Thursday, February 28, 2013



So, once again I find myself needing to find a way to sum up a months worth of activity in a few paragraphs.  After all of the activity of the holidays, and a little bit of downtime in January, the year is starting to pick up speed for me.  More people have been reaching out to me to speak to their organizations.  The Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability has had it's first two meetings of the year and the projects for 2013 are underway.  Over the past several months there have been some changes in my life, and its probably past time for me to make them public.

(In my mind I imagine that as you read that last line you took a deep breath and all sorts of options ran through your mind.  "What has changed in Jeremy's life that he needs to make public?!" you think to yourself, "Is it a new job?  A new house?  Could it possibly be romance?..."  Well, I'm sorry to say that it's nothing so earth shattering, although it does have quite a bit to do with how I'm spending my time.  I also know that in reality very few of you are having the reaction I imagined and most of you are reading this and thinking "get on with it man!")

As many of you know, I have served on the Board of Directors at accessABILITY for several years.  Last October I made the decision to resign from that post.  (Those of you who've been following this blog for sometime can now breathe a sigh of relief that I won't be hitting you up when fundraising season comes around this year!)  I hadn't really thought that this was something I needed to be public about, but have recently had a lot of people contact me, thinking that I am still on the board, with questions regarding the organization.  I want to be certain that everyone knows that accessABILITY is a wonderful organization with great people working to serve a vital mission.  My decision to resign had nothing to do with the organization, and everything to do with my need to focus on more personal goals that I have allowed to sit unattended for far too long.

That said, somehow, after I resigned from the board I allowed the new Senior Pastor at our church to talk me into serving on the Staff Parish Relations Committee for the next four years.  I've served on the SPRC before, but this time I will also act as one of the church's lay liaisons to the annual conference.  I'm honored that our new Senior Pastor felt that I would be a good representative for our congregation. 

Another big change is that in January the Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability elected me to be their Chairperson for this year.  This is a new role for me; one that I'm excited about, and hope that I can handle with as much grace as my predecessors.  (Who, by the way, seemed to delight in sitting off to the side during this month's meeting (the first one that I had to facilitate) and doing their best impression of the two old heckling muppets from The Muppet Show!  It's going to be a fun year.)  The MACD meets from 9:30am to 11am the third Wednesday of every month at the Washington Park community center, and hosts the annual Mayor's Access & Inclusion Awards in July.  Both council meetings and the Awards ceremony are open to the public.  Anyone is welcome.

Finally, a big change that I'm trying to make in my personal life is that of getting out more.  When you acquire a disability and spend a great deal of time, years in my case, doing exercises and adjusting to living an independent life, you find that you have a lot of time on your hands and it's very easy to fill that time sitting on the couch watching TV.  Now, all of you know that I've tried to stay active in the community, to go out and speak to groups, even travel to different places for speeches, conventions, etc.  But I've also spent a lot of my downtime sitting in my house living vicariously through shows like Castle, Supernatural, Being Human, etc...  Now, I still enjoy television and am not swearing it off all together, but I've made a personal commitment to not allow staying up to date on television shows to take priority any longer.

How am I achieving this?  By going out to dinner with friends rather than staying in.  By turning off the TV and picking up my Grandfather's guitar (can only play a few chords and have a hard time remembering them).  By taking some classes to increase my ability to complete a long term goal.  By spending the weekend at a friend's cabin instead of staying home because the cabin isn't "accessible".  (By the way, that weekend at the cabin was the first time that I didn't use a wheelchair at all in a 24hr period.  The only big drawback was that after I took my legs off to go to sleep, getting up to go to the bathroom during the night (if necessary...I'm not that old yet) was not going to be quick and easy.)  I've met so many new people in the past two months, simply by leaving the house and going to someone else's house when they have a party. 

February, while a short month, has been no exception.  My parent's neighbors treated our family, along with several friends both old and new, to a Hearthside Supper at Conner Prairie.  This was truly a magical experience as we walked through the welcome center and emerged in the Indiana woods in 1836.  We were warmly greeted at the Conner House where our party helped prepare the meal using the utensils, cookware, and cooking techniques of the time.  (I churned, washed, and salted the butter.)  We then dined by candle light in the dinning room where we learned that forks were too sharp to put in your mouth and that it was better to eat off the flat side of the knife.  Dinner was followed by a flirtatious courting game in the sitting room (one that is played as a group to keep things from getting too inappropriate) and then it was time for dessert.  As I walked back through the darkened woods I felt a little sad to be leaving such a simpler time, but my legs need electricity and that's much easier to come by in 2013.

The following weekend held a far more modern experience for me.  This past Saturday a friend and I had the opportunity to attend the Children's Museum Adult Swim.  If you're not sure what that is and are now scratching your head thinking "I don't remember the Children's Museum having a pool?"  Let me assure you, there was no pool, but there were also no children.  For one night only, the Children's Museum was turned into a five story cocktail lounge, with all of the exhibits open for the adults to have a chance to play.  From belly dancing and drum circles in Egypt, to wine tasting at the Anne Frank exhibit, to dancing in the Dinosphere it was a chance to let your inner child out.  Four hours was not enough.  We barely scratched the surface of what the museum had to offer, and yet enjoyed every minute of the event.  I'm already looking forward to next year!                 

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