Happy Spring!

Here in the South, spring has sprung. I’m not really referring to it, although it REALLY IS the first day of Spring; nor do I mean when the crocus press through frozen earth or peek through a late snow. I’m talking about the two weeks when pollen shifts over EVERYTHING! Pollen 2Rolling over its yellow stickiness, my chariot leaves tracks, and transports its tracks, all over my house.

Yes, yellow is in my top five fav colors, but this is taking it too far. Although, I find cleaning up spilled turmeric leaves l-o-n-g-e-r-l-a-s-t-i-n-g yellow stains on my finger nails! It looks like nicotine stain…on all ten! My solution: I’m wearing fingernail polish until my nails grow out…for the second time!

My consolation that Spring has sprung in her mellow yellowness: my drive-through shower.

Happy spring!

(For more creative every day solutions to managing life from a wheelchair, check out my book Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html )

Ahoooga! For Wheelchair Enhancement

Recently, I was asked what accessories I’ve added to my wheelchairs to make them look cool…well…better.

At first (at 28 years of age), I just sat in it. My looks, pretty much, took the attention away from my red wheelchair. For a while, I even had an ahooga horn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRMjoURjI9k

ahooga horn 1

As I matured, I chose a beige wheelchair…not to compete with my stylish, colorful clothes, and jeweled barefoot sandals.

At middle-age, my amazing smile blinded passersby of my black wheelchair.

In my older years, it’s the groans, bone pops, and whoopie cushion noises that draw curiosity.

Se la vie

Welcome To My World

Hope you’ve all recovered from Thanksgiving’s delicious feasts, and appreciate the blessing of another year with family! My parents don’t walk this earth any longer. Please be grateful while yours still do.

For those of you just tuning in to “Conversations with Cynthia,” I’m tutored by thirty-seven years of disability (SCI), and living life triumphantly from a wheelchair. I have a varied educational background: Speech and language pathology, counseling, interior design, critical thinking (problem solving, not being critical), have run several small business ventures, and I’m an author.

My weekly conversations here are how I see things; sometimes from a serious perspective, sometimes philosophically, and sometimes humorously. You will often read song lyric references within my conversations because I think in song; like The Beatles “Help!” http://conversationswithcynthia.com/2012/08/17/help-not-the-beatles-a-wheelchair-assist/, and Jewel’s “Satisfied” http://conversationswithcynthia.com/2012/04/22/satisfied-in-spite-of-disability/ .

Anyway, ‎ I can be mid-conversation, mid-sentence with my cats and break into song. They’re used to it. With humans, I normally don’t embarrass myself that way. But, since you can’t hear me, “Welcome to my world, want you come on in…I’ll be waiting here…waiting just for you.” (Just listen for 2 golden minutes as Dean Martin sings it best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX7BAfXn85Y )

That’s my open invitation to R.S.V. P. with your responses concerning disability, or not, experiences relating to my topics, your thoughts, concerns, questions, reviews of my books, or suggestions for newsletter topics. I eagerly anticipate hearing from every one of you!

Let’s continue changing the world or, at the least, making it a better place. Be the best you!

And, wouldn’t you know it, I have the perfect gift suggestion for you or a loved one on doing so. It’s my book: HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU, http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html . It’s a thought-provoking guide to discover, liberate, and live your true purpose and, for a little levity, strewn with farcical facts, food fun, and playful puns.

You would also enjoy my Memoir, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity, http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html a poignant, yet humorous, journey through my adjustment to living happily, flourishing from a wheelchair: my chariot. I’ve also included a Self/Help manual with products, equipment, and assistive aides that I have found most helpful in daily living!

I’ve had an excellent adventure this past year-and-a-half talking the eyes out of your head! So now, let me hear from you.

Let’s talk. I’m listening.

P.S. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, but let me be the first to wish you the HAPPIEST HOLIDAYS!

Peripheral Visionary–Looking Beyond Disability

Is there any good excuse not TO BE THE BEST YOU?  http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html  I don’t believe there is. In spite of a body’s ability or disability, the imagination can see around obstructions, and envision friendly skies ahead, for miles and miles, even into the future.

When wearing contacts, I can see the world up close, from here to yonder, and peripherally. But, when wearing my bifocals, I can only see objects up close and at a distance. It’s when cutting my eyes to the left or to the right that my peripheral vision is impeded by that aggravating inch of blurry space unaided by corrective lens.

When distracted, frustrated, or hindered—taking your eyes off the goal, do you have a troublesome “blurry space” where your hopes and dreams seem to dim, even disappear?

Well, if you’re alive and breathing, most assuredly you will make some short-sighted decisions, take blind turns, and encounter reduced visibility from unplanned incidents of illness or disability. However, you needn’t lose sight of your dreams. With optimistic foresight, they can be the means to a restored vision.

Instead of seeing an obstacle—something limiting your potential, hindering your progress, or holding you back, readjust your focus to see the opportunity the test offers.

Yes. Initially, I was blindsided, as many of you adjusting to, and coping with, SCI. Life as we knew it ended; but, disability shouldn’t blind us to the opportunity to live out our dreams. It requires exercising the ability to envision, plan, pursue, and believe that good things will still come true.

It was when I began writing that I could see my purpose! It took a while before my ministry came into focus, but that blurry space did clear.

Just as a biennial eye examination checks your eyesight, neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination and more, exercising your ability as a “peripheral visionary,” will allow you to see beyond your blurry space of uncertainty.

You can!

P.S. My article is intentionally short in order to afford you 19 minutes to be inspired by another peripheral visionary looking beyond her disability: Caroline Casey: Looking past limits – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyBk55G7Keo

 

An Apple A Day and Disability Aids

With the prevalence of computers, laptops, ipads, mobile devices, and all their gizmos, it sometimes seems that the state of our society is grim.

By the radical technology of the 21st century, we (able-bodied and disabled) appear advanced and are technologically savvy. But, how can we read another’s honesty, integrity, or motivation by relating over a “device.” One-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball communications are being sacrificed. Learning to interpret interactive body language and the associative heart-mind connections is becoming a lost life-line.

Are we becoming a robotic society?

On the other hand, one can travel faster than a cheetah’s 60mph in three seconds with the touch of a mouse; can explore foreign lands without making reservations…deciding what to pack…waiting in lines, risk, hassle, and expense-free; earn a degree; have a world of knowledge at our fingertips.

As well, today’s mobile apps not only afford mindless amusement but can provide driving directions for travel and beyond to expand horizons.

For those of us living with a disability, there are iphone apps for providing helplines and medical care, apps for functional movement and alignment of prosthetics for the disabled, language learners for learning new languages, as well as providing expressive vocalization for the nonverbal, blind, and physically paralyzed.

The first bite out of the apple wasn’t such a good idea. However, that company with a bite-out-of-the-apple logo is a good thing!

Here I am talking to you on a lighted screen. Via whatever device, you’re reading my letter at home, at work, in transit, or as you wait.

I’m grateful to be communicating. I’m thankful I have a message. And, like many of you who are confined or shut-in due to SCI, illness, injury, or disease, I’m blessed to have a worldwide avenue where my words can travel into cyber space with an echo you can hear.

I hope you’re not just reading my words. I hope you hear what I’m saying in my letters to you, because Conversations with Cynthia aren’t conversations until you reply.

Let’s talk. I miss hearing back from you.  

R.S.V.P. with your “comments,” questions, and reviews on my books.

P.S. Don’t forget to enlist for my monthly newsletters with health hints and humor for whatever ails you! (After enlisting by adding your email address, remember to confirm my email to you.) 

 

 

 

Ecological Footprint from a Wheelchair

Who we are has nothing to do with our mode of transportation (wheelchair, Volkswagen or Rolls Royce), designer clothes, profession, or annual income; but everything to do with our passion and positive contribution to the world.

One of my passions is nature and our earth’s preservation. They not only allow me the rapture of their beauty, but life-sustaining food and oxygen. Directly and indirectly, their quality is up to us.

As for my ecological footprint, I’m considered fanatical by some. Before I was sixteen, I remember turning the water off while brushing my teeth and washing my face or hands. It seemed such an unconscionable waste. Even now I wash both in cold water, and when waiting for the water to warm up for hand-washing dishes, I collect the cold in a watering container to bathe my flowers in-between showers. FYI: Rolling from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determineapathy–lack of consciousness and appreciation–for life sustaining earth that . Are you?

I use only natural cleaning products and no chemicals on my yard or gardens. I have w-a-y too much wildlife to risk their health, although I do have pest control spray around my windows and doors every other month. Occasionally even then, during extended rainy seasons, industrious ants find their way inside.

My cat litter, WBCL (World’s Best Cat Litter), is recyclable, made from corn. What gets scooped, I scatter in my wood as fertilizer. The trees clap their branches and whisper their thanks.

Another reason trees thank me: I don’t buy paper towels, paper napkins, or paper products. I recycle paper bags as gift wrapping, as I do other’s gift wrappings to me. Although I use a set of washable, environmentally friendly bags for grocery shopping, when I run low on my large paper bags to contain my recyclable “mixed papers”, I request paper bags at my grocer.

I do not use plastic baggies, plastic utensils or plastic containers. I DO break a lot of my glass containers, but they’re recyclable!

Concerning carbon dioxide emissions, I plan errands around my (or my helper’s) location in town. Whatever I need (or think I need) from across town takes second fiddle—it waits. Fortunately, I live in a small town where everything lies in close proximity.

Within two-and-a-half miles of my home are my bank, dentist, doctor, gas station (Shell’s American gas, not exported; although gas mileage isn’t an issue. My office is only nineteen push wheels from my kitchen.), grocery, hospital, farmer’s market (locally grown), favorite fast food, favorite restaurant, and health food store (all three organic), office supply store where I purchase recycled paper and recycle it, recycling drop-off, and veterinarian. The cherry on top is: my hair stylist is within shouting distance—directly across the street!

As for methane, I own no cattle or swamps.

As for chlorofluorocarbons, out of necessity I do use one aerosol for the occasional lube job—to keep my wheelchair from locking up.

Yes, you could say that I live in a bubble. But, it allows me to breathe deeply, and guilt-free.

FYI: Rolling through life from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determine the size of our “footprint.” It’s a mental disability of apathy (or honest ignorance): lack of consciousness and appreciation for our life-sustaining earth and her homies. Please educate yourself.

As Oprah quotes Maya Angelo, “When you know better, you do better.”

Might you consider changing one of your indulgencies, for the world’s sake?

 

GPS For Barriers

Today’s conversation is about barriers–wheelchair accessibility. Realistically, they’ll always be there; it’s important to have an alternate plan when you are confronted by one. I’m prescribing two do-s.

The first do is to b-r-e-a-t-h, not react.

You represent all disabilities. Huffy behavior and hateful words maim our name. If you must show your fanny, moon yourself before addressing the powers that be. Remember: They most probably had no say in accessibility regulations; and, you may be the only disabled person they ever met. Please, make it a pleasant experience.

The second do is: connect to your GPS, Good Problem-solving Skills. Here are a few of my peeves, along with their solutions.

Parking spaces: I know all landscapes can’t be leveled, but at least handicapped parking spaces SHOULD be on level ground. I wouldn’t mind wheeling a block just to avoid a teetering transfer. I love the look of charming cobblestone streets and brick sidewalks, but just like the measured lines in concrete sidewalks, rolling over them ushers in rat-a-tat-tat spasms for me.

Sometimes, this is unavoidable. But, when I have the choice of a handicap park on an incline or a level regular parking space, I choose level and wheel a little further. No big deal.

Air-pump hinge doors into restrooms: I bulldoze through these difficult doors that I otherwise can’t push or pull open. After my first entrapment, I patiently waited for a savior to enter. I now ask assistance from someone behind the sign-in desk or waiting room to listen for my, “Help!” to come rescue me.

When I’m in an auditorium or conference center, I remind a friend or person sitting next to me, “If I’m not back from the restroom in fifteen minutes, PLEASE come release me.”

Commode seats: What’s with the open-ended, horseshoe-shaped commode seats! Good luck? They trap my skirt tails, and their sharp molded edges are painful!

I have a GPS, but it’s a “Girls only.” (“Comment” me for my solution.) For you guys, it appears to be an anatomically obliging feature.

Hotel rooms: Traveling is always a roll-of-the-dice. I’ve figured out the places where I travel regularly, but for overnight or extended stays, hotel accessibility is like interpretive dance: “You mean what?”

Most hotels are accessible to the letter of the law—national regulations. When I request a roll-in shower, the floor is slanted toward the drain causing me to, literally, spin-a-wheel in my turns, sort of like an out-of-control dance. Then, there are the hotel beds that Jack (in the beanstalk) couldn’t climb into. What are the designers thinking!

Since I always have a travel companion, we call housekeeping for someone to assist them in heaving me into bed at night. Thankfully, I can slide out in the morning.

For those metal-encased glass doors I can’t budge when shopping, I yell to the first eyeball contact: “Can you please help me?” Please and help are good words. I use them often, with gainful returns.

What GPS assist you in circumventing physical barriers?

 

Blue Bird Days

For several years after embarking on my chariot (wheelchair) ride, I experienced a brooding sadness. No one knew about it, only me. After the second year, I pinpointed it to occur for a couple of months in the fall. It dissipated as subtly as it appeared.

In the third and final year, I realized it was a mild depression. This sadness resulted from my association with the month of my SCI, September, and the loss of participating in favorite fall activities and exhilarating winter sports. This realization began my resurrection.

I had already grieved the death of sojourning the remainder of my life via feet (although I do believe in miracles). Now, it was time to bury old dreams and resurrect new hopes.

I leased an apartment in a newly completed complex. I recall the prediction of a possible evening snow. With the late-night news came the announcement that, indeed, it was snowing.

I threw on a shawl, wheeled out to the sidewalk, and laid my head back as silent snowflakes sifted softly onto my face. I lingered there for the longest, drinking in the peaceful beauty, and praising God, out loud.

Yes, I remember wondering if my neighbors thought I was crazy; but my joy trumped worrying about what they thought. I missed the snow. Just because I couldn’t ski or cross country in it, didn’t lessen my delight. I was in heaven. (A “crippling” half-inch accumulation of snow caused all schools to be closed the next day. What?)

In recognizing my sadness, I could open the mental windows for fresh ideas to circulate. My desire to do something about it, to find happiness in other ways, was the door to my freedom. Choosing to make the emotional change adjusting to disability, put me on my healing path.

My first book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html , is a beginner course for you to recognize fresh ideas that will revive your hopes for a promising future after disability, resuscitate mental clarity for strength to push forward, and encourage you to open the door to the productive, fulfilling future that awaits you. It’s your choice.

Still, snow is rare in Alabama, but that doesn’t limit my experiencing it. Warren Miller Entertainment provides me vicarious thrills “catchin’ air” around the world. Mostly, they film heli-skiing and backcountry skiing, WAY beyond my expertise. But this way, everyday is a blue bird day on champagne powder for me!

“On your left!”

SWUSH!

Soul Soaring

What weighs 110-115 deadweight pounds and is shackled to the earth by 30 pounds of metal? ME!

I used to love leg wrestling; and I was good, weighing in at only 105 pounds. I never studied or was trained in wrestling techniques; I just knew how to take another off-balance. It’s at the waist—the center of gravity. As long as I could get one of their legs from under their center of gravity, it was my match. Whether scuffling in the yard or in water (pool, ocean, lake, or swimming hole), it made no difference, except for the landing; which brings me back to deadweight.

Thefreedictionary.com defines deadweight as, “The unrelieved weight of a heavy, motionless mass.” Yes. Motionless? Yeah, except for my Scream 5-ish open-mouth/empty eyes, ghostly white face go-i-n-g  d-o-w-n. THUD! Early on, I even did a “motionless” face-plant into my dinner plate, stimulated from a back spasm. I’m sure a couple of you resemble that.

Let’s, for a minute, cast our deadweight aside, lift-off in our weightless imaginations, and go soul-soaring. Let’s

…silently hang glide with eagles aloft cool mountain currents over verdant valleys below. Listen to the whistling wind as it strokes your hair and kisses your face.

…swish down steep powder trails on air-spring knees with ski-pole’s rhythmic propulsion and metronome timing as silent ice crystals melt on your face and crown your toboggan.

…glide silently beneath the frigid water’s surface gently tossed in its oscillating ebb and flow. Soak in voyeuristic vistas of fish’s synchronized movements as you fluidly float among them, hearing only your Darth Vader-ish breathe in surround-sound.

…with tight grip, slalom on a tranquil mornings’ smooth-as-glass cool lake waters, whose only ripple is the boat’s wake.

…take a running leap off a crusty lichen-covered boulder into the still lake thirty feet below, dropping deep, and deeper into its black abyss. Feel your chest swell as you pull the waters down to propel your body up. When you finally burst through the liquid cocoon’s surface, you gasp in depleted air!

…rise up from sweltering beach towel sunbathing to bolt across blistering foot-scorching sands. Dive into the shimmering ocean’s cooling waters.

…meditatively sit on a smooth protruding rock along the seashore. Close your eyes as crashing waves explode their exfoliating salt on your already sticky skin. Tune in to squawking seagulls soaring above the ocean’s roar. Open your eyes. Watch as they dive-bomb through the water’s surface for their favorite fare.

…lay back on a fallen tree trunk within an autumn leaves-blanketed wood. Shhh! Listen to the rustlings of scampering squirrels playing chase, the distant call of a hawk for its mate, and the watchful doe with her fawn.

Or, feel

…the heat of summer’s sun on your skin,

…the soothing warmth of bath water or its sting on your sun-burned skin,

…melting ice cool your overheated body,

…chill-bumps,

…a mosquito bite.

Now, go back to one of these never experienced sports, a long forgotten sensation, or your favorite activity. In your mind, dwell there for an expanse of time, as the morning sun rises or evening’s sun sets, in your favorite season, alone or with a special someone. It’s your story. You’re the writer, director, cinematographer, and star.

Let your soul soar, often. It’s good for you.

 

Chicago, Chicago

Chicago theater

(NOTE: This is more than my standard 500 or less words for my articles. I didn’t want a “To be continued” tease at its middle. So, grab a juice or flavored water. Travel with me.)

For me as a SCI, travel and dilemma are synonymous. I look forward to the fellowship and activities at destination’s end, but the tedious planning and knowledge that MOST plans will crash before realized encroaches upon my hyped anticipation.

This recent Chicago trip was planned around a rehabilitation conference to sell my first book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html . To make travel possible, my dear friend and European daughter, Sandy LeBihan (one of my international exchange students twenty years ago), planned a two-week vacation to fly across the pond for our visit and my business adventure. We hadn’t seen each other since her third visit in 2007.

We flew a direct flight in an Express—a VERY SMALL, plane. Don’t do it…unless you can get out of your wheelchair or are a paraplegic.

Normally when I fly, I am the only wheelchair traveler; but as we waited to board, there were four other wheelchair users at the gate. Waiting my turn to be strapped into the hard plastic 12-inch-wide isle chair to be bumped and precariously rocked on board, each of the others transferred themselves into it.  Obviously, they were paraplegics.

Of course, I’m going to inquire who they are and where they are going after Chicago. The serendipity is: One was competing in tennis and a couple in basketball at the Paralympics in London! Sandy just came from there, 6 days ago. (She’s French but has lived in London for the past 6 years.)

The horror that snapped me out of my awe was my “handlers!” Inept and obtuse can’t describe the experience or their training. On the other hand, at the Chicago end, I have never experienced two more trained, qualified, and intuitive handlers. When I informed them of my poor upper body strength, they snapped into a harmonious flow of precision I have never experienced before. I wish I knew their names to applaud them. Thank you, guys! Two other of the eight seemed to understand quadriplegia.

“GO Airport Express” (www.airportexpress.com) has wheelchair accessible ramped vans. They have a counter by baggage claims. Make round-trip reservations including them to pick you up at the airport and take you back for your return flight.

Everything I had prearranged with the hotel two months ago was not arranged. There was no accessible room available until the next day (I had specifically reserved one beginning on that date), a mile-high bed that the hotel “engineers” could not lower, and as I had requested—with the foreknowledge of the need, there was no one at the desk who could lift me into the “accessible” bed at night’s end. An hour later after three calls, a dear woman from housekeeping came up to assist Sandy in heave-hoing me in, as she did for the following four nights.

The best things about our room was the skyline lake view, and the cloud-soft beds. Sandy and I both tend to be insomniacs. We slept like babies.

The week-end conference was successful and a delight due to the skill and contagious personality of Gary Rainaldi, its organizer. I met some wonderful people, made several good contacts, and sold a lot of books.

Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday were scheduled with sight-seeing tours. Due to an hour-and-a-half wait for our “scheduled” taxi equipped with a wheelchair lift, we missed our Trolley tour. We waited two more hours to be told there were no more wheelchair accessible tours for the day. (After the fact, they were late because our hotel was twenty minutes from downtown. Their business is downtown where everything is happening. Stay downtown! But, Flash Cab Chicago, 773-561-4444,  was the best! Congenial and knowledgable of disability, the drivers were delightful.)

Sunday, we returned in the rain to be told the lift on that particular trolley was broken; there would be another trolley with a lift soon. An hour later, and after scrapping corroded metal from the wheelchair anchor locks in the Trolley’s floor, we saw Chicago—looking like drowned rats, but happy rats.

State Street

We traveled State Street where Batman rode his Bat mobile in “The Dark Knight.” (Many movies film on this street.) Somewhere on the tour, we passed the wreckage of 6 or 7 topsy-turvy police cars staged for the aftermath of a chase scene. And, we passed by Giordono’s, renowned as Chicago’s best pizza, although several boast the honor.

Overall, the Chicago Trolley (& Double Decker Co.) tour was informative and enjoyable. It was the hop on/hop off tour where you can get off or back on at fourteen allocated points to experience up-close-and-personal sight-seeing, shopping, and/or dining. If possible, plan the first morning tour to allow for this adventure. However, know the calculated arrival and departure times at each point or you might get stuck. The trolley sits for one minute at each stop.

A $35 ticket lasts for three days of trolley hop on/hop off sight-seeing. A tour without leaving the trolley lasts a couple of hours. If you have the time, ride the first day to pick points of interest where you would like to “hop-off” on other days. We didn’t have the time but were told getting off for a panoramic view of Chicago from the John Hancock Observatory was the exceptional one; there is also the Chicago Sky Deck in Willis Tower.

Sadly, due to so much waiting on the first day, we didn’t get to tour the museums or aquarium—my thing. For you shoppers, “the magnificent mile,” the northeast end of Michigan Avenue, is shopping nirvana.

Monday, blue skies returned for our 90-minute boat tour on the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan.

When I told Sandy that we would visit Chicago, her first thought was that she wanted to be on a boat like the scene with Julia Roberts’ and Dermot Mulroney’s characters in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” (She works with Universal Studios!) This was my highlight—after a dubious beginning.

Wendella Dock below Wrigley Bldg

Boarding for the Wendella is at Wendella Dock, the ticket counter, at the base of The Wrigley’s Building (yes, the gum). Boarding for the disabled, wheelchair bound, or aged is supposed to be at The Trump Dock. BUT, the street lift down to the ramped, accessible boarding was out-of-service for the week. No one knew this or warned us of the possibility when we purchased our tickets.

After two days of missed tours and delays, we arrived two hours before scheduled boarding. (Thank you, Jesus; we are teachable.) ANYWAY…learning that the street lift was closed, we entered Trump Towers inquiring how to descend to Trump Dock.

Trump Towers

To save you an hour of finally solved cunundrums, Gwen, one of the concierges, retraced our steps to realize the inaccessibility to the boat. She called for building security to unlock a private entrance from Trump Towers to allow us onto the Trump Dock. (We met a ninety-year-old woman here. By her looks and agility, I bet she could have boarded the Wendella by jumping.) Gwen had a couple of bottles of ice cold water waiting for us upon our return. Thank you, Gwen!

On this architectural tour, we had breathtaking up-close views, excellent live narrative about magnificent buildings, architecture, and Chicago’s rich history. We passed through

Chicago skyline from the Wendella on Lake Michigan

Chicago’s Lock into Lake Michigan to view Chicago’s entire skyline. I always looked for the Batman Building (John Hancock) with the two metal spires reaching heavenward, and Navy Pier.

(Adults $26, seniors $24, and children (11 and under) $13. The Wendella even had an open bar.)

Allow me to give kudos to my little hero, Sandy. This trip would not have been possible without her; not just for her physical presense accompanying me, but also for her astounding mental and visual memory. Whether taking directions, finding our way, remembering people’s names, streets, or buildings, she’s a human GPS. I love you, Sandy. Thank you!

I’m glad to be home.