It’s pretty well known that I like classical music, but I really like all kinds. My new favorite is the theme song for a public television program called “New Tricks,” and is about some chronologically aged persons who form a special detective task force for hard cases. The song goes like this, “It’s all right. It’s okay. Doesn’t even matter if you’re old and gray. It’s all right. It’s all fine. Doesn’t even matter if the sun don’t shine. Listen to what I say.” Hope I didn’t break any laws by quoting this on line! Guess I like this song because I’m old and gray (white hair instead) and, although I don’t need a permission slip, it does provide one that says, “Yes. It’s okay!”
I think I could join New Tricks and I would have made a good detective since I always love a mystery, and I was inspired by my mom’s friend, Dovie Wells, who at the age of 60 sent off for a finger print training class by mail. We all got finger printed and classified, and Dovie always thought she would catch some crooks, but the crooks never left finger prints when they took her lawn mower, wheelbarrow and other outdoor things like chairs and a hammock. But she finished the class and was ready for ’em.
If you live in the Houston area, and haven’t heard the Houston Symphony, consider it now. Their playing of Elgar’s Enigma Variations last night shouted, “World Class,” and besides that it is a classy group. You won’t hear better anywhere in the world, and nothing beats actually feeling the music both inside your soul and in the reverberations from the bass that you can feel in the seat of your pants and your feet. Then there was spectacular and beautiful Hillary Hahn who opened the concert with a Prokofiev violin concerto that used unimaginable percussion cued in to the second. Of note was the frame of huge hanging chimes that required the musician to sit atop a ladder-like structure to strike the pipes. A live orchestra is a visual treat, too, and, after a while, you choose your favorite players to watch.
I started my close up player-watch last summer when I went to Herman Park to pick up free tickets to Miller Outdoor Theater orchestra concerts there, and I discovered that the orchestra rehearses about that same time the morning before the evening concert. Eventually, I went early and got to hear the music many times.
Music has many powers: it’s good for your body, it’s good for your soul, and besides, it makes a good date. Mine loves taking me there.
Circle of Friends is updating their emergency material to include additional groups that use their facilities. Hurricane season will do that to you as well as seeing a fire or power outage on the news. A new discovery last week when the power went off: have occupants open their cell phones, and, voila!, light! Trick is to rotate usage to preserve batteries. In the news this week was a woman and her family trapped under a house-load of debris by the tornado in Joplin. She turned on her cell phone, opened it and rescuers found her in the night because of the tiny rays of light showing.
Our leaders of disability groups are instructed to grab emergency information notebooks as they evacuate. A designated person leads and a designated last person makes sure no one is left behind.
Let’s hope no one needs to use any of this, but we all think emergencies happen to someone else. Not true, is it? Do you have your grab bag and ID ready?
Networking and new information presented by Reverend Greg Edwards encouraged parents at a joint meeting of parent chat groups last week. Greg, who is on the board of directors of the Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio, talked about the arm of the Home that is Southwest Center for Higher Independence. Every parent there wanted higher independence for their student, so there were many questions about evaluation, prospects for future independence. Parents pointed out that many students do not qualify for DARS and function at a different level than expected at most transition institutions. There is a huge need in this area, especially since Texas is cutting funding to most programs that would help these students. It was an informative evening, and some of you are planning to visit the facility. I offered my cabin for an overnight bed and breakfast, but I will wait to buy the eggs and bacon until plans gel.
In light of government funding to community based and private sector partnerships, the future is bleak for students who have graduated high school. Their parents, some of whom have had to quit jobs, have become the sole companion for the day, week, etc. Many of them are on waiting lists for any sort of help, but now is the time for them to reinforce the skills they learned in school, both intellectual and social. Now is the time for them to have a reason to take care with grooming and get out there in the world.
We are exploring an exciting new opportunity for students who have finished high school and have no place to take their talents. It’s a postage stamp on a full scale problem, but it may be an opportunity for churches. A day program for service to the community is on the drawing board. Fact finding is important before we decide to undertake a new program at Chapelwood UMC. Does anyone out there have a day work program for teens and those slightly above that age level? If so, please share your expertise. Our churches aim of making disciples includes helping them become disciples, so this has huge importance.
Two students from our recent special needs confirmation class want to put into action what they learned about giving something back to the church and about helping others. At our first exploratory meeting we set goals for the students and the parents and discussed how to accomplish these goals. Every program that meets student’s needs will grow, so our preliminary fact finding is taking that into consideration. It’s exciting, but also a little daring even daunting in these hard economical times. I’m convinced that big hearts make big plans, so watch this billboard to find out if this is a go.
Hardly anyone has seen inside his own eye, but with the right equipment someone can. An eye examination led me this week to Dr. Rosa Tang, neuropthamologist at the University of Houston multiple sclerosis eye facility. It may be the only such facility of its kind in the United States. The latest equipment and specialists in using each one plus a staff of thorough doctors and technicians makes the examination amazing. In addition, everyone there was friendly, and wonders of wonder, there were legitimate van parking places close to the ramp. On a bitterly cold day, this was important.
According to Lighthouse for the Blind one in every 20 persons has low vision, an amazing statistic if you don’t know you have low vision. Maybe you think everyone sees those letters as blurred or fragmented, or squiggly (my non-medical term). Also amazing on the internet and elsewhere are the number of assistive aids available, everything from timepieces, telephones, talking books, reading machines to GPS programmed for persons with low vision. Never have the fixes for low vision been more abundant.
When is a disability not a disability? When you discover an ability or try to develop a gift you have. The new year would be a good time to do this. Try along with me. For openers try some whimsy, humor, giggles, a new way of expressing yourself.
My whimsical way of starting the new year in a city where fireworks are outlawed by the fire marshal, was guess what? I saved bubble wrap of all sizes from Christmas packing, laid them on my patio and ran over them to make fake fireworks. The sound was impressive and lots of fun. Son Paul, a photographer, created a 30 second video of my fun!