Friday, May 31, 2013

John Knows The Meaning Of Memorial Day

This blog post came to a friend of John’s today via an audio email. John is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder where all of the residents have access to an audio email system that allows them to send and receive audio emails.

Hey, this is your buddy John speaking. I was wondering if you want to come to visit any time you like, but I have softball on Tuesday so I play at 5:00. I know that this is really important to know if you want to come to my game, that’s OK. But, otherwise I’ll be thinking of you.

How was Memorial Day? I hope that you had a good time remembering the soldiers and to pray for them on Memorial Day. I was wondering if you could tell me a newer joke.

This is John working at his job at In Clover,
a Boulder company that makes pet supplements.

Here is the reply from John's friend.

Hi John,

Thanks for taking the time to send me the audio email. I also play softball on Tuesdays over at Stazio Field, but I just checked our schedule for next week and my game is not until 7:00 so I will come to Mapleton Field to watch you play at 5:00 next Tuesday, June 4th. 

I appreciate how you and all of your housemates and the staff make me feel so welcome whenever I visit. It means a lot to me when I am greeted with such enthusiasm, and I don't take it for granted.  I remember back in March when I had a concussion and I had to take some time off work but I came by one night just because I knew that seeing you and the rest of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome gang would pick up my spirits, and you all did, so thanks. 

I enjoyed Memorial Day and the entire weekend.  At church they had all of us who are veterans (I was in the Army for four years) stand up to be recognized.  It was nice but a little embarrassing because I never had to go to battle like all of the soldiers who died and what Memorial Day is about. I'm really happy to know that you are so aware of the meaning of Memorial Day, and yes, I did remember the soldiers and prayed for them.  My Uncle Louie, who I never met, died in World War Two.  My aunt gave me his Purple Heart award because she said I reminded her of Uncle Louie.  I pray for all of his buddies who died that day, January 15th, 1945, in Belgium.  I even pray for the German soldiers who killed him because everyone needs prayers.

So, here's a joke for you, I hope it's a new one for you.  "What did the water say to the boat?  Nothing, it just waved."  I'll see you Tuesday at your softball game, and thanks for letting me know what time you play. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jessica Talks About The Bolder Boulder

This blog post came to us Tuesday in a phone call from Jessica. Thanks to Tim Nielsen for providing us with the photo.

I walked the Bolder Boulder yesterday, and I made it through the whole race. I think I might have got myself on TV or in the newspaper. I got up at 4:30 am, and I rode the RTD bus to the race. My wave stated at about 9:15.

I had fun, but I wasn’t crazy about those sprinklers. When I came up on them I went off to the side to avoid them. I walked pretty fast, and my knee brace was helpful for the most part. I liked seeing people that I know. I enjoyed the hot weather. There was a lot of good music. I got to shake Elvis’s hand and he patted me on the head. I did some Irish dancing with other people who were walking.

It was fun riding the RTD bus, seeing places I used to work or live as we rode by them. During the race I passed the time thinking of friends at Labor Source, Yankees, my family, New York, certain sport teams, my church friends, and several other things. All in all it was a good day.

Jessica enjoying Monday's Bolder Boulder

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gabe's Creative Writing Story

This blog post is a story written by Gabe in a Creative Writing class offered by Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source department. Gabe's Instructor, Meagan, sent us the story and photo below. Gabe's story is a wacky article titled Mushy Untrustworthy Baby Stomps Flowers. Writing this story presented challenges to Gabe, who has difficulty seeing and steadying his hand, so he worked with an adaptive keyboard with large keys over a period of several weeks to get it typed.

Note: Usually, we correct misspelled words or grammar errors we find in submitted stories, but they were intentionally left here to demonstrate how few errors there are in this story and to acknowledge Gabe’s typing ability.

Mushy Untrustworthy Baby Stomps Flowers

Recent sightings of an enormous 50-foot mushy, untrustworthy baby have citizens Italy on edge and nobody’s flowers safe describes his experience with this monster baby, “I was standing in my yard working very hard on my flowers and the baby just came over and stomped my garden. Now all of my flowers and some of my shrubs are dead! I was very upset!” Reports coning in suggest that Gabriele isn’t this mushy baby’s only victim 200 people have complained about their flowers being stomped. What are the people if Italy going to do about this gigantic baby? How did it get so big? What’s more, who is going to change its diaper?

After doing some investigating, it was discovered that mad scientists at Rainbow Lab were trying to make a formula to help babies stop sucking their thumbs. In their experiment, something went terribly wrong and they accidentally turned the baby into a giant. Scientists are working feverishly to create an antidote for the baby and the community came together to build a giant crib to keep the baby contained. This newspaper will keep you updated on any developments with the giant baby. Your flowers are safe…. For now….

Gabe typing his story.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mandy Witnesses A Collision

This blog post was written by Mandy and was sent to us in an email by Ian, an Instructor in Mandy’s Creative Writing class at CORE/Labor Source.

The On the Air Incident
by Mandy 

      We were on our way home from KGNU, driving down Iris. We were about three blocks away from my house. A lady (we suspect, but don’t know for sure) was texting while driving. We all said, “Oh my gosh!” when the lady drove onto the sidewalk and ran into a telephone pole.

      We drove around her (she was right in front of us) and parked on the street. Ian ran back to see if she was O.K. Both of her airbags had deployed and her whole front bumper was in someone’s yard. Her windshield was broken.

      Thank goodness we weren’t involved. Another woman on the scene called the cops. I wonder if the woman lived at the house where the bumper slept. I imagine that whoever lived there said, “What the heck?!” when they saw the bumper.

      The driver stood to the side of her damaged car, holding her iPhone and wiping away her tears. We are now more aware of something that can happen if we text and drive. I’m just glad we weren’t involved in the accident, especially since Yeti (our van) is finally fixed.

Mandy writing a story in her room at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Donna Says Losing Weight Is Awesome

This blog post was sent to us last Saturday in an audio email from Donna, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome. Donna can send audio emails completely independently.

Hey people, this is Donna. I was just wanting to let you know that I went down to Pearl Street today and had my ring resized, and I got down to a size 6 and I’m pretty happy about that. It was really an awesome thing to find out, that I’d lost the weight in my finger. And I got to cruise down Pearl Street while I was doing that, and it was fun. Talk to you later. Bye bye.

Donna's housemate John congratulates Donna after she successfully
sent an audio email to her husband Gerald.
This is a photo of the computer screen as Donna was sending an
audio email to her husband Gerald.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Robert Writes About Bowling and Singing

This blog post came to us today in an email from Robert, who wrote this in an Assistive Technology class through Imagine!'s CORE/Labor Source department.

Dear Gary,

I went bowling and received a score of 177! I was very proud of myself for going that high. We went to a place called chippers lanes then came back to have lunch. We had Circle of Song class. (with CORE/Labor Source). My favorite song was “I’m Henry the 8th I am.”

Robert Strieby

This photo of Robert was taken today at a rehearsal for the
upcoming CORE/Labor Source performance on June 21. Robert
is singing John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chris Had A Good Time At The Zoo

This blog post came to us Saturday night in an audio email from Chris, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder.

Hey people, This is Christopher. I just want to let you know that I had a good time with Joan today. (Joan Handley is the founder of “Just for the Fun of It!” which offers tours and trips for people with special needs). I went to the zoo. I had a good time but got home a little bit late. OK, goodbye.

Monday, May 20, 2013

John And His Friend Exchange Emails

This blog post was sent by John to his friend Gary with an audio email Friday night, and Gary's reply to John is also included.

 John is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder where the residents have access to a program that allows them to stay in touch with friends and family by using audio emails.

With this computer program, when a someone sends a written email to a SmartHome resident, the program reads the email aloud to the SmartHome resident. This is a fantastic program for people with limited writing or reading skills.

Hey Gary, Happy Friday to you. I’m giving you this message and I hope that you write me back. I always like you a lot and I have a few good jokes.

OK. One is, “What happens when a dog loses its tail?” “It goes to the retail store.”

Another one is, “How come people never play cards in the jungle?” “There’s too many cheetahs.”

One more is, “How do you stop a skunk from smelling?" “You pinch its nose.” Well, have a good night. Bye bye.
John at this year's "Spread the Word to End the Word" event.

And here’s Gary’s reply to John.

Hi John, As always, it is nice to hear from you. I hope to see you tomorrow if you are able to go to the Innovations Advocacy Council meeting. I'm stopping by to take some pictures.

You sure had a neat batch of jokes in this email, thanks a lot. I will use the one about why people don't play cards in the jungle this summer when I'm playing cards with some college friends on our camping trip. I will tell them playing cards with them reminds me of being in the jungle because there are so many cheetahs.

I hope you had a good weekend. I didn't do anything too exciting but I went to church Saturday and Sunday. Also, I took a hike after work Friday evening and then again on Sunday. Jim from CORE/Labor Source and a college buddy of mine named Mike went on Friday, and then on Sunday it was just me and Jim. We saw three blue herons, some hawks, geese, and ducks, and an osprey flew right over us too. We often see deer, coyotes, and have seen eagles, owls, and lots of other birds. Oh, we saw a bird Friday that was green, yellow, and red. It is called a tanager, and it sure was pretty. I watched some of the Rockies games too and on Saturday afternoon, I got to do one of my favorite things, I had time to take a nap.

Naturally, it's not all fun and games. I had chores to do also over the weekend, like mowing the lawn, doing laundry, shopping, and some house cleaning. I will be seeing you John, and thanks again for the email.
Your friend Gary

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jessica's New Job, Yankee Game, And More

This blog post came to us with a phone call from Jessica, who receives support services from Imagine!.

"Yesterday I started working at the Flower Bin in Longmont (with CORE/Labor Source). It’s a temporary, seasonal job. We fold boxes and put them on a cart and take them where they’re needed. We might water plants or weed plants too.

Last week at the Yankee game during the rain delay we got shelter away from the lightning. I did get soaked but it was still fun for the most part. I had a feeling the Yankees would pull it out.

Last night I worked in the garden in our back yard. I pulled weeds and took some fallen branches out of the garden. We planted beets, tomatoes, onions, and a few other things.

In the Special Olympics I did good for the most part.  I got first place in the softball throw and baton relay, and second place in the running long jump.

Last Tuesday, May 14, was my anniversary with Labor Source. It’s been 17 years.

Bye for now."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Donna Donates Her Ponytail To Locks Of Love

This blog post came to us through an email from Whitney Vaught, one of the staff members at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder.  Donna, one of the residents at the home, had requested getting her hair cut, so Whitney obliged.  The story is below. 

Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome resident Donna has been thinking of getting her hair cut, and just Monday, she not only got a haircut but had 13 inches of her hair taken off.

Pictured is Donna with Whitney, who is holding the ponytail that Whitney cut off.   When asked if she had kept the ponytail as a souvenir, Donna, in a matter of fact tone told us that she had donated her hair to Locks of Love, a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

Just last night Donna told us that she is very happy to have her hair shorter, and that life is just easier with her hair shorter.  

Donna's husband Gerald assured us he likes her new hair style too.

Whitney holds Donna's ponytail after Donna requested having it cut off.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rebecca Teaching Therapy Dog To Roll Over

This blog post came to us in an email today from Chantelle Tweten, the site supervisor of the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome. Since last November, Raven the therapy dog has been coming to the home with a physical therapist to help Rebecca with her balance strength (and to have some fun too).

In the photo, Rebecca is teaching Raven the therapy dog how to roll over. Right now Raven likes to roll half way and then ask for a treat. Rebecca is helping Raven to learn the full trick.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anthony Describes His Former Drywall Job

This blog post is from a conversation with Anthony, who is a resident at the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont. We were discussing various jobs we’d had.

"I used to do drywall with a friend. I would pull my wheelchair up against the wall my friend was working on, and I would brace it with my chair and my arm. Then my friend would hammer it in and I’d hold it steady. You have to make sure you don’t get a bubble in the tape when you’re putting it on, or you will have problems later. It was a good job, but we got pretty dirty at times."
This is Anthony on vacation a couple years ago.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gerald Thrives With A Dynavox Communication Device

This blog post came to us in an email from Meagan Rountree, who at the time was an Instructor in Gerald’s CORE/Labor Source Creative Writing class. Here is some background information Meagan sent us, and below that, in italics and bold, is Gerald’s article.

“Recently, Gerald presented a Mission Moment at the Assistive Technology Partners which talked about his use of his Dynavox communication device and how he has benefited from having it. It shows a lot about his journey, his challenges and his success. Gerald was responsible primarily in creating and typing this story. He gave me messages in his device to steer me in the direction he wanted to go. I would help him word things and he would agree or disagree with my suggestions. I then hand-wrote our final draft on a piece of paper which Gerald then copied on the computer using his device keyboard which is interfaced to the computer.

Having my device has improved my life in many ways. My device helps count inventory at my job so I can be a functional member of the team. It gives me opportunity to express myself to my staff friends and members of the community and learn about others which helps me build relationships. I love to tell people about myself and my wife using my device sometimes I struggle with my device because it only contains pre programmed messages. Sometimes there is something I want to say but don’t have a message that expresses it in my device at this I either find another message to express it or reller (rely) on verbal speech which represents its own challenges and requires patience and problem solving on behalf of the person I’m talking with. Overall, the benefits of having my device outweigh the limitations and challenges it can present.

These photos of Gerald were taken a few months ago
at a CORE/Labor Source Creative Writing class.

Gerald uses a finger switch to type.

This is Gerald's typing station, which is set up so he can type what is written above.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

David Is Not Ready To Retire From Softball

This blog post was given to us by David during a phone call he made to a friend yesterday. David had called to remind his friend about a potluck they were going to at the Lafayette bowling alley, and they got to talking about softball and other sports and David’s friend mentioned how it’s not so easy to play when we get older.

“I’m a tough old bird for 54 years old. They’re going to need a fork lift to carry me off the softball field. I’m not ready to retire yet.”

David recently volunteered to be a model for an Imagine! shirt.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jessica's Upcoming Plans: The Yankees & More

This blog post came to us through a phone call from Jessica today.

I have some exciting news. Tomorrow I’m going to the Yankees/Rockies game with my dad. We’re both Yankees and Rockies fans. We’ll sit behind home plate, and I’m hoping to get there early enough to try to get some autographs. I haven't decided if I'll wear just Yankees gear or if I'll wear both Yankees and Rockies gear.

Then on Friday I’m going to dinner with my step-brother. We’re going to a Mexican restaurant.

On Saturday, I will get up early and leave for Broomfield at 7:30 am. I will be competing in the track and field regionals for Special Olympics. I throw the softball pretty well, and will also be in the running long jump and the 100 meter baton relay, where four of us will each run 100 meters.

I’m continuing to practice for the Bolder Boulder. My knee is feeling pretty well but I’ll wear my knee brace for the Bolder Boulder.

I’d appreciate it if you could put this on the blog, and if so, can you make me a copy of it?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

John Says "Jack the Giant Slayer" was cool

This blog post was sent via an audio email by John to his friend Gary.

Hi, this is John. I went to the Cinema Grill, it was fun. I saw “Jack the Giant Slayer.” It was about a beanstalk. I thought that was really cool but it was a little bit scary.

Anyway, I just want to tell you hi, and if you want to call me that’s fine too. Otherwise, come over sometime again, and I always like to have you take a picture.

Here’s a good joke. “What is a deer that has no eye?” “It’s no eye deer (no idea).” I hope that you understand that one. OK, bye.

This is John posing for a photo about to be taken by his housemate Gerald
at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder, CO.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chris Is Happy to Spend Time with His Sister

This blog post came to us Saturday night via an audio email from Chris, who is a resident at the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome where all the residents have access to an audio email account.

Hey, I’m happy because I’m going to be having a good time with my sister, and today I went with Joan Handley’s group (Just for the Fun of It) and I had a good time. We went to watch a movie and ate. Good bye.

Friday, May 3, 2013

John's Lunch At Casa Bonita

This blog post came to us via an audio email a few days ago from John, and we got a little additional information from John during a phone call to him just ten minutes ago.


Guess where I went yesterday? I was in downtown Denver with my housemate Chris. I had to go out to eat in the restaurant just for the fun of it. I had a good time. We went to Casa Bonita and I had a hamburger and fries. They have a waterfall there and a lot of other fun stuff.

Anyway, I have a good joke. “Why is six afraid of seven?” “Well, seven –eight (ate)-nine.” I think you heard that before. Anyway, have a good night. Bye bye.

This is John stretching before a recent yoga class.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Artists Prepare For June Art Show

These photos came to us in an email from Erika Alvis, CORE/Labor Source Program Coordinator. Erika took the photos at a CORE/Labor Source art class, where the artist/consumers are preparing for an art show and theater performance that will be at the Dairy Center for the Arts located at 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder on Friday, June 21. The art opening and reception will begin at 5:00 pm, with refreshments provided by the Dairy Center for the Arts. The performance will begin at 7:00 pm.

Gerald is learning to mix colors with Art Instructor Bridget
in preparation to paint a canvas for the art show,

Lindsey is delicately mixing colors with the assistance
of Art Instructor Bridget.

Joey is carefully creating his canvas masterpiece
for the art show at the Dairy Center.