ASL and high Five Day April 15, 2021

Everyone knows that is tax day except for this year. I thought I would celebrate a holiday that is close to my heart.

ASL or American Sign Language is the natural language of the deaf population. It is used by 250,000 to 5000,000 people in the United States and Canada. Numbers vary due to the health surveys using self reporting on the deaf and hard of hearing population.

Approximately 2 to 4 percent of the population falls into this catagory. Of the group, 50 percent is over the age of 65.

So why don’t we see nore people using sign lanquage. Many deaf children have been given cochlear implants by hearing parents. They hope their children will be able to mingle in a hearing world. Many states are considered oral rather than signing. The schools emphasis is on lip reading and oral speech.

As a former speech pathologist, I prefered a multi approach to language.

I had a cousin, David, that became deaf after a high fever as a toddler. I learned ASL and was able to communicate with him. No one in the family bothered to learn sign language.

I used signs with severely and trainable mentally impaired adults. They were able to use signs to communicate their needs. With the pressure to communicate lessened, many started to pair signs with speech.

Gallaudet University is the only higher learning institution that uses ASL exclusively. Many deaf see the use of ASL as a way of preserving their culture.

As a person who is hard of hearing I will use all tools in my toolbox to communicate.

The High Five day is to salute all deaf persons for the right to choose their own form of communication, isn’t that the American way?



Hand Signals

I sit quietly, the only sound is the hum of the Oxygen concentrator beside the bed. I gently hold Helen’s hand. Her hand is cool, soft to the touch. It rests limp in my hand. I study the hand veined with blue lines and wrinkles. I turn the hand palm up to trace the long life line extending past the wrist. The hand is rough with dry skin. I reach for hand cream and rub some into her palms.

On my first visit, Helen grabbed my offered hand with a fierce strength. Her grip was painful. I talked and sang to her until she drifted into a light slumber and her grip relaxed. I felt my hand was the lifeline anchoring Helen into this world.

On the next visit, I held a hand that lost it’s strength. When I squeezed a light squeeze was felt in return. The strength increased as the time for her Morphine drew near. After receiving the drug, she rested and released my hand.

Another day, the hands were gesturing and Helen laughed and chatted with her deceased sister. She was showing how her to fix soft boiled eggs. Her eyes were open but it was not this world she saw.

Yesterday the hands were hot to the touch. When I attempted to hold one, she pulled back and grimaced in pain. Only the Morphine released her to allow a light slumber.

Now I hold a cooling hand with no muscle tone or movement. I squeeze but there is no response. I gently place the hand under the blanket and rise to give Helen a last kiss on the forehead. I whisper,”I love you, go in peace.” I leave the room, knowing this is the last goodby.

There is one in every Family April 13, 2021

In a scene at the beginning of the “Lion King”, Zazu the bird is lamenting with Mufasa the lion king about a family member that always spoils special occasions.

That person in my family was my Great Aunt Pearl. She was a widow most of the time I knew her. With no children of her own, she was determined to correct my brothers and myself. We were in constant fear of her and her hurtful words.

She was a leader in the order of Eastern Star. When I asked if she would sponcer me into the organization, she informed me that Catholics were not Christian enough for the Eastern Star. I was crushed. I saw the gowns the ladies wore and I thought it would be a great group to dress up for.

Aunt Pearl corrected my grammer, posture and clothing selections. I learned to avoid her.

She was under 5 foot tall. When one of my siblings grew taller than the petite Pearl her attitude changed towards that brother. They were considered as adult . She started to listen to them.

When I reached a height of 5 foot 2 inches, I was surprised to find a lonely older woman that would request assistance. As she aged, I would take her shopping and help with chores. In the grocery store, she would take the time to smile and talk to the young children. I would wonder, “What happened to the Tyrant?” I found that Pearl was lonely but didn’t know how to make friends.

This was brought home at her funeral. Except for the Eastern Star ceremony, I could count the morners on one hand. I was sad that Pearl put up barriers so she woun’t be hurt.

My lesson from Pearl is I may make mistakes, have to apologize, but I learned to be open with friends and family. I wished that Aunt Pearl had learned the same.



Pearl Was No Jewel

Aunt Pearl, my Grandma’s sister, was a tiny spit fire of a presence.

Having no children, she terrorized her neices and nephews.

She ordered us around and found fiaws  with our behavior. We were afraid of her and avoided her visits.

When we grew up and were taller than her five foot frame, she treated us as grownups.

Talking to us in conversations and listening to our opinions.

I was the last to grow tall.

  I found a lonely woman that could use some assistance.

Weekly, I took her shopping and to do errands.

Talking with her, I heard her stories of growing up in Canada.

Beneath the prickly exterior, was a Pearl of an aunt.

copyright 4-13-21

Thank Heaven for the Poets April 8, 2021

A friend sent me a link to the New York Times. It was an article that when we as a people are stressed, depressed, or in conflict with each other, we need the poets to remind us of why we have a life and why we are here.

At this year’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman a young poet, stepped up to the podium and with her words, she spoke and told the nation how to start the healing.

“”Let the globe, if nothing else say this is true.

That even as we greived, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

Poets and their poems are needed in these times of trials, conflict and misunderstanding to lift us up to our better selves.

Many people will say,”I don’t read or listen to poetry”. But they are missing the heart and soul of the nation’s people. So I agree with Margaret Renkl when she thanks God for our nation’s poets.



Why We Need Poets

We should hear the melody of life in their words.

With gentle words the poems can bring us to our better selves.

When we drink bitterness, the poet can sweeten the brew.

We can find life’s meaning and live ,heal and grow.

Poetry is the bread and butter that feeds and nurtures our nation’s soul.

copyright 4/8/21

A Cup of tea, April 6,2021

I belong to a bookclub. I experience a book by listening to a reader’s interpretation of the story. Often, I will miss a part of the book through no being attentive or falling asleep. But with the book,”The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Elisa See, I found a unique way to enhance the experience.

The story revolves around a minority people in the mountains of China that have grown tea for thousands of years. The families village and those in the area grow

pu-erh tea. I had not heard of this type of tea but a resource in the back of the book , talked about a tea distributor of this tea in this country. The author became friends with The owner of Bana tea company and allowed Ms. See to accompany her on a Tea buying trip to China.

When I went to the website for ,”bana tea company” ,the tea seller had a selection of several teas that were mentioned in the book.

I was curious and purchased a sample selection.

The selections were two types of raw Pu-erh, a fermented pu-erh and two small mini cakes that were aged for 10 years. The instructions for tea brewing in the book mirrored the instructions from the tea dealer. First the water must be at a rolling boil with the water over 190 degrees. The first water was to warm the pot and start the tea leaves to hydrate. The first water was disposed of after 15 seconds. The second pouring was steeped for 1 to 2 minutes. The tea could be poured out and a second pot could be made with the same leaves.

I found that I could make 4 to 6 pots of tea with the leaves resting or drying the tea between pots. As I enjoyed the tea, I thought of the labor intensive work involved in the several weeks of tea harvesting. The best pu-erh tea is harvested from ancient wild tea trees. The harvesters, must climb, pick and gather the leaves into a basket worn on the back.

I enjoyed all of the tea varieties but I was able to enjoy the wild taste of raw Pu-erh tea. The fermented and tea cakes, were harder to reuse. They brok apart into smaller pieces than the raw pu-erh tea. Both the fermented and aged tea cakes were milder and had no harsh taste notes.

I found my enjoyment of the book was highten by being able to touch, brew and taste what was talked about in the book. It was a wonderful reminder that are many ways to experience another culture.

The website for the bana tea company is



A Cup of Tea

In “My Fair Lady” Eliza was tempted with a cup of tea.

In “All Things Great and Small” James Herriot, starts his day with strong tea.

My tea from a bag didn’t seem the same as brewed leaves.

Then I found tea, raw, from the orginal source.

I took time and care to prepare the brew properly.

What was produced was nirvana.

copyright 4/6/21

Fools Day April 1,2021

This is not my favorite holiday. Perhaps, it is because growing up, I was gullible and easily fooled. Even as an adult and mother, I was caught in one trick by my daughter. She would put flour in my coffee instead of creamer, salt instead of sugar for my cereal and sour candies in the candy dish. I couldn’t wait for the day to end.

The history of this day is unknowned and vary from country to country. India, France, Great Britian, Scotland and Germany all have a form of this holiday.

In France, the celebration is said to be traced to the 1500 hundreds when the country changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. This changed the start of the new year from Easter to the first of January. The people who clung to the old calendar were said to be fools. Today, children call fools new fish because they are easily caught. Pictures of fish are secretly pinned on friends as a prank.

In Scotland and India, the practice of pratical jokes and pranks happen over two days. March 31 and April 1st are the dates for the celebrations. Some believe that the changes in weather around spring equinox cause high spirits and pranks.

Whatever the history, this day is a day to blow off steam and stress by playing tricks on co-workers, family and bosses with little fear of retaliation.

I hope to go against the main stream and step in to be the fool while being kind to all I encounter today. An anti-fools day so to speak. I wonder what role you will choose for yourself?



No Fooling

Fools Day,

a time for tricks,

can be mean, Nasty and hurtful,

I will choose a different Path,the fool,

I’ll be.

copyright 4-1-21

End of Lent March 30, 2021

The season of Lent closes this week. This is a time set aside to eat less, pray and meditate more and be charitable with our time, talent and treasure. The time was once explained as a swinging door. The door works with the best on the three hinges of prayer, fasting and alms giving. If only two hinges are in place the door is not as steady but will still work. with only one hinge, the door will fail.

Lent is not a uniform march to Easter. It is a series of starts, stops and re-starts. The time passes slowly. For some, they look at it as a New Years resolution ,giving up candy or a habit , a self improvement of the body. Lent is the humbling of one, for the good of another.

To get down and personal with sharing with family, friends and everyone you encounter through the day. To let the light shine through the cracks in the protective shell of your outer self and see glimpses of others through their cracks.

So take a chance. Attempt to see yourself as you were created and be prepared to be amased.




We are vessels holding all that we are.

Others near us are the same.

Each whole, but untouched.

How to share with others?

A crack forms in our clay,

letting in light and life from close by.

Light within us, moves from each cup.

More cracks start but no essence is lost.

Sharing the light and each other.

Not at a distance.

Sharing bits of lives,

light lost, found , shared.

Not at a distance,

we see others, face to face.

copyright 3-30-21

Moving Day March 25,2021

Today is moving day for my daughter Ruth and her husband Chris. They built a new condominium after a year of renting. They have moved 5 times in 7 years of marraige. So I looked up some statistics from the census bureau.

In 2013, the average person living in the US moved 11.7 times in a lifetime. People under 30 will move anaverage of 6 times before they are 30. Persons over 45 years will average 2 more moves in their lives. Wealthy white people move fewer times than poorer non-white populations. The three major reasons for moving are up or down sizing , better housing or relocating for a job or family.

With those numbers in mind, I have found that I have moved 8 times in my life. That is close to the average. My Husband, John has moved only 3 times, two of those moves were during our marriage. I have to remember that statistics don’t tell the whole story.

Speaking of moving and stories, I would like to relate the strangest move in my life. This was when I was a young teen. We were moving from our childhood home to a house across the street.

My Mother had loved the old Eaton homestead. She thought that her anitiques would be better suited to a vintage house.

My brother Brian was 6 years younger than myself. He heard we were moving but didn’t hear where. He said goodbye to all his friends. Some gave him parting gifts. To his chagrin, he had to give the gifts back and explained how they could still be friends.

On the day of the big move, a large number of extended family showed up to help with the move. Starting in the bedrooms, aunts, cousins and my my brothers started to move the itens in the room. Drawers were removed from dressor, desks and night stands. The larger pieces of furniture were taken by the men across the street. Others followed with the drawers for that piece. Clothes from closets were grabbed with their hangers and hung in the new closets. Little by little the contents of one home was walked across the street to their new location.

When the old home was emptied, half the family went to clean each room while several men started the grill to cook hamburgers and hotdogs. The family had a large picnic in the new backyard. The whole move was finished in half a day and the picnic and cleaning took up the afternoon.

I imagine the neighbors were entertained watching rockers, tables and bureaus waiting for traffic to clear to make their way to the other side of the street.

Ruth and Chris are having movers take their items to the new home and place them in the correct rooms. They will move the three cats themselves. Such moving is normal but not as exciting as the family parade of belongings.



It’s a Family Affair

Uncle Don and Aunt Marion were first to arrive.

Then cousins Gail, Jimmy and Barb.

Uncle Al and Aunt Jan brought their older children Billy, David and Peggy.

Aunt Cathline and Uncle Ed too, added to our own family number.

Men took the heavy things, women took the rest.

The move was performed with military precision. Dad directed the items to move and Mom directed where the items should be placed.

Cheap entertainment for the neighbors.

copyright 3/25/21

National Puppy day March 23, 2021

I wondered what National puppy day entailed. No pun intended. It is a day that promotes adaption of puppies. Raising a puppy is as hard as raising a child but the training is quicker. Puppies need time, attention and love. They learn to obey and please.

I adopted an older puppy that was in an abusive situation. His name was Panda, but he didn’t respond to it. I renamed him Koke. He wagged his tail at the first mentioned of his new name. But It could have been the full bowl of food that I was holding.

Koke was an American Eskimo Spitz. He was white with a curly tail and black eyes about the size of nickels. He loved walks, running through the snow and chasing squirrels. He was a good companion but he was not a service dog.

If you have an interest in raising a puppy, but don’t have years to invest in a growing dog’s care, Paws with a Cause may be a way you can raise and train a service dog to be social and follow simple commands.

Our local news station have several puppies that they are raising and come with their trainers to work. This is the first of several places and people that will test, train and work to pair a dog and the dog’s skills with a person needing help. Puppy training is the first step for independence for a person with a disability.

Blind, hard of hearing, epileptic, physically challenged or non-verbal , there are more needs than trained dogs.

If you can’t spare time to train or adapt a puppy, this would be a good day to consider a donation of time or money to a local Humane Society. There are needs for food, toys and old blankets and towels. A donation of time to walk or play with dogs will help to keep them social.

Don’t forget about those kittens and cats. When you finally adapt an animal be sure you have your new pet spaded or neutered.




I am full of play and joy,

But when it is time to learn,

I work to earn praise and treats.

Between you and me, I like the praise the best.

I can sit, come and stay when commanded.

I will grow into a service dog who works for belly rubs. copyright 3/23/21

Awkward Moments Day March 18,2012

This date has several celebrations. But I picked awaward moments for it’s universal appeal. I delight in such moments as a teaching tool for the blind to enlighten the visual community. You don’t have to be blind to have embarrassing incidents. But they seen to happen to the blind more often.

During this time of mask wearing and keeping distiance, I have longed to reach out to touch more than my husband. Eye contact or a friendly nod is lost on me. Other people’s phone calls and conversations invade my hearing . Wishing to to be social, I smile. Opps, the mask hides that. Touching is not allowed and words of greeting are muffled and not heard. An example happened at the local pharmacy, picking up my perscriptions. First, I have to tap the heel of the person in line before me with the tip of my white cane. This is how I can keep distance but most people feel annoyed and some say so.

When I finally get to the front of the line, I am confronted by plexiglass and a masked pharmacist. I am asked name, birthdate and address of the recipient. Both of us have trouble understanding questions and responses. My husbnad, seeing I am in trouble, comes to assist me.

Another time, I was waiting at the fish counter. I heard the customer and the clerk in front of me. When the customer was finished, I stepped forward to give my order. There was no responce. I waited and after a moment, I was asked what I would like. The clerk had left or turned away and I was talking to no one.

Share one of your awkward moments with me at I would love to share the experience of being human.

Another important national celebration, will occur on Sunday. This is International Poetry Day. One way to celebrate is to write a poem and share with another. Another way is to have a poetry party or share writing a poem with each person writing a line. So for my poem today, I will start two haiku poems and I would like you to finish it. The last line should be 3 syllsbles in length. Good luck and happy writing.




I sit, wait,

people rushing by,

______ ___ _____

Bless the Poem

I bless you,

with poetic whispers,

_____ ____ ____

carol Farnsworth

copyright /19/2021

Tomorrow Everyone is Irish March 16, 2021

“May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows you are dead”

An old Irish Blessing.

I have a little Irish in my DNA. But on St. PATRICKS DAY ,I will wear green and offer Irish blessings.

I decided to have an Irish dinner on Sunday ,when I had more time to cook. I bought the cabbege, potatoes, carrots, Irish soda bread and corned beef. For those of you who wonder what corned beef is. It is a beef brisket salted with spices to soften and tenderize the meat. The trational salt used was rock salt. The salt pieces were refered to as corns. So the meat was corned beef.

The corned beef comes in a bag. I forgot that the liqhid is red with blood. I rinsed the meat and patted it dry. My husband came to the kitchhen and wonder what I had cut. There was blood on the floor tiles, in the sink and on a towel I patted the meat dry with. This was funny after I explained where the blood was from.

The meat was covered with broth h and spices from the included spice packet. The meat was put in a dutch oven to simmer for 2 and 1 half hours. The carrots and potatoes were added and cooking continued for 40 minutes. Quarters of cabbage were added and cooking continued for 15 minutes. The point was the dinner took 4 hours to prepare, cook and watch, The meal was served and finished in less than fifteen mintues. How did our grandparents have the time to cook such special meals. I bought my Soda bread, but the preparatioon for that treat would have made the prep time another 2 hours.

How many people know how to cook and have the time to do it? I looked at my donations to the local food bank. It was full of soups , spagetti sauce and pasta. I thought that I might add more meat in cans and increase peanut butter and jam. The last thing people need is food that takes a long time to cook.

I did enjoy my Irish meal. I have two containers filled with left overs. But I would not work so hard to produce the meal again just for the two of us.

So tomorrow wear greeen. Have a green food and think of blessing the people in your friend and family circle.



a Blessing

In the Irish spirit of

St. Pat,

Raise a toast to your family and friends

In the hope that a new beginning of wellness,

Springs forth as the green shoots reach for light.

Hugging each person with blessings not fear.

copyright 3/16/2021