Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wheels Spinning Fast Going Where?

A lot is happening lately, but I feel I'm going nowhere! Started the garden, went in halves, expense wise, with a friend to start a new garden here. It's expensive! But if it does well, cheaper in long run than organic food for two or three people, may be feeding a third person. Weather is so Hot already, (80's when normal highs are upper 60's to 70) that although the time is right to pland cool weather crops, greens, spinach, peas, broccoli and cauliflower, we're afraid they will burn up! And Everyone is worried about Summer, if it's already This warm . . .

So, on to small business. I was SO Happy to be ready to start a small online store selling my work and products which were Fair Trade, mostly made by people with disabilities from around the world. The site will, if I can start it, focus on Yep, dolls, and their clothing and accessories. But along came the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act, lowering lead and phthlate levels in anything which would "appeal" to kids 12 and under. My suppliers are in a tailspin. They are small, cannot afford high cost of testing batches of Fair Trade goods to make sure they comply with lowered levels of these substances. I have no wish to harm children, so of course I will comply. But without testing, how can my wholesale suppliers guarantee the lowered levels of these substances in dolls made by women in Darfur, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Vietnam, and Central and S. America? Will there be an exception made for tiny businesses with one or two people running them? Unknown.

This has been a dream of mine for years and everyone I knew predicted I would fail. When I finally decided I wanted to go ahead and try anyway I was Soo Happy! Imagine what a deaf-blind person running even a Tiny business and helping Other people with disabilities to Survive could mean? I would be doing the unimaginable! And the important part, I would Love most of my work! How many people get to Work at something they Love? Not many! But I have to wait and know that it might not happen. I've spent Years on getting ready to do this and the week before I planned to register my business with the state, buy a small business license and a Federal tax ID I found out about this law. So, is the cup half full or half empty? Well, the thought that in spite of all my stubborness, I can't do what I've worked for, that is very painful and I feel an angry clinging to the idea of my dream.

But I'm Delighted I had not started ordering inventory Then discovered I couldn't Sell any of it! This finding out when I did May have saved my bacon! So I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, it just Is, for now.

On the home front, our State House Passed the bill to strip Medicaid from blind (which will include deaf-blind people) over a very low income. I will be included in the cuts if the State Senate and Governor go along. And this bill also, in its original form, cut out Many things disabled people need, wheelchairs, Hospice care, nice way to balance the budget, hu? On the backs of those who can Least afford it. There are other ways which have been proposed, and disregarded.

So, the garden's half done, the business is on hold, and we wait to see what our future will be.

In the meantime I distract myself with taking care of a sick OJ Canary with an eye infection, (read Vet Bill) and thinking about dolls, Yeah! and signing petitions, and doing housework, (boring) etc.

So, I have a damaged 1992 Imani from Olmec toys, (this is written on the back of her head) who was "made in China" (written on her back just below her shoulders). She has a Lovely big Afro, a bodysuit, separate sleevelets to cover her lower arms, a long cape fastened by a jewel, a headband which may have also had a jewel on it, a ring, bracelets, and large earrings shaped like teardrops which match a necklace with the same shape pendant on it. Does anyone have one to sell or know where I might find one? And what about Very Velvet Christy, (my favorite of that series) and Very Velvet Kira? I find Very Velvet Teresa and Barbie all over the place. But in this series it looks like Christy and Kira were the definite favorites.

Well, the laundry awaits. (What a rush) and thanks for listening. I'll check out the American Teen dolls. Can't get to Target, rich as I am supposed to be, no money for a taxi, so Star dolls, maybe after they are all out of date. Can't see pics, but Teen dolls sound more interesting.

Am listening to doves cooing and grubbing around under bird feeder in the yard, where I always shake some seed out. Bird feeders are an Unqualified success! I Do enjoy listening to them! Doves are just outside window and hearing aids turned up Loud, so I can hear them, a Delight!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Specific Dolls, Where Can I Find

I am looking for a Very Velvet Christy and a Very Velvet Kira. They were released in 1998, I think. I can only find Barbie and Teresa in the Very Velvet dolls. I remember Ann really disliked the look of the Teresa in this series, anyone know why? Is her face the standard Teresa face?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's Talk About Healthcare

First, I am Neither a Democrat, Nor a Republican. But I couldn't Believe the questions conservative justices were asking Government officials yexterday about the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. "Does the Government have the right to force everyone to eat broccoli because it's healthy?" I think that is a ridiculous question!

How about, "Does any Government have the right to demand that all motorists carry car insurance?" Since in Missouri and many other states this Is the law, the answer Must be Yes.

Ok, so let's check out some of the differences between legally mandated Car insurance and legally mandated Health Insurance. Where does the money go? In the case of Car insurance, the money goes to insurance companies which Tend to support Republican candidates over Democrat candidates. Under the Affordable Care Act, the money goes to insurance companies but there are Also Regulations on those companies which do not apply with Car insurance. These Regulations will Cost insurance companies money. They cannot refuse to insure someone with a "pre-existing condition" in other words, someone who Already is ill and needs healthcare. Also, some Government run programs will be expanded to care for those who cannot afford insurance. In the case of Medicaid, this may mean the individual states have to pay more into the program. This will not benefit insurance companies at all. In the case of Medicare, I don't know how the budget formula is worked out, except that private insurers will also not benefit.

With the current mood of cut the budget on the backs of the disabled, elderly, unemployed, and working poor, no one wants to help fund healthcare for others, at least it seems that the conservatives in Congress don't, nor do wealthy or conservative Americans who make the loudest noises about it.

The question about Broccoli seems ridiculous to me. Why not compare the healthcare law to other Federally mandated laws or State mandated laws?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is Going On?

I wish I were surprised that an innocent young black man was murdered. I am sickened and saddened, but unfortunately, not surprised. What Does shock me is Why no arrest has been made!

In Oklahoma and in other places where young Native men live this kind of thing also happens. Often no arrest is made. But often the evidence of murder is deliberately hidden. In This case it Isn't! Please share this video with those who may not agree with you politically. Mr. Martin was an American citizen with American parents. So the injustice of profiling by immigration status can't be used. What would each of Us tell our sons if they looked like this young man, can you imagine it, having to explain this?

In this country we are Guaranteed religious Freedom, so Mr. Martin's religion should Not have been a factor. And so far as I have read and heard, it Wasn't. So how can even the most conservative friend you or I may have justify this killing with no arrest being made?

Millions are calling for justice for Trayvon Martin. On the one-month anniversary
of his killing, help grow the movement fighting the racial profiling that led to
his death by
sharing this powerful video.
Watch the Trayvon Video
Dear fellow MoveOn member,
I'm a MoveOn member and a mother, and my two sons look like Trayvon Martin.
As parents, we all have to warn our children about the dangers of the world—strangers,
bullies, which streets not to walk down.
But there's a special pain in explaining to my sons the suspicion and dangers they
face, simply by being young black men.
One month ago today, Trayvon Martin was walking through a gated community in Florida
with nothing more than an iced tea and a bag of skittles. But being a young black
man in a hoodie made him "suspicious" to George Zimmerman, who got out of his SUV,
tracked Trayvon down, and shot him dead.
On that terrible day, my special pain and fear as a parent became very urgent ...
and very real.
Racial profiling is a sickness in the soul of our nation. It limits our promise.
It divides us. And one month ago, it robbed Trayvon Martin of his life.
Trayvon's story is already inspiring millions in the call for justice and an end
to racial violence. It also moved writer/activist Kevin Powell, Akila Worksongs,
Jasiri X and the folks at MoveOn and ColorOfChange to record a new powerful video
"A Song for Trayvon."
Please watch it and share it with your family and friends to inspire more people
to join this growing movement:
When my husband shared the news about Trayvon, my eyes welled with tears. I pictured
my own two boys innocently walking home, just like Trayvon, and then never seeing
them again—never hugging them. It was more than I could bear.
That's why I started a SignOn petition calling for justice for Trayvon. It's been
signed by more than 500,000 MoveOn members, and
I'm delivering it to the Justice Department today
. Already, the public pressure from us and our allies is making a difference.
The Justice Department, the State of Florida, and the FBI have launched new investigations,
a new state prosecutor has been appointed, and a grand jury date has been set.
But we need to keep building the call for justice.
And we do that by making sure each and every American knows Trayvon's story.
Click here to watch and share a powerful video about the injustice done to Trayvon Martin.
President Obama said, "if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
He might be like Trayvon too, and Trayvon might have been like my two boys; or your
son; or friends of your children, joining you at the dinner table.
But Zimmerman couldn't see past Trayvon's race and hoodie to the promising young
man he was—a football player, a horseback rider, a hero who pulled his father from
a burning kitchen.
Trayvon was young, he was alive, he was beautiful.
All of us sharing Trayvon's story and calling out for justice are fighting back against
racism and senseless violence, so one day we no longer have to fear our child's walk
home in the darkness.
It's up to us to make sure that every person in America knows what happened to Trayvon
and how his death moved us to tears and action.
Help us grow this movement by sharing this video with everyone you know.
Click here to watch and share Trayvon Martin's story.
Thank you for standing up for Trayvon.
–Maria Roach
P.S. Today, vigils and rallies are taking place around the country to mark the one-month
anniversary of Trayvon's death. To find an event near you, go to
or check on Twitter using #vigils4trayvon.
P.P.S. Writer/activist Kevin Powell, who helped pull 500 people together in Brooklyn
yesterday for the "A Song for Trayvon" event, has written a stirring and reflective
piece for
The Guardian
on "Trayvon Martin and the fatal history of American racism."
Check it out here.
1. "Trayvon Martin: Zimmerman was not following Neighborhood Watch 'rules,'"
Chicago Tribune
, March 24, 2012
2. "Calls for justice rage on a month after Trayvon Martin's killing," CNN, March
26, 2012
"Obama: Shooting death of Trayvon Martin a 'tragedy,'"
Newsday, March 23, 2012
3. "Obama: Shooting death of Trayvon Martin a 'tragedy,'"
Newsday, March 23, 2012
4. "Trayvon Martin's Family Calls For Arrest Of Man Who Police Say Confessed To Shooting
(UPDATE)," The Huffington Post, March 8, 2012
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checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way.
Chip in here
any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Teresa Myers on March
27, 2012. To change your email address or update your contact info,
click here
. To remove yourself from this list,
click here

Saturday, March 24, 2012

More About Phthalates

I have found online articles indicating that old Barbie dolls may have phthalates leaching out of them into the mouths of kids who chew on them and into the air, especially of air conditioned buildings, which seem to trap them. One article stated that American Girl dolls also contain phthalates. As I am Not a chemist, all I can say is that Mattel is said to be phasing out phthalates, and that some of these articles site medical journals.

The online doll site "Dolls Like Me" has many dolls specifically described as "phthalate free". But if the EPA allows Mattel to continue using phthalates in many of their toys, one would hope that phthalate levels in present day toys meet its own safety standards, according to CPSIA. It seems to be the Older dolls which are of concern. So can These be resold to children under twelve?

Answers about Some Products via Phthlates and Lead

I called the bead store from which I purchase beads. The only beads they sell which contain Any lead are Crystal beads, clear glass with lead inside to help reflect the light. Don't think I have used Any of these for beading, but will Certainly check to make sure.

As for leather, obviously chemicals are used in its processing. But not lead Or phthlates, at least in U.S. Phthlates Are found in plastics , leather-Like upholstry, and to stabilize scent in everything from laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets to vinyl dolls. Mattel Must pass the test, as Barbie is Definitely an Under Age Twelve Product and thus subject to the law passed in 2009 andreferred to in last post.

Found phone number for Fair Trade Federation, will call and write them.

It Seems phthlates May be found in fire retardant applied to upholstry fabric. I don't know what to do about this. All of my silk scraps came from one drapery scrap vendor, I can ask. But other upholstry samples, they came from everywhere. I cannot be sure. Will research flame retardants applied more. Are they applied to sample swatches? Doubt wedding fabric is treated with them, as children do take part in weddings, ring bearers, flower girls, etc. This is all I know for now. Still interested in learning more from others, thanks.

Questions About CPSIA for Doll Sellers

The CPSIA (Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act) regulates lead and phthlate levels in products sold for children age twelve and under. I would assume that a large multi-national company like Mattel would have their dolls tested, regardless of Where they were made. And dolls sold at major U.S. Department stores, Toys'r-us, and Wal-Mart should have been previously tested, whether or not Mattel made them.

But if I want to sell "Fair Trade" items, beads, dolls, etc., I suppose I must bring up CPSIA compliance with each specific manufacturer Before buying their products.

Does anyone who buys cloth, beads, or other items manufactured by small companies abroad know how to deal with this problem?

I am wondering if this law means that I can only buy cloth, beads, yarn and ribbon from U.S. or developed country manufacturers. This is Not what I want to do! For any of you who Create outfits or accessories for dolls, how do you deal with this law and this issue?

Part of my goal in beginning a small business is to use up cloth which would otherwise be likely to end up in the dump. This includes wedding scraps, light weight upholstry material like brocade and velvet, drapery scraps of silk and satin, etc. The problem is that I have No Idea what chemicals these fabrics may have been treated with. Upholstry or drapery or wedding scraps Are Not made for children under twelve. So do I toss all of this lovely fabric in a Land Fill? Ridiculous!

And If I wish to purchase Fair Trade items, do I need to contact Each Fair Trade Manufacturer? Think I will start by contacting the FTF (Fair Trade Federation) to see if they require goods sold for kids in U.S. to meet PSIA standards. Hope SO!

I've noticed that Barbie doesn't use a lot of beading for decoration. There are exceptions, but in general, Barbie dolls are dressed in lace, netting, etc. for decoration. I have already Done a fair amount of beadwork on doll clothing which I want to sell. I will contact store where beads were purchased. But I have a supply of beads from Before 2009, when the CPSIA was passed. I cannot remember Whear I purchased Each package of beads. Does this mean I should sell beaded outfits Only to Adult Collectors? And what about clothing made of cloth which is in Perfect condition, but Isn't made for little kids to chew on, like drapery, wedding, and upholstry scrraps?

Any help you fellow craftspeople can offer would be appreciated! This law may put me Out of Business!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Taking Away the Affordable Care Act

The nation's new health-care law will be just two years old this month. But already
Congress and the Supreme Court may vote to take it away.
PICO leaders and organizers worked to make sure that low-income families and communities
had a strong voice in the debate over the new health care law. While the Affordable
Care Act is still a work in progress, it represents a major step towards building
a health-care system that works better for everyone, by covering more working families,
regulating insurance companies, and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid.
Yet insurance companies and their political allies are circling to take these benefits
away from families. Unless we get ready now, the victory we celebrated two years
ago may slip away.
What you can do:
Join us for a live webinar with insurance executive-turned-whistleblower Wendell
Potter TOMORROW, Friday, March 23, Noon Eastern, the second anniversary of the Affordable
Care Act. Potter is a Christian who walked away from his position as the head of
public relations for Cigna Corporation to work instead for truly affordable healthcare
for families.
Potter is the author of Deadly Spin
, has testified before Congress and state lawmakers, and is frequently on MSNBC and
other media outlets.
Sign up here for the webinar:
What Wendell Potter says about protecting benefits for families:
“Powerful special interests are behind a well-financed campaign of misinformation
and fear-mongering to make us believe the consumer protections in the Affordable
Care Act are not in our best interests, and that we should hand over the Medicare
and Medicaid programs to big for-profit insurance corporations. We cannot let this
happen. We must get off the sidelines to ensure that we keep going forward, not backwards.”
–Wendell Potter
This year, Potter will be visiting PICO congregations across our network to tell
families what the news media won’t—that insurance companies and their friends in
Congress are working hard to take away the health-care benefits that matter to families.
They will succeed if we don’t stop them.
Thanks for all you do,
Kamara O'Connor, Lead Organizer
Bring Health Reform Home campaign
PICO National Network
PICO National Network and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or
support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith
traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation.
PICO National Network, 110 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, 20002
Copyright 2011 PICO All Rights Reserved.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

What the Bleep? and My Least Favorite Barbies

As a blind person I was fascinated by the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know" but simply couldn't follow it. By the time Ann had described a scene to me, the movie had gone two or three scenes ahead. By the time someone made a comment like "How far down the rabit hole do you want to go?" I was still wondering about a scene I had fully or as often Partially heard a minute and a half ago. So I am Delighted that this book is Finally available Unabridged, on Audio. They don't ask so much about "rabit holes" and I don't hear a basketball unconnected to anything bouncing on a court, but I am getting some Interesting insights and idas from the necessarily more lengthy Book.

I am told the movie has reached "cult status" which I guess means a lot of people love it. I am glad too, that I have now purchased it in a format I can save and reread.

New subject: While I think over One or Two implications of "What the Bleep" for my life, I can tell you about my least favorite set of Barbie dolls. I think they are called "1 Modern Circle". Starting with the fact that I like dolls which look Possible, Human, you might guess why I dislike this series so much. The hair colors don't bother me, the miniscule Feet? do. The faces of the females, even the African American doll, Monique, are really pretty similar to touch. The body shapes are somehow more odd feeling than other hard plastic dolls like Disney's Mulan, (which I do like) or Flying Hero Barbie, which is ok and kind of fuhn. But as I have brown-black hair and have always wanted to put a bright shiny hard green stripe down the center, I like Monique in Spite of myself! She did it! I have her hair braided and standing straight up off of her head. like snakes, black and green snakes, cool!

I remember Ann saying the blue-haired one "Melany or Melody?" had a pouty expression on her face which was "yucky" and the Literature? with the dolls seemed to bear this out. But I wish I could steal Blaine's silver jacket, That is cool too! Except for Monique's hair and Blaine's jackes these dolls just Feel ugly to me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

Yesterday I went to the ear Dr. As I feared, my hearing has been getting worse, no one knows why. Half empty? But the Audiologist was able to turn up my hearing aids to compensate for the loss. Half full, but still scary. The Dr. reassured me that as a last resort there were cochlear implants, unknown, scary, doesn't need to be faced at this time. Cochlear implants work for some, not for others.

Yesterday I received three dolls and some really nice clothes and some hysterically Bad ones, from a certain blog reader who mails packages promptly after receiving payment, reasonable prices and fun. Definitely half Full! I Needed cheering up, thank you.

Have serious tendonitis in right hand, need to learn ASL And to type on computer, use Braille writer for personal records, do dishes, laundry, and sew and bead. Dr.'s answer, "Just quit using that hand for a month or so." My answer, "Ok, you just close your eyes for a month or so." Must contact this doc' again, not good enough. Frustrating.

You Do have to Have money to Make money. And there are more laws to research than I knew about. For now, half empty. Hopefully in future, will make for half full to FULL!

Bottom line, that Buddhist story you may have already heard.

A Chinese farmer is very poor but has One and Only One real asset, a beautiful stallion which his neighbors will pay a small fee to breed with their mares. The farmer gets paid the money. Stallion . . .

But the stallion runs away. Neighbors come to console the poor farmer. He says, confounding them, "I don't know if it's a good thing, I don't know if it's a bad thing. All I know is my stallion has run away." But neighbors continue to weep and wail.

Stallion comes back, bringing with him a wild mare. Neighbors come to celebrate and rejoice with the poor farmer. "What a lucky man you are! Now you have Two horses." Farmer is happy to see his neighbors as before. But he again says, "I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, all I know is that my stallion has returned with a wild mare."

The farmer's son begins to try and break the wild mare and is thrown, breaking his leg. Again neighbors come to weep and wail. "How horrible that your son is injured! How Will you get along without him?" And again the farmer treats his neighbors kindly but says, "I don't know if it's a good or a bad thing, all I know is that my son has a broken leg."

The feudal landlord and another landlord begin a terrible war, (as though there is any other kind). All young men are forcibly dragged away to fight for their landlords, leaving elderly parents, young hungry siblings, and the farms on which their labor is needed behind. Neighbors come to complain of their losses. "And You are so lucky, they say, You still Have a son! Ours may Never see home again!" The farmer is kind to his neighbors who have suffered a real hardship. But he says, "I cannot say if it's bad or good, all I know is that because of my son's broken leg the army didn't want him."

A person could go on forever making up "good" and "bad" fortune for this man. But the point is that in spite of his Feelings about all of the "ups" and "Downs" of his life, he reserves judgment, waiting with curiosity to see what will happen next. He knows that absolutely Nothing stays the same forever. I will try to maintain this calm, curious attitude, though it isn't always easy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pictures, I hope?

I am told by a kind friend who came and took pictures of the dolls and clothing I've made for them that the unintelligible gibberish below will take you to those pics. Man am I Ignorant of Flat stuff!

But my understanding is that the digitaal camera I bought worked well and the pics are clear. Feedback would be welcome.

I lined, but did Not make the crocheted outfit. Credit where credit is due, a grandmother here in the Ozarks did make that outfit. I only Bought it.


Hope this works.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A workshop is being given for people who are hard of hearing or partially deaf to talk about bluffing. I've been thinking about what I do Not to bluff and decided to make it a post.

I got to thinking about whether or not I bluff when I don't understand someone.
It was a surprise to discover that I really almost never do.
Part of the reason is that growing up blind I had enough nasty "jokes" played on
me that I'm not willing to put myself in that position again by bluffing. Part of
the reason is that I don't get out a lot among complete strangers.
So what do I do when I don't understand? I often ask, "Excuse me, what did you just
say, I missed part of it." People who know me well will usually giggle and ask "What
did you think I said?" When I ask that particular question my friends know it means
I heard something which would be Pretty Unusual for them to have said.
I'm not sure I should share this but the last time this happened a friend with a
toddler was talking about Ariel, a mermaid in a Disney movie.
I Thought she said the mermaid came ashore to get laid. Before cracking up I had
to ask what she had said because this would have been an unusual comment for her
to make. After she repeated, "I said the mermaid came ashore to get legs, you know,
so she could be human and marry the prince." Then she giggled and said, "What did
you Think I said?" Since there were no kids around I told her and we both laughed,
deciding that what I heard wrong wasn't too far off.
I often get the vowels in a word but not the consonants. Once my former partner
Ann, who died in 2011 said something about "free cheese" I had to say "What? All
I got were vowels." She knew me well enough to say "You mean you thought I was asking
you if we should get some EE EE?" I said "Yes."
It was often hard for Ann in public because people wondered why she was yelling at
"That poor blind girl." Actually, she Wasn't. I don't try to hide my behind the
ear hearing aids. But I have always had long hair which covers up the "behind the
ear" part unless I pull it back, which I do at times. Even then, people seem too
notice blindness first, since I don't speak ASL, although I can finger spell slowly.
Ann was just speaking at a level I understood. There were times I wished I could
return the bad looks people gave her. I never found out about them until afterwards,
With people I don't know so well I usually say, "I'm hearing impaired and I got .
. ." Then I repeat the part of their sentence I am sure of and add, "but I lost
what you said after that." This has two advantages. First, it lets the other person
know I'm trying to understand them. Second, they don't have to repeat the whole
sentence, just the part I missed.
When I'm by myself with my cane in a line I have to ask, "Is it my turn?" and if
I don't understand the answer I have to say, "sorry, I wear hearing aids, would
you repeat that please?"
Today I needed to talk with my Rehab. counselor in a busy office. When she wasn't
standing right next to me I couldn't understand if she was addressing me or others
talking in the office. So I just waited in silence until she came back, since she
knows I do not hear well. When she came back I asked, "Did I miss something, I
can't hear you unless we're standing next to one another." She said no, she had
been talking with someone else in the office about how to process my paperwork.
Then there is the Phone, a Nuisance! I tell people I am hearing impaired and need
them to speak louder, or speak more slowly. Women, especially are trained Not to
raise their voices. If they cannot or will not speak up I hang up and don't agree
to anything. What else can I do?
The easiest people to work with, of course, are the staff in the ear Dr.'s office.
I just tell them, "I'm on my amplified phone but still don't understand when my appointment
is, want to yell at me?" Instead of yelling in anger they usually laugh and say
"Ok," then repeat loudly enough for me to understand. I always thank people for
speaking up or speaking more slowly.
Then there are people who speak Zarker, my name for Ozarker. It means they talk
fairly fast and run all words together into a blur of only partly understandable
sound. I sometimes have trouble with them, as even when they turn up the volume
or slow down they Still run words together. I haven't worked out a good way to deal
with them except to make one of the five or so ASLL signs I know, saying my ears
are closed, I am deaf.
How do those of you who can understand some speech deal with it when you can't understand
what is said? Sometimes I will ask a Zarker to Spell a word because I am partially
deaf. this can help.
People seem to understand "partially deaf" better than "hearing impaired." I don't
know why this is so. Maybe they think "hearing impaired means I have just a Bit
of trouble hearing. What do you think? All I know is they seem to get it better
when I say "partially deaf".
On the computer, even though I use a flat boring, clear voice, I often have trouble
understanding either single letters like D, P, T, or B, and V, or N, from M. Often,
I must go over such letters in order numbers or addresses many times. I also sometimes
run into trouble separating words like "then" from "than" because of the way my computer
pronounces them.
The bottom line is I do my Best to make sure I understand Exactly What I'm agreeing
to, either verbally or by signing my name to Any print form, Before I will do it.
And this can be Exhausting work. Sometimes after spending many hours with another
person with whom I need to carry on an intelligent conversation, I take a nap because
Concentrating that hard for that many hours is so Exhausting.
Any suggestions besides learn ASL? I want to learn it.
Think I might put this on my blog for today, but your replies stay confidential to
list members.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Understanding of What Happens After Death

Ann's family and I have stayed in touch. They asked me what I believe happened to Ann after she died. I cut personal stuff out and thought it might interest someone as a post. If not, ignor it. This is Only my understanding, which is limited. I am not a scholar, have not been on but One Buddhist retreat, what I have tried to learn is from audiotaped books. Don't take it as a perfect or complete explanation, Please.

The Buddhist belief about the after life is that one's energy and awareness continue,
though not in the same way or at the same speed as for physical beings. Dying Buddhists
have reported that time speeds up so that Much can happen in what we would consider
a minute. When I think about it, if Thought is the primary mover in what Ann referred
to as the Energy World, it would go faster, with no body to function (or hurt) and
no need for speech.
Buddhists believe that after death most people don't know they have died. There
are helpers and a short time of Sacred Mind Clarity, in which one can choose to step
Out of the realm of karma and re-incarnation. If this is done one can exist as a
being of pure energy, including a Buddha, (one who has left all "poisons of the mind"
behind, or a Bodhisatva, one who Chooses to come back, either physically or to remain
in the Energy Realm, for Only the purpose of helping all living beings, not just
humans, but including them. That is why a Buddhist may have what is referred to
as a "Heart Connection" a special love for and trust in a particular Bodhisattva.
If the "poisons of the mind" are not released or if a person runs away from the Light,
the moments of "Clear Mind" then they will reincarnate. They may come back in any
form, tree, human, bird, farm animal, etc. depending upon Which mind poison is dominating
There are five mind poisons. The first is usually translated as "attachment" but
I like the translation "craving" better. Craving is a very strong ruling desire
for physical life, even after one is clear about the fact that they have died. It
is the belief that without, (anything from a partner to a certain amount of safety,
or power, or chocolate) one Cannot go on. It is clinging to an idea of an unchanging
self and refusing to change. It can be a driving belief that something Cannot be
faced and Must be run from, no matter the consequences.
The second mind poison is aversion or hatred. Hatred is easy to define. But a desperate
feeling of revulsion, repulsion, or avoidance of something, at All Costs, is also
a mental poison which can push one into another reincarnation.
A third mental poison is (and the most important) ignorance, meaning Willful ignorance.
I don't want to know because a thing makes me unhappy, so I will ignore those people,
that stray, hungry, animal, etc. This is willful ignorance. So is, I know my (whoever)
is being abused but I fdon't want to learn how to help them or my needs take precedents.
So is, nobody suffers like me, an American life is worth more than a life somewhere
else. This ignkorance sets up a non-existing division between "me and mine" and
"those Others" who are less worthy, important, etc. If we really all felt the pain
of other beings as our own, there would be no war, no hunger, etc.
A fourth mind poison is envy or jealousy. How come that person got a better job
than me when I am a better Person? Jealousy really results from inner insecurity,
I feel bad that I wasn't a good enough friend to please someone (whether this is
true or untrue) so I am jealous of the time and attention MY friend spends with someone
else. I really wanted a thing badly which someone else got. I am angry that they
got it instead of me, but underneath is usually the question, "if I Really Earned
that thing, why didn't I get it?" which is insecurity.
The last mind poison is arrogance or pride. This is Not happiness that I learned
to do a thing I wanted to learn. It is thinking I am Special, More important than
others, am Better at whatever than they are. Next thought is usually, "So I deserve
. . ." Arrogance is thinking our skin color, hair texture, language, country, food,
social class, religion, , is not just a thing which makes us thankful or appreciative.
But it makes us Better than others. It's the feeling that one has a Right to (whatever)
and that nothing should change because WE Deserve (whatever) while Those People Don't.
The world Owes us. It has many forms.
Ann was among the most highly evolved spiritual people I knew. She wasn't perfect
and neither am I. I cannot say with certainty what Ann chose during her time of
Clear Mind, after death. But I believe, without proof, that she will remain in the
Energy realm for a while, not as the Ann we knew, but with all of the abilities and
awareness we lose when we become physical. I think, without proof, that she will
try to help those she loved and those who need spiritual guidance.
This explanation is only my understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, which Ann and I tried
to follow and still do. In Tibetan Buddhism there is not veneration of ancestors
as there is in some, most, other Buddhist countries. It is because when someone
dies they Cease being who they were. In my mind, Ann will always be a certain set
of things. But who the one I call Ann is now and what that being is doing is something
I cannot know. She has stopped being the Ann I knew and gone on to become something,
someone else.
A major concept of Buddhism is Impermanence. It means that Absolutely Nothing remains
the same. Feelings come and go, the body and circumstances of life change, where
we live can change in a heartbeat of a tornado or earthquake, nothing is secure Except,
the thoughts we cultivate and the acts of loving kindness we leave behind.
So for me to chant to and about Ann in a religious ceremony is chanting to someone
who no longer exists.
I honor her Memory, what she taught me, the fun we had, the many good things she
brought into my life. But I know that the being who was Ann has moved on to become
another being.
In Tibet there is a Buddhist expression, "Oh my mother, living being" which sounds
very weird in English. But it is the belief that at one time or another each of
us has been the mother of the other. So if I want to be nice to my ancestors I'd
better try and be kind to the people around me Now.
I know that much of this belief system is not the same as Christianity. But I hope
I have explained it in a way which might makes sense. Buddhists believe in Not harming
the religions of others, not trying to convert others or do damage to the beliefs
which have helped them through life. So please know I'm Not in any mood to argue
about any of this, disagreement if fine. Buddhists Do disagree with violence in
the Name of religion, because we try Not to commit violence or condone it. But we
don't attack anyone's religion.
I like to think of the Dalai Lama's words when asked about his religious stand.
He said, "my religion is loving kindness". And though I fail, especially in thought,
that is what I aspire to, my religion being loving kindness.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Different World

A number of years ago, before I began seriously losing hearing, I attended a conference of people with various disabilities. There was a strong contingent of deaf people there.

I remember saying something to one of the deaf people about how different ASL was from English, the syntax was different, etc. Very gently and kindly he said, "I need to do a bit of consciousness raising. American Sign Language Is a different language than English, not juse some variation of English." That was the beginning of my education.

In fact, ASL is the third most spoken language in the U.S. after English and Spanish. "Spoken" may sound like an odd word to use for a non-verbal language, but it is important to point out the frequency of ASL use in our country and to recognize it As a separate language.

I remember reading a book in Braille about the man who started the National Theater of the Deaf, in Washington, D.C. There is an English reader reading the script aloud. But the play is performed in ASL plus mime-like gestures, facial expression and body language.

I remember going to a meeting conducted in ASL wwith Ann. I needed an English oral interpreter and felt stupid. But through listening to the exhausted interpreter who could barely keep up with the flying hands, and watching the speakers, Ann was deeply moved. She described it as a beautiful language which is spoken with the whole body, not just the hands or arms. It included facial expression, eye contact, body movements, something like a dance. She said she thought it might be hard to lie in ASL, as so much nonverbal communication was happening among speakers, at so many different levels.

Then I learned why some people who are deaf can't read. How did you learn to read? You learned that a flat squiggle of some kind had a certain Sound, or that a Group of flat squiggles meant "cat" or "dog". But if you were deaf, that single "letter" would mean nothing, just like it means nothing to me, it is lines of flat sh-- on paper. No sound.

So there are highly intelligent deaf people who understand complex and abstract concepts who either avoid or dislike reading in a foreign language based on an alien concept, Sound, and there are some deaf people who Don't read. Something a bit comparable might be a blind person who has never learned Braille. They can speak English, but Cannot write it well. It is the flip-side of the coin.

A deaf-blind friend from our listserv wants to get together to teach me some signs. I Need and am Very Grateful for her help, but I'm Scared, too. She is culturally deaf, lives with a deaf partner, and ASL is her native language. Trying to talk to me will be like trying to talk to a not very bright baby. I'll never forget the time the mother of a deaf-blind child and I were discussing signing. I showed her the little I knew and her reply in a derisive tone was, "But That is signed English!"

She was right. I was putting words together the way an English speaker would and including all of the little unneeded words which Aren't in ASL. It was all I knew and I felt humiliated.

I can often tell culturally deaf people by their writing. In writing some do not include unnecessary words like "the" and many others. It reminds me most of the way I took Braille notes in college, when I had a professor who crammed a lot into his/her lectures.

For instance: "cuts to budget hurt many disabled" The word order in ASL might, probably would, be different, I do not know. But the English written form of that sentence might be: "Planned cuts to the budget could have adverse effects on many people." The meaning is the same, but ASL, from what Little I know, as a Complete Amateur seems to cut to the chase, while carrying the passion about a topic with what is signed.

So the only common this friend and I have is Braille. I guess that until I get fast enough to read her finger spelling or signing, we will have to keep paper in the heavy Braille Writer, (somewhere between 8 and 10 pounds, I'd guess) and shove it back and forth. It will be interesting, and scary. But now that Ann is gone I simply Must widen my community of local friends and to do that I may need to learn a new language. The tendonitis which plagues my right hand won't help. Doc' just said "quit using it for a few months" to which my reply was, "Ok, you just quit using your eyes for a few months" silence.