Reflections on St. Lucy and the “Plus” Sized Women’s Clothing Industry

…in this time of inclusiveness,

why should 80 million women be marginalized?

~ Tim Gunn, Fashion Designer on Project Runway

On the one hand, all I want to do during this month-long break from school is to rest and be lazy. On the other hand – I want to read and do things that have nothing to do with American Sign Language or interpreting.

The first thing that caught my eye on my Facebook feed this week was a short video clip from Tim Gunn, a fashion designer on the reality TV show “Project Runway.” A dear friend who lives at a distance has been helping me to come to terms with my poor fashion self – esteem, so this clip was perfect timing. Last August, just before classes started, I sent him a message that included a plea to help with ideas about how to organize my clothes. We have small closets and I had just finished adding a new bookshelf and organizing my growing piles of school books and materials. My desk and school things are in the same room that I have my closet. So, one day I went on a complete ninja culling marathon. I kept on finding ugly clothes that I never wear. I was stressed about my final and very busy year of classes for the ASL-English Interpreter Training Program that I am working on, so it makes sense that I was worrying about my looks as well.

Its interesting – it only took one hissy fit and one hour of pulling and dumping a pile of every single piece of clothing that I have in my dresser and those items plopped on the floor of the closet  – to know that I needed a friend. I was so upset with myself.

I found item after item that was either: 1: sloppy and huge, 2: impossible to fit into, 3: possible to wear, but don’t make me feel even close to good, or, 3: were totally unflattering.

So, my friend messaged: “We can do this together – do it! Garbage bags pronto!! Send me photos, I want proof that you are doing this.”

So, a few weepy fits later and about 15 garbage bags I started sending him photos.

“Good job, I’m proud of you – still too much shit there girl. Keep on dumping.”

And, it started to get fun, and I started trying things on. My friend, and then also my cousin, started chatting about specific fashion and colors that would work for me.

“You are amazing and I’m so proud!” said my cousin. “Get rid of those thick ass socks and show your legs!” said my friend.

So, the Tim Gunn clip I saw this week? It talked about how unfair it is that larger women’s clothing is not backed by the fashion industry, because it makes the industry less money and it is, well, “not fashionable” to be less than thin and fit.

Because of my classes and being mildly Hard of Hearing my self, equal access is on my mind and a part of my every single day – most often all day long. Then, the other day I stumbled onto some amazing sales at a store for larger sized women and I was incredibly excited to find some work clothes that looked and felt professional. So, the follow-up of stumbling onto this rant by Gunn about how unfair it is for my body type to not have equal access, not just to clothes, but clothes that fit right and feel spiffy – well, it cheered me up almost as much as the heeled boots I found. See for your self what the clip says:

Why the Fashion Industry Needs a Makeover

And what is the connection to the St. Lucy doodles I made a while back and included above? For the Catholic Church, St. Lucy is the Patron Saint of eyes. She was tough and blunt, and legend has it that being her own woman got her killed.

“Rather than accept the hand in marriage of a lover who desired her for the sake of her beautiful eyes, (Saint Lucy) she plucked them out, and sent them to him with this message: “Here hast thou what thou so much desirest; and for the rest, I beseech thee, leave me now in peace!” Nevertheless, as the legend expressly tells us, her sight was restored to her the next day. Her martyrdom, instigated by her rejected lover, was accomplished by a dagger thrust into her neck in AD 303.”

So…there you have it. The struggle is real, and I’m so very proud of my now very bare, but well fitted for the most part clothing collection. Moving on up!

The Start of June 2016

 

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“Green was the silence,

wet was the light,

the month of June trembled

like a butterfly.”
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

 

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American Sign Language has hand shapes that represent English ABC’s.

I carved rubber stamps to make the letter A, C and L.

My friend is having a Deaf baby and her name requires that I need to also carve the letters: R, I, B, and E. Soon I will have the whole alphabet!

Another Day

“My love is stronger than the winter you were frightened of…” ~Lucy Wainwright Roche

 

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I hope that this summer offers time to write more about this – this thing of an enjoyable challenging winter. One that ended with finally getting a hearing device and yesterday, James Taylor and I singing in perfect harmony for the first time in what may have been years.

I would have been okay if I’d never hit those notes again.

More than okay.

That’s how happy with my full life and all of it’s changes.

Seriously.

 

 

Thoughts on making a “Nice Please Face”

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“A good thing to think about is

what kind of face to make when you say please.”

~ Ruth Krauss,

Open House for Butterflies

 

So – in a jiff I need to start to catch up  on homework and prepare to deliver our son to a nice snowy hill somewhere, but…

I sort of want to put into a few words why still, in view of this strange generation that my youngest son is in: I really cringe at the phrase,”kids these days are just Bratz!”

It’s what we say – always have and always will. I get that.

But on a deeper level, let’s look at this thing of :”kids these days are selfish brats.”  Maybe, but are they also selfless leaders, or is it some of both?

I say both.

My friend has a daughter that has for, three years now I think, has proudly shaved her head to support the St. Baldrick foundation (a cancer fundraiser).

Give my son a few minutes to spout his thoughts and he will in no uncertain terms tell you about his feelings on why he supports Bernie Sanders. He can back it up with historical facts that tie back to the underground railroad and will make logical ties to the benefits of rap music and storytelling.

And these two young people are only 14 years old.

I posted a quote from a really good article about narcissism a minute ago which includes a link. (Hit the button up above that says “earlier post” if you’d like.)

On one hand, to be honest – I’m less sure every day that when I get my interpreting certificate and/or license – I’m not sure that I want to go back into school work. Is it because the challenges are many these days and I’m not up for it? Sort of – not sure I’m interested in the stress of what childhood and education has become these days. More so, it’s just so loud – literally. Loud speakers, amplified voices, super sonic toilets – it all hurts my ears and grates my nerves.

But – that’s just me.

And,

I miss being on the floor reading Maurice Sendak books to my boys and blowing up wooden train tracks with megazords.

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If you find any good articles about raising teens during this super selfish time of history in the 1st world – please pass them on!

 

 

 

 

Patty Griffin: When it Don’t Come Easy

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Patty Griffin:

” I don’t know nothin’ except change will come…..time keeps moving….

I don’t know if I’ll ever get home….sometimes you don’t know if you’re walking in the wrong direction.

If you break down, I’ll drive out and find you, if you forget my love, I’m going to try and remind you….

when it Don’t Come Easy.

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Advent: A Call to Renew Lost Sabbaths

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“Emily’s Reel” by Yo-Yo Ma and friends are my companions this morning.

Many of us suffer from a wide range of blues at the holiday season – anything from grumpiness to a bit blue to downright depressed. One of the kind of nice things about being older is being able to predict these things. Pretty much as soon as the turkey is in the frig and hopefully starting to thaw, I know. It’s not the flu. These waves of strange emotion have a pattern and a reason. Same patterns, many reasons.

This year I am anticipating an easier season though.

Easier not in the sense that I can predict how sad I’ll be. The news is horribly grim near and far. But, I’ve let myself trust some friends of late in a Deaf bible study and it is having a grounding effect on me. I’m more willing to try my wings and more aware that being open to a shift in my relationship in God is the most wise path among various choices on my horizon.

Easier because I’m determined to not lose my sabbaths.

My “can do” attitude has been renewed of late.

Edgardo Ramerez~ photo by Elgardo Ramerez


 

All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah:
“Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths,
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest
while seventy years are fulfilled.”

2 Chronicles: Chapter 36

Here’s hoping….

 

 

Heroes: Bella and George

oral meme“He’s actually really small….I use him like a crutch.” ~ Bella

I’ll give fair warning – yes this post is eventually going to lead to another opinion about the recent mayhem of reactions to terrorist attacks in Europe and Africa and the Middle East…but not until the end.

Now,

first – please watch this video – I don’t think it is more than one and half minutes. If it doesn’t make you gloriously happy and astounded with hope, I’d so appreciate knowing why. I don’t mean to judge, I want to know! Actually, with the career that I’m wanting to develop – I need to know. I need to know why stories like this make some people sad or afraid.

Ok – do it, please. Watch this one:

Bella and George

Did you hear her say:

 “He’s actually really small…..I use him like a crutch” ?

I grew up with a great dane – they are not small! They are nothing less than ginormous.

My goodness – this story – this family, this mobility access project – it’s a beacon.

This success story is proof that the world has not yet totally gone to hell in a handbasket.

If we take care of ourselves – we get to choose who and what is

going to limit our perspective

about who and what is the…

can’t find another word, who and what is the enemy.

But, come on America! I’m fed up – stop rolling over to and hiding behind your shallow and selfish and vain points of view.

Stop the cover up – take your hands away from your mouth so we can see you and hear you, and for God’s sake – stop interrupting each other. Insane. It’s insane these days.

Take care of yourself – and no, I’m not referring to Botox and man scaping – I’m referring to morals and ethics and decency and intelligence.

I read an article just now that echoed exactly what upset me so much in the past week. I was  upset so much that I considered quitting everything that I’ve worked so hard for the past three years. I went into the week – even after having had a most wonderful, fun, and relaxing weekend away with a dear friend, I went into my classes feeling…yet again – ready to just quit.

I’m registered to at last start the really meaty classes in the American Sign Language – English Interpreting degree that I am seeking. By the time the crocus bust through the now frozen ground – my brain will once again be playing the language two step. I’ll be learning to hear my first language, put it through a quick spin cycle in my head, and according to my instructors hopeful words, my hands will learn to respond with a visual representation of what was said in English.

However, a few days ago  I asked myself: why bother?

“You are gradually losing your hearing – this makes absolutely no sense. Hearing aid or no hearing aid – this makes no sense. If you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The doubts passed though – and it’s all going to be fine. I don’t have to know for sure where all of this is taking me – I’ll graduate from the program and I trust my gut that the purpose of these efforts is to pull together work experience and education from the past.

It’s okay that I’ll be in my 50’s by the time I graduate. Lucky am I.

And, the saying I hear often among interpreters is not “if you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The saying is “If you can’t understand it, you can’t interpret it.”

And, going back to Bella and George – understanding is a very complicated thing. That little girl is full of depth and I’m going to be careful to not give up my freedom to perceive the world as safe.

Here’s another link to learn more about the accessibility program that connected Bella and George:

http://servicedogproject.org/ – check out their donation project – it involves chicken poop.

And here’s the article that I loved this morning:

http://calltolight.org/2015/11/16/people-are-demanding-non-pc-comments-on-terrorism-so-heres-the-mother-of-them-all/

So – that’s it. No more avoiding the weekend full of homework ahead. And yes, it snowed in Iowa last night. A big, whole lot.

Be well – Kate.

“Proud” : Easy to Learn in ASL

11188262_825705304161925_1221999162433126540_n This is what I wrote on my Facebook page this morning:

“I’m waking up feeling so thankful about the tight little group of friends that I am making.

 

I wasn’t ready to make friends for two years – yet the key was barely in our new door before my neighbor sent fresh-baked cookies…and how can one resist being hopeful with daily jokes from a sign language interpreter who was my first coworker in this new town we are in ?…and now the list goes on.

 

I’m just as introverted and still need hours of solitude and some of my rough edges will never go away, and that’s okay… and the work load is kind of huge, and it is going to get exponentially bigger soon….

 

When I first registered for these classes I sent a note to my (speech therapist) friend about how unreasonably worried I was that I was making a mistake to be taking this side route at this point in life and his main comforting advise was :

 

‘Your brain will be so happy, and if your brain is happy, your family will be happy.’

 

So, if you are wondering if those articles that you’ve read about language, foreign language especially being good for your noggin? It’s true. Do it. It’s not too late…

 

my class mates are saying the same thing…it’s like our heads smolder with information and vocabulary and grammar rules and confusion and then we go to these Deaf social events…and it works.

 

It’s like having a popcorn popper suddenly launch with yummy linguistic happy time. We understand, they understand us, and if there’s a mix up, who cares, we are still cordially invited to another event! So. That’s what I have to say this morning. Have a good day.”

11054444_817268375005618_6549938944609850678_nP.S. I apologize to the t-shirt company that advertised these shirts…if I can find you again – I will post a link and advertise for you!

P.P.S. The green t-shirt is showing how to do the word “proud” in American Sign Language.

Jason Listman and “You’ll Be Okay” by A Great Big World

“Early morning singing signals to other birds

about the strength and vitality of the singer.

Singing is an essential part of bird life,

but it’s costly in terms of time and energy.

CND path

Singing loud and proud first thing in the morning

tells everyone within hearing distance that you were strong and healthy enough to

survive the night.”

~ Mary Bates, “Why Do Birds Sing in the Morning?”

Yesterday one of my best friends, one of two college roommates, posted a phenomenal music video to her high school American Sign Language students. She happens to have been hearing until age three, and Deaf ever since. I happen to have been fully hearing until of late and I’m proudly heading toward my fifties. She and I both took dance lessons for many years prior to college. But, with a huge buffet of academic and arts choices available when we arrived at college, she tended to study what she had always loved, and I tried to branch out. She majored in English and if I remember right she also enjoyed environmental science. I majored in Communication Arts/Theater and attempted to branch as far as my credits would allow into religion and all other performing and visual arts. We both still took dance classes most semesters and I enjoyed learning a little bit about choreography. One of my best memories was a final project in which she graciously put up with me trying to choreograph a dance for both she and I. I’m not sure what music we used other than wind chimes. Did I have a classmate read a story or poem? Could be. I don’t remember.

No matter. It was so fun and she raised the roof with applause at every student performance in which she performed.

Hmmm. That makes me wonder, did we think to tell her how loud the audience was hooting? Doesn’t matter now – we had a great time and our friendship is still solid.

So, this week I’ve been putting up with some most annoying ear pain that feels like infection. They took a peek and the insides look perfectly healthy. A few weeks ago the ENT said the same thing – “everything looks perfectly healthy…we don’t know why this discomfort happens.” I wasn’t in a questioning mood that day, but I managed to get an appointment again in a few weeks and I need to let him know that I have an inquiring mind and I won’t rest until he at least gives me some “it could be” scenarios.

After a good bit of research I think he is going to tell me that this discomfort is likely hypercusis : sound intolerance, frequently accompanied by tinnitus. If I do have otosclerosis  as suspected I will have won a prize in comparison to other hearing loss conditions because hearing aids, a specific surgery called a stapedectomy and sometimes cochlear implants are all practiced options to possibly restore some or a lot of hearing. I also have the choice to just let it go, which I consider a fine option as well. The trick is that I’m not yet sure if any of the hearing aid or surgical options treat the symptoms and some can make them worse.

Which stinks.

I am patient and my life is blessed though, and to some this will seem strange, to others it will really resonate:

What is bothering me right now is the realization that I’m losing my voice. Literally.

People more frequently say “huh?” and tell me that I pronounced one thing when it was another, or look at me all wonky about the sound of my voice.

I also can hit all the right notes of a song very, very rarely. It had been hurting my pride a bit for a while. Now that I understand why, I’m relieved to be able to kind of grieve the loss of a cherished companion. From my college years, graduate years, baby raising years (two out of three – the youngest hated lullabies) up until about 5 or 10 years ago I could hit almost every note, almost every time. And since performance isn’t the career I chose, harmonizing with James Taylor without effort was and is respite care – not grocery money.

Good things are happening though – I am learning to listen and let others sing for me because I certainly can hear the chords and technology gives me the option to look up the words if needed. JT hasn’t given up on me and I can still hit our harmonies if I am alone, rested, relaxed and hydrated.

And there is this – the video that my college Deaf bestie shared – it’s phenomenal in every single way. The performer is a professional video director, Deaf, and studied college at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Here you go, enjoy. And happy Remembrance Day: Jason Listman in

“You’ll Be Okay” by a Great Big World in American Sign Language with lyrics.

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