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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Over the Weekend

Over the weekend I got caught up with e)'s excellent blog and learned about the controversy over an "ASL" music video featured in a Huffington Post article. Reading the original story and the comments below it, led me to this hilarious video by Catherine Tate.

Watching this video led to viewing many of her other comedy clips on YouTube. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

But getting back to the outcry over the "ASL" music video, my takeaway from this, as a person with hearing loss, who is interested in learning ASL and using it to communicate, is the absolute necessity to step carefully. For those of us who don't have ASL as our first language, we need to show respect to the deaf community. I'm going to review all the posts I have tagged with ASL to be sure they relate to ASL and not just my attempts at signing, those will now be labeled signing.

I'd like to end this post with another video discovery I made this weekend. On I found this music video starring Sean Berdy. This is an example of an authentic ASL music video.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthday Party Fun and Games

Today was ALDA Chicago's birthday banquet to mark the 24th anniversary of the group. Our party theme this year was fun and games. When we arrived, we were given beaded necklaces and instructions for our ice breaker game - Don't Say or Sign "No". How it worked was if someone tricked us into answering "no" to a question, we had to give them our necklace. The object of the game was to not lose your necklace while trying to gather as many necklaces as you could. I lost mine when someone asked me if I wanted iced tea and I said "no". Oops.

After our meal was served, we played two trivia games. One had questions pertaining to the month of April. These were rather hard. The other had questions with answers related to green because today happened to be Earth Day. These ones were easier. It was fun to see which ones we knew and which ones we didn't. There were prizes for those who got the most answers right.

Later, after cake and ice cream, we played a game which got everyone to mingle. It was called Famous Couples. Each person had a name tag placed on their back so they couldn't see the name written there but everyone else could. You had to first of all figure out who you were by asking people questions like "Am I a man or a woman?" "Am I a movie star?" "Am I a cartoon character?" etc... Then when you knew your own identity you had to go around the room and find the person who was the other half of your couple. I was Adam. The clues I got were that he was a man, old, and in a book. Ha! Eventually I found Eve. The first two couples who matched were given prizes. We also took photos of our Famous Couples once they were paired. They included Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Kermit and Miss Piggy, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart, Superman and Lois Lane, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse among others.

Adam & Eve
 We also sponsored a Split the Pot raffle. We sold playing cards, ripping each in half. One piece went into a bag and the other was kept as a ticket. The two of diamonds was the winning card pulled from the bag at the end of the party. A lucky lady won $71. The rest of the money went to ALDA Chicago.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the party and the chance to interact with others who were deaf and hard of hearing. It was a great time. Feel free to use these ideas for your own deaf social.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My aunt asked me for an update on Blondie. I told her I never realized "house breaking" meant so many things around the house would be broken. Blondie looks adorable, but she's a one pup demolition crew in disguise. Here's some of the evidence for your entertainment:

Oops. Did I do that?
Having fun with Mom's puzzle magazine
(When I took this photo, I didn't realize
she had torn up the answer pages too!)
"God bless me" - Blondie
"But where is the plant?" - Mom
Blondie is 3 months old now and 32 pounds.
If they made American dog dolls...
At the end of a long day, we are all "dog tired" at our house.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Children's Book about a Deaf Dog

This children's picture book is about a border collie named Kiefer who is deaf. Most of the story is told from the dog's point of view, but the beginning and end are narrated by his owner. Every other page illustrates and explains a sign that either Kiefer's family uses to communicate with him or pertains to the story. The drawings are colorful and fun. My favorite one shows Kiefer signing "hello". I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in signing or dogs.

Would you like to know more about Kiefer?

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Hearing Loss Support Group Reaches Out

Indian food at Khyber Pass Restaurant, Oak Park

Last Saturday, my hearing loss support group met for lunch at an Indian restaurant. It was the first time several of us, including me, had tried this cuisine. The restaurant offered a generous buffet with many dishes to choose among including beef, chicken, lamb, and many vegetarian options.

Buffet table at Khyber Pass Restaurant, Oak Park
My friend Ann who enjoys cooking Indian food.

My friend Ann came with me. She knows how to cook Indian food and she explained to us what each dish was. At the table we were served nan, which is an Indian flat bread. At the buffet table, we had three choices of dips. I tried two of them, a sweet and sour dip and a yogurt dip. Together with the nan, they helped cool off the spicier dishes. But none of them were very hot, thank goodness. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the food.

The restaurant was quiet and we had our own long table (actually 3 tables pushed together) and good lighting. Conversation and signing flowed freely among us. After we had all finished eating, we posed for this group photo taken by one of our members.

ALDA Chicago members who came out for Indian food.

Then we went over to Oak Park Public Library to view the documentary film Discovering Shuktara: Star of Happiness. This social event was my idea because I wanted to introduce our group to the wonderful work being done internationally by Discovering Deaf Worlds, the organization I traveled to Costa Rica with last year.

The film tells the true story of Shuktara, a group home for developmentally disabled and deaf children who have been abandoned by their families and overlooked by other charitable organizations. Shuktara was started in 1999 by David Earp. You can read more about him and how he came to found Shuktara here. Discovering Deaf Worlds made this captioned film and has established a lifetime commitment to the support of this organization.

After watching the film, our group took up a free will offering for Discovering Deaf Worlds to give to Shuktara. I was so proud that my friends wanted to join me in giving. Together we raised $144.
This event was important to me because I hoped the group could identify with what David Earp has done - creating a new, loving family for young people in need. I know my ALDA Chicago support group has become a new family for me. I've found acceptance, support, and friendship among others who like me have difficulty communicating with the rest of the world. It feels like family when I'm with them. I'm glad to know they were touched by the film the same way I am every time I see it. If you would like to view the film, you can watch it here on DDW's website.