~ End of the school year sunrise photo by Linda – thanks Linda!
~ End of the school year sunrise photo by Linda – thanks Linda!
“My love is stronger than the winter you were frightened of…” ~Lucy Wainwright Roche
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.
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.
I miss being on the floor reading Maurice Sendak books to my boys and blowing up wooden train tracks with megazords.
If you find any good articles about raising teens during this super selfish time of history in the 1st world – please pass them on!
Raising children in this day and age is no easy task. ~ Kate Cooper
“A healthy self-love that leads to true happiness is what Rousseau called “amour de soi.”
It builds up one’s intrinsic well-being, as opposed to feeding shallow cravings to be admired.
Cultivating amour de soi requires being fully alive at this moment,
as opposed to being virtually alive while wondering what others think.
The soulful connection with another person, the enjoyment of a beautiful hike alone (not shared on Facebook) or a prayer of thanks over your sleeping child (absent a #blessed tweet)
could be considered expressions of amour de soi.”
My stomach has been in knots for several days now – in no small part to the terrorist events in our world – far and near.
For me, my sadness is only in part about the bombings in Africa, and Beirut, and Paris – it’s about noise. Our world is so full of superficial noise. I don’t want that for my grandchildren.
That is not what I want for them. I want more than for them to know that Granny’s new favorite phrase in ASL is “my hear is your heart.” I want more than to teach them to say that to me in silence. I want more than to sing them to sleep. I want far more than to hear their squeaky little voices. I want them to trust the world beyond the front door…beyond the village borders.
I want them to trust the feeling of joy – but if I don’t – how can they? And I don’t.
As I get older I question joy, all….of….the….time.
Every year at this time I have the same dilemma, one that is shared with the couple of weeks that come before Lent: how will I celebrate Advent this year?
“What do you need this year?” I ask myself – “Where are you hurting? What do you need to deepen? Question? Celebrate? Learn? Strategize?”
Don’t know about you, (you who do the Advent thing that is….) but it’s a matter of setting up routines. Likely, most people fall into the comfort of old routine – pull out or make the wreath, gather a prayer book, set aside a few extra minutes.
But of all church seasons….Advent means the most to me because it is about quiet. I love quiet as a way of life more, and more, and more….every day.
Neurotic am I though….part and parcel of not coming into the world as a pumpkin in a patch or a set of shoes on a store shelf – I worry.
So, every year at this time ruminations are about what routine will be set forth in a week or so for the next month of preparations for……drumroll…
This year I’m going to try and write.
My prayers, unless they go in a different direction…will be about abandon. The process of finding work, making friends, committing to a bit of a career shift, and enjoying the luxury and privilege of yet another educational gig – it has softened me. I hadn’t realized how lonely and bitter I’d become because…well,
because I’m not a pumpkin or a shoe.
So, that’s that….here are the flagship words that sit by my desk and tempt me to walk out the door as I do these days….
“What We Need is Here” ~ Wendell Berry
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith; what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Lord have mercy.
“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.”
P.P.S. The green t-shirt is showing how to do the word “proud” in American Sign Language.
“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.
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.
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
who we are is fiercer than anything we know.”
~ Nancy Collier
The good thing is this – it’s only four times a year or so. I’ve been through much worse… I’ve struggled with insomnia – really scary amounts of it at a few points in time, for around 14 years now. Before that it was the “normal” kind. Worried about a test, up all night with the baby, excited to marry the man of my dreams…. But – by and large, I’ve got routines and interventions in place that have these all nighters narrowed down to four times a year or so. And the great thing is – it’s not really any longer a gigantic big deal.
It’s kind of like going to the dentist. It’s a little bit like getting ready for a birthday party. It sometimes reminds me of childbirth. It’s no worse than waiting on an oil change. It’s like meeting a new gynecologist for the first time and finding out that he is old, ugly and short. Oh well. C’est la vie, right?
No – these quarterly lay awake all night episodes have a scientific link – it happens with every season change. Go ahead and roll your eyes if you need to about Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a thing. It’s on my chart and lands me a half-dozen or so check ups a year to be sure that my GrandPlansToSleep a solid 8 most nights of the year has fallen off course.
And, yes – it’s all in my head.
Which happens to contain my brain.
Which creates (and doesn’t create) chemicals that lead to a decent day after day and night after night… Yet….in the end….my hope is this: I never want a Dark Night of the Soul episode…ever…again. Literally. I can’t control that I suppose, but I dread the idea that the night may become my enemy at some point again. Night is for sleep. I’d rather wrestle demons in the day time, thank you very much. So…last night I never did fall asleep.
I tried every single trick, of which I have honed to approximately a dozen. No luck. Oh well. Instead, I got sleepy watching “Madmen” for the first time with the volume too low to hear and my glasses off. (trick #8) Oh my goodness – that looks like an awesome series. Note to self.
And then, I got sleepy enough that my muscles started to twitch and my mind settled while listening to Kate Rusby on Pandora. (trick #2) No luck. She broke out into a fiddle reel and I got wound up about needing a passport if I’m ever going to Ireland.
So, I broke my CardinalRule of stay horizontal until 5 a.m. and brewed some coffee at 4:00. But…. at those several points when I tried to pray (trick #1, #7 & #12) they all kept landing back on hearing words like “you deserve this” and “don’t give up” and “just keep moving.” Motivational poster sayings. I HATE motivational poster sayings. So I became annoyed and woke right back up…
What brought me peace and lead to the decision to break my lay still until 5 a.m. rule was that for just a moment – I had a teeny, tiny little moment of: “you are enough.”
My nanosecond of real calm doesn’t change the fact that I have a crap pile of life to untangle…but for a moment as I was en route to dozing to a Celtic tune – I let myself be strong. So, if you too are experiencing your quarterly Spring to Summer Serotonin Spiritual Review – feel free to skip straight to giving yourself an A+ and consider this quote by Nancy Collier. I feel pretty certain that she is a Deaf woman who I quoted in a paper…she could also be someone else – it’s a sticky note quote on my desk that I just noticed…maybe she is Kate Rusby’s lead fiddle player, and is blind…who knows. At any rate…
who we are is
than anything we know.”
~ Nancy Collier
This is my favorite photo of our dog Paul. Why? Because he is always in trouble, and when I took this he was apologizing.
I don’t remember why my phone was photo ready, but I am certain that he was raising some kind of doggie hell just before I tapped the picture button. The clovers that got stuck in his collar are the clue that he was up to no good in the yard. Right before I plunked into my reading chair to calm myself, I likely stepped onto the back porch and embarrassed my family
by forgetting that I live in a city now. Three years later, I sometimes still yell in my farm voice.
That look on the face of Paulie is his “apology face” and it works, of course, every time. He doesn’t try to convince me that he will never do IT again. Our other dog. Lennon Francis (Lenny) cowers, and hides and shivers when he is in trouble until the issue passes. His way of apologizing is to drop a ball or chewed up play toy at me feet and then step back and sit down. It’s like he’s saying, “seriously mom, we both need a round of fetch to resolve this tension.”
Paul McCartney on the other hand, manages to make me stop shaming him by insisting that I NEED him, and I need him right now! Right here. On my lap, in my arms, or his favorite – like an infant resting his head on my shoulder.
Isn’t shame an interesting topic?
If you don’t agree, you should.
JeezlePete. I did it again. Shame on me.
I have had some really great things happen this summer, but right now near the top of the list is reconnecting with my friend Therese Borchard. She is so funny. We hadn’t had a private chat online in a long while and for some reason time alllowed for that to happen more than once over this school break.
It’s interesting – she and I share a birthday and when we lose touch and reconnect a little bit, it’s pretty common that similar things are on our minds. I really appreciate that she passed on some facinating resources in between our twisted and humorous conversations.
I’ve mentioned here a couple of times, I think, that last year I started my studies to become an Educational Sign Language Interpreter. Well, this year I am able to move ahead with three classes and I am so excited. The frustrating and disappointing thing is that I had to turn down a great offer to continue working at the school I enjoyed so much last year. My classes will be during the day.
Backer to my writer friend Therese: here’s the short version of what we are connecting about right now and are both sort of, well, tearfully even, thankful about: we are a little bit stuck on the topic of shame and redemption.
I know. Strange. Isn’t it? I envy the the people that start their break with plans to be light hearted and and keep up with that commitment.
I promise that I started the summer with three goals: lose twenty pounds, create a kitchen that looks like this:
I did clean out the cabinets, and I am still obsessed about the topics of shame and redemption – but it is in a super charged and good way now!
Through conversation with my college roomate and writer friend, along with gathering some books, I sort of clarified why I was so angry during that first year and a half back in the work world. I had taken a much longer than I should have sebatical.
I’m not the only on that was, and still is enraged about the Sandy Hook massacre. But, for me, the impact was to realize that realistically, people my age don’t have forever to enjoy their careers. Maybe that’s why it is common to start one, or restart one at age 50 – which is what I’m doing.
And pardon my french, but I am thouroughly pissed at what the world has become while I was home loading the wood stove and packing the moving boxes and discovering the great Mississipi river.
Thank God I re-stumbled onto to my mental health and spirituatlity writer friend and now have some resources to try and understand and cope with how obessesd society has become with shaming and blaming each other. The first thing I learned is that what is most destructive, is that we, America espeically, are keeping our worries and secrets private and losing our sense of place and self.
How in the world did this happen? Is it because of social networking? Global warming? The Berlin Wall? The death of Fred Rogers?
I don’t know – but it was a huge shock to me when returning to the classroom and teacher lounge after a fiver year or so break,
yet, I have never been so thankful for work in my life.
My confidence is slowly regaining it’s speed and my faith life has taken off again. My family of course means the most to me, but I am also the one who was lucky enough to hold a hungry first grader who was throwing a crying fit about sounding out a WHOLE page of reading After I convinced him that sitting in the hallway with me is the most boring idea ever and that carpet time is the Bees Knees, I ended up being the lucky one. I get to remember that In grade one my belly was always full enough and I spent hours watching Fred from Dad’s lap. And while I sorely miss to my sons…those were good days indeed.
But you know what? The world has gone mad.
We are shaming this fantastically charming little generation of readers in epic proportion and I will not put up with it another minute.
Someone, somehow, somewhere – decided that name calling is no big deal.
Well, guess what.
It is. And the last thing that these teachers and students need, in the face of gun violence and hatred, is more wasted time on tattling and idioticTom Foolery.
If you are feeling frustrated on similar topics here is a video, and here is a **killer good** article, and here is a song. Each of them have helped to calm me down while I try to sort all of this out.
By the way – isn’t that tin of buttons that my friend Marti made the coolest rainbow you have seen since yesterday?
I do like buttons.