Thank You, Nicholas Accorso, for My New Van

It was kismet that brought me to know Nicholas Accorso.

My husband & I had been looking off & on for a van months before our huge yard sale. It just happened one day he looked on the ESL Bank Swap Sheet:

Wheelchair accessible 2006 Grand Caravan $16,500. 44k mi. Start Date: 09/23/2011 End Date: 10/23/2011
2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. 44,000 miles. This is a lowered, Wheelchair accessible van. It can seat 6 including the Wheelchair passenger. New Air conditioning, new muffler and exhaust pipes. Tires one year old. The Wheelchair ramp is manual and is on the passenger side of the car. The mechanics and body are in good shape.

  

The price Mr. Accorso gave was more in our budget range than any other vans we’d come across!

Naturally, my husband was leaving for a week-long business trip, so we asked if they could hold it, till we could come see it. We sent a family friend to check it out and it seemed like a great fit! we still wanted to se it for ourselves.

Ironically, my husband & I always said we were NEVER going to buy a minivan, EVER. We were diehard Honda sedan fans. Ah… youth. Well, life changes in ways you’d never expect.

We met the Accorsos the next weekend. They were friendly and helpful, and really wanted to get rid of this van. Which we were really wanting to buy it! As we got to know them, it turns out they just lost their son to MD.

Nicholas Accorso was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when he was 10 years old. He appeared on the MDA Telethon when he was about 11 and met Gabe Dalmuth for the first time. He passed away August 18th, 2011, 19 years old. Nicholas was a friendly, curious person who was adventurous and loved baseball. He also loved to travel. He explored the world right up to the end, traveling to South Dakota on his last family trip to use a Federal Parks Pass. Despite his condition, he was very accepting of his illness and did not let it get the best of him. He also had Autism, making his outward, social demeanor all that more special.

Here I am, back from near death myself (my embolism), the MDA Personal Achievement Recipient, and I am receiving the van that took this boy on his travels. All of us had shared some tears.

I know that Nicholas’ family misses him, but I am very grateful. I hope I can make many memories happen with my family in this van.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who helped me to raise money. It has helped us put a dent in the purchase. Now I can go places with my motorized wheelchair – I feel so free!

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Does it mean I’m not a feminist if I love pink?

The other day, my husband told me about a story on NPR about how princesses are bad for girls.

My 5 year old is super smart, artistic, musical AND loves science experiments. She also has been head over heels for Disney Princesses since she was 2! Now isn’t this a lot like the old argument about Barbie being a bad role model?

I remember pretending to be a princess when I was little. Every time I got in trouble, I would hope that someday my real parents would come get me and take me back home to the castle! I loved pink. Later on, my friends and I played with Barbies, and frankly, we never thought anything about Barbie’s freakishly big boobs because our dolls were too busy playing strip poker, getting divorces or becoming rock stars.

It seems to me that being a feminist and liking traditional girl toys/ideas is like being a lipstick lesbian these days. I’m raising 2 daughters. They like pink. Not all girls like pink… I liked pink as a girl… I still like it.

I know my 5 yr old is chomping at the bit to wear makeup and nail polish, but she understands that Mommy says not until you’re older. If some moms took the time to explain commercials and marketing, as well as we have in our house, then perhaps the manufacturing giants won’t be cramming pink down everyone’s throats. Parents are the ones pushing the kids to be older. I don’t plan to have a spa party for my Kindergardener, but the 10th grader is a different story!

Everything in moderation people. Did we get the full princess treatment at Disney World? Hell yeah! It’s a once in a lifetime chance. Treating little girls as if they are princesses, on an everyday basis, is not moderation. Not teaching your daughters about commercialism and consumerism at an early age, is NOT good parenting in our current society.

On the flip side, I enjoy taking care of myself by going to a salon or a spa. I like to be pampered. And what woman on her wedding day doesn’t want to be a princess?! Ok I wanted to be a rock star. But seriously, take back the blame and put it on the parents who can not stand up to their kids!

Moderation, folks –  and education, will keep your girls as girls and to grow into independent thinking women.

On to something less heavy…

…like God & Spirituality!

After all, this blog is about my spiritual journey as well!

I started out as any good WASP, going to Sunday school at the First Presbyterian Church of Wheatland (aka Scottsville Union Presbyterian Church) . My mother’s family went to the church as did my cousins that still lived in the area. When I think about church — THIS is the one I know the most. Between weddings and funerals and great Christmas Eves, I fondly remember this church.

There were really only 2 negative memories. (I did get yelled at for shooting a scene for my Dracula movie in college without permission on the grounds there, but that hardly counts! Oh, yeah… I also looked up the minister’s robe to see what he had on under there.) Once, when I had to be baptized when I was 7 because my Catholic father would not allow my mom to baptize me as a baby. When she was divorced she had it done. I just felt really stupid standing there being baptized with all these babies! The other time was when I was elementary school age, maybe 1st or 2nd grade, I couldn’t understand why we had to read these parts of the service where we say how we’re sorry we’ve sinned and done bad things in unison. I remember thinking, “What have I done? I’m just a kid? I haven’t committed any great sin! Why am I saying this stuff?” I felt I was a pretty good girl for the kind of life I had lived through already.

When my mom remarried we moved. We eventually attended the Arcade United Methodist Church. There were no Presbyterian churches around there. Mom said this was a lot like our other church and that when Grandma went there, it was a Methodist church. Honestly, I really don’t know what the difference is even today. The believed in Jesus and doing the right thing for others. At the time we started, the minister was Native American. He had great stories to tell before the kids went off to Sunday school. By the time I was in adolescence, I REALLY didn’t want to go to church anymore. Mom & I would fight about this. Finally she conceded. (I found out later in life that she wished she’d pushed for it more and that she felt that she somehow failed me.)

My close girlfriends in the neighborhood had tried practicing magik for a short time. We were able to do some minor things, but it freaked us out so much that we didn’t do it anymore!

So then, Senior year in High School comes. Some friends of mine were leaving the school when another classmate crashes into them – right in front of the school. I remember I was staying over at a friend’s house when we heard the news. Someone died. It was a boy I had been friends with for many years and had a HUGE crush on. I was shocked. He promised he would take me to the prom. My friends were all crying and upset. I didn’t cry. I consoled them. Until, of course, after the wake.

I know that my friends were trying to be helpful. I did not want to see his dead body in the casket wearing that red sweater that he looked so handsome in. I wanted to remember him alive. After they dragged me to the casket and I saw him lying there like a big doll and saw the 3 roses my mom gave to him in our names (Chris, Tami & Joy), I just couldn’t take it. We went to the car to head over to the funeral at the Catholic church, and I wept. Deep serious weeping. I cried all the way there and through the entire service. How shameful that such an amazing person – who was a year younger than us all –  was dead, taken so quickly. I listened to that service and thought “No. No way is there a God. There is no possible reason that this sweet boy had to die.”

I rejected the priest’s eulogy. And that day, I also rejected the notion of God.

Who do I think I am?

I saw the fantastic and inspiring documnetary called Who Does She Think She Is? at the MAG. WOW! I really liked that the event also included childcare. It is hard to be a mom and an artist, and certainly a wife.

When I was a little girl, when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up — I would always answer a singer and and artist. When I was a little older, maybe 8 or so, I got a camera. I just took snapshots, and eventually portraits of my dolls. At some point my ideas changed and I thought it would be cool to be a chemist or something — but I was not cut out for chemistry, judging by my grades.

Singing was another option. I loved singing since I was little rocking out to the songs on the ’70s in my mom’s car. As a teen I joined chorus and briefly did some song writing and perfroming with my friends. We had big dreams, but as I try to tell my stepdaughter, it doesn’t always work out the way you planned. So you make alternative plans. I was in photo classes in high school and learned how to use video equiptment on our in-house TV game show Beep Buzz.

Although I still enjoy music, I mostly sing in the car. My passions did change to photography (and other artisctic mediums after college) and television. For many years I had a great spurt of energy for photography. All before having a cool TV job (and using my creative drive there) and having kids in my life.

I can’t really blame the kids, though. Yeah, they take up your time and much energy but their innocense as children is incredibly inspiring. I do blame my job and the fact that working on the web and using my creativity THAT way is what has drained me of my personal creativity. I give it to my company. And I also blame my body. It isn’t what it used to be. It’s old, broken, and weak. Possibly sick as well. And just ordinary life. We have so much to do today. Everyday. Grocery shopping, doctor appointments, etc… well you know what I mean.

So for now I will just write when I’m inspired and show you my older photos until I can get around to doing something else.

Happy 2010

Writing from my iPod touch. Man technology is incredible! I guess I’ll need to type with my thumbs!

So what’s new?

Well my little one has her first sleepover tonight- not hearing a lot of sleeping up there!

This year I want to use technology in creative ways. I need to get out and shoot again. I should make that more of a priority. I’m really going to try to do more things for myself. I’ve neglected myself far too long.

Happy 2010!