Monday, April 26, 2010

SFGate: Courtney Mazzola: blind community ambassador

This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.
The original article can be found on here:
Friday, April 16, 2010 (SF Chronicle)
Courtney Mazzola: blind community ambassador
Meredith May, Chronicle Staff Writer

Courtney Mazzola, 28, already has more on her resume than most people do
at the end of their careers.
The San Francisco massage therapist has a growing somatic psychology
practice, has visited 10 countries, volunteers at San Quentin Prison and
is also an accomplished horse jumper, jujitsu fighter and spokesmodel.
Her drive stems from what others could consider a setback: Mazzola was
born legally blind.
"There's a definite assumption by sighted people that I'd want to have my
sight," said Mazzola, who works with her seeing-eye dog, a 12-year-old
golden retriever named Tess.
"I don't feel I need to be fixed, and, in fact, I wonder what I'd be doing
if I hadn't been born legally blind."
Mazzola's message is on point, honed after years of being the face of the
blind community. Before she was 2, she literally was the poster child for
RP International, a blind research center in Southern California where she
grew up. She attended telethons and news conferences with her parents and,
as a preteen, performed in rock videos to generate funds to study her
particular form of blindness - retinitis pigmentosa - which causes blind
spots on the retina.
Mazzola sees objects as if they were shadows through a frosted shower
door. By definition, because she needs to be 20 feet or closer to see
objects others can see from 200 feet away, she is considered legally
blind. Spotlight
The RP gig was bittersweet; it took a toll to be in the spotlight so long,
but it also impressed on her that she had no limitations.
By 14, she was state-ranked in English horse jumping, learning to aim the
horse by her trainer's verbal cues. A scout for the U.S. Paralympic Team
invited her to try out for the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia, but she
turned it down to go to high school and be a "regular kid" for a while.
But regular was hard to do - during high school, she was tapped by an
agent to appear on a pilot for a Discovery show about amazing teens, and
by the time she had graduated, she had become a certified masseuse by
taking courses at Cal State Northridge.
While earning her bachelor's degree in psychology at Northridge, she
learned to surf and outrigger in Hawaii but still regrets skipping cliff
diving because she couldn't persuade her friends to go with her.
By graduate school, Mazzola had fallen in love with traveling and
discovered a British company, Traveleyes, that pairs sighted guides with
blind travelers.
"The way sighted people have to describe things to blind people, they
learn to take things in differently and notice more so they can
communicate," Mazzola said.
Most recently, Mazzola traveled to Egypt, where she crawled through
tunnels in pyramids and was given special permission to touch the
"Some were chiseled in, some popped out. I felt part of a foot and a leg.
The guard took my hand and ran it over the ancient writing and gave me the
names of the gods I was feeling," she said. Travel writing dreams
One day Mazzola hopes to add travel writer to her resume. She envisions a
book of stories about how she sees the world, based on her trips to
Mexico, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Italy, Guatemala, Canada, London and
the Dominican Republic.
As soon as she finds the time. She just finished an internship as a
somatic psychotherapist at the Center for Somatic Psychotherapy, a
low-cost clinic in San Francisco.
Nights, she waits tables at Opaque, a San Francisco restaurant completely
shrouded in darkness. She leads customers to their tables by having them
put their hands on her shoulders.
"In the restaurant, my being blind becomes relevant. Sighted people look
to me for help," she said.
It's also relevant to the inmates at San Quentin, who meet with her weekly
to talk about being different, overcoming shame and staying positive.
"A lot of people come in here and attempt to talk to us, but they don't
have a problem in the world, so prisoners are not going to open up," said
Troy Williams, who is serving a sentence of seven years to life for a
kidnapping and robbery conviction. "Courtney is real. She may have a
disability, but we have a disability of being incarcerated. In that, we
can relate."
Mazzola never asked to be an ambassador for the blind community, but she's
often the first blind person most people meet.
"This is the role I fall into," she says, "so it's important I live my
life full tilt."
E-mail Meredith May at ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2010 SF Chronicle

An article from

ms kathy has sent you the following story:

Posted on Friday, Apr. 16, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist vetoes Florida teacher pay bill; what happens next?

Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday killed the bill that prompted sickouts, sit-ins, street protests and a flood of opposition throughout the state as Republican lawmakers vowed to try again next year -- if not sooner.
Calling it ``significantly flawed,'' Crist decried the bill -- which would link teacher pay to student test scores and eliminate tenure for all new hires -- as both overreaching and too vague.
``We must start over,'' he said.

Deafblind People from all over US to Gather in Baltimore for Special Shabbaton

Deafblind People from All Over US to Gather in Baltimore for Special
Shabbaton, April 23-24
April 16, 2010
Although scattered throughout North America there are several
organizations which service Jewish deaf or Jewish blind, there are none
for Jewish Deafblind people. In an effort to reach out to this
overlooked community, Our Way , the outreach program for Jewish deaf of
the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, an agency of the Orthodox
Union, has received funding from the Center for Jewish Education in
Baltimore with a JEEP (Jewish Education Enhancement Project) grant to
make the first Deafblind Shabbaton Experience.
The Shabbaton will be held at the Pearlstone Retreat in Reisterstown, MD
on April 23 and 24. Deafblind people will be attending from Washington
State, California, Ohio, New York and the Greater Washington, DC and
Maryland area. Making this Shabbaton "Deafblind friendly" requires that
each participant have one or two SSPs (Support Service Provider). The
SSP is a person who provides a variety of support services, including
guiding, describing, personal assistance, and sometimes interpreting,
with the ultimate goal of enhancing independence. They use a variety of
methods to communicate with their individual consumers.
All materials will be in large print and Braille; and classes and
services will be led by deaf rabbis. These rabbis will be signing and
interpreters and SSPs will be relaying the information to their
individual consumers.
According to Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, Director of Our Way, "Everything
I have learned about programs for the deaf is completely irrelevant
here. Some of the Deafblind community are really amazing. It's the
challenge of being isolated even in a room of 500 people. The ability of
these people to overcome their disabilities shows the power of the
neshama – the soul. It shows how people can grow."
Rabbi Lederfeind noted that most of these people were originally sighted
but lost their vision through Usher's Syndrome. Usher's Syndrome is a
genetic condition in which the person is genetically deaf and has a gene
for Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition that starts with night
blindness, then tunnel vision, and deteriorates to the degree that the
person may become completely blind. In addition, not everyone is
completely deaf or completely blind. "Email is a God-send for these
people," he said. "They get emails in very large print or in Braille."
Committee members for this event are Sheryl Cooper of Maryland, Leslie
Foxman of Maryland, Rabbi Fred Friedman of Maryland, Rabbi David Kastor
of Maryland, Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind of New York, Sharon Siegel of
Nevada, Joyce Srour of Maryland, Bets Wohl of Washington DC, and Yael
Zelinger of Maryland.
For further information call voice/relay 212-613-8234 or email

[Nick's Walk] Living with a Mountain Top Attitude

We love the mountain top. We love the feeling, the sense of God's presence, the high. God can bring us to the mountain any time He chooses. He can surprise us with a mountain when we really need it.

I like to make regular planned trips to the mountain. The mountain, for me, is the place where I know I will see God work and know he will speak to me. For me that is Kairos.

But we've been taught that we can't live on the mountain tops. We are told we have to live in the valleys. The mountain tops are not "real life." These thoughts may be true to some extent. But we can bring the mountain top with us back into the valley.

We must bring our everyday life up to the standard revealed to us on the mountaintop when we were there. Moses spent time with God on the mountain. He came down alone but he brought the glow and the law of God down with him. On the mountain He teaches us, by His word and by His presence. Hold on to that glow and word. It will help you through the
valley times. When I'm in my valley, I remember that God does move. When I feel put upon by life, I remember those who serve God in prison with joy even knowing they will likely die there.

Never allow a feeling that was awakened in you on the mountaintop to evaporate. We tend to think feelings are not spiritual. But we are complete beings including our feelings. Hang on to the feeling of the mountaintop. Warm the cold valley days with the warm memory of how it "felt" to be with Him on top. My memories of Kairos weekends are vivid.
I can dial them up and the feelings are almost as fresh and real as whenthey happened. The tears will return to my face as I recall the joy of men feeling the love of God for the first time. With that feeling I can make it when all around seem to have no idea how blessed they are.

Act immediately— do something, even if your only reason to act is that you would rather not. Because we think that the mountain top isn't real life, we tend to discount the ideas that are born there. God speaks to us like He did to Moses on the mountain. Trust His word and ACT. Some of my best decisions have been made on the mountain. The direction from Him has been the clearest in those times. The air on the mountain is clean and unpolluted. It's a great place to think clearly and strike out in new spiritual directions.

Be sure to make your decisions in the light of what you saw and learned on the mountain. If we live the practical life of the valley, we lose so much of the Extraordinary life that He intends for us. Let the Heaven-like atmosphere of the mountain motivate you. On a Kairos weekend there is great vulnerability and honesty. I learn that I am not alone with my struggles. There is visible change in the lives of participants.
God does not always seem as real in the valley and valley dwellers don't know the extraordinary lives we are meant to live. For me it's important to live knowing the mountain is real and the valley can lie.

The mountain tops are for blessing; not just for the mountain, but for all of our existence. If you don't have a mountain get one. You may be surprised where you find it. Look for places where there is darkness, because that's where His light shines. Be prepared to work not just sit
and listen. To give and not just take. To be a blessing and not just be blessed.

Cherish the mountain and

Be blessed.


Posted By Nick Sigur to Nick's Walk at 4/16/2010 06:47:00 AM
Thanks Brother Nick! ~KM

Batten's Disease in The News

House for Sale

Thanks to Brother Nick for this one.

MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724
Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

--- On Fri, 4/23/10, Nick Sigur wrote:

With another Kairos beginning training sessions tomorrow. I thought this would get everyone in the mood.

Click HERE Nick Sigur
Lafayette, Louisiana

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You Need to Share This Fast!!!

After you pay your $139.49 (inflation is a bugger) to FB, take your receipt, to Applebee's and demand that $5,000 they owe you for forwarding that other email 50 times. You coulda had a V-8!

I hear that missing girl, Penny, whose photo from 1986 is still being forwarded, works at Applebee's and has 4 kids. The youngest has cancer. AOL and Bill Gates will donate 50 cents to help Penny's baby each time you forward this message.

"50 Cent" will not like this arrangement and will try to knock you out by making you smell the perfume on his business card which is actually laced with ether. When you awake,you'll be in a tub of ice and your kidney will be missing.

Your kidney could possibly end up in Barack Obama's home country of Morocco because the reason why he ran for president of the USA was to get American kidneys for the Muslims people of his actual country of birth where there seems to be a severe shortage of kidneys. That is how he and his kidney-stealing people will take over the world, leaving no tea drinking, mooseburger-eating white people behind.  It's a bi-racial conspiracy. It's in the Bible as predicted by Nostradamus. Turn to page 426.

Speaking of the Bible--you need to share this fast, because God is depending on YOU! I don't care how much you have prayed for the kidnapping babies (they have miniature OOzies) crying outside your window, He's not hearing prayers by bedside anymore. He only reads emails. He likes emails in large quantities. Want your blessings? Share this "Ms. Kathy (AKA Franceeen) Moment" with your friends--about 100 of them, tell them to do the same and you will be blessed. Don't send it and the devil will know about it and you will be cursed. A man in Michigan did not forward this, and now he has hammer toes and hemmorrhoids
. Really. It's in the Bible. Now get to work!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Deaf-Blind Runners Prove They are Like Anybody Else

Article on OSN SuperSite; Glaucoma meds and Surgical alternatives

I read this article at and thought you might be interested: Consider cost of glaucoma medications and possible surgical alternatives
I found this article at and thought you might be interested.

Children Commonly Misdiagnosed with Eye-disease Rather Than Batten's-

BBC E-mail: Disabled girl abandoned overnight

I saw this story on the BBC News website.

** Disabled girl abandoned overnight **
A babysitter admits abandoning a deaf and blind six-year-old outside in her pram overnight after a fireworks party.
< >

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No-cost screening for infants can head off serious vision problems later  
 * Please note, the sender's email address has not been verified.
No-cost screening for infants can head off serious vision problems later

  Click the following to access the sent link:
No-cost screening for infants can head off serious vision problems later*
  View the most EMAILED for today from 1. Fitness company sues mother of drowned boy 2. More than 20K hit Austins streets for Cap 10K 3. Device brings new life to patients who cant get a heart transplant
Get your EMAIL THIS Browser Button and use it to email content from any Web site. Click here for more information.
  *This article can also be accessed if you copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.

Autism Awareness Month & Community Updates

MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724
Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

--- On Fri, 4/9/10, Disaboom wrote:

From: Disaboom
Subject: Autism Awareness Month & Community Updates
To: mskat
Date: Friday, April 9, 2010, 7:17 PM

View as Web Page Send to a Friend
<><> - Living Forward

Disaboom Weekly: Apr. 4-10

Holly Robinson-Peete, Celebrity Apprentice & Autism Awareness Advocate

Holly Robinson Peete & Jenny McCarthy
Holly Robinson Peete, current candidate on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, actor, singer, and book author, is also a mom, the wife of former NFL quarterback Rodney Pete, and the daughter of much-beloved Matthew T. Robinson, Jr., familiar to millions of children as Gordon on Sesame Street.

She's also a tireless advocate and fundraiser for Parkinson's and autism awareness. Through the Hollyrod Foundation, Holly Robinson Peete is now taking on the Parkinson's that her father battled and the autism that one of her twins was diagnosed with at age 3.

Quinn autistic child

Meet Quinn: One Beautiful Face of Autism

A Mother's tribute to her son, Quinn, a little boy with autism who's incredibly smart and wonderfully unique--he is one face of the thousands of children who are diagnosed with autism each year.

Learn what signals triggered Quinn's parents to learn their son had autism. Watch this mother's touching story throuch pictures and illustrations of the journey that lead to the diagnosis that changed their life forever.

More: Quinn's Story
Bible & rosary

Priest Scandal at Deaf School

The latest news in the deaf community about sexual abuse by a priest at a deaf school is astonishing and there are issues at deaf schools all over the nation. The reason that this has not been a widespread issue is because not all deaf schools are affiliated with the Catholic religion.

Catholic priests have been under investigation for sex abuse in the recent decade and most recently, the Pope has been pointed at for not being more strict with priests. Is this a widespread scandal or are we only focusing on the 200 deaf boys who were molested in Wisconsin?

More: Priest Scandal at Deaf School
Fashion Model in Wheelchair

Adapted Clothing: Where to Shop

Tiffiny Carlson shares her picks for the hottest adapted clothing on the market. There's nothing more satisfying than a wheelchair clothes company that not only creates adapted clothing, but gets it right.

There's a difference between what fits a standing person and what works for wheelchair clothes, so Tiff has taken hottest choices from the best styles and companies and listed them in this article.

More: Tiff's Fashion Picks
Wheelchair wheels

Electric Wheelchair Carrier Essentials

Don't buy an electric wheelchair carrier before you read this. We give you tips and pointers on what to look for in a wheelchair carrier or wheelchair ramp.

Electric wheelchairs tend to be heavier than regular wheelchairs. So, an electric wheelchair carrier for transporting these chairs tends to be a bit more complicated than a wheelchair carrier for a manual chair. Get the facts before you purchase here.

Electric Wheelchair Carrier Essentials">More: Electric Wheelchair Carriers 101


Women's Health Checklist

Marijuana Plant

Uses of Medical Marijuana

Disaboom News

Share How You Found Out About Disaboom's Community

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Nonprofit of the Month

From Your Community:

Healing Formula

Forward to a Friend

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Know someone who might be interested in the email? Why not forward this email to a friend.

Search over 600,000 jobs today Search jobs.

Quote of the Week

You've got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice. ~Steven D. Woodhull

Not to Miss!

Disaboom, Inc. • 7730 E. Belleview Ave. • Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Usher's Syndrome: Growing Up with a Deaf-Blind Mom

An article by a lady who grew up with a mom who has Usher's Syndrome.

Treatment for ROP

This is a link to a form for parents when their infant with ROP is receiving hospital services to let them know what to expect.

Amblyopia Treatment

<b>Amblyopia treatment</b><P>
Most people have heard of a lazy eye before, however most people do not fully understand what a lazy eye actually is. The correct term for a lazy eye is actually amblyopia. This is a condition that is caused by the brain not translating the correct visual information that an eye is trying to transmit. Many people have often mistaken a lazy eye for a different condition known as strabismus. Strabismus is the condition in which one of the eyes seems to be lazy. It does not follow the other eye at the same time and often seems unfocused or doing its own thing. This is why many people have given the term lazy eye to the wrong medical condition.

The reason amblyopia is known as lazy eye is because the information
from one eye is not making it to the brain. Therefore it is known as
being lazy. Amblyopia is not a condition that can be treated with
glasses or contact lenses, however when detected early on in childhood
it can be remedied

There are a few factors that can contribute to the development of
amblyopia. If a child is born with eyes that are of two different
prescriptions then the brain may choose to see only that of the stronger
eye, therefore eliminating the vision from the lazy eye and causing the
amblyopia to worsen over time. Also the condition mention above called
strabismus can cause amblyopia. If one of the eyes is constantly out of
focus or lagging behind, the brain may ignore what that eye is doing
altogether. Other times a drooping eyelid that blocks some of the vision
or a cataract or other form of vision impairment can also result in

Luckily if caught early enough there are things that can be done to
strengthen the vision in the weaker of the two eyes. If the cause of the vision impairment is due to a drooping eyelid then the eyelid may need to be fixed surgically to allow for better vision. If the underlying cause is something that can be remedied then that is always the first step. The next step involves forcing the weaker of the two eyes to become stronger. This is done by blocking the vision in the stronger eye and making the weaker eye do all the perceiving. This can be done with an eye patch over the stronger eye or with eye drops that cause the stronger eye to become blurry for a few hours a day. This will not weaken the stronger eye but will however
give the weaker eye a chance to take over and catch up to the stronger eye.

This process may need to be done for several hours a day. It can take weeks, months or even years of this sort of eye therapy before the weaker of the eyes has finally started functioning at a strong enough level. Because it can take a while to remedy it is best if the problem is diagnosed by the time the child is of preschool age. Since most kids will not visit an eye doctor until school age the amblyopia may not be detected until later on. If the child has a condition that is more obvious such as a droopy eyelid or an eye that suffers from strabismus the pediatrician may notice earlier and refer the patient to an eye doctor sooner for an evaluation.

Although amblyopia is best treated at a very young age, results have
shown that children up into their teens can still benefit from amblyopia treatment and are able to restore much of their vision. Since there are many eye problems that are not obvious, it is important to have your child's eyes checked regularly in order to detect any visual impairments.

Deafblind Pianist

The DeafBlind's Musing: Deaf Pianist to attend Ragtime Festival
By Patty Keen
The DeafBlind\. Saturday, April 10, 2010. Deaf Pianist to attend Ragtime Festival. It's a rarity. A juxtaposition. An oxymoron. An unique hobby and for someone to be quite skilled at this one too as well; I admire this. ...
The DeafBlind's Musing -

Blind students' pictures capture what they "see"

Blind students' pictures capture what they "see"
Florida Times-Union
Negron's low vision stems from albinism, a condition in which a person lacks pigment in their hair, skin and eyes. She started taking pictures a few years ...

News for Fans of Helen Keller (From AFB)

AFB American Foundation
for the Blind TM

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss
Author...Lecturer...Activist...World Traveler...Ambassador...Icon
Helen Keller was all of this and more. The life she led continues to be an inspiration.
That's why the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) recently launched the Helen Keller Facebook Fan Page to honor her many accomplishments, bring new life to her words and deeds, and introduce this amazing woman to a new generation of students, history buffs, blindness professionals, and so many others worldwide.
Please join us as a Fan of this page,, to enjoy quotes, fun facts, news about the work that continues in her name, exclusive photos and artifacts from our Helen Keller archives, and share content and links with your friends and colleagues.
When you become a Fan you will also receive updates on our Helen Keller Gallery exhibits and learn how to sign up for a personalized tour.
For more information on Helen Keller you can also visit our web site at

Eferol Settlement

A settlement has been made in the class action filed against O'Neal, Jones and Feldman Pharmaceuticals and Carter-Glogau Laboratories on behalf of preemies born babies who received the vitamin E injections, which were later found to be toxic. The article is at this link:

Adult Amblyopia

Here's an article on amblyopia in adults.

Check out the American Association of the Deaf-Blind website!

A message from kathy
American Association ofthe Blind web site.
Please visit American Association of the Deaf-Blind today!
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

Some Informative Medical News I Discovered

Ms. Kathy wants you to read this article found at -- the Web site for life-saving discoveries in health and medicine.
Ms. Kathy's message to you:

Click here to go directly to the article:
(AOL users <A HREF="">click here</A>.)

Note: This article is only accessible through the above link for 7 days from the date of this e-mail. After that it can be found in Ivanhoe's archive using the "Search Reports" box on the left side of every page of
P.S. Would you like to be the First to Know about breakthroughs in medicine? Sign up for our FREE weekly e-mail at (AOL users <A HREF="">click here</A>).

Cornelia de Lange Syndrome in the Family

Here is an article about a family of four boys and one with CdLS.

Important Information About Amblyopia

What a Nutcase

McDonnell's Confederate History Month proclamation irks civil rights
By Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
RICHMOND -- Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had
been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be
Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights
leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his
position with his conservative base.
• McDonnell revives storm over Va.'s Confederate past
• dot.comments: Readers respond to McDonnell's proclamation
• WEB SITE: Commemoration of the American Civil War
View All Items in This Story
The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly
symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in
the Civil War. McDonnell (R) revived a practice started by Republican
governor George Allen in 1997. McDonnell left out anti-slavery language
that Allen's successor, James S. Gilmore III (R), had included in his
McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in
the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start
of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery
because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the
states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I
focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."
The proclamation was condemned by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus
and the NAACP. Former governor L. Douglas Wilder called it
"mind-boggling to say the least" that McDonnell did not reference
slavery or Virginia's struggle with civil rights in his proclamation.
Though a Democrat, Wilder has been supportive of McDonnell and boosted
his election efforts when he declined to endorse the Republican's
opponent, R. Creigh Deeds.
"Confederate history is full of many things that unfortunately are not
put forth in a proclamation of this kind nor are they things that anyone
wants to celebrate," he said. "It's one thing to sound a cause of
rallying a base. But it's quite another to distort history."
The seven-paragraph declaration calls for Virginians to "understand the
sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the
period of the Civil War."
McDonnell had quietly made the proclamation Friday by placing it on his
Web site, but it did not attract attention in the state capital until
Tuesday. April also honors child abuse prevention, organ donations,
financial literacy and crime victims.
After a fall campaign spent focusing almost exclusively on jobs and the
economy, McDonnell had been seen in recent weeks as largely ceding
conservative ground to the state's activist attorney general, Ken
Cuccinelli II. The proclamation could change that view among Republicans
who believe appropriate respect for the state's Confederate past has
been erased by an over-allegiance to political correctness, observers
"It helps him with his base," said Mark Rozell, a political scientist at
George Mason University. "These are people who support state's rights
and oppose federal intrusion."
Said Patrick M. McSweeney, a former state GOP chairman: "I applaud
McDonnell for doing it. I think it takes a certain amount of courage."
The Virginia NAACP and the state's Legislative Black Caucus called the
proclamation an insult to a large segment of the state's population,
particularly because it never acknowledges slavery.
"Governor McDonnell's proclamation was offensive and offered a
disturbing revision of the Civil War and the brutal era that followed,"
said Del. Kenneth Cooper Alexander (D-Norfolk), chairman of the
Legislative Black Caucus. "Virginia has worked hard to move beyond the
very things for which Governor McDonnell seems nostalgic."
King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia State Conference
of the NAACP, said his group will hold an emergency meeting Saturday to
discuss a series of problems it has had with McDonnell since he was
sworn into office in January.
• McDonnell revives storm over Va.'s Confederate past
• dot.comments: Readers respond to McDonnell's proclamation
• WEB SITE: Commemoration of the American Civil War
View All Items in This Story
Virginia has had a long, complicated history on racial relations -- long
before Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy during the
Civil War. Many of its most prominent early residents, including future
presidents, owned slaves, and the state openly fought desegregation,
even closing schools instead of integrating them. But in 1989, the state
made Wilder the first African American governor in the nation since
McDonnell said Tuesday that people's thinking about civil rights and the
role of the Confederacy in Virginia history have advanced to the point
where "people can talk about and discuss and . . . begin to understand
the history a little better."
"I felt just as I've issued dozens and dozens of other commemorations,
that it was something that was worthy of doing so people can at least
study and understand that period of Virginia history and how it impacts
us today," he said.
The state's new governor campaigned relentlessly on improving the
economy and creating jobs and received the strong backing of the
business community. But the attention that Virginia will receive from
the proclamation might take away from that focus.
Rozell said the proclamation is a "distraction" from McDonnell's desire
to attract companies to Virginia. Businesses might begin to perceive
McDonnell's latest decision -- combined with Cuccinelli's decision to
sue the federal government over health-care reform legislation and his
advice to state colleges and universities that they remove
sexual-orientation language from their anti-discrimination policies --
as a pattern of behavior not conducive to relocating in the state.
Allen caused a national uproar when he signed a proclamation drafted by
the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It called the Civil War "a four-year
struggle for [Southern] independence and sovereign rights" and made no
mention of slavery.
Gilmore modified the decree in 1998 by adding a condemnation of slavery,
but it failed to satisfy either defenders of Confederate heritage or
civil rights leaders. He later changed the proclamation by dropping
references to Confederate History Month and instead designated April as
"Virginia's Month for Remembrance of the Sacrifices and Honor of All
Virginians Who Served in the Civil War."
But in 2002, Mark Warner, Gilmore's successor, broke with their actions,
calling such proclamations a "lightning rod" that did not help bridge
divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia. Four years later,
Timothy M. Kaine was asked but did not issue a proclamation.
This year's proclamation was requested by the Sons of Confederate
Veterans. A representative of the group said it has known since it
interviewed McDonnell when he was running for attorney general in 2005
that he was likely to respond differently than Warner or Kaine.
"We've known for quite some time we had a good opportunity should he
ascend the governorship," said Brandon Dorsey of the Sons of Confederate
Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta), who has spoken from the floor of
the General Assembly about honoring Virginia's Confederate past with
appropriate acknowledgments to its difficult racial past, said he
believed Warner and Kaine "avoided" the issue by failing to issue
similar documents. "It would be totally inappropriate to do one that
would just poke a stick to stir up old wounds. But it is appropriate to
recognize the historical significance of Virginia in that era," he said.
"I think it's appropriate as long as it's not fiery." McDonnell's
proclamation comes just before the April 17, 1861, anniversary of the
day Virginia seceded from the union.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

For My Young Friends

From my present-day babies to former student now in college, here are Ms. Kathy's answers to FAQ:

  • Your real friends already know you have low vision and they don't care. Be up front with them about what you can't see. They won't pity you. They will appreciate your honesty. Besides it's better than having them think you're crazy or stuck up 'cause you didn't wave back when they saw you on the other side of the cafeteria!
  • Never give a moron free rent in your head.  It keeps you awake at night for nothing and it gives more credence to a moron than he/she deserves.
  • There will be obstacles. Find ways-even if you have to shout "HELP!"-- to walk around them, jump over them, dive under them or plow through them. Just don't place them there yourself.
  • No. He/she is not worth it.
  • You will not know where your high school class ring is in five to ten years.
  • Yes, I made mistakes, too. So did the principal, your mom, your dad. We learned from them and moved on.
  • Being disciplined is not about being beat down because your mama caught you at something. It's doing what you're supposed to do and what you need to do when your mama and your teachers aren't around.  Rabbi Abraham Herschel said: "Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself." Grenville Kleiser said: "By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character."
  • Yes, you should practice advocating for yourself. Tell your teachers, advisors, counselors, employers that you'd appreciate accommodations for your vision. If they don't consider your vision,  it's on them. If you don't let them know, it's on you. Be diplomatic about what you need to even the playing field but be consistent and persistent.
  • No matter what kind of family background,  neighborhood, school you came from ultimately your success or failure is your responsibility. Many people started with very little and did very well in life while others had everything and did nothing in life.
  • Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate on where you are going and realize it's not an overnight trip.
  • Forgive. 
  • I can't do everything by myself. Neither can you.
  • Serve and allow yourself to be served.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Serving Others

I'm always talking to the little ones in Sunday School class about serving others. I co-teach a class of second and third graders on Sunday mornings. So many of the Bible stories are linked to service in one form or another--especially those of Christ. That was one of His reasons for being. I  know with the "Easter" [in our church/family we prefer "Resurrection Sunday] season having just gone by, the concept of the ultimate sacrifice is foremost in our minds, but Christ's example while He was walking around in human flesh with human arms and legs was to show us how to treat and serve each other.

Two of my teenager friends were in a discussion over being in service and one of them said, "I don't ever want to be a servant! I want to be the boss--the guy who gets served! Why should I want to be something as lowly as that to fetch things for someone so they can use you in any way like a slave or something?" 

The other teen said, "You don't know what a real servant is. You're thinking it is all about being like somebody's maid or something. It's like, if you want to be a leader you have to learn to be a good follower.  You should want to help other people who need it like you would want to be helped when you needed it. It's not like somebody's the boss of you; it's like you do stuff for people because it is the right thing to do.

"People who get to be the boss, have to start somewhere. They have to work for another boss and work their way up."

If that weren't profound enough, coming from a teenager, he said: "What do you learn from always being served? You don't get to be stronger and smarter. You just become somebody useless who can't do anything for himself . Somebody who will always need a maid. "

What an 'Out of the mouths of babes' moment. That was one conversation I just allowed to take place between peers.

Whether or not you believe Jesus is the Christ, you have to willingly experience the humility of servanthood to be a well-rounded person--to experience life to the fullest. Just as one's education should also include some exposure to the arts for one to have a well-rounded education.

I've learned over the years that service, if it is from your heart, is not about
  • whether the person receiving service is in your home or not. Some folks take that "charity begins at home" phrase to practice only service at home.
  • staying inside the four walls of a church building, baking cakes for the church bizaare, decorating for the Easter play,  faithfully singing in the choir stand every Sunday, and doing the Sunday a service by faithfully occupying the same pew week after week, etc.
  • giving/sharing with just those you know and/or those who look like you, speak the same language as you with no accent just like you--because you know you have no accent.
  • giving away your old worn out clothes and things you couldn't sell at your annual garage sale to somebody, anybody, if they would just come and haul it away!
  • bragging about how much you gave so you can get a pat on the back from others or may even a framed certificate or a trophy! Just some kind of recognition so everyone will know what a good person you are!
I did an on-line search for "service to others" just to see what I'd find. Here are some interesting links:

Matthew 25:31-46 One of my very, very, very favorites! 

I pray that whoever reads this will use their gifts in the service of uplifting others and not hide their rosebushes under a tin tub.

This has been a favorite study Bible of mine. I have had three copies because I have worn them out (I had to stop taking them in my big purse). My current copy is hardback and is lasting for years. I used to take my first copy and put it next to a KJV. Then I'd read both and the notes in the NIV study and that would make everything clear. I want to know KJV but I don't speak KJ English. There are charts and maps that are right on time. My mother liked it but she couldn't read the margin notes which make for great discussion and reference. So I found the large print version for her birthday one year an she loves it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trying Something New

I've thought about it for a while now and I've decided to monetize. I know it is not much since I don't get that much traffic to this blog but it will help pay for my main site in the summers. I've decided to go with Amazon since I do shop there and some of the toys and books I mention can be found there, even when they are out of print or, in the case of some toys, no longer manufactured. I like the service there and that I can choose the products. 

I will review products that I have and report the findings of my official toy tester.  
This entry can be considered a TEST! So I'm talking about children with V.I. and I mention this book I've read that I think parents who've just been informed their child has a vision problem. I have this little tool that I locate the link for the book at Amazon where a reader could find a copy if they were interested--like so:

Children With Visual Impairments: A Guide for Parents

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Colonoscopy Journal (Just n Time from Dave Barry)

Oh gawd, jennifer. I have to get one next week.
MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724
Ms. Kathy's Kids Blog:

--- On Sat, 4/3/10, Jennifer Lutterbie wrote:
I don't know whether I am more of  a colon cancer survivor or survivor of colonoscopies. Humour helps the cause.   
  If you ever had a colonoscopy or are planning on one, you can't miss this one!!!
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.
Colonoscopy Journal:   I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
   A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through    Minneapolis . 
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
  I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.  I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of  America  's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
   Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.  In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep.  You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug.  This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon..

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.'

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch?  This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt.  You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently.  You eliminate everything.  And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous.  Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage.  I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?'  How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand.  Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down.  Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.   At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode.  You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist.  I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere..  I was seriously nervous at this point.
   Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was "Dancing Queen" by ABBA.  I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, "Dancing Queen" had to be the least appropriate.

'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

'Ha ha,' I said.  And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.  If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea.  Really.  I slept through it.  One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
   Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt.  I felt excellent.  I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that IT was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

On the subject of Colonoscopies... 
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'

2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'

3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'

4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'

5. 'You know, in  Arkansas , we're now legally married.'

6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'

7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'

8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'

9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'

10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'

11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'

12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

           And the best one of all: 
13.. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'