Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Announcing...........It's a Boy!

Announcing...... ELVIS!

It's a Boy! This adorable beagle puppy is MK's new baby Elvis. Elvis will be moving to NYC to live with MK on the 10th. Congratulations on your new family, MK!

Old Age: Positive Mental Attitude

Positive Mental Attitude!!

We can all learn a lesson from this great old girl!

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room ...... just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged... it's how I arrange my mind.

I already decided to love it "It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away .....just for this time in my life.

Old age is like a bank account withdraw from what you've put in.

So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.

Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.


A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared.

Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid who was standing there and pushed him against a parked car shouting, "What do you think you are doing, boy?"

Building up a head of steam he went on, "That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

"Please sir, please. I'm sorry, I didn't know what else to do," pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." Tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car.

"It's my brother, sir," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair, sir? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and may God bless you, sir," the grateful child said to him.

The man then watched the little boy push his brother toward their home.

It was a long walk back to his Jaguar...a long slow walk. He never did repair the side door. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.

God whispers in your soul and speaks to your heart. Sometimes when you don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at you.

It's your choice: Listen to the whisper... or wait for the brick.

In The Casket

Three friends from the local congregation were asked, "When you're in your casket, and friends and congregation members are mourning over you, what would you like them to say?"

Artie said: "I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man."

Eugene commented: "I would like them to say I was a wonderful teacher and servant of God who made a huge difference in people's lives."

Don said: "I'd like them to say, 'Look, he's moving!'"

For the Creative Artists in Us


Creativity is a mysterious force that visits us with great ideas, new ways of seeing the world and the courage to do things differently. Revitalizing your creative talents will help you in the most unexpectedly wonderful ways: a new business idea, a renewed commitment to self-care, an appreciation for the beauty that lies all around us.

Finding a small bit of time each day to feed this force will not only reward you with increased creativity, but also an expanded sense of appreciation and gratitude for the creative process.

The following list highlights simple yet powerful actions you can take to spark your creative energy from the inside out.

1. Keep a Daily Journal

Use a journal to jot down the meandering thoughts of your mind. Write, draw, doodle, paste collages together. Stuck between your great ideas are random thoughts, mental notes, and menial observations.

Use your journal as a place to deposit these thoughts, keeping your creative mental workspace clear. Think of it as feng shui for the mind, a way of keeping the creative juices flowing.

2. Create Sacred Space
Find a place in your home to keep inspiring, motivating and spiritually significant objects. Remind yourself that creativity flows like water and wind, that it is steadfast like earth and powerful like fire.

Collect objects from nature to remind you of this. Place things that awe and inspire you, projects you're most proud of, and photos of people who support and encourage your creative action.

3. Reflection

Reflection can be a minute of appreciating someone or something, or it can be a day of meditation and writing. Find ways to incorporate reflection into your daily routine, noting how experiences and interactions help you grow as a creative person. This is great for surveying what inspires you and what blocks you, what attracts you and what doesn't.

4. Get Away

If you can, find some time to sneak away and enjoy a creative pleasure. It can be an hour wandering through a craft store, window shopping, a hike in nature or a visit to a special place. If you have kids and can't get away alone, don't worry.
Enjoy the outing and reflect on it together.

There are no rules to creative getaways. It is whatever touches you at that moment.

5. Do Something Loca

What's something crazy you've always dreamed of doing but didn't because of insecurity, fear or intimidation? Make a pact with yourself to get to know your Inner Loca (or loco for you guys reading this) and find ways to let her out to play each and every day.

6. See the World Through a Child's Eyes

Children have the amazing ability to be open to the possibilities of just about anything. Give yourself playtime to see the world through the eyes of a child.
Sometimes it can be simply sitting on the floor and looking at a room from a new angle, or giving yourself permission to laugh and have fun.

7. Chart Your Course

It's one thing to dream of creative things and it's another thing to make them happen. Look at all the wonderful ideas you have and pick one to act upon. Make a commitment to do at least one daily action to support this idea.

Doing the footwork to make your dream a reality will show you how easy it really is to turn ideas into action. Ritual is a series of repeated acts. By incorporating creative ritual in your life, you will increase your innovation and creativity in ways that will surprise and delight you. Try at least one of these actions and feel your creativity grow!

By Nancy Marmolejo

NAD Announces National Gala Entertainment

Michelle Banks and Jonathan Kovacs and the Four Jacks to Perform

Silver Spring, MD - The National Association of the Deaf will celebrate 125 Years of Advocacy at a National Gala to be held on Saturday evening September 17, 2005 at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

Headlining the evening's entertainment will be Michelle Banks, award winning actress, writer, director and producer and Jonathan Kovacs, of Rathskellar fame, whose new performing group, The Four Jacks, will make its debut. Lauren Teruel, former NAD Miss Deaf America and Darren Fudenske, educator and actor, will serve as co-emcees of the evening that will also include an appearance by Erin Casler, NAD Miss Deaf America 2004-2006.

Gala Sponsors

The 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala would not be possible without the generous support of Gala Sponsors. The lead, Constitutional Sponsor, is CSD. At the Judiciary Sponsor, the next level, is Sorenson Communications. Congressional Sponsors are: BellSouth Corporation, Birnbaum Interpreting Services, Cingular, Communication Access Center/CACVRS, Gallaudet University, Hamilton Relay, IBM,, Macfadden and Associates, Inc., Microsoft, RIM, Sprint, Ultratec, Inc./Captel, Inc., US Telecomm Association, Verizon Communications, and Visual Language Interpreting. At the Executive Level are: Amtrak, California State University at Northridge, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, PEPNet, Pfizer Inc., and Sign Language Associates. Supporting sponsors are: DeafVision, Inc., DTS, Inc., Modern Litho, National University and Schwarz Financial Services LLC.

Gala Performers

Michelle A. Banks is an award winning actress, writer, director and producer. Coming from a strong theatre background, Michelle appeared in Deaf West Theatre's production of the critically acclaimed musical, Big River at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, CA and the Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2001, Banks was the founder and artistic director of Onyx Theatre Company in New York City, the first deaf theater company in the United States for people of color. A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Banks holds a BA Degree in Drama Studies from the State University of New York at Purchase. Ms. Banks' one-woman performance is entitled, Reflections of a Black Deaf Woman.

The Four Jacks, produced by Jonathan Kovacs creator of the Rathskellar, will provide a superb blend of ASL song, dance, music, and percussion during the Gala. The group's name is taken from the first initials of its four dynamic performers: Jonathan Hall Kovacs, Jessica von Garrel, Jesse Jones III, and JoAnn Benfield. The Four Jacks will take you on a pirate treasure-hunt filled with blazing action, humor, and all sorts of trouble!

The evening includes a cocktail hour, elegant dinner with wine, slide shows commemorating NAD history, and entertainment. Dancing follows the stage performances, with music provided by Mark "DJ Kojo" Amissah.

Gala Hotel

The Gala will take place at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. 101 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. The NAD has reserved a block of rooms at a rate of $99/night plus tax. For hotel and reservation information, please visit:

How to Make a NAD Gala Reservation

All are invited to attend this very special evening commemorating 125 years of NAD advocacy. Tickets to the 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala are $125.00 per person and seating is limited. According to IRS regulations, a portion of your Individual Gala Ticket is tax-deductible as a donation - $50.00. The Gala reservation deadline has been extended to Monday, September 12, 2005.

You may register online for the 125th NAD Anniversary National Gala at:

If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation in honor of the NAD 125th Anniversary at: or you may send a check, payable to the National Association of the Deaf to: 814 Thayer Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Donations in lieu of attendance at the Gala are fully tax-deductible, according to IRS regulations.

Don't miss this once-in-a- lifetime event! Make your reservations now!

About the NAD

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has safeguarded the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans since 1880. As a national federation of state association, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, healthcare, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.

The NAD website ( has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.



Six-year-old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor.

He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad.

He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove and he didn't know how the stove worked!.

Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs getting his pajamas white and sticky.

An! d just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking, but his father just watched him.

Then walking through the mess he picked up! His crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process!

That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky, we insult a friend, we get angry or frustrated, we can't stand our job or our health goes sour.

Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying to "make pancakes" for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right and then they'll be glad we tried...

Please pass some of this love on to others. Suppose one morning you were called to God. Do all your family and friends know you love them?

I was thinking .. and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that need rekindling or three words needing to be said Sometimes, "I love you" can heal & bless! Remind every one of your family and friends that you love them. Even if you think they don't love you back. You would be amazed at what those three little words, a smile and a reminder like this can do.

And never stop "making pancakes"!!!

Spread the Word: Missing Deaf Teenager

URGENT--Missing Deaf Teenager from Fontana, California

Fontana Police Department's Detective Tom Yarrington of Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit contacted DeafHope for help to find a Deaf missing teen girl from California School for the Deaf, Riverside, named Heather Estella Lopez.

Here is the description of the youth:

Heather Estella Lopez
19 Years Old
Hispanic Female
5'7", 115 lbs
Brown Hair and Brown Eyes (Usually wear glasses and her hair in a ponytail)
She had a bad acne breakout before just prior to leaving home

"On August 21, 2005, at about 1:30 PM, Heather's mother saw her leave in an older, possibly 1980's, model pick-up (Toyota or Datsun), blue in color, with a Hispanic Male adult 35 - 40 years old, 5'7", thin build with shirt, dark hair, and dark skin".

Fontana police have been trying to find Heather since August 22, 2005 and are out of leads. It is believed that she has possibly met a man on the internet and went away with him. There is a possibility Heather went to San Jose area because of some old family ties there.

This is all the information the investigator has given DeafHope at this point. DeafHope and Detective Tom Yarrington will appreciate anything you can do to spread the word.

As soon as DeafHope receives a picture of Heather from the Fontana Police Department, it will be posted on DeafHope website.

If you have seen Heather Estella Lopez, please contact Detective Tom Yarrington of Fontana's Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit at 909 350 7741 (V) or

Thank you in advance,

Julie Rems-Smario, DeafHope Executive Director

22418 Mission Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94541
1.510.733.3133 TTY
1.510.733.3103 FAX
1.866.DeafHope 24/7 HOTLINE


1. Since cell phones are out in the New Orleans area just like they were out on 9/11, are deaf people's pagers working?

2. How is the Deaf community in New Orleans and neighboring areas affected by the hurricane?

3. I saw an interpreter next to an officer on TV during evacuation annoucements. How are Deaf people accessing information right now? I hope interpreters are available and being provided in public announcements afterwards.

4. MTV's Real World New Orleans show was done not too long ago (maybe few years ago). I wonder what the castmates' reactions are now.

5. How will Deaf Americans reply and step in to help fellow Deaf members in the affected area?

6. Will FEMA ensure that the Deaf community is helped like they did after 9/11?

My Condolences

My condolences goes out to the Gulf states and people affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Sad: NYT's "Much of Gulf Coast Is Crippled; Death Toll Rises After Hurricane"

Much of Gulf Coast Is Crippled; Death Toll Rises After Hurricane


Published: August 31, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 30 -
A day after New Orleans thought it had narrowly escaped the worst of Hurricane Katrina's wrath, water broke through two levees on Tuesday and virtually submerged and isolated the city, causing incalculable destruction and rendering it uninhabitable for weeks to come.

Waters engulfed much of New Orleans on Tuesday, and officials feared a steep death toll after breaches in the levees sent the muddy waters of Lake Pontchartrain pouring into the city.

Damage in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina spared New Orleans a catastrophic hit but inundated the city.

OIL PRICES The cost of a barrel of oil soared above $70 as the damage to offshore platforms became apparent.

PUBLIC HEALTH Officials warned the health consequences were likely to be enormous.

WHITHER NEW ORLEANS People are wondering what will remain of the city, physically and psychologically.

MILITARY RESPONSE Five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams were ordered to the Gulf Coast.

A mother and her daughter made their way toward the Superdome and shelter.
With bridges washed out, highways converted into canals, and power and communications lines inoperable, government officials ordered everyone still remaining out of the city. Officials began planning for the evacuation of the Superdome, where about 10,000 refugees huddled in increasingly grim conditions as water and food were running out and rising water threatened the generators.

The situation was so dire that late in the day the Pentagon ordered five Navy ships and eight Navy maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations. It also planned to fly in Swift boat rescue teams from California.

As rising water and widespread devastation hobbled rescue and recovery efforts, the authorities could only guess at the death toll in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast. In Mississippi alone, officials raised the official count of the dead to at least 100.

"It looks like Hiroshima is what it looks like," Gov. Haley Barbour said, describing parts of Harrison County, Miss.

Across the region, rescue workers were not even trying to gather up and count the dead, officials said, but pushed them aside for the time being as they tried to find the living.

As the sweep of the devastation became clear, President Bush cut short his monthlong summer vacation on Tuesday and returned to Washington, where he will meet on Wednesday with a task force established to coordinate the efforts of 14 federal agencies that will be involved in responding to the disaster.

The scope of the catastrophe caught New Orleans by surprise. A certain sense of relief that was felt on Monday afternoon, after the eye of the storm swept east of the city, proved cruelly illusory, as the authorities and residents woke up Tuesday to a more horrifying result than had been anticipated. Mayor Ray Nagin lamented that while the city had dodged the worst-case scenario on Monday. Tuesday was "the second-worst-case scenario."

It was not the water from the sky but the water that broke through the city's protective barriers that changed everything for the worse. New Orleans, with a population of nearly 500,000, is protected from the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain by levees. North of downtown, breaches in the levees sent the muddy waters of the lake pouring into the city.

Streets that were essentially dry in the hours immediately after the hurricane passed were several feet deep in water on Tuesday morning. Even downtown areas that lie on higher ground were flooded. The mayor said both city airports were underwater.

Mayor Nagin said that one of the levee breaches was two to three blocks long, and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been dropping 3,000-pound sandbags into the opening from helicopters, as well as sea-land containers with sand, to try to seal the break. Late Tuesday night, there were reports that the rising waters had caused a nearby station that pumps water out of the city to fail.

New Orleans is below sea level, and the mayor estimated that 80 percent of the city was submerged, with the waters running as deep as 20 feet in some places. The city government regrouped in Baton Rouge, 80 miles to the northwest.

Col. Terry Ebbert, the city's director of homeland security, said the rushing waters had widened one of the breaches, making the repair work more difficult.

While the bulk of New Orleans's population evacuated before the storm, tens of thousands of people chose to remain in the city, and efforts to evacuate them were continuing. The authorities estimated that thousands of residents had been plucked off rooftops, just feet from the rising water.

"The magnitude of the situation is untenable," said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana. "It's just heartbreaking."

Looting broke out as opportunistic thieves cleaned out abandoned stores for a second night. In one incident, officials said, a police officer was shot and critically wounded.

"These are not individuals looting," Colonel Ebbert said. "These are large groups of armed individuals."

Officials at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security confirmed that officials in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes had tried to call for martial law, which is not authorized by the State Constitution.

Offering up howling winds of as much as 145 miles an hour, the hurricane hit land in eastern Louisiana just after 6 a.m. Monday as a Category 4 storm, the second-highest rating, qualifying it as one of the strongest to strike the United States.

Preliminary damage estimates from insurance experts on Monday ranged from $9 billion to $16 billion, but they were pushed up past $25 billion on Tuesday, which could make Hurricane Katrina the costliest in history, surpassing Hurricane Andrew in 1992, with $21 billion in insured losses.

In some areas of New Orleans, the flooding was as deep as 20 feet.

Coast Guard and police Blackhawk helicopters were plucking survivors off roofs, one by one.

The Coast Guard flew over New Orleans after the storm on Monday.

As the scope of the damage to oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico became more apparent, energy prices rocketed to record highs. Experts predicted that further increases were likely.

Floodwaters were still rising as much as three inches an hour in parts of New Orleans late Tuesday. In other areas, they were beginning to subside.

"I don't want to alarm anyone that New Orleans is filling up like a bowl," Michael Brown, FEMA's director, said. "That isn't happening."

More than 10,000 people remained stranded in the Louisiana Superdome, which was without power and surrounded by three to four feet of water. Swaths of the roof had been peeled away by the powerful winds, and it was stifling inside without air conditioning. Toilets were reported to be overflowing. A woman with an 18-month-old baby said her last bottle of baby formula was nearly empty.

During the day, additional survivors were deposited at the Superdome by rescuers, but the absence of food and power, not to mention the water lapping at the doors, made their continued stay perilous. Hundreds of critically-ill patients had to be evacuated out of Charity Hospital and Tulane University Hospital because of the flooding.

At Tulane, they were removed by helicopter from the roof of a parking garage. The staff of the Times-Picayune, which was able to publish only an online version of its edition on Tuesday, was forced to flee the paper's offices.

The Coast Guard estimated that about 1,200 people had been rescued Monday and thousands more on Tuesday. Efforts were hindered by phone and cellphone service being out in much of the city.

Getting food and water into the city was an urgent priority. Officials said that there was only one way for emergency vehicles to get into parts of the city to bring in supplies.

"We're racing the clock in terms of possible injury," said Michael Chertoff, the national homeland security secretary. "We're racing the clock in terms of illness, and we're racing the clock to get them food and water."

The hurricane, downgraded to a tropical depression by late Tuesday morning, continued to putter along into adjoining states, though its teeth were gone. It had left its mark on numerous Gulf Coast communities. In Mississippi, for example, Gulfport was virtually gone, and Biloxi was severely damaged.

From the air, New Orleans was a shocking sight of utter demolition. Seen from the vantage point of a Jefferson Parish sheriff's helicopter transporting FEMA officials, vast stretches of the city resembled a community of houseboats. Twenty-block neighborhoods were under water as high as the roofs of three-story houses. One large building, the Galleria, had most, if not all, of its 600 windows blown out.

Sections of Interstate 10, the principal artery through the city, had pieces missing or misaligned, as if the highway were an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Parts of the 24-mile-long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the world's longest overwater highway bridge, were missing as well. Fires had broken out in sundry buildings, and hundreds of thousands of people were without power.

One woman swam from her home on Monday and then walked through the night to take shelter in a 24-hour bar in the French Quarter. Another left her flooding house but could not persuade her elderly roommate to come with her. Her roommate insisted, "God will take care of me."

People waded through waist-high water, looking to determine the fate of their homes. Rescue workers, who were plucking people off roofs in rescue cages, reported seeing bodies floating through the water. Mayor Nagin said that as he flew over the city he saw bubbles in the water, which he said seemed to signify natural gas leaks.

The mayor estimated it would be one to two weeks before the water could be pumped out, and two to four weeks before evacuees could be permitted back into the city. Another city official said it would be two months before the schools reopened.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to need temporary homes for uncertain durations. The authorities were looking at renting apartments, putting people up in trailers and establishing floating dormitories.

Parishes east of the city were also battered. The president of Plaquemines Parish, on the southeastern tip of Louisiana, announced that the lower half of the parish had been reclaimed by the river. St. Bernard Parish, adjacent to New Orleans, was largely rooftops and water.

In South Diamondhead, Miss., on St. Louis Bay, all that remained of the entire community of 200 homes was pilings. Boats were stuck in trees.

"Yeah, we caught it," said Randy Keel, 46. "We basically got what we're wearing."

Everyone was "walking around like zombies," Mr. Keel said.

Some Mississippi casinos, which had been floating on barges, were swept half a mile inland. An oil platform in the gulf was transported within a hundred yards of Dauphin Island, the barrier island at the south end of Mobile County, Ala., and much of that island was underwater.

Peter Teahen, the national spokesman for the American Red Cross, said: "We are looking now at a disaster above any magnitude that we've seen in the United States. We've been saying that the response is going to be the largest Red Cross response in the history of the organization."

Meanwhile, the evacuated survivors tried to accept the images they saw on television. Vonda Simmons, 39, fled New Orleans with relatives on Saturday afternoon to stay with friends in Baton Rouge. When she saw footage of the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward, where she lived, she assumed she had lost everything but she accepted fate's hand.

"We have the most prized possession," Ms. Simmons said. "We have each other."

Joseph B. Treaster reported from New Orleans for this article, and N. R. Kleinfeld from New York. Reportingwas also contributed by Abby Goodnough, Kate Zernike and Shaila Dewan from Biloxi, Miss; Felicity Barringer from Houma, La.; Ralph Blumenthal from New Orleans; Michael Luo from New York; Jeremy Alford from Baton Rouge, La.; and Diane Allen from South Diamondhead, Miss.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Two Days Left to Go... for Unique Touch Art!

Dear Customers,

Thank you for your loyalty and support for my Unique Touch Art business. With your support, I was able to raise $350 this month. Thank you.

I am halfway through earning $700.00 by August 31, 2005. I still need to earn $350.00 by this Wednesday, or VR will terminate my grant on September 1. This will result in me moving out of the DC metro area. Please help prevent the grant termination on September 1.

Unique Touch Art is offering a Labor Day Sale until September 7. I would love for you to support my artwork by going to my website. Paintings, notecards and ILY ornaments are available for purchase. It will be my pleasure to help you with the order. Email me to place the order and/or request custom work.

Remember, I am available to do custom work for you, based on your interests and style. The fee will be based on commission

I want to continue my dream and passion in selling and creating custom art work for customers like you. Let's keep Unique Touch Art and my artistic dreams and goals alive!

Thank you for your support and patronage.

Best regards,

Barry R. Segal

Film Recommendations & Favorites

Foreign Films
The Color of Paradise
Pauline & Paulette
Cinema Paradiso
Life Is Beautiful
I'm Not Scared
Nowhere In Africa
Bread And Tulips

Meet the Fockers
Analyze This
Analyze That
The School of Rock
Never Been Kissed
Deliver Us from Eva
Shallow Hal
Sorority Boys
The Mexican
Head of State
Real Women Have Curves
View From The Top

Lesbians and Hotels vs. Tents

Will a handful of lesbians please stand up and say they like hotels? I don't know what it is with lesbians and camping. Don't get me wrong. I like camping.... once or twice a year... the older I get, that becomes less frequent.... more like once every 2-3 years. I'm coming out of the closet here to say, "Hi, My name is Sarah. I'm a lesbian who loves hotels and would choose hotels over tents anytime."

Colleges Try to Deal With Hovering Parents

I found this hilarious. I graduated from college about 8 or 9 years ago. I'm currently in graduate school. I'm glad I'm not in an undergraduate college now with these hovering parents. See what happens when kids are raised with "everyone is a winner" mentality and giving kids everything they want. And, I thought the 1980s were reputed as the "Me Me Me Generation."


Colleges Try to Deal With Hovering Parents

HAMILTON, N.Y. (Aug. 28) - They're called "helicopter parents,'' for their habit of hovering - hyper-involved - over their children's lives. Here at Colgate University, as elsewhere, they have become increasingly bold in recent years, telephoning administrators to complain about their children's housing assignments, roommates and grades.

Recently, one parent demanded to know what Colgate planned to do about the sub-par plumbing her daughter encountered on a study-abroad trip to China.

"That's just part of how this generation has been raised,'' said Mark Thompson, head of Colgate's counseling services. "You add a $40,000 price tag for a school like Colgate, and you have high expectations for what you get.''

For years, officials here responded to such calls by biting their lips and making an effort to keep parents happy.

But at freshman orientation here last week, parents heard a different message: Colgate is making educating students a higher priority than customer service. The liberal arts college of 2,750 students has concluded helicopter parenting has gotten out of hand, undermining the out-of-the-classroom lessons on problem-solving, seeking help and compromise that should be part of a college education.

Those lessons can't be learned if the response to every difficulty is a call to mom and dad for help.

"We noticed what everybody else noticed. We have a generation of parents that are heavily involved in their students lives and it causes all sorts of problems,'' said Dean of the College Adam Weinberg. College, he said, should be "a time when you go from living in someone else's house to becoming a functioning, autonomous person.''

Colgate says it has ample resources to help students. But when parents call, unless there's a safety risk, they're usually told to encourage their children to seek out those resources themselves.

As for the China inquiry, Weinberg said, "we tried to explain in the 21st century, the ability to plop down in a foreign country and hit the ground running is a fundamental skill.''

Heightened parental involvement is one of the biggest changes on college campuses in the last decade, experts say. One major reason is the tight bond between Baby Boomer parents and their children.

"This is a group of parents who have been more involved in their children's development since in utero on than any generation in American history,'' said Helen E. Johnson, author of "Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money,'' a guide for college parents. "I think colleges have been far too responsive in inappropriate ways to this very savvy group of consumers.''

Another factor is cell phones. The era of the 10-minute weekly check-in from the pay phone in the hall has given way to nearly constant contact. Rob Sobelman, a Colgate sophomore, says when students walk out of a test, many dial home immediately to report how it went. One friend checks in with her mother every night before going to sleep, he said.

"Even 10 years ago, parents couldn't even get hold of their children,'' said Colgate President Rebecca Chopp. "If you reached them once a week it was a miracle.'' Now she says she's hearing from older alumni who are "worried their grandchildren won't learn accountability and responsibility.''

Many schools have noticed the trend, but they've been reluctant to alienate parents. Some have tried to accommodate the change, opening parental liaison offices, for instance.

But some schools, while glad to see parents care, are expressing concern over the downside. During freshman orientation this year at Northeastern University in Boston, administrators urged parents not to call their children but to let them call home when they want to talk. At Washington University in St. Louis, upperclassmen perform skits about healthy transitioning for parents. The University of Vermont hires students as "parent bouncers'' to delicately keep parents from interfering in, for instance, meetings with advisers.

At Colgate, parents used to receive a sheet listing administrators' phone numbers. This year, they got a statement about Colgate's philosophy of self-reliance - a message that was hammered home repeatedly in talks by administrators. Next year, the school may assign parents summer reading on the transition to college.

The approach will continue throughout the year, part of a larger emphasis at Colgate on "teachable moments'' outside the classroom. A memo sent to departments ranging from residential life to counseling to public safety reminds employees: "We will not solve problems for students because it robs students of an opportunity to learn.''

Mike Herling, a 1979 graduate with sons in the sophomore and freshman classes, said he welcomes the approach.

"It's the intercession on a regular basis they're trying to discourage, and I think it's important they do,'' he said. "Kids are much more self-confident and develop better decision-making skills if they're given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves.''

But Colgate acknowledges not all parents will be happy, and that there have already been unpleasant calls.

"We get quoted the price tag frequently,'' said Dean of Student Affairs Jim Terhune. "But what you're paying for is an education, not a room at the Sheraton, and sometimes that education is uncomfortable.''

Says Thompson, the counseling director and the parent of a college student himself: "I don't want them to be happy today. I want them to be happy a decade from now.''

08/28/05 18:09 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Insect Bite Bra

Last night, I received my first bite(s) of the summer season. I'd managed to not get bitten all summer. (Yes, I've been out and about while not in school or studying. I even study up on the roof.)

Anyways, I didn't receive just one bite. I was bitten twice! And, each was right next to each other in a perfect line. I tried to resist scratching the area, knowing that the more I scratched, the more the itch would spread due it leading to spreading the bug juice's effects inserted into the flesh upon entry to suck blood. (Our bodies are allergic to bug juices that these bugs release while drilling into our skin and preparing for sucking out blood. That's why we get raised bumps and an irresistible urge to itch. Okay, nerd lesson over. Back to story.)

I shot off this email to a fellow for his blog:

Damn you mosquitoes. I thought I'd manage to not get bitten this summer. Lo and behold! You somehow made it into my apartment last night and bit me twice in a row. These raised bumps are next to each other with your lovely entries visible to the naked eyes. Now they look like a set of mini-boobs on my wrist. Thanks!

These bug bites next to each other looked like boobs or raised nipples. I could even see where the entry bite site was right in the middle of the raised pink bump. I complained about them to my roommate today via email. She replied with this:

Should I get a bra for your bug bites as well?

Ok. I think a bra in size 5AAAA will do.


Got these advices in an email recently. The email allegedly stated that sharing these advices would bring you good luck, especially after sharing and forwarding it with a certain number of people. Know what? I'm not gonna email. I'm gonna just post here, not for the sake of superstition, good luck, or fear that my life and world will crumble like an apocalpyse if I don't forward these. I know I'm gonna live tomorrow regardless of whether or not I share/forward these words. I'd rather post here for anyone to read, appreciate, and reflect.

Note: Not all necessarily reflect the blogger's personal beliefs or principles.


ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a wo/man you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

News Flash: We ARE Primates

How many of us remember or realize that we are primates, one of the many species co-existing on this planet?


Humans Are on Display at London Zoo

LONDON (Aug. 26) - Caged and barely clothed, eight men and women monkeyed around for the crowds Friday in an exhibit labeled "Humans'' at the London Zoo.
"Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment'' read the sign at the entrance to the exhibit, where the captives could be seen on a rock ledge in a bear enclosure, clad in bathing suits and pinned-on fig leaves. Some played with hula hoops, some waved.

Visitors stopped to point and laugh, and several children could be heard asking, "Why are there people in there?''

London Zoo spokeswoman Polly Wills says that's exactly the question the zoo wants to answer.

"Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate,'' Wills said.

The exhibit puts the three male and five female "homo sapiens'' amid their primate relatives. While their neighbors might enjoy bananas and a good scratch, these eight have divided interests, from a chemist hoping to raise awareness about apes to a self-described actor/model and fitness enthusiast.

For others, the aping around is just another forum for rampant exhibitionism and self-promotion.

Pointing at one heavy muscled and gleaming body on the ledge, one visitor joked that the zoo should consider a breeding program.

"You can tell why some people came here, like the big muscly men who clearly like parading around in thongs,'' said Damien Largey, 23.

Melissa Wecker, 21, was disappointed that the humans were wearing swimsuits beneath their fig leaves. "They're not doing anything. It looked lots better on the news,'' she complained.

Tom Mahoney, 26, decided to participate after his friend sent him an e-mail about the contest as a joke. Anything that draws attention to apes, he said, has his support.

"A lot of people think humans are above other animals,'' he told The Associated Press. "When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special.''

Mark Ainsworth, 21, heard about the Human Zoo on the news.

"I've lived in this country for nine years and have never come to a zoo,'' said Ainsworth. "This exhibit made us come to the zoo. Humans are animals too!''

Like the rest of their caged neighbors, the humans had a variety of toys to keep them entertained - board games, music, paints, and balls.

They are being treated as animals, complete with keepers, but are allowed to go home each night at closing time.

When visitor Peter Bohn, 42, saw the "animals'' juggling, he stopped and had a good laugh.

"It's hilarious,'' he said. "It turns everything upside down. It makes you think about the humans in relation to the animals.''

After three hours, Mahoney is still having fun except for when the wind picks up. But, he added, "I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it.''

08/26/05 14:17 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Dogs Go Woof Over Brazilian Puppy Love Motel

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Aug. 29) - A love motel, complete with a heart-shaped mirror on the ceiling and a headboard resembling a doggy bone, has opened for amorous pooches in Brazil.

The doggy love motel in Sao Paulo, South America's largest city, was inspired by the thousands of such establishments that rent rooms to Brazilian couples for four-hour periods for trysts.

"I am absolutely certain this is the first one (for dogs) in the world," said Robson Marinho, a director at the Gang dos Bichos, or Gang of Animals, a pet shop.

Marinho says he has already received reservations for the room, which he built on the second floor of the store and hung a sign that reads "Pet Love Motel." The window has thick curtains for timid dogs that want discretion.

Marinho's business partners own seven love motels for humans in Sao Paulo, including the island-themed Caribe and another called Opium.

The air-conditioned pet love motel room, with a paw print decorative motif, has a special control panel to dim the lights, turn on romantic music or play films.

"The owner has to know what kind of DVD will excite his or her dog," Marinho said with a chuckle.

The dog motel, which opened this month, costs the equivalent of $41 for two hours, making it more expensive than the least luxurious rooms at the Opium, which cost $45 for four hours.

"We also have a wedding agency that matches up dogs and if the female dog doesn't get pregnant, we offer artificial insemination services," said Marinho.

08/29/05 11:34 ET

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Finally a New Way to Cross the Border!

Human Cannonball Fired Across U.S. Border

TIJUANA, Mexico (Aug. 28) - David Smith Sr., who already holds a world record for the longest distance traveled by a human fired from a cannon, added to his list of cannonball coups Saturday by shooting across the U.S-Mexico border.

The feat was the brainchild of Venezuelan artist Javier Tellez and is part of a series of public art projects in the two border cities.

Smith climbed into the barrel of the cannon Saturday afternoon and flashed his U.S. passport as about 600 people applauded.

He took flight from a popular beach in Tijuana, Mexico and soared about 150 feet over a line of black metal poles about 20 feet high and spaced six inches apart. He landed uninjured in a net in Border Field State Park in San Diego with U.S. Border Patrol agents and an ambulance waiting nearby.

David Smith Jr., also an accomplished human cannonball, said his father's flight was the first across a border by way of cannon.

Tellez organized the cannonball launch with psychiatric patients at the Baja California Mental Health Center in Mexicali, Mexico, as a therapeutic project. The event is part of an art series that started Saturday and will run through the fall, sponsored by inSite05, a binational arts partnership in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

Tellez called the project "living sculpture" and said it was about "dissolving borders" between the United States and Mexico and between mental health patients and the rest of the world.

"David Smith is a metaphor for flying over human borders, flying over the law, flying over everything that is established," he said.

Tellez, 36, and Smith Sr. worked closely on the backdrop, music, costumes and advertising for the project, "One Flew Over the Void." Tellez plans a documentary film about it.

Although it is against the law for anyone, including U.S. citizens, to enter the country outside an official port of entry, Smith Sr. wasn't crossing illegally. U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar made an exception for him, said Border Patrol spokesman Kurstan Rosberg.

Smith Jr., 28, said the family insisted on U.S. government approval.

"I had to have some kind of official OK high enough up to make sure he doesn't land in the U.S. and go to a federal penitentiary," he said.

Smith Sr., of Half Way, Mo., is listed in Guinness World Records for record distance for a human fired from a cannon. He flew 185 feet, 10 inches on May 29, 1998 in West Mifflin, Penn.

The Smith family has five cannonballs: father, son, two daughters and a cousin. Smith Sr. built seven cannons designed to fire humans, and his family operates five of them, traveling around the world to perform at events including parades and concerts, his son said.

"If one of the girls has a baby, they can't be a cannonball during that time," said Smith Jr.

08-28-05 08:06 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Short on Sleep? Mall of America Sells Naps

08/26/05 16:22 EDT

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (Aug. 26) - The Mall of America has a 74-foot Ferris wheel, a shark tank and a dinosaur museum. But if that puts you to sleep, a new nap store will sell you some shuteye for 70 cents a minute.

The store, to be called MinneNAPolis, is aimed at weary travelers who need a nap after a long flight but aren't staying long enough to book a hotel room, or spouses of shoppers who are traversing the mall's 4.3 miles of storefronts.

"We think it would be really good for husbands at Christmas, when their wives are power-shopping,'' said mall spokeswoman Julie Hansen.

Founded by PowerNap Sleep Centers Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., the new store will include at least three themed rooms: Asian Mist, Tropical Isle and Deep Space. Each will have walls thick enough to drown out the sounds of squealing children at the indoor amusement park.

The 70 cents per minute fee works out to $42 an hour. Some pointed out that it would be cheaper to buy an $8 movie ticket and spend two hours sleeping through a quiet movie. At the company's other napping center at the airport in Boca Raton, annual memberships cost $1,200 for unlimited sleep time.

It would be even cheaper to stretch out on one of the mall's wooden benches, but people who work in the mall said they have seen plenty of tired people walking around, but haven't seen many of them doze off in public.

"We've got the view of quite a few benches here, and I can tell you that it just doesn't happen,'' said Sue Wendler, who has worked in the mall for six years in the marketing office for Mystic Lake casino.

Still, some shoppers had their doubts about paying for a nap.

"Would you get your money back if someone snored?'' asked Linda Belz, 54, of Orlando, Fla.

"How do I know there won't be lice in the sheets?'' said Ericka Dickerson, of Bradenton, Fla.

PowerNap Sleep Centers did not return a phone message left Friday by The Associated Press. Mall officials said the store would adhere to a one-person-per-room policy.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Sale Is Still On!

Dear Customers,

Thank you for your loyalty and support for my Unique Touch Art business. With your support, I was able to raise $350 this month. Thank you.

I am halfway through earning $700.00 by August 31, 2005. I still need to earn $350.00 by this Wednesday, or VR will terminate my grant on September 1. This will result in me moving out of the DC metro area. Please help prevent the grant termination on September 1.

Unique Touch Art is offering a Labor Day Sale until September 7. I would love for you to support my artwork by going to my website. Paintings, notecards and ILY ornaments are available for purchase. It will be my pleasure to help you with the order. Email me to place the order and/or request custom work.

Remember, I am available to do custom work for you, based on your interests and style. The fee will be based on commission

I want to continue my dream and passion in selling and creating custom art work for customers like you. Let's keep Unique Touch Art and my artistic dreams and goals alive!

Thank you for your support and patronage.

Best regards,

Barry R. Segal

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Piggy Bank After Buying Gasoline Today

Thank goodness I live in NYC and do not have a car here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Unique Touch Art

Barry R. Segal, Artist & Unique Touch Art Studio Owner
Silver Spring Towers
816 Easley Street, Apt #923
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Last week, a friend forwarded me one of Barry’s emails. He was offering a special Labor Day Sale until September 7, 2005. I checked out his website at:

I realized that this artist, Barry, was a 37-year-old DeafBlind individual I worked with last year as a SSP at NYC’s DAW (Deaf Awareness Week) Deaf Fest at Lincoln Center. At that time, I got my first glimpse of his artwork.

According to Barry, Unique Touch Art is an art studio, established during Summer 2003, designed to offer unique tactile and visual artwork that can be appreciated through the use of different mediums.

Numerous art works in the online Gallery are currently available for purchase through his studio. Other artwork seen in the gallery may already be sold. However, Barry can replicate or customize an art piece just for you, be it in different colors or sizes. Customized artwork is done on commission.

Barry’s work is frequently shown at art exhibits, fairs, events and festivals. He travels around the country exhibiting and selling his work. Chances are he will have an exhibit or sale in an area near you. Check his website’s Art Exhibits page for past and upcoming shows.

As a DeafBlind artist who lost his vision due to Optic Atrophy, this presents him with an unique twist in artistic expression; his artwork is enjoyed by hearing, Deaf, and DeafBlind patrons. As a result, his work is accessible and greatly appreciated by DeafBlind people. And, his artwork helps educate hearing and deaf people about what DeafBlind people can do and who they are.

Many Hats of a Self-Identified DeafBlind Artist

Not only is Barry an artist who paints, he also performs occasionally in a one-man comedy stand-up show. He frequently tells diversity-related jokes such as gay, Jewish, Deaf, hearing, and DeafBlind jokes. Barry shared that he enjoyed performing comedy through the use of facial expressions, body movements and using ASL. Occasionally, he dresses up and acts as a woman. Recently, he performed stand-up comedy in front of 350 people at the RAD (Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf) conference. Barry stated that people encouraged him to travel around performing his stand-up comedy.

Barry often works as a DeafBlind consultant. He gives presentations to schools and agencies about DeafBlind culture and how to work with DeafBlind people. In addition to consultation work, he has worked in Deaf services, taught American sign language, and worked in recreational settings.

Another hat Barry wore in the past was producing, directing and acting in a DeafBlind Culture videotape. The videotape is narrated by Barry; he covers five topics related to DeafBlind culture, types and causes of DeafBlindness, communication methods, assistive devices, recreational activities, and employment. The video is captioned. It is available for sale through his website.

Barry has acted in several productions as well as taught dancing, acting, American Sign Language, recreation, and art at camps.

Barry is learning the ropes of starting up and running a new business selling his artwork. He is developing a following of supporters, a portfolio of art, visibility at different venues, and capacity for increasing profits. He enjoys running a business which sells artwork reflecting his beliefs, artistic techniques, life experience, and developing artistic skills.

Barry’s Start as An Artist

Barry grew up creating art pieces, starting in school. For two years at Gallaudet University, he further studied art. Upon graduation from Gallaudet University, Barry began to decorate his apartment (in Minneapolis, Minnesota). Apartment visitors expressed strong interest in his art and encouraged him to sell his work. His mother also strongly encouraged Barry to take art classes and sell his work. Two and a half years ago, Barry decided to take up on his mother’s advice and encouragement. His mother immediately went out and purchased art supplies to help him get started. Three months later, Barry created 10 art pieces to sell at the American Association of the DeafBlind Conference in San Diego, California (Summer 2003). Barry came home feeling optimistic about his sales and the fact that people became aware of his work through word-of-mouth. People contacted him for purchases and to order custom work. Barry’s entire family was supportive and encouraged by his strong start as an artist. So, he opened up his art business during the late summer of 2003.


• Two pictures were selected to be in a juried art show in Minnesota Twin Cities Gays/Lesbians/Bi/Trans’ Art Show. Barry was one of the 18 finalists from artwork submitted all over the country. His work, “Downtown Hands,” was shown for three weeks during June 2005.
• Interact Center at the In/Outside Gallery exhibited his “Landscape Hands” alongside work done by other nation-wide disabled artists in downtown Minneapolis during July 2005.
• Barry earned his Master’s degree from New York University.
• Broke sales record during the recent RAD conference. “Downtown Hands” and “Landscape Hands” alongside greeting note cards were top sellers.
• Barry recently had great success selling Leather/Bears artwork at RAD conference in Washington, DC.
• In 2001, Barry won the Mr. Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf title - Modern/Jazz Dancingok
• In 1995, Barry established and coordinated Bridge between DeafBlind and Deaf Communities in Minnesota.

Choice of Art Mediums & Styles

Barry uses bright colors and textures in his art. As a result, his art is easier for DeafBlind and hearing Blind people to feel his work and appreciate art in their homes and offices. Another reason for choosing the mediums he uses is his appreciation for diversity, resulting in mixed media with abstraction and surrealism. He is creative when it comes to symbols in his work. For instance, Barry used bagels in his artwork symbolizing Jewish identity and pride. Barry enjoys being creative in the use of materials to symbolize culture, diversity, pride and so on.

Art Categories
Barry breaks his current work into four categories: Abstract, Hand, Jewish, and Diversity. You can see samples of his work at his website.

Lessons In the Life Of An Emerging Artist On The Go

1 - How to use a credit card machine and work with credit card companies
2 – How to appropriately protect and pack artwork for shipment
3 – Type of equipments to purchase for art shows
4 – How to write and get grants
5 – Learning effective business management skills while selling and creating art
6 – How to advertise artwork and interest prospective buyers
7 – Using a digital camera with computers
8 – Booth design that allows one to communicate with browsers and effectively advertise showcased artwork
9 – Determining popular artwork to showcase with target market groups at events, conferences and exhibits
10 – The challenges of locating and scheduling SSPs, interpreters, drivers for art shows in advance
11 – Effective communication and marketing skills and personas
12 – Website design
13 – How to earn revenues and expand business successfully during the first few years
14 – Many more lessons to come!

Challenges & Issues as a DeafBlind Artist

Getting Around & SSPs

Barry travels around to sell and exhibit his art work all around the country. Traveling means he needs SSPs, also known as Support Services Providers. SSPs can drive him to places and interpret for him during these events. However, accessibility and scheduling a SSP is challenging. When SSPs are not available in an area where the art show is taking place, sometimes he has to cancel his show. Other times, he is fortunate to schedule available SSPs. Two SSPs are preferred so they can take turns, just like sign language interpreters take turn working.


Barry faced obstacles when people in educational settings did not believe he could study art, theater, and American Sign Language due to his vision. DeafBlind people were believed to not be capable of becoming artists, let alone becoming successful artists. This was partly due to lack of education and understanding on the educators and educational institutions’ part. Adaptations and accommodations alongside education are keys to helping one understand better about the possibilities of becoming an artist who happens to be DeafBlind. One needs to realize that DeafBlind artists offer the advantages of expressing and creating art in different perspectives just like any other artists. For instance, they add a tactile element to their work. Their personal experiences as DeafBlind people lend to expression of experiences that people might otherwise not see or feel in their art work. There are numerous blind artists all around the country. Why not DeafBlind artists too? We’re taught as Deaf people that we can do anything but hear. DeafBlind people can do anything but hear. Yet, they can see in different ways such as tactilely. We often rely on our eyes to appreciate art. We sometimes forget that we were born with up to 5 basic senses: seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting. Barry’s artwork encompasses all five basic senses in a manner that allows us to experience art through our basic senses, not just one or another.

Business Is Expanding

Unique Touch Art has expanded and grown since its 2003 inception. People are recognizing his work through word of mouth, art fairs, flea markets, conferences, and exhibits. Barry learned that the busiest months of the year were October-December. Slowest months were January-March. Barry quickly learned about buyer demographics and where to sell. He has the support of his family, friends, VSAarts (Very Special Arts arts), and loyal customers.

Future Expansions & Opportunities

* Expanding business by exhibiting at a wider variety of venues such as DeafNation Expo, DeafBlind Expo, leather/bear organizations and events, Gay Games 2006, and Jewish organizations.
* Ordering 2006 calendars which will feature an artwork on each monthly page.
* Contacting companies and stores to carry his work, stationary, and video.

Goals as an Artist & Art Business Owner

1 – Increase annual revenues by $10,000
2 – Continue VR grant until end of 2005
3 - Be recognized for his artwork during the next year
4 – Sell at art fairs and shows across the country
5 – Contract a SSP to work with Unique Touch Art
6 – Own an art studio outside of the current home-based studio
7 – Become self-employed and live off sales of art work
8 – Teach people, institutions and communities that DeafBlind can be artists
9 – Buy a van 5 years later for traveling to exhibits, shows and expos
10 – Take more art training, especially in wax and sculpturing
11 – Learn new advertising techniques and strategies
12 – Create more artwork that recognizes and reflects diversity and identities of specific groups
13 – Increase online orders through Unique Touch Art website (a minimum of 10 orders monthly)
14 – Earn $700 by August 31, 2005 so his VR grant continues until the end of 2005

Barry is a resourceful man who is creative in finding opportunities to showcase, advertise, and sell his work. I wish him the best in his business expansion and success as an artist who has a lot to offer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Unique Touch Art: Labor Day Sale until September 7, 2005

Dear Readers:

Like the picture above? I sure do! The "Downtown Hands" is one of my favorites. It reminds me of few things - a community of deaf hands raising together, a community of deafblind hands coming together, and also hands reaching up to help, unite, and heal after 9/11.

I support artists who are starting up and maintaining their businesses. It's not easy to keep one up and financially viable. I do not want to see VR take away Barry's grant money while Barry is still getting his business off the ground. It takes a while, at least few years, for artists' businesses to take off and become financially stable.

See, VR gave Barry, the artist, a grant to help him run his home-based art business for a year. This fund helped him tremendously with expanding his business, and earning revenues increased significantly. According to Barry, VR is considering taking back the grant or ending the grant earlier than initially agreed. Barry needs to earn $700 during the month of August 2005 in order to convince VR services to continue the grant until the end of the year (December 2005).

Today is August 24, 2005. He has until August 31, 2005 to prove to VR that he can bring in an extra $700 of revenues.

Let's support Barry, check out his website and artwork, and order what you're interested in. Besides, there is a great Labor Day Sale you can take advantage of! Grab it while it lasts!

I personally love his Downtown Hands artpieces and the stationary cards with several different artworks of his on them. What great cards to send to friends.


Unique Touch Art is having a Labor Day Sale until September 7, 2005!

Artist: Barry

Unique Touch Art is my art studio designed to give you unique artwork that encourages you to appreciate art in different forms. The artwork is made by using mixed media and celebrates diversity. I would like my artwork to make an impression on you -- let it touch your heart!

Please look around my website and if there's anything that interests you, contact me by email or at the address shown below.

Some of the artwork in the Gallery is currently available in my studio. Other artwork you see may already be sold, but if you find something that you are interested in, I can make a similar one ... just for you.

I also do artwork on commission for customers. If you find any pieces in the Gallery where you like the design, but would prefer different colors or a different size, for example, I'm happy to make another one for you according to your preferences.
I also show my work at art exhibits. I hope you can visit my exhibit if you're in the area during one of the shows. Please see my Art Exhibits page for past and future shows.

If you are looking for exhibitors for your fair, festival or event, please contact me.

I hope you enjoy looking at the artwork in my Gallery!

Also for sale is my DeafBlind Culture videotape, which I produced, directed and acted in.

(Courtesty of website)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

JADE, A Film Producer/Director/Entrepreneur

Jade, my dear friend, is well on her way up in the film industry.

See, over the past year, she's been invited to and accepted into a number of film festivals, had a film premiere, and attended events including but not limited to:

* Pan African Film Festival (California)
* Deaf Filmmakers Panel (California)
* PAFF Night of Tribute (California)
* BioPic Premiere in Los Angeles
* San Francisco Film Festival (California)
* Tampa International Deaf Film Festival (Florida)
* National Black Deaf Advocates Conference (Florida)
* South Street Seaport Deaf Fest (NYC)
* NYU Entrepreneuership Conference (NYC)
* DCTV Collaboration Project

This summer, the Director Guild of America (DGA) invited Jade to join their prestigious union membership. What a honor that she was being recognized in the Hollywood and Independent mainstream film industry as a director! DGA provides East and West coast union membership supports to independent directors in their efforts to get their films made, distributed and exhibited.

More events, film festivals and events are coming up during the 2005-2006 year. It'll be kicked off with Jade's 40th Birthday Bash, also known as the CINEMATIC LIMELIGHT OF JADE. What's more is that JADE FILMS is where the passion of words are turned into action. She sure has been active as an independent filmmaker during the past 15 years! She doesn't just talk the talk; she walks her talk and walks the walk. She's walking and working hard on her way up.

Now, do you wonder who Jade is and what her background is?

Here's her bio from her website:


Ann Marie studied film at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where she earned the distinction of being the first DEAF African American woman to graduate with a B.F.A. degree in 1993 in filmmaking to date. After being turned down a thousand times for jobs in the Film/Television industry, film submission rejections and failed to get Hollywood and the mainstream to hear her ideas because of their fear and lack of exposures associating with her disability (deafness,) she formed her own production companies.

Ann Marie has been in the filmmaking business for more than 12 years. Her mission is to eventually develop a prestigious role in network television using her directing/writing background and develops a market with stories about Deaf and Hard of Hearing people of colors. Ann Marie considers herself an entrepreneur who aims to entertain and educate people about our culture. For more information about Jade’s work, you may go to her website: and view her extensive curriculum vitae (CV) in the Bio section.

Jade has put together a great well-rounded JADE FILMS management team. The team consists of:

* Jade (Filmmaker/Owner/Entrepreneur)
* Sarah Pack (Consultant/Public Relations)
* Guthrie Nutter (Business/Creative Development Consultant)
* Bonnie Kaplan (Business/Development Consultant)
* Allon Yomtov (Financial Consultant)
* Andrew Bryan (Technical Consultant)
* Maleni Chaitoo (Artistic Associate/Assistant)
* Zachary Handler (Administration Consultant)
* Patricia Ordonez (Consultant/Associate)
* Sofia Normatov-Seitchik (Consultant/Business Associate)

JADE FILMS offer products and services. All funds go to DeafVision Filmworks, Inc, a non-profit organization. All films were produced, written, directed and edited by Jade

Products for sale include:

* Passion of Words Turning into Action: A Black Deaf Filmmaker's Journey
(Documentary/Biography/Education/Film History)

A semi-autobiography film featuring interviews, student films, behind the scenes productions, personal video diaries about being a struggling filmmaker, production experience and professional production clips and more.

* Listen to the Hands of our People (

An award-winning documentary about seven H.I.V. positive Deaf and Hard of Hearing people living with AIDS. They talk about coping with fears, fears of dying, being alone and accepting it.

* On and Off Stage: The Bruce Hlibok Story

A documentary story about a frustrated Deaf theater artist who claimed fame on Broadway at such a young age until illness cut his acting and writing careet short. He was also a misunderstood and controversial artist.

* Cutting the Edge of a Free Bird
(Short Film)

A short film about a confused Deaf lesbian high school girl struggling to decide between a deaf and hearing colleges while her Deaf mother tries to make her life like her own.

To view trailers and photo albums, go to:

* Jade's BioPic
* Behind-the-Scenes
* Listen to the Hands of Our People
* The Bruce Hlibok Story
* Free Bird
* 9/11: Fear in Silence
* PAFF Film Festival
* Half and Half Studio
* PAFF Night of Tribute
* Deaf Filmmakers Panel
* LA Premiere of Jade's BioPic
* San Francisco Film Festival
* Productive Year 2004-2005
* Tampa Film Deaf Festival

Services offered through JADE FILMS include:

* Video equipment rental (for your presentation needs, editing, video production)
* Tutoring
* Consultation
* Videography

When you support JADE FILMS through donations (online, by mail, or in person), all
funds go to DeafVision Filmworks, Inc, a non-profit organization. All films were produced, written, directed and edited by Jade. And, the money goes back into the community at large and carrying out Jade's visions and missions through her film work.

We, as a community, colleagues, friends, business partners, consultants, associates, studens, and acquaintances, need to support JADE FILMS, DeafVision Filmworks, Inc, and Jade as the only Black Deaf Independent Filmmaker known in America. Let's show our support through emails, buying her products (films), checking her website regularly for updates and the latest news, and recognizing her accomplishments. When she accomplishes, she also makes a step forward not only for herself but also for the deaf community at large.

Jade Films, LLC (pending)
PO Box 1276
Cathedral Station
New York, NY 10025

Contact Information
Phone/Fax: 212. 665.9668
Business AIM: Jadefilms77
Business email:

Peter Jennings' Connections with the Deaf Community

From DeafDigest Blue, 8/21/05 Edition....

The Peter Jennings connection to deafness? He was the commencement speaker at a recent years Gallaudet graduation day ceremonies. And at NTID, he also gave a speech. Here is what NTID FOCUS, Fall 1986, had to say:

During Peter Jennings' first visit to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984, he was presented with several mementos from the university including a glass bowl made by a student in RIT's School for American Crafts. Upon receiving the bowl Jennings joked, "It's always something breakable." He immediately followed by saying, "But I assure you that the link between ABC and the hearing impaired is not breakable." Later that same evening and in honor of his visit to NTID earlier in the day, Peter Jennings signed "Good night" at the conclusion of his TV broadcast.

When he returned to RIT in 1986, Peter Jennings arrived to a standing ovation in NTID's packed theater. Jennings returned the compliment by telling them that he felt as if he were "coming back to family." During his second visit Jennings claimed that of all the places he gives speeches NTID is "the only one in which I look forward to making a speech." At the time Jennings was so fond of NTID he brought
someone along with him to meet the students - his mother Elizabeth Jennings.

Peter Jennings will forever be a 'folk hero' among people who are deaf and hard of hearing, since his world and national news program on television was the first ever to be captioned. For a number of years it was the only captioned news available on television on a regular basis.

Said one NTID student to Peter Jennings, "We want to make sure yourealize how much we appreciate the opportunity to know what is happening at the same time as everybody else."

Monday, August 22, 2005

This is an article I came across while checking out MRI accidents. It was published in NY Times.


M.R.I.'s Strong Magnets Cited in Accidents

Published: August 19, 2005

The pictures and stories are the stuff of slapstick: wheelchairs, gurneys and even floor polishers jammed deep inside M.R.I. scanners whose powerful magnets grabbed them from the hands of careless hospital workers.

The magnets inside M.R.I. scanners can pull in office furniture.

Hospital monitoring equipment sucked into an M.R.I. scanner.

The police officer whose pistol flew out of his holster and shot a wall as it hit the magnet. The sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building.

But the bigger picture is anything but funny, medical safety experts say. As the number of magnetic resonance imaging scanners in the country has soared from a handful in 1980 to about 10,000 today, and as magnets have quadrupled in power, careless accidents have become more frequent. Some have caused serious injuries and even death.

No one knows how many have occurred. But the safety experts say there is no doubt they are on the rise, and their growing frequency is prompting widespread calls for more regulation.

Safety guidelines drawn up by the American College of Radiology in 2002 and revised last year "have no teeth and are floating out there in intellectual Never-Never Land," Tobias Gilk, a Kansas City architect who designs medical scanning rooms, said.

He continued: "The X-ray in your dentist's office is more heavily regulated."

Dr. Emanuel Kanal, the lead author of the radiology college's guidelines, said that although he would prefer to see radiologists police themselves, the escalating number of blunders and the indifference of some scanner operators to voluntary rules have convinced him that it would be better if federal or state law mandated them.

Right now, he said, the only power in the guidelines he drew up is that malpractice lawyers suing radiologists cite them as standards they should have met.

Although there are ways to make scanning rooms safer - with architectural changes, new types of metal detectors, and precautions to ensure that patients and visitors are not wearing or carrying ferromagnetic metal - the measures are not required by law or the medical profession, and only some scanner operators use them.

The magnets are never off, even at night, and cutting the electricity will not affect them. They draw most of their power from supercooled helium, which must be vented to shut down the magnet - a process that takes several minutes and has hazards of its own.

Most accidents are caused by human error, not scanner malfunction. Although the Food and Drug Administration approves the scanners as medical devices, it does not regulate how their operators behave.

Scanner manufacturers like General Electric and Siemens may suggest safer room designs to customers, but cannot require them. A representative of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which includes scanner makers, says companies offer safety training and advice to the makers of hospital equipment used near scanners.

Like other experts, Mr. Gilk and Dr. Kanal, a radiology professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, emphasized that properly done M.R.I. scans are perfectly safe for patients and that millions are done every year without incident. Magnetism, unlike X-rays or nuclear medicine, has no known cancer risk.

But accidents are another matter. Exactly how many happen is unknown, because operators are not required to report near misses or minor injuries. Even a serious injury caused by a flying object may not be reported as an M.R.I. accident, because the patient was not hurt by the scanner itself.

The F.D.A. maintains a medical device accident database, which includes M.R.I. accidents, but it records fewer than 100, most of them filed by scanner companies, which learn of them only if the machine is damaged.

Dr. John Gosbee, director of patient safety information systems at the Veterans Administration National Patient Safety Center, estimated that "close calls in M.R. centers probably happen once a month."

One study of all incidents at scanners used at University of Texas hospitals led to an estimate that each scanner would have a serious accident about once every five years.

Dr. Kanal said he had personally heard of accidents "dozens of times a year," often from lawyers, and said the F.D.A.'s database is "not even the tip of the iceberg."

In almost every case, he said, the problem was what he called "pilot error" - personnel who let ferromagnetic objects into the room or failed to detect them in scanned patients.

The roughly 10,000 scanners in the United States are found not just in hospitals, but in storefront clinics and even mounted on trucks, making rounds of small hospitals or parking at malls to do scans for a fee.

Dr. Kanal said operations range from "places where safety is paramount" to "bottom-dwellers whose attitude is: 'As long as I don't get sued, I'm happy.' "

The most notorious accident was the death of 6-year-old Michael Colombini in 2001 at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y. He was sedated in a scanner after a brain operation when his oxygen supply failed. An anesthesiologist ran for an oxygen tank and failed to notice that the one he found in the hall outside was made of steel. As he returned, the tank shot out of his hands, hitting Michael in the head.

Dr. Moriel NessAiver, a physicist who teaches M.R.I. safety in Baltimore and has pictures of chairs, polishers and other equipment jammed in scanners on his Web site (, said he once helped pull a gurney with a patient on it off a scanner, but it took four men to do it.

Most modern surgical staples, artificial joints, cardiac stents, pacemakers and such are made of titanium, stainless steel or other nonferromagnetic metals. But at least one patient died when a 15-year-old metal aneurysm clip on an artery in her brain was dislodged, and two adults with early-model pacemakers died during or shortly after scans.

Scanners can also generate currents in other metals, and many unconscious patients have suffered burns - usually minor - when wires looped on bare skin have heated up.

Shrapnel and machine-shop debris can also cause problems. In the 1990's, one patient was blinded in an eye when a metal sliver in it from an earlier accident moved. Unexpected items, from foil-backed nicotine patches to tattoos with iron oxide ink, present risks.

Scanners can also pose a danger during emergencies. In Freiburg, Germany, a fireman fighting a blaze elsewhere in the hospital was sucked into the scanner's bore by his air tank. Folded in half, with his knees pressed into his chest, he nearly choked to death.

For emergencies, the scanners have so-called quench buttons that expel the liquid helium that powers the magnets. It erupts in a frigid blast, expanding 760 times, and can injure anyone near the vent.

The vent pipe can also rupture, shooting supercold air into the scan room, driving out oxygen and jamming its doors shut. Dr. Kanal has a videotape in which the pressure blew off a ceiling. The simplest accidents can be avoided, experts said, by careful practices: by keeping scanners behind locked doors, by requiring patients to wear gowns, and by questioning them twice about implants or accidents with metal. When a patient is unconscious or unsure, checks for scars and X-rays should be added.

Tanks, chairs and other items made of plastic, aluminum or other nonmagnetic materials are supposed to be used exclusively.

But even making patients don gowns is difficult, Mr. Gilk said. Most scanner operations are businesses, and laundry and changing rooms add to costs; patients prefer less inconvenience; and small amounts of metal, like zippers or buttons, are safe if they cannot come loose.

In the wake of Michael Colombini's death, many operators installed metal detectors, but they were so sensitive that even bra hooks set them off, irritating patients and workers, said Kemp Massengill, president of Mednovus, a California company that makes a new generation of detectors that respond only to ferromagnetic metals like iron, nickel and cobalt.

But the new detectors are expensive, and there is nothing to say they would do a better job than an alert staff.

Farmer Turns Field Into Giant Personal Ad

What could a New Yorker do in NYC if one was to do something of this magnitude? I got this from AOL News. It's a pretty good picture with an arrow pointing to his house. Funny sight.


Farmer Turns Field Into Giant Personal Ad

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (Aug. 18) - It sounds a little corny. A farmer looking for love has planted a personals ad, using corn stalks in a cow pasture. It reads: "S.W.F Got-2 (love symbol) Farm'n." Underneath is a 1,000-foot-long arrow pointing single white females to his house.

"It only took me about an hour - I did it with a corn planter in May," Pieter DeHond said Wednesday as he removed weeds from the 18-acre field. "I was just horsing around."

In place of a newspaper ad, DeHond said he decided on an impulse to use up the extra corn seed left after spring planting at his 200-acre Pleasure Acres farm in western New York.

"I wouldn't place a personal ad in the paper. To me it seems desperate," he added, laughing. "This is more of a fun thing. I put this out in a field where nobody could see it unless you flew over it."

The 41-year-old divorced father said running a business and looking after his two teenagers doesn't leave a lot of room for socializing.

His corn stalk appeal, featured this week in his hometown Daily Messenger newspaper, has already drawn quite a few phone calls and e-mails.

"I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a little proud," DeHond said.

08/18/05 07:13 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Simply Physics

Check out this website:

I accidentially stumbled across this website while looking for something else online. I found the pictures amusing yet scary! It's a collection of pictures and stories of things that have flown into a magnet (MRI).

Below is from the website.


DANGER! Flying Objects!


Once you've been in the MRI field for any length of time, you start hearing all of the various horror stories about things that have flown into a scanner. Often, newcomers don't take the real danger of flying objects seriously until they witness an oxygen tank or gurney flying into a magnet themselves. This page will contain a collection of pictures and stories of metalic projectiles. Please show this page to all MRI newcomers, for their own safety and the safety of their patients!

Please send any pictures and/or stories you have to Let me know if you don't mind having your name posted with the picture/story or if you would rather remain anonymous (out of embarrassment?)

Guthrie Is Doing Something Wonderful, and He Needs Your Help!

Sri Lanka taught me a lot---a little goes very far…

Dear Sarah:

I recently returned from a month-long journey in Sri Lanka, in which I provided art therapy to the tsunami orphans who lost their parents in the disaster. I was amazed at how profoundly they were affected by a simple touch, deep embrace or a small kit of art materials.

With this in mind, I am taking the opportunity to go to Vietnam in October and visit the children whose families have been ravaged by AIDS. Someone very dear to me informed me that they contracted HIV this past spring. This person has drawn upon great inner strength and focused on sustaining positive energy that is truly inspiring to me and many others. However, this person is fortunate to have access to varied services for medical needs and other forms of assistance. In Vietnam, these resources are scarce, and those who are living with HIV/AIDS have little access to just see a doctor or afford medicines, let alone move forward with their lives.

The UN has designated Vietnam as being on the cusp of an epidemic. Right now, about 250,000 Vietnamese are infected, and in four short years, this number is expected to quadruple to 1 million. Half of them are innocent women.

You and me, we can become part of a team to help make an impact on this virus, and prevent the global epidemic from continuing in Asia.

To focus on the expanding AIDS crisis and to raise much-needed funds, I have decided to participate in Trek Asia—a challenging 10-day trek through northern Vietnam. I am asking you to support my efforts and the urgent work of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), with generous donations that will help me match my current goal of $20,000.

Not only will this help pay for more doctors to work in the Vietnamese region, this money will ensure that top-quality cocktail medicines go to the victims who need them to survive.

I am participating in Trek Asia for my dear friends and most importantly, to help those most at risk. I cannot do it alone; I need your financial and moral support. You can donate using the enclosed form or visiting amfAR’s online home for the trek—

I will be thinking of all of you when I am in Vietnam, and channeling all your energy to to stop this insidious disease.

Warmly yours,


Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support The American Foundation for AIDS Research:

Saturday, August 20, 2005

My Brother!

I love my brother! He sent me the best birthday gift of all - love!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad! You've been married for 34 years! Such a milestone!
You've come a long way as a husband and wife, mother and father, and partners! It's cool to see how you guys are today!

Congratulations on your anniversary!

Thursday, August 18, 2005


A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your Sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. And remember that 'Sisters" also means your girlfriends, your daughters, and other women relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do."

"What a funny piece of advice!" the young woman thought. "Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple- world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup. Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!"

But she listened to her Mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are the mainstays of her life. After almost 72 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned.

Time passes
Life happens
Distance separates
Children grow up
Love waxes and wanes
Hearts break
Careers end
Jobs come and go
Parents die
Colleagues forget favors
People let us down

BUT Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A Sister is never further away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley, and you have to walk it for yourself, your Sisters will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out.

My Mother, 'sisters', daughters, daughters in law, cousins, and girlfriends bless my life! The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would I.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

Pass this on to the women who help make your life work. I just did.