Monday, September 29, 2008

Introducing....The Colorado ROCKETS!

My Power Soccer virginity was lost abruptly on March 8th of this year. It is Robin who got me into this, funny, that woman gets me into all kinds of things. She urged me to attend something called a Power Soccer clinic right here in Boulder.

My pertinent adaptive sports background…..

I thought Robin was nuts, and it would be da-ja-vue of my fairly isolating adolescence. I would go to these adaptive sports camps, and be completely left out, as all of the older folks with six packs and groovy sports chairs shot baskets, played racketball, tennis, softball, etc., and even battled it out at rugby. Nobody really wanted me to be there, I was pretty useless to the other players and the coaches, and I needed to be fed and helped in the restroom, etc. I should mention here that, in reality, power wheelchair users are generally excluded from these wheelchair sports, expecially in competition. Why did I go to this camp if it was emotional torture? Two reasons:

1) I did not want to sit at home all summer, and it was either go to this yearly sports camp or attend this other day camp where I could become skilled at watching people make crafts for me and a skilled movie-watcher, and go on ridiculously boring field-trips.
2) I am naturally competitive (LOLOL) and a perfectionist and really truly wanted to play a sport! DAMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!
It gets even sadder. As summer approached, and each night during these sports camps, I would fantasize that magic was just waiting for me, that I’d show up on the court and VWALA, I would be able to kick some wheelchair ass! This was my life for years…Until I was old enough and smart enough to give up on sports altogether.

But in 2001, I discovered individual sports, such as rafting, horseback riding, skiing, swimming, and cycling. I often dis Utah, a personal hobby, but I do have to give it up for two awesome organizations – SPLORE and the National Ability Center. I became a serious jock in my own right!

End of background!

I was curious, and Robin’s cool, so I decided ‘what the hey, we can be isolated together’. I am rolling with laughter as I type this! It was Robin and I, and two other peeps in powerchairs, ripping the court up playing soccer! IT WAS US!!!!!!!!!! Not the guys in the sports chairs with the six packs. WE WERE PLAYING A COMPETIVE TEAM SPORT! Basically, if you can drive a power wheelchair and track the ball, you can play this sport independently! Whatta concept!!!!!!

Okay, well, we gave playing our best shot that day! Robin, who used to play on a team, and the coach that Boulder brought in for the clinic from the Bay Area, knew what they were doing. Myself, and two other players, just tried to make contact with the ball without ramming each other too badly. It was incredibly frustrating for me because I had never even seen a regular soccer game, and my chair was not programmed with the best settings to play.

Nonetheless, I saw potential!

And my mission began!

My mission: To bring Power Soccer to the Colorado!

Yesterday was the Colorado ROCKETS first practice, and let me tell ya’all…WE KICKED SOME MAJOR BALL!!!!!!!!!!! ;-) It was such fun for all involved! Truly, practice was better than I ever dreamed it could be, because of the individual skill and drive that each player brought to the court! We have an incredible blend of both talent and personality in our midst, and the Colorado ROCKETS are destined for blast-off! Six strong players is an unbelievable start to making this a big-time deal. We have the best volunteers ever supporting us!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Just one week ago, we had just two guards, two balls and three dates for the court. Yesterday we had six guards (four of which were made by a volunteer!), and fourteen dates for the court. And by next practice, we will have nine guards and four balls, and I’m expecting perhaps eight players!

WE ROCK, WE ROLL
WE’RE GOING TO
TEAR THE HOUSE DOWN


Check out the many faces of Colorado ROCKETS......... click on pic to enlarge/slow down

A finalized practice schedule is below. If you know anyone in Colorado who might be interested in Power Soccer, please have them e-mail me!

Autumn 2008 Dates

- Oct 5th 3-5PM Sun

- Oct 19th 3-5PM Sun

- Nov 2nd 2-5PM Sun

- Nov 22nd 2-5PM Sat

- Dec 6th 3:30-5:30PM Sat

- Dec 20th CXL'D


Winter/Spring 2009 Dates

- Jan 11th 5-8PM Sun

- Jan 25th 5-8PM Sun

- Jan 11th 5-8PM Sun

- Jan 25th 5-8PM Sun

- Feb 1st 5-8PM Sun

- Feb 15th 5-8PM Sun

- March 1st 5-8PM Sun

- March 15th 5-8PM Sun

Friday, September 19, 2008

ADAPT Action Day 5: TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!

Wednesday morning:
The call went out for volunteers to “Tear Down the Walls of the Nursing Home” and I was all over it!


As I sat in front of the replica waiting for the go ahead to bash the sucker, these were my thoughts: This is MY time! Desty is over with Tim, Dustin has the good sense to keep Benny outta the way. This is MY time! I allowed myself to explore my mess of feelings, and really get into it.

Mostly, I was excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had been waiting for this for ten years!!!!!!!!!!!! It has been ten years since my very brief incarceration. It was very brief but it changed my life forever. And over the years the countless victims of nursing homes that I have met with, and my fears of losing services....sigh....I can’t go there.

“TEAR DOWN THE WALLS! TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!


TEAR DOWN THE WALLS! TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!


TEAR DOWN THE WALLS! TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!


TEAR DOWN THE WALLS! TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!


TEAR DOWN THE WALLS! TEAR DOWN THE WALLS!
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LOL My boy was cheering me on! I was again trapped by the nursing home!

Unfortunately, my exhaustion conquered my will-power, and, as you see in the next video, the kids are a much better demolition crew than I am!


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From there we went on the Hill to meet with public officials – basically, a lobby day. It was boring, and not enough action for the kids, so we returned to the hotel.

AND look at what a little protesting did to my Angel Boy! ;-)Wednesday evening’s meeting (minus some folks that had to leave early)… The groovy chick with the mike is my friend Anita - I LOVE HER CHANTS AND SONGS!

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Day 5 Album.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ADAPT Action Day 4: Hello Senate, Good Coppers

Tuesday rocked! Out by 7a.m., and marching towards DUH City to relieve the night shift by 7:45a.m. Okay, Dustin did have to drag my limp body outta bed, help me pop two Maximum Strength Excedrin and chug a Dr. Pepper to convince me that I could survive on less than six hours of sleep in two nights, but, lo and behold, we were present and accounted for when the time came!

We spent the morning at DUH City. Dustin continued designing signs for the City, and solicited the help of Benny and Desty. Check out their work in this album...

I love the Capitol Police! At ~11:30 our group went to Senator Chris Dodd's (D, CT) office, as he is one of the leaders with power to fix the housing crisis for low-income people with disabilities. A mom of an inquisitive preschooler couldn't have asked for a better sit-in situation! Until a complaint was filed, no law was being broken. We sat there all afternoon trying to get a committment, talking to staffers, chanting and singing. The four of us (and a few others) who needed to be clear of trouble, stayed right outside Dodd's door. Benny made many Officer Friends and gave dozens of high-fives. "You gotta excercise your rights little man and we're here to protect you." One huge copper even took him to the restroom. Benny sat and relaxed to the Jungle Book 2 mid-protest! Desty slept until the last 25 minutes! The 1st arrest warning came after ~3 hours, and we scooted. Dodd received hundreds of calls from around the country while we were there in support of Affordable, Accessible, Integrated Housing.

Video clips from the inside......

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And that evening......

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I did less hovering and more trusting on this action - LOL! As a good friend said on the first day - "Allllllll these folks have your back." I knew in Chicago, I knew in DC last Spring, but it helps that everyone knows us now, that Benny is older, and that Desty isn't one to run off. Instead of hovering, when they are interacting with others, I get to breathe and socialize! - Cool concept for me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ADAPT Action Day 3: DUH City, the Hunt and Desty's Improv Show

Monday morning began very early for Dustin and I – 2:15a.m. to be exact! At 3:30a.m Dustin tucked the kiddos into their charriot and by 4:15a.m. we were marching the streets of D.C.! Not a very long march, HUD, aka DUH City, is conveniently located just two blocks from our hotel. Desty was out cold, but as tired as Benny was, he wasn’t going to miss the first parade of the week!

For the sake of not re-inventing the wheel here, to understand the technicalities of exactly what we did and why, check out this little video or the DUH City Times, and also see Desty's debut. I will say that I have been on nine actions since 1998, and this was truly an amazing experience. The plaza outside of HUD became our home in minutes, right before our eyes tent city became a reality.


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Some of the ADAPT kids had found each other by the second hour!

DUH City is like a huge powwow, with press conferences, concerts, theatre, and incredible unity and power. Occupied 24 hours a day Monday thru Wednesday – the Burton’s have the day shift! An album from Monday........


The day was perfect! That is until ~6p.m. when we noticed a Boulder ADAPTer was lost in D.C. and probably needed his medication. Ugh! With no idea of where to look, I combed the National Mall and all around DUH City by myself. I went right past a hold-up in my search. Finally, Tim and I got the police searching, and not long after they found the guy lost in China Town. He is a wanderer. Twenty-two hours after the police and medics returned him, I’m fighting frustration and an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I'm just glad he is okay...not that I don't wanna kill him myself! My stomach is in a knot.

And that is the reason this post is a day late!

Today, though I’m exhausted, etc., was an absolutely fabulous day! More tomorrow…….
WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't bring myself to publish without including this video from tonight! (LOLOL We didn't bother with a hair-do today!)

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

ADAPT Action Day 2: The Big One and the White House

Today was a day of prep work - lots of meetings that we needn't attend. We did attend the "Big Meeting". It's taken us three actions to figure out how to be able to enjoy these big meetings, and I do declare that we are pretty darn clever!LOLOL Scooby-Doo to the rescue! Beyond those doors was the meeting, and we heard all of it! I was really relieved to find that our friends from Missoula are in our group this time. We lovingly call them our "ADAPT family advocates" - when in doubt regarding the kiddos, we hunt them down.

This evening we walked/rolled/ran to the White House! Benny ran from the Smithsonian to the White House! We arrived in time to catch this patriotic moment........
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Here's a small album......


Tomorrow the work begins! Very, Very Early!!!!!!!!!!!

I am having the time of my life with Desty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

ADAPT Action Day 1: Traveling and Illegal Wading

We're in the Nation's Capitol - Washington D.C.! We left our home yesterday at 5:30a.m. mountain time, and checked in at ~4pm eastern time. I could have kissed the floor at the Holiday Inn! The kids were great on the flights, but it was a loooong time to travel. I was exhausted. Dustin was charged! We went to the national mall and did some illegal wading at the World War II Memorial on the way to Lincoln's Memorial. We saw other people doing it :-)!

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Once done, we saw the sign! LOL Memories!


Check out photos from Day 1...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fishes Of Our Own


On Tuesday, Desty swam for the first time in the big kids class! Mom and Dad were very anxious, but our princess was a STAR! She listened, and had a blast. She looked so big to me!

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Benny swam on Wednesday...(the guy is in training)

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The next time I post, we will be in Washington DC! Benny packed himself days ago.........I must go pack! LOL

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Dead Lift

My van lift hit the dust over the weekend. Well, it actually hit the dust many months ago but we've been doctoring it and threatening it with its pathetic life to survive for our family. Let me say, the lift worked great for approximately six months - we loved it! NO, that is a lie - we truly loved the van, not the lift, and we loved having so many seats for our helpers and visitors. For those of you that don't know, this lift hung off a hitch on the back of our van. It was literally an Out-Sider. We tried to love the lift, because to the best of our knowledge, it was the best option for our needs. Besides, we had no vehicle from the end of December '06 thru March '07, and no lift until late April, so the lift brought a sense of freedom to our family that we had missed. Both the van and the lift were purchased with a lot of effort and love from many people.

LOLOL STORY-TIME!!! The lift and chair flop/shake/jerk around on the back of the van. In June, on our way to Denver, we were being honked at, shouted at and waved at. I was frightened - I thought the drivers had gone mad! Off the freeway, we discovered that my wheelchair's remote had fallen off and had been dragging for several miles. It was charred!

The weight of my chair just wore the lift out. I can't blame it. Getting rear-ended two weeks ago definitely didn't make it any stronger. And, It is getting much more difficult for me to climb into the van with my bad hip. I keep falling and it's ugly. It's hard on me and whoever is trying to help.

Adaptive Automobility fixes our lift. We frequent their waiting room. Four months ago we discovered our Dream Machine - the Chevy Uplander LS conversion that seats SEVEN people, with one wheelchair (or two, if the backseat is up). We tried one that had already been sold, and it was perfect. My chair fits right between two bucket seats where the carseats would go. For weeks we considered pursuing one, but having to pay for Benny's preschool squashed our far-out fantasies. AA got a another Pre-Owned 2007 Chevrolet UplanderLS on the lot - they say with us in mind LOL - and we took it out for a long spin. It may not be the sexiest thing on the market, but it's a nice ride! It drives like an SUV.

Watch these video clips.....

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The back seat easily folds up securely to allow the wheelchair to pass through. It remains up unless needed to seat additional people.

It doesn't look like it from this angle, but the backseat actually has plenty of leg room.



Since our lift is dead, and there is a better option, we're going for the gold! As soon as the Department of Voc Rehab authorizes payment of the conversion portion, we'll get as much as we can for our van, and come up with enough to pay the chassis of the Uplander
Wish us luck!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Busy Week

Tuesday was a huge day in the life and times of our family. It was Benny's first official day at Sunflower Preschool! Desty and I took him to drop him off, and get him all registered, and settled. I was actually pretty un-phased by it, because he has been there so many times to check it out and for camp, and in past three weeks we've seen the owner of Sunflower at the store, and one of the teacher's at the fair. And he certainly was ready to get back to school!

The next three clips show different classrooms of Sunflower Preschool. You will notice in the first clip, Dustin focuses in on three books - those are our favorite kid books regarding disability and/or diversity. From top of the bookshelf to the bottom: Mama Zooms, A RainBow Of Friends, and Zoom! We donated all three of them to the school, and each family is getting a copy of Mama Zooms and A Rainbow of Friends at Back 2 School Night.

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You are only seeing half of the outdoor classroom here.

Desty and I zoooomed back to the house after dropping Benny off, just in time to drive Vanessa and Cedric to the airport and pick up Dustin's sister, Rayna, from the airport. Rayna is playing nanny for a week, so that I can get all of my homework and other jobs done before we head for DC. She is fabulous with the children, but I'm afraid we need Jo Frost, ABC's Super Nanny right now. Benny is presently killing us with his heightened sense of entitlement and incredible bossiness - for another blog. Hopefully, this is just a phase that we can all (us, his baby sitter, his classmates and teachers) survive! I anticipate he will be thrilled and well-behaved in DC, as he will have all of my attention and he loves ADAPT. Hear my siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh! ;-)

On Wednesday, I applied for graduation (12/13/08), and began an evening Finance class. Finance should go much smoother than Accounting - I had the professor for Business Law and loved him. Sitting in his class made me realize just how cruel and insane my Accounting professor was!

I have literally been doing homework all week. These classes have 1st Night Assignments, which includes reading three chapters and writing 3-5 page papers. So I've been doing those AND homework for the next two weeks. I began Business Research and Methodologies this morning at 8a.m. It was Thursday morning when it donned on me that I will be up and out the door by 8:15a.m. on M - F to take Benny to preschool, and 7:00a.m. on Saturday for the next 16 weeks for my school! Ugh! Not that I'm not usually awake with the birds and kids, but I'm a P.J. Lounger. At least Benny's school is close....

And to close with a grin, watch this!

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