My 2018 Year in Review

ASL LSQ Rally September 2018

This image was captured by Doug Brinkman. and was used for a local news clip. The rally was organized by the World Federation of the Deaf so my flag was not recognized by the rally officials but was well received by the rally participants. You can view the news clip at https://youtu.be/iVWcrsFPvBo

The flag shown here was created by an artist from France Artaud Balard.

You can find out more about Artaud Balard here https://limpingchicken.com/2015/07/03/arnaud-Balard-why-I-designed-a-sign-union-flag-for-deaf-people-everywhere/

As I am writing this 2018 is just about to end and I am reflecting on what this year has meant to me. I do this because I feel like I have embarked on a fun and exciting ride. It really started about April 2016 but for a couple of years it was more of finding out how to deal with it than how I could embrace it.

The journey I mentioned above is my learning and embracing ASL. American Sign Language is something that I always wanted to learn but never found the time or resources to learn. I knew how to spell my name years ago and I also learned the alphabet but that’s it. After I lost most of my hearing I tried to teach my self using online courses like www.lifeprint.com but you really can’t get to know the language without the Deaf community.

My journey with the Deaf community actually started back in November 2017. I was taking an ASL conversational course through the Edmonton Chapter of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. You can find them here www.chha-ed.com. I had taken a night course a couple of years earlier but it didn’t stick. This time I was serious about learning ASL and it made more sense the second time around. I even got more of the jokes this time. My teacher Connie told me of a Deaf social that is held almost every Friday. At the time I could barely sign who I was let alone have a conversation but I wanted to go.

The first thing I learned at a Deaf social is everyone wants to know all about the new person. I had non stop supercharged ASL practice from when I got there to when I left. It was great. Now don’t get me wrong I was still the worst signer in existence in that room but they would slow down there signs, and repeat often to help me understand what they were saying. And they were really patient and understanding when I tried to sign.

I went to as many Deaf socials as I could in 2018. Most of the time when I missed them it was because I was because of vestibular dysfunction. I wanted to go every week but just couldn’t physically do it some times. The rest of the year I was able to attend many special nights at the Edmonton Association for the Deaf. Movie nights, corn cob and burgers, darts, pool, bingo, cards etc.

January: In the first part of 2018 the CHHA ran a 2nd level ASL course. I jumped on the chance to have Connie teach me more. This time the group stuck together and we got an extended course out of it and also a great group that meet up once and a wile when we can to both practice and visit.

February: I attended a fundraiser for the Deaf dart club in town. It was great to meet some dart player enthusiasts. My game is usually 🎱 but I like playing darts too.

April: I had my last Walmac (bar table 8 ball) with a great group of players. I have played in this tournament for 18 years and it is always a great weekend. I will be back but taking a year off while I explore other interests.

May: I got to spend some time down in Calgary with my Sister and a good friend. Seems like a lifetime since I had been down there. I almost missed both family’s as there kids have grown up to be adults. I think I will try and make this a yearly event.

June: I got to take some time with my dad. The last few years I have been visiting him up at Slave Lake where we catch some walleye and visit. Although we got rained out most of the week we were able to get some good fishing at the start and that carried us through. Doug (my Neibor) and I had a great round of golf at the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association 3rd annual charity golf tournament. Funds go to the Hearing aid assistance fund. I won the 50/50 so my day was more than paid for.

July I was able to attend an ASL camp at the Alberta School for the Deaf. For a hearing/HoH person that knows little ASL that was a crash course. 5 days of pure ASL from 8-5. I loved it and will defiantly be doing that again in 2019.

August: I became an actor at age 49. A local Edmonton Band “The Unfortunates” had a call for actors and I took them up on the offer. Sorry for missing you baptism Caleb. I haven’t acted since my middle school days. I absolutely loved the acting but would have liked a few rehearsals first smile 😊. I will be able to tell you more about that when there Music Video is released later in January. Check them out they are on YouTube, Spotify and iTunes.

September: There was a Deaf Expo in Edmonton. I got to see how many different languages got to work together in harmony. At one time I saw a French Canadian signing LSQ (Langue des signes québécois) and at the same time one interpreter translated that into ASL(American Sign Language) while another interpreter translated ASL into verbal and a stenographer translated her voice into CART (Communication access real-time translation). Oh and I should mention that I won one of the door prizes. The same week Edmonton hosted the CHHA (Canadian Hard of Hearing Association) general meeting. Being a member and seeing all the great work they have done this year I jumped at the chance to attend. I was able to meet many new people there from across the country that have been running into the same challenges I have been facing. The pic at the top was from the ASL/LSQ rally in September during our snap fall whiteout.

October: I didn’t have much planned this month. I played some darts usually on Wednesdays with my Handtalk Broken Bullseye team and Fridays with the Deaf Darts Club. One of my Uncles passed away in October. It was good to see some family from the coast. Watching him sing (pre recorded of corse) sure tugged at my heart strings. It was good I didn’t plan much because I had to have a minor rush surgery and that gave me time to heal…all better now.

November: My new dart friends had a huge dart tournament in November. Edmonton hosted the 2018 CDDC (Canadian Deaf Dart Competition). I didn’t have any Holliday time left so I was only able to volunteer after hours and on the weekend but I really enjoyed the event. The CDDC is being held in Richmond, BC 2020. I hope to go with them then and also visit some family at the same time. I was sad to hear of a good high school friend passing away this month. I found out a week after the funeral 😭 .

December: I didn’t have much planned before Christmas but was invited to a concert with The Unfortunates and three other bands. Turns out one of my co-workers had tickets for the same performance so with Bill, Vanessa, Shyla, Kemal and I we had our own little section of the dance floor. Thanks for the tee-shirt Tanner. It was also good to see family over the Christmas holidays. I always enjoy the visits and the food. We had Christmas Eve at my step brothers home with his family and my dad and step mom. I haven’t been there in probably 15 years…my how the time flies by. Christmas Day we had a big feast out at the farm. Going out there for Christmas is usually the high light of the year for me.

As for my review…I had a blast all year. I hope you all had a good year too. I look forward to 2019 as a continuation of my ASL journey.

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