Annie Laurie Harris, the oldest one of her ethnicity who lives independently, was born with cerebral palsy. She has defied the odds and challenged the medical prognosis since early childhood. She continues to live a full and active life in her 6th decade. After achieving her Master's Degree at Penn State University in 1985 she worked as a counselor and advocate for those with a history of chemical dependency. In 1990, she was recruited by the prestigious World Institute of Disability to be the Assistant Director of the first HIV/Disability Project. Her grant writing expertise is second to none as private foundations funded her innovative research projects again and again. Since returning to her home state of PA where she lives near her beloved alma mater, Ms. Harris continues to be involved in her community and avidly supports the Penn State athletic program. Once again,her love of writing helps to supplement her income. Her groundbreaking memoirs, It's Easier to Dance, is provocative and thought provoking.What Do You Do All Day?
This is a common question that I am sometimes asked. More often than not, I have learned it was assumed that I didn’t do much at all. Let me take you through a typical week in the summer since that’s the season we’re in right now.
My favorite time of day is the early morning and I spontaneously wake up round 5:30 a.m. I thank God for one more day of life as I make my “must have” cup of coffee and pray a prayer of thanksgiving. I am at my computer by 7:00, typing in my online journal or starting a post for this blog that I may or may not finish. During summer I drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast, made by my aide or myself, depending on how steady I feel which varies from day to day. The morning usually includes some form of physical exercise, as if typing wasn’t enough given the time it takes to control my hands! Mon, Wed & Fri I exercise in the theraptic pool at Penn State. Tues & Thurs, I walk with my walker in a nearby park and/or use my exercise band to keep core, leg and arm muscles toned and flexible as possible. Lunch is my main meal as I prefer to eat lighter in the evening. I really enjoy cooking! My aides allow me to “use” their hands to make meals from scratch. I usually rest in the afternoon or go to any scheduled appointments.I keep up with national news and current events by reading online articles from a vbariety of sources, especially those issues impacting the lives of us who are disabled. Then, of course, there is SPORTS! I’m already anticipating the college football season and how it will be different for my Penn State Nittany Lions given the events of the last 8 months. I’ll spare you who are reading this the details. Summer evenings are spent enjoying plays, movies or just riding my scooter to my favorite spots on campus. The sun sets near the recently built Law School Building which is beathtaking!
Of course, high humidity and barometric pressure can leave me in pain. On those days, I just relax and take comfort in knowing that tomorrow will probably be better.If any of you have some questions, please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer them.
Annie has a contest to give away a Kindle Fire.
Website and Blog: http://www.annielaurieharris.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/psuannie