Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From Chapter 2 "TICKET to FREEDOM"

In Sept. 1972, the year the US Congress passed the Right to Education Law which allowed children with significant disabilities to attend public schools, I became an adjunct student at Penn State University’s Shenango Valley Campus. I excelled academically, making the Dean’s List, and that next fall, I began my undergraduate degree at that campus.  My academic advisor recommended that I be exempt from taking a language (something I later regretted), and she also thought I should not take the undergraduate speech requirement, which included giving public speeches. I went to talk to the instructor, who said “Annie, you have important things to say to the world so you might as well start in my class.”

Without a doubt, my college and graduate school education at Penn State is what I attribute my being able to sustain living and taveling independently in society.  Although my speech is impaired, I can articulate well enough to be understood about 80%, I am  told.  I instruct people to listen as if conversing with some one whose first language was something other this English.  This analogy came from a 3 year old child who  told her mother, "I can't understand Annie's language!"  It works every time and significantly improves communication, especially by telephone.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Interviewed by Trish Robichaud

This radio interview was a wonderful opportunity.  You can replay it at this web site.

I realize that it may be difficult to  understand everything that I say due to my speech impediment and some static in  the radio reception.  Please feel free to ask questions or to have something clarified.  I am very rarely offended by such questions as I accept the fact that my speech is significantly impaired.  It has not stopped me from working as a counselor and giving workshops to international audiences for over 30 years.
 I look forward to your questions and comments.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Trying Something New

During the last 6 months, I have had to face the fact that my days of walking on the   treadmill are over.  Five years after having a total hip replacement, I just can no longer take the pounding on that surface.   Although I continue to exercise in the swimming pool, I wanted to do something that required standing, was outdoors and would take some considerable effort.  GOLF!  That's it.  I'll try to learn how to golf.
This afternoon, I had my first golf lesson at the Penn State University!  It was so much FUN!!!  I actually did quite well on the "driving range" where one practices hitting golf balls.  A few of the golf balls went 10-12 feet and my instructor said that he was very impressed!  It felt good to work up a sweat and I'm looking forward to my next lesson

Sunday, May 20, 2012

From It's Easier to Dance - Chapter 5

"............Still I wanted my traveling to be something other than for my own enjoyment.  I wanted there to be a purpose to my going to another culture. I wanted to help, to serve, to make a difference.  Drawing on my Catholic faith, I wanted to serve the poor.  I remembered all the Bible verses that quoted Jesus as promising to meet Him face to face in the poor.  The opportunity came in 1996, when the Penn State Catholic Community planned a mission trip to Haiti to work in the village of Pondiassou, 2 hours north of Porte au Prince."

The adventures of negotiating the first of 3 mission trips to the most  impoverished country in the western hemisphere is what now keeps me going during the most difficult times in my life.  When asked why, my answer is always  the same,  " It's the children."  I remember holding a naked baby boy in my arms,  His hair was discolored due to the lack of protein in his diet.  This and other memories haunt me.  I hope to use the donations from this blog to return to the village of Pondiassou in Haiti.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Having FUN

Far too often,  the conversations about people with disabilities have a "treatment" oriented focus.  I count myself as some one who does this more than I prefer.  In reality, my life continues to include such activities as in the photo below.  Skiing at the Center for Disabled Sports in Winter Park, Colorado was less than a year after having a total hip replacement!  A friend invited me to go on a ski weekend.  We thought I would watch from the lodge.  Little did we know that I would spend 3 hours on the slopes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For Mothers of Daughters

I feel deeply honored when a woman tells me that after, reading my memoirs, It's Easier to Dance, she buys a second copy as a gift for her mother.  This has happened a number of  times during the past year, so, Websters Bookstore in State College, PA, has invited me to do a book signing on Saturday  afternoon, May, 12, 2012, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. especially for those looking for an inspirational gift for their mothers.  The minimum donation on my blog has also been reduced in honor of  Mother's Day.  Donate by midnight May 13, 2012  for this discount.  If you'd like to share a story about the women (there's  usually more than  one) in your life who have most influenced your growth and development for my blog,  Replies to this post are welcomed.

Happy Mothers Day!