Friday, August 31, 2012

Ok, So Maybe I Am Not So Cool…

I have been really proud of myself over the summer for my couponing and my washing and freezing of fruit and just how grown up I have been. We recently went to Sam’s Club for cat litter (like a Costco or BJ’s) and I wanted to look at frozen fruit. I have been telling Marc that once school starts that we will have to go to frozen fruit and I have been feeling kind of guilty about it but I knew that I wouldn’t have the time or energy. So off we went. Not only was the fruit cheaper to buy in the frozen package but it had a really nice selection of fruit and it was already washed, cut, and packaged. I also found vitamin based flavored powder that is cheaper and more efficient than the powder I have been using. I am feeling a little less cool now but hey now I don’t have to feel guilty about buying frozen fruit!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Phones

Since moving to Flagstaff we have been with Sprint as our phone company. According to their coverage map I have EXCELLENT coverage at my house. However, someone has never come to actually try to place a phone call at house apparently. In my kitchen, or living room, or bedroom I have NO service. I was constantly dropping calls or breaking in and out of service and it was super frustrating. I started hating to talk to people because it was frustrating for all parties. I finally found that if I laid under my kitchen table with my head crooked just right then I could kind of talk to people. However, who really wants to lay under their kitchen table to talk to people? I certainly didn't and was a little worried about what would happen when Marc started possibly working for DPS. I wasn't willing to lose communication with him and so we started looking at switching our coverage. Marc has never really like Verizon but they had the best coverage by far in all of the possible areas he could go and so that is where we went. Also after AZTI I knew that I wanted an iPhone. They are the most Deaf-friendly devices on the market and since that is where my career is going then I need to go that way too. However, I didn't realize all of the other benefits that would come with it. Not only can I talk to people ANYWHERE in my house but I can text Melissa for free in Jerusalem. I mean what is cooler than that? We have been loving the new phones and coverage. It has been such a HUGE blessing to be able to communicate again. I couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mikkel's an Eagle Scout!

We had the honor to go to Goofball's Court of Honor. What an amazing accomplishment for such an amazing kiddo! He looked so good in his uniform and held himself very nicely. Marc and I got to take photos for the event and we enjoyed taking 1000 photos. You could hear the click click click of the camera the whole time. It was awesome to see the support system that he has in the community and from his family. We couldn't be prouder of him! Congrats buddy!

Since Melissa was sad about not seeing the photos these are some of my favorites...They do a good job of showing all of my favorite things about Mikkel!

Monday, August 27, 2012


When I was a senior in high school my car decided that it was done living. I was driving on the highway going home one day when it lost all power. In fact my radio stopped working because it lost ALL power. I was right outside my driveway but knew that the car would have to go up before it went back down and I knew that I didn’t have the power for that but leaving it in the middle of the highway seemed like a terrible idea too. I looked at Mikkel and told him that he had better start praying or we weren’t making it home. With angels pushing the car we made it safe and sound and the car never worked again. On the way up the hill from the Oral Boards (for everyone who makes fun of me please note that I did say UP the hill which is the correct way this time) my car started to lose power. At first it did it in little lurches and then at a stop light I lost all power. I was having a panic attack as dejavu started to set in. Apparently I had just overheated the car and with a little time we were able to start driving again. However, before the rational part of my brain had calmed down I remarked to Marc that we were just going to have to kidnap Mikkel that weekend. I was sure that the only reason I survived as a senior was because Mikkel was in the car and now I didn’t have him or his faith and I was doomed. So Mikkel was going to have to go everywhere with me from now on and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Luckily, for Mikkel, he didn’t get kidnapped and I have driven my car just fine without him. However, any more incidents like that one and I will be having that boy come live with me!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chrissy’s Experience of Oral Boards

So while Marc was being all professional for his oral boards I waited in the lobby and wrote thank you notes from graduation. I realize that I graduated quite a while ago but when I was done with school I was done with everything and I am just starting to come back to the real world. Plus I still have two finals before I officially graduate and so I am not so far behind… or at least that is what I try to convince myself of. Anyway, I was sitting and waiting and writing when I finished all of my thank you cards (which now I have yet to mail… good job me!) I knew that my Marc would be out momentarily and so I figured I would play on the kindle for a moment. I started to play a game when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye start to run towards me. I look up to find that I have a cricket running straight at me. Now I HATE bugs and usually it ends with me screaming that Marc has a bug to kill when I see one but I was trying to set a good impression for Marc’s Oral Board and only let out a tiny shriek! I then tried to scoot as far away from it while still sitting in my chair and as I squirm the thing continues to run closer and closer. So when it got to close I stepped on it and you know what? IT DIDN’T DIE!!!! Nope instead it charged faster! At this point I have one of the candidates watching me in amusement as I basically fall out of my chair away from the cricket. I step on it one more time and this time it dies. I was proud of myself for not screaming or flailing (too much at least) and wanted to blog this moment. But I knew that the blog wouldn’t be complete without a picture of my dear friend the cricket. So now I try to inconspicuously take a picture of the cricket which meant that my phone needed to be like 2 inches away from the thing. At this point the candidate was laughing at me and I very stoically pretended like nothing had happened and just moved away from the cricket. I was so anxious to leave when Marc was done. However, I was glad that I was able to share my own personal accomplishment for the day but I don’t know that it measured up to Marc’s Oral Board. A girl can dream right?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oral Boards

Marc was able to go attend Oral Boards down in the Valley. I took the day off so that I could drive him and it ended up being an awesome day together. We made sure to be early and I could tell that Marc was a little stressed and nervous but he played it cool and he went off to test while I waited in the lobby. There were two Oral Boards committees and I feel Marc got the one that he would be most successful with. When he came out of the room he was really excited and thought that he did pretty good and was super impressed by this department. However, as time went on he started to worry about some of his answers and how much they helped him through the Oral Boards. I think that he did fabulous! He was able to show them some deduction skills and quick thinking. Those are always good qualities to have and he was able to connect with his committee. We will know within a week how he tested and where we rank and where we go from here. Now the waiting game begins!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ghetto Prince

When Marc and I first started dating I got him a box of random things for his birthday. It ranged from a pink Barbie hair kit to plastic tools to homemade stilts and of course a pink crown. The cats recently found this box and after knocking it over they raided the contents. Marc was pretty sad to find that his crown has teeth marks in it now but he wasn’t too sad because it wore it around quite a bit that night. So I present…. The Ghetto Prince!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I have really wanted to grow my hair out for a while because I really like long hair but it gets to this point and I always chop it off. I was getting ready for a major chop and was trying to not make the fatal flaw in chopping it all off but I knew that I needed a change. My hair is super thick and it has been really warm and I just wasn’t surviving very well. So in my trying to get ready for our Pioneer Day date I went for a haircut. I told them that I didn’t want a lot trimmed off but I wanted it thinned out and layers added. They did a really good job and my hair and I can be friends again. It is so nice! It doesn’t look a whole lot different than before except that it is slightly more stylish but I can sure feel the difference!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pascal Never Sleeps

One of the hardest things about Pascal is that she seems to never sleep. I remember thinking this about Aurora and I must have been mistaken because she sleeps as much as the other cats now but Pascal still never sleeps. Not only does she not sleep but she needs constant attention. She is definitely our most persistent cat. Not only does Pascal not sleep but if she ever decides to sleep she has to chomp on something to relax. Usually it is Marc’s nose but her other favorite is my hair which usually gets her tossed to the floor. The other day we had a miracle as she took a nap while I was working on a project. I had to photograph the occasion so that Marc would actually believe that it happened because he wasn’t home at the time. So I now have photographic proof that Pascal has taken 1 nap at our house. We are hoping that she learns that nap time is a necessity here and she really needs to get with the program…

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Our new little edition has decided that the best place to take a nap wouldn’t be in any of the cat beds throughout the house or on any soft surface. No, her favorite place to sleep is on my computer. This means that it is really hard to get my online classes finished because my computer has been commandeered! Darn thing!

Monday, August 20, 2012

So blessed

I sit here tonight and just feel incredibly blessed. I have an awesome life, amazing friends and family, and the greatest set of little ones that I could ask for. I have the technology to talk to my sister across the world and hear about their fun adventures and laugh at her little ones funny experiences. I have a wonderful ward, well two wards, that I am honored enough to be a part of. I have family that lives super close to me and give me the greatest support system ever! I have a husband how supports me through everything! This last Friday night he didn’t complain once when I spent hours doing school, he sat patiently by me and kept telling me to take as long as I needed. I just can’t help but feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Okay so about .2 seconds after I had given up hope of ever finding out how Marc tested we got the email. And… (drum roll please)… HE MADE IT!!! Marc will get to attend Oral Boards this next week in Phoenix and only the top… some number… will move on. I know they want to weed it down to about 70 applicants to move on to the academy and I really hope we are part of that group. I must say even though I am impatient that DPS has been awesome about their communication and have been really fast and letting us know how he is doing and where we go from here. I LOVE THEM!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pioneer Day = Date Night

You know your Mormon when…. You consider the dinner/dance part of Pioneer Day to be your date for the week. However, in my defense we did get a new hair cut, got a new necklace and shirt, and enjoyed a great night of eating and dancing! My hair cut looks really similar to the last one but it is thinned out a lot which I am loving! It has a few new whispies (Melissa how do you spell that?) because it is thinner but it is totally worth it. I went and bought a cute, on sale, new black necklace with matching earrings and a new shirt from Savers. You would have thought we were going out on the town by the time we were ready. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed going out with Marc. I even got the boy to dance with me! Before we were married he always harassed me about not dancing with him but since we have been married I can’t get him to dance with me! We are going to have to work on this :)

Friday, August 17, 2012


So Marc passed the physical but we don’t know if he was in the top 175. I have spent the week jumping every time Marc gets an email. Can I just tell you he has got a lot of junk mail this week!!!!! I am not sure that I can take the suspense must longer. Of course I am going crazy and Marc is as cool and collected as always. Come on… I want to know!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deaf Social Night

One of the things that we opted to do was a Deaf Social Night when Mikkel was in town. I was impressed that both Marc and Mikkel would want to try this difficult feat with their limited signing abilities. As we were there I was so impressed by the patience of those around us. There was a man there that was so patient in communicating with Marc and Mikkel. He would sign something and they would look puzzled and then he would fingerspell each sign until they understood what he was asking. It took FOREVER for them to communicate and this man never lost his patience once with them and kept commending them for their efforts. I love this group that I get to meet with! However, I didn’t love the service that night. This was the first time that I have ever really experienced discrimination of any kind and it was hard on me. The waitress that we had that night seemed to think that the Deaf people were diseased and that the Hearing people sitting close to them were infected. The three of us sat there for 2 hours and they never once asked for our order. If a hearing person and a Deaf person asked for something at the same time then the hearing person’s food would be delivered but it was a long wait for the Deaf person. It took 45 minutes to have ketchup brought to our table because a Deaf person ordered it and one pizza never showed up after a 2 hour wait. It was ridiculous and it left the Deaf community swearing that they wouldn’t come back to this restaurant again. It had the same affect in my family. Marc said that he can’t support a business that is willing to discriminate like that and that we will find another restaurant to eat at. A complaint was filed with the manager and I don’t know what will happen. It made me so sad to see this happen but it was a good experience to see that flip-flop island happens in real life too. The three of us were determined to have a good night and after trying another few restaurants found an awesome Mexican restaurant and enjoyed the rest of our night laughing and being silly. Hopefully, next time we go to a social night it won’t be the same as it was tonight!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Mikkel got to come visit me! That boy is so dang busy that I have to schedule months in advance to get any time with him! But we were so blessed to have him come visit us and I only wish that I hadn’t been so weird while he was here. I was still trying to adjust to normal life and it made for an interesting experience for all of us. While he was here we played lots of Monopoly, ate pretty healthy, went swimming one morning, had Mikkel come to work with me, went to church, got sick, played the new pottery app way too much, saw Madagascar 3 (complete with dancing in the theater!) and just had a blast being together! I love when Mikkel comes and I am glad that we enjoy getting together as much as we do. My coworkers always comment that we have way to much when Mikkel comes to town and that is totally true!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


BAH!!! I am so excited. Marc got invited to do the written and physical testing with DPS. They are only taking the top 175 candidates to Oral Boards and Marc is a little worried because this test is a little different from the ones that he has done before. I know that he can make it and I am so excited for him. This process is moving so fast and we couldn’t be happier! Good luck babe!

Monday, August 13, 2012


So one day at AZTI Marc sent me the following text message “Yep. Desafortunadamente!“ Well I was exhausted and that didn’t make any sense to me. I knew that Marc had meant unfortunately but that wasn’t what I was reading. I also knew that when Marc is tired his texting skills aren’t fabulous. So I texted him back that I was totally blogging that! I had just written a blog about my random texting and I thought it was only fair to write about his as well. He responded back with a “Why?” and I quickly responded with a “Did you not just see what you sent me?”. He said, “Yes I said unfortunately in Spanish.” Well great now I have to blog about it but now it is me blogging about me being an idiot! Marc has been studying both French and Spanish very religiously and is getting really quite good. Because my brain was totally mush from AZTI I hadn’t even considered he was speaking in a different language. Communication is going to get really interesting at my house really quick!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Day 5 didn’t have an email home because by that afternoon I was home. We packed up and ate a quick breakfast before we headed to our last activity. On day one they took our voices we had our opening ceremonies and we screamed and then weren’t allowed to talk again and they gave us back our voices the same way. It was really interesting to see where everyone came from and I was really sad to leave. I commented on how impressed I was by the level ones and that I admired them for how hard they worked and how far they had come. I thanked those who had helped me make it through the Monday night hardships and I cried… once again. I was also able to talk to Jennifer who is an interpreter and has been for years about how she got involved in the Deaf culture and her advice on how to continue learning but not become a hassle or a burden to the Deaf community. I really enjoyed watching her this week and find her to be an AMAZING interpreter! I figured this experience would change me but I didn’t realize how much. I didn’t realize how much I would miss music but I was the kid raised in the dance studio so that shouldn’t be a shock. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to go back to the hearing world. Everything was so loud and I still felt like I couldn’t talk and tried signing for several more days. I didn’t realize that when I got done I wouldn’t be able to communicate in either language. I didn’t realize how much I would miss the quiet moments of reflection that I had there and how much I love signing. It took me several days before cell phones ringing didn’t freak me out anymore or that I could have a conversation without throwing sign language into it. It took me several days before the urge to yell at people to get their attention left me. And oddly enough I got done with not speaking for five days and I didn’t really want to talk. I had warned my family and coworkers that when I got back that I would be a chatter box and honestly I wasn’t that way. After I had shared my experiences more with my Mom, Marc and Mikkel I was already losing my voice after only speaking for a few hours and after that I didn’t want to talk anymore for a few days. It took me until Friday night to be my normal talkative self. I know that by reading the last few days that no one will really be able to understand what it was like because it is impossible to describe. But I am so glad that I did that and that I proved to myself that I really am that strong. I was really worried that I would be kicked out after day 2 and I survived. I am sure I could have done better but that is what I will have to strive for next year!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


These posts are edited emails that I would send home to Marc each night. I can’t even express how awesome this opportunity was and how extremely grateful I am that I got to attend. I am totally asking to go again for Christmas because it was amazing! WARNING*** These posts are REALLY long! Today, I didn't go to breakfast again... I needed the sleep more and my body wasn't done processing the last food I ate so it wasn't a big deal. I went to my acting group and we made all of the last minute things for our play. Then it was time for class and I had a statue game with David and Michael. Okay first of all I have to tell you that I LOVE Michael he the funniest person! He just makes me laugh and has this laugh that is contagious. He is really vocal for being Deaf and it makes it even funnier. Anyway, several people had to pose in various positions and then we had to use classifiers to describe them. It was a good exercise and really made you try to figure out how to use your body and your hands appropriately. Anyway, then we had an interpreting class with Maureen. It was a really good experience to see things from both the Deaf and the hearing viewpoint at the same time. It was really interesting and I felt like I learned a lot! I got to play the part of a hearing doctor and I was impressed at how much I was able to understand and catch without being the interpreter. Anyway, then it was time for lunch and I again ate a salad. Then we had a "Deaf Film Festival" and I was bummed to learn that it was just our signed videos that we did the other day. I fell asleep during the festival. But can you blame me? They made it quiet, though it is always quiet around here, it was dark, I was comfy.... that equals SLEEP! Anyway, then we got to choose our class our three options, 1 - Religious signing, 2 - Classifiers Class, 3 - Universal Signs and Gestures. I went with the religious signing and really enjoyed the class. It was done very well and very open mindedly and I just loved it! I wrote down a bunch of notes but I want to film myself signing them before I forget what my notes mean! I have a page front and back just full of notes! I then went and made 3 pig tails and waited until it was our turn for the dress rehearsal. Our group did really well and I enjoyed acting in sign language. Sadly in real life if I did that it would be a major offense because it isn't my first language and I am taking away from a Deaf person who could be playing that role. I will just have to act in English then. It was then time for dinner and Jack the Interpreter paid us a visit. HE IS SO DANG POPULAR! He knew at least like 50% of the people here and it was crazy! I was able to get a chance to talk to Rachel tonight. I asked her some of my questions from the night before and got some really nice answers. I found out that it was hearing people that are bad but the hearing attitude that is bad. I have totally seen that in my own life and can attest to that ignorant, arrogant attitude. We also discussed when a hearing person should or should not involve themselves in the Deaf community. There are definite times to learn and grow, like Deaf Social Nights, but the Deaf deserve a night out and in their own culture without outsiders as well. It allowed me a lot of clarity and I really enjoyed the chance to chat with her a little bit. Anyway, dinner was good and then I worked on homework for a little bit. I still have a long way to go but I am working my way there. I did find out that I only have to buy one of three textbooks if I haven't told you that already... Then I got ready for the performance and went and acted. I have it filmed and so I can show it to you later if you want. Anyway, then we all went and hung out in the basement and ate snacks, etc. It was fun. I got to look at artwork from Rand Rom and it is AMAZING! He gave me a car that he drew and I love it and I got to see sketches for his next calendar coming out soon for 2013. I SO WANT ONE! I have never seen artwork like that and every page is a search and find of ASL signs. It is FABULOUS! I can't even begin to describe.... we will have to look him up.... Anyway, then we went out swimming and it was good to hang out with Kelli and Sharri again and then I went to the hot tub. I honestly could have lived and died in the hot tub. It was fabulous! I finally got all five colored lieu today and I got to see the Deaf version of musical chairs. It is pretty cool! Alright a funny story before I finish.... Gregorio is another man here and he is really sweet. I had my first conversation with him today and it was evident that my brain is scrambled now. He signed "HOW ARE YOU BEAUTIFUL?" I for some reason interpreted that to mean that he was amazed at how pretty I was and I thanked him. He looked at me confused and tried again to ask me "BEAUTIFUL HOW ARE YOU?" This time I took it as an insult that he was questioning that I could be pretty. I looked at him in a puzzled manner. He signed one more time "HOW ARE YOU...pause... BEAUTIFUL". I finally understood that he was using beautiful as if it were my name and not a word that had to do with my looks.... It has been a long week and my brain is definitely full to capacity. This is the link to the video of our performance. It isn't the best quality and it is jumpy for a little bit but it is better than nothing. The only part that has sound is the first part where they were kind of introducing us but the rest is in ASL. We are 3 Deaf pigs and the wolf is hearing. The wolf has a cold and keeps smelling soup when he knocks on our doors to see if we have soup we don't hear him and his sneezes collapse the houses. This continues until the 3rd house and you will just have to watch and see what happens!

Friday, August 10, 2012

AZTI DAY 3 Explained

Day 3 was the hardest for me by far. I got to live through a real life crisis back home where my only form of communication was texting. It was really hard to effectively communicate that way and I had a whole new level of respect for the Deaf community. Let me explain about my day… I woke up that morning knowing that DPS would be opening a job for new officers. This is the first time in 4 years that they have opened any jobs and it would be a fantastic opportunity for Marc. We found about this job in a random set of circumstances and I just kept feeling that it was in answer to our prayers. But I knew that the job wouldn’t be open for long and that I wouldn’t be there to help Marc. Marc was going to be getting off of work at 8 and I knew he would be tired so I thought I would be helpful by emailing him the link to this position. I googled for job openings and after a few different attempts at the links I found the one I wanted appeared. I quickly emailed the link to Marc and moved on with my day. Within a short amount of time Marc was emailed that the job wasn’t open yet and he would have to reapply at noon. I thought that was odd but continued on with my day at AZTI. Within a few hours I would come to find out that by emailing Marc that link I could have cost him this opportunity to test. I found a link that wasn’t meant to be public yet through my search and sent Marc a link that they thought I hacked in to find. There was an investigation opened on me to try and figure out how I breached their security and they weren’t sure if Marc would test or not. I felt awful and was trying to figure out how I could work with the officers to get Marc back in this opportunity and prove that I hadn’t hacked anything and all of this had to be communicated via text messages. It was a really stressful day that ended up turning out just fine. The investigation was closed and it was discovered that I didn’t hack their site and Marc was allowed to test. But all of that stress weighed heavily on me. I couldn’t be the reason that Marc wasn’t allowed to continue on with his dreams and I couldn’t cost him this opportunity. Then we had the scavenger hunt outside and by the time it was over we were all hot and frustrated. Then flip-flop island is meant to stretch you and I just didn’t have as much room to stretch that day as others did. My emotions were right at the surface and I wasn’t afraid of showing that. However, I had the opportunity to reflect on that experience today at church and it left me with an entirely different viewpoint. One of the things I failed to mention in my email home was Maureen. Maureen was a staff member there that was the project coordinator. She was in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly and that we all had a busy day. In the game, the true Deaf members are supposed to take advantage of you. They do things like bump into you and fall and then try to convince the cops that you pushed them. 90% of the time the students ended up in jail after their encounters with the Deaf staff members. I, however, never had that experience. By the time I came back into the room the main goal for most of the staff was to help me succeed. When I went to the veterinarian’s booth I was supposed to be using SEE (Signed Exact English) but since I have never been taught this particular method I was kind of winging it. Maureen, who was pretending to be blind, followed me to the table and just stood there watching my interaction. At one point I signed something in ASL and not in SEE and Maureen kindly showed me the correct sign. I quickly used the correct sign and feared being thrown in jail again. This continued for several tables where Maureen followed me around or watched from a distance to make sure that I was okay. There were others like this in the game as well, several students, the guardian angel, & my friends from Flagstaff. They were all watching me to help me succeed and we were willing to share our tips on what made us successful at each station. Even Miss Information, who was supposed to give bad information, gave me correct information in an attempt to help me be successful. Today in church we were talking about how the Lord knows each one of us and that we are important to him. Even in a world of billions of people, we are each important to him. I immediately thought of this day and how incredibly hard it was for me because all of my support systems were taken away. I couldn’t call home, I couldn’t do anything that would typically solve a bad day but as I was thinking about this day I realized that I was never truly alone. I truly feel that the Lord sent those people to me at the right moments to help me through out that experience. There were moments where I couldn’t take anymore and I was taken care of in those moments. What a tremendous experience this was for me. I am so grateful for the tears and the heartbreak that came that day because it helped me grow and develop as a person. This day also afforded me many conversations in the future to help clear up any misunderstandings I had about that night. It was really hard to feel like I was a bad person after already having a terrible day and through some conversations and clarifications I came to know that wasn’t true. It truly was a life changing experience and I am so grateful that I survive it! I am so grateful to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who loves me enough to take care of me even when I am simply going through a hard day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


These posts are edited emails that I would send home to Marc each night. I can’t even express how awesome this opportunity was and how extremely grateful I am that I got to attend. I am totally asking to go again for Christmas because it was amazing! WARNING*** These posts are REALLY long! I have cried and wanted to scream and for the first time here felt like I failed, not just the program but at home too.... it has been a HARD day! When I went to bed last night I knew that my body was going to give me trouble. It wasn't processing food right and I had a weird discoloration on my stomach. I wish I had taken a picture but it almost looked like a bruise. This morning I woke up in a lot of pain and so I didn't eat breakfast and I skipped my first acting group this morning. I finally started hurting less and was able to go to my first class which was.... wow... it was... something... Oh the video phone. We were supposed to call someone from home using an interpreter to voice for us. We were using the VRS service that I used before to talk to the Branch President of the Deaf Branch. Basically one signs to the interpreter via computer or iphone and the other person talks to the interpreter via their phone. But the connection was really slow and bad and we were unable to complete that project. I probably would have called Mikkel because I would have wanted to hear your voice and talking to you (Marc) but not really would have been really hard today. Anyway, then I went to a class where we had to make shapes with our bodies. The instructor drew a shape in the air and we had to copy it. It was a case of "too many chiefs and not enough Indians." I would get frustrated because I would get positioned in one place. Oh did I mention we couldn't sign at all and we had to do everything through gestures or physically moving people... anyway, I would get positioned once and then someone else would come and move me and then someone else would move me again and I just wanted it all to stop. But it made for an interesting activity. It was supposed to build our teamwork but I don't know that it did.... Then it was time for lunch and I had a yummy ceasar salad with pulled pork, tomatoes, and cucumbers added. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! I also ate a giant cookie for lunch but it was my first dessert of the trip so I didn't feel too guilty. Then we were supposed to learn about Deaf Film, Black Deafs, and something else but instead we learned about the world of interpreting. It was good information but I have heard it all before but it was nice to have a refresher. After that I had another session with my acting group. We made our pig ears today and was able to send you a picture of it. Oh I also took a picture of my old whale (we had to switch with someone before breakfast today) and a picture of my new whale. George was blue and Coco (I didn't name her) is pink. Anyway, then we went to dinner. At dinner, I was really distant and it was because I was thinking about home. I felt that it had been a really weird day. I ate salad again and sat with a good group of girls and enjoyed chatting and whatever. I finished dinner and went to check in on my online classes. The one seems like it will be good but it will take a lot of reading. The other class seems strict and I need to make sure that I get everything written down on time so that I don't miss an assignment. It was then time for our nightly game that was called "Flip Flop Island".... Oh I forgot about the scavenger hunt today.... rewind again please! So someone decided that it would be a BRILLIANT idea to do a scavenger hunt outdoors in Phoenix, during the summer, at 3:00 PM. REALLY! Ugh. Not only was this our brilliant plan but our hints were out of order. We were supposed to find the clues, 1, 2, 3, 4, ..... but our clues went more like 1, 4, (we never found 2), 6, 7, 3, .... And we figured out some of the clues and then weren't able to find the clues because one of the hotel's staff threw them away thinking they were litter. It was so frustrating and so hot and so ridiculous! In theory it was a good idea and had it been done at night or in the morning or in the winter and in some sort of order.... it would have been fine but it wasn't done that way and so it was really hard! Okay back to flip flop island... so as you can see I have already had a draining day and I really would like a nice game but flip flop island is anything but a nice game. You see they tried to do a Deaf Deaf World but they did a rude version of Deaf Deaf World. You see each booth had a Deaf person and we were supposed to figure out how to communicate with them. The only rules we had were confusing and I wasn't really sure how it would work. I went to my first table and I was confident that I could figure out this game. At each table we had to communicate and then get a stamp saying that we had passed their table. I went to Robert's table, the travel agency, and tried to communicate. He didn't really sign back and so I went to writing to him but was immediately thrown in jail. I waited in jail a few minutes and went to try again. I went back to Robert's table and was immediately thrown in jail again. I figured a new table would be best and I went to the library. I chatted about books and favorite authors and asked for a recommendation but though I talked for a long time I didn't get a stamp..... Someone recommended going to the Hearing Club because I could actually voice there and find out what was going on. I went and found out that they were ignorant hearing people and had no clue what was going on. They were so rude about the Deaf culture and I found it really offensive. I went to the doctor's office and though other people wrote messages and got their papers signed, I tried writing and ended back in jail. Pretty soon I ended back in jail after going to the bank and was DONE! I couldn't figure out the game and I was losing. They told me I could leave jail and I said I wanted to stay. They kept telling me to leave and I said no. I was so frustrated that pretty soon the tears bubbled over. I just felt so dumb and I kept taking all of the rude comments by the Deaf people so personally. There was a guardian angel that came and gave me chips to get out of jail but I didn't want her pity. She whispered in my ear that if I needed a moment outside that would be fine. I went out and cried and composed myself and tried again. At this point everyone had noticed that I had been crying and they kept asking about it but I just kept trying to move on. I watched other people as they interacted at the various tables and I learned which ones I could succeed at. I went to the vet and made it through using SEE (Signed Exactly English), through the bank using the Rochester method (everything is fingerspelled), the dinner using the oral method (mouthing), and the ice cream store with gestures. The game was FINALLY over and then we had a debriefing. Basically, our debriefing was supposed to show us that though this last hour was frustrating for us that this is their life 24/7 as a Deaf person and we got a small taste of that. By the end of the time I felt like I was the worst person on the planet because I was hearing but I can't change that fact. I really get tired of feeling like I am an awful person that is always trying to take advantage or manipulate or discriminate or whatever when my only crime is being hearing. I understand that there are a lot of ignorant and mean hearing people. BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THEM! I don't appreciate being clumped in the same group and treated like crap. It was really hard to sit through. Part of the game was tv announcements and they announced things like tornado warnings but only the truly Deaf ever got to participate in those announcements. They were saying in real life that is true because most of the emergency happenings are hear overhead. I guess many Deaf people thought 9/11 was a movie and wasn't the tragedy it was and the Deaf didn't understand what had happened until later. They are pushing for ASL interpretations for those types of things so that the Deaf can be more informed and I totally support that. However, tonight showed me that have an ASL interpreter won't solve the problem though it would help a lot. There are too many Deaf individuals who don't communicate through sign, they use PSE, SEE, Pidgeon, Rochester Method, etc. and we can't interpret for all of those individually. I don't know. They talked about cops and how many times Deaf individuals are arrested unlawfully. At the scene of an accident it is usually the case that statements are only taken from the hearing individuals because it is too difficult to get the statement from a Deaf individual. I guess a man was shot a few years ago when he was pulled over. He was Deaf and was reaching in the glove box for a paper and pencil to communicate but the officer thought he was reaching for a gun and shot him. Now the universal sign for deafness is to stick your fingers in your ears. I think it looks like a little kid pretending not to hear you but that is their way of communicating that they are deaf. They talked about how no hearing person should ever teach ASL because it is not our language and it ruins their language. By the time it ended I was MAD. I went and vented my frustrations to Kelli and Sharri and eventually I calmed down. I can see things from the Deaf perspective and I to respect them but that doesn't mean that I have to become dirt. I get really tired of having to prove myself because I am hearing. I can't change that fact and it doesn't change who I am as a person. I should be given a chance because I am a person. One of the questions they asked is when the rude comments were said in the game if we stood up for the Deaf community. I said that I thought we were supposed to be Deaf and so I pretended like I couldn't hear. I was chided for pretending not to hear because that doesn't help the Deaf community. I said that I pretended not to hear in the game but in real life I totally stand up for the Deaf community. Tomorrow will be better and I will have a good attitude and a fresh outlook.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


These posts are edited emails that I would send home to Marc each night. I can’t even express how awesome this opportunity was and how extremely grateful I am that I got to attend. I am totally asking to go again for Christmas because it was amazing! WARNING*** These posts are REALLY long! Let's see... Day 2. Today I was really bad about whispering everything that I said! It is against the rules but I didn't seem to get caught (even when I spoke out loud twice today!) Anyway, I woke up at 4, 5, 6, and then 7, and 7:30. I don't think I was scared to not wake up but I seemed to not be able to get comfy and I missed being home and I just wasn't sleeping as well. I ate breakfast but was a little bit pickier today about what I ate. This morning it was fruit and yogurt. I went and worked with my acting group this morning and we just kept practicing for our skit. Our group is really interesting! Our group is filled with people from level 1 to level 5 and it is a really good learning experience to communicate with all of the different levels. A lot of the people here feel that the beginners shouldn't be here because they hold everyone else back and I totally disagree! I feel that they are braver than the rest of us because they are willing to come and struggle and work hard when the rest of us work but not like they have to. I am really impressed with how patient and hard working they are! Anyway, then we were off to class... oh before I forget they play a game here like nose goes and you don't want to be the last person but I feel like it is more just to make you look dumb. They always play it at meals and I hate it because you can't sign and you can't eat and I look like an idiot. The last person to touch there head gets mocked and then we all move on with life. Back to class.... I had this same class yesterday but it was amazing how much I learned at this higher level. We basically had to come up with something that used the handshapes for the word papaya (P-A-P-A-Y-A) to describe the fruit papaya. It was really interesting to see what people came up with. Then we went to another class and it was such good practice for me. We worked on classifiers and played bingo with it. It was all based on directionality, color, shape, size and I was surprised at how much I liked it and how comfortable I felt with it. I am sure I messed up at least one but I probably would have done that in English too! Then we had lunch and lunch was good but I feel like my eating options are super limited and so I can't eat as well as I want. Today they had a mexican salad which I would have loved but it had corn and beans in it. So I ate lettuce, cottage cheese, and something else.... I don't remember. After lunch was when we could choose whether we wanted to go to church or to the class on sex and drugs. I think that both classes would have been really good for me to learn more about those signs because as an interpreter you never know what you will face. However, I wanted to be able to worship in some way today and I didn't want the pressure of trying to comprehend signs rather than enjoying the service. Plus every religion has their own sign and I didn't know what religion and I didn't want to start mixing them up. I didn't want to attend the sex and drugs class because I know the teacher and he will hit any topic thrown at him and is already pretty crude. It was Sunday for crying out loud! I do worry that I missed an opportunity to learn but I don't worry that I missed out. I feel very comfortable with my decision to read my Ensign in my room and then take a nap. It was what I needed to feel rejuvenated again. Then it was back to class and I had to play the same gesture game again. This time I had to act out a pitcher and thankfully I thought of a baseball pitcher and not a pitcher of water... so it was EASY!! My teacher wasn't impressed with some of my guesses but I really didn't care because I was trying so hard to think outside of the box. Then it was back to acting class and at this point I was done for the day! I didn't want to do anything and I was ready for a break. It wasn't too painful and then it was off to dinner. Dinner was the first time that we got to pick where we sat. Usually you have to sit with people who have the same favorite candy bar or favorite fast food breakfast place, etc. Anyway, I had an hour break and I was going to email you but my roommate passed out and I was trying to be quiet and so I just watched tv without sound and with closed captions. It was so relaxing and was a nice break from the craziness. We then played a game called survivor and we basically were asked a bunch of questions and tried to survive the island. The first question was fingerspell your full name (PIECE OF CAKE!) the next question was mine and asked for 5 signs for the word DEAF. SERIOUSLY!!! I could think of one and there is a slight variation but it is the same sign so I only used 1 and was out on the first round. I came back in but only to be sent out on my next turn because some disaster happened to me. Anyway, the second round had people screaming like tarzan, eating whip cream without hands, hullahooping, walking like a pimp, etc. It was pretty funny and it went by really fast. We then had a mandatory luau but it was nice to just sit and chat. It was the quietest pool party that I have ever been to! I talked about my endometriosis with someone tonight and explained about not having children in sign language and it was easier than when I talk about it in English. I guess I will just have to sign about it from now on. I am back in my room now and getting ready for bed. Luckily my roommate is still up so I don't have to feel guilty about making some noise but I should be heading to bed soon. My roommate took a nap today and when she woke up she accidentally spoke and I didn't tell on her or anything because it was a complete mishap and as soon as she realized it... she covered her mouth and gasped. But tonight at the survivor game they said they knew someone had talked and I was so afraid that she would think I turned her in. However, I talked today during the survivor game. I said, "That's disgusting." as they ate whip cream without their hands. I also said hello to a lizard today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


These posts are edited emails that I would send home to Marc each night. I can’t even express how awesome this opportunity was and how extremely grateful I am that I got to attend. I am totally asking to go again for Christmas because it was amazing! WARNING*** These posts are REALLY long! Today has been an interesting day. I was really calm driving down actually but I think that was due to my concentration being elsewhere. I got down to the retreat and my anxiety started to creep up again. I called you and then called my Mom but it didn't help calm my nerves. I signed in and got my name tag (which is actually pretty cool) and a blue whale that I must have attached to me at all times. I have to name him tomorrow before breakfast and it will be a shocker to everyone that I have named him George. I filled out a thing with my name and address and then waited in line to have my interview. The line for the interview took forever and the longer I stood in it the more freaked out I became! I finally made it to the front and couldn't even think in ASL if I wanted to because I was so freaked out.... to be honest I wasn't really thinking in English either. My interview was seriously like .2 seconds and I was off to go get my room key. I got my room key but found out that our room wouldn't be ready for a little while and so I went in for orientation. I also had to sign a contract with Robert DeMayo that I wouldn't ever take a job away from a Deaf person. So things like I won't portray a Deaf character on television because they should hire a Deaf person to play that part. I don't plan on ever intentionally taking a job away from anyone because that is not really who I am. Orientation was fine and it was the general stuff of the rules and what we can expect. I think that this will be a great program and I hope I don't get caught talking because they make you wear ridiculous things! Anyway, then we were off to lunch and it wasn't too bad. I had a few apples and a ham sandwich and a bag of pretzels. After lunch I was able to move into my room and I am so grateful for the room I have. I am up by the front entrance and I have a typical hotel room that has a closet and two queen beds and a patio. The other rooms have a common living room that branches off to the two rooms that are tiny and have 2 twin beds. My roommates name is Rebekah and she is super sweet. She is from Ohio but is going to school at ASU. We bonded because we both brought stuffed animals to sleep with. I think we will get along just swell! It was getting my stuff into the room that afforded me my first injury. I apparently kicked the bar under the bed and broke off my toenail pretty good. For being a nice break and not going to far under the nail it sure did hurt! Then we got to see what class level I was in and I learned I was in level two out of five. I knew this would be really easy for me but I figured I would give it a chance. It didn't even challenge me a little and I knew that I would have to ask for a reassignment. My first class we made up a sign name for the word Mango (our team name) but sign names are supposed to be one fluid motion and ours was 5 individual signs eventually spelling Mango. It took like 20 minutes to finish and I wasn't very impressed. (As a disclaimer, this is something that happens in the Deaf community to tell stories through signs. At this point I didn’t understand that concept very well. I would go on to do this exercise with other words and it was a really cool experience!) In our next class we were doing gestures and weren't allowed to use ASL. I have done this in other classes and when it was my turn to act something out I got the word magnet. I did a very clear rendition with my hands of what a magnet does and 95% of the guessers got it right but I was scolded for doing the assignment wrong. I only used my hands to gesture that it was a magnet and not my whole body. In my defense my face played a big part of my rendition but that didn't count apparently. He then proceeded to demonstrate how I could have acted out that word that I should have asked for a partner but after seeing what he did for magnet I wouldn't have ever thought that was what he was trying to demonstrate. I would have guessed some sort of natural disaster to or being tossed around inside a turbulent plane but not a magnet. Anyway, I did the next acting assignment much better but it was easier because it was a furnace and I could act like I was cold. Anyway, then we went to our acting groups. Our acting groups are the only groups not associated with levels and are a mixture of levels. We will perform our skit on Tuesday night to the Deaf Community and we decided on doing The Three Deaf Little Pigs. It should be funny and cute. Then I was on my way to dinner when I discovered it had been postponed and so I went to my room for a quick cat nap. I woke up and went off to dinner. And dinner I asked the person in charge if I could go from being a level two to a level four. She seemed pretty shocked but I explained that 2 was SUPER EASY and 3 would be comfortable for me but I wanted a challenge and a level 4 offered me that challenge. She agreed and I should be starting the new classes tomorrow. I just finished dinner and I am already missing my food at home. I did eat pretty healthy with a salad, rice, and a little bit of beef but it wasn't as filling as my salads ever are and I ended up eating too much to try and compensate for it. I will be very grateful to be home and eating right in a few days! I now have to go play some more ice breaker games (oh, we did play some earlier....oops I forgot!) but Deaf ice breaker games are a little bit odd.... so I don't know how excited I am just yet. It is things like find people with the same shoe size as you or the same birthday month or pretend you are on a bumpy boat. Anyway, I had better go because I am supposed to be there in like three minutes. I just got back from the games and it was basically trying to make us feel so silly that we feel comfortable around each other. I had to be an elephant, octopus, and a monkey tonight. I then went and hung out with a few girls and then it was off to play some more games. These games were more like homework exercises and they really made my brain think but it was good for me. I decided that I was tired and feeling really sore so I would head to bed. P.S. I forgot to tell you that I finally got a name sign today. I was a little sad about how it was chosen because getting a name is such a big deal and my was kind of thrown at me today. However, it is a good name and indicates that I am ridiculously tall and that my initials are C.D. (Disclaimer: I also grew to totally LOVE the staff member who gave me that name. His name was Michael and he reminded me a lot of my cousin Nate. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile around him and there was something about him that just made his joy for life contagious. That is how Nate always came across to me at family campouts (not as a monkey but as a really fun person to be around) and I always wanted to be around him. Looking back I am really glad that Michael gave me my name!) It was pointed out to me today that if I ever get divorced that I will be forced to get a new name sign. So I have informed Marc that he can NEVER divorce me and we will be just fine.

Monday, August 6, 2012


For those who don't remember AZTI is the Arizona Total Immersion program that is offered for ASL. It is an incredible opportunity to be immersed in ASL as well as the Deaf culture that goes with it. The next few posts are about my time there. They are taken mostly from emails home to Marc each night and are ridiculously long! I would joke that since I couldn't talk I had to write novels. These were solely meant for me to remember my time there and to share a little bit of my experience. I don't expect anyone to understand what the program was like or how much it changed my life. But I do hope that it allows you a little look into that world and just how amazing it was!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Addiction….

So I may or may not be addicted to chapstick and I may or may not have a giant stash of chapstick because I am terrified of running out. Most people have a two-year supply of water and food but I have a two-year supply of chapstick. I was running low right before AZTI and had to pull out my stash so that I wouldn’t run out. I think I am running pretty low right about now though but Marc seems to think I will be just fine for at least a year.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Problem Solving

One of the things I really wanted to do before my trip to AZTI was clean out my car. It desperately needed a good bath and vacuuming. One morning before work Marc volunteered to help me and we tried to use to vacuums to get the job done faster. I quickly reported that my vacuum didn’t have any suction and Marc came over to investigate. We took apart the hose extension to see if it was clogged with hair and upon discovering that Marc commented that he might have to clean the filter which would mean I couldn’t use it for 24 hours. I couldn’t wait 24 hours because I was leaving in about 18 and started to panic. Marc went to check the filter to see how dirty it was and this is what we discovered… I guess it won’t run at all without the filter! We put everything back together and the vacuum worked perfectly!

Friday, August 3, 2012

It Must Be The Company….

It seems that every time I take Marc out anywhere, graduation, doctor’s appointments, or even just our couch he is falling asleep! This new graveyard schedule is kicking his trash. He really is a trooper at trying to stay up with me and trying to do all of the things he needs to do during the day but the poor boy is exhausted! However, that doesn't stop me from harassing him that I must be really boring!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aurora’s Personal Bed

Aurora has recently decided that she is going to live in my dresser. Now I of course love that she lays all over my clean clothes…NOT! This one is her in my shirt drawer but the other day she was in my sock drawer (which is a lot smaller!). I guess I should learn to close my dresser drawers….. She is a little hard to see but she is the gray blog on the left side of the drawer by the blue shirt.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Love Notes

Don’t I have the sweetest husband? He pretended to ruin our tv screen to write me the following message. He used that old school program that lets you shoot flames, bullets, has ants that crawl across the screen, etc. But I thought it was cute :) This particular message was made by a rapid-fire machine gun.