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Friday, August 5, 2011

My Fun Day Out

I had a fun day out with my friend, Amy. First, let me tell you
how we met.

Amy was taking ASL II at that time. She's an Educational
Interpreter major. She also happens to be an excellent artist.
Her dream is to teach art or do art therapy with people who are
deaf. She has four children, so she's one very busy little bee.
This is when a new transfer student entered the ASL program.
She was telling the director about how hard it is to be a mother
and go to school. The director got an idea. Via email, she
introduced all the mothers in the program. She was hoping we'd
be able to support each other. We exchanged a few emails, but
that was all.

I was in ASL IV at the time. One day I was sitting on a bench
while waiting for my bus to arrive. I don't know what gave me
away. Maybe it was the braille machine I was using to read a
book. Or it could have been my leg braces, forearm crutch or
white scanning cane. In any case, Amy realized who I was and
came over to talk to me.

We decided to get together during Spring Break. The kids had a
ball. I enjoyed spending the day with Amy and a few other
friends who could actually communicate with me. Plus, Amy did
the coolest Henna tatoo on my arm. I love that thing.

Throughout this past year, things have been difficult for me. I
haven't been able to go out much because of pain or fatigue.
Amy never gave up on me. If I couldn't go out, she'd come to me
for a short visit. She even brought me the Dunkin' Donuts that I
crave so much.

Now I am starting to feel better. I'm off the big drugs. The
new medications I'm taking are more appropriate for my
condition. I'm going to professional massage therapy, and I'm
trying to learn self-massage techniques from a book. Finally,
I'm started to feel some improvements. Oh, I still have pain.
But it's not quite as bad, and I'm managing it better.

So when Amy invited me out yesterday, I was all for it. I had an
idea that she might be able to help me with. I need to find ways
to relax or engage my mind in a variety of ways. I thought Amy
might be able to help me find art work that I can do. She was
all up for the task. After all, this is what she wants to do
with her life. I told her I'd be happy to be her guinea pig.

First, we went to Hobby Lobby. I was shocked when she told me
the store is the size of a WalMart. Luckily, they had a
wheelchair I could use. That made shopping so much easier.
We were looking at charms to use as a focal point for making
jewelry. I fell in love with a bunch of them. They have so many
cool charms and all different kinds of shapes and sizes. To
begin with, I bought an A, two butterflies, an owl and a heart
shaped locket. I also got some spacers and elastic.

It just so happens that I was wearing the bracelet my friend
Holly made for me. She used special braille tiles to spell out
my son's real name. She also used various green beads and
stones, because emerald is his birth stone. There is silver,
too, because that's my favorite color.

A few months later, my friend Andrea attended a ring making
class. She made me a green and pink ring to match the bracelet.
Amy suggested I could make a necklace to wear with the bracelet
and ring. I thought that was a cool idea. So that's what we
planned to do.

Before we could begin, we needed some lunch. We stopped at a
chinese restaurant for some take out. We sat down to eat at
Amy's house. My sweet and sour chicken was delicious.
Okay, time to get to work. Amy has this neat box that helps you
organize your beads and charms. She helped me pick out a bunch
of stones and beads in green, silver and white. I also used a
few green stones with bit of pink to help match the ring and
necklace.

I used the silver heart locket as my center piece. I'm going to
put a picture of JD in the locket. Then Amy showed me how to
lay out the beads while working on the pattern.

We ran into a problem. I can't seem to thread the small beads.
Amy did that part for me. But it's not like she was taking over
the work. I had to hand her the beads, and she made me put on
the big ones myself. She might have been helping, but she made
sure this was my project and that I did as much as I could.
She had to go on the internet to figure out how to tie the
elastic. I let her do that part. I don't work with hot guns or
matches.

Then it was done and I had a beautiful necklace. It was fun to
make, and I feel proud of my work. We will keep exploring to
work out the parts that I had trouble with. Amy even tried
threading the small beads with her eyes shut. She never
realized it would be so hard. This work is as good for her as
it is for me.

That wasn't the end. I also had the extreme pleasure of meeting
her new Great Dane puppy. Oh, what a sweetheart! She's so
adorable... And so big at such a young age.

Amy and her family drove all the way to Washington DC to pick up
this puppy. What's so special is that the puppy is deaf and may
have some vision trouble. Her last dog was also deaf. Usually,
deaf Great Danes are destroyed. So she does this to rescue them
and works to teach them some signs.

As you can see, Amy is one amazing person. A deaf-blind friend and
I were brainstorming ideas for a good sign name for Amy. We decided
on an A handshape place right over the heart. Why? Because Amy has
such a big heart. Al the work she does with people who are deaf and
deaf-blind and dogs with hearing and vision problems... That takes so
much dedication and kindness.  It sums up Amy perfectly. I can't wait
until we go out again.

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