Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stand Up

"Negative experience becomes positive"

So......I am quite late with my "It's a Deaf Thing" post this week. It is a bad presentation for a Deaf Awareness week. Sorry! Let me add a link to a post that my friend typed up---you might find this interesting: Deaf Awareness. Feel free to check it out!

I want to share an experience that I had that originally started out to be quite terrible and turned into something very positive. 

I am 15-year old just starting out my first semester as a Freshman in high school. I have a lab partner who is also my friend, Carly, and we are just finishing up our lab work. Since we are finishing up what we are supposed to do; we start to chat, and the best part about signing/writing is that we don't make any noises! Our teacher is out sick and we have a sub teacher that day. Our sub teacher is an older lady, in her late 50s, and she is your typical grouchy old lady. I don't think much of her. 

My sign language interpreter, Maria, joins in the chat for a bit when the sub teacher, we will call her Mrs. B, approach us. She does not look at me or Carly. She simply bows slightly to my interpreter and notifies her that she has to tell us that we have to be quiet. Maria, being an advocate for her role as an interpreter and for Deaf people's equality, explains that she is merely there to translate what Mrs. B has to share with me. Mrs. B grows upset. She insists that an interpreter is very similar to having an aide or even worse, a babysitter. Maria laughs and says, "You see, I am Ashley's ears and voice. I do not act as her conscience. I do not tell her what to do. My role as American Sign Language interpreter is simply to interpret. If you have something to say then say it to her by looking at her. I will voice for you and also for her."

The class grows curious and looks at us. They stop working on their assignments. 

Mrs. B scowls, not liking what Maria said to her, and she ignores what she is just told. Mrs. B continues to argue with Maria. I do not like what is transpiring and grow frustrated with Mrs. B's lack of understanding. How is it hard for her to look at my face and just tell me to be quiet? I finally say, through Maria, to Mrs. B that she needs to face me and just tell me. After all, she has been doing that with other students so why not me? Mrs. B shakes her head and says to Maria, "No, don't voice for Ashley. I do not want to hear what she has to say. I am telling you to control her." Maria sighs and tries to explain her role as an interpreter once again. 

I start to see red. Control me? I am not a child. I am a teenager. I am not a vulnerable person who needs physical help to get around. I am perfectly capable of doing anything...except hear and speak. I try to sign to Maria to notify Mrs. B to not be so ignorant. Maria decides not to voice that part for me which I think is really unfair because other students can just say what is on their mind yet I can't? I wait to see if Maria can resolve this issue with Mrs. B. Suddenly, Mrs. B disdainfully replied while looking at me, You are a handicapped person. Handicapped people SHOULD NOT be mainstreamed. They belong in an institution. Out of our minds. Out of our sights. You are disgusting. And you (to Maria) obviously cannot control this handicapped child. 

Maria simply gapes open her mouth. She has been stunned into silence. I try to get her attention. She simply shakes her head. With no way to express my disapproval with what Mrs. B had just said, I suddenly decide to take a dramatic course. I turn to Mrs. B and gives her a big smile. I make sure she sees the message clearly. The message is: You want out of control handicapped child? I will give you one!  I pull my open textbook closer to me, and I slam it shut as hard as I can. WHAM! I pushed my chair back out then crossed my arms and quit smiling. I narrow my eyes at Mrs. B. 

In this very moment, I have never felt so worthless, so different, and so .... alien. I try so hard not to form tears. Anger is coursing through my blood. To be discriminated over again and again and stupid hearing people are!

Suddenly, as if my thoughts are being heard, a black girl stands up and says, Uh uh no. You ain't doing this! Someone else stands up and says, That is wrong! More people start standing up and starting to proclaim what Mrs. B had done was UNFAIR, WRONG, RUDE, MEAN, STUPID, and FULL OF BS. Within seconds, before my eyes; the entire classroom is standing up for me, and they are shouting at Mrs. B. 
I don't need Maria to interpret what is going on. I know what is happening and why. 

I realize that my earlier thought about hearing people being stupid is....frankly....stupid and untrue. When I think I am at my lowest, I am being brought up by people who sincerely care, and fight for my right especially in the face of discrimination. In that very moment, I understand that it is not about Hearing vs. Deaf, and it is about standing up for each other especially if someone is different from us. In that very moment, I am being taught a lesson and the lesson is to not assume the worse about a particular group because they may surprise you. In that very moment, I no longer feel worthless, or different, but a part of something bigger and someone who is worth it. I feel inspired. Here is a bunch of people; black, white, punk, nerd, gay, straight, academic smart, street name it, and that person is probably there....they all are standing up for me. What hits me the most is that some of people who are standing up for me.....I don't know who they are, and they are not my friends or people I hang out with yet they take their time to make it known about what happened to me is not okay. 

That lesson has left a mark on my heart ...people care. 

I will never forget that experience. I am 26 years old now and I still remember this as if it happened yesterday. 

People care. 

Doesn't matter if you are black, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, Arabic, or white. Don't matter if you are rich or poor. Makes no difference if you are GLBT or straight. Doesn't reflect on your gender. Doesn't matter if you are fat or skinny. Doesn't matter if you are pretty, or plain looking. Doesn't matter how smart you are in school or on the streets. Doesn't matter if you are a Christian, Jew, Pagan, Lutheran, Islamic, or an Atheist. Doesn't matter how old you are....5 years old, 15, 30, or 50 or 100 years old. None of all that matters.

 Caring comes from your heart. 

So if you see discrimination going on then please stand up. Don't turn your eyes away and feel bad about what is going on. Don't shake your head and whisper, man, that is not right and not do anything about it. Don't wince and pretend like you haven't seen that just not to embarrass the victim any further. 

Just step in. Speak up. Be proactive. 

It will make the world of difference. Trust me, I know. This has changed my life in both small and big ways.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Presenting Miss La-La Layla!

Let me start off by saying that THERE WILL be a "It's a Deaf Thing" post this week. Before I forget, it is DEAF AWARENESS week. If you have any curiosity or questions then FIRE AWAY! I won't bite....I promise. It is being delayed for one very important reason. It is because my time is being occupied by newest addition in our ever-expanding family; Layla! She is currently sleeping so I'm going to grab this chance to type up a post.

It has been a whirlwind experience since we adopted Layla. Really. I believe I have already mentioned about Jean visiting our home. So I'll start off from there.

I got an email from Jean later that day asking us if we wanted to meet Layla later that evening. I talked with Stu; we decided...let's go and meet Layla, and we set up a meeting with Jean. We decided to meet halfway at Petco store. We arrived a bit early and waited for Jean. I was really nervous and excited all at once. On other hand, Stu was remarkably calm. Hey, it's yin-yang for us. Anyway, Jean arrived with Layla. We were so excited and decided that she was going to be a good fit for our family. We hashed out paperwork and adopted Layla! How exciting. 

Layla came with a long history of being uprooted and moved to different places. She was originally from Kentucky Humane Society. Layla was scheduled to be put down, but got rescued by a rescue organization. Layla got shipped to Illinois; not sure how long she stayed there before she got transferred to a different organization in Milwaukee. There, she was placed in the foster care for a while. Then she ended up with us! 

We suspected that she might have had puppies in the past because she has larger nipples. Fear not; she did get spayed along the way. So it was all good.

Layla was really nervous at first. She was not ready for us to shower her with kisses and hugs. She didn't know what was going on and why she was being put in a different vehicle. She got a bit snippy and growled a bit. We decided that she needed a space to just allow everything to be absorbed. Also, we found other reason why she was grouchy--she was not feeling very well. She pretty much gassed up my jeep on way back home! 

Layla's foster mom did not give us her favorite toy or blankie or her food. All she came with was her collar and leash. We had no idea what she needed to eat and knew that she was going to be sicker with an abrupt change in her diet. We picked up a small container of chopped dog food (not canned dog food; mind you, but the dog dish with vegetable and meat chunks). Layla had a few accidents in our home--she was in the process of adjusting to new home. She was very anxious and unsure of the new environment. As for the cats; Layla did not care for them and ignored the cats. 

Missy was fascinated and curious about Layla. However, Mr. Jinxy was not. He looked at Layla and turned up his nose. They were able to walk around in a near proximity by Layla. Mr. Jinxy often raised his hackles when Layla walked too close to him otherwise he was okay with her being around. The cats were able to adjust to their new feeding spot in our bathroom (to prevent Layla from going in and eating their food). Layla paid very little attention to the litterbox (whew). 

Layla's personality started to come out yesterday! She grew more comfortable with her new home and often came up to me for attention to be petted. Layla was not the type to go crazy and lick everybody, but she enjoyed snuggling with me on the couch. Her tail thumped every time I came back with laundry (I was doing laundry all day yesterday). I had to go out, after inquiring my Facebook friends what was the best suggestion for dog diet, to get Layla's food. When I returned with some new toys and food; Layla surprised me by playing! Here's a brief video of her playing--I had to run and grab my camera to record her so I only got last few seconds of her..........

When Stu came home, Layla had fun snuggling with him, and we have discovered her new favorite spot to be scratched:

Layla has been doing great. She still needs to work a bit on her socialization; she likes people and dogs, but her confidence is not quite up to the par. I plan on enrolling her in a dog obedience class this week. It should encourage her to feel more secure. We also plan on taking her to a dog park--after she gets her vet check-up before October 1st! I need to schedule her a vet appointment tomorrow after Missy is done with her shots. Hopefully, Layla will be feeling better by then (she still has tummy issues from adjusting to a new diet).

Well, I better take Layla out for a walk...

Have a wonderful Tuesday, 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guardedly Hopeful

A lot has happened since I last updated about our dog hunting journey! Remember that I mentioned a bit about Layla? I contacted JR Hound Rescue group, and didn't really expect to hear anything back from them. Well, on Friday morning; we received an email from the organization stating that we have been approved for a home inspection visit! Since Stu's schedule was a bit crazy; we agreed to have someone to come to our home this morning. Stu was unable to stay for a whole visit because he had to coach a JV football game.

Jean, a representative/volunteer for the adoption screening process, came around 10 am. She talked with Stu for a bit before he left. Then we sat down for a chat. She asked me a few questions regarding our application. Basically, she thought we were ideal for Layla based on our answers. Jean really liked it when I explained to her that our cat litter was located in a small cubby where the dog was unable to enter and that we had Litter Lock (best thing ever) to store the poop in a plastic bag until it's time to toss them out. There was no way a dog can get in unless if a dog somehow develops opposable thumbs! 

Jean was even more impressed when I informed her that we already had a budget set up for a dog and that we had waited for two years before finding a right time to make a decision. Missy even helped to score us some brownie points by chattering and wanting attention from Jean. Good job, Cat. 

45 minutes later; Jean informed us that we were approved for Layla, and able to set up a visit to meet her! All we had to do is select times and inform Jean (already did that) via email. 

It was either going to be tomorrow night (I hope so) or Friday evening. It was the only times that Stu had available out of his busy schedule. He wanted me to go down and get Layla by myself. I wished I was able to, but the foster mom required us both to be there. 

Meanwhile, I was waiting for an answer from Jean about visiting Layla tomorrow evening or Friday evening; I decided to go shopping! 

Cute retractable leash, plain black thick leash for walking,
and two tall dish bowls--they are good for dogs with long ears.'s not your new hiding spot.

Missy was nice to test whether the toy was
suitable for a dog. She had decided it was very suitable
and wanted to keep it for herself. Silly cat. 
I was so excited. I wanted to buy more cute things, but decided they had to wait until we know for sure whether we get Layla to be a part of our family. 

Right now, we have basic necessities and they are enough for time being. Missy loves the crate. She uses it as her own cave. It is really cute how she just saunters in and rests in there. I bet you that Missy will be staying in there with the dog for bedtime. 

Jinxy eyes the crate rather cautiously and loses interest in it after a few minutes. To him, a crate is still a crate. By the way, remember how he nearly sliced my finger off because he had to go in the crate? That. 

I am sorry for so many posts lately. It is just that a lot has been happening and it is exciting. I want to share it with you guys. 

It is a rainy cold afternoon. I am thinking about making a warm soup for Stu to come home to eat tonight. I feel bad that he has to stand in the cold rain for JV football game. I might catch some of Packers game (it's not fun watching it by myself--I like to be midst a company...makes the game more enjoyable to watch). 

I will keep you posted about Layla. 

Have a wonderful footballin' Sunday, 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Am I Adopting A Baby Instead Of A Dog?

Happy Friday! I have a lot of things to share with you today. This might turn into a lengthy rambling post, but I promise you will smile and laugh along your reading! There will also be several pictures included and it will stretch out the post a bit.

First of all, we are watching our Landlord's dogs. K and J are getting married tomorrow in GB area. They have 3 dogs--a good practice run for Stu and me, really. I am rather particular to their old dog, a Springer named Lucy. She's a sweet good girl. Also, there are a taco bell chi-wa-wa dog, Toby, and an energetic Black Lab, Jake. The boys are hilarious! They're all wonderful dogs. Because we are willing to watch their dogs until Sunday evening; our cats are enjoying their new gift from LL.....Like they aren't spoiled enough as they already are!

Yesterday, I took our cats to the vet at Animal Hospital of Oshkosh. Oy! What an experience it was!Having to stuff Mr. Jinxy into his crate was not a fun experience. It really sucked. Stu was at work so I had to do it by myself....(the first time I did this was when we moved out and it really sucked too). Mr. Jinxy fought and fought.   He yowled. He bit me. He peed on me, yes--that damn cat had a nerve to piss all over my pants! Then he faked his own injury by crying (I was stuffing him into the crate and thought his toe got caught somewhere, but no....). Finally he did this to me.....Beware, might not be good for someone with a weak stomach:

I was bleeding everywhere. Crap! I wrapped my finger in a paper towel because we ran out of band-aid. Mr. J was sitting in a corner in our bathroom. His yellow eyes wide and his teeth bared as if he was telling me off. Nice. Good job Cat. Really. Finally, I cornered Mr. Jinxy and he had no way out except go into the crate. He cried nonstop the whole way. I had to stop at the gas station to pick up a band-aid. $4.00 for crappy box of band-aid??? What has the world come to!I remember the ole' days when a band-aid box only cost me $2.00. *LONG SIGH* I wrapped not one, not two, not three, but five band-aids on my poor finger because it was bleeding so bad. 

I arrived at the vet clinic and hauled both crates into the front desk. I was panting like a stuck pig and I smelled like a homeless hobo. The pee stain was slowly stiffening on my blue jeans. A bunch of cat fur was everywhere on my now no longer cute black sweater. I sighed and blew the air through my bangs. The receptionist took one look at me and laughed then she wrote, "Don't worry; I see a lot of owners in similar state. You're not the only one. Welcome."

Finally, we met with a vet tech. Missy went up first. She shot out of her crate like a horse at Kentucky Derby. She made a good 5 feet leap to the top of the shelf. If Vet Tech was not there with me then I was pretty sure no one would have believed me. We looked at each other and laughed. Missy stampeded through several houseplants and made a long leap across the gap to other shelf. I smiled sheepishly. The VT smiled and said, "Hey you have an active cat!" 

Turned out that Missy was cleared with a good bill of health. Jinxy was up next after Missy was returned to her crate once her examination was over. Jinxy meowed ceaselessly as he was probed and given shots. Finally, he was weighed. 19.00 showed up on the weigh scale. So.....he was one fat cat and needed a diet of 1/3 c twice a day. Otherwise, he was in good health too.

Here is the kicker....

The vet picked up Mr. Jinxy and returned him to his crate. Mr. Jinxy took a long look at me then went into his crate very willingly. All of my energy left my body and I slumped my shoulders. I asked the the hell did you get the cat in there so peacefully? It took me 10 minutes to get this naughty boy in his crate and look at my finger! The vet laughed and winked at me. I blew the air through my bangs rather exasperatedly and stuck my tongue out at the cat. Jinxy narrowed his eyes at me.

When we arrived home; Jinxy was all over me and rubbing his head on my ankle to show me that he still loved me. Thanks cat.  I love you too. is the update that you all have been waiting for....the dogs!

Barney, one of the two boys we had our eyes on, ended up getting adopted by a prospective adoptee. The other boy, Buddy, which was promised for us to visit, ended up not coming through the rescue organization because he had to stay behind for teeth cleaning. Oh well. 

Marci, the mutt (Basset and Daschund), is still in the limbo.

 Her foster mom was MIA for a while. I contacted the rescue organization to find out what the delay was. I mean, two weeks...Come on, really. Anyway, it turned out that the foster mom was down on her luck. Her 15-year old dog passed away. Her basement flooded due to septic tank damage. A cow rejected her calf and a calf had to be saved (it is very important to farming families to save all female calves because they are the "future" to the family's dairy farm). I understood why there was a delay and decided to back off a bit. The foster mom did email to all of adoptees including us. Guess what? There was 10 people wanting Marci! Wow! The foster mom promised to contact us all and have a decision ready by Sunday. 

I doubt we will get Marci. It is okay with us though. 

Then I contacted other rescue organization about Layla. 

She is still available. It turns out that they forgot to contact volunteers in our area to do a home visit. I admit that I did get very annoyed upon reading this via email. The lady, who emailed us, promises to find a volunteer by next week. I plan on following up with her again if I don't hear from her by next Wednesday. 

Since Mr. Jinxy is now updated with his shots......we can contact BBR (Basset Buddies Rescue) and notify them that our cats are all good. Missy needs her records from our old vet to double check if she needs to have her shots updated. I plan on dropping off her records today at the vet clinic since our old vet is not willing to release them for some reason. It should not be a problem though. If Missy needs her shots updated then I'm sure she can get in by next week and have it taken care of. 

I feel like we are adopting a baby from Korea instead of getting a dog! 

I will keep you posted about a dog....I have a feeling by this rate....we will have a dog by mid-October. But then again, October has always been our lucky month. 

PS: We took Toby upstairs to visit our cats since he has had an exposure to cats in the past. Our cats reacted to him VERY WELL. That really affirmed our decision to get a submissive and calm dog. Yay for our cats passing the dog test! 

Have an amazing weekend and stay warm,


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Gives?!

For you guys who don't know me that super well; I have a phobia and that phobia is associated with Centipedes. They freak me beyond words can describe. I have an instantaneous nervous-breakdown which involves me screaming bloody murder, sobbing big fat wet tears, and melting to the ground while moaning in agony. Yep. That's me. Here's a picture to further prove what I mean by what I am saying......

Don't worry; I don't prance around in a  zipped hoodie sweater with my bra exposed
and scream while seeing a centipede.
As for  carrying the stake; I plead the fifth. 

Anyway, this morning; I was cleaning my kitchen---sweeping the floor which has become my daily chore because none of our cats can manage to keep litter inside their litter box. Swish Swish Swish went my broom. Boom!A little bug scurried away from the sweeping machine of death. At first, I thought it was our dreaded Silverfish. There had been sightings of big fat Silverfishes here and there. Don't worry...they met their demise. 

Not sure what is the difference between Silverfish and Centipede?

Sweet Baby Jesus; nearly died seeing this.
But anyway, a centipede has zillion legs
and is hairy and gross.
It is found EVERYWHERE just to torture you.
This is silverfish. If you are from Australia...then
it is called Firebrat. Who knew.
No crazy legs. Not hairy.
Just black, or white.
Often found in bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom areas.
Upon googling for a silverfish, I am able to
look at pictures without having a mini-breakdown.

Upon a closer inspection; I saw that it was NOT our little common silverfish, but a demon from hell....centipede! For a moment; I felt a nervous-breakdown panic attack narrowing, gasping breaths, and feeling like I was just going to freaking die.

Then by grace of an inner Amazon woman inside me snapped! A deep voice from within is just a baby. Snap out of it. Do you want it to scurry away and possibly grow into a giant adult and even more hairy and gross? Therefore if it becomes an adult; you will just die, and be unable to survive through that encounter and possibly want to move out of this cute flat? Now it is a baby centipede. Innocent. Small. Naive. Easily killed. Which one do you want? A small baby centipede; easily killed or....a giant demon from hell to give you a heart attack later? 

Well, I smashed it with my broom...repeatedly. 

It turned into a pancake centipede while Missy sat nearby with a look of amazed contempt on her face, completely convinced that her human mommy has gone insane, and her tip of the tail twitched as if she was giggling at me. But.....a dead centipede was a mission accomplished even though I looked insane in front of a  smug, laughing cat....never mind that she refused to kill centipedes in the past. Geez, thanks, Cat. Nonetheless.........

I am a woman.....HEAR ME ROAR.

Yet.......I am able to look at close-up picture of a maggot-- which my good friend christened him as Fangy Muppet---and not freak out. Matter of fact, I think this is pretty bad-ass. What really gives? Really.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kids' Perspective of Deaf People

Children Perspective Of Deaf People......hmmmm

Welcome to my weekly It's a Deaf Thing Post! I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am. Today's subject is about Deafness and kids. I have so many funny experiences with kids. They are not as intimidated or unsure to approach me. They are very....very...very honest and open! I do enjoy questions I get from kids...the questions are very funny and creative, I should say.

When I was a junior in high school; I went with Dad to our local Blockbuster video store to rent some horror flicks, and we were wandering around the store. We were signing to each other and minding our own business. Suddenly, a little kid walked up to us. I was not sure how old he was, but he was probably between age of six to eight. The boy spent good few minutes watching us converse in sign language. Then he asked in a very inquisitive manner, "Are you speaking Spanish?

I am teaching ASL class at Lighthouse Elementary School. The class is composed of children in grades 2-4. A reporter is observing my class to write an article in the newspaper. She waits for my class to be done before interviewing some students including myself. The reporter approaches this cute little spunky girl and me. The girl and I are talking with an interpreter. The reporter speaks to introduce herself. The interpreter lags slightly behind because the interpreter has to process what the reporter is saying into sign language. The little girl notices this and blurts out, "My teacher can't hear you. Her ears are broken. So you have to talk REALLY.....SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW so her interpreter can keep up." 

I used to nanny for a family with a Hard of Hearing boy. His parents felt it was a great idea to have a Deaf baby-sitter for their boy to look up to. A, HOH boy, had hearing aids to help him to "hear" things in his environment. One night, A and I were watching TV while rest of younger kids were in the bed, and his parents arrived. I stood up to greet his parents. A's mom turned to A and started signing while speaking to him. A was very intensely into the TV show. He turned off his hearing aid while his mom was speaking to him and he quickly blurted out (signing and speaking at the same time), "Sorry Mom! I can't hear you! I am watching TV!" A's mom turned to me and looked at me then we both blurted out laughing. Nice use of Deaf card, eh?

More often than not, kids do ask me if I am able to hear things. They are always so surprised to learn that I do have some hearing left. Then they hear me laugh. They get excited and say, you make noises too! The kids ask me blunt questions. They are not afraid if their questions are off the wall odd, crazy, or random. Sometimes, their parents give me an apologetic look for so many questions that their child is asking. I always smile and say No worries, it's fine. Personally, many questions kids ask me are out of innocence and pure curiosity. They are learning and to meet a Deaf person is pretty cool for them. I enjoy it when random kid comes up to me and ask me to teach him/her how to fingerspell their name. Kids don't view Deafness as a strange condition to be avoided. Instead, they view a Deaf person with a fascination and million questions are running through their heads. So parents....let your kids ask and do not worry whether the questions are "rude". 

Trust me, most questions are hilarious and we take it in a good stride. ;) It is all good. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Enjoying Fall Weather

Greetings! It is a beautiful autumn day! I love it when it dips below 60 degrees and stays constant between 50-55 degrees. Throw in some warm sunshine rays and you'll see one very happy woman prancing through rustic leaves-littered sidewalk through her neighborhood. Did I mention that I absolutely love fall? Yeah, I probably did. 

Our dog-hunting has been a bit of a frustrating journey, but it is progressing though. Progression is better than being stale and stuck, right?

One of two boys we had our eyes on ended up getting adopted. I was not very disappointed--I was happy that the dog was heading to a good home. The second boy ended up having to stay in Iowa for teeth cleaning and he had been declared "On hold" for pending adoptions. The foster lady was pretty nice to us about it though and promised she would pass on any updates if any new dogs come through her care. 

The little girl dog, Marci, that is a Daschund and Basset mix is in a weird situation right now. I guess her foster mom is MIA. I am not sure why their humane society does not keep better track especially if there are at least 5 adoption applications pending for Marci. I don't think we will end up getting it a feeling. Like every feeling; it could end up being wrong, but most of the time, it does end up being right. Call it a Deaf intuition. *winks*

Lastly, but not the least; BBR (Basset Buddies Rescue) foster organization seems to be the most promising. We are currently put on hold on the list because...don't hate us, okay...we still need to have our cats vaccinations updated. We are rather behind on our cats' update shots. Blame it on our hectic wedding planning and work schedules back then. Plus our honeymoon, apartment search, the move and finally settling down. Fortunately, the cats do have their appointments this upcoming Thursday to get vaccinated. Mr. Jinxy will definitely NOT be very pleased. Missy....she will get over it as long as I bribe her with kitty treats. 

Anyway, once our cats are updated with their vaccination shots then we will be approved to go ahead, and have things start to progress from there. Technically, we will have to wait other week. I'm okay with waiting. In some way, I like anticipation almost better than an actual event itself. It is fun to plan things out, and imagine (again, this is my writer's self coming out) what it would be like, and blah blah blah. 

I will keep you posted about our dog journey as soon as we find out more information from BBR next week!

I am happy to inform you guys that over half of the dogs, at HS where I am volunteering, have already been adopted! It is crazy because I walk into there the other day and see so many signs on their kennel doors to inform us that they have been adopted and need to be back at specific time (that is if we take them out for walks or exercises) for their families to pick them up. It makes me so happy to see them going to good homes! 

I'm sure I will see new faces once I go there in a bit to volunteer. Oh, there is a deaf border-collie mix (new resident). Let's hope nobody will ask me how to deal with a deaf dog just because I am Deaf.....

Ahh...good old RC days hanging out with ADPI sisters watching football! 

Tomorrow; Stu is coaching a football game at RC. I'm planning on going, and check out the game. It will be a really nice day; 60's and perfectly chilled warm weather. I might even bring a mug of Cider Apple drink and enjoy it while watching the game. So how can I skip out on that? 

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm,

PS: Stay posted for It's a Deaf Thing coming on Monday! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Subtle Discrimination

Subtle Discrimination of (the) Deaf 
Most of the time, I do find a lot of humor from my experiences and laugh them off. Most of the time, people do not intentionally do things to be rude, and it becomes an opportunity for me to educate them in a very positive way. People normally have no idea what to do when it comes to dealing with Deaf people especially in areas where Deaf people are not well populated or well-known. More often than not, hearing people do pass through their lives without ever meeting anybody who is culturally Deaf.

My experiences with subtle discrimination have certainly has made me more understanding and patient as a person because more often than not; hearing people really have no clue and have no intention to be mean. It just happens and I call this "Subtle Discrimination"

Deaf people have telephones. It looks very much like a webcam. It sits on top of our TV. Then the picture will show up on our TV. View the pictures down below and you will get a gist of what I am trying to say. 

We Deaf people do communicate with hearing people by using our videphone. It is done through a relay interpreter. A relay interpreter shows up on the screen (as seen above) and translates for you while speaking  to a hearing caller and signs to you what your hearing caller is saying to the interpreter. However, every time when I call a hearing person through an interpreter; the interpreter introduces himself/herself by stating their business name and number, and it does gets on my nerves. You will see why. 

This morning; I called a new vet clinic since we have recently moved, and our cats really needed to have their check-ups quite badly. I got online with a relay interpreter, and the interpreter called the vet clinic. The interpreter introduced himself by saying Hello, this is SVRS interpreter #4597, and I am interpreting for a person who uses sign language. Then the receptionist hung up on me. 

Nice. Really nice. How annoying. I was tempted to be petty and yell at the receptionist. Then I realized that the lady probably had no experience by dealing with Deaf people on the phone through their relay interpreters. It was not quite her fault. I sighed and told the interpreter to call back. 

The interpreter called back and said, "Hello, I am SVRS interpreter #4597 and I am not a telemarketer. I am interpreting for a Deaf person. Do not hang up." The receptionist apologized and continued to make an arrangement for me to bring my cats. 

Is this a form of discrimination? Yes and....No. Yes because it is a form of Audism (discrimination against Deaf, & Hard of Hearing; will go into details some other time). But is it awful form of discrimination? No.  How can you hold this against someone who honestly does not know and will learn from it? It is annoying, yes, and it can get on my nerves especially if I am in a dire need to get a hold of someone, but you know what? This is more of a honest mistake stemming from inexperience of dealing with relay interpreters.

My next experience is on a very fine line of  having a desire to share common ground with a Deaf person and being too ludicrous.

I am sitting in the library when a woman approaches me. She is in her middle 30s. She sits across from me and looks at me. Sensing that she wants to tell me something; I stop studying and look up and smile at her to show her that I am available for a small chit-chat. She picks up on that cue. She raises her index finger as to tell me to hang on a minute. She digs through her purse and pulls out a picture of a dog. She lays the photo on the table and nods her head vigorously. I am confused and unsure what she is trying to say so I wait politely. She points at the picture of a dog, which I have assumed it is her dog, and she points at her ear. I finally get what she is trying to say. I write on a notepad, "Your dog is Deaf?" She takes the notepad and writes, "YES YES. I am so excited that I have met someone who is Deaf because my dog is Deaf. I know what it is like to be Deaf now!" I sit there, trying not to drop open my jaws, and make it obvious that I am irritated.  

Oh really. Just because your dog is Deaf doesn't mean you know what it is like to be Deaf. A Deaf human being is entirely different from being a deaf animal. I am sure this lady is trying to be nice, and to find a common ground. But come on, owning a Deaf dog doesn't mean you are a pro about Deaf culture and Deaf issues. 

My last experience is now pure stupidity. This has happened to me. This has happened to so many Deaf people.

I am sitting in the booth at a restaurant with two of my hearing friends. We are signing when the waitress comes to greet us. She hears one of my friends speak so she turns to the friend and scribbles down the order. Then she looks up at my second friend and me. She is unsure which one of us is Deaf. A moment passes. My second friend sighs and speaks up. The waitress seems relieved. After my second friend's order has been taken; the waitress looks at me then looks away to my other two friends. She asks my friends what I wanted. I tap on the table to get her attention and she looks at me. My first friend says, "I am not interpreting for her. She is capable of taking her own order. So look at her." 

The waitress looks at my second friend and my second friend looks away. I open my menu to point at what I want to order. The waitress seems confused. I tapped at the item I want again and bring the menu closer for her to see. The waitress grows antsy and isn't writing anything down. I am getting annoyed. Can this waitress read? Then a light goes off in her eyes. She claps her hands and tell me to wait. She runs to somewhere and return with a menu. I am sitting here with the menu in my hands and I am trying to understand why she is bringing me a different menu.

She drops a menu in front of me and grabs other menu I have in my hands. Now I am irritated, but I don't show it. I pick a different menu in front of me. To my dismay; the menu had nothing but raised bumps beneath the pictures. There are no typed words. Just bumps. My second friend opens her mouth to speak and I tell her to be quiet. She closes her mouth. My first friend smirks, knowing what I am about to do, and leans back in the seat.

I turn to the waitress and put on a biggest smile I can muster up. I begin to write on a piece of napkin then show it to the waitress:


To be always asked the last one to order out of my circle of friends when we go out to eat does not bother me. To ask someone else to interpret for me while I am taking order does not bother me. I can gently correct this by showing that I can take my own order. This is often a honest mistake and really does depend on each Deaf person's preference. Some Deaf people like to be interpreted. Some Deaf people prefer to take order by themselves by pointing at an item on the list. Some Deaf people can speak for themselves. 

However, to be given a Braille menu is really insulting. How can one mistake being Deaf to being blind especially if a Deaf person has already been reading other people's signs and exhibit no signs of blindness (Cane, name tag alerting someone that he is deaf-blind, and using tactile sign language)? Yet this continues to happen to many of my Deaf friends including myself. 

If you are guilty of subtle discrimination then do not fear. Many Deaf people are pretty cool and correct you without making you feel bad about it. Most of the time, we get that it is a honest mistake. No big deal. 

But...just make sure you don't give a Deaf person a braille menu though. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Puppy Hunting

Happy Friday from Missy and me! Missy is currently sitting on top of my computer tower, watching me as I type, and this is why I included her name in the greeting! Anyway, I am pretty pleased with a few things. Stu's car is now down to just $160. We will be all paid off this month with Stu's car! It means we will have extra $XXX amount back every month into our savings. I'm halfway done with my debt too. So it's a good feeling right there. I guess having bills to pay off is being an adult, right? *Long audible sigh* 

Stu is enjoying his new job as a teacher at Laconia High school. Football is keeping him extremely busy. I jokingly say that Stu is having an affair....with football. He is occupied with both Varsity and J-V games on the weekends. This often means I am alone a lot. It is a good thing that I am an introvert otherwise I would have probably gone insane by now. 

Yes it is possible. 
I am please to see that pumpkin pies (not food, mind you, but little pumpkins) are out in my local food store. It means I will stop by tomorrow to pick up several pumpkins to make pies! I plan on giving some away to our landlord, our neighbor, and family members. I am really excited about this.

Stu and I are now officially puppy-hunting! 

We did have our eye on this little cute beagle-lab mix at Humane Society. His name was Elvis. He was a great little guy, but we learned that other family was looking at him. We decided that we didn't have any heart to "compete" with the family to take away the dog from them. The important thing was that Elvis was heading to a good home.

So the search resumes. I have been looking into rescue groups for a Basset Hound. So far, it does look very promising. I already contacted a few foster parents with an inquiry regarding their puppy. Then it was just matter of time to wait and hear from them.

We have decided that we prefer to rescue a dog instead of starting with a puppy. A puppy takes too much work and we don't have a lot of time to invest in training a tiny puppy. Also, to purchase a puppy from a very reputable breeder costs money. We are not made out of gold from the last time I checked! To adopt an older dog costs less money, and the dog is fostered which means the dog is already semi-trained. Giving  home to a dog in a need of a home is a good feeling. Anyway, we are really particular with which dog we are looking at because the dog MUST get along with our cats. If the dog cannot then we will not adopt the dog. Our cats do come first...after all, they are our babies. 

Do stay tuned for our journey of finding a right addition to our family! And also, stay tuned for "It's a Deaf Thing" upcoming Monday!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Deaf And Hearing Relationships

Deaf and Hearing Relationships
We live in a hearing world. For some of us Deaf folks, we are perfectly fine with dating hearing people despite knowing that it will bring some intercultural relationship issues into our relationships. Most of us have hearing parents, hearing siblings, and hearing family members. We work with hearing co-workers. We have hearing friends along with our Deaf friends. Some of us end up dating hearing people. 

My teacher asks me to talk about Deaf culture to the class. I am game for it. I remember being asked one question during my math class by a guy. He is a skinny little red-headed kid with freckles across his cheeks. His name is Adam. He asks me a question, "Can you Deaf people date?" Then he snickers. The question takes me off guard mainly because he makes it sound like Deafness is a contagious thing that can be passed on through kissing, and mostly because he is being a jerk. I give Adam my classic Ashley's annoyed look (raised eyebrows while showing an exasperated facial expression).  Adam's eyes darts around, wondering if he has made a mistake by being a smart-ass. The silence hangs in the air for a moment. I replied, "You better not ask me me out because if you do then I might sneeze on you and accidentally make you Deaf. Besides red-head guys aren't my type." The class roars in laughter. Adam scowls while realizing that his smart-aleck comment has backfired on him, and he knows that he now is being perceived as an idiot by his own classmates. I smile in a rather smug and self-satisfactory way. 

Throughout the years; I have dated both Deaf and hearing guys...but mostly hearing guys. Most of the hearing guys did not know how to sign or knew very basic signs. Most of the dates were often fun and interesting because something funny always happened due to failed communication issue. One of those memorable dates I've had occurred on one night of playing mini-golf at Adventure Park off HWY I-94 in Kenosha. My good friend, Katie convinced me to go on a double date because she really, really liked this one guy and this guy didn't want to go anywhere without his buddy. Reluctantly, I agreed. Anything for a good friend, eh? We all were having fun playing mini-golf. Katie was hitting it off with the guy she had liked. Good. I was hanging out with this guy named Josh (name changed for privacy). We were waiting for our turn when Josh leaned to my ear and whispered then laughed. I turned to him and shook my head then reminded him that I was Deaf. Josh turned red and smacked his forehead while laughing. Josh apologized and said, "I am so sorry! For a moment there, I forgot you are Deaf!" Then we started laughing......and the funny part was.....this was not the first time that had happened to me. This continued to happen quite often over the years even though I was not sure how one managed to forget that I was unable to hear. 

I continued to date different guys and jumped from one date to next. I was not looking for anything serious....until I met Stu. 

Our first official date at Stu's fraternity dance
Little did Stu know, he had a lot to learn what it was like to date a Deaf person......

To learn my language was easy. To learn how to deal with little mannerisms that came with being Deaf was a bit harder. 

Stu learned very quickly that.....

1) Deaf culture tended to be very blunt

We don't like to sugarcoat stuff. We call it as we see it. We say what is on our mind. It has to do a lot with the fact that we don't have auditory tone to instantiate what is being not said. You know how hearing people would say one thing but leaves something out yet you know what they are saying. Good example:

Hearing person A: Bob and Sally often leaves work a bit early. Never mind that Sally is married. She claims that Bob gives her a ride home to work. (lowers voice; emphasizing the taboo of next sentence).....But that is not what they really are doing. 
Hearing person B: Tsk. Tsk (sounds disapproving) 

Deaf person A: Bob and Sally are screwing each other. Sally is married, but I guess she is not getting enough from her husband or something. 
Deaf person B: Wow! 

It does take some getting used to for a hearing person to deal with the blunt nature in Deaf culture. Stu no longer cringes or shoots me a look of "you really said that" and understands that it is not rude but  one of few aspects of being Deaf that differs from being hearing.

2) Getting Attention

How do you get attention from a Deaf person especially when she is unable to hear? Deaf people have come up with variety of ways to get attention from each other. Stamping feet on the floor (vibration can be picked up), throwing a SOFT thing like a crumbled paper at the person's back, or flipping the switch as fast as you can to get the light to go on and off. 

Stu does not do any of what I have listed above. He knows that I have some hearing left in my right ear. When I am walking away, or not looking at Stu because I'm busy doing something at the moment. Stu whistles as loud as he can. I look up at him, and sigh, and say, "I may be Deaf but I am not a dog." Stu laughs and shrugs and signs, "Hey but now I have your attention!"

3) Informing the other person what you are doing

I have a habit of letting Stu know what I am about to do. I get up from the couch and tell Stu that I am going to bathroom or going to take a shower or will be cooking dinner. At first, Stu finds this confusing. He tells me that he knows when I am doing something because he can hear me in the other room. Then I explain to him that I cannot hear and needs to let other person to know in advance. Nearly seven years later, Stu is doing the very same thing now. It has become our habit to let each other know what we are about to do. This is very common among Deaf-Deaf or Deaf-Hearing couples. 

4) Interpreting 

I am usually very independent. I often do not rely on Stu to interpret for me because he can hear. But from time to time; Stu ends up in a position where he needs to interpret for me especially if we are out socializing with other hearing people, and he still struggles with how much to interpret and how much to participate in a conversation. Stu tries his best to make sure I get full access to what everybody are saying and at the same time, to contribute something to the conversation. This can be tricky and frustrating for both of us. Over the time, I have gotten more understanding and patient, and Stu has gotten better at letting me know what is going on. 

What many people do not realize that Deaf-Hearing relationship is considered to be intercultural relationship because it's two cultures merging into one. It is no cake-walk. It is not always glamorous and fun. It can be difficult and frustrating. Like every other relationship, it takes work to make it work. Fortunately for Stu and me; we often use humor and patience to make it work and laugh it off during crazy moments.