Angie C. Orlando - Deaf-Blind and Determined

contact me at neodba.info@gmail.com.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama
queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing
off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square
in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event
sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other
formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing
and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a
boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me
operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad
world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no
desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother
me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a
story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an
exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign
language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes
interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm
going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and
wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore
was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a
little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My
"lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She
bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had
baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the
neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe
crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped
into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad
and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else
spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of
sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the
sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all
decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to
take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial
expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back
drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright
feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda
in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the
atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for
YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility
chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were
taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top
tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery
were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king
for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I
wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my
crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream
come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty
cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not
inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RE: [DBMi] deaf prom

Congrats, Angie for being prom queen.
Red

-----Original Message-----
From: dbmisfits@googlegroups.com [mailto:dbmisfits@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Angie
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:22 PM
To: my blog <dotbug3.blogbug@blogger.com>
Subject: [DBMi] deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My "lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

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deaf prom

As the big date approached I couldn't resist playing the drama
queen on Facebook:

It's going to snow on my prom!

Prom jitters... They are serving pasta, and i'm wearing
off-white!

Time to Journey to Neverland. My date is a 19 year old hottie
in a lavender dress. I wear the pants in this relationship.

The 2nd annual Deaf Prom was held on April 8th at Quaker Square
in Akron, Ohio. The prom is an awareness and social event
sponsored by the University of Akron ASL Club.

I didn't attend my high school prom, Homecoming or any other
formal events. Boys tended not to like girls with both hearing
and vision disabilities. I never went on a date or had a
boyfriend.

It didn't bother me that I missed the prom. The 18 year old me
operated in survival mode. the less time out in the big, bad
world, the better to reduce anxiety and humiliation. I had no
desire to attend a normal teen right of passage. It didn't bother
me... and that's what bothers the adult me.

I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. This isn't a
story about an adult going back to re-do the past she never had.
This is the tale of an adult with a sense of humor who wanted an
exciting night out with people who can speak her language -- sign
language, because, yes, she has some icky disabilities that makes
interacting with the public a challenge.

I was pretty in pink pants... dusty rose jeans, that is. If I'm
going to do something, I'll do it my way. No chance I'd buy and
wear an actual prom dress. But the cream colored sweater I wore
was kind of fancy. With dangling gold and cream earrings, a
little makeup and rose nail polish, I looked like a girl. (My
"lipstick" was Dr. Pepper flavored lip gloss... more doing it my
way.)

Miranda, a Kent State interpreter student, was my "date." She
bought us both flowers made to match our dress colors. Mine had
baby breath, lilies and flowers in purple and pink. I used the
neat magnets to attach it to my sweater. Miranda had a wardrobe
crisis when she knocked hers off and the inner magnet dropped
into her bra.

My friend Greg got dinner for me: rigatoni, a brad stick, salad
and sugar cookies. I did not make a mess of myself. Someone else
spilled his entire plate on his clothes... but the prom went on.

We were given party favors -- each person got a pair of
sunglasses with "University of Akron ASL Club" written on the
sides. A trend-setter put his on for dinner. Soon we were all
decked out in them. But an announcement was made asking us to
take off the sunglasses. They interfered with reading facial
expressions, which is a vital part of sign language.

After dinner, Miranda and I went to the night, starry sky back
drop for formal pictures... and goofy ones with us wearing bright
feather bows and another with me in Mickey Mouse ears and Miranda
in a hat with propellers. (I'm told I am smirking in that one.)

The prom guests were adults and college students, but the
atmosphere was pure high school awkwardness on the dance floor.
Everyone was waiting for someone else to start. I "jumped in" for
YMCA and the worm, plus other fast dances. I sat in my mobility
chair while Miranda and some guys helped me with the moves.

Some things have changed. Nominations for king and queen were
taken via text messages. The top five hearing nominees and top
tow deaf moved onto the final round of voting. Alex and Avery
were voted hearing prom king and queen. Louis was voted deaf king
for the second year in a row. At this point, I told Miranda I
wanted to leave right away. She just laughed.

The deaf prom queen was............... me!

I let out a huge mock, shock reaction as I went forward for my
crown. Louis and I did a slow dance together. It wasn't a dream
come true, I never dreamed I'd be prom queen. It was still pretty
cool. I accepted congratulations from my fans and smiled for
1,000 pictures.

From being a master to a prom queen at age 43... It's not
inspirational, just fun.

Angie C. Orlando
April 2017
Permission is granted to share.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

neodba event flyer

Upcoming event from:
NORTHEAST OHIO DEAFBLIND ASSOCIATION

VISIT COVENTRY VILLAGE

Date: April 23, 2017

Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM

We will meet for lunch, then hang out and visit the stores. There
is something for everyone at Coventry Village, and things to do
that fit everyone's budget. JOIN US!

1:00 PM Meet for lunch at Mongolian Grill, 1854 Coventry Road,
Cleveland Hts.

After lunch, explore the village! Check out stores; Big Fun, City
Buddha and In the 216. Visit Coventry Library (they have an
extensive ASL and Deaf culture section!) And more!

Anyone with combined vision and hearing loss is invited to
attend, plus family, friends, interpreters, SSP's and volunteers.

To RSVP, ask questions or sign up as a volunteer, contact Angie
Orlando.
email: dotbug3@gmail.com
text: 330-221-6499

Please respond by April 15 so we can reserve enough seats at the
restaurant.
Help us by sharing the attached flyer with friends and on
facebook, and print and pot at colleges, churches and other sites
in the Deaf community. (Information on the flyer is the same as
the above text.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

grief

Grief

NF2 is a terrible disease
Holly has NF2
Her head is full of tumors

NF2 is a killer
Holly is end-stage
She will live forever

On January 22nd, I was reading my Facebook newsfeed when I came
across an odd message. Actually, it was two, because the first
person shared someone else's post.

It was a message I've seen in one form or another, posted by
Holly herself, the kind that drips with grief.

"Damn! Another one gone from NF2"

Not a funny message, but I laughed. The way the woman tagged in
Holly Alonzo, it looked as if Holly was the one who died. Ooops!

The second post was apparently written by Holly Alonzo.

"RIP sis"

What? Holly's sister died? She didn't have NF2. It made no sense.
I'm supposed to be intelligent, but the pieces wouldn't come
together, a puzzle that didn't want to be solved.

No no no no no no

The tears were falling as I read Holly's timeline.

"Goodbye Holly, I will always love you"

"You are in a better place now, no more pain"

"God has called his angel back to Heave"

No no no no no no

Holly has NF2
She is my friend
Holly is invincible

Holly's head is full of tumors
She could die
What about her son?

We are both fully deaf and blind with neuro-related issues. I
have PHARC. People don't die from PHARC. Holly has NF2. People
with NF2 might die in their 20's or 30's. I'm 43. Holly turned 30
on January 5th. I have a son named Joseph, age 15. Holly has a
son named Isaiah, age 9. Mommies don't die.

Neurofibromatosis type 2

Can you say it? Can you spell it? If so, I'm sorry for you.

noncancerous tumors throughout the nervous system vestibular
schwannomas benign, slow-growing tumors changes in vision
changes in sensation numbness weakness fluid buildup in the
brain deafness severe balance problems facial nerve
paralysis spinal cord compression swallowing difficulties
eye function complications Autosomal dominant disorders

Neurofibromatosis type 2

Can you say it? Can you spell it? If so, I'm sorry for you.

As long as the tumors can be removed, a person with NF2 is
not considered in terminal danger.

Holly had surgeries to remove tumors
She had many surgeries
Holly almost died in surgery many times

Holly's head is full of tumors
No more room for tumor growth
Holly is end-stage

She will die.

No, she won't die.

Mommies don't die.

Friends don't die.

Holly is dead.

Please help Holly's family. Edward is blind, and Isaiah is only 9
years old. You can make a donation at any Regions bank

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the
Memorial Fund set up for Holly Gail Alonzo at Regions Bank to
help her husband and young son.

Angie C. Orlando
January 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

action one

It began with an issue that quickly spread. On January 21st,
women marched around the nation and across the world. Their
issues were diverse, but their message and unity were clear. We
will not tolerate injustice.

The movement continues, and it's no longer just women who are
speaking out. We must all join together. I ask you, no matter
your gender, race, sexuality, religion, social status or
disability, to keep the fever burning. It is up to each and every
one of us.

This awesome website proposes 10 actions over 100 days:

https://www.womensmarch.com/100

The March is Not Over! Pick an issue and take action.

THE FIRST ACTION: Write a postcard to your Senators about what
matters most to you - and how you're going to continue to fight
for it in the days, weeks and months ahead.

STEP 1: GET YOUR CARDS

Get the official card printed, design your own, or be one of
10,000 people who can get a free Women's March Postcard using the
Ink Cards App.

STEP 2: MAKE them YOUR OWN

Write down your thoughts. Pour your heart out on any issue that
you care about, whether it's ending gender-based violence,
reproductive rights and women's health, LGBT rights, worker's
rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom,
environmental justice disability rights or anything else.

STEP 3: SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD & SEND IT TO YOUR SENATOR

Before you send it, take a photo of your postcard and use the
#WhyIMarch tag when posting it to social media.

Do you live in Ohio?

To help those in my state get started, I have complied this lit
of address for our two senators.

Ohio State Senators

(write to the office location closest to you)

Sherrod Brown (D)

Cleveland:

801 West Superior Ave., Suite 1400 Cleveland, OH 44113

Cincinnati:

425 Walnut St., Suite 2310, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Columbus:

200 North High St. Room 614, Columbus, OH 43215

Lorain:

200 West Erie Ave. Suite 312, Lorain, OH 44052

Rob Portman (R)

Cincinnati:

312 Walnut St. Suite 3075 Cincinnati, OH 45202

Cleveland:

1240 East 9th Street Room 3061 Cleveland, OH 44199

Columbus:

37 West Broad Street Room 300 Columbus, OH 43215

Angie C. Orlando
January 2017
Permission is granted to share this article.t

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

when deafblind people fly alone

Guest blogger, Scott Stoffel, discusses the airline issue.

When DeafBlind People Fly Alone

By S. M. Stoffel

Recently, my DeafBlind friend was rudely informed by American
Airlines that she was not allowed to fly by herself. She had been
flying the exact same route for years without any complaints from
what used to be US Airways airlines. Why did a change in
ownership cause this sudden bias against a DeafBlind passenger?
Similar incidents have occurred with other DeafBlind flying
American or another airline. This situation is not new to the
DeafBlind community.

So what do we do about this injustice? The first step in solving
any problem is to understand the problem itself. Do you know why
some airlines have kicked (or tried to) DeafBlind passengers off
flights? Here's the reason American Airlines gave:

It is crucial for the flight crew on an aircraft to be able to
communicate with all passengers when an emergency occurs. Flight
personnel are not required by law to know Sign Language, nor are
they required to have an interpreter on board (no, the ADA does
not apply). So if a passenger can't hear spoken words and can't
see visual cues, the passenger is at risk of not understanding
and following instructions during an emergency situation. This
failure of the passenger to respond correctly may also endanger
other passengers in a crisis.

That is what the airline says. And how do they address this
issue? Sometimes, they just ignore it and hope nothing bad will
happen during a flight. Sometimes, they deny DeafBlind people the
right to fly alone. In the latter case, a DeafBlind passenger
would be allowed to fly only if a hearing person accompanied the
DeafBlind person. However, neither of these responses are what
the airlines should be doing.

Obviously, ignoring a potential problem is never a good idea. If
an emergency situation does arise, and the flight crew can't
communicate sufficiently with a DeafBlind passenger, things could
go terribly wrong.

On the other hand, denying an intelligent adult the right to
travel without a babysitter is unfair. It is certainly not a
simple matter to find a travel companion to go with you every
time you fly, even if the airline is required to pay for the
extra ticket. It's also unnecessary.

What should the airlines be doing, then? Consider the following:

Airlines should make it clear in their passenger guidelines
that a flight crew must be able to communicate information and
instructions to all passengers during an emergency. It must also
be stated plainly that the flight crew is not required by law to
know Sign Language or have an interpreter on board during a
flight.

The guidelines should encourage DeafBlind (and any other
travelers who can't understand spoken instructions) to prepare a
simple and quick communication system that the flight crew can
use during an emergency, such as cue cards or a paper describing
some tactile cues.

The guidelines should include a list of statements that the
flight crew may need to communicate to a passenger during an
emergency, so that the passenger can prepare a cue system that
covers all of those important statements.

Personnel encountering a DeafBlind passenger attempting to
board a flight should not deny access on the spot. They should
attempt to work out an emergency communication system, if the
passenger does not already have one ready.

What should you, the DeafBlind passenger, do to prepare for
flying alone? Here are some things:

When told you can't fly alone, don't cite the ADA. The ADA
doesn't cover flying. The law you should be familiar with is the
Air Carrier Accessibility Act (ACAA).

Prepare a simple and quick communication system that someone
who doesn't know Sign Language or Braille can use to tell you
things during an emergency on the aircraft. Slow systems, such as
Print On Palm, may not be quick enough in a crisis. Make some cue
cards or a list of tactile cues that allow the flight crew to
quickly tell you things like "Emergency! Stay in your seat," or
"Emergency! Go to the nearest exit," and so on. Cue cards should
have the emergency statements printed in text and Braille form.
Tactile cues described on a paper you give the flight crew could
be things like "Draw an X on my shoulder with your finger to say
'emergency'." Remember that speed is important, so make your cues
simple.

Always request that the flight safety guide be available in
Braille or large print for you. You must make this request
several days before the flight, because they generally don't keep
such materials on hand.

If you have a way to access text, such as an iPhone with
Braille, a Braille machine with a regular keyboard or a dry-erase
board, bring it with you on the flight and explain how the flight
crew can use it to communicate more complex information to you,
such as sending you a phone text to tell you that the plane had
to land at a different airport due to bad weather.

Be sure to identify yourself as a DeafBlind person at every
step of the process (booking the flight, requesting disability
services, getting your boarding pass, etc.) This is an important
step in order to get the law behind you.

If you are prepared for emergencies, but the personnel still
want to deny you access to your flight, demand to speak with a
Conflict Resolution Officer (CRO). It is your legal right to do
this, and just doing it shows them you know the law. When the CRO
comes, request to fill out a formal complaint form and explain
the situation.

Airlines and DeafBlind travelers need to work together to improve
flight accessibility, safety and convenience. Never forget: We're
people, too.

S. M. Stoffel
January 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

american airlines tries to stop deafblind passenger from boarding... again

In October, I experienced insult and frustration when American
Airlines (AA) attempted to stop me from board a flight from
Philly to Akron. I was allowed on the flight and made it safely
home. My father followed up with a complaint and many phone
calls. Eventually, the airline issued an apology and a voucher
for a free flight.

On December 23rd, 2016, I was one of many people at Akron-Canton
airport boarding a flight to Philadelphia. My mind was full of
holiday spirit and the excitement of spending Christmas with
loved ones.

All was well as far as I could tell. Everyone treated me with
respect, as opposed to the usual roughness as airline staff
pulled and pushed in every direction.

The plane was on time... a miracle! Someone started to wheel me
away, and stopped. I didn't think much of it. Finally I was taken
outside and helped to board the plane. We landed at Philly with
no trouble. My friends and I went to IHOP, where I had sinfully
delicious Raspberry and white chocolate chip pancakes. Life was
good.

It's never that easy for me. I should have known something wasn't
right. I found out the next day when I checked email. My father
wrote:

went to board your boarding pass was scanned and the screen said
that your ticket was not paid for. That is impossible since your
boarding pass was issued. I asked for the supervisor and 3 people
hit the phones. The customer relations person that I spoke to
previously told me call Disability Assistance before your next
flight. I did that and the guy told me that it was up to the
ground staff at the airport. Apparently he decided to tag you as
unable to fly alone because they have no way to communicate with
you. He did not tell me that he was going to tag you. As it
stands now you will be prevented from boarding in Philly.

what the Hell? and Merry Christmas! My father was on the phone
that night and the next... and every day after Christmas. Friends
from Pennsylvania were also making calls. Facebook was a-buzz
with messages and ideas. We exchanged emails like holiday
greetings but not so nice. Nobody could ignore what happened or
what was threatened to come. This situation truly put a black
cloud over Christmas.

Let me explain something. I used to make the Akron to Philly trip
On U. S. Airways. They never stopped me from flying. But there
was a merge or a take over. Now I'm flying American Eagle, which
is a contract company owned by American Airlines. The trouble
began with my first flight after the change.

I know what you are thinking. American Airlines suck! I should
fly Southwest or Delta. I can't. The is only one non-stop flight
from Akron to Philly -- American Airlines.

The big day, December 29th drew near. Instead of admiring my new
gifts, I was preparing a mission... trying to get home. But now
my supporters and I were armed with knowledge. For example, don't
company about ADA violations. ADA doesn't cover airline travel.
The law that does is called the Air Carrier Accessibility Act
(ACAA). If there is a problem, don't ask for a supervisor. You
want a Conflict Resolution Officer (CRO). Using proper terms
shows the airline that you know the law.

Since communication is the main concern, I made a communication
card to be given to the flight crew and everyone else along the
way. I made sure to keep it simple. An elaborate plan for
communication would likely cause more confusion than help. I
chose to not include Print on Palm. While this is supposed to be
an easy method that can be used by anyone for communication with
people who are Deafblind, I find it fails half the time. Just
like with regular writing, people "write" in different styles
when they use their finger like a pen to print letters on your
palm.

Instead, I offered directions on what to do in an emergency and
added my cell phone number. I read text messages using an IPhone
and braille Sense U2. Maybe they can't text me while in flight,
but it's a great solution for on the ground.

My entire communication card can be viewed at the end of this
blog. I will also be posting an article and guidelines for flying
alone as a person who is Deafblind.

Back to the story... We arrived extra early at the airport. An
interpreter friend volunteered to join us so I would be
completely informed of what was going on. I am so thankful for
her kindness. Having the ability to answer questions myself and
make comments or suggestions is crucial in proving that I can fly
by myself. When I merely sit quietly in a wheelchair and everyone
talks around me, there is no demonstration of my ability to
communicate. No wonder the airline is concerned.

The woman at check-in was oh, so very nice. She told us about all
her experience with people who have disabilities. But we hit a
snag. In the past, both Frank and Scott were allowed to come with
me to the gate. This time I could only take one person with me,
and it had to be the interpreter. We didn't agree. The woman said
rules have changed. We didn't back down. A supervisor was called
and soon we were all allowed at the gate.

As soon as we reached the gate, another manager was called. My
heart filled with dread. But wait... the supervisor was there to
personally escort me onto the plane to make everything proceed
smoothly. Cool! This royalty treatment might have bee the result
of some connections with people on Facebook.

I was sitting in the front row on the plane when my IPhone
vibrated in my coat pocket. It was the interpreter. American
Airlines didn't have a braille copy of the in-flight safety
guidelines, so they had her text them to me. I read them but did
not reply. They brought the interpreter onto the plane to confirm
that I read the guidelines. We were communicating in every sense
of the word.

The plane took off, the flight was fine, and I made it home to my
two favorite cats. I still have the voucher for a free flight. I
have no intention to stop flying to Philly. We can only see what
the future has to offer. Bring it on, I'm ready to fight for my
rights.

Please share this blog and the two that will soon follow. We need
to educate the world. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Angie C. Orlando
January 2017

This is my communication card.


To: American Airlines

RE: Air Carrier Accessibility Act (ACAA)

1. My name is Angela C. Orlando, and I am deafblind.

2. You can text me at 330-221-6499.

3. I need a braille copy of in-flight safety guidelines.

4. I do not want a snack or drink.

5. In an emergency, draw an X on my shoulder and tug my hand. I
will know to follow you and save questions for later.

6. If there is an emergency, and you want me to stay in my seat,
draw an X on my shoulder and make the hand gesture for "stay."

7. When it is time for me to leave the plane, make sure I have my
forearm crutch and bag, then tug my hand. I will not stand up or
leave my seat unless directed to do so in the above mentioned
manner.

8. I will meet someone at baggage claim.
At PHL, I am meeting frank Stoffel.
At CAK, I am meeting Pete Orlando.

9. If there are any problem, I request to speak with a Conflict
Resolution Officer (CRO).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

day out with my girls

December third was the date of a Deafblind "ugly sweater" holiday
party. I couldn't go because my holiday sweater, complete with a
black ct wearing a Santa hat and tactile scarf, is too beautiful.
Actually, I had other plans with some of my best girls.

Adventure time! Meg and I hit the road at 11:00 AM. After a quick
stop at McDonalds for caffeine, we started the journey to
Columbus, Ohio. At 1:30, we reached our destination: The House of
Japan. There I found my Makenzie, her boyfriend and his two kids.
Yeah, we had boys at lunch. This story focuses on the girls,
including eight year old "Emily."

The restaurant is one of those Japanese steakhouses where they
cook at your table. I could feel, and always flinched at, the
extreme heat from grills at other tables. One flare-up was so
close, I thought Makenzie had burst into flames. Nah, it'll take
a lot more than that to stop this girl.


Emily got me a tiny teal umbrella for my Dr. Pepper. When it
somehow fell out and flew away, she chased it down so I could
keep it forever.

The children were in awe of the chef and the show he put on while
cooking our meal. The server heaped piles of rice on our plates.
I tried to wait for my steak, but the rice was so good, I
couldn't stop eating and knew I'd be full before the meat
arrived. Emily and Meg were also losing the battle.
We heard drums several times when the staff sang "Happy Birthday"
at other tables. It was five days too early for me. Would they do
it? I turned to Makenzie and said, "Don't you dare!" Then I
pointed my finger at Meg and said, "Not you, either." I wasn't a
bit surprised when the drums beat loudly and people were singing
to me. Makenzie interpreted the song. I was given a fresh strip
of pineapple with sparklers and another little umbrella to keep
forever.

Who snitched? It was Emily! That girl is something else. She
proudly told me, signing by herself, that she ate all her food,
even the pineapple, with chop sticks. I love how she held up both
hands when signing to me, exactly the way Makenzie does.

After lunch, we ditched the boys and went across the street to
the mall to do some serious damage to my credit card. I wanted a
Pandora charm bracelet and tried to convince myself that I
deserved a special gift for my 43rd birthday. No one else would
be insane enough to drop that much money to buy me one. Makenzie,
who has hr own bracelet, was great encouragement. The part of me
that believes I spent too much money says she's an evil
influence.

Meg and I had ben looking at a similar type of bracelet a few
weeks earlier. I liked the idea of beads as charms but didn't
feel inspired by what Kay's offered. Most of the Pandora beads we
looked at were tactile. That's all it took, hook, line and sinker
and I was caught.

The hard part was deciding on what beads to buy to get my
bracelet started. I ended up with six: heart with my birthstone,
cat face, treble clef, house that says "Home, sweet, home," heart
that says "Mom" and a graduation cap. Most are silver. All are
tactile. I still feel guilty, but I love, love, love my bracelet.

When Makenzie signed "Starbucks," I thought she was joking. Silly
me. She never jokes about coffee and neither does Meg. I do like
their caramel apple cider but got water instead. (Yes, folks, I
do drink water.) We sat around talking, joking, hanging out. It
doesn't matter that I'm sitting in a blue, plaid mobility chair
or that I use tactile sign language. When I'm with my friends I
forget I'm not normal. That's a lovely feeling for someone like
me.

Makenzie gave Emily $7. How would she spend it? I was the one to
suggest the candy store, one of my favorites. Emily looked but
didn't buy. It was the old lady in the group that took so long to
decide. Cherry gummies, jelly fruit slices or jelly berries? I
bought the berries and a bag of chocolate coal for Joseph.

We stopped at Claire's Boutique, where Emily was in heaven. She
ran around exclaiming "Look at this! Makenzie... look!" Makenzie
helped me find a new pair of fake diamond studs, while Emily
searched for a "best friends" necklace. All three goofballs
enjoyed showing me big, ugly things that I wouldn't be caught
dead in. I was so distracted that I forgot about the studs and
left empty handed.

Girls always go to the potty before a long trip home. Near the
mall exit, we stopped and Makenzie gave me a birthday present -
the earrings I forgot to buy. Underneath was a gift from Emily
that warmed my heart close to boiling. It was half of a "best
friends" necklace. She had been looking for one so the two of us
could always be joined. My mother summed up the situation and
Emily perfectly when she said, "Bless her heart."

It was col outside, but we took forever to say goodbye. Emily was
all buckled in, ready to leave... and then she was out taking
pictures. I would have had a good time at the Deafblind party,
but nothing can beat a day out with my best girls.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

after

This poem is dedicated to my brother, Tony Orlando, who died on
October 19th, 2007, one week before his 39th birthday.

After

First time Mom takes my hand, spells "Tony is dead" without you

First I tell Joseph, age seven, "It was a medication error" but
he just wants ice cream without you

First day in ASL class, friends want details, but I won't gab
without you

First talk-the-talk with a boyfriend, who feels me up in front of
Dad without you

First bout of strep throat, on the couch crying without you

First sign language play, Wonka Jr. at Hubbard High, hands
flying, and Charlie is a girl named Sara without you

Second cochlear implant surgery, and all I'll eat is pretzel M &
M's without you

First drive to Cleveland where Dr. Natt says "Tony's tissue
samples are toxic" and he wants my piss and blood without you

First time I find a guy who really gets me, it's Matt, and that's
all I'll say without you

First Halloween, I want to be invisible without you

-- after Belle Waring

Angie C. Orlando
October 2016

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

american eagle tries to kick deafblind woman off flight

I am a 42 year old woman who happens to be Deafblind. I also have
neuropathy, which makes walking difficult. I don't like being
told that I can't do something. I know my body better than
anyone. I will admit my limits and ask for help when needed. I
don't believe the "I can do anything I want" mind-set. But flying
alone on a direct flight is something I am able to do.

For the pat eight years, I've flown in and out of Akron-Canton,
Cleveland Hopkins, JFK, BWI and Philly international airports.
These days it's the Akron to philly trip, maybe four times per
year. That's because someone very dear to my heart lives an hour
from Philadelphia. Philly International airport is the most
chaotic place I've ever been to. It's endless, confusing and
overall, a pain in the butt.

I can fly on my own, even into a big airport. Here's how I do it:

My father drives me to Akron-Canton. We have the ticket printed.
The airline has already been notified of my disability and
special needs. My Dad does the talking, shows them my ID. I'm
usually back-ended into a wheelchair and I sit down.

I need a pat-down to get through security. No big deal... been
there, done that. "I've been through this dozens of times, so
just go ahead and do what you need.," I tell them. They raise my
arms, have me lean forward, push me back, move my legs and wipe
my hands. I don't need to be able to hear TSA to know what to do.
They communicate perfectly by doing it. Even the breast pat isn't
a concern.

After I gather up my jacket, bag, braille machine, phone and
forearm crutch, my father takes me to the gate. Eventually,
airline staff wheel me to the plane. Getting on is the tricky
part. Sometimes I have to go up a ramp or stirs, and sometimes go
down. There's an awkward moment when I first step onto the
plane. Usually, I get to sit in first class. They indicate for me
to duck my head. I used to hit my head as a sighted traveler. The
message is clear. Finally, I'm pushed into a chair, and someone
buckles my seat belt. That part isn't necessary, but I keep my
mouth shut and let them do it.

For the next 90 minutes, i'm basically ignored. That works for
me. I know when we are taking off because the plane goes fast and
up. I know when we are landing because there's a bumping
sensation when the landing gear is drop. The plane goes down, and
we hit the ground. I know when to get off because the airline
staff come for me, indicate I need to duck my head, and we do
everything in reverse.

Once inside I repeat my mantra, "I'm meeting Frank at the baggage
calm, frank at baggage." Or if i'm returning to Akron, I say,
"Pete at baggage, Pete at baggage."

Mostly, it goes well enough. They haven't lost me yet. It's a
frustrating adventure, but that's true for every other passenger
on the plane.

The worst part is the rough man-handling. I am not a garbage
truck, bus or any other type of vehicle. I do not have flashing
lights or beep when going backwards. Do not back-end me into a
wheelchair or any other kind of chair. They do it every single
time. The fact that I can't feel the chair behind me makes the
situation worse. I will not sit until I feel the chair with my
hand. They won't let go of my hand and push me down.

I have been yanked and lifted out of chairs by two people. They
don't give me time to slide my arm into the forearm crutch. They
won't let me hold onto a rail while getting on and off the plane.
It's mind boggling how people think a moving human body is more
supportive than a metal rail.

Yank, push, pull shove, lift... They hold me tight enough to
bruise. They don't give me room to move. They ignore my protests
and instructions on what to do, how to guide me. I'm a random
piece of baggage they must load onto the plane. I grin and bear
it, concentrating on how wonderful it will be to reach my
destination and get away from these crazy people.

I travel on American Airline, which is now known as American
Eagle. The worst incident, until now, was when I returned to
Akron on September 6th and was trying to get off the plane. For
some reason, they now "unload" me first if i'm in first class.
There is a sense of urgency. We need to hurry so as not to hold
up the rest of the passengers. A male flight attendant was
pushing me from behind. God, I hate that. A female had my hands
and was trying to guide me onto the steps. The crutch dangled
uselessly from my arm, so I couldn't "see" where to put my feet.
The man changed his grip, holding my tightly just under my
breasts. The female pulled my arms forward. The man allowed no
slack, so I couldn't move. I understood I needed to take a step
down, but this guy would not permit it. He lifted me down one
step at a time with his arms around my body and under my breasts.
I'm pretty sure that hold qualified as sexual harassment. I could
still feel his touch in the car as my dad drove me home.

That was the worst until Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 at philly
International. We were doing fine until check-in. Frank can
fingerspell so, unlike with my father, he can communicate with
me. But he mostly does the talking. At last, he told me, "The
bitch at check-in doesn't think you can fly alone. But not to
worry." He's ex-military and doesn't take crap from anyone.

Apparently this one woman decided I would hurt myself and others
if allowed to fly by myself. What would I do if there was an
emergency> She contacted her supervisor, who agreed with her.
They called the gate and told airline staff not to allow me to
board.

The bitch and supervisor made another attempt to kick me off the
flight. The workers at the gate were really nice and outraged by
what was going on. They called their supervisor, and I was
allowed onto the plane. I later learned the woman from check-in
was still making trouble, but nothing came of it.

When I posted about this on Facebook, most of my friends were
shocked. The Deafblind community was not. This wasn't new.
Deafblind travelers have been kicked off flights repeatedly over
the past ten years. There is nothing in ADA about airline travel,
but this violates airline carrier rules. That doesn't stop it
from happening. Air Canada would not allow a world-wide traveler
onto a plane because she is DeafBlind. A Deafblind woman won a
lawsuit against Continental when they kicked her off a flight.
More recently, a Deafblind priest, also a world-wide traveler,
was not allowed to board his plane.

What would I do in an emergency? The same thing I do on the
ground, let airline staff lead the way, or push or yank. I follow
non-verbal directions. They don't need to tell me the nature of
the emergency for me to understand something is wrong, and I need
to go with them. Think about it. Many non-disabled people are
paralyzed by fear and must be pulled out of their seats and
forced to move.

People who are Deafblind are treated like mindless idiots. One
Facebook friend said I should get a t-shirt that says, "I have a
masters degree, do you?"

But the reality is that I was lucky. I had someone to advocate
for me. In the end, I was on the flight and made it home. Now my
father is in communication with American Eagle. He's ex-IRS and
doesn't take crap from anyone.

Friday, August 26, 2016

day at the fair

What makes the Portage County Randolph Fair so good is that half
the county is rural, and 4H flourishes here. All those animals
and shows entice the big rides and best food vendors, plus
tractors, tractor pulls and the annual demolition derby. All of
that together attracts people, people, people.. and me and my SSP
friend.

I can't see or hear, and for events like the fair, I need to use
a wheelchair, but I don't like to miss out on things. The county
fair was a huge part of growing up in Portage County. It's still
huge, even though I'm supposed to be a grown up. I never liked
big rides. I ignore that section, and focus on what I do enjoy.
We went to the fair on opening day. This means the animals don't
smell quite as bad, but the kids are more protective, since the
animals haven't been judged yet. I also noticed a change in the
air and general feel of the environment, a literal lack of
movement. Usually there are tractor pulls going on. I can hear
the roar of the engines, feel the vibration of the motors. I
guess we were too early for that, which is fine, but I missed the
smell of gasoline on the air. People aren't supposed to like that
scent, but everyone does.

We started with the merchants, a whole heck of a lot of them. I
love getting free candy and useless stuff and entering in
raffles. I usually run into people I know, and buy cheap jewelry,
or other things I could live without, but it's the fair, so I
must have it.

Raffles: We only saw one, health supplement from the new
pharmacy at NEOMed. Joseph, who wasn't with us, couldn't
understand why I entered a raffle I didn't want to win.

"Because it was free."

"But you don't want the prize," he insisted.

"But it was free."

Shopping: Sadly, I was under a budget this year. I skipped over
the t-shirts, didn't even try to buy game character stuff for
Joseph and somehow resisted the "Cavaliers Ave." sign that was
calling me name. (maybe because I have no where to hang it." I
was a bad girl on the earrings, buying four pairs of tiny studded
designs that are perfect for my second set of pierced ear lobes.

People: A woman from the Portage County Board of Developmental
Disabilities seemed to know me, but I didn't recognize her name.
Turns out she is the daughter of one of my friends who I hadn't
see in a long time. Her mother and grandmother would be arriving
later. I ran into both of them at different locations. It was a
reunion of sorts... a very good one. It's hard to come to the
fair without bumping into someone you know.

By this point, I was dying of thirst and couldn't imagine how Meg
felt, pushing me around in the wheelchair, describing dozens of
earrings and acting as an interpreter. I was looking for lemonade
and ended up with a deliciously cold cherry slush. Meg got the
same, and said it hit the spot. After a moment, it hit the wrong
spot... brain freeze! That didn't stop us from drinking.

Next, we headed for the animals. My absolute favorite are the
goats. They are brimming with personality, so silly and cute.
Getting them to my side of the cage isn't easy. Some bounced
around all over the place. Others slept in a far corner. I
touched an ear here, a leg there, and I don't know what that part
was.

Meg convinced a boy to bring his goat out for me to meet. It was
love at first touch. This little guy, the goat, not the boy, was
short and stout, very, very wide. I wanted to sing the tea pot
song. "I'm a little goatie, shirt and stout..."

We hit the small animals next. I could hear the general racket of
chickens and ducks, and an actual "cock-a-doodle-doo" from a
rooster. Meg managed to get my finger close to a rabbit. When its
nose touched my fingertip, it seemed startled and quickly jumped
back. The rapid movement startled me, and I almost jumped out of
my wheelchair.

The last excitement of the day was smelling the food: sausage,
hamburgers, french fries, green peppers, corn, pulled pork,
funnel cakes and just about everything deep-fried you could think
of. I wanted fried veggies and fried cheese on a stock, but we
weren't able to stay and eat. I got some of my favorite fudge, I
love fudge!, and we headed to the car. I arrived home exhausted,
the good kind of tiredness that comes from a fun day out. My face
and arms tingled, having been slightly kissed by the sun. I was
wishing I could go back, do it all over again. The county fair is
one of the best places in the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ashland University mfa program

The stage is empty, the curtain drawn closed, scenery covered in
dust. They ask, "Whee is Dot Bug? What happened to the words that
used to grace the pages of this blog?"

There are a dozen ways I could answer that. I'll start at the
end, with this article from Ashland University. More to come
later, I promise.

Seventeen Students Complete Ashland University's MFA Summer
Residency

8/2/16

ASHLAND, Ohio Ashland University culminated its 10th Master of
Fine Arts in Creative Writing Summer Residency on July 28 by
recognizing 17 students who have completed their MFA degrees and
will graduate at the University's winter commencement in
December. A total of 51 students completed the summer residency
program. The 17 students included Ashland's first fiction-writing
MFA graduate, Katlyn Stechschulte, as well as students in Poetry
and Creative Nonfiction.

The 17 graduates hail from Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Michigan,
Missouri, New York and North Carolina. Nine will receive MFA
degrees in Creative Nonfiction and seven earned MFA degrees in
Poetry. Their number also included Angie Orlando of Kent, Ohio,
who is both blind and deaf and has written compellingly about her
experiences while earning her MFA.

"Angie's words exhibited humor and courage," said Dr. Dawn Weber,
dean of AU's College of Arts and Sciences, who honored the
students at last week's recognition program.

Weber noted that the ceremony included faculty thesis advisors'
reading short excerpts from each student's creative thesis.

"Family members also attend, often with a bouquet of flowers in
hand," Weber said. "The written words of our students were at
times powerful, haunting, beautiful and heart-breaking."

Ashland's two-week MFA residency brings students and faculty from
across the nation to Ashland for what has emerged as a nationally
recognized graduate program in Creative Writing.

Poets & Writers, a top creative writing magazine that rates MFA
programs across the nation, found in 2013 that AU's low-residency
program ranked second in job placement, fourth in fellowship
placement and 11th in selectivity among 47 U.S. low-residency
programs.

Ashland's Honored Visiting MFA Graduate Faculty joined students
at Ashland during the two weeks from as far away as California,
Washington State, Colorado and as near as Ohio and Ashland's own
campus. These faculty members have published more than 60
nonfiction books, novels, essay collections, poetry volumes,
chapbooks and books of short stories. Several are widely
recognized as critical writers and/or editors of distinguished
journals or university press book prize series.

An independent agency that ranks higher education degrees for
economic return on investment ranked AU's low-residency MFA as
its top value program:

"Of all the low-residency creative writing MFA's, Ashland
University's is probably the most prestigious," concluded Iris
Stone of Bestvalueschools.com. "AU has a strong reputation for
launching careers in creative writing and publishing."

As evidence, graduates of the Ashland MFA program already have
published some 20 of their own books since completing the program
and the list is growing. Recent titles of graduate publications
may be found at


https://www.ashland.edu/cas/master-fine-arts/student-alumni-publi
cations .

With support from the Ohio Arts Council, the Ashland MFA also
annually brings to campus well-known professional writers during
the MFA residency, each of whom offers readings and workshops, as
well as visiting individual classes. This year's headliners
included Gretel Ehrlich, author of bestselling nonfiction books,
a novel, and two collections of poetry. Ehrlich is both a
Bellagio and Guggenheim Fellow and has been published in The New
York Times Magazine, Time, Harper's, The Atlantic and National
Geographic.

J. Allyn Rosser was the visiting poet for the residency and is
the author of four collections of poetry. She has received poetry
fellowships from Lannan, Guggenheim, the NEA and the Ohio Arts
Council. Her poems are widely published in top journals and
magazines and in four editions of Best American Poetry.

This year's fiction writing guest was Steve Almond, author of
eight books of fiction and nonfiction, including The New York
Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football: One Fan's
Reluctant Manifesto. His short stories have been featured in Best
American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories.

Fiction writing has now joined Creative Nonfiction and Poetry as
the third genre to be featured by the Ashland University MFA. The
initial two genres of graduate study were established 10 years
ago and grew out of the University's long hosting of the Ashland
Poetry Press and River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.

The Ashland MFA's visiting writer program for the MFA is
supported in part by a grant from The Ohio Arts Council, which
announced this week that Ashland University's grant award for
next summer already has been approved and that it will increase
by nearly 50 percent. The grant makes it possible for members of
the Ashland community as well as Ohioans beyond Ashland to attend
the MFA readings and workshops free of charge.

source:
http://news.ashland.edu/article/fifty-one-students-complete-au%E2
%80%99s-mfa-summer-residency-program

Thursday, March 17, 2016

instrument of choice

Instrument of Choice

(inspired by Robert Phillips)

I'm thin and scrawny, always looking up, searching the line of
trumpets for cute boys, too shy to say hi but I wave to the fat
boy, my friend, who plays clarinet.

I wanted a voice so I chose the huge sax, baritone, big as me.
Neck aches from the weight, ankle twists with the strain to stay
upright, fingers spread over keys the size of silver dollars,
mouth bulges, tongue strokes the reed. It tastes like wood and
feels just right.

I gather breath from way down low, let it out with a soul-filled
blow. Notes explode, strong and deep. I'm the beat, they follow
my lead, flutes trill, trumpets buzz the melody.

I wanted a voice so I chose the huge sax and Ms. Hazel, the
English teacher, says she can hear me from her room on the second
floor.

Monday, October 19, 2015

last words

Last Words

The crowd holds its collective breath as the tiny red and black
soccer ball soars through the air. The five-year old goalie, in
orange vest and black gloves, is my son, Joseph. He jumps two
inches off the muddy ground, while the ball flies over the goal
post.

On the purple side we cheer for Joseph's great save. On the red
side, they cheer for the other boy's shot. Score isn't tallied in
the Micro Soccer League.

Joseph kicks the ball out of the goal box, and I see another
ball, on a dirt field, rolling toward my 17-year old brother, in
white and yellow gloves. He pounces on the old white and black
ball, landing on the hard earth with a thud. Tony says I need to
kick harder. Practicing with me is too easy. I'm 12-years old and
not athletic. Scott, at 16, is the high school varsity offense
star. He's always off doing something, and the task falls to me.

We leave the barren elementary school soccer field and return
home, where the grass is lush. I wince as Tony suddenly dives,
landing on his shoulder and rolling sideways. He changes
direction and purposely lands on his head. As the goalie, he says
he has to be ready for hard hits. I can't bear to watch and shut
my eyes. The music plays.

Mammas don't let...

The crowd is on its feet. Joseph got blasted in the stomach by a
hard shot. He cries as he's led off the field. Micro kids are
allowed to cry. The coach asks do you want to sit with mommy? No,
joseph says, as he hobbles on to the brown team blanket.

Scott was a soccer champion at Hiram College and still plays at
age 45. Tony was forced to quit because of his vision loss.
Joseph snuggles up to his uncle and says yeah, I'm okay. Tony is
the cheerleader and babysitter for our team. He wears a purple
coach t-shirt. As I watch him interact with the boys, I know he's
as happy as the days when he played.

Mammas don't let your babies...

I sat on many blankets over the years while my brothers played
soccer. We didn't have fancy lawn chairs back then. I remember a
tan blanket, a yellow blanket and the ugly red and white
patterned blanket. I always had my battered soccer ball with me.
I kick the ball against a wall around the corner. I can't see the
game but hear the crowd gasp and someone scream. I rush back and
see Tony on the ground. He's hurt but doesn't cry. They call for
the athletic trainer. Scott is pushing around a boy from the
other team. Tim and Larry yell red card red card at the ref.

The ref holds up a red card as my parents reach the field. Tony
is conscious but in pain. An ambulance takes him away. I go home
to a friend's house. Her mother tells me Tony dislocated his
shoulder. she says dis-lo-cate-ed. I don't know what that means,
but it sounds scary.

Tony had a narrow field of vision. What made him play goalie was
pure stubbornness. They told him he couldn't. He proved he could.

Mammas don't let your babies grow up...

I want it to stop, but the ball keeps rolling.

Joseph is on the yellow team now. They play at the same small
field. Tony moved to Chicago to live with his fiancee. I write
him emails after every game. Today Joseph told me his favorite
position is goalie. I know you must be the proudest uncle on
Earth.

I get his reply on Thursday. One line of text, his own version of
an old cowboy song. I laugh as I read it. I don't know these are
the last words he will ever say to me. The ball is still. The
music bounces through my head.

Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be goalies...

Angie C. Orlando
October 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

reminder: tactile carnival

Reminder: The Tactile Carnival is two weeks away. Please RSVP if
you plan to volunteer or attend as a guest. Everyone is welcome,
including friends and family who are not part of the Deaf
community. Knowledge of sign language is not required. There will
be interpreters to help with communication if needed.

The Carnival is fun for both kids and adults, and serves as a
great event for awareness about people with disabilities. Contact
Angie at neodba.info@gmail.com. Please help spread the news so
everyone learns about this awesome event.

�Please join NEODBA for an afternoon of games and fun at the 2015
Tactile Carnival! This year's event will be held on Saturday,
September 26th at the Puritas Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
�Anyone can participate! Volunteers are needed to run the games,
help with registration, work at the prize booth and assist
individuals who are DeafBlind. �See the attached flier for more
information on volunteering or participating. Please share this
information with anyone who might be interested! �See you there :
)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

grad school again pt 4

Grad School Summer II
Part 4

Wednesday, July 29th

At the start of our workshop this morning, Ruth mentioned how
slow last week seemed to progress, but this week moved faster. I
said this week felt more tiring. Everyone agreed to that. What
surprised me is that several other students admitted they were
skipping some activities. I thought I was the only one who
couldn't do it all.

Last year I didn't have a clue what to expected. I kept going
until I burned out, then had to take time off to recover. I
missed some important things. This year my goal is to attend all
workshops, most craft seminars and a good number of evening
readings. I use the schedule to pick which events would be okay
to miss so I can rest. The readings are the hardest part,
especially with poetry. I do much better reading in braille at my
own pace than "listening" in sign language.

I had to laugh at times when I noticed signs of burnout in my
interpreters. There are six of them alternating two per day, and
they get to change back and forth every 20 minutes. Yet they,
too, showed signs of fatigue and made silly errors. We are all
human.

Another difference from last year is the weather. It was so cold
in 2014. I only brought a few thin, long sleeve shirts and was
freezing all the time. Now I came prepared with four zipper
hoodies (three of which I borrowed from Joseph.) The temperature
has been in the 90's since I got here. It's been sunny but with a
nice breeze. Instead of taking a car to the cafeteria, we have
been walking/riding in the wheelchair. I love it. The sun feels
heavenly on my skin. The wind rustles my hair. I can smell grass,
flowers and diesel from the busses. It reminds me of the days
when I used to walk all over Kent State.

I hit the stage where I am counting down.... two more workshops,
two more lunches... Tonight was the last evening reading, since
tomorrow is graduation celebration. We also had our last craft
seminar. Graduating students will read their work after lunch
tomorrow and Friday. The only bad part is that I keep thinking
today is Thursday and I'm going home tomorrow... not quite, but
soon.


Thursday, July 30th

We discussed two of my poems in the workshop today. This is the
best part of the residency. It's so incredible to have other
students giving feedback on your work. They often see things you
missed or have ideas you never thought about. Since my oral
braille reading is slow and choppy, I have a volunteer read for
me. Another student takes notes. Otherwise, I would never
remember all the suggestions and tips that come up during the
discussion.

I went on a shopping spree at the university bookstore after
lunch. Last year I went easy on the buying and then regretted it.
Since I'll only be at this university three time, I decided I
might as well buy whatever I want, and that's what I did -- pink
and gray zipper hoodie, purple polo shirt, purple drawstring bag
and a "marbled" purple t-shirt for Joseph. (The school colors are
purple and gold.) I also ordered a gray MFA in Creative Writing
t-shirt. It will be ready tomorrow.

At that point, I could no longer lift my arms. I went back to my
apartment to take a nap... and forgot to wake up. I got up at
8:30 PM. I guess my body really needed the rest.


Friday, July 31st

The last day!! It would be a painful one. My arms hurt so bad. I
had to take frequent breaks, even though that meant missing parts
of the discussion or presentation. I had to do what I had to do.

For my last lunch, I had cheese pizza. Of course, t's what I had
almost every day. I wasn't too pleased with the cafeteria. Can
you believe it? They had no cottage cheese today. I tried
something risky and got fruit salad instead.

I vividly remember how I felt last year during the readings by
graduating students. Two years and that will be me... If I didn't
fail, that is. Now it's just one year away, and I know I'm going
to make it.

The last student read his poetry, someone talking about check
out, and it was over... But not for me. Students in Eng 502 had
to stay an extra hour for a "med-program" meeting. I felt kind of
cheated, and my arms were screaming in agony. Still, I did my
best to keep up. I'm nearing my thesis semester, which is a big,
big deal. The meeting finally ended, and it really was the end.

I finished packing and sat to wait for my dad. He arrived at
4:00. We were soon ready to leave but had to wait for someone to
pick up my key and card. It was an amusing half hour as my dad
and two male interpreters talked about sports and other manly
things. Finally, at 5:15, I got into my dad's SUV and we headed
away from Ashland University.

I'm on my way
Just set me free
Home, sweet, home

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

grad school again pt. 3

Grad School Summer II
Part 3

Friday, July 24

Our last workshop for week 1 started on an unusual note. One
student was upset, and several others joined in, about life
troubles on the home front. I understand that completely,
especially as a mother. Real life doesn't just stop so you can
attend grad school. Real life isn't always so nice. We are told
to find a balancing point. I'm guessing people who say that have
never had to do it.

The teacher, Ruth, is a spiritual woman who believes highly in
the power of meditation. She put scheduled plans on hold to lead
the class through some breathing and meditation exercises. From
my perspective, it was interesting to observe. I can't make that
kind of thing work for myself when I'm struggling to understand
tactile interpreters through waves of muscle pain. I do like an
instructor who will put the emotional needs of her students
before the big picture. Maybe you wouldn't like that of your
child's math teacher. But in writing, emotional well being is
essential.

I've been puzzling over why my left shoulder and neck are hurting
so much. The pain is usually in my right arm and maybe
shoulder/neck. This is from over-using my dominant arm,
especially with braille reading. Yet this week the pain is on the
left side, and the sore area is growing every day. Maybe I was
paying too much attention to the pain and not enough attention to
class. That happens when you have to struggle for every word. I
finally figured it out.

I am right handed, and so are all my interpreters. When you do
tactile sitting face-to-face, the interpreter's right hand is in
your left hand. So my left side is doing far more work. One of my
terps uses a jerky style of signing with much emphasis and extra
movements. I realized my left arm was going all over the place
with her. It's hard for me to speak up, but I did and asked her
to sign more smoothly and with less movement of my shoulder.

I also spoke up with my male interpreter, although I didn't
intend to do so. We use a generic name sign system for students,
teachers and visiting readers -- just shake the letter their name
begins with. So, Ruth is a shaking R in front of one shoulder.
When someone in the class said my name, the terp would shake an
A. This always confused me. I couldn't figure out who he meant.

He did that today when we were discussing one of my poems. I sort
of blurted out, "Do you mean me? That's not me!" It's not because
I have a sign name. If you know sign language, you might
understand. My sign name is the sign for book but made with
a-hand shapes. That movement and hand shape are my name just as
much as "Angie" is my name. What the interpreter was doing was
like calling me by someone else's name. I didn't like it. And I
definitely wasn't as focused on class as I should have been.

This class with Ruth, me and the other four students will be my
Fall online class, known simply as Eng 633. For next week's
workshop, we picked a topic that we'd like to focus on. I chose
"The art of truly seeing." As it turns out, Ruth will be my
teacher again. At least I have the anthology but need to find the
time to read it.

Saturday, July 25th

Is the residency half full or half empty? Is the cup of coffee
half over or half begun? I hate coffee and want to go home. In
one week from now, I will be home. It seems like a lifetime as
the pain and exhaustion keep getting worse.

We had just one class this morning and then a day of rest.
Nothing ever sounded better than 24 hours of no sign language.
It's not as sweet as I hoped. The pain continues, time passes too
quickly, and I still need to read the 10,000 word anthology.

How bad am I hurting? Well, I think I'm growing a golf ball under
my arm pit. That's one trigger point that doesn't respond to my
home massage. If Ashland has a golf course, they could take my
out there... Maybe I could make some money. I'm guessing a few
whacks would put me out of my misery.

How bad? I'm back to using BioFreeze. Swearing off it for life
last less than 48 hours. But I won't apply it before bed and only
if I'm wearing a bra.

What happened to all the great plans I had in mind for pain
relief? I was going to bring a gel pack for the freezer. While
heat is better over all, ice can numb an area for a short period
of time. I was going to bring my microwaveable rice bag that
makes an excellent heat pack. I even planned to bring my old TENS
unit. It's like a home e-stem unit for pain. I haven't used it in
years. I forgot all of it. You don't think of these things until
you need them.

The yo-yo, too, is out of control. I'm back to doing just poetry
because I want to graduate on time. Part of the process for
cross-genre involves reading 50 books in each area of focus. I
can read 50 creative nonfiction books any time. My current new
love, docu-poetics, is, by definition, a combination of
nonfiction and poetry. There's also that little, tiny issues of
the unlikelihood that vocational rehabilitation will be willing
to fund my education if I try to delay graduation. We have more
nonfiction planned for next week. I bet the yo-yo will drop
again.


Sunday, July 26th

Despite being so tired, I couldn't sleep last night. It seems
impossible that anything could keep me up, but I keep having
these bad nights. Before I knew it, my little break was over, and
I felt just as bad, if not worse, than before.

Then what happens?


Monday, July 27th

I got less than an hour of sleep. The stress is building, my
stomach hurts most of the time and I just want to go home... Home
to my own bed, my own world, to my son and cats and no signing 11
hours per days.

We started a new workshop for this second week of the residency.
I have the same teacher. Two of the students were with me last
week. The other two are new to me. The topic is "The Art of Truly
Seeing." We are working more in depth on syntax, structure and
other techniques to add depth to our writing.

While I understand the concepts, I was at a loss on what to say
or write. I couldn't keep up with the fast pace of the
discussion. I've read the poetry but can't refer back to it
because my hands are busy with communication. I can't remember
enough detail about the fourth stanza or how the woman is
described. As little as I contribute, I might as well not be in
the room. Am I just feeling depressed because I'm not getting
enough sleep? I don't think so. It's often like this in group
settings. I'm there but not of any importance... just an
obstacle. Can someone please move that thing out of the way? They
could put me on a stool in the corner with a big dunce hat on my
head. I took the rest of the day off.

What is going on here? I "broke" three more things, although none
are really broken. For example, the braille sign for the restroom
just needs to be found and put back on the wall. I was able to
fix the drawer that fell off the fridge. Don't even ask about the
strap on the bed. Don't know what it is, or why it came off.

And what is it about all these spilled drinks If I wanted to
drown my self, I could visit the university pool.

1. Interpreters coffee on the table in our morning classroom
2. My Pepsi in the cafeteria at lunch
3. My Dr. Pepper in my apartment during dinner.
4. A cup of ice water on an end table in the apartment.


Tuesday, July 28th

I slept like a baby and totally didn't want to get up for class.
The sleep felt good for a little while, but things quickly fell
apart. I still couldn't keep up with the workshop discussion. My
mind blanked during our writing exercise. Every time the teacher
stopped to ask if I wanted to add anything to the discussion, I
said "no." I can't critique poetry in real life. My communication
skills won't allow for it.

I feel so isolated. I know much of this is my own doing. I don't
go to socials, open mic night or hang out around campus. I don't
seek out students to talk to during lunch. I eat dinner alone in
my room. It's not that i'm a snob or that I don't want to be with
people. It's just too much for my body. When I'm not in class, I
need to rest. I spend afternoon breaks taking daily naps. Like
most people who use tactile sign language, I can't eat and
communicate at the same time. I don't like the food they serve at
dinner. Besides, eating in my room gives me more time to rest. I
usually have a snack before the evening reading and eat dinner
late.

I was thinking about Nell today -- the title character in a movie
with Jodie Foster as a sort of feral child who grew up in the
woods with her mother. Nell is in her 20's when her mom dies, and
she's discovered by the boy who brings supplies to their isolated
cabin in the woods. She doesn't speak proper English, although
she has her own way of communicating. She is under the watch of
two scientists, who learn her ways and love her like a
daughter... Love her simple beauty and innocence.

Eventually, Nell is brought to a big city where she can't
function like "regular" people. Doctors and other people who
"know best" want her to be committed to a mental health facility.
In a tear jerking speech, which one of the scientists translates,
Nell tries to explain herself to a judge. What she basically says
is:

You live in a big world with big things. My world is small
with little things. But it is my world, and it works for me. You
may not understand, because it's so different from the life you
know. Don't feel sorry for me. Don't worry about me. I will be
fine if I can stay in my own small world.

All I can say today is that I totally feel like Nell. It's not
that I'm stupid or unworthy or anything like that. I just thrive
best in my small, slow world. I'll be fine once I return to it.
Don't cry for Nell. Don't cry for me.

The interpreter, once again, put his coffee on the small bit of
table where I leave my things. That makes five spills in 24
hours. I don't think I've broken anything today. That's
something, right?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

grad school again pt. 2

Grad School Summer II
Part 2


Tuesday, July 21st

Last year, I was up all night Monday due to panic, anxiety and
pain. This time I was up all night due to the pain of annoying
technology. My monster alarm clock did not go off because the
clock was getting no power. In fact, I discovered all the outlets
in my room were dead. I flipped on light switches to make sure I
hadn't accidently turned off a master switch. Nothing helped.

I then spent over an hour trying to learn how to set the time and
a wake up call on my new Braille Sense U2. The machine is similar
to the Braillenote Apex but better and more advanced. It's made
by a different company and all commands are different. Even the
ways in which one navigates seem more complex. So far, I only use
it as a braille display for my IPhone. Within the near future, I
plan to use the Braille Sense full time. I didn't plan to start
at 2:00 AM on a school night.

Unlike the Apex, the Braille Sense has a vibration mode. It's not
strong like the alarm clock bed shaker. Even after I set the wake
up call, I still couldn't fall asleep. I was worried I wouldn't
wake up, and everyone would panic.

That's not the only thing that went wrong. One of the small
wheels on my wheelchair kept falling off. I was tired enough to
think it was a little funny. My terps were more concerned with
safety.

I made it through the morning workshop and an awesome craft
seminar about writing a memoir. I think that sealed the deal, and
I will, indeed, add creative nonfiction as a second genre.

My father arrived in the afternoon to deliver some medication.
The FDA is getting strict. Apparently, travel is not a valid
reason for getting an early re-fill. CVS could have it ready on
Sunday but not Saturday when I was still in town.

Dad asked if I needed/wanted anything. Don't I always? He came
bearing the goods: drinking straws, baby powder, an extra
blanket, margarine and Dunkin' Donuts. (I needed margarine
because I accidently packed cream cheese.)

His timing was perfect in terms of the clock trouble. I was happy
to learn it wasn't my fault. The problem had to do with a
circuit. Dad fixed it, of course. He always comes to my rescue.

What next? After he left, I took a nap. When I woke up, and
before I ate a single donut, I found my stomach hurt bad... big
time bad. I missed the evening reading, didn't eat any donuts and
moaned and groaned a lot.


Wednesday, July 22nd

So, Angie, what are you going to break today? That would be the
lower towel rack in the bathroom. They should declare me a
natural disaster.

Good news -- We got a different wheelchair. Bad news -- I still
didn't have the anthology for the morning workshop. Worse news --
My stomach was nothing if not... worse. (We poets have such a way
with words.)

I know exactly what is going on. There's nothing much I can do
for it while I'm here. The best I can do is try to minimized the
pain, so someone went out to get me some nasty Pepto.

Try this for a trick -- chew two cherry Pepto tablets while
washing it down with Pepsi and sucking on a butter rum Life
Saver. The meds helped some. I made it through all classes and
finally got to eat a few donuts. I'm guessing I'll need more
Pepto before this is over.

Arm muscles are starting to protest. I've switched from Essential
Oils to Biofreeze... Lesser pain killers to stronger ones. On the
bright side, I now have the anthology.


Thursday, July 23rd

It seems like the theme of this year's residency is to deal with
as many problem as possible without losing your creativity.
Possibly, it's okay if you lose your mind.

What now? Once again, I was up all night. This time, it ws a bit
weird. I used Biofreeze before bed to numb the pain in my neck,
shoulders and right arm. I accidently purchased Biofreeze in
spray form. The burning cold stuff is strong, and the spray
spreads it over a wide area. I also don't have the best control
of where I spray it. I drowned the sore spots and a one mile
radius around them. Somehow, I sprayed my left arm pit and the
side of my breast. I realized this once I was in bed. I tried to
use my pajama top to wipe it away from my breast. I only
succeeded in widening the spread over my nipple. Not good... not
good at all.

The Biofreeze made me so cold that I was shivering under three
blankets. There was no hope for relaxation. I was in a tight ball
trying to warm up and ignore the discomfort of the tingling,
bitter cold.

This Biofreeze also lasts much longer than what I've used in the
past. Hours passed with no relief. I ended up taking a bath in
the wee hours of the morning. Even that didn't wash it away
completely, but it got me warm enough so I could finally fall
asleep.

We went over one of my poems in the workshop today. It's amazing
how the teacher and students can come up with new ideas on how to
improve my work. They often have a different perspective or
knowledge that I lack. For example, a couple of the students knew
of a poem written in script form like a play that might be a good
structure for my own poem. One person sent it to me via email.
This is the kind of thing I like best about the workshops.

Last night a visiting poet named Patricia Smith did a reading
from a book she's written about race and racism. I like that she
used different voices, even changing from male to female.

Today, during the last hour of the workshop, she was to address
the thesis students, but our group was able to attend. Then after
lunch, she did another reading and craft seminar focusing on a
book about hurricane Katrina. Despite fatigue and pain, I was
caught up in the stories she had to tell -- including those about
her life and how the poetry process works from start to
publication and beyond.

Lunch is not so good this year. There are less choices, and they
repeat the same things each day. I've been alternating between
pizza and rotisserie chicken. Today I was so burned out on the
usual stuff that I got a salad. Every day I get cottage cheese.

I took a nap and spent the evening in my room. I had work to
catch up on. I also did some online searching. Bookshare has the
two books by Patricia Smith. I had to request Steven Harvey's
memoir.

Monday, July 20, 2015

grad school again pt. 1

Grad School Summer II
Part 1

Saturday, June 18th

Live from Ashland University... It's Saturday night!

Here I am again for my 2nd of 3 summer residency programs that
characterize the Ashland University MFA in Creative Writing. If I
stick to just poetry, i'm at the mid-point. But I'm likely going
to do a second genre in creative nonfiction. That will add more
time and work. As usual, I'm making things harder on myself. I
tend to do that with education. I truly love to learn.

The day started out with an alarm clock, a cozy bed and a black
cat curled up beside me.

Bast said, "Let's snooze... But don't reset that nasty alarm
clock."

I said, "Zzzzzzz..." The rest is history.

Remember, Winter is coming...

I just started reading the first Game of Thrones book. It's
blazing hot outside, but during the car ride to Ashland it's been
told that Winter is coming.

We got checked in, found the apartment (same as last year) and
began the fun part of trying to get organized in a strange place.
I was quick to mark the fridge and microwave and learn how to
work them.

Mark a fridge? Yep. It's new and comes with a touch pad for ice
or water. The freaky thing is connected to a pipe so you don't
have to re-fill anything. I think that fridge might be smarter
than me.

Once Dad and the interpreter left, I explored the place, started
unpacking and made my bed. I remember my trick of how to find
electrical outlets -- follow the yellow brick road.. I mean find
a lamp and follow the cord. Because of all my special technology,
I've already unplugged four lamps. I wonder what the next person
who uses the place thinks when none of the lamps work. I suspect
I don't really care.

There's plenty of Wizard of Oz if you're in the section with the
right student. I am for both weeks.

Boy, I needed to pee. First problem -- the toilet won't flush.

Boy, I was thirsty. Second problem -- No ice would come out of
the fridge and I flooded the kitchen trying to figure out how to
make it work. I finally got it and also cleaned up the kitchen.
No doubt about it, the fridge is smarter than me.

I came up with a stroke of brilliance for this year. I bought a
wallflower from Bath and Body Works. Now my pad for the next to
weeks smells like brilliant citrus. It gets even better, although
I admit I didn't plan it this way. The wallflower is plugged into
an outlet near an end table that I always run into. When I smell
oranges at its strongest, I know to stop and avoid the table. I'm
smarter than a table but dumber than a fridge.

What do you know? I fixed that big, bad potty all by myself. I'm
smarter than a toilet. Brownie points for me!


Sunday, July, 10th

If it can go wrong, it is going wrong.

I started the day with a mighty dive off the side of the bed. I
thought I was at the head of the bed, not a corner. I didn't get
enough bed under my butt and down she goes! I landed hard in an
awkward position on my left arm. I though I must have broken it.
There's just a tender spot and the rest is fine. Maybe my bones
are made of rubber.

I went outside to meet my terps for lunch. They had no wheelchair
and no car. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the cafeteria. Sure,
I can do it. But I need to save my energy and arm muscles for
class.

Someone arrived with a wheelchair during lunch. I got in it to
leave the cafeteria... no foot rests. We abandoned the wheels and
walked to the car. Maybe part two will play better.

As I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of
the movie house, I had two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a
ride home.

Wait a second, my name isn't Ponyboy, thank god for that.

I'm wishing for drinking straws and baby powder. Some of my
smarty-pants friends on Facebook think this is code for something
kinky. But, no, it's exactly what I want.

The cafeteria doesn't have straws. When there's a lot of ice in
the cup, I can't get enough drink in my mouth for a good gulp. I
gotta have a straw.

The powder is for my new shoes. Just like a grade school kid,
I've got new, spiffy white shoes. My father brought them over
yesterday while I was running late and trying to swallow a peanut
and butter jelly Uncrustable. He showed me the box, opened it and
I felt tissue paper. Always hopeful, I asked "donuts?"

I quickly struggled into the snug, new shoes, and we left. So it
wasn't until I arrived at Ashland that I realized my mistake --
new shoes need powder or else my braces will squeak. That's
exactly what they are doing, and it's driving me nuts.


Monday, July 20th

The schedule looks something like this
9:00 to 11:45 Writing Workshop
1:00 to 2:30 Craft Seminar
7:00 to 8:30 Reading

The latter two are with everyone in the MFA program, regardless
of year or genre. In the first week, the morning workshop is for
students in the same year and genre. There are five students and
one teacher. This same group will be together during Fall online
class.

The second week is for students of the same genre but mixed in
what year they are in. We got to pick the topic we wanted to
take. As it turns out, I have the same teacher for both weeks.

Much of today was a mess. The sad part is that I suspected there
was a problem but could do nothing to stop up it from happening,
although I sure did try. For week two, I received the syllabus,
student packet and small anthology the teacher put together. For
week one, I only got the packet. I asked admin if there were
other materials for week one. I was told I had everything. I
tried four times to write to the teacher in the few weeks before
the residency. She never got my emails. So here I was today
without the anthology and that was not good. It won't be ready
for tomorrow, either. I am quickly falling behind.

I usually take a nap after the craft seminar. I had weird dreams.
In one, my nemesis attacked me. It was scary and violent. He said
something really odd. "Your alarm clock didn't go off, and you
are going to be late." I woke with a start to find I had ten
minutes to get ready for the night's poetry reading. I hate that
monster clock.

Ashland teaches three genres: poetry, fiction and nonfiction. I
find it amusing that, at least to me, the signs for fiction and
fake look the same. When we did introductions, I learned that
some people are in poetry, a small group is fake and the rest are
not fake.

Followers