"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Keep Your Head Up" (Signed and Captioned)

Here'a a little pick me up for your enjoyment. It put a huge smile on my face.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Speech Pathologists Online Include ASL Resources

Recently, I was contacted by Erin from Online Speech Pathology Programs. She explained that my website had been nominated to be added to a list of 101 Quality Hearing Loss Resources for Speech Therapists. They recognize that ASL as a language and wanted to extend their resources to be inclusive.

Check out all 101 sites they have included for resources here: http://onlinespeechpathologyprograms.net/hearing-loss-resources/

It is a great honor to have xpressivehandz.com  listed among such fabulous websites and resources.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"The Wizard of Oz" in ASL (captions)

This is a lovely version of "The Wizard of Oz" in ASL performed by the elementary children of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Eyes Alive! It is about 40 minutes in length, and each moment is delightful. Share this with the children in your life this weekend. They will love this, and maybe learn some new signs, too.

Visit the site at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-uYL4DRzmg

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Surgery and Recovery Update

As many of you know, I had major surgery done about four months ago. If you missed that post, you can read it here (I went to get tested and fitted for new  hearing aids and ended up having surgery instead.) 

The road to recovery has been an interesting one. 

I used to be hypothyroid, diagnosed decades ago with Hashimoto's Disease. 
I never did feel like my old self after I started the medication. It helped with a few of the symptoms, but only a few.

Since this surgery in October, my body has been going through a lot of changes. I actually went from having a low (hypo-underactive) thyroid is to having a hyperthyroid (over-active) thyroid. I went from one end of the thyroid spectrum to the other end in a matter of months. Neither is good, so we are striving to find the healthy balance between the two.

The wonderful thing about the surgery is that the night I came home I was not clearing my throat all night. Fabulous Husband noticed right away. Another plus - I got my balance back and I haven't been getting as dizzy or falling down. I'm also not dropping things as I was because the diseased thyroid was pressing against my nerve. I'm also swallowing better than I have in six years.  

Now, I am having difficulty sleeping and just being at rest. But because I am tired from lack of sleep, I've had brain fog and not feeling myself. I've had a few days where I "functioned" on only 2 hours of sleep within a 24 hour span. This is why I've not been blogging quite as much and I've been re-publishing some of my earlier posts on the blog. 

I saw an endocrinologist last Friday. We're going to try a new medication combined with the the thyroid medication I'm already on. We are also going to be lowering the Synthroid dosage. It will take four, possibly six weeks before the effects can be felt. I'm optimistic that I am going to feel better than I have in years once we get the medications adjusted. 

The recovery at first was rather brutal, but it was well worth the surgery. I'm looking toward to being at my most optimum health in the next few months. In the meantime, I've been taking things slow. I've been on sabbatical from school, and just enjoying the process of being home taking care of my body, being gentle with myself and allowing the healing process to do its thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Body Language Speaks Volumes

Often, when people start to lose their hearing, they isolate themselves and become alone. This affects them socially, and later in life it is harder to integrate into social gatherings, so they often don't go. If they do go, they struggle so much and feel so out of place, they seldom attempt to go next time. Their perception of the "real world" is going to be different because without sound, the world IS different.

Many people learn to read body language and facial expressions as they become deafened. The world is a conflicting place when dealing with people, because body language and facial expressions often don't fit the words being spoken. Often, body language projects the feelings a stranger has more proficiently than words can.

You should see the children at the school where I volunteer. They are so easy to read. You know when they are happy, sad, curious, or playful  because they are open little books. The school does a wonderful job providing an atmosphere of love and respect. The new children that start late in the middle of the year are welcomed and quickly accepted and thriving in no time at all. They know they are safe. They know they can trust you. They know you are there for them and that you want the best for them. They know they can be vulnerable with you. Open your arms, they run to you for a hug.

I've seen the countenance of lonely people change instantly when someone opens their body language toward them, not even conscious they're doing so. It's interesting to observe groups of people together. I've watched couples sit across the table from one another in restaurants hardly speak to each other, but the moment they get up and wander out the door, their bodies are nestled into one another affectionately. I've seen others talking intensely, uptight and uncomfortable with one another, and I've seen large groups where the elderly aren't participating in the conversations, just looking around or down at their plate. Often, I see them with hearing aids. They are not involved most likely because they can't follow what is going on around them, so they zone out. Then someone comes over and opens their arms toward them. What a difference comes over their countenance.

Body language. It speaks volumes.

*resposted from an earlier date*

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's A Deaf Sentence

I had a friend many years ago who lost his hearing when he fell down his back porch steps. He hit his head in the fall and his hearing was gone in an instant. He was only 5 years old.

I've been losing my hearing over the course of many, many years slowly, not even at a noticeable rate. We often play the "What if" game or "Would you rather be this, or be that". We tend to compare which is worse, and which we would rather have.

Life situations many times are not a matter of choice, they are thrust on us in unexpected ways. Then, there are times we are allowed glimpses of what is coming. Either way, we can either stop and just brace ourselves for the worst, or we can accept and prepare and find out what we can do with the situation. In other words, we can stop living altogether, or we can find out how to live with the unexpected situation the best way we possibly can.

I was asked this week by Sarah, whom I follow on Twitter, how I felt about the discovery that my hearing loss is no longer termed so much as "hearing impaired" but "deaf". In many ways it's a relief that I no longer have to play the "Can you hear this?" game as people ask if I can hear the little bell on the counter at the register in the store or the cell phone ringing, etc. They tend to ask Fabulous Husband, "Can Joyce hear this..that..and the other". We understand the curiosity, we're curious, too, but there are so many other things we could be discussing. By simply stating I'm deaf, the understanding that I can't hear those sounds is already there, and people will communicate more clearly and bypass the hearing test and questions and get on with discussing other interesting things.

So how do I feel about using the term "deaf" over "hearing impaired"? Life is the same, we continue to adjust and modify things where sound and communication are involved. We continue to  learn, adapt and live. I am deaf. It's not a death sentence, just a deaf sentence.

*reposted from an earlier date*

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Call Me Maybe" ASL/VRS Version

"Call Me Maybe" ASL/VRS Version (press red square cc button for captions)

This is a FUN music video featuring a Video Relay System (VRS) call. This is great for people who have never seen how a relay call works.  Be sure to catch the credits at the end for a good laugh. (captioned)


Thursday, January 17, 2013

"The NFL: Bad Lipreading"..

This one is for all the sports enthusiasts. Funny and captioned. This is a GREAT example of how confusing reading lips can sometimes be. :-)  Thanks to Lauren Randolph for sharing this on FaceBook.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Post and Adorable Signing VIDEO by Carmen Popescu

Carmen (in Amsterdam, Netherlands) shared a delightful video on the Signing Time Instructors FaceBook forum. I asked if she would permit me to share her video and if she would like to write a post for us. I think you will enjoy reading her story as much as I. Be sure to check out Carmen's video and website at the bottom of this post.

I've started signing with my daughter when she was 9 months old because I was fascinated about the possibility of better communicating with her before she was able to talk. I didn't know at the moment that we were going to have lots of fun and we were building some of the dearest memories.
I have two special ones that I would like to share.

My daughter was 18 months old. We were having lunch together and she started talking very agitated. I told her that it is not polite to talk with her mouth full, so I asked her first to finish chewing and then tell me her wish. She gave me the most beautiful and naughty smile, nodded her head and very fast started signing "MORE, MORE, MORE".

Another time I was singing for her to sleep. When I finished the song she told me "More" and signed very fast "MORE, MORE". I finished again and this time without a word, eyes closed and in a slower motion she signed "MORE" again. I finished again and with the last forces she could get together she signed a last "MORE" in a very slow motion.

At 18 months she had a rich vocabulary- she was using over 45 signs and over 25 sound words and she was more confident and sociable than other kids I know. Also, her motor skills were much better that many other kids of same age. And she was very communicative.

For me, using sign language with her was great as well. It made me read more and find out about different deaf communities in the world and about the American Sign Language. I liked it so much that I became a Baby Signing Time Instructor. It made me want to learn more sign languages and get in touch with one of my hearing impaired friends and work on a website to promote Romanian Sign Language that doesn't have so much exposure online.

I want to tell everyone that different sign languages are fun and rich languages and part of amazing cultures. I want everyone to learn a bit more and share their beautiful experiences.


Carmen Popescu


Friday, January 11, 2013

Sonic Bomb Jr. Alarm Clock

"... for the deepest sleepers, extra loud vibrating alarm clock with pulsating light."

Fabulous Husband found the perfect alarm clock for someone deafened like me. I love that it has a battery back up for when there is no electricity.

I used to have the big old fashioned clunky brass alarm clock with 2 bells to wake me up. I don't remember how it broke or what happened to it, but I've not found a replacement for it, though I've been looking for one for years. I'm pretty sure it woke the whole neighborhood, it was that great.

My Iphone has a vibrating feature for the alarm, but it just hasn't been enough to wake me. The other day, I woke up about 5 minutes past the time it first went off. I was beginning to worry that it no longer sufficiently wakes me. Then Fabulous Husband looked around and found this wonderful clock.

It has a long cord to the vibrating mechanism that goes under the pillow. Even if it ends up somewhere else in bed, it is enough to wake just about anyone.

If you or someone you love has trouble waking up and haven't found the right clock yet, I suggest you try one of these. I think it's about one of the neatest gadgets we've found yet. I love that it has the battery backup.

I never have to worry about not noticing the alarm again!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Exhale" Interpreted by June Ann Lefors

This is simply delightful. This beautiful woman's attitude is infectious! I'm smiling. I hope it puts a smile on your face as well. Lovely song, lovely interpretation, lovely woman. Captioned.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guest Post by Keith Wann

I want to thank Keith for agreeing to share  his story with us here today. 

We are privileged to have a small glimpse into his life where he once was an ASL interpreter and how Keith's priorities brought about a career change. 

It was unheard of...rarely done! I retired from interpreting. A coda, native signer, certified, the Michael Jordan of interpreting...I left. I would like to say it was because I finally earned a million dollars, but there is no such thing as an interpreter who has earned a million dollars profit from interpreting - the pay may look high, but after taxes and insurance and other costs, the pay comes out comparable to other staff jobs, except we have the perceived freedom of being our own bosses...but if you don't work, then you don't get paid! I worked morning to night, often 12 hours to only be able to bill for a few hours through three different agencies.

I still have the performing gigs on weekends, but it is harder and harder to leave the beautiful family I have always wanted - being a late parent, 44 as of this year and having two children ages 2 and 4,  I want to stay at home and experience these precious years, the years of growth and learning.

So now I have jumped into the home business, where I want to do 12 hours and get to have 12 billable hours of being there when my wife or kids need me. Some of you may have heard of "LegalShield".

Formerly called PrePaid Legal, it has been around for 40 years and offered affordable legal services for us, the normal people. Before, Justice only served those with the most amount of money. But now that has all changed. It is hard to believe that for less than the price of a bottle of water a day, you (and your family) have access to your own provider law firm. How can you get access to quality lawyers for pennies a day, when others have always paid $200+ per hour?

Let me explain how... it is not your $1 or so a day, but rather that dollar multiplied by the many members in your state, each paying that little amount. That adds up to a large amount of money. LegalShield pays your law firm to provide services to members in your state. So, whether you call the firm with a $3 problem or a $3,000 dollar problem, you are treated as one of the firm's top clients every time! The power is in leveraging the collective clout of the large dollars.

Never again in your life do you have to let anyone take advantage of you. If you are ever treated unfairly, call your law firm, and they can review your rights and even get involved to flex your new legal muscle! If you get a speeding ticket, call your attorney. Ready to buy or lease a home or car? Call your attorney. Ever have an issue with your cell phone service or cable company? Your law firm is waiting to help you. Don't choose to "wing it on your own" in life. 

My wife and I were members for 8 years before we decided to become licensed insurance agents with LegalShield. So we earn money like the person who sells you car insurance, health insurance and life insurance. They get a commission from the sale and get residual income for every month you keep the membership. It has been a leap for us, but the name I built up as an interpreter, and mostly as America's funniest ASL comedian, I proudly have aligned my name with this product since we have seen it work for us and others. This is not a get rich quick scheme for us, but something that is an investment in our family, now and in the future.

For more information in ASL www.GreatLegalBenefitASL.com/wann - or www.CheckYourRights.net

All the best,
Keith and Emilia Wann
LegalShield Independent Associate

Keith and Emilia Wann

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unwelcomed Entry

We have a note on our door for the postal service or other delivery people that I don't hear the doorbell and to simply leave the item. It is quite clear.

The office and maintenance crew where we live also know that I am deaf. They often leave flyers when they have to come around to change filters etc. My husband had arranged it so that they would call him first, then he would text me and let me know what time they will be here. At least, that was how it used to work.

Recently, however, it didn't happen that way. When I woke up from my nap, the hall lights were on. I didn't turn them on. The door to the garage was unlocked. I locked it behind me when I came in from taking our son to school. I opened the front door and found one of the maintenance crew standing outside the apartment across from us. He turned and said, "We've already been over."

He had come into the house with the exterminator while I was home..alone..and asleep.

I closed the door and came upstairs to text Fabulous Husband. I was furious, and creeped out. I'm still feeling that way.

Hearing people have the advantage of not only hearing someone knocking or ringing the doorbell, but also doors opening and closing. Those of us with hearing loss or deafness don't have this capability. We are vulnerable. I no longer feel safe or comfortable in my home. My sacred space has been invaded, and it's going to take me some time to feel safe again.

Has anything like this happened to you? Did you end up moving, or staying?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wonderful ASL Song Interpretation by Children

My friend Annie posted this wonderful video on FaceBook. These kids did a fabulous job, don't you think? This is signed and captioned.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Creations by Xpressive Handz - Exotic Textures and How To Sign "Scarf"

*a demonstration how to sign "scarf is below the photos*

I almost titled this post "What I Did for Winter Vacation". Photos of my projects are below the post. Winter crafts have been my main focus. Here's a peek of what my xpressive handz have been fashioning, crafting, crocheting. I use many different textures, but if I had my way, they would all be from alpaca yarns spun and dyed right here in Pennsylvania, as some of these are. I am quite fond of exotic textures. I used a few different patterns and stitches. There is no end to the variety of fashion when it comes crocheted scarves. I'll be learning to knit a few different patters at Lancaster Yarn Shop this coming new year. They have free classes every Tuesday. Look them up and come join the creative FUN. Wendy is a fabulous teacher: http://lancasteryarnshop.com/

Fabulous Husband took some photos of my wares:

* Here is a demonstration how to sign "scarf" by SLDictionary:


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Forever Friends" by Allison Schley

I'm looking forward to reading "Forever Friends"  by Allison Schley http://www.2foreverfriends.com/index.html to my Kindergarten and First Grade Sign Language students this week.

I like this page where Mom is signing "wake up" to Matt on his birthday. It is also the sign for "surprise". Matt's birthday surprise is a trip to the Humane Society where he finds his forever friend Dexter, who is deaf, just like Matt.

This book incorporates a few basic signs and has a very special message about deafness.

Fabulous husband took this photo of me with Allison's book, "Forever Friends".