Halloween Carnivals

This past month I’ve volunteered at two carnivals in neighborhoods in Atlanta.One wasn’t really for Halloween; it was a neighborhood bake and craft fair in the area where the charter school that my school has an affiliation with is.

I don’t know what income the housing area is, but my guess would be low. The fair consisted of several rented carnival games, with dollar store prizes. The food was homemade by the neighbors and varied in quality. It was good, but it made me miss festivals at home with my brother catering with his huge grill. Still, the kids there had fun and the neighborhood had a good time.

Today I volunteered at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Georgia’s Halloween carnival at Marist. It was obviously better sponsored, prizes from TV stations (we had to remove the “So Sexy—Court TV” wristbands from the prize options!), Mellow Mushroom pizza, ice cream (no sugar added).

I don’t even think it was a higher budget thing, because my guess is that much of it was donated, although the insulin pump display people may have paid for their tables. It was just interesting to see the difference between the two carnivals, both of which were for very good causes with very cute kids but in very different neighborhoods with extremely different demographics.

I have to say, I have a great empathy for the kids with diabetes. My sorority sister who has it (the instigator of this project) and I often commiserate about the woes of healthcare problems, but she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of eleven, so she wasn’t affected as a young child. But these kids know their health problems as well as I knew not to play rough at recess. To watch out for stairs.

But they’ll make mistakes. Eat the wrong thing. Fall down. And their moms will learn that they can’t always look out for them. And they’ll one day, maybe at eighteen in a dorm room somewhere, have the realization that while it may never go away there will come a time when managing it becomes second nature and things will be okay.

And my heart breaks in the same way it does when i speak to the mother of the little boy who has Dermatosparaxis, because I wish they didn’t have to do it.  But, then again, maybe they too will have that little bit of pride that comes from learning how to better take care of a body that attempts to foil your every move, you know?

This blog started out being about Atlanta neighborhoods and demographics, and it turned into disability-ness. What do you expect from the gimp kid? :D

FYI, my cough’s much better and my arm is almost better. Still swollen, but the lack of pain sings the praises of the antibiotic! Woo!

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Keep Breathing

What did you do with your Saturday?

I met Ingrid Michaelson

sonya, Ingrid Michaelson and i

Yeah. That’s right. Featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Cast-On. And the Old Navy commercials. Best music ever, my Live Journal layout, my ringtone, my idol, Ingrid Michaelson.

So, the story. A few weeks ago, I was on her website, seeing if she had a blog about the Old Navy Commercial, in case people said she was selling out (people are idiots). And I saw that she was touring with Matt Nathanson. On the page I looked further and saw that she would be in Atlanta. So of course, I had to be there. It wasn’t really a choice.

I texted Sonya to see if she’d go with me, because I am, unfortunately, unable and unwilling to go to concerts by myself, too many crazies. She said she’d go, so I bought the tickets. Doors opened at eight, no seating assignment on the ticket confirmation. I figured, hey, we’ll play the disability card, get up close and that’ll be good.

When I called the Box Office yesterday they informed me that it was standing room and they’d do what they could. Well, I wasn’t willing to give it up just because of that, but I was slightly disheartened. Standing for long periods of time is not something that works well with me.

But, Sonya picked me up and we went up to the venue. In the parking garage they demanded $15, which we did not have, so we went up in an attempt to find our way out. Two guys who “worked there” answered our queries about handicapped parking with a “you can park near the elevator”. No shit. They also told us they had keys to the elevator. We were not comfortable with their chaperoning skills, let us say, but by the time we parked near the elevator they had left.

We got out and went into the place, but had to go back outside and around the block to get in line. We were in between a very dumb girl and her friend and two gay guys who were there in the hopes of getting in. Oh. And there was a very large black man going up the line asking to buy tickets, (who Sonya christened Bubba) who had a pale pink and purple Jansport backpack.

Eventually the line moves inside, up some stairs (more fun for me!) and into the venue. Where the stage is on one side, the bar on the other and a million people between. We decided to hover near the edge so that I didn’t get trampled. A woman told me I had nice hair and touched it, always a plus.

But then Ingrid came on and started with Far Away, my favorite song, and I could not stand in the back unable to see. Just no. So, in the way that I get first in line for Harry Potter books I took Sonya’s hand and started to maneuver. There is something to be said for people who like the music of Ingrid Michaelson, they seem to be nice people, as I ended up about two rows of people back from her without getting hit or stepped on.

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She sang Far Away, one song I didn’t recognize (and I have both albums….), Breakable, The Way I Am, Overboard and Keep Breathing. I would have been happy if the entire show were her.

When she was done, Sonya and I were starting to leave, because as good as Matt Nathanson may be (I have no idea, having never heard him), I could not stand that whole time. When Ingrid said she’d be there for people to meet etc I thought it would be after the show. But then we ended up in a line near the selling of stuff place. And when we asked what the line was for a woman (not to patient, but whatever) said “To meet Ingrid”.

So we stayed in line, in front of three girls who said that it would have been far better if she had sang the whole concert (as I agreed). And then we met her. And all I could say was “I’m Chelsey and I love your music”. Didn’t even think to mention Cast-On. But I met her. And took a picture with her. And it’s amazing. I’ve never been the star-stricken bumbling girl (well, maybe with the Harlot), but this was awesome. And also only my second real concert.
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So, worry about not even getting to go, being late not so great with the standing, and the almost getting hit by a purse (pursed, as it were) in the head, and the lameness of the venue (shady, downtown Atlanta). But I ceased to care, because I saw her, met her, got pictures. And maybe one day this kid in a dorm room in Atlanta will inspire another girl who aspires to be something. If I become a writer or something. Pass it on and all.

The only thing I’m sad about is I have to wait and order a t-shirt online. They didn’t take cards. (Who carries cash any more?). That and $!5 plus ATM fees for parking.

Tomorrow I get to volunteer at a kids’ Halloween carnival with my sisters, and get the looks and the questions. But whatever. My weekend is made. Heck, my month is made. :D