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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Amish Country Quilt Gardens Tour: Day Two

Here are a few highlights of our second day viewing the quilt gardens. Many more photos are available on flickr including pictures I took of painted quilt murals on the tour, a yummy looking quilt made of jelly beans, and lovely landscape photos completely unrelated to quilts taken at Wellfield Botanic Gardens.

Sign in Wakarusa, IN
Liberty Garden - Goshen, IN
 This design features a torch amid purple and
red stars. The marigolds are the torch's flames.

Miles Variation - Goshen, IN
Brickwork - Wakarusa, IN
Star of Hope - Elkhart, IN

Amish Country Quilt Gardens Tour: Day One

Here are a few photos from my travels along the Heritage Trail in the Amish country of Northern Indiana. This was my first time to photograph the quilt gardens which are a free attraction on display May 30-October 1, 2012. My friend Linda drove me on this self-guided tour. You can see more photos from our day on flickr. To learn more about the Quilt Gardens tour, visit the official website.

Piecefully Amish - Nappanee, IN
Can you see the orange triangle caution symbol
on the back of the Amish buggy?

Purdue Grand Champion Sunflower - Goshen, IN
Sunshine and Shadows - Shipshewana, IN
Peace and Plenty - Shipshewana, IN
Double Nine Patch - Shipshewana, IN
Trip Around the World - Middlebury, IN
Grandmother's Fan - Bristol, IN
Stellar Days - Elkhart, IN
Wedding Garden - Elkhart, IN

Cactus Dahlia - Elkhart, IN

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turn a Deaf Ear: A Book Review

I'm very pleased to tell all of you about Turn a Deaf Ear, a novel I read this week. I heard about the book through the publisher who sent me a copy to review here. Before I read it, I didn't know much about the story other than it was a book for adults (as opposed to children or young adult literature) and it featured a romance between a hearing woman and a deaf man. The book was written by sisters Janet Fiore Horger and Linda Fiore Sanders.

My immediate reaction upon finishing the book was the recurring thought "It's been a privilege." I don't think I've ever felt that way about reading a book before. The story combines fictional parts with a basis in fact, but I couldn't tell where those lines were drawn. The story was seamless for me in that regard.

Turn a Deaf Ear is the coming of age story of Linda, a young adult from New Jersey, transplanted to California when her parents divorce. The time period is the 1960s and 70s. Linda's mother relocates to California with her two children, Linda and her big brother Nick, to live near her oldest daughter Cee Cee, a married woman living in Burbank.

The Fiore family is Italian and family and food are of prime importance. I enjoyed learning more about Italian-American culture and found the mother's character particularly well drawn. I especially enjoyed the children's exasperation with her demands while they followed all her wishes to give her the respect due her as matriarch of their family. There are wonderful descriptions of her family dinners, nightly phone calls, restaurant rituals, and The Test she gives all her son's girlfriends to let them know no one is good enough for him.

Deafness enters the story when Nick brings home to dinner a coworker named John. Mama doesn't mind that he doesn't speak or hear, as long as he has a good appetite! Nick has learned ASL and translates. Even without communicating directly, Linda and John fall in love at first sight. They begin to date, but John is reluctant to teach her to sign right away. After three months of fingerspelling only, Linda tells him if he doesn't teach her to sign, it will be their last date! He gives in and this begins her introduction to ASL and deaf culture.

The pair face resistance from friends and loved ones, both hearing and deaf, but their love overcomes all. In a truly beautiful scene later in the book, the mother comes to fully accept John. I challenge anyone not to be touched by it. I hope that's one of the true parts of the story.

There are twists and turns to the story line which kept me interested. I don't want to reveal too much here in case I spoil it for you. Please note that this paperback book is published by Grasshopper Christian Publishing and not a major publishing house. But don't be put off by the name, the book is not preachy in the least and I found the quality a cut above vanity press standards.

If you would like to read this story for yourself, you can find it available here through Amazon. Italian recipes featured in the story can be found on the book's website. I also highly recommend reading my friend's review of this book on her blog, Xpressive Handz.

Special Offer for Readers of Speak Up Librarian:
The publisher is allowing me to offer one copy of the book as a giveaway to readers who live in the United States or Canada. To enter, please send YOUR NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS to me at I will keep the giveaway open until July 15, 2012. At that time, I will do a random drawing from the names and all participants will be informed if they are a winner or not. Your information will be kept confidential and used for no other purpose. The publisher will contact the winner directly for a mailing address. Only addresses in Canada or the United States qualify.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Don't Leave Me Out!

Please take a few moments to watch this important film created by CCAC (Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning.) I am proud to say I know two of the women featured in it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's the Big Idea, Sarah?

I saw my blogging friend Karen Putz recently and she asked "Sarah, what's next for you?" The last time she asked me something similar, I ended up going to Costa Rica with Discovering Deaf Worlds. As one of my role models, Karen seems to have an effect on me - pushing me forward to try something new. At the time she and I talked, I did not know it then, but I was about to launch a Big Idea.

Before I tell you what it is, let me share some background information. Ever since I became involved with the hard of hearing/deaf community, I've been learning about the importance of movie theater captioning. We want full access to first run films and it's been a l-o-n-g time coming our way. There have been some legal successes and promises of future technological improvements, but I wonder how much longer will it be before our vision of full access is realized?

As social chair for ALDA Chicago, it's my responsibility to organize social events on a monthly basis. Last year one member suggested having a dinner and a movie night, possibly in several locations to make it more convenient for our membership which covers a large geographic area. I'm ready to go forward with the idea. I like the thought of having a group of people come to a theater and by their presence say in effect, "Here we are, show us your accessibility!"

But the logistics are going to be problematic, I admit. I've done some online research and have only found one theater in the city (so far) that offers both OC and CC films on the same night. I want my group to have a choice after all just like the other patrons do! There's also the question of devices. If caption devices are needed, how many does a theater have available? The one I checked has ten which is great if our group numbers less than ten. But what about the eleventh person in line? Or the twelfth, etc...? Is this an idea before it's time?

That's why I'm bringing the idea to you. What if this dinner and a movie night were bigger than the Chicago area? What if other individuals or organizations joined us by going to visiting their local theaters? What if those of us who need captioning set aside a weekend night to go to a theater and say, "Show us your accessibility!"

ALDA Chicago will host this event in November 2012. If you're interested in having a similar event or you have thoughts on how this might work (or might not), please leave me a comment or contact me by email. I especially want to hear from you if you've tried an event this before or have tried contacting your local theaters about captioning.

I can plan a one time event at one theater in Chicago, but I'd like to see if this idea can get bigger than that. Will you join me?

Update June 13
I've heard from an organization in Kansas City that's interested!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beached Blonde

Blondie at Central Avenue Dog Beach, 
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Blondie enjoyed her first day at the beach. At first, she was uncertain what to make of the waves coming up on shore, but unlike Rusty, it wasn't long before she was swimming. Rob had fun tossing her a frisbee and watching her retrieve it. One time she even dove under the water to fetch it. Good girl!

As always, Rusty preferred to stay dry. He enjoyed saying hello to the other dogs that were there.