Friday, December 28, 2007

What's in a Sign?

ASL University

It wasn't until I was in my late teens when I realized that there was a difference between the way I signed (a mix of SEE-Signed Exact English and Signed English/PSE-Pidgin Signed English) and ASL (American Sign Language). I was mainstreamed in a private school for the last five years of my school-age life. I had just started to hang around with d/Deaf people more when I was a senior in high school. It was a part of my school life as a child. I didn't really "forget" signs. I got a little rusty, but quickly got back into it.

Once again, I started losing touch with that part of my life. I got married, divorced, and remarried. Both times to hearing guys. I was working full-time and had children. I couldn't really get-together with my d/Deaf friends as much as I would have liked. They moved farther away and had started families of their own.

I had a co-worker who was really interested in learning signs. I introduced a few new words to her every week. Some days we were assigned to work across the room from each other. We just communicated by signing to each other.

Then there was a merger at work and I took the severance pay. I decided to go back to school. I found out how outdated (I didn't even know signs could be outdated) my signs were. One of the interpreters introduced me to ASL Browser, a website that demonstrated signs. I like to use this website to find a sign for a word I didn't know how to sign instead of fingerspelling it. I love to go back and look up words, even ones I knew, just to see if it's been modified. Most are basically the same, but sometimes I do see differences.

Once again, I am at a standstill with signing. I do try to teach my kids some signs. Out of habit, we are mostly oral. My sister recently took an ASL class, so who knows?

Sign language is not just gestures; it's a language of its own. A visual, expressive language.


Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Stocking

I wrote this last year, but now that Christmas is almost here, I thought I would post it again. :)

Glitter Graphics

When my youngest was three, I was putting up Christmas decorations. I got to the box with the Christmas stockings. Hers was the one with Rudolph on it.

She asked me if that one was hers. I said, “Yep, that’s yours.” I proceeded to hang up the stockings along the railing of our stairway that led up to the second story.

She asked me, “Where is the other one?” I smiled at her and I told her that she only needed one.

A moment later she said that it was too big and it didn’t fit.

I stopped what I was doing to turn around and look at her. She had her little foot in the big stocking and was trying to hop around in it with her hands holding up the stocking over her knees.

I just cracked up. It was so funny. I shook my head at her. “No, no, you don’t wear it. We hang it up for Santa Claus. He fills it up with all kinds of goodies for good girls and boys.”

Ah, kids say/do the cutest things, don’t they?

Labels: ,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Price of Independence

Glitter Graphics

When we go out to eat, I like the family-style arrangement (when the food is brought to your table and you serve yourself) or just ordering the food and having it brought out to you. Then again, there are times when buffet-style dining is great, because then you don't have to wait for your food. You just get up, get the salad fixings, soup, and meal of your choice. This is really nice when you are absolutely famished.

Over the past few years, I've begun to hate buffet-style dining. I worry about bumping into people lining up to eat. I worry about bumping into 1,395,599 chairs on the way to and from the buffet. This is especially hard if the person in front of me has dark clothing on. I may want to reach for a handle for a food item only to realize that someone is in front of me. I usually stare really hard in front of me to see if I see any movement so I don't collide into someone.

We still go to places that offer buffet-style dining. Sometimes Hubby will carry my plate to the table for me so I don't have to worry about tripping over something on the way back. That helps, but it's another one of those "I want to do it myself" pride moments I deal with. I would rather have the person ask me if I wanted him/her to take my plate. I wouldn't like it if it was just taken out of my hands. Independence is something I am having less of and I want to hang on to as much of it as I can. I don't want to be reminded that others are aware of it or if they are not aware of it, that something is "wrong". (Which is weird when you think about the fact that it doesn't bother me to tell people I am hard-of-hearing. Then again, hearing loss is something I have had all my life.)

I am still me. More and more, I can empathize with the elderly and their frustrations. They remember what their bodies used to do. They were young and strong. As they get weaker and older, they want to hold on to their independence. Some older people drive a lot longer than they should. (Like I did.) Some walk a lot slower than they used to. (Like I do, sometimes, especially in crowded places.) I empathize. I understand. It's the pride thing. We were capable of things before. We don't want to let go.

The way I look at it, my eyes are aging faster than the rest of me.