Author Archives: coffeenut79

About coffeenut79

I am a mother to two CODAs, and if you know what I mean by that, than you would know I am deaf. I am an artist in many ways, and writing is one of the mediums I love working in.

Looking into the Mirror

Ever had a moment when you write while feeling angry or agitated and you fortunately don’t publish what you wrote that day? It’s been two days since I began writing this blog entry, but I left it alone since I didn’t feel like I was ready to push “publish” yet. For one, I didn’t want to send something out there I might regret. I knew I needed to let it settle and see if I felt the same way later on. I am glad I did. There are some things I wrote that I still feel the same I did when I started writing, but there were other things I had a change of heart about.

I had a rough day one day. It made me wake up and realize a lot of things about me and the world I live in. There were also some hard “tough love” truth that I have learned about myself.

It was a day when I was dealt with a blow of disappointment of having something not happen in the way I had hoped. I ranted to my husband, “Why? Is there something wrong with me?” in an email to vent out my angry and hurt feelings. I won’t go into the details of what happened, but it was enough to make me wonder why it seemed like I couldn’t really connect with people like I hoped to. My husband tells me, “It would be better that we talk about this when I come home.” For once, I didn’t push it. After 15 years of marriage, I knew my husband knew me well enough to  not email me a response to my question. I am glad he did. When he came home, he calmly shared with me some things some people have shared with him in the past.

“Some of your old friends came and told me that they are sometimes afraid to approach you because of how you appear.”

What?! I was pretty stunned to hear/see him say that. (He signs and speaks to me when we talk.)

He explained a little further, “They have told me that you always look like you’re angry or upset about something, so they don’t approach you. It’s something about the look on your face.”

Apparently, I have a natural resting-scowl-face.  There is another phrase for this, but I won’t go that far to call myself that. My mother did mention that I did have a Mary-Queen-of-Scots look when I was little… Guess it’s still true.

I even posted a picture on Instagram to ask my followers what they thought. I just noticed a funny thing – Out of the 12 people who liked the picture, 4 only responded. One responded, “Yeah, I can see what you mean, but since I know you, I don’t notice it.” So, I guess people liked my picture, and there are some honest friends who tell the truth, even when it’s hard.

Could it be that this face of mine is intimidating people away from me? It is possible. I’ve had countless times when people would talk to me and say, “oh, lets get together!”  Either it be a coffee date, going for a hike, or something like that, and it wouldn’t happen. At first, I thought that was not my fault, but after a few days of letting my emotions rest and to think on it, it might be partially true. If I really wanted to meet up for coffee, I have to not be afraid to ask… again. I’m an introvert, and that’s like asking me to walk the tightrope!  The risk is facing rejection, them saying “No”,  and I admit that my skin isn’t as tough as I wish it would be. I have to learn to be okay with it.

My face may not be the only reason that some people feel intimidated by me. My deafness could be challenge a hearing person would feel overwhelmed with.  I have seen some people approach me nervously when they find out that I am Deaf. I explain to them, “I do wear hearing aids and can lipread.” Sometimes I wish I could just say, “I may be Deaf, but I don’t bite!” I am a very patient person, unless I am dealing with a very prejudiced person.

Back to the conversation with my husband – He went on to say, “You can’t help it. That’s who you are.”

True, my scowling face doesn’t define who I am. It’s just another part of me, just like my lazy partially blind eye and the hearing aids in my ears. I am sure there is a way to soften the way I look and present myself myself better. Sometimes I think to myself, “At my age, I would think I would know how by now!” It just proves you never stop learning. The one thing I refuse to do is to lose the real me in the journey of becoming what God wants for me.

It makes me even more thankful for those who look past this Mary,-Queen-of-Scots face of mine, my quirkiness, me being introverted,  and love me nonetheless.

 

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Doors

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it’s mainly due to the fact that my focus on writing has been somewhat distracted. A lot has happened, and yet, not so much. Does that make sense?

In my own personal life, I’ve gone through so many things. But on the family front, it’s been just a waiting game.  What are we waiting for?

We are all waiting for me to get a job. I just recently graduated with a Masters in Special Education (no small feat, right?) and now looking to find a job where I can use my degree. I’m working hard to get everything done so I can apply for my teaching license. Looking for a job is a job in itself. I’ve had several interviews, and all were taken by others who are better qualified or have more experience. I’ve been applying to so many positions at so many different schools. I even ventured to other school districts near me.

It’s not easy being “in the air” and feeling discouraged by the lack of getting a job in what I’ve worked so hard for. It’s also vital that I find a job also because of the increasing cost of living in this city. My husband’s sole income isn’t enough to even stay at the apartment we are in for the next year. We’re doing the best we can, yet, it would be even better if I am able to help with the income.

Such is the world we live in.

It doesn’t help when I struggle to control the anxiety that creeps on me like a beast. I’m clinging onto the one hope and promise that I have.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” – Matthew 6:26

It’s not easy, I’ll admit it! I am anxious and hoping to find a job soon. I have often wondered about applying out of state, but I keep telling myself, “When all efforts have been made here where I am at, then will I start looking outside this state.” Yet, I’ll still have to get some kind of job soon so we can keep our heads above water. That’s the hard part. What will that job be?

I do have one interview this Thursday, and its a job I would so love to have – I would be working and teaching other Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It’s the ideal job for me, though I wonder if I’m needing a Deaf Education Masters degree. I won’t know until I go for the interview. If they can hire me with just my Special Education degree and give me the opportunity to work towards the necessary Masters degree, that would be utterly amazing and a completely God thing.

It’s hard to hope when the door has been closed on me so many times.

I know… I know… There’s that saying, “When one door closes, another will open.”

I’m just waiting for that door.


Upside-Down and Coming to an End

It’s been a while since I last wrote, but between working a part-time job, being a mother, trying to figure out a lot of things, and now, finally, student teaching, I’ve been a little sidetracked. This past fall and winter have been a tumultuous time for me.

I hope you didn’t miss my writing too much. I have to admit I have missed writing!

To begin to explain why I call it tumultuous, riotous, turbulent, or even stormy, I would need to begin when life began to become almost topsy-turvy… And it started in August. 

My plans for graduating in December with my special education degree was screeched to a halt when it was discovered my counselor did not prepare me or inform me to take the exams and apply for student teaching for the fall semester. I was supposed to have done that back in the spring. All they could do was, “Oops. You’ll have to take a semester off and do all of it now for the spring and begin student-teaching then.” Needless to say,  I was pretty upset. I had no choice but to take a semester off. At first, I thought it was going to be an uneventful time while I waited to begin back up again… Boy, was I wrong.

Two months later, I was heartbroken to find out I had lost a dear uncle to heart disease. 

Thankfully, I had the chance to fly out with my kids and be with my family to celebrate my uncle’s wonderful sense of humor, his love of God, and his amazing life. I am also thankful my kids had the wonderful opportunity to have met their great-uncle the summer before, and in how my son developed a really wonderful connection with him.

It shook his world to find out that his friend, his great-uncle, who loved to hear his ideas and stories, was gone. I told him, “He’s in heaven, and we’ll see him soon.” “Yeah.” he’d say somberly and then smile, “Then I can tell him all sorts of stories then, right?”

I told my kids of how fun he was when I was growing up, and how I recently discovered the pivotal role his family was in helping me get the diagnosis of my deafness. They encouraged my mother of how she could help me, taking me to the University of Arizona for testing,  which led to the beginning of how I became who I am today. Wow. God puts the right people in our lives at the right time, and now I am just finding out about it.

I had just been home two weeks from being with my family for my uncle’s memorial service when I heard the unexpected news that a wonderful childhood friend of mine had died. I had so many wonderful memories with him and had hopes of seeing him when I plan to go celebrate my graduation from my Master’s program. We had even talked once about having him do my hair, as that was his profession, when I was to meet up with him. It still feels surreal to know he’s gone. Yet, I am thankful we were able to reconnect when we did, even though it was virtually through Facebook.

Fortunately, Christmas was a blessed time with snow and my dad spending the special Holiday with us.  Yet, right about that time, I was beginning to feel another change was about to happen. It wasn’t in regards to student teaching in the spring… But it was  something related to what happened a little over 16 years ago.

A piece of glass, which a doctor, 15 years ago, couldn’t remove from my wrist, was left inside after an effort was made to remove it. The glass was from the windshield of the cars involved in the life changing accident a year before this moment. It was estimated there were five pieces of glass inside that part of my wrist, and he was able to remove most of them. I can remember him saying, “Glass is tricky. It hides in blood very easily!” He did try to get them all, but as he tried to find the last elusive piece, I could remember feeling the anesthesia wearing off. He decided that was better to let the body do what it does best. “Your body will work to get rid of it. We were able to get those other ones out because your body had pushed them up. It’ll do the same for that last one in time.”  I can remember thinking, “Oh, okay. Then I’ll probably see it come up in a couple of months and get it removed.”

In the beginning, I do admit I was nervous to have anyone rub that part of my wrist when I went for a manicure or when I wore anything tight around that wrist, but as time went by, I had begun to feel that it was always going to be a part of my body.

In the past several months, it had become something I couldn’t ignore. I’ll just say it’s not a very nice feeling, and it reminds me a bit of having a stone stuck in your shoe – But it’s one you can’t get out.

In the middle of all this happening, my husband recently moved into a job that works really well for him, but it had meant I would need to wait to be able to see a doctor, as a new job meant new benefits. He had been anxious for me, but I assured him I would be fine, since we saw that it wouldn’t take long to wait for benefits to kick in… But I’ll be honest and say it was hard to be patient!

Wearing a brace had helped decrease the pain, and I had to decide to hold off on doing any crocheting until it did get taken care of. That’s hard for an artist to do!

I had a really rough day, a week ago, with being so irritated with everything going on in my life, and the annoying pain in my wrist was beginning to feel like the one that would break the camel’s back. I had so badly wanted to vent and be irritated, yet I knew it wasn’t going to solve anything. Instead, I began to pray and ask God,

“What is it, exactly, that I need?”

I realized it was Strength and Patience.

“Yeah, you think?”I thought sarcastically.

I knew now I need the strength to stand as the turbulant winds blew around me, and patience to wait out the storm. The storm will end. Winter doesn’t always last. There is almost always the bitter hard storm before the first of spring comes, and I knew I had to learn to wait..

Today, I was finally able to go see a doctor about my wrist. I was afraid, after 16 years of living with this invisible “hitchhiker” in my body, that it really wasn’t there and it was all in my head. But, after the x-ray, I was able to see this piece of glass I have been waiting for years to be free of! A little 2 mm rectangular piece of glass sat on top of one of my wrist bones just under the very layer of my skin. “It looks like some nerves are sitting right above it, keeping it right there, and it’s causing you all that pain and numbness. We can easily get that out.” He decides, “We could even do it this coming Monday. How about that?”  I ecstatically signed, “YES!” My interpreter resounded my excitement as she interpreted for me.

My son, who was with me, said a really wonderful thing as we left the office. “Mom, on Monday, you can finally be done with that car accident.”

What an amazing thought. When Monday comes, I will no longer have to wonder when it would come out and, in a sense, release me to heal completely. It is an overwhelming peace in knowing it I can begin to heal COMPLETELY.  I know I will always have scars, but I will be thankful when I see them – It is through them I will remember of God’s grace, strength, and protection.


Deaf in Church

It’s a chilly morning.

I’ve got my coffee and sitting on my patio in hopes of letting nature around me to inspire me along with Casting Crowns blaring into my earphones. I’ve had a writer’s block for the past couple of days (maybe even weeks) when it comes to what I wanted to write about. Today, I am just going to be honest and straightforward… And gracious.

There has been one issue that has bothered me for years. Yes, years. I’ve let it go as something as being, “Oh, that’s life. Nothing is going to change.”

Yet, I wonder… Can it?

Here’s the question: Why are there not many Deaf people in churches? Why is it so hard for a Deaf person to find a church to plug into?

Everytime I move, it’s back to the question of, “Oh, where am I going to go to church?” I search for churches with interpreters, and many times it’s a frustrating struggle. Especially when the kind of church I would like to go to doesn’t have interpreters.  I was fortunate when I was living in Virginia, but here I am 700 miles away from there and at the place of struggling with the whole Deaf/church issue all over again.

I do have a church that I really like, and it did have an interpreter for a while, but the interpreter does have a life of her own and couldn’t do it anymore… Thus… Leaving me in a place of just surviving. I do the best I can to not be a burden, but I’ll be frank – it’s a frustrating and lonely place to be.

I tried a Catholic church for a while, since they offered interpreting and the priest signed. It was wonderful, but I was, again, alone. I’m not a Catholic, and even though I did try to become one years ago, I still felt isolated as not every Catholic church offered interpeters. Also, I didn’t have the fellowship that I direly needed, as the general deaf population in the church were almost 20 to 30 years older than me. Being a mother to two children and a wife to a husband going blind, I knew I needed friendships and fellowship.

Some people might tell me, “Oh, you just need God.” That might be true, but God made us to need fellowship and friendship. We are social creatures, and because of this, I knew I needed to find a balance… But this is a whole different subject.

Back to the problem: Deaf people and churches.

Why is it so difficult?

Here is what I think is why.

  • “You can lip-read?”  Not many people are aware of the struggles a Deaf person goes through in this very hearing and noisy world. I am sure many don’t realize how exhausting and imperfect lipreading is. When I sit in the front and try lipreading the speaker at church, there are many times I miss a joke and hear the congregation laughing, but I don’t know what they’re laughing about. The speaker moves around on stage and then there’s the microphone that covers the mouth… Both are not ideal for lipreading. The projection of a slide show behind the speaker helps, but I’m not getting everything.
  • Interpreters getting burnt out. I’ve had so many experiences of having interpreters quit serving in churches because they’re tired and feel they aren’t appreciated. It can become a thankless job when people take them for granted. I’ve seen interpreters give up for this reason.  This is one reason why I don’t push for one, though I know I should. Yet, my experience has taught me to be grateful when I do get one, and I strive to make them feel appreciated and pray they don’t get burnt out. When life gets in the way for them, I don’t push it.
  • Lack of funding for Interpreters. Paying for an interpeter is one way of insuring one being available, but it’s not cheap. Because of this, the interpreters are basically a volunteer position in a church environment. To interpret a service, which would be, on average, an hour or two. That can be exhausting for one person to do, which brings us back to the interpreter becoming burnt out. Oh, what an ugly cycle.
  • Many churches don’t “have a calling” to serve the Deaf community. I’ve called numerous churches when I moved to Denver, and many of them told me flat out that they didn’t provide an interpreter. I was told that it is possibly because they don’t think of it as being a need. A Deaf person looks like everyone else… It is definitely an invisible challenge.
  • “Interpreters” are not skilled enough. I’ve had the unfortunate exprience of attending a church with an interpreter who signed in Signed Exact English with a mix of something else. Needless to say, I was completely lost for a while. I did start to recognize some of the signs as I had been taught SEE when I was very young. In the end, I was exhausted from having to translate in my head what I wasn’t familiar with to even understand what the service was about. I knew I was not returning to that church.
  • Drama.  Yes, I did use that D-word. I’m sorry to say this, but I’ve seen enough drama take down Deaf Ministries and cause conflicts between interpreters, church members, and visiting deaf individuals. The church I grew up in, sadly, lost it’s ministry for several reasons, and drama was one I noticed to be part of it. Deaf people left the church as it made them uncomfortable. I left another church for a while because of it.

Now that I’ve pointed out the problems with why Deaf people aren’t in churches; what are we to do about it?

What can I do about it?

I had to think a lot about that… It’s exhausting sometimes to fight for what I need to understand what is going on around me, and then to try to cultivate relationships on top of that- Oi. No wonder I sometimes feel like throwing in the towel!

Believe me, the past couple of weeks I was thinking, “What is the point of going to church?”

I was reminded of why the Church was created in the first place. We need each other.

“But GOD… What can I DO? I’m the Deaf one.”

“No. You’re a BRIDGE.”

There are times when I wish God wouldn’t remind me of that calling.

“I’m tired. I feel so alone.”

God then reminds me of the verse that pretty much every Christian knows.

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I think I need that tattooed on me somewhere so I don’t forget.

So, again, I asked, “What can I do?”

With me being a BRIDGE, I can help those who can hear to understand of this great need. I’ve been wanting to do a sign class for ages, but the fear of adding one more thing onto my already full plate has held me back. I might just have to take that leap of faith and trust that things will be provided to help me do it.

This may not solve the interpreter situation, but it would help build an understanding and break down communication barriers that would cultivate relationships. It could also bring an awareness to a need. There are many people who come to church and see me sign songs, but I often wonder –  do they think I am fine?

Maybe.

Nothing will change if I don’t do something…

Guess it’s time to break out of my shell and try.

I just saw this quote on Facebook, and it is so true:

“Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier?

Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and processing.”

~Unknown


15 Years Ago…

Yesterday was a bit of a hard day for me to swallow.

I questioned myself many times, “Has it really been 15 years?” The memories are still strong in my mind. I still remember the fear, confusion, devastation, and apprehension.

I looked through my blog this morning and found that I had not written once about my experience. Why didn’t I? I guess I just never thought to do so.

I suppose I should.

I was living in Washington, DC, as a student at Gallaudet University.  As you can see, we could see the center of the city from our campus.

college-photo_9698

It was not even a year since I had been dealt with a blow of a drunk driver had turned my world upside-down. My body was still healing, and my soul was still in torment. Though, I was definitely much better off than I was six months before, thanks to some friends who intervened and saved me.

That morning, at 9:00 am,  I was in my Analytical Chemistry Lab class getting ready to do an experiment, which I cannot remember to this day. One of my roommates was in the same class as I, and she began signing, “Something is going on! I can’t text anyone this morning!” She asked a few others who used the same text services as she did to see if they were having the same problem. I don’t remember their responses because the next thing I remember is seeing the Chemistry Department secretary come running in and exclaim, “Airplane crashed the World Trade Center!”

I was probably one of the few who DIDN’T know about the World Trade Center. Having grown up in Arizona, I didn’t bother myself with things of what was “important” to know about New York City.

“Class is canceled. Gallaudet is declaring the school to be closed. Go back to your dorms and stay on campus.”

We all took the stairs down from the 4th floor of what we called the HMG building and ran to the nearest tv to watch what was developing. I didn’t right away, as a friend came running to me saying, “The White House got hit, too!”

“What?!” I signed. I suggested we go to Benson Hall dorm, which had 8 floors, which could give us a good view of what was happening in the city. When we got to the top, we saw the black smoke billowing out from a point southwest from us. Another person corrected us by saying, “No, it was the Pentagon that was hit. A plane flew right into it.”

What was the world coming to?! I can remember feeling my heart in my stomach. I wanted to scream and cry at the same time… But I couldn’t.

I ran into my “cousin” (We shared the same Irish family name, thus dubbing ourselves cousins) and my then former boyfriend, who I am now married to.  We hugged. “Come on,” my cousin says, “let’s go to Father Jerry’s office. We can watch what’s going on there.”

The tall Italian priest, who knew of my torn and battered spirit, saw me and opened his arms to me. He knew I needed to cry. “Another plane went into the other tower.” He calmly tells us. I can remember feeling panic gripping in my chest, and it grew tighter as the news repeated the video of the second plane crashing into the second tower over and over.

Time stood still as I then watched the first tower crumble down into dust and envelop the city in its ashes. If the first one went down, we knew the second one would too. Sure enough, it did.

It is a bit cloudy as to what happened after that, but I vaguely remember someone saying we should go back to our dorms and stay there.

As I walked with friends back to my dorm, I could hear with my hearing aids of the eerie silence around us. I can remember noticing there weren’t any traffic sounds. I could only hear sirens going off from time to time from emergency vehicles driving quickly through the city.

I can remember trying to call my mom, but I couldn’t get through. As soon as I got to my dorm, I signed onto AIM, the popular instant messaging of those days, and sent a message to my mom, who happened to work at a place where she was signed into a computer the whole time. “I’m okay, Mom. I can’t call you as the lines seem to be tied up.” She was relieved and said many of her co-workers were concerned for me, as they knew I was in DC. “Call Grandma. She’s really worried about you.”

Grandma Jan… She was from the generation that witnessed Pearl Harbor, and she had her own personal experience from that time. I kept trying with the phone line and finally was able to get through to her. “I’m okay, Grandma!” I can remember hearing the relief in her voice. “This reminds me so much of the days when Pearl Harbor happened.” I shared with her of what was going on in DC and on campus. I can remember promising her that I would be staying on campus until it was deemed safe.

I tried calling a few other friends, left messages, and my former (at that time) boyfriend stayed with me for most of the day. We went over to the day school for deaf children to see if they needed volunteers, but it ended up they had more than enough and parents were coming to pick up their children.

The rest of the day I cannot remember. I do remember going back to classes the next day feeling like the world had changed. A few days later, I was able to go drive by the Pentagon and saw the gaping wound in the building. The creepy thing was it was still smoking. Embers still burned in parts of the building. “It’s all the jet fuel.” I was told.

The man who I wasn’t dating at the time, the former boyfriend, two weeks later lamented to me, “I love you. All that’s going on has made me realize that I don’t want to lose you.” Two months later, he proposed to me. We are to celebrate 14 years this November.

That, my friends, is my narrative of that fateful day.

 


One Word: Perseverance

As I am sitting here on my patio with my two cats and a cup of coffee. I have Rend Collective blasting into my earphones, and I’m reflecting on the past two months.

Let me just say this – It was crazy.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, two months ago I was in a car accident that crippled my SUV and damaged the front right end of my car. I’m still feeling the anxiety from that whole experience. I had no hearing aids on when it happened and flew into an anxiety attack as I knew this one little incident would make things messy.

Why?

My vehicle was my only way to help my blind husband to get around. With working on my Master’s degree, I still needed to get around to do my field experience hours, and with two kids, having no vehicle was going to be difficult, to say the least.

“Why not get a rental?”

Sure. That would make things so much easier, but I had made the mistake of not adding that to my insurance plan, and we weren’t in the position to be able to afford to rent one out of our own pocket.

I prayed they wouldn’t take too long to fix the car… But little did I know how much of a mess we were in.

It ended up being a case of severe case of mishandling by our insurance company, and being deaf didn’t help at all. The only people who really took care of us and respected our deafness/blindness was the body shop who worked on our car. (I also had friends who helped us get to the grocery store and brought us food when we needed it, too.)

It took EIGHT weeks to finally get our SUV back.

It was a long battle, and when I reflect upon it, I realize there will always be that battle for me. Being deaf means I have to fight every time I need to make sure I understand and am being understood in practically every situation.

That is exhausting. I questioned God, “Why? Will there ever be a time where I don’t have to fight to be understood?”

I had to fight to get some of my professors to understand my challenge of doing field experiences with no interpreter. I have had to resort to using my lip-reading skills and depending on my hearing aids, which isn’t at it’s best with the earmolds getting old.

Fortunately, I’m almost done with my field experience hours. I will be glad to be done with that.

I just have to worry about who will hire a teacher who is Deaf. Will I be understood and accepted?  Okay. I can’t worry about that right now, but it does poke back into my thoughts from time to time.

On top of all of this, I’ve been trying to lose weight and failing miserably. I need to lose it for health reasons, and it’s been a frustrating journey.

I had hopes that with having no vehicle that losing the needed pounds would be easier as I would be forced to walk, and walk, I did, but I didn’t lose anything.

angry-penguin

I realize now that it’s another thing I have to overcome.

I’ve been walking with my husband every morning to the light rail, and I have yet to see any loss. I keep telling myself it takes time… But it’s hard to have hope when you’re exhausted emotionally.

What do I do?

The only thing I know how – I hold on. Like everything else I’ve gone through, I will just push through and PERSEVERE.

Paul, my favorite writer in the Bible, puts it best in Philippians 3:14 –

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

It’s an uphill climb right now, but I have a small bit of hope right now. I’m going to hold on to that. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for one of my goals. I’m not far from graduating with a Masters degree and will soon be able to teach.

Today, I am taking a muchly needed respite and will be creative. I have some art in my head that needs to get out on a canvas.


Denver Comic Con: A Deaf/Blind Perspective

It’s a Sunday evening, and we arrived home from walking roughly a mile from the light rail to our home. It was a blazing 99 degrees outside, and it had reached 100 as a high in the city of Denver. It was definitely a very hot day for being out and about in the city.

Where were we? Well, if you haven’t figured it out from the title of the blog, then let me tell you – We went to Denver’s Comic Con!

I had the blessing of receiving passes for my family and I for all three days of the Comic Con event this year. I had not expected to be so generously blessed, and I was extremely thankful and grateful for the gift. What can I say?  I’m a geek and proud of it.

When we had heard we were having this opportunity, which was in January of this year, my son, who is 8 years old, immediately jumped into action and began to work on a Minecraft Creeper costume out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. I kept telling him, “The Comic Con isn’t until June! You have plenty of time to work on it!” The reason I was telling him this was because he was asking constantly for green and black duct tape for his project.

He had the right idea to start that early… I chose to make a dress two days before the weekend of Comic Con. It was fortunate we were able to find what we needed for my daughter’s Doctor Who costume at the thrift store, but I was, in no way, ready. A whole lot of the reason for this was because we have been without a car for the past three weeks, but that’s a whole different story to tell.

With a few hiccups in our schedule and a couple of late nighters, I managed to make a nice Doctor Who themed dress… Which ended up not fitting me the way I had wanted it to, but it mattered not. I wore it anyway and made it work! (I’m hearing Tim Gunn in my head as I typed that phrase.)

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The kids and I made it there in time to venture around and see some pretty cool costumes all around us. There was also a wide variety of props propped up for picture moments. I happened to grab some pictures of my kids and myself around a couple of them. My picture was naturally with a TARDIS. We also found a R2D2 that looked and moved like the one in the movie. I can’t tell you if it made any of it’s sounds as I couldn’t hear it.

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My husband had to work for a couple of hours while we were at the Convention, and it just happened his office was not too far from where we were. We met up for lunch and then headed back all together.

It was after this when things really got fun.

I had been anxiously wanting to watch a couple of panels for that day. I was also elated to find out that there were to be interpreters there as well. The first was with Cary Elwes, who is every woman and girl’s dream hero as his role of the Farm Boy/ Man in Black in Princess Bride. The stories he shared of his time on the set of the movie as well as a few others he had the privilage to be apart of. His stories of Andre the Giant taunting Cary to go ATV riding, which resulted in Cary breaking his toe right before the filming was to begin. He limped and improvised with this injury throughout most of the filming of the movie, and now I want to go back and watch it again to see if I can tell or not.

He even shared of his  moments of wanting to ride along a real storm chaser for the role he had in “Twister”, and his encounter of the F-3 that gave him the sudden realization of the stark dangers of Mother Nature and told the driver, “REVERSE!” In other words, he wanted the hell out of there and was done with his “research” for his role in the movie.

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The interpreters were amazing in expressing the story, and I was even able to capture some really awesome facial expressions from them.

The next panel was the one and only John Barrowman, a.k.a. Captian Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, and Malcom from Arrow (The latter I am not familar with, to be honest).

Now, for those who don’t know him very well, I will say he is a very loud and flamboyant character. At first, I was a little surprised by him, but I found that I actually love his loud personality.

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He came out in a dress, black high heels, and a black wig and danced around the stage. He saw the interpreters and immediately began to become more interactive with them. He made farting noises. He gave a long one, and watched the interpreter sign “fart” with the expression of how long it was. “Oh, I’m going to have fun with this!” He gave a small high pitch fart sound, and the interpreter showed the expression for it. I was dying. “Oh! Lets try this!” He gave a really interesting one and watched the interpreter recipicate it through sign. “Oh, that’s how we fart at home.” he added.  I was laughing so hard. I looked over to see my kids howling, especially my son who loves to do the same thing John was doing.

He then introduced his husband as he asked for some regular clothes. I will tell you, John is skilled at changing his clothes on stage without making it look awkward.

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At this point, he was taking questions from the audience, and my husband, who loved him as Captain Jack Harkness and had been watching Doctor Who with me before his sight had grown worse, went up to ask him a question. It was his turn, and he said, “Hello, John. I just want to say you’re probably one of the few actors I have been able to see before losing so much of my vision.” The audience reacted to this, and it made my heart break, as he has not been able to watch anything on TV or any movies since his vision had gotten worse around two years ago. “My question is, what was it like dancing with Billie Piper in that episode you did with her?”  John came across the stage and asked my husband to come closer. “How much time do you have left before it’s completely gone?”

“It’s probably between five to ten years, give or take.”

“Oh, you have plenty of time, but just in case…” John grabbed my husband’s hand and guided it across his face and, in a joking way, to his butt. There was roaring laughter as John went, “Oops! Well, you won’t forget that, right?”

(BELIEVE ME… I so wish I had a picture of this moment!)

I had tears in my eyes. Not from laughter. It was from pure joy that my husband was having an amazing experience.

At that moment, I remembered a question I had for him. When I finally had a chance, I went up with my interpreter. I asked him, “Hi. I am deaf, and I wanted to ask you about what, with the fact you had that opportunity to experience being deaf for a day, took from it as an actor? What kind of impact did it have on you afterwards?”

He was able to, from a hearing person’s perspective, of what it was like for him. He even shared how isolating it was and how he understood that it was very common for deaf people to struggle with this. He he also said he learned that it was so important to look at a deaf person to make sure they understand what is being said, just in case they can lip-read. “Is that right?” I nodded and signed loudly, “YES!” He then added an amazing piece of news, “In fact, my sister and I have been writing a series of books, “Hollow Earth”, and one of the main characters is deaf.” My interpreter and I were elated! I signed, “YES! Finally!”  Deaf characters are hardly written about, from my experience, in the fiction world.

The rest of his panel was filled with laughter, and I left there with a headache from all the laughing I had done.

The next day, we went back to venture around the convention floor and see about going to one more panel. On the convention floor, there was an area where you could get in line for an autograph of a wide variety of celebrities. There was a fee for it, which some of the money went for raising funds for raising literacy through using pop culture. My daughter had saved some of her money she had earned to be able to get her favorite actress’, Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, autograph on a drawing she did of a TARDIS. “That is very good!” Jenna said in a thick British accent, as my daughter told me later. I couldn’t hear her voice very well. It made her little 11 year old heart jump with excitment.

 

My husband then signed to me, “Hey, since you’re going to go get John Barrowman’s autograph, why don’t we let our daughter get his autograph on her drawing, too?” I thought that was a great idea. We got in line and waited for a while until he and his troupe finally did show up. Once we got up to seeing him, John recognized my husband and shook his hand again. He asked my daughter, “Do you sign for your mom?”  “Yeah, I do, but I don’t for my dad since he can’t see.” He laughed and smiled. “Of course not!” He told me when I told him I was planning on getting his books, “You can get a link to a website from the book to learn BSL.” “Oh, that’s awesome!” I said, “I want to learn BSL since I want to go to London some day and meet some deaf people there.  I only know how to sign ‘Doctor who’ in BSL.”  “What is it?”  I showed him what I knew. I then showed him how to sign it in ASL. He loved it and copied me before finishing signing my poster. I signed, “Thank you.” and walked away.

We went to the “Women of Doctor Who” panel, featuring Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston, which was something my little girl was anxious to see. It was so good, but it wasn’t as funny as Cary and John. Sorry, ladies.

Our day ended on a high note as we walked out of the main stage to an area where some displays were, including a row of vehicles from movies. One was of the truck from Twister. I told my husband and he was elated to know it was there.

“Its the the truck that crashed in front of the red truck, freaking out the therapist.”

“Oh, wow. I wish I could feel it, since I can’t see it.”

I didn’t even hesitate as I told him, “Wait here.”  I walked over to the table for the vehicle display and asked the gentleman sitting there, “My husband is blind, and I was wondering if there was any way he could be able to touch the Twister truck. Could he?”  To my surprise, the man immediately starting to get up with a huge smile on his face, “Yes! Of course! That’s my truck!”  He came over and took the chain down and let me lead my husband to the truck. The gentleman came to my husband and introduced himself and began to explain what my husband was touching. “Oh, let me show you where Dorothy is.” He led my husband to the great device that was a key part of the Twister story. There was a huge smile across my husband’s face.  “I can see it in my head as I’m touching it. I can remember what I had seen in the movie.”

There’s so many little things that happened during the Comic Con, but these were the highlights… I have a feeling this geeky and nerdy family is going to be returning next year.