitive. I have severe physical limitations and must depend on others for all of my needs such as dressing, personal care, transportation, etc. My communication is also very limited due to being non verbal. We continue to try and discover new ways to broaden the scope of my communication and most recently, chatting on gmail and Facebook have really made a difference in keeping in touch with so many people. That is invaluable to me. I can also Skype with people and that is another wonderful avenue for me.

I really want everyone to know that I am not so different from any of you in how I feel inside. Yes, my physical limitations are huge, but I feel the same emotions, from the best to the worst, get angry and want to throw something across the room, lonely, sad, frightened, on and on. I have had to deal with people looking at me as if I am a perpetual child and speak to me in that manner, speak loudly to me as if I am deaf, turn away from me, ignore me, pull their children away from me if they try to ask me a question, the list is endless. That all hurts and I deal with it the best I can. Everyone faces those kind of things in one way or another. But I am so grateful for the many people in my life who treat me the way they treat everyone else they interact with. I have had to constantly prove myself to teachers, principals, doctors, etc. and I can understand their skepticism. But once I do, or they play a game of Millionaire with me, they see the whole Liz. That makes me SMILE!

There are tons more I could go on about, but for now, this is a start. I hope you will read this and feel free to respond. I think this will be a great help to me and expressing myself in this letter, has already accomplished a great deal. Thanks so much for listening and being a big part of my life.

Love, Liz

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

++A Fitting Tribue to "Mama"

This past Sunday, I went to a beautiful Memorial Service for Carolyn "Mama" Glass. She was one remarkable lady who dedicated her life to her "kids" at Glenbrook South High School. I got to know her over my four years at GBS and she was always there for you. Mama stood only about 4 1/2 feet tall, but she was full of energy and enthusiasm. She was at GBS for 37 years, starting as a parapro and then evolved into the school spirit and Pep Leader of the whole school. The football games seemed to be her very favorite sport, but she was dedicated to all of them. I can still hear her voice leading the cheers and getting everyone totally involved. I had such a fun time working alongside her at the start of school helping to sell T-shirts and sweatshirts. Her grandson is now an English teacher at South and the end of the service was led by him. I am sure Mama was listening and watching every single part of it. He led her most famous cheer, "Wash em in the river, hang em on the line, we can beat .... New Trier, Glenbrook North, Maine South, whoever ... any old time! The whole auditorium was on their feet and yelling as loudly as possible, me included. It was joyous and sad at the same time. I am so very glad my mom and I were there.

An added bonus for me was to see many of my old teachers. Mrs. Mash, actually Mr. Masciopinto, and Mr. Weisenstein, or Wise as we all called him were my very favorites. I was able to talk to them both for quite awhile. Mr. Mash was my psychology teacher and he is the one I asked to walk me across the stage to receive my diploma. Mr. Wise was the Consumer Ed, Marketing, and Business Law teacher whose courses I also loved. They all played such an important role in my life and still do. I miss my days there as a student very much. They were probably my best ever! I am going to visit Mr. Mash next week before school ends as has been our tradition since I graduated in 2001. I was very lucky to live in Glenview and have this opportunity at GBS.

This experience on Sunday was very meaningful for me. Even though it was a bit sad to say goodbye to Mama, it was also a celebration of a great person and a great place.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update From Glenview

April 29, 2010

As we write this blog, we understand why Chicago is known as "The Windy City." We are in the living room where my computer sits with the windows wide open since it is such a beautiful day. Papers are flying everywhere and it looks like a bomb just went off in here. We are waiting to pick them all up when we are finished and leaving this room. Who knows if we will find them all. It is in the 70's with sunshine and low humidity, so just great. Wish we were at a Cubs game today. I don't even know if they are playing here this afternoon. I was out this morning for quite a while on a trip to the library. We took out about 6 books, a few for us, and 3 for my brother. He is into an author by the name of Orson Scott Card and loves the ones he has read so far. We took out one too to try. Hope we like it as much as he does. We had something happen to us in the library parking lot that frequently occurs. We parked in a handicapped space and before my mom could deploy the ramp a car pulled into the yellow lines next to us and parked. We asked him to please move his car as we could not get out with him there. He was quite annoyed saying he was waiting for someone to come out. My mom looked at him and said, " and ....?" He begrudgingly moved his car and we went in to the library. Then ... when we were walking to the car, ANOTHER person pulled into the same double lined space. This time a woman in a flashy convertible on her cell phone. We approached her as she was getting out of her car and asked her to please pull out of that space. She said "I will only be a few minutes. Just going in to drop something off." We just stood there, dumbfounded and finally my mom could speak again. She said, I mean right now! Another indignant sigh and expression of disgust looked back at us. So much for a relaxing trip to the library. We used to think the North Shore was a pretty nice place to live, but lately, we are beginning to agree with my dad who has wanted to move away from here for a very long time. We hate to say and think that as this has been our home for 25 years. Very sad ... This was not supposed to be a depressing blog and we apologize. Just felt the need to get it out there and maybe someone will read this and pass the thought to another and another, to be a little more considerate and think about someone other than yourself. That's it! Actually, the people who are reading this blog are our friends and do not behave like this. They are not the ones who need to read this rant.

On a lighter note, we have had a good week. We had lunch with very good friends on Monday and Tuesday, so that was the highlight so far. My dad is working on our minivan right now trying to repair the sliding door handle, so we are stuck here for awhile. I think we will go out for a walk soon. We are still trying to figure out how to post pictures, but have not gotten too far yet. We were able to change the colors, so that is the first step.

Hope everyone has a great day. We look forward to reading the blogs we love so much!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fun With Friends!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yesterday was a really great day because I got to visit with my friend, Elizabeth who was in town from Washington D.C. It was really nice to see her and I am so happy she took the time to come over. She was only here for 2 days and has a big family who wanted to spend time with her too. I have known Elizabeth since kindergarten and she is a true friend. She is very funny too and always has lots of stories to share with us. We have had quite the adventures over the years and Elizabeth was actually the first person from school to invite me over to play at her house. She and her sister, Alison fought over who got to push me in my wheelchair. I will never forget that. Then, there was the time at Pleasant Ridge during gym class that she was my helper and ran into the brick wall with me. I bumped my head and she was way more upset than anyone else. She needed the nurse more than I did! We always used to go Trick or treating together and we would go to this one house in my neighborhood where the man gave us huge Hershey Bars. We never missed his house! We love to talk about those days so much. I miss her a lot now that she lives and works in D.C. and has quite a busy and exciting life. So, Elizabeth, if you get to read this, this is dedicated to you!

Today my friends from Oakton came over for lunch and we had a great time too. Lots of laughing and talking and of course, eating! Wish everyday could be filled with these activities. Until next time ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beautiful Saturday in Chicago

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Today was a very busy day, just how I like it! Also, the sun was shining and it was cool and dry. Perfect. This morning my family and I went to a birthday party for Ben, who turned 2 today. He is the son of friends of my brother and also of mine and my parents. It was a lot of fun to see 20 2 year olds in action. The party was held at the Takiff Center in Glencoe. What a beautiful setting and spot by Lake Michigan. The kids had lots of cars to ride in and then food and cupcakes after that. Also a surprise visit from "Elmo" (who was really Ben's Dad, but we didn't tell him!) My brother even had his picture taken with Elmo. It was pretty funny to see a 6'4" guy with Elmo! We were there for Ben's first birthday too, so it is fun to see the changes in him in a year. By the time his third birthday arrives, he will have a new baby brother. That is exciting too! We drove around in Glencoe on the way home and saw some beautiful homes. Would be neat to live there! After lunch, we watched some of the Bulls game, but they were not looking too good. They ended up losing the first playoff game, which did not surprise us. Then we went swimming at the Park Center in the warm water therapy pool and hot tub. We saw two of our friends there too. Just finished dinner and watched part of an old James Bond movie, "From Russia With Love." Not quite like the new version with Daniel Craig! Checked the e-mail and Facebook to read the latest and then decided to post on my blog. Tomorrow my friend, Elizabeth, whom I have known since kindergarten is going to be in town from Washington D.C. and she is coming over to visit. I can't wait to see her. I love weekends like this where there is a lot going on. No time to get bored. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Second Blog

April 15, 2010

Well, I am back and hope people will be able to find this. My mom tried and tried with no success and we finally enlisted the help of my brother who got us this far. He also showed us how to post it on my Facebook page so hope you can all find it there. This is short today but we are still not convinced it is working right. We will be back!