Hobbit Fables #1

My husband and I were talking about the kids and their incessant whining this morning–mom is so evil! She makes me do dishes!–when the Hobbit came up with this lovely Fable that reflects our lives:

 

A dad had kids who refused to eat end pieces of bread. So he told his kids: “Hey, kids, the end pieces are like rolls. You like rolls, so you shouldn’t have a problem with the end pieces of bread.” So the kids quit eating rolls.

 

Prologue from Raging Bull

For those of you that helped me with this novella, there’s a sneak peak up at my artists/authors blog:

via Prologue from Raging Bull.

Feel free to repost and reblog!!!

Better Than A Reality Show

Whenever my dad comes to visit and see’s all the things we deal with on a normal, everyday basis, he will remark how our household would make a great reality show. It would be much better than Jersey Shore, I’m sure, and probably a lot more culturally edifying–at least Deaf Culturally edifying. You could probably learn a lot about how to handle broken glass and the many uses outside of Christmas for string lights. You would probably learn a lot more ASL than either my children, my brothers or my nephews. You might not need to use it as badly, but you’d be welcomed to visit.

Training the Fully Able to Live With the Disabled

Sorry it’s been so long between posts, but my baby brother and his family moved into our livingroom rather suddenly two weeks ago.  My brother had never met my husband, so he and his family had no idea what they would need to do as they recovered in our livingroom from their (latest) trauma.

My brother has a son, my nephew, who is a one year-old.  He is a toddler and having a toddler around a blind man is… complicated.  My husband started using his cane full time, even inside the house, which was not something he was used to either (and sometimes he forgets it).  My brother and his (common law) wife had to be told where you could put or leave things and where you couldn’t, and that everything had to be put in the same place it was before if my husband put it there.  Things have to remain organized.  Follow the laundry schedule.  Pay attention to the walking areas and remove any obstacles (including toddlers).  It’s not really all that complicated, but it’s a long list of ‘rules’ for a guy (my baby brother) that takes joy in breaking rules.

People often complain that God makes too many rules.  The goody-two-shoes (so they are called) try to explain this this is for your own good.  It keeps you safe.  It makes your life stable and livable.  Well… in this case, in our house, it’s for someone elses’ good.  The fact that it is his home is secondary.  The fact that all of us love him and will kick your scrawny ass back to whatever state you came from if you do anything on purpose to hurt him is primary.

We try to live a nice, stable life because it is best for us.  If you live with us, you have to try to live a nice, stable life too.  It really IS better for you, you know.  You could learn a lot of discipline in the way disabled people are, by nature of their disability, forced to live their lives.  You are welcome for the free lessons in living a better life.  Hope you apply them in your next home.

Only For the Hearing Impaired

Time for something serious again.  My dad is a travelin’ man.  Sometimes he lives with me, sometimes my brother, other times alone, sometimes with my mother.  He gets shipped off to help this person or that person as often as the Marines.  He was a politician once, and he still doles out advice as if he were still in office.  Don’t get me wrong–He’s been right about a lot of things–I shouldn’t have married my ex husband among them, but he’s not right about everything.

Usually I will just agree he is wiser, take his advice, my own counsel and do the best I can to make a good decision with my husbands.  When I can’t decide, I take it to the only parent I defer to completely: Heavenly Father.  He has proven smarter than me on everything I have brought to him, even when it looked to me like he was sending me into disaster.  He was the one who outsmarted me and moved me like a chess piece until I was at checkmate when I said HE could pick my next husband.  He did.

It didn’t seem like a smart decision at all–a single mother raising two small children on a tight budget marrying an unemployed deaf-blind, slightly crazy, bachelor from Floriduh that she had never met in person before, only knew him from online conversations.  But God was smarter, and he put me in such a position that I had to accept what he offered.  It was really amazing how supportive my friends were, when it seemed very clear to me that marrying my now husband was perfectly illogical.  I didn’t even know ASL!

I defer to my Heavenly Father because his decision was so much better than I thought it was, or could be, or mine would have been.  It was, it seems, perfect for me, and I have deferred to him completely ever since insomuch that even the proclamations the church comes out with, I will not argue with at all, even if I feel a little uncomfortable with them.  God has proven he is smarter than me and though I ask all the time ‘Why is this so hard?’  I never doubt that if HE has sent me to this place, which I believe he has, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I believe that because there always has been.

Which brings me to my Dad’s advice.  He suggested I go to a ‘hearing’ ward. (Wards are congregations of the LDS Church).  He suggested that I might get more support than I do at the Deaf Branch. (Branches are smaller congregations of the LDS church, typically smaller than a ward).  He says this because he knows the trouble I have in my positions at church, being an interpreter of sorts for the deaf parents of hearing scouts and the leader of the primary age children.  He knows I have problems because I am hearing and some of the things I suggest or comment on to leadership aren’t taken seriously because I’m not deaf, I don’t really understand.  Sometimes the leadership suffers from the tyranny of compassion and can find themselves being more hypocrites than Hippocratic.

My father knows I have problems asking for help from the members because as poor as I am, most of them are even poorer.  The deaf don’t usually end up well off.  BUT, the deaf don’t see my family as dysfunctional.  They don’t feel pity for me or my husband Compassion, yes.  Pity? No. They see our family as relatively well off.  And almost all of them can communicate with my husband to a greater degree than hearing people can.  If I can’t show up for something, they are far more understanding and I don’t need a one page explanation.  If I am late, I’m actually on time.  If someone else hasn’t shown up, I can fill in.

With the Deaf I feel normal and I feel needed.  I don’t feel as if I am more of a burden than the people around me.  I feel I do more help than harm.  My family learns more, and indeed, I think they are loved more in the Deaf Community.

I have, in the past, had people I call ‘the Deaf Elite’ (professors and ‘professionals’ who serve the deaf — sometimes CODAs) tell me that I don’t belong in the community.  That I will never ‘fit in.’  I think they speak out of fear that they will lose their position as ‘elites’ if too many people they cannot control join the group.

Where I am, I believe, is where He wants me to be.  Even though I miss music, I miss things functioning as they should, and I miss very large social groups full of people who complain more about Facebook than they praise it, I feel I am in a place where I have more joy.  It is a place I receive more enlightenment–not education, though I miss that sometimes too.  It is a place where you need to have common sense and adaptability.  All of those make it ideal for a person like me.  I think God knew that I would be more inspired, enlightened, and have more joy in this place, because logic would have sent me to the Hearing World too.

I think I’ll stay here a little longer, besides–where would I get such good fodder for blogging than the world I am in now?

How to talk to a deaf person (if you must)

After my last blog post, which all my deaf friends thought was hilarious, a lot of my hearing friends came to me and asked: “Well… how DO you talk to a deaf person if you don’t know ASL?”

So… I’m not going to be as funny this time and I’m going to take this question seriously: How do you talk to a deaf person?

The answer is: You don’t talk to a deaf person if you don’t know ASL.  You talk AT a deaf person in that case.

Everyone talks to themselves.  Even the deaf (though they do it with their hands).  If you are talking to someone who can’t understand you–you are talking (having a conversation) with yourself.  Sometimes it just feels good to hear (or in the case of the deaf: visualize) yourself thinking.

Talking (using your voice) with the deaf is not, necessarily, a faux pas if you are talking just to give yourself some sort of comfort.  It does nothing for the deaf person but make them feel as if they are missing something important, which, in all honesty, they feel quite often in the hearing world.  But if you are interested in actual communication, and in making the deaf person as comfortable as you are (even if that’s not very much), pick up a pen and pad.

When my husband ventures out on his own, without his seeing eye wife, he brings a pen and pad so that he can communicate with the hearing when necessary (and obviously when there isn’t an interpreter handy).  Because he is nearly blind, nice big letters with a thick black sharpie on a white pad works best, but for other deaf people, just a regular pen and any sort of paper will do.  They almost always have a pad with them for such occasions.

For the younger generation, texting is the best solution.  My young deaf friends communicate with their hearing peers that are ASL illiterate with their cell phones.  Typing out a phrase on the screen, showing it to the hearing person, then clearing the message and letting them reply on the same screen–or alternately exchanging cell phone #’s and just texting back and forth.

I remember growing up and having everyone around me at family reunions speaking Spanish.  I was lost and I didn’t feel completely part of the family I was with.  You have been in situations like that–someone you know starts to speak a foreign language in front of you.  You felt completely disconnected, didn’t you?  You may have even wondered if they were talking about you.

It makes everyone feel less awkward if we all understand what is being discussed.  If you want to have a conversation, especially if you are going to ask a deaf person a question–short of learning some basic ASL (there are some great videos on youtube and try aslpro.com)–please do it by spelling it out, either on a paper or on a digital device that can be read.  It’s your best bet at actual conversation and not being laughed at and mocked by CODA’s.

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Here is a great video from youtube that talks a little about this issue.