Tag Archives: ASL Walk

Yeah! All my ASL Walk photos are back up!

They were lost, but now they’re found!

It’s been interesting re-posting these pictures. Every shot transported me right back to California — to the highway, a path, a campfire, my tent. Each memory brought a great appreciation to have been able to spend a month with an amazing group of people.

That must have taken a lot of time, Sj! you say.

Yes, it did, but I managed to do a little here a little there, and before I knew it, they were all back up. : )

Why not just form a compilation and bag re-posting them all?


Because I didn’t want to.

Because I loved ALL the pictures I took, the people I met, the experiences we shared.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For me. For everyone. Not being deaf, I was honored to be included.

Did I learn ASL?  Some. Not as much as I would have liked. It’s hard! And takes time. Ideally, I’d like another immersion with some structured instruction too. But that will come along when the time is right. Meanwhile, I’d simply like to say THANK YOU to all the walkers, volunteers, friends who made donations and supported me along the way. THANK YOU!

And for a last little tasty treat, I send you FLOWERS! Flowers all shot on day four of the Walk for ASL.


ASL Walk banner

: )))))

Girl with mumps in 1960s

Photos were deleted . . . but are being F O U N D!!!

Had a glitch in my web site and ALL my photos from the ASL Walk and travels, etc. have gone on a walk-about of their own!!!

BUT I’ve found a way to make galleries more easily (thanks Tony!!!)

Sooooooo, I apologize for anyone coming to see the shots from the ASL Walk!!!!

I’m slowly adding them (and other photos) back to the site.

Each experience in life is a wonderful opportunity for learning. And that’s what this gal is doing!

With Aloha,

-Sj out

p.s. updated March 15, 2014 in Whistler where I’m happily ensconced in our hosts’ bed, watching snow fall quickly turn the green forest to white! Wow! Such a treat!!!

p.p.s. yup, that’s me with mumps . . . the family legend is that they’d gone w a y down by the time this picture was taken.



New friends bound by a shared experience.

Day 30, the final day of the walk

The last day of the walk.

More to come. My thoughts and such. : )

-Sj in a holding pattern

Same number of graduates as elephant seals. Hmm, what do you think that means?

Day 25 – rest day in Santa Barbara

What to do in Santa Barbara? Most of us just enjoyed walking around. The beautiful Lilac trees. The sunshine. The coffee shops. : )

-Sj out

Looking back onto Day 24 of the ASL Walk

A month has passed since we finished the Walk for ASL from San Francisco to Los Angeles and yet some pictures have hung around waiting for their debut.

The wait is over. Here they are !!!

-Sj out

LAX … and Still Not Wanting to Talk

It’s funny; I’m finding that I still don’t want to talk.

If you were to ask our good friend, Larry Einhorn, he’d probably tell you different. Yesterday, he met me at the Santa Monica pier in his 36-year old, mint-shape condition, red convertible.

And then there was my Kauai friend waiting for me in a cool convertible. Thanks Larry for lunch!

Thanks Larry for lunch!

He treated me to a delicious lunch at a swank Santa Monica restaurant, and I talked a mile a minute as I answered his many questions. And yes, it felt a little odd to talk after having been silent for so long.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to mislead you. I did TALK to my husband, mom, and sister on the phone now and then. But that was it.

So why now do I still want to “play” deaf?

I don’t know.

Maybe because I’m still processing the last month. Maybe because I still feel my new friends with me. Maybe because I’m still treasuring this past month in my heart and examining it in private.

That seems to be the root of it. To talk to “strangers” right now just seems too personal, too intrusive. Though I did help a young kid with his luggage while he got his boarding pass that he hadn’t realized he needed to get before checking in. And I did ask a lady to watch my backpack while I got a coffee…but this was all done with gesture. And smiles. Smiles really do go a long way in ANY language.

So, here I am in LAX waiting to board my plane in about 20-minutes, and I just now saw the bird beak for twenty (please accept my apologies, my non-speaking friends, if that was an offensive description. But that’s exactly how I experienced it; I thought 20 and saw in my mind’s eye my thumb and index finger come together twice.)

Where was I? About to board the plane. When I land in Pittsburgh this evening (visiting my sister for her daughter and my only niece’s high school graduation : ), I realize that it will then be time to talk.

How to describe this to you all?

It’s not unlike returning from Germany or France after going there to study their language. I didn’t want to stop speaking or thinking in either (both really) language. Then too I noticed myself “hanging” on to their customs, their special ways of being. Right now I want to wave my hand in the air to get someone’s attention. Not say “Excuse me,” or “Hello,” but wave or touch. My new friends touch each other a lot. I like that. There’s a CONNECTION in the non-speaking community. Touch is so visceral and really pulls you into the moment.

And maybe that’s the heart of all this. I found myself being even more “present” as I sat or walked and watched them sign, or later when I actually participated more in the conversation.

Non-speaking people aren’t perfect. They’re human like all the rest of us. But we can learn how to make more eye contact by emulating their style of communication. Next time you chat with a friend, howsabout trying to stop texting and look up into their eyes. ;-) It’s something our grandparents (or not) used to do.

And oh, one last thing, I promise. Yesterday as we approached the SM pier, there was a near accident with a biker and ASL walker. The guy was calling out to move. “Move! Move!” He shouted out. It happened too quick for me to react and warn the walker. But you know what? Once he realized that the person was deaf, he immediately changed his tone. His true nature kicked in, and it was KIND. Truly and authentically KIND.

: )

Now that’s something to write home about!

Hugs to you all.

-Sj out with a wave and a smile.


*Featured image courtesy of Countryman & McDaniel

Chanting the clap.

Santa Monica Pier, Here We Come!

And yet, these final 5-miles meant so much to everyone.

There’s a Buzz in the Air

As we head to the “finish” line at the Santa Monica pier.

We’re all feeling a little excited and also a little sad.

Tomorrow, we go our separate ways. We each bring with us a desire to show the world that “deaf” people have a lot to offer.

Next time you meet a “deaf” person, open your heart and mind. I promise, you won’t regret it. : )

-Sj out


Crystal in hand

The Things I Left Behind

Around Day 5 of the walk, I lost a few things.

This beautiful crystal, that my friend Amanda gave me, decided it wanted it wanted to stay at Camp Butano. Okay, crystals have a way of doing that. Jumping ship, going on a walk about of their own, whatever you want to call it. I’ve experienced it before and expect to again. Crystal gone. Shoots. I liked it. But it wasn’t mine to keep. Just “mine” to enjoy for however long it chose me.

1. Crystal gone

Number two. My earring. Now these I had bought for $5 from my friend, Lani, when she had a garage sale; she’s moved to Oahu to be closer to her daughters. Okay. That too I liked. That it was only $5 helps. But still, I really liked it. But it too decided to stay at Camp Butano. Okay. I can live with that. It’s just an earring after all, and I still have one left.

2. Earring gone. One left.

Number three. My voice.

It became clear to me, that I needed to leave my voice behind. If I spoke in a restaurant or while waiting in line for the bathroom, all eyes turned towards me. They no longer saw my deaf friends. And that wasn’t good. So I realized it was time to leave my voice behind.

This meant even when in town at a restaurant alone, I “played” deaf. My new friends might show up; they often did. I had to stay in character. Play my role.

What was this like? Playing deaf? Interesting. And at times a challenge. How to place an order? How to show which ice cream I wanted? Like when traveling in a foreign country where I don’t know the language, simple pointing and miming usually works. And writing things down or typing into my iPhone. But that’s because I speak English. I still had that commonality with the almost always friendly and helpful waiters or waitresses, or baristas. : ) Or even the little Spanish I know came in helpful yesterday when I wrote banos for bathroom.

But for many deaf Americans, this can be a struggle. English isn’t their first language. ASL is. And believe me, it’s different. That’s been part of the discussion while I’ve been with the group. Vocalizing (as a deaf person) or not. Creating a new written language based on ASL (or not). Many, many things have been discussed. What can deaf people offer to make the world a better place? (You can read sign when far apart. Babies can learn ASL starting at 9-months. Very helpful when they’re hungry, thirsty, or need a diaper change. : ). The list goes on and on.)

As a lover of language, I think it’s important for deaf people to also learn how to read and write English (or German for deaf Germans, etc.) Why limit yourself to just one language? (and I say this to ALL Americans : )

3. My voice.

And with that often came my ears. I tuned out sounds and focused on communicating with my new friends. This turned out to be rather funny on two occasions while walking. Both times, my new friends were yelling out trying to get everyone to stop and counting on me to hear their frantic shouts. I’d so trained my ears to “turn off” that these two poor ladies had to call out for several minutes before I “got it” that it was me they were crying out too. : ) Sorry Gina and Joette.

4. My ears.

The walk is coming to and end, and it will be interesting to see how it feels to go back into the “hearing” world. I’ve enjoyed the quiet. And the laughter. They all laugh a lot. Really so beautiful to hear. And I’ve gotten to know their laughs. Like Bob’s; he’s chuckling right now outside my tent.

Bu you know what? You don’t have to be deaf to not hear. Think of some of your friends or family who don’t really listen. Or yourself. It takes more than ears to HEAR. It takes an open heart, I think. How open is yours? Mine? There’s always room for improvement. Our capacity for learning and listening is endless.

And with that, I close my thoughts for the day. I love you all (even those of you I haven’t met yet : ) I know your capacity for love; it’s part of who we are. Each and every one of us.


-Sj out

Lone swimmer entering cold Californian waters

Sometimes You Just Have to Go for It!

The other day after a 19-mile walk, I just HAD to get in the ocean. Only surfers were out, and not even very many of them, but still, I just HAD to get wet. Yes, the water was cold; my feet were slowly turning into Popsicles. But still I HAD to get wet.

Now writing this, I realize that the ocean can be a very dangerous place. I live in Hawaii, and unfortunately, drownings occur much more frequently than we like to admit. SO I’m NOT advocating getting into the ocean when you don’t know the conditions, area, how to swim … but think of this as a metaphor. Sometimes it’s just RIGHT to listen to your intuition (always, really : ). YOU know your own little voice that guides you, pushes you to go for it. But more commonly (and unfortunately), it seems that people are guided by fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what others will think. Fear of looking silly or being uncool. But the only “real” uncool, I think, IS listening to that voice of fear.

So the next time your little voice says, “Hey, you CAN do it!” believe it! Your voice only has your best interest at heart. If in doubt, ASK. “What’s the highest good for me and every one I meet.” Open your mind, I think you’ll love the messages you receive by way of your intuition, an unexpected opportunity, a surprise gift (thanks Sharon : ).

Yes. Sometimes it’s just plain time to go for it. To get your feet wet. To be the only one doing something.

That’s part of what this walk for ASL has meant to me. I’m not deaf. I’m an “outsider” of the deaf community. And yet, my heart practically leapt out of my chest when I heard about the walk. My voice was telling me to go for it. To trust it that it was the right thing for me to do.

They graciously accepted me into their group. Perhaps with doubts and trepidation; I don’t know. But I feel I gained their respect when they saw that I meant it. That I really do want to learn ASL. That I really do value their unique culture.

But you know what? Even if they had remained reticent to my participation, it just wouldn’t have mattered. As long as I’m listening to my heart, my little voice, I know I’m doing what’s “right” for me.

So, the next time your little voice speaks up and challenges you to go for it, what are you going to do? Listen? Heed the call? Or sit back down with your tail between your legs.

It’s your call. No one else will even know you got a message. That’s the point. It’s all about YOU and YOUR dreams. Regardless what you decide. I’ll cheer you on. I’ll high five anyone who at least takes the time to listen and give it some thought. The rest is up to you.

-Sj out
: )

p.s. Thanks Ken for the distant spy cam shots!