Astonishing April Arc Activities and Fantastic Fiesta Memories! An ‘Egg-cellent’ Easter While Being Safe at Home with Family and going on Mystical Adventures with Queen Poppy!by jbragg | No Comments
I want to start this month’s blog by saying I hope that everyone is safe at home with their family members and guardians during this tiresome moment in time. I like to say thank you to Ms. Brooke K., the Chief Mission Officer at Morgan’s Wonderland and former Director of Community Services Case Management and Ms. Linda G., a Life Enrichment Instructor at The Arc. They gave me the courage to continue to write the in-house newsletter and this blog. Sometimes, during the saddest times of life, a person can lose their belief in their self. But all it takes is a friendly and loving reminder of who you are to help guide you out of the darkness of your thoughts and back towards the light that is inside your heart.
It has been a month since I have seen my fellow Participants or as I call them “my Arc brothers and sisters” and Staff Members at our second home, but I have been staying in contact with them through e-mails and FaceTime sessions.
During this time at home, I have been listening to audiobooks on the iTunes Store, (a software-based online digital media store operated by the Apple Incorporated in the Caster Chronicles book series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Creatures (2009,) Beautiful Darkness (2010,) Beautiful Chaos (2011) and Beautiful Redemption (2012.) The series follows Ethan Wate, a 16-year-old boy that dreams of leaving his small South Carolina town for something larger. At the start of the series he falls in love with Lena Duchannes, a new girl that is part of a secret section of humanity called Casters, people who are capable of working magic. They find that there are several obstacles to their love, most notably the social and cultural differences between their two societies and the fact that Ethan is incapable of touching Lena for extended periods of time without suffering a severe electric shock. Throughout the series Lena is troubled by the fact that she must claim herself as either a “Light” or “Dark” Caster on her sixteenth birthday and in the first novel she manages to perform a spell that prevents her from having to make this choice.
I also listened to the Walt Disney Press book series named, The Villains Series by Serena Valentino. These stories (that have to be read in order) are written from the point of view of the Disney’s animated film villains and villainesses. The first book in the series is: The Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, which was based on the Evil Queen from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The second novel, The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince, based on the character of Beast from Beauty and the Beast. This was followed by the d. This third book in the series, Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch, which is based on Ursula the Sea Witch, the villainess from The Little Mermaid. The fourth novel, Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy, written from the point of view of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. The fifth novel, Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch, written from the point of view of Mother Gothel, the villainess from the movie named Tangled. The sixth book is named, The Odd Sisters: A Villains Novel. The seventh book, Evil Thing: A Tale of that De Vil Women, written from the point of view of Cruella De Vil. The villainess from the movie named 101 Dalmatians is scheduled to be release on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020. Ms. Serena Valentino is currently at work on her eighth and ninth books in the Villains series. I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves magical stories and anything doing what the Disney characters.
This book series reminded me of one of my favorite television show named, Once Upon a Time which is also made by Disney. Once Upon a Time is an American fantasy adventure drama television series that aired on ABC from October 23rd, 2011 to May 18th, 2018. The first six seasons are largely set in the fictitious seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, with the characters of Emma Swan and Regina Mills as the leads, while the seventh and final season takes place in Seattle, Washington, in the fictitious neighborhood of Hyperion Heights, with a new main narrative led by Henry Mills and Regina. The show borrows elements and characters from Disney and popular Western literature, folklore, Greek mythology, and fairy tales. I have always love to read from the time that I was a little girl. In spite of my Cerebral Palsy, through the reading of books, I could swim with mermaids and fly dragons. One of my favorite quotes from one of my entertainment industry heroes, Walt Disney sums up my love of books: “There is more treasure in books than in all of the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”
On Saturday, April 11th, I had a watch party for the sequel of the DreamWorks and Universal Pictures’ 2016 computer-animated film Trolls named Trolls World Tour during a FaceTime session with my uncle and new aunt. Trolls World Tour was released in the United States in limited theaters on April 10th. Due to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, the film was also released for digital rental on the same day. It set several streaming records, including becoming Universal Pictures’ most successful day-one rental.
In the movie, Queen Poppy (played by Anna Kendrick), still adjusting to her new role as queen, receives a message from Barb (played by Rachel Bloom) that invites all Trolls to a party to unite their music. Her father, King Peppy (played by Walt Dohrn; also a co-director) tells the story of how the Troll tribes became scattered throughout their world Troll Kingdom. The six primary tribes each represented by a different style of music: Pop, Funk, Classical, Techno, Country, and Rock. The music is powered by a magical string kept by the leader of each tribe. Having separated their tribes following discord and disagreement over which style of music was the best, Poppy wants to help Barb unite the different forms of music, but both her father and Branch (played by Justin Timberlake; my favorite member of the boy band, N*SYNC) warn her not to trust Queen Barb’s intentions and to accept that the other Trolls are different. Poppy refuses to listen, sending a cheerful reply to Barb via Debbie, Barb’s pet bat. Unfortunately, Barb’s plan is to actually unite all the trolls under her music… rock.
Even since 2016, I fell in love with the movie Trolls. I love the humor and music in the first movie. My uncle and aunt were going to take me to see Trolls World Tour for my birthday gift. When the Stay at Home / Work Safe order came into effect, I came up with the idea of having a watch party with my uncle and aunt. We started the movie at the same time on my laptop computer and their television.
Because of the Stay at Home, Work Safe orders issued by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff in effect in San Antonio, the Participants are safe at home with their families and guardians. Mr. Michael B. (The Arc’s President and C.E.O.) said, “I hope this message finds you and your family safe and sound at this point in our battle against COVID–19. Here at The Arc of San Antonio, we miss the sound of our Participants, families, and team… our locations at West Avenue and Wurzbach Road are eerily quiet. We are looking forward to their return. Our team is healthy and focused on embracing the changes this situation brings to our mission, including going virtual. Please check out our website at:
www.arc-sa.org/covid-19response and social media channels for recommended activities for home use, the latest safety information, and referrals to a plethora of other organizations with online tailored materials for those we serve and their caregivers. We will continue to update this over the next few weeks as resources become available. We are working on a web page to update individuals and families on the latest safety information, in-house developed and other resources/recommended activities for home use, and referrals to a plethora of other organizations with online tailored materials for special needs individuals and caregivers.”
The Arc parents / guardians e-mailed in pictures of their Arc Participant(s) enjoying working on the activities such as: cooking, baking, gardening, reading, exercising and going on virtual museum tours and more to Ms. Sarah K. (Development and Communications Coordinator) at: email@example.com to be will shared on The Arc’s social media channels, so the Participants can see what each others are doing during this time apart.
With help from Ms. Sarah K., I collected pictures of The Arc Participants at home engaging in the activities featured on The Arc @ Home webpage for the April 2020 edition of the in-house newsletter. It was so great to see my friends in the pictures and it eased my mind from worrying about them.
My mother bought a special Sailor Moon version of the board game, Monopoly as one of my birthday gifts. Sailor Moon is my favorite Japanese superheroine of all time! We have been playing this game almost every day.
Sailor Moon is a fictional superheroine who is also the protagonist and titular character in the Sailor Moon manga (pronounced: mung-ga) Japanese comic book series written by Naoko Takeuchi. She is introduced in chapter # 1, “Usagi – Sailor Moon”, originally published in Japan’s Nakayoshi manga on December 28th, 1992, as a carefree schoolgirl who can transform into Sailor Moon, the de facto leader of the Sailor Guardians (a group of superheroines that are sworn to protect Earth that each individual has a planetary name and power, as Sailor Mars, etc.) She is initially believed to be an Earthling, but is later revealed to be the reincarnated princess of the moon kingdom named the Silver Millennium. She later discovers her original birth name, Princess Serenity. In the Sailor Moon manga and anime (Japanese animation) series, Usagi meets Luna, a talking black cat with a crescent shaped moon birth mark on her forehead (the golden crescent moon, was worn by all of the people in the Moon Kingdom’s royal family or associates) who is a devoted servant to Princess Serenity and advisor to her mother in her previous life, Queen Serenity. When the moon kingdom falls, she and another white cat advisor named Artemis are put into a long sleep and sent down to Earth to look after the Sailor Guardians, who are to be reborn there.
Part of Luna’s memory becomes suppressed, so that she must find the Sailor Guardians. She first encounters Usagi Tsukino and teaches her to become Sailor Moon, unaware that it is actually the reincarnated Princess Serenity. Luna also provides the Guardians with many of their special items, such as transformation wands. Luna discovers that Usagi is destined to save Earth from the forces of evil and gives her a brooch to transform into Sailor Moon, and asks her to form the Sailor Guardians, find their princess and protect the Legendary Silver Crystal. The Silver Crystal possesses tremendous power, capable of reviving an entire world from ruin, but the strain of using such power often costs the user her life – as the power actually derives from the life force of the Moon Dynasty, the members of which alone can actually use it. As Usagi matures, she becomes one of the universe’s powerful warriors and protects her adopted home planet, Earth, from villains who wish to harm it. Usagi is depicted as carefree and cheerful when at ease but quickly serious and strategic-minded when fighting.
Even though the Participants can’t be together at The Arc, they are still learning growing and being part of the community in virtual ways.
On Easter Sunday, I wore my rainbow-colored Easter Bunny ears and light blue Arc T-shirt to post my picture on my Facebook page. I hope that the picture would bring happiness into people’s lives during this time in the world. Also, my mom and I watched the Easter TV special, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! by Charles M. Schultz. Being a big Peanuts comic strip fan, this is my favorite Easter TV special to watch. While most of the Peanuts gang is busy getting ready for Easter, Linus futilely tries to convince them that it’s all a waste of time, and that the “Easter Beagle” will take care of everything. Only Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, believes him, although she remains skeptical after their Great Pumpkin misadventure on Halloween.
Peppermint Patty and Marcie attempt to color Easter eggs, but as it is Marcie’s first time, she does not know how. Their first attempt fails as Marcie fries the eggs on a griddle. The second attempt fails when she tries cooking more eggs on a waffle iron (for 4 of the eggs), then in a toaster (for 1 of them), and baking the rest of them (the same egg she tries toasting and the remaining 7) in the oven. In the third and final attempt, Peppermint Patty spends the last of her money on another carton of eggs, and in so doing explains to Marcie that the eggs are to be boiled, but instead of putting them in shells-and-all, Marcie puts the eggs into the pot of water (without the shells) resulting in egg soup. At the end of that attempt, Peppermint Patty is out of money and she and Marcie end up with no colored eggs (and cannot make any more attempts).
Woodstock wakes up shivering in his nest after a cold spring rain. He goes for help to Snoopy, who buys him a birdhouse. At first Woodstock hates it, but soon makes it over into a bachelor pad, complete with television, contemporary artwork, a sunken bed, modern furniture, and a quadrophonic stereo system. Curious to see more of the inside, Snoopy gets his nose stuck in the entry hole and accidentally shatters the birdhouse, and so he buys Woodstock another house.
Much to Schroeder’s chagrin, Lucy believes that Easter is the “gift-getting season,” so she decides to have her own private Easter egg hunt, painting and then hiding the eggs herself to find them on Easter morning. But unbeknownst to her, Snoopy follows close behind and snatches up each one of the eggs. Easter morning arrives, and so does the Easter Beagle, tossing eggs to everyone including Woodstock in his new birdhouse, to Lucy (whose hand Snoopy furtively shakes,) and even Peppermint Patty and Marcie. But by the time he gets to Charlie Brown, Snoopy has run out of eggs, and he gives Charlie Brown an embarrassed smile.
Peppermint Patty instructs Marcie to put salt on her egg and eat it (after telling Marcie that you eat the eggs after you have received them), which she does without removing the shell. After the Easter Beagle’s visit, Sally becomes a believer, but Lucy quickly realizes that the Easter Beagle gave her one of her own eggs; she is still brooding about it ten weeks later, and Linus suggests that she go and talk about it with Snoopy. She visits Snoopy’s doghouse to pick a fight, but Snoopy takes the fight out of her with a disarming kiss on the cheek.
On Friday, April 24th, Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, April 26th, my mom and I watched the Fiesta Flambeau, The Texas Cavaliers River Parade and the Battle of Flowers Parade on the San Antonio television channel KSAT 12. I remember that last year, the other Arc Participants and I and Staff Members decided that on Friday, April 26th, we would commemorate the Fiesta celebrations by gathering in The Arc’s Gym in “The Taste of The Arc” Fiesta Food Tasting Booths with our friends. The other Participants and I listened to songs from the late singer, Selena and Mariachi music, had fun hitting piñatas, and dressing up in Fiesta clothing. My mom painted my fingernails purple with multi-colored confetti glitter nail polish and I wore my favorite purple Fiesta shirt, my 2019 new Fiesta Medals (that I got from The Arc, McDonald’s, University Hospital and H-E-B) and my Fiesta mini purple bejeweled (by my mom) sombrero headband. I have seven Arc Fiesta medals so far, and I hope to collect more in the future.
So that was my month of April at home. My thanks, thoughts and prayers go to the first responders and virus victims and survivors around the world. I hope that everyone that reads Blog, remember to wash their hands, wear masks whenever you are outside and stay inside whenever you can. Please remember that even though we are separated, we are not alone. We are a big, bright and beautiful world and one day, we will shine once again.
One day, we will triumph over these heartbreaks and calamities and come back together as one world again in celebration. I wish for a rapid recovery and safety for everyone and remember that fear cannot be trusted, but love can be always trusted.
I will see you in my next Blog!