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Archive for the ‘Extended limbs and appendages’ Category

If you’re like me, you might be headed to your relatives house for the holidays, and many of you might be going to homes where you are the minority. Gasp! You’re actually deaf in a hearing-dominated household.

Here are some tips you can actually consider to pass the time or make this much less of an ordeal.

1. Be prepared. No, this isn’t a Boy Scouts convention. It means to be prepared for everything and anything. You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard. I’ve learned the hard way. Great-grandmother’s coming and you didn’t know? Smile and go with the flow. There’s an impromptu event that no one shared with you? Just do it. Simply be prepared.

2. Have things to do. I think this year is different for me because I don’t have a companion to pass the time with. I’ve always had my ex-wife with me to keep me sane. This year, I’m already screaming for companionship. It does help to have my daughter with me, but when she’s playing with her new Nerf toy or fawning over her aunt, I’m all alone. I’ve resorted to reading one of the books I brought with me (this one being Brisingr), or spending time on the computer. Just last night I had an awesome Skype conversation with a friend.

3. Be patient. I’ve had dinner two nights in a row with my relatives, and unfortunately, both nights, these two relatives were talking the entire time at the dinner table and I had no idea what they were talking about, so I just ate my dinner in silence and made small talk with Leah. Tonight, I gave up and left the table after I ate. Sometimes it pays to be patient, but my patience is wearing thin, especially with two more nights to go before I go back home.

4. Being helpful can go a long way. Instead of brooding in silence in my bedroom, I could do something proactive and help out. Whether it’s helping decorate the house, helping prepare meals, or just making yourself available around the house, the relatives would appreciate it. Even if these moments may go entirely without one word uttered, you’d feel good.

5. Numb the pain. It can be painful to be left alone, to be ignored, to be told “oh, it’s nothing important” when you ask what everyone’s talking about. Believe me, I know. This is speaking from 20+ years of experience. It only got worse when my parents got divorced. This is why for the past few years my ex and I both made a joint-decision to celebrate the holidays in our own home, and make brief trips to visit our immediate families during the holidays. Your family loves you. So, just be there for them and hold onto the pain and find another way to release it later.

6. Be honest and open about your feelings. The same friend I mentioned above isn’t going home for the holidays for the first time ever. She made this decision based on feeling the same way I am feeling right now. It was hard for her to be home and feeling alone. So, what she did was she wrote an email to her family members to explain her reasons why she was not going home for the holidays this year. That email probably made some of her family members well-up with tears or feel guilty for years of pushing aside their deaf relative, but that was a heartfelt, genuine email. I’ve done this before, and none of my family members really liked hearing what I said, but I was honest and open about my feelings. If you are too, it will help the situation, at least on your end.

When all else fails…remember that you’re there for your relatives, and after all, it’s the holiday season!

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Last week I got a text message from my brother simply telling me to “check my email!”

I just checked that off as a silly thing. A couple of hours later, I opened my email and found this picture:

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Two widdle, cutie, little kittens! But there was nothing with the email. Just the photo. I replied to my brother asking what the heck that was. He never replied back.

Then he had the nerve to post 9 more pictures on Facebook of the kittens. I still didn’t know why.

Did my brother and sister in law go ahead and get two more cats? I had no clue.

Turns out they were abandoned by the mother cat under the steps of their townhouse! They don’t look to be more than 8 weeks old, and they’re cute.

The one on the left is called Lefty. And no, it’s not because of where he is sitting. It’s cuz of an eye problem the cat had (since fixed). The one on the right is called Spunky. He says it’s self-explanatory.

You gotta admit, they’re cute. They’re going to keep one of the kittens. I’m counting on them keeping Lefty. After all, gotta have a lefty in the family.

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A shout out to my little sister on her birthday…

ckmelThanksgiving 2008 at Sazzy/Jeff’s place

Happy birthday little sis!

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Me and the family had Thanksgiving with Sazzy and her fiance, Jeff.

We had my sister, Melanie, visit from NYC.

Jeff’s mom gave us a scare when she opened the door and acted like we were at the wrong apartment. But when she started signing, that pretty much gave it away.

Good food — 3 different kinds of potatoes, 5 different vegetables, and two meat spreads (Alli and I didn’t eat either), and awesome desserts, wines, and company!

Here are two photos, courtesy of Sazz:

leahilymelanie

ckmel

After Thanksgiving Day, we avoided Black Friday shopping and instead took in a captioned showing of Bolt, Disney’s new movie. I found myself laughing at what seemed like numerous lines and it’s a touchy-feely heartwarming movie. After the movie, I went home and hugged my dog. Plus we ate out at Austin Grill after the movie.

Saturday morning, had to drive Melanie to the bus so she could catch her bus back to NYC. Then we went to get a few more decorations for our holiday theme this year: blue and silver! Last year our theme was jewel-tone, and two years ago it was red and gold. We already know our theme for Christmas 2009!

Now our house is decked and ready for the holidays!

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Last weekend Alli had a very small birthday event.

My brother Trevor and his new wife (a.k.a. sister in law) Annie came down for the weekend to visit us and take Leah trick or treating on Halloween.

Of course they were invited to the birthday event. We warned them they’d be the only hearing people there. That would be a big turn-around for them as it’s normally the deaf people who are the only ones there. I had a relaly tough weekend trying to be cheerful and happy for my brother at his bachelor’s party the end of August. By the second day, I was so miserable that I couldn’t even cheer up or laugh at little things. I was totally left alone (with the exception of Tom, Trevor’s awesome friend, and Kyle).

So, this time around, it’d be them with us. Trevor can sign a little, but is quite rusty. Annie is a beginner. And I mean really a beginner. She barely knows the alphabet and a few catch signs (eat, drink, cat, etc.).

Turns out, it looks like they both had a good time! At least they had each other.

tjanniebowling(TJ and Annie, with Bobby in the foreground)

CK and TJ

It was a nice night with them and the next day a relaxing day! My sister got really jealous. Don’t worry Mel, you and Anthony are next!

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Be very careful of automated car wash centers.

This is my brother’s car. (Duh, it’s like, obvious. Look at the Yankees plate frame.)

This is his damaged rear window.

This is a result of the Sirius radio antenna getting stuck in one of the rotors and “whipping” into the window, damaging it.

My brother told me he was sitting in the car while it was moving along when he suddenly heard a loud bang and looked in his mirror to see his window shattered. He immediately started honking his horn like crazy and they shut down the wash, but by then the back of his car was full of soap suds and water.

Let this be a lesson for y’all.

Oh yeah…the car wash center will pay for his window, but probably not the rear radio speakers. (And he’s hoping to get them to pay for the replacements.)

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Been having a great time at home this past week. Only thing is I miss Alli something terrible.

A highlight of my trip up to NY was a planned day-trip to Cooperstown, the birthplace of baseball and the site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

My sister Melanie, Leah and I left early this morning, prepared for a 2.5-3 hour drive through upstate NY on back roads. We checked Google Maps and my GPS and it had indicated for us to drive through a number of county roads through four different counties.

At one point, after scaling a mountain pass that was pretty much overflowing with grass on both sides and only wide enough for one car and arriving to the end of it and looking at my GPS for help. My GPS told me to keep going straight ahead, onto a dirt road. Knowing this was the boonies, I decided to see if this dirt road would lead to the next county road. It actually led to a dead end and an abandoned home in the woods. Strange.

So, we headed back down the dirt road and drove about a mile up a road until we met this nice lady on the side of the road, whom we asked directions from.

“moo-ve over to the right and keep going down until you get to county route #42”

Okaaay. We kept going and finally arrived to Cooperstown, a good 2 hours away, not bad, considering the GPS first said we would arrive in 3 hours.

We entered the museum and the first thing I made a beeline for was the Hall of Fame Gallery — with all of the plaques of each player, manager, umpire, and executive enshrined. Being the loyal Yankee fan I am, I took a picture of every single player wearing a Yankee cap.

Here’s one such plaque:

Leah promptly told me she wanted to be a future player:

We didn’t have a lot of time there. The website says it would take a full day to go through the different exhibits, and 2-3 days if you are a baseball buff. Well, I’m a buff, but I cannot stay there 2-3 days, so I squeezed as much as I could into four hours.

Melanie and Leah against a backdrop of the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

Leah and Dad in front of Babe Ruth’s locker from Yankee Stadium, plus his real uniform, shoes, belt, and hat.

Leah and Dad sitting on actual bleacher seats left from the old Polo Grounds in NYC. The Polo Grounds were the home of the NY Giants (NL), the Yankees, and the Highlanders before the Grounds were torn down.

Don’t ask me why, in the three pictures above, Leah wasn’t looking at Aunt Melanie — she seems to think it’s cool to look away from the camera.

Then afterwards we ate at the ShortStop restaurant a block down from the museum…

Then we headed back to the museum to look around some more and to allow me to oogle over different memorabilia and items in the Museum Store. I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t decide what I wanted and any interruptions from Leah or from someone else irritated me.

I finally settled on a banner with the logos of the four All Star Games that have taken place at Yankee Stadium (the final one is this year on July 12). Leah got a mini-bat and her first pack of baseball cards. Cute.

The Museum is a magical place for people — there were many kids there with their own baseball uniforms on, and many fans with their team affiliation worn proudly. Let’s say…there were quite a few Red Sox and Yankee fans there today, but it sure looked like there were more Yankee fans than Red Sox fans.

Just knowing that I was in the birthplace of baseball and at a place where players of the yesteryear came to have their diamond accomplishments recognized sure made my day. In spite of all of the unpaved and dirt roads. It was definitely worth it.

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