Category Archives: Uncategorized

How can we acknowledge hidden disabilities?


At some point this week I found myself listening to a speaker about disabilities, hidden or otherwise, and I found myself realizing a major challenge to acknowledging hidden disabilities is the fact we live in a culture of denial.  It is very hard for us to openly converse about the fact that in our not too distant past some of the people in the room were owned as property by some of the other people in the room.  How can we openly talk about the fact that at this minute some of us our suffering in ways we cannot understand and they cannot explain if we cannot even deal with realities of our past that are common knowledge?



Digital Sabbath and the Blind Guy

Saturday is Digital Sabbath for me. The idea of a digital Sabbath is something I find very attractive. Like so many people I find myself tethered to my technology and sometimes forget one of the most precious gifts is to be with who I am within the place where I am.

I first learned of “digital Sabbath” from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and teacher. The idea of digital Sabbath is to take a day each week and let your mind be disconnected from the world on the other end of the cell phone, internet, etc. In short the idea is to be where you are with who you are.

The challenge I find with the idea of digital Sabbath is the fact I use so much technology as a substitute for sight. I write using a word processor and read books that are either recorded voice or text to speech formats. Ironically, when I meditate, I start by telling Siri to set an alarm for 30 minutes. I haven’t quite reconciled which of these technologies are simply 21st century progress and when I’m just rationalizing for my own convenience.

Despite these challenges, digital Sabbath is a great opportunity to pause, reflect, and be present. What I’m finding is the technologies that connect me most efficiently to the world outside also disconnect me from the world of my own mind and heart.

Doing done paradox

Thought while walking: I don’t want to do things I want to be done. I really want to do things I don’t want to be done.


This is a paradox for me to explore to understand why I just want to be done with the things I am currently doing and what the things are that I would become so engaged in that I would not want them to be done.

Snuggling with my honey

Spring is often a time of discontent for me. I find myself restless and reflective. Actually I am not so much reflective at this time of year as avoidant of reflection.


Helen and I have not been as close as either of us would like to be lately. In part because we have been encased in our own worlds and in part because we just haven’t been putting the effort into our relationship that we could. I find the distance and my own restlessness are not a good combination. Most recently we have both been sick: making the physical closeness that feeds us both not practical.


I woke up this morning feeling cold and lonely. The coldness a result of the recent removal of the winter blanket from our bed. The loneliness a result of the distance that has grown between us. As I lay there it occurred to me that if I was cold Helen was likely to be colder. I cuddled up to her to warm her up.


As I lay snuggled up to Helen I realized; despite my restlessness, despite the current gap between us, despite “what’s going around,” she is my sunshine, my soul mate and the woman who knows me more than anyone else.


I also realized part of my own restlessness is a result of inaction on my own part. Perhaps the best path out of my spring restlessness is to bring my honey in closer rather than passively watching the distance between us grow.

Is “Not Obama” good enough?

I voted for Barak Obama but I have to say I’m not particularly impressed by what he’s done while in office.


As I listen to the press coverage for the Republican nomination race I find myself thinking the major argument of the candidates appears to be: I’m not the current President. I don’t get a whole lot of substance beyond that singular message.


Barack Obama came to the White House by selling a simple dream “Yes we can.” Clearly we need more than a dream to run a country. I just don’t think we’re likely to get any better leadership by getting behind the slogan “I’m not him.”

Not really looking for a moral exemplar

I am taking a course on the moral dimensions of leadership. One of the assignments for the course is to find a historical figure that represents an example of moral leadership. As I was meditating this morning it occurred to me I don’t want to find a historical figure to hold up as an example of all that is right in the world.


Part of my reasoning is the fact I am uncomfortable with the idea of putting individuals on a pedestal. It feels too much like idolatry and I find that repulsive. Another thing I find problematic is the fact historical figures tend to have their persona’s streamlined to fit nicely into a convenient category with little regard for the many dimensions of the human experience. Invariably a historian will come along and reveal a side of the individual that casts a cloud over the credibility of the work they are most famous for.


I think I’ll just stick with the wealth of knowledge and experience we have accumulated from historical figures and not dig too deep into their personal lives.


Go local, go to Bob

I was pretty sure we were going to have to replace either our washer or dryer until I called Bob at Bob’s Maytag Central Service Co. When I looked at the listings, I chose Bob’s because it was close to the house and I figured I’d save some money on the trip charges to have a repair person out to look at our washer and/or dryer. When I called Bob’s I got an old fashioned answering machine with a homespun message letting me know no one was available but they would get back to me as soon as they could. It turns out Bob’s is a Mom & Pop operation.


When Bob called back I learned he is a semi-retired guy who cautioned me he doesn’t have all of the latest parts for the newer machines. Instead of just getting my address and telling me how much it would cost to look at my machine, Bob walked me through some things I could check before having someone out to the house. It turned out Bob’s suggestions identified the problem and I can get it working without spending any money at all.


I’m not going to lose Bob’s number. I figure a guy who first checks to see that I’ve done everything I can do to fix the problem myself has got my best interest in mind. I also realized that Bob is working on the assumption that I would fix the problem myself if I could. Wow: a business man who assumes his customers are intelligent and wants to make sure the customer’s needs are taken care of – even if he doesn’t make money on the transaction. This could revolutionize the field of marketing and customer service!


Next time you have a problem with a washer or dryer give Bob a call. I know I will.


Bob’s Maytag Central Service Co

1400 N 118th St,, Milwaukee,, WI, 53226,

Phone: (414) 771-7084

Become a part of the MoMS Community Association

The Mainstreaming on Main Street™ (MoMS) Community Association is intended to be an opportunity for persons with disabling conditions to engage with others for the purpose of personal and professional development. If you see yourself in the statements below or are supportive of the aspirations of people with disabling conditions please use the contact information at the bottom of this post to get connected to the MoMS Community Association.


I believe:

  • We all have unique skills and abilities.
  • We are most creative and productive when we are engaged in the things we are passionate about.
  • We want to be engaged in productive activities, even if they do not include financial reward.
  • As people with disabling conditions we would rather: be interdependent than dependant, do with others than have done for us, find justice rather than receive charity.



  • Connect with each other as whole people who happen to have disabling conditions as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Identify the talents and experiences we have accumulated in our lives.
  • Gather (physically, electronically, by telephone, etc) to explore how we can use our talents and experiences to advance our personal and professional goals.



  • We will learn from each other.
  • We will engage in trade with each other for our mutual benefit and in advancement of our personal and professional goals.
  • When appropriate, we will work collaboratively to achieve personal and professional goals we might not achieve independently.
  • Our collaborative efforts may take the form of time exchange, financial transactions between individuals, or the formation of business entities.
  • We will regularly; sing, say, sign, tap, type, or simply hold in our hearts the following: “I am not looking for no champion of my freedom. I am anything but anybody’s foundling.” (Dave Carter).


If you are a person with a disabling condition and you see yourself in the statements above please contact me to discuss how we can connect and collaborate.


If you lack a disabling condition but want to be supportive of people who identify with the statements above I’d love to hear from you. There is always opportunity to participate in bridging the gap between; dependence and interdependence, doing for and doing with, charity and justice.


Dan Lococo

Barrier Knocker Downer




2011 Lococo Family News

Here are a few highlights of life in the Lococo household over the past year.


Non-stop Jessica

We know we have a young woman named Jessica Lococo in the family; we just can’t seem to keep track of her this year. Jesse started her year in Cork, Ireland as part of St. Norbert College’s study abroad program. She spent the summer in Western Wisconsin and the fall student teaching in Green Bay.

Jesse intentionally avoided studying abroad with fellow students from St. Norbert College. This gave her an opportunity to meet new friends and have new experiences. This proved to be a great idea as she now has friends across Europe. While studying in Cork, Jesse also travelled to England, Germany and Sicily. As part of Jesse’s visit to Sicily, she got to see the house where Grandpa Lococo grew up in Porticello.

Helen and Dan visited Jesse in April, just to make sure she was really studying. The trip was an adventure from the very start. They planned to fly to Shannon, Ireland on United Airlines via Newark. Somehow they ended up arriving in Shannon on an Aer Lingus flight through Boston.

Jesse had a chance to show Helen and Dan around Cork and to introduce them to some of her friends. Helen took many pictures (which can be found on Facebook) and Jesse and Dan made a pan of lasagna (go figure) as the main course for a dinner party with her friends.

On Jesse’s 21st birthday (4/9) the trio travelled to Galway. They used Galway as a base for the remainder of the trip. The days were spent exploring the region and the nights were spent exploring the streets, and pubs, of Galway. The time included: trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, the Burren region, and an excellent Literature Festival. If Helen and Dan were to do the trip again they’d spend more time in Cork and less in Galway.

Jessica returned home on May 31 and barely had time to do her laundry. While in Ireland, Jesse landed a summer job working as a Garden Specialist at Lake Valley Camp (LVC) in Western Wisconsin. She left for the camp four days after coming home.

LVC is a residential camp that exposes inner city kids to the great outdoors. Each group of campers comes in on a Sunday afternoon and leaves the following week on a Friday. This gave Jesse about 36 hours off every two weeks for the eight week run of the camp. Jesse spent her time showing the young people (grades 5-9) about gardening and how to grow and enjoy nutritious foods.

On August 21 Jesse took the family car up to Green Bay to start a semester of student teaching in the Green Bay area. She spent the first quarter of the (K-12) academic year teaching Reading, Language Arts, and Forensics at St. Bernard Middle School. She is currently teaching freshmen Language Arts and Advanced Placement English at Green Bay Southwest High School. Jesse will complete her student teaching rotation in January and will graduate from St. Norbert College in May of next year. Yikes! Where did that time go!

To follow some of Jesse’s adventures go to:


Rachel Continues On

Rachel started her second year of studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay this fall. Although her freshman year yielded a less-than-satisfying GPA, this semester she is proud to boast a 3.25 average, receiving A’s in all classes except chemistry. She continues her focus on environmental studies but has also declared an art minor. The creative freedom of her photography classes is a good counter balance to the tedium of her core science courses.

Rachel has also taken an artistic focus in the way she has earned money this year. This spring she started figure modeling for the art department on campus. She has posed for a variety of classes, clothed and not, and is considered to be one of the best models at the school. In the fall, Rachel started a part-time job working at the Lawton Gallery, a small art gallery on the UWGB campus. This summer, she also formalized her craft business by starting ArtCat Creations (, through which she sells handmade jewelry.

Though Rachel did not share the international experiences the rest of her family enjoyed, she found the year to be full of many personal journeys and adventures. In addition to school and art, this year Rachel had a small heart tattooed on her wrist, celebrated her one year anniversary with the man she loves, and got a buzz cut, just to say she has.


Dan Goes to School

On June 16 Dan arrived at Cardinal Stritch University’s main campus for what is known as Summer Institute. Summer Institute is a sixteen day long intensive program for Doctoral students. It was a very exciting way to start a three year course of study that will end with the degree of Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service. Fortunately for Dan he’ll just hang the letters “PhD” at the end of his name when he is done.

The doctoral Leadership program at Cardinal Stritch offers a curriculum with an annual progression of leadership, learning and service with a liberal application of research theory and practice thrown in for good measure. In addition to the course work the doctoral program requires a comprehensive dissertation including original research. Dan is planning to focus his dissertation on the perceptual challenges associated with the inclusion of professionals with disabling conditions in work and community life. If everything goes according to plan, Dan and Rachel will both graduate from college in May of 2014. Hopefully, not on the same day.


Who Does Helen Work For?

Helen continues to work for the Department of Children and Families: a job she has had for almost seven years now. It just isn’t clear who she works for though. Unfortunately, Helen’s job is one of those that has become a part of the political theater going on in Madison this year.

Helen started working for Milwaukee County in February of 2005. The State of Wisconsin took over management of her work area in 2010 but Helen remained employed by the County through a contract that expires at the end of this year. The State of Wisconsin decided to end the contract Helen was working under on September 30th. Since the two employers have very different compensation packages and since none of the County workers were given a choice in being “appointed” to the State, the whole thing is in Court. We do know for sure that Helen will be working for the State of Wisconsin as of January 1, 2012.


Hoofing It

We knew Jesse would need to drive to get to her student teaching experiences (see Nonstop Jesse) this year but didn’t happen to have an extra car sitting around the house for her. On August 21st public transit became Dan and Helen’s primary mode of transportation.

On the whole, it has not been a big deal to go without a car this fall. We have found a need for a car just about once every three or four weeks. There have been a couple of occasions when we borrowed a car but we generally just hold our “need a car” chores until Jesse comes home for a weekend.

Helen has found the break from the daily battle with traffic refreshing. It takes her a little longer to get to and from work but she has adopted the goal of meeting one new person every day and the bus is the perfect vehicle for attaining her goal. Dan and Helen are considering what it would be like to not own and insure a $20,000+ machine that sits idle 90% of the time. Maybe they will just go with a bus pass and a “Granny cart.”


Season’s Greetings

    Best wishes from our home to yours. We hope that 2012 will be filled with many blessings for you and for all you love and hold dear.