Disability : A Discrimination Story

Normally I don’t like to write about my disability here. In particular, I really don’t like writing about some of the negative things that happen. There are sometimes a lot of negatives. This conference had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of educating fitness pros about interpreters and hearing dogs and how to work with them within the industry. Unfortunately, there were quite a few clueless people, and they said and did things that were frustrating. By the end of the week, I was sick and tired of fighting the daily Deaf battle for my accommodations and my rights.

Today my second class at the IDEA World Fitness Conference was Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED class. It was only thirty minutes but we basically got our butts kicked.

So I really didn’t realize how famous or popular Jillian was (how could I?) before coming to this class. And I didn’t know how horribly people would behave just to get ‘thismuch’ closer to her and the stage.

We had a system going after the first day where one interpreter would stay and finish interpreting the class I was in, while the other one went and set up in the next class. If we hadn’t done that, we would have been far more disruptive. This way, it was all ready to go and I just walked in and took my spot.

The interpreters were consulting with Jillian’s camera crew to make sure that the spot we set up in wouldn’t be disruptive to them, or make it difficult to get footage.

So, we picked a spot, and marked off a big box in front of the interpreter that was a ‘no fly zone’ supposedly — funny how few people respect a white box of tape on the ground though.

People went crazy outside – getting all riled up for the workout. Finally they all filed in. There was a line of people right against the stage, and someone directly behind my interpreter. And then a line of five trainers behind me, trying to make sure that I still had enough room to move.

As the room filled up, a girl in a purple jacket came up and wedged herself in the ‘front row’ right ON the white box for my interpreter. So I asked her nicely to move, stating that I was Deaf and I needed to see both the interpreter and the stage, and that was why we had that box taped down on the floor.

Well, she moved an inch away from the box, but still blocking me from the stage. Then, Gilbert, my interpreter asked her to move – still nicely. And she moved back an inch. (UM — doh move means MOVE lady.) Finally, interpreter Kyla, getting frustrated came over and basically said, “We asked you twice, we really need you to move away from this space because the interpreter needs room and so does everyone else who was here before you.” This girl STILL doesn’t move.

The announcer comes out to get the crowd going — so we give it up. Jillian comes out and the group goes wild – cheering for jumping jacks and burpees. (I was all ???) lol. I asked my interpreter, “Where the heck do I have room to do burpees with that girl there?!” So we go through the workout. Occasionally the guy trainer behind me stops entirely and backs up because this girl is kicking HIM. And he moves to try and make sure I have enough room to do the workout. (This guy was a real champ.) When the workout is done, Jillian disappears. I don’t think a single person actually got a picture with her.

This girl who had been cussing me out to the girl next to her the whole time — comes up and says to my interpreter “Well, you need to tell her that if she had asked nicely the first time I would have moved. But she didn’t ask nicely and I don’t think she had the right to tell me where to go.” I”M SORRY WTF. So my response was, “Ok. Thanks a lot.” Which Kyla totally mimicked and I’m sure that didn’t help but I was so mad.

Then Gilbert comes over and we’re talking about what this girl said. Kyla says, “You know, you were completely right in asking her to move. You asked her just fine. AND there was a group of five trainers behind you nodding and trying to support you every time you did it!! You just couldn’t see them. The guy who high fived you at the end was the biggest supporter, trying to get her to move too – and then moving himself to make sure you had room to do the class.” And by then, I’m crying because I feel like a puppy that has been kicked. AGAIN.

I said, “ You know, it’s really hard to be treated like that EVERY single time I have to assert myself because I need that accommodation. I didn’t choose to be Deaf and half blind. I sure as hell would love to sit further back and be able to follow the class and not be crowded far more than I wanted to be in the front.”

Kyla says, “Yeah. But you have to remember, this wasn’t about you in any way. This was a girl who was here purely for selfish reasons. She was here for herself and she didn’t care who she crushed in the interim.”

Kyla goes, “Would you like to meet Jillian? I bet I can make that happen. I’m really good at that stuff.” to which I reply, “I don’t know.” thinking for a minute — “ Actually, I would like a picture. I don’t have a single picture of ME from this whole event”

So Kyla sneaks behind the curtain, and she talks to the guy who was running the camera. And then she pops back out, motioning me to come over…

I duck back behind the curtain. Jillian is walking up!! Obviously the exchange is nothing interesting. (My brain completely shut down at that point.) But we smile and laugh, get a few pictures, and she asks me the sign for ‘Fuck.” LOL. Of course. And then we are shooed back out and told to let the volunteers clean up the room.

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Memories

Friendships are interesting things. Over the last four years I have seen my fair share of friendships new and old and ever changing. But it is really nice to stop and think about them and how far we have come – and how some of these maintain through everything else going on in our lives.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real… But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. — Author Unknown

Correlating to this picture and friendships. I have had some really amazing friendships that began, ended, and had some of the strongest and most meaningful moments in the mountains.

When I was in high school I started dancing. At a practice night I met three girls who would be instrumental in the direction my life was going to take from there on out. After a few weeks of dancing with the high school group, I went to church on a Sunday with these girls. From there I got involved in youth leadership, Bible studies, small group — and this just became a part of who I was.

In college, one of my greatest memories with the three of them was our first major college ministry retreat. We went up to Lake City in the San Juan Mountains and stayed at a small camp there. I remember a hike where we all took our Bibles, our journals, and our fleeces down to a lake and read, wrote, and talked.

The summer right after college, we all went up to Lake City again with a group from the church. But things were different. Of the four of us, there were two who were at community college and during this summer trip to the mountains for a small town fourth of July celebration, things changed. Both of them were noticed by their prospective husbands that weekend.

A lot of things changed after college. By that next summer, they were married off and that left me — who had never dated anyone ever. And our fourth who had a steady boyfriend.

Then came the babies. I got much closer to one girl and was her daughter’s babysitter fairly regularly for the first few months of her life. This little girl still is really very close to my heart. She is one of the first babies I handled competently and I just adored her. I still do – even if I have moved far away and she isn’t so sure of me anymore.

It was another four years before I met my own husband. In that time, we all four went to different churches. One girl moved to Kansas and back. One had a husband who worked long hours in sales near Denver. Another had a professor for a husband so he was gone often teaching.

By my wedding, one girl was in my wedding – one was my wedding singer – and the third was only a guest.

But the most important part of those relationships? How much they have shaped who I am and where my hope and faith lies. My faith is in God, and thanks to many trips to the mountains over the years – my favorite, most happy place is in the middle of the wilderness thinking about Him and just being in the middle of the most beautiful scenery I can imagine.

Airstream Adventures : Arkansas

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We arrived in Arkansas, and drove out to the campground to set up Twinkie. Afterwards, we went over to our relatives’ new house to visit and eat and let the pack of puppies play. The above picture is the newest puppy for the pack, Raylie – who is a Parsons Terrier and fits right in with the Schnauzers and the Westie Jack – Rosie. Salad for my meal before we ran to the grocery store and picked up everything I was supposed to be eating on my training program.

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This is the lovely garage gym. They had plenty of dumbbells and barbells but not so many machines. I made some stuff up, worked around my training program as best I could, and then made a delicious dinner of cod, spinach, and sweet potato.

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Another day found us with more dog photos!! Our miniature schnauzers were very good, and enjoyed racing around in the backyard with Ray Ray and Rosie. Nones and Ray Ray hanging out on the pretty rug in the living room. Another day – another dinner, this time cod, sweet potato, and asparagus. It actually turned out great!

IMG_4628  A night snuggle with Ray Ray on Auntie’s lap.

The next day we had a great time visiting some other family friends — riding their boat and talking about wake surfing. We hung out for lunch, and snacks, and really – we could have stayed much longer but we had to get home to our puppies.

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Here, our puppies are hanging out on the beds in front of the fireplace. It was surprisingly chilly the entire week we were there – chilly and rainy. I think the only nice day was the one we were out on the boat!

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That night, all the internet went out because of storms. So we drank tea and played Scrabble. And since there was no TV or internet – we all went to bed earlier than usual.

The next day, this is the photo I took when all the dogs were stuck outside. The only dog you can’t see is Holes because he didn’t fit on the step! This is their simultaneous ‘Let Us IN’ faces.

Airstream Adventures: Vacation (Still in MD)

On Sunday we headed out of Baltimore to swing by BWI and pick up Twinkie at the RV storage facility it has been in for the last month (since our last short trip). We called the storage place several times over the weekend as they were supposed to be always on call for people to come pick up their boats and RVs, however, after waiting outside for a while – we found a note on the door of the establishment that they were ‘closed for the weekend’ and should STILL have been on call. Eventually, we gave up and went to find a hotel where we settled in for the night with our pups.

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We got in our hotel room and started working with the dogs on their training. Discovered that Nones does much MUCH better with ‘lay down’ and ‘stay’ on a flat blanket or towel than he does on a dog bed. Who knows why, but it worked. And then he told me he was thirsty, so I gave him a cup of water (we left the bowls in the car for that moment).

After setting the boys in our hotel room, Wes and I went down to the pool. We spent a while going back and forth between the VERY hot hot tub and the pool until we were both hungry and ready for a break. We got dressed and went to find some food for dinner. I managed to keep my dinner within the guidelines of my competition diet, and we had a nice time chatting.

When dinner was done, Wes wanted to do computer stuff and hang out in the room so I went down to the hotel gym to get some lifting done in anticipation that I would miss a few days while we were on the road. First I did upper body, and then some cardio. And around 10pm I went back to the room to find all my boys asleep. So I crawled in bed with them for the night.

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Review of the last few Months

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It has been a very busy five months over here in the Brown household. In January, I chopped off all my hair! :) About twelve inches, and I’ve been working on growing it back ever since.

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I’ve been dealing with a finger injury, not exactly a break, more like a sprained finger and it has meant splinting it on and off and waiting for EVER for it to heal.

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In January, we started attending The Church on the Square (COTS) on O’donnell Square in Baltimore.

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I took a barre instructor training through Soul Body Barre in February at the White Marsh Merrit Athletic Center.

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I started lifting again, working on my own program in February and then joining a team in May.

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FINALLY made it to November Project- Baltimore with both my miniature schnauzers in May as well. We got a good workout of hills for breakfast and met lots of nice people.

Clean Recipe: Dill Dip

Dill Dip

Ingredients
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon onion flakes
1 Tablespoon parsley

Directions
measure and mix all ingredients in glass or plastic bowl.
refrigerate dip for about two hours until it thickens.
serve with raw veggies for dipping.

CLEAN RECIPE: Egg Salad

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ingredients

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 24 baby lettuce leaves
  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced chives
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray the inside of a muffin tin with nonstick spray. Fit one wonton wrap into each muffin hole. Give wonton wraps another quick spray of the nonstick spray so they turn glossy. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. (I did not have nonstick spray so I didn’t use any, and had no issues).

Peel your eggs and finely chop them. Add chopped eggs and all other ingredients to a bowl. Mix and mash lightly, stirring to incorporate. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Tear small pieces of lettuce and add to each cup. Add egg salad on top of lettuce to fill cup and serve.

If you’d like to go gluten or wheat free with this, go ahead and use only the lettuce leaves. Do not try to transport lettuce leaf cups unless stuck in some kind of upright hold position. Best to bring the leaves and the salad to assemble on site.

Workouts: Barre Toning Workout

Today’s awesome workout for you is a Toning Barre Workout. Remember — each phase of the workout, you will do for a count of 30 (for example, count 30 push ups… 30 diamonds, 30 hundreds.) The workout follows:
Warm up – Start in standing position, hands in front of your chest, abdominals contracted, lift knees towards your chest.
Push ups – From knees or standard push up position, bend elbows wide bringing chest towards the floor.
Tricep dips- Sit, bend knees, hands behind, your fingers forwards, lift hips up and bend elbows.
Hundreds – lie on your back, extend legs to ceiling or diagonal, curl chin to chest, bring arms up by sides, keep arms straight as you pump them up and down by hips.
Thighs- Hold chair back with right hand, left hand on hip, legs zipped together, parallel, rise to toes, bend knees bringing seat towards knee level. Bend knees down an inch and then up an inch (called a pulse).
Thighs – Hold on to chair back with right hand, left hand on hip, feet wider than hips, toes turned out. Bend knees, bring seat towards knee level. Bend knees down an inch and then up an inch (also called a pulse).
Abs- Sit on floor, legs hip width apart bend, hold under knees, round back bringing waistband of pants towards mat. Tuck hips under, pull in abdomen. Move back an inch and then up an inch. Try releasing one arm or both.
Abs- lay on back, extend toes to the ceiling and put your hands flat alongside your body on the floor. Engage your abs. Then lift your butt off the floor.
Back extension- Lay facedown on the floor, squeeze seat as you extend arms and legs long lifting them off the floor.
Stretch- finally lie on your back, bring right leg to ceiling hold onto the back of the leg, elbows wide, and pull it to your chest. Then do the same with the left leg.

Almond Butter Bliss Balls : Clean Recipe

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Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative (I use almond butter)
1/4 cup applesauce, plus scant 2 tbsp if needed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour (I used almond meal, but you can use sorghum, white, spelt, ww pastry, buckwheat, or oat)
2/3 cup granulated sugar of choice OR xylitol (I left this out)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
optional, chocolate chips or raisins (I also omitted these as I didn’t have any!)
Line a large plate or tray with parchment paper, and clear a space in your freezer. If needed, gently warm the nut butter until it is stir-able, then measure it into a large bowl. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients, then add them to the wet mixture. Stir until evenly mixed. Form balls with a cookie scoop, then place the balls on the parchment-lined plate. (If the dough is too soft, due to the type of peanut butter you’ve used, freeze until firm enough to form balls.) Freeze the balls a few hours until they are firm enough to handle without being sticky, then transfer to a bag or container and store in the freezer. (If you wanted to cook these instead of eating them in a raw cookie dough form, you should make the recipe a little differently: