I like the freedom of art!

image by Dan Phillips Photography - Cedar Falls, Iowa

image by Dan Phillips Photography – Cedar Falls, Iowa

My name is Rosa and my name means pink in Spanish.  I like it when people spell my name with a Z (Roza).  My birthday is in March and I am from Olean, New York and I grew up in Pennsylvania.  For a while I lived with my grandma in Florida – I loved the beach, but I didn’t like many of the people there.  So far Waterloo is my favorite place to live and I plan to retire here when I am older.

I live in an apartment in Waterloo with my three roommates – I am pretty good friends with two of them.  We cook supper together and sometimes we cook-out for special occasions.  I am the only roommate that gets to come to wonderful North Star.

I like to watch T.V. – I like “Two Broke Girls” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”  We play a lot of cards and we play games like UNO, Skip-Bo and Phase 10.   My favorite color is magenta.  I like dogs and horses and I liked the movie, “Secret Life of Pets.”

I really like art!  I like to make word collages.  I like the freedom of art and I can let my mind explode on paper.  Whatever I am thinking or feeling can go on paper. I got to be in North Star’s art show and this is what I made for it.

Rosa's Word Cloud

Rosa’s Word Cloud

I like movies!

IMG_3332My name is Taylor P.  I went to River Hills School and live in Waterloo with Mom & Dad.  I have three brothers, Trevor, Jordan, and Dakota and one sister. She’s a cheerleader at West High School.  One of my brothers works at Hy-Vee and has his own apartment.

I was in Employment Services, but started in Day Habilitation on Monday.  Yesterday we got to go on an outing to Hansen’s Dairy.  The calves were licking my fingers.  They had twin calves named Star and Wars.  I like all the Star Wars movies; “Return of the Jedi” is my favorite.

I get to watch the dogs and my sister’s dog grabs shoes and then gets in trouble.  I take the dogs outside to go.  This morning it was raining and we have to clean their paws off.

I LOVE to go to the zoo!  My favorite is the Omaha Zoo and I like the gorillas!  One time one of the gorillas at the zoo broke the glass on their window.

We went to Orlando in 2009 and 2013.  I went to Disney World – you should visit it!  And Magic Kingdom has the “Small World.”  We found a vacation home in Florida with a huge tub!  And Florida has palm trees and we ate at Chili’s.

And I went to San Antonio, Texas to see my uncle.  There was the River Walk and Sea World.  I saw the Marine Mammals Show and there was a walrus with big tusks!

Also we went to Walker, Minnesota.  There was a candy store and we got pizza at Benson’s (Emporium) and went to Reed’s.

I like movies.  I like the five Ice Ages movies.  I want to see “Storks” this fall and “Trolls” in November.

I like to crochet!

DianaI am Diana.  I have lived all my life in Waterloo.  I live in Waterloo with my husband, James.  My birthday is in August when it is hot outside.  James’ birthday is in September.  We have a two-bedroom, two stall garage house that we rent.  The landlord does a good job of fixing stuff and keeping it up-to-date.  We get someone to shovel because I can’t do it no more with my arthritis and bursitis.

I have been married for 15 years!  Me and James got married at the courthouse.  I met him at Joker’s and he wanted me.  He does everything with me.  James cooked for me – he made a diabetic bake with cauliflower and parmesan cheese – reduced fat parmesan cheese.  He isn’t diabetic, but he eats the same as me – it’s good for him to be healthy too.

I found a website with good, healthy recipes.  I saw one to make tacos with Manwich Sauce and you put a little cheese on them.  I want to try that.  Simple.  I make meatloaf out of turkey – you have to put some stuff in there to make it stick together and then I put it on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven.

I like to bake too.  I make cookies out of diabetic brownie mix.  Did you know you could do that?

I got an Iowa Hawkeye Rose Bowl t-shirt at Hy-Vee.  It was cheaper than the other stores – only $8.  Me and my husband got one.  It was our Christmas present together.

My older sister gave me her Timex watch, she didn’t want it.  She is 57 and she has arthritis too – it runs in my family.  I also have a younger brother and a brother in Heaven.  My grandparents on both sides and parents are gone now, but I go and visit them.  I have their wedding picture by my bed.

I like to shop.  I like to go shopping for crafts.  I crochet.  I make potholders, and I made me a scarf.  I made a Hawkeye throw blanket and now my husband wants one, too.  I sometimes use a wooden crochet hook for when my hands get sore – you know arthritis.  I also like to do beads – I made a bracelet and necklace.

Jordan reports on the Holidays

Jordan’s Cornerjordan

Holiday traditions vary widely around the world as well as within our little community of North Star. This month I decided to learn about some of these traditions. I researched several countries and interviewed both staff and consumers to find out what they do for the holidays. This is what I found:

Food during the holidays is as important as it is diverse. Jerry C. (consumer from Advantage) likes the traditional holiday meals. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and scalloped corn are his favorites. In contrast, traditional Catholics from Southwest India typically fast (don’t eat) from December 1st to the midnight service on December 24th. That’s almost a whole month of not eating!! A traditional Romanian Christmas dish is the ‘ciorba de perisoare’ which is a slightly sour vegetable soup made with fermented bran and pork meatballs. I don’t know which is worse, not eating or eating that! I’ll stick to the turkey and mashed potatoes, thank you very much.

Many families play games around the holidays. Rachel (Advantage coordinator) plays a game with dice and gifts. They put all the gifts together and if you roll a set of matching numbers you get to pick a gift that you want. One year they were throwing around glass dishes!

In China, a tradition that is becoming popular is giving apples on Christmas Eve. The apples are usually wrapped in colored paper. Jerry C. said his favorite gift he ever received was a boombox with ‘Journey’ CDs. Georgia D. (consumer from Advantage) once received a Viking t-shirt and a Waterloo Blackhawks coat that were her favorite gifts.

Everyone knows about Santa Claus. However in Germanic folklore there is Krampus, a beast-like creature who shows up to punish the naughty children. Just the sight of him is really punishing. Today, young people dress up as Krampus and roam the streets of many Balkan countries to frighten young children.

Religion is very important for many during the holidays. In Egypt, Christmas Eve is celebrated in January. Coptic Christians go to church for a special service that typically lasts from 10pm to midnight but some can go until 4am. Christmas Eve is very important to Mark (Executive Director) and his family because his father was a minister. Mark enjoys singing in the Christmas cantata at church, going to the Christmas Eve service then going home to open gifts.

One thing everyone, everywhere can agree on is the importance of family during the holidays. In Zambia, Christmas is celebrated with few decorations and fewer gifts. The gifts tend to carry a deep cultural significant and remind the recipient to nurture and care for their family.

Steve W. (consumer from Advantage) remembers when his sister was born on Christmas as his favorite memory. Mary A. (Director of Advantage) remembers fondly when her son-in-law got down on his in his knee in front of the whole family and proposed to her daughter.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!!!

I love cars!

IMG_7169I am Courtney.  I was an elephant in North Star’s play, “The Jungle Book.”  I enjoyed that and would do it again next time.  In this picture I am in my costume and make-up.

I was born in Osage, Iowa and I grew up a lot of places like McIntire (kind of by Riceville) and Mona, Iowa and also in Lyle, Minnesota – right on the border of Iowa and Minnesota.  When I was growing up we had a lot of dogs and cats.  My favorite was a Rottweiler that was named Gigolo; he was a big boy and could get a bowling ball in his mouth!  I have four brothers, one is older and three are younger.  My mom lives in Austin, Minnesota.

Now I live in Waterloo in a duplex.  I have a roommate named Rose and also a man that lives in the other part of the duplex.  I have a cat name, Finch and I used to have a betta fish named Larry.  But one day my cat knocked over his bowl.  She just watched him flop around on the floor and when I got home he was just lying on the floor.

I have a job.  I really like it, probably because I really love cars!  I work at Dan Deery Toyota in the detail shop.  Usually I do the vacuuming.  Yesterday I got to detail a 2012 Charger!  And, once I got to detail a 2003 Mustang – that one was pretty souped-up!

At home I like to play video games, like Grand Theft Auto.  I also have 17 racing games and a casino game.  The casino game is really hard.  I watch T.V. – cartoons mostly.  I like the Simpsons.  I have a blu-ray player and I like the Fast & Furious movies.  I have the whole series and #7 comes out this week.  I heard maybe they were going to make a Fast & Furious 8.

We usually do the cleaning on Friday and take turns with the chores.  I do my own grocery shopping – I like to buy ice cream and could probably eat a whole gallon in a week!  My favorite is salted caramel gelato.  I also cook for myself – staff helps Rose cook, because she is like 50!

On Friday, when my boyfriend Lonnie comes over I will make him pizza or spaghetti. We want to get married, maybe in about two years.  Then our dream is to buy a 70” plasma television and build a log cabin in the middle of nowhere.  I am going to have to start saving money!

Some of my other favorites are the Texas Longhorns and the color blue.  I like to listen to all kinds of music.  I build model cars – I like the Chevy Nova.  I can play guitar – I would like lessons, but they are expensive.  I am good at art.  I did take some art lessons and learned how to make pottery.

 

 

I am a Dragon Ball Z fan!

Blaine JohnsonI am Blaine J.  I am tired today – I stayed up until 11:00 last night!  I am almost 25 years old.  My favorite color is blue and my favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings.  I have two brothers and one sister – they are all younger.  I was born in Waterloo, but I moved all over, I graduated from a high school in Allamakee County.  The diploma is on my wall.

I live in Waterloo now, in my own apartment. Friday is my day off from North Star.  Sometimes my aunt will take me grocery shopping then, but I will probably watch T.V. or play video games.

I do my own laundry.  And I do clean my apartment – at some point.  I can cook.  I like to make pizza and sloppy joes.  For sloppy joes I buy the stuff in the can.  It is easier for me because there is no recipe.  For pizza:  if I am tired, I make frozen, but I like to make homemade pizza sometimes.  You can just buy the crust and the stuff to put on it.  I cook it in my Pizzazz.

I like to drink pop.  My favorites are Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mt. Dew, Orange Crush, and Strawberry Crush.  And, I also like the white Mt. Dew, but I don’t like Code Red Mt. Dew.  I also don’t like plain Pepsi or Grape Crush.

I love to play video games and watch movies and T.V.  My favorite movie is the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  My favorite T.V. show is Dragon Ball Z.  Goku is my favorite Dragon Ball Z character.

My favorite video game is Dragon Ball XenoVerse.  In the game you have to save the history of Dragon Ball Z.  I beat the game, but I keep playing it to get more stuff unlocked.

I like Pokémon too.  My favorite Pokémon is Pikachu.  I also like Power Rangers – my favorite is Jason David Frank – he played the Green Ranger, Red Ranger, and White Ranger.

I also like wrestling.  My favorite wrestler is John Cena.  I also like Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler; but not Seth Rollins because he is a jerk.  For wrestlers that don’t wrestle anymore I like Diamond Dallas Page and The Rock.  I guess The Rock quit because he is in movies.  My favorite Rock movies are G.I. Joe Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6.

I like to listen to music.  I like rock, rap, and hip hop.  My friend Russ told me about Avenged Sevenfold and the song “Hail to the King.”  I also have some CD’s from Five Finger Death Punch, Linkin Park, and Disturbed.  I really like Nickelback – my mom got me into them.

I like to draw and I like to color, too.  I can draw my Dragon Ball Z avatar, but I can’t draw the other characters, I would have to trace them.

I really want to see the new Vin Diesel movie, “The Last Witch Hunter.” He says, “You know what I am afraid of?  Nothing.”  It looks kinda awesome!!!

I like to watch basketball and hockey!

georgia flowerI am Georgia.  I am 57 years old.  I live with my sister, Cheryl and we just moved to Jesup.  My other sister is JoAnn and she lives over off of Hackett and my other sister is Donna and she lives in Jesup.  I have lots of nieces and nephews and I like to go to their basketball games.  I am a Don Bosco fan!  I went to River Hills School and my favorite color is red.

I like to watch movies.  I like movies.  My favorite movie is (shhhh….) “Magic Mike!”  I like to eat at Applebee’s and I always order chicken strips, French fries and Diet Pepsi.

In October I am going to go to the hockey game.  I like basketball and hockey games.  I am good at exercise and I go to the YMCA and on Friday, I walked at Young Arena.  I like to ride my bike, but I stay on the sidewalk to be safe.

Cheryl and I get groceries in Independence at Fareway.  I help by dusting my room.  Sometimes Cheryl cooks, but sometimes I cook.  I can cook eggs and stuff and I make cookies.

I like to do the  Special Olympics:  race walking, the relay, softball throw, and basketball skills.  Sometimes I go bowling.  I was in North Star’s play.  I was a flower in “The Jungle Book.”

I like living in my own apartment!

Mike DI am Mike.  I was born on March 1st in Waterloo.  I went to River Hills School.  I live in an apartment near Family Video.  My favorite colors are blue and red.  I live by myself and I really like it – it is a lot better than when I had to live in a group home.  My North Star staff is much more laid back and good.  I like the staff a lot.

At home I do all of my own cleaning.  I dust, vacuum and clean my bedroom and the bathroom.  I am not allowed to use the stove, but I can use the microwave for T.V. dinners and stuff.  Kim said you can’t cook French fries in the microwave, though.  The T.V. dinners I like are spaghetti and the mashed potato, Salisbury steak, with a little corn isn’t too bad.  My favorite foods are lasagna and spaghetti – small portions.

I like to relax and drink cold water.  I am taking it easy on O.J. and cola.  I am watching the sugar – you know, it’s about moderation.  I heard that!

At home, I watch T.V. – I am getting better at not walking around and pacing, but actually sit down to watch.  I like Law & Order and NCIS.

My staff, Kim, takes me shopping – I don’t go alone.  Too dangerous.  Kim goes with me for groceries.  Kim got me vegetables; I like raw carrots, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower.  I like corn, but there is sugar in corn.

I like to exercise on my bike – I wish that exercise could get rid of the diabetes, but it probably won’t.  On Tuesday and Thursday I go to the mall with my friend Todd (it isn’t fair to make him go by himself).  We walk around and look at stuff.  At the mall, I like these big blankets that they have hanging up with cartoons on them.  There is one that is for ladies’ breast cancer – I think a man could buy one too, though.  My favorite cartoons are Scooby Doo, but I like the Smurfs and Superman, too.

I like to go to the movies.  It really is fun.  Comedy is my favorite.  It is better than scary – you know that it isn’t real – it is just a movie, but still…  Comedy is best.

North Star is special to me.

david searcyNorth Star has been very special for me through out the years I’ve been here.  They taught me how to be a better person by being helpful to people.  I can relate to the staff and being supportive.  Some of the jobs that I worked on are: Hangers, Phantom, O-ring, candyman, cardboard, phones, material handler, dishes, serve lunch, McKenna, news-letter, yellow caps, engineer products, I also worked at Hawkeye cleaning the yard, and working at Phantom, janitorial, skills, and safety jobs, milk run job.  The staff here have been very supportive and helping me get a job out in the community.  My behavior have been better since I came to North Star.                                                                                Written By:  David S.

(*note:  David is part of North Star’s Employment Services program, in which people with disabilities learn the job skills necessary to obtain competitive employment in the community.  Employees work Monday through Friday doing a variety of jobs contracted from local businesses, earning a paycheck.)

I was an elephant in “The Jungle Book”

I am Crissy and I am 24.  I went to West High School where North Star did a Variety Show.  I am an only child.

image by Dan Phillips Photography - Cedar Falls, Iowa

Me in my elephant costume

My mom lives in downtown Waterloo.  My uncle just moved to Fayette, so now we don’t see him much.  Not very long ago, my cousin had a baby boy only six days after her birthday (her birthday is the 25th and he was born on the 31st).  She was going to bring him to the play, but then she decided she didn’t want to deal with it.

I live in a house in Waterloo, not very far from Wal-Mart.  We just got all new staff, but that’s okay because one of them used to work with me at West High.  I live with Sandra, Jackie and Juli.  Sometimes we all go to the mall.  I pretty much end up doing all the chores and I help with Jackie and Juli.  When I get to go shopping for food and stuff, my staff stays by the doors and I get to go around by myself.  One thing I like is Special K bars.  I used to buy ice cream, but now I don’t – my roommates kept begging me for it and I am just not doing that anymore.

I watch anything on T.V.  We used to go to karaoke, but we don’t get to do that anymore.  Sometimes when me and my roommates get enough money we all go to Doughy Joey’s.  It used to be in Waterloo, but now we have to go clear to Cedar Falls.  We just get one big pizza, half-and-half.  I just drink water.

I get to ride the city bus around the community all by myself.  I ride it and learn how to get places.  I actually learned to take the bus to Mike’s house – it’s a pretty long way.  Mike is my boyfriend.

I like to come to North Star.  I like Day Hab the best.  I like to make pictures on plastic canvas.  I am making a heart that says, “angel” in the middle.  I am going to give it to Juli because she likes angels.

I was just in the play “The Jungle Book,” I got to be an elephant.  My back hurt, but I did it.  I didn’t think I could, but I did!  Sometimes my back hurts.  It doesn’t right now, but it might later…