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Friday, August 31, 2012

Amazing Just the Way You Are

One of my favorite songs performed in ASL. This video is not captioned, so I've included the lyrics below for anyone unfamiliar with the song. Joyce, this is for you. Enjoy!


If you haven't seen the Bruno Mars video, you must. Check it out here.

Lyrics to "Just The Way You Are"
Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shinin'
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
(yeahh) I know, I know
When I compliment her she won't believe me
And it's so, it's so
Sad to think that she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me
"Do I look okay? " I say

When I see your face (face face...)
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

Her lips, her lips
I could kiss them all day if she'd let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think it's so sexy
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
Oh you know, you know, you know
I'd never ask you to change
If perfect's what you're searching for
Then just stay the same
So don't even bother asking if you look okay
You know I'll say

When I see your face (face face...)
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

The way you are
The way you are
Girl you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Journalism Award for Disability Coverage

The National Center on Disability Journalism, headquartered at Arizona State University, has announced the first national journalism contest for disability news. To qualify, entries must have been aired on radio or television or published in print or online between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

On the organization's website, NCDJ administrator Kristin Gilger, explains that although an estimated 54 million people live with disabilities, and there are numerous journalism awards for social issues, there hasn't been one for disabilities reporting until now. By presenting the Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, they hope to raise awareness of quality work in the media and promote further coverage of the subject.

You can find out all the contest details at To learn more about the National Center on Disability Journalism, visit

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blessing of My Book Bag

Today at church, we had our annual back-to-school "blessing of the backpacks". Open to students of all ages, this year I participated by bringing my book bag with folder, spiral notebook, and two textbooks. At the end of the announcement time, students were invited to gather at the front of the church. I was very relieved when two other adults joined me, but it turned out they were representing their absent children, rather than taking classes themselves. Still, it helped me not stick out quite as badly since everyone else was elementary through high school age. I attend a small church so the minister had time to ask each of us to tell the congregation what grade we were. I said "Masters of Communication" and was pleased not to have to say anything more.

My book bag is a present from my dear friend Linda who gave it to me several years ago. Like our friendship, this bag has stood the test of time.

Blessing of Backpacks

For our minds and the ability to think and reason;
We thank you, Lord.

For the passion and dedication of all who teach;
We thank you, Lord.

For the gifts of wonder and creativity and the vision to see you, Lord, in things that are new;
We thank you, Lord.

For schools and the opportunity to learn;
We thank you, Lord.

For our friends at school, who share the good times and the hard times with us;
We thank you, Lord.

For our families, for their love and support;
We thank you, Lord.

For computers and calculators and all the other tools that help us learn and explore;
We thank you, Lord.

For words and stories and ideas and the chance to share them with others;
We thank you, Lord.

For music and art and drama and joy;
We thank you, Lord.

For games and times of recreation and renewal;
We thank you, Lord.

For all those people who help us learn and all those whom we are able to help;
We thank you, Lord.

For our own unique gifts and talents and the opportunity to use them in your service;
We thank you, Lord.

God of power and hope, we pray your blessing upon these backpacks, on the students who carry tham and on all students and teachers everywhere. Bless us all in our vocation as learners, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Renaissance Faire - part 4

Watching the jousting was the most fun part of the faire, so I have saved the best for last. We saw two jousting shows, the first a prelude to the second. Before that, at the same arena, we saw a falconry demonstration. The first two photos show the falconer's helper bringing the birds around for the audience to see. I tried taking a photo of the falconer in action but at that moment the bird flew in front of his face!

Photos of the jousting:
Our champion for the first show. 
Alas, he was not the winner.

This lady was the emcee for the jousting events.

Our champion for the second round of jousting.

Our champion prepares for battle.

Our champion who was declared "Champion of
Champions" and winner of the joust to the death.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Renaissance Faire - part 3

I think the Renaissance Faire is deaf friendly entertainment because there is so much visual spectacle to enjoy. I was unable to hear the stage performers completely and missed some of the jokes, but there was plenty for my eyes to feast on and keep my mind busy. This post includes a short video I made from the faire as well as a few photos of possible deaf interest - wax hands for sale and a sign for a drum shop.

Renaissance Faire - part 2

The Faire featured a sense of humor as seen in the photos below:

Tomato throwing at a victim
who would hurl taunting insults back.

Wall humor

Would you hire this motley crew?

Artistry was everywhere as demonstrated in these photos:


Wind chimes made from silver
spoons, tea pots, and butter dishes

Samples of blown glass

Renaissance Faire - part 1

My husband Rob and I have been talking about going to this festival for a long time. After twenty-two years together, we made it there this weekend as part of an ALDA Chicago outing I organized. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures half as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Time travellers Sarah and Rob at the Faire

Many of the attendees wore elaborate
costumes like this couple.

Maypole dancing

RenFaire singers

Decorative keys that caught my eye

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's a LOUD, LOUD, LOUD, LOUD World with hearing aids

I came across an excellent article that describes how LOUD the world is with hearing aids. It was written by Katherine Bouton, a former editor at The New York Times and the author of the forthcoming book “Shouting Won’t Help: Why I — and 50 Million Other Americans — Can’t Hear You.”
If you have a hearing aid, the world is, paradoxically, far noisier than it is for a person with normal hearing. The human ear is a miraculous thing. It can filter out the roar at Madison Square Garden while homing in on the voice of the person in the next seat. A hearing aid can’t do that. 
In a noisy environment like a restaurant, a person with normal hearing will still be able to hear his companion. But in that same environment, a hearing-impaired person will hear chairs scraping, dishes clanking, waiters shouting, all of it bouncing off the high ceilings, the bare walls, the chic metallic tables and chairs — an anxiety-provoking wall of noise.
Read the complete article online here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Update: Tyler's Journey of Hope

Hi everyone,
Tyler has given me permission to share the following with you.
[For anyone who missed it, I wrote about his ambitious plans for this summer here.]

60 days. 4,000 miles. 11 states. It is done. I have honored your support for my participation in the Journey of Hope from Long Beach, CA to Washington, DC. Without your support, this life changing experience would have been impossible.

The most extraordinary aspect of my experience was not related to cycling. Instead, it was meeting people at Friendship Visits like Tim, Valerie, Jeremy, Hayden, and many others. Some of these people were paraplegic cyclists, cheerleaders with prosthetic limbs, and wheelchair basketball athletes. I thought I could inspire people with disabilities from my experience as a deaf person. On the contrary, they inspired me instead in innumerable ways difficult to express in words.

Journey of Hope is also equally a life changing experience for people with disabilities. Each cyclist has fundraised at least $5,500 and, at the completion of the Journey of Hope, altogether fundraised over $800,000 for people with disabilities. Each penny of your donation has been accounted for this grand total. You, along with other sponsors, have helped me to fundraise $5,505 for Push America and thus made my participation possible in Journey of Hope. It is YOU – not me – who have made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I sincerely hope I have made you proud of your contribution to Journey of Hope, Push America, and an experience that changed my life.

Thank you so much.
Tyler Swob

I am so very proud of Tyler. To learn more about Push America's Journey of Hope program, please visit their website.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting Ready for School to Begin

Look at this cute notebook I found at Walmart's when I was shopping for school supplies with my son. I couldn't resist a puppy who looked like Blondie, wearing glasses and napping on a pile of books. I figured since I am going back to school myself, I could buy it as a treat.
My class will be starting soon. I've received both my textbooks in the mail. I bought them used online from Amazon at a significant savings.
Next week I'm going to meet with my professor to talk about the discussion portion of the class. I was surprised, when I emailed him, how difficult it was to admit that I have a hearing loss. I decided it was important to be up front about it because I don't want to have my professor lower his expectations of me. If I don't understand something, it may be my hearing to blame rather than my intellect or a lack of interest.
I hope we can figure out a way for me to signal him if I need a repeat of something I missed. I don't want to slow the group discussion down, but if I'm going to be judged on how much I participate, I need to be able to keep up with the others. Naturally, I hope this will just be an occasional need. If it turns out otherwise, I may have to request accommodations. For now, I want to see how I do first. One thing I know is that after each class, I'm going to be as pooped out as that puppy on the notebook from all the listening.