Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Magic Happens When You Dare to Voice a Crazy Idea

Filed under: Motivation — by at 11:14 pm on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Internationally Known Author and Motivational
Speaker on Disabilities, Glenda Watson Hyatt,
to Climb Art Museum Steps, Rocky-Style,
with Help from Wish Upon A Hero and
The Original ‘Rocky,’ Chuck Wepner

The steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, courtesy of Google Maps

WHAT: Glenda Watson Hyatt, an author and blogger who has cerebral palsy, will fulfill a dream on her bucket list by climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the assistance of Wish Upon a Hero and Chuck Wepner, boxing champ and inspiration for the Rocky films, and the inspiration for the Rocky Films and 30 caped volunteers, a five-piece jazz band and a Rocky impersonator.

WHEN: Saturday, July 28, 2012
9:30 – 10:30am (eastern time zone
10am climb up steps begins

WHERE: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Steps
Benjamin Franklin Parkway

WHO: Glenda Watson Hyatt – author, blogger
Dave Girgenti, founder, Wish Upon a Hero
Chuck Wepner, boxing champ and heavyweight contender who went the distance 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali
30 Caped volunteers
Rocky Spirit
Rocky Impersonator

CONTACT: Carol Lunger, Star Group Public Relations


Glenda Watson Hyatt, author of I’ll Do It Myself, and known as the ‘Left Thumb Blogger,’ has cerebral palsy. She has dreamed of climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art just as Sylvester Stallone did in the movie Rocky. Summiting the steps has become symbolic of overcoming obstacles of all kinds. For Glenda, who is unable to walk without support, the climb will be a mental AND physical accomplishment.

Glenda here: I am totally blown away by the response I have received since I voiced, “I would like to climb those steps.” I didn’t have a clear reason for wanting to do it; other than “because I can, with help,” and “Why not?”

The response, particularly from the team at Wish Upon A Hero, has been way more than I could have ever imagined. A five-piece jazz band?! And…a boxing champion who went the distance with Mohammed Ali! I never would have dreamed that.

I am really excited about Saturday and I imagine many, many photos and videos will be taken and will be shared soon afterwards. For those on Twitter, the official hashtag for this event is #RockyWish.

If you are not able to join us in Philly on Saturday, I still hope you will experience the spirit of Rocky Balboa. I challenge you to go try something new, something different. It doesn’t matter what it is; big or small, it doesn’t matter. Share your “Rocky” moment in a comment below, in a blog post with a link back, in a tweet using the hashtag #RockySpirit, or whatever.

After returning from Pittsburgh (after Philadelphia), I’ll be enjoying a much needed staycation until August 15th. I’d love to come back to a barrage of comments, posts and tweets about your experiences.

Go grab life by the…gloves!  Winking smile

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Lights. Camera. Take 2.

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 2:00 pm on Monday, July 23, 2012

Since doing the on-camera interview last week, I have been wondering how I can minimize “MASS” – “media-amplified spaz syndrome”, a term offered by fellow CPer Spashionista, that I am so stealing!

MASS bugs me. Every time any camera in the vicinity is turned on, MASS kicks in. It doesn’t allow me to put my best self forward. That isn’t to say I don’t have spaz out moments when there isn’t a camera around, because I do. Peanut butter often goes flying off of the knife at breakfast time in our house. Sometimes I think I could have acquired Parkinson’s Disease and not even know it by of my shaky cerebral palsy. MASS is more pronounced than the everyday spaz outs.

Anyway, the interview was done in two parts: 1) the question and response segment, and 2) the online demonstration segment. For the first part, the interviewer sat off-camera and asked me the questions. I responded with my prepared responses that were on my iPad, on my lap. The thing is, once I tapped play, I wasn’t sure what to do while the device spoke my response. I knew not to look at the camera, but rather to look at the interviewer. But what should I do? 1:30 minutes is a long time to sit still, especially with athetoid cerebral palsy. I remember Roger Ebert being quite animated while using his device when being interviewed by Oprah. I am sure that had I tried that, it would have looked like an extreme spaz out.

Likewise, during the demo, I went through a section of my previous week’s presentation because it addressed one of their questions. (Did I re-use content? You betcha!) Typically when I deliver a presentation, I make eye contact with members of the audience. That seems to (slightly) minimize the spazing. But this time I didn’t have an audience; only a few people watching from behind me, trying not to make a sound. Once again I didn’t know what to do. Do I stare at my computer screen and laugh at my own humorous bits? Or do I stare mindlessly out the window? What do I do?

After much thought and pondering, I have concluded that a portion of (perhaps an extremely small portion of) MASS in this particular situation is due to not knowing what to do, where to focus my attention. When talking people give an interview, ideally they focus on what they are saying and how they are saying it; that might help to divert some of their nervousness. Butt when a device on my lap is speaking for me, I don’t have the same diversion; I have time to focus on the fact that a really expensive camera is capturing every jerky movement, which, in turn, makes me even more self-conscious.

Once again I need to learn the rules and then figure out how to adapt them to fit my own jerky needs. Either that or write my dang own rules…before the next film crew encounter…!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Lights. Camera. Action! …But not quite that much, please!

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 6:51 pm on Thursday, July 19, 2012

Glenda demonstrating her computer while the camera man recordsYesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming the film crew from the Fetzer Institute into our home and my home office.

This wasn’t the first time a film crew had been in my home. The first was many, many moons ago when the National Film Board of Canada filmed On Top of the World. (Oh, that brings back happy memories!)

And yesterday was likely not the last time I will welcome a crew with a mondo video camera into my home, but that is another post…quite possibly in the not distance future… Smile

But it was the first time I had done an on-camera interview! Once again my iPad was put to the test. I was given the interview questions ahead of time and, after writing my text responses in Microsoft Word, I used TextAloud to convert the text to speech. I then emailed the audio files to myself on my iPad.

Audio files in an email on my iPad

When I was asked a set question during the interview, I tapped the appropriate audio file and “Kate” spoke my response perfectly. I so love my Kate! We have done so many wickedly awesome things together.

But the one phenomenon that I really, really, really don’t like is how my body goes into “spaz out” mode whenever a nearby camera is turned on; the more expensive the camera, the more pronounced the “spaz out” mode. And telling myself to relax only accomplishes putting more focus on my body’s unintentional movement, which amps up the movement even more.

I have often wondered whether mastering a few acting techniques would aid in muffling this mind-body disconnect. This is something I would like to learn before I interact with the next film crew, so that when “Action!” is called, only intended action is put forth, or, less unintended action is caught on video.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Jet Planes, Universal Design, Love and Forgiveness: Connected…Somehow

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 3:04 pm on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bags are packed and two presentations are about to be loaded onto my laptop, assuming I can resist this compelling urge to rewrite the rote-feeling introduction. Tomorrow I am off to San Jose to present to a group of web engineers at a large financial institution, and then at Open Web Camp IV on Saturday. I’m definitely getting my geek on this weekend!

I am then home for less than two weeks before heading out for my Philadelphia-Pittsburgh adventure. Climbing the “Rocky” steps in the midst of a heat wave: who’s brilliant idea was this?

In those few days in between trips, I am not only unpacking, washing clothes, re-packing, and getting re-organized; I am also getting my home office and adjacent living space ready for a film crew. Yep, a film crew!

The Fetzer Institute is producing a short (5-minute) documentary on web accessibility, which will be shown at their Global Gathering For Love and Forgiveness in Assisi, Italy in September, then subsequently made available on their website, YouTube, etc. Their production crew for the film has impressive credentials. The script writer in particular has done work for Frontline, MacNeil/Lehrer, NOVA, and others.

I am one of their interviewees. How I get myself into these things, I know not. Smile

Thankfully I have already received interview questions and I will prepare my responses in text-to-speech, likely to be played on my iPad during the video interview. But one question requires some deep, reflective thought, which I haven’t had a chance to do, yet. I pose the question to you, my wise and insightful readers; consider this crowdsource thinking…

The Fetzer Institute’s work focuses on realizing and cultivating the power of love and forgiveness in people’s lives. Do you feel there is a connection between universal design, love, forgiveness?

Discuss in the comment section below while I go triple check that I have my passport, iPad charger, and…

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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