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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rusty's Winter Coat

Snowy Dog
Rusty out in the cold last winter.
Remember that face? I couldn't let Rusty get cold like that this winter. Not after learning how to make a doggy coat. So, guess what I did? I made him another coat - this one for everyday wear. You can see him modeling it in the photo below.

I found this camouflage like fleece material in the half price section and used large snaps this time instead of velcro. The snaps were also on sale so the whole project cost about $8. I had enough material leftover to make him a matching scarf to wear around his neck as well as a scarf for the lucky person who has the honor of walking such a fine looking dog. Woof, woof!

Rusty's new winter coat and scarf

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Serving Deaf Patrons in the Library

I want to let everyone know that the American Libraries Association is offering a 2 part workshop on Serving Deaf Patrons in the Library.

The topics include:

  • an overview of the different ways deaf people communicate
  • understanding and meeting your library's legal obligation to serve the deaf
  • strategies for communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing person in the library
  • tips for finding, hiring, and working with interpreters

Kathy MacMillan, a writer, ASL interpreter, librarian, and storyteller will present the workshop online February 22 and February 29, 2012. See this webpage for times and registration information. 

I'm thrilled that my profession is offering a service oriented workshop aimed at raising deaf awareness among library workers and improving communication with the deaf community.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Simply Perfect

On Tuesday night, my husband bowled a perfect game. What made this one extra special, is that bowling it put him in an elite class. He is among the very few men* who have bowled a 300 game over 6 decades of bowling seasons. My husband's first came during the 1969/70 season when he was a teenager.  During the early 1990s, when he was dating me and pursuing his dream of being a pro bowler, I watched him bowl a 300 game in a PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) tournament. In 1992 he opened a bowling business which he stills runs today.

Over six decades, styles come and go, but Rob's love for bowling remains the same. Congratulations!

Rob and Charlie with 300
celebration cake in 2002
Rob and Charlie with 300
celebration cake in 2012

*According to the United States Bowling Congress website, there are only 5 other men who have achieved this. Hopefully, Rob's name will soon be joining theirs in the honors list. It all depends if the records have been sent in to the USBC over the years.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tyler's Journey of Hope

I met Tyler Swob last year when I traveled to Costa Rica with Discovering Deaf Worlds. I am so proud to share with you Tyler's upcoming advocacy effort with Push America. Tyler's video (ASL only) and story are shared with his permission. Please join me in supporting Tyler on his journey!

Did you know that there are over 54 million Americans living with a disability today? People with disabilities face many challenges everyday that you and I cannot imagine. But one of the most tragic barriers is a lack of understanding by our society. A simple message of empathy and acceptance is all it takes to break down this barrier, and I have committed myself to spreading this message this summer.

I will be raising awareness on behalf of people with disabilities by cycling from San Francisco to Washington, DC on the Journey of Hope from June 4 to August 13. Journey of Hope is hosted by Push America, the philanthropic arm of my fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. We will also be reaching out to thousands of people with disabilities along the way, and striving to spread our message of acceptance and understanding to more than 40 million people! My expected goal is to raise $5,500 as a part of my team's goal of raising over $550,000. It is my hope that you will help me to make my journey possible by making a tax-deductible donation to Push America.

I am profoundly deaf and rely only on American Sign Language for communication. For this reason, I am in a unique position to support disabled Americans since I myself am considered "disabled." I can relate to Americans who have disabilities from my own experience as a deaf person. I want and can inspire them in a special way that no one else can. My goal is also to make a significant impact on how people view disabled people from my participation as a deaf person. Of the 54 million Americans with disability, 28 millions are deaf and I can be that voice for the 28 million deaf Americans. My experience as a deaf person fuels me with the passion to partake Journey of Hope.

What will make my participation even more unique is that two interpreting student volunteers will accompany me for the whole summer as my translation support - Noelle Corrado, a 3rd year interpreting student from Rochester Institute of Technology, and Emily Balzano, a 4th year American Sign Language student from University of Rochester. I am blessed to already have two interpreting volunteers who share my dreams for Journey of Hope. These interpreters will demonstrate the importance of providing interpretation support for the deaf like me.

I need financial support in order to embark on this journey of a lifetime. Your donation would mean so much to me in raising awareness for the disabled community. Please contact me at if you have any questions. Together we can make a difference!


"The only disability in life is a bad attitude."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Switched at Birth is Back!

Vasquez and Kennish families of Switched at Birth

Tonight I had a chance to watch last night's episode on Hulu. I was glad the storylines took up right where they left off so it was a smooth transition after the show's being off the air for several months. Bay and Emmett are decidedly together and although it's not easy they are committed to each other. In this interview with the creator of Switched at Birth, I read that their relationship will be a major focus of the next twelve episodes. Much as I like Daphne's character, I have to admit that seeing the young couple work through the challenges of a deaf/hearing relationship will be more interesting. As you may have expected, in this episode Wilke pursues his interest in Daphne, but his timing isn't the best because she's upset over Emmett and Bay being together as well as Angelo moving to town. I think he's going to have to be patient if he wants her for his girl.

 I was surprised by Regina's reaction to Angelo when he met her and Bay for dinner. At the end of last season, Angelo expressed a desire for the three of them to be a family. But within minutes of their first dinner, the two were driving each other crazy much to Bay's dismay. I haven't made up my mind about Angelo. I wonder what the writers have in mind for his character this season. Do you think he and Regina will get together or will he drive her to drink?

As always, I enjoyed seeing ASL used and was pleased that the hearing characters are improving their skills and using more signs. I found this article where Marlee Matlin weighs in on why Switched at Birth is breakthrough TV. I hope the popularity of Switched at Birth will bring more deaf characters to TV and raise more awareness of deaf culture and identity. I'm glad the show is back. Thank you, ABC Family.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Inspiration of Nick Vujicic

I found this uplifting short film which is voiced in English and signed in ASL on DeafTV.* Nick who has no arms or legs demonstrates how to overcome perceived limitations. He loves life and shows how to get back on top when circumstances bring us down. You can read more about Nick on this website.

*I think the captioning is in Korean. The first words that Vic says, "Annyeong haseyo", is how you say hello in Korean. I had friends in grad school that taught me that greeting.