Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tipping Point

Sometimes I think all of us are walking along the edge of a precipice, some of us a little closer to the brink than others; but all of us are walking along in a single file, stepping one careful step in front of another day after day after day. 

When I picture this, I think about how close some of us are to falling right off.
One decision.  One moment.  One missed step. 

What’s the thing that finally tips some of us over? 
And then I wonder about those of us who stay steady on the line.  Those of us who keep walking, who never fall, no matter what.

What keeps those people from tipping over?
Inner strength?  Faith?  Love?  Good balance?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Where in the Continental United States Is Denise?

The car is filled with gas AND oil, my AAA card is buffed and in my wallet, and the coordinates have been entered into my GPS system.  By the time you read this, I’ll be off – driving the highways and byways of the open road.  It’s just a day trip but where in the continental United States can I get to in a day?!

Here are some clues about where I’m headed –
You’ve got a friend in here - well, actually, in the whole darn state!

It’s coordinates are 40°19′22″N 78°55′15″W.
I might be able to find All the Right Moves once I get where I'm going. 

It was a dam shame about what happened there (more than once!) but McCullough did a good job writing about it.
Happy Sunday!  I’m headed off on an adventure!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Listen Up

Tonight is a very special night.  It’s a night when girls who can’t hear – and maybe some girls switched at birth – will gather around the television to watch the show that has made both groups of gals part of the mainstream (if ABC Family counts as the mainstream).  They’ll be watching a very special episode of “Switched at Birth” that’s inspired by the Deaf President Now protests that occurred at Gallaudet University.  The episode will be presented entirely in American Sign Language (ASL) – the first mainstream show to ever do that. 

I expect it to be a very quiet episode.  Except when they play the music in the background over the really intense parts.  That always makes me wonder if deaf people hear music in their heads when they’re signing.  Especially when someone robs their taco truck. 
It’s kinda like how I hear the music in my head nowadays.

So, I have a confession to make.  I haven’t been listening to you.  It’s a bit of a switch – it used to be that I couldn’t hear you.  Now, I’m just not listening to you. 
Not when I’m in my cubicle typing away.  Not when I bee-bop down the hall.  Not when I grab a jar of applesauce in the supermarket.

If you happen to talk to me and I don’t respond, it’s not because I didn’t hear you or even that I was ignoring you.  I’m just not listening to you.  I’m listening to the music to my head.  And sometimes voices. 
Have I gone crazy?  It’s up for discussion but I think not. 

It’s a recent development, you see. 
A couple of months ago, I got a new-fangled hearing aid complete with a streaming microphone.  So, I can plug it into to my iPod and stream the Top Gun soundtrack right into my hearing aid.  And as long as I’m within 20-30 feet of my receiver, I can hear the music.  Which makes going to the printer so much more fun. 

But the music is one thing – I mean anybody with an iPod and ear buds can do that. 
The major thing – that is both technologically amazing and loads of fun – is that I can clip the microphone to a willing friend’s shirt (they’ve all been willing which goes to show that no one minds having a girl with a hearing aid around) and when they talk, their voice is literally right inside my head.  Which comes in handy when I need answers for spelling tests.  I’m just kidding.  I have ethics! 

While I don’t use it day-to-day – except to listen to music – it does open up a whole new world of possibilities.  Okay, mostly just in the area of seating arrangements or when walking down the hallway with people.  As one friend pointed out when I showed her my new device – it doesn’t matter what side she’s on!  Left, front, back, she’ll be right there in my right ear.  Pretty cool, right?
On a serious note, I’m pretty lucky that I can hear with the assistance of a hearing aid – and even without my new fangled accessories, I made out pretty well.  Even if some of my friends did have to stay on my right side.    

But being one of those girls who can’t hear, I’m excited about tonight’s show although I won’t be able to understand a word of it since I don’t know sign language.
I guess I’ll just have to listen closely. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Being 33

Last April, I heard a news report that a survey found that people over the age of 40 reported that 33 was the happiest age.  Well I’ll be, I thought to myself, that bodes well for me since I just turned 33!  Come on 33, bring it on!  

To be honest though, 33 wasn’t much different from 32 and 34 probably won’t be much different from 333.  It wasn’t the happiest and it wasn’t the saddest.  It was just 33. 
But there was something else about being 33.

In November, I read the Dear Marilyn column in the PARADE magazine.  A reader asked her “at what age are you twice the age of your child?”  Her response was “When the child reaches the age that you were when he or she was born.” 

My mom at 33 and me
So, up until Wednesday, my mom was exactly twice my age and I was exactly half her age.  Because, you see, she was 33 when she had me.
33 was her happiest age. 

Or so I like to think.    

But I could be biased.
My mom at 33 and me at 33 – it’s something that I’ve thought a lot about this year.  This year of 33. 

Going through my baby book, I came across a card that my aunt sent with a cute baby outfit (long-since outgrown, of course).  She wrote “Couldn’t resist it.  It better be a girl!!” 
So much anticipation in those exclamation points.  So much expectation.     

As we now know, it was a girl.  Me.  And I was so not what was expected.* 
At 33, I only just began to understand how hard it really was for my mom. 

At 33, her life’s trajectory took a bit of a left turn.  But at 33, she never wallowed in grief or asked why her or why me.  At 33, my mother was stronger, wiser, braver than I think I’ll ever be. 

She relied on faith and love and a steely determination to make sure we made it through.
The road hasn’t been easy.  There have bumps and hurt feelings and a few staples and scars that don't ever seem to fade.  

But for 33 years, we’ve traveled the road together.  And we made it through. 
Tomorrow, I will turn 34; but today, I’m celebrating 33.   

*I didn’t turn out so bad though, right?!