Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

I used to lay out at the end of the pier on clear, cloudless nights just gazing up at the stars. I could listen to the waves gently splash against the rocks on the shore.

I would look for the North Star and the Little and Big Dippers. I loved looking at stars. I used to watch it “move” from one side of the sky to the other as the seasons changed.

I used to walk our dog down the lane when the moon was full. I could see quite well.

In the early summer months, I could see fireflies doing their “mating call” with their built-in light bulbs. It was like having the night sky fall to the ground. We had stars in the night sky and "stars" twinkling on the earth.

picture from Wikipedia

My cousin and I used to catch fireflies and put them in jars and pretend they were lanterns. The fireflies felt cool to the touch.

On overcast nights, the beautiful, twinkling lights of the stars would be curtained by the clouds. I would have to wait until the sky was clear, so that the stars would come out to "play" again.

I don’t know exactly when it happened. I didn’t go outside to watch stars anymore. I worked. I went to bed early. I had a child. I stayed inside at night. Then, I moved into the city. I got remarried and I had another child.

I didn’t take the time to go star-gazing anymore. Oh, I wish I did!

The fireflies still come out in the early summer months. My kids do the catching now and pretend to have “stars” in a jar or that they were night lights.

The kids would excitedly tell me that the fireflies are all over the yard. I can only see maybe one or two fireflies at a time. (They aren't as clustered as I remember-of course, it's probably just me.) I guess I should be happy that I can still see one or two here and there. It's better than nothing.

I am night-blind. I can see a little bit as long as there is a light shining nearby. Either that, or it takes about a minute to adjust to the darkness so I can scan the yard for the dancing, twinkling lights of the fireflies. It'll just have to do.

I used to think that it must have been cloudy outside because I couldn’t see the stars. One day, about two or three years ago, I complained that it always seemed to be cloudy when I wanted to look for the stars. But I was told that it was clear and stars are twinkling all over. I would squint and look very hard up at the sky. It hit me then that I couldn’t see stars anymore. I can still look at pictures of stars, but it’s just not the same thing.

If I were to wish on a star, what do you think it would be?

I have posted this before. I was thinking about warm nights relaxing on the deck. Firefly season is almost here. Hopefully, I will get my "star-gazing" fix by watching the fireflies. Also, the other night, there was a full moon. I actually glimpsed one star right next to the moon!! I was so happy!! (Thank you, God.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Dash

A video clip ("The Dash") has been on my mind lately. Maybe because of the Virginia Tech massacre and other senseless deaths that has been happening. Or maybe because of a few deathversaries in my family. I have been thinking of this video. Or maybe because I am more aware of my own mortality.

I think about the things those students did, hoped to achieve, and as another blogger pointed out-did they keep putting off doing things? Did they put off taking their child to a movie? There's always another day. Now they can't. Did they put off doing something they really wanted to do? It's not just buying a car, clothes, or traveling or even saving the money for these things, but what really matters..the gift of their time to the ones that mean most to them? And what about those who were close to us, family and friends, who have passed on?

Here is the Dash movie. It's both powerful and moving.


Saturday, April 21, 2007


At each family gathering,
There is a void that is hard to fill
Yet we keep our memories alive.
We know that it was His will.

We have to move on.
With joy our hearts sing,
Knowing that you are
No longer suffering.

You left an imprint on us.
We will not forget you.
We have learned so much
And it shows in the things we do.

Thank you, Dad. We love you.
It's been nine long years
Since He took you under His wing
And washed away our tears.

In spirit, you can walk
Without pain.
No need for a wheelchair,
A prosthesis, or a cane.

You have a granddaughter
You never got to hold.
And three great-grandchilden
Have been added to the fold.

I know you are watching them
and the rest of your grandkids grow
As you once did with us,
From head to toe.

The things left unsaid...
The things we meant to say...
I know you know
What's in our hearts today.
In Loving Memory of My Dad
September 2, 1928-April 21, 1998

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

New, Schmew

Some people go to a used car lot and buy a car. Do they say "new"?

As in, "I bought a new car!!"?

Some people go to rummage sales and find gently used clothing for kids. Do they say "new"?

Some people go to an antique shop and say "This is antique."




How about when it comes to buying a house? Even I once said, "We bought a new house. " Our house is 100 years old. It's not brand new. But it was "new."

My brother and his wife bought a "new" house. They were moving things out of their "old" house today. I toured their "new" home.

It's a two-car attached ranch house. It has a nice bay window in the living room. It's very airy and open. They have a nice yard, too.

It's close to the city pool. It seems like it's in a nice neighborhood. I saw the city bus go by so it's on a bus route. That would be good if my brother wanted to ride the bus. (He has Usher Syndrome, too.)

Someday, I would like to have a ranch home. It would probably be "used." But I will still call it my "new" house. At least for a while.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

To Share or Not to Share

Once in a while, I get mail for kids' books or magazines. Sometimes they offer free stuff.

The last time I got something like that, I just gave it to my youngest. It had stickers. I would throw out the rest of the mail.

Yesterday, I got something from Scholastics. It was for Veggie Tales: Values to Grow By. In the packet, there were free bookmarks, a small picture to color, a free poster, and four tic-tac-toe stratch-offs to get free books.

I just glanced at it and my oldest asked if she could have it.

Within minutes I could hear the kids shouting at each other.

"Mo-om!" My youngest whines,"She won't share!"

"Mom, the last time we got something like this, she wouldn't share with me. Why should I share?" My oldest defends herself.

I groan inwardly. "Why didn't you share? Serves you right. But let's stop the cycle. Share!"

Both girls look through the packet.

The girls split the bookmarks and the stratch-offs.

They showed me the results of two of the stratch-offs.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Ear of My Heart

The other day, I was going through my emails.

I weed through and delete some emails that didn't make it to my bulk folder.

How about getting three more inches? Widen my girth? What? No, thanks. I want to lose two inches. (Winks.) I press the spam button.

Some names I don't recognize with or without subject lines. Deleted.

I have loans waiting. Don't need one. Don't care. Goodbye.

I subscribe to About Deafness. I had an email from About Deafness. Sometimes I read the posts if the subject interests me, sometimes I don't.

This time the subject line jumped out at me. Deaf Blogger Profile.


I check it out.

I read her post Are You a Bridge Builder from her blog The Ear of My Heart. I read another post called Identity vs. Role Confusion. This I could identify with.

I will be going back to read her older posts.

Just thought I'd pass it on.


Virginia Tech

Thoughts and prayers are sent to all friends and family of those who were injured and killed at VA Tech.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Deaf Newspaper

No, it’s not a paper that cannot hear. :)

It’s a newspaper for the Deaf and those interested in reading about Deaf issues.

Sometimes I like to peruse this online newspaper.

Most of the advertisements are products and services for the Deaf.

There are topics that are Deaf-related.

I like to look at "What's the sign for .....?" There are Deaf people from various locations in the United States and the world. They show us what sign they use for that particular word. Sometimes they are the same, sometimes they aren't. Remember, signs aren't universal.

I didn't even know the sign for pineapple. I would have spelled "pine" and then signed the word "apple."

I admit I don't go to this website often as I wouldlike because I have a dial-up connection to the Internet and it takes forever to download things. It takes a long time to watch videos from vblogs and YouTube. I just leave it open and check my email or something.

Just thought I would share this with you.

Check it out.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Me First Part 2

I don't know about you, but it seems that people are more in a hurry to get where they are going that they just expect you to slow down or put the brakes on.

I am not talking about drivers.

I am talking about walking. In the mall or in a hallway or in a grocery store.

Picture this scenario. (The "you" refers to the "in a hurry" person. You know who you are.)

I am walking along an aisle, reach the end. Before I can turn into another aisle, you suddenly cut in front of me. I have to immediately put the brakes on so I don't collide (with or without a cart) into you. (See a picture of two cars at a four-way intersection. One is southbound and the other is eastbound. The eastbound car makes a rolling stop (not really coming to a full stop) and suddenly crosses the intersection, leaving the southbound car to brake, though it was the southbound car's right-of-way. Now picture it with people crossing in front of you.)

What? Do you, the person who crossed my path, expect me to roll out the red carpet? Maybe I didn't see you. Maybe you thought that I did. Does that give you the right to cut in front of me? What law gives you the right to cross my path like that? I am doing my best to scan the ever-moving shopping area or the doorways and steady stream of traffic of people in the hallways.

I don't care how much of a hurry you are. I don't care if you think, "Ha, ha. I beat you. I am faster than you." This is not a race. If you want to cut in front of me, then time it better.

Thank you.

There. I vented. I feel a little better.

I am normally easy-going. I let things slide. (Maybe too much.) If I had normal vision, that "in the hurry" person could be me. I have seen this happen to sighted people. though.


Thursday, April 12, 2007


Our Sheltie, Brandy, was delivered to us on Christmas Eve '04. She was about six weeks old. She was the runt of the litter. You can see how small she was next to the grapefruit. Little did we know what a little handful she was going to be. From being as little as a hand to a little troublemaker at times. She did not like swimming. She hated the water. (Most Shelties don't.) She was a very spirited dog. She was stubborn at times. She was the perfect lapdog. She loved to sit on our laps or keep our feet warm. She was funny and brought laughter to our lives. She was a part of our family.

Here she is full-grown. She was about 12 inches tall. She was a petite Sheltie. We loved her anyway.

She looked like a little fox. I used to call her "Foxy Lady."

On April 12, 2006, one year ago today, she got hit by a car. She wanted to chase a squirrel or a bunny. May she chase all the squirrels and bunnies she wants. (At least this is what I would like to think,)

In Loving Memory of Brandy

November 5, 2004 - April 12, 2006

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Powerful Lesson

I found something I wanted to share with you. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. As usual, it reminds us not to take things for granted-even the small stuff.

Many years ago, I had a very special teacher in high school whose husband suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with our classroom of students.

As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down on her desk. With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused, and said: "Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important. Here is my thought.

"Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. When this fantastic experience called life will end, no one knows. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is a way of teaching us that we must make the most out of every single day."

Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, "So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice.

It doesn't have to be something you see. It could be a scent - perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches the autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground. Or, the sunrise...a sunset...a full moon...a flower...the falling rain...a baby crying...the hearty laugh of a baby.

Please look for these things, and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the "stuff" of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted.

We must make it important to notice them, for at any can all be taken away."

As her voice faded, the class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester.

Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone...Taste its delicious sweetness...Wonder at the miracle of life...Smell the roses...Look into a child's hope-filled eyes; but don't stand, squat down.

For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -Anon., from a story "The Teacher" (A Powerful Lesson) (I checked this URL and it came up with "no matches"-just type in "life is not measured by" in the search box and it will find the story.)

I combined the story from both websites into one post. Some things were omitted. I would love to find the original "The Teacher."


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Good Teacher

A few days ago it snowed. It immediately disappeared. There was no proof that it snowed.

Yesterday at about 4:30 in the afternoon, it snowed again. You could see the curtain of snow as it fell from the sky to the earth. Continuously moving towards the ground, like cottonballs-one right after another. A wintery "waterfall."

It left a layer of snow on the ground. I thought that it, too, would not leave a lasting imprint.

This morning I looked out the window. A light dusting of snow remained, clustered in areas on the grass. You could still see the green grass peeking through.

I didn't rant about the fickle tug-of-war spring-winter thing. Spring is still here. The grass is green. The earth is still going through it's annual rebirth.

This is just a reminder. It teaches us that life has set-backs. But the sun will shine again. There will be warmer, better days. It can't always be perfect. The beauty is there if you look hard enough.

There is a silver lining in every cloud.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Irony of Life

Life is ironic in a lof of ways.

When I was younger, I hated having a hearing problem. I went to class with other deaf/hard-of-hearing students and felt like I wasn’t quite “deaf” enough. I didn’t really feel like I belonged. Not really.

Then I was mainstreamed into a hearing school with no accommodations (interpreters, notetakers, FM systems, etc.). I knew I wasn’t “hearing” enough. I did what I could to adjust. (I have said this before. I feel like I am in-between both worlds.)

I started to “expose” my hearing aids. I stopped “hiding” my hearing loss. It didn’t bother me to let the world know that I could not hear that well. If I had my hair down, the cashier at the store would look at me impatiently. What’d she say? Did I find everything okay? Did I want paper or plastic?

If I wore my hair in ponytails, my hearing aids were visible. People had more patience and understanding.

I grew to accept my hearing loss. Of course, I had it all my life. It was easier. Sure, I get frustrated, but it’s something I am used to.

You don’t miss something you never had. I never had “perfect” hearing though I do remember having “better” hearing.

I used to look at a blind person and think, I am glad that I have a hearing problem. Being blind would be worse.

Then the retinitis pigmentosa reared its ugly head. First, it was harder to see at night. Then, gradually the peripheral vision disappeared into a void. A void that is like a thick piece of plastic that you cannot see through-a nothingness. It’s just not there.

Every so often, I made both unconscious and conscious adjustments to each stage of declining vision.

I scanned. I would look around. It’s amazing how the brain can “fill” in the “blind spots”. That’s why it’s so easy to deny a vision problem. You don’t think of this as “blind.” Blind was supposed to be "black." But as the “blind ring” (the area that is affected-shaped like a ring) got wider, you notice more of the area you don’t see, but you still think you see more. This is, again, because of the brain’s capacity to fill in the blanks.

Every once in a while, I would think back to the time when I thought that I was so “lucky” to be hard-of-hearing and not blind. Did I jinx myself?

Now I have two sensory disabilities. What a double-whammy. One I can accept and one I want to hide.

Again, I am hiding a disabilty-trying to, anyway. I don’t want to show the world my visual disability.

I worried how it would affect my job performance. (I still do. Would anyone want to hire someone partially blind and partially deaf?) Would I get fired? (The Americans with Disabilities Act can only do so much to protect you. There are loopholes.)

I still have enough vision to look at people in the eye and talk with them. It’s another in-between world.

I haven’t had any orientation and mobility (O and M) training yet. For the most part I am self-conscious about taking this step.

Sooner or later, I will be getting the O and M training.

How do I feel about it? Angry. Scared. Sad.

When I have the O and M training, will I put the cane away, to collect dust? Will I wait until I have enough guts to show the world that I am legally blind?

Let’s say I walk around with the cane. I may look at people in the eye and nod. Immediately I will feel like a fraud-like I am faking it. (Who would want to fake blindness or partial-blindness?)

Think about the cane usage in a different perspective…I will use second person here.

You don’t want to be stared at because of the cane. You worry about people thinking you are a fraud.

-You are being stared at anyway. You need to adjust a moment or two to the whiteouts (stepping into bright sunlight-everything’s white) or darkness. You just walk slowly, hoping not to walk into someone or something or just stand there until you adjust. (How does this look to a bystander?)

-You bump into an empty chair or a display stand at the store and start to apologize. “Oh, I’m sorry.” (How weird does that look to a bystander?)

-You are looking down at your feet when you walk so you don’t bang your shin into something.

With the cane:

-You can walk with your head held high, staring at the horizon. You are free to look around without worrying about your feet.

-You can move-you can fly. You can walk confidently. No more feet-shuffling or small strides.

But it’s easier said than done.

First, I have to get through the O and M training. Which I do want to do.


To prepare myself.

The question is, when will I be “coming out”? The first few times will be the hardest. It is for most. After that, it gets easier and then it becomes a part of you, like the hearing aid. (This is what I was told by others .)

Again, when will I be ready?? I don’t want to be treated like a “blind” person. I don’t feel “blind.” I still have central vision. I know what my limitations are, to a degree, whether I am stubborn or not to “see” it.

It’s still not that easy. Even after all this “pep-talk.”

In the meantime, keep praying for a cure for RP/Usher Syndrome.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Please VOTE!

A blogger friend needs to get some genetic testing done. Her insurance turned it down, even though if she were to get ovarian cancer, it would cost more. Go figure. Read more about it on her blog.

She is a fighter. She is inspiring.

Anyway, go to Brite Hope (the name of her blog is inspired by her two children, whose names mean "bright" and "hope." I love it. It fits.)

Vote. Let's help her get that test done. Or go directly to and VOTE!! It's for a good cause.


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Yes, you read the title right. Smencils. Smelly pencils. Scented pencils, that is. (The word "smell" has a negative reputation, doesn't it?)

There was a fund-raising project at the school and the girls could buy a smencil for $1 each.

It came in various scents: Orange, grape, watermelon, root beer, pineapple-even peppermint.

It is made out of recycled paper so it is environment-friendly. It comes in a special tube to keep the scents fresh and every time it gets sharpened, the scent lingers.

My daughter got one that must have came from a Chinese paper. She thought it was so cool.

And it sells. What a great idea for a fund-raising project. I like this better than pizza, cookies, and candy.

The girls really like it. The only drawback is that some kids like to create a distraction and make popping noises with the tube everytime it's opened. It's not a toy.

But other than that, I think it's one of the best fund-raising projects I've encountered yet.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Show with Deaf Cast

I watched Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The episode was called "The Silencer."

There were a lot of real life Deaf actors on the show. The real thing (not actors acting Deaf roles). I liked it.

I like watching cop shows like these.

This episode can shed more light on Deaf culture and the way the Deaf think and feel. About cochlear implants. About preserving and advocating for their culture. Or maybe that's only because I have a personal interest in it.

I enjoyed the show. It reminded me about how the Deaf feel so strongly about their needs and wants. Even though it's always there in the back of my mind, I tend to disassociate myself from it. I guess it's like riding a bike, you just don't forget. You might get rusty, but it comes back.

Most of the signs used on the show was familiar. I expected a "dialect" of sorts. Kind of like New York accent vs. the Midwest accent, but in sign language.

I want to rent "Children of the Lesser God" again. I haven't watched it since it came out about twenty years ago.

Everytime I see a show with sign language and Deaf or hard-of-hearing people on TV, I want to see more and more of it. I think that the more exposure there is of the Deaf culture, the more people understand and respect them.

I only wish there was more exposure about deafblindness, especially with a condition as rare as Usher Syndrome. We don't have a celebrity with retinitis pigmentosa or Usher Syndrome to advocate publicly for us. If there is one, I haven't heard about it.

-Michael J. Fox-Parkinson's.
-the late Christopher Reeves-spinal injuries
-Sally Fields-Osteoporosis
-Sheryl Crow and a number of others-Breast Cancer
-????-RP/Usher Syndrome

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Month of April

The month of April means many things to me. It's a time of anniversaries, birthdays, and remembrances. I will be talking about them off and on throughout the month.

My sister-in-law's birthday was on April Fools Day. When she was born, the doctor came out to talk to her father (this was at a time when men paced the waiting rooms while their wives delivered) and told him that he had a healthy son.

Then the doctor said, "April Fools!! It's a girl!"

Good thing her dad had a sense of humor.

What an entrance into the world!!

And for those of you who have April Fools birthdays, "Happy Birthday!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Fools!!

Did you ever think about where April Fools came from? How did it get started? Was it supposed to be nature's joke that spring really hasn't started yet?

I copied and pasted some websites I checked out. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Origins of April Fools Day's_Day