Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Rivergreenway

As of March 21st, 2010, it’s officially spring! At least, that’s what the calendar says. Someone forgot to advise the thermometer about this, though. It’s been rather cold here (mid to high 30s most days) so I haven’t had much of a chance to get out and bike yet–and I’m itching to. I was able to get out one day last week when it was in the high 50s, but that was just a quick ride around the neighborhood. What I really want to do is go riding on the Rivergreenway here in Fort Wayne.

As soon as it warms up, I’m throwing my bike on the rack and heading over to Tillman Park to get started. (Unfortunately, I don’t live close enough to be able to ride safely to the park, so I have to transport my bike there.) I usually ride just about the full gamut of the Saint Mary’s River Trail (PDF), roughly 16 miles or so round trip. This year, I also want to ride to downtown from Tillman, and then along the Saint Joseph Trail (PDF) to IPFW, which would be ~22 miles round trip. The really long distance route, Tillman to New Haven along the Maumee Trail and back again, is currently unavailable because of the Maplecrest Road extension project. That trip will be almost 34 or so miles, I believe.

At any rate, I look forward to the time when all of the Fort Wayne trails (PDF) are connected. As it stands, they’re kind of just strewn all over the place, but they’re working to rectify that in the years to come. Maybe someday I’ll have my dream of actually living on or very close to the Greenway, and I’ll be able to bike around town for just about everything.

Here are some pictures I took a few years ago along the trail. They start just north of Foster Park and go to Downtown:

Setting Goals in Life

A while back, at the school I work for, an organization known as Rachel’s Challenge came to our school to give a presentation. Of course, I had to interpret the entire thing, but just because you’re interpreting something doesn’t mean you can listen to the presentation as well. (This is especially fun when you get to interpret college classes or presentations. You can learn a lot through interpreting, and get paid to do it!)

It was extremely interesting to say the least. It was about the first student who died in the Columbine Shootings in 1999, Rachel Scott. After her death, an essay she wrote, along with her diaries, were found. This spurred her family to start the Rachel’s Challenge program, to encourage teenagers to (in a nutshell) always be kind, compassionate, and helpful to each other, and to reduce bullying, cliques, etc.

What I found most interesting, though, was a study they mentioned about setting goals. Rachel herself had apparently set many goals in her diaries, and had attained many of them. A major university performed a study (I don’t remember enough specific details about who did the study or the exact numbers that were mentioned, but this is the jist of it) about goals by asking their students if they: (1) kept a diary/journal and (2) if they had set and written down goals about their life. Several years later, the study interviewed the same people that they had talked to years prior. Those who had set goals and written them down (that seems to be the important bit) were, on average, more successful in life. Not just financially (though those who wrote down their goals DID make a significantly higher amount of money), but their goals had come to fruition more often than not, and they felt, on the whole, more content and happy. (I really want to find this study and read it in its entirety at some point in time, just haven’t done so yet.)

Part of the point of Rachel’s Challenge was to encourage young people to start setting, and writing down, their goals in life as well…

After it was all said and done, I thought about it and decided to go ahead and give it a shot. About 3 weeks ago, I put down 6 goals to “paper” (a .doc file on my computer) and outlined what the goal was, how I would accomplish it, and a rough timeline and plan of action.

The funny thing is, after 3 weeks I can already see how beneficial it is. I’ve always set goals mentally, but putting it in writing seems to be a very strong motivator. Unlike past goals that were just in my head, now I’m actively pursuing things related to my goals and actually having some success at it. I seem to feel much happier and, well, excited about the prospect of reaching these goals.

What I’ve found even more helpful is to share the goals with some of my closer friends, something I’ve never done before. Surprisingly (to me anyhow), the excitement I had seemed to be contagious, and spurred my friends to offer assistance in various ways to help me reach my goals. Some of them even set similar goals for themselves…

I don’t know, it’s just really thrilling to me, to see everything seeming to fall into place. Maybe this is all common sense to everyone else, but none of it ever occurred to me before. Now I feel confident that I can actually reach the majority of my goals within a reasonable timeframe. At the least, I’ll try my best, and the experience of failure will, hopefully, be enlightening as well.

A friend sent me this quote recently from the Book of Awesome (something I now want to buy myself). It seemed to match these thoughts to a degree, so I figured I’d share it:

“The next time your shoe catches on the top step at work, you trp stepping off the airport’s moving sidewalk, or you fall on a patch of ice outside your front door, remember that not too long ago you couldn’t walk at all. So your wipeout is really no big deal. As long as nobody saw you.”

So in, say, six months time, we’ll see where I’m at with my goals, and what I’ve learned. Hopefully a lot. And in this case, I don’t really care if my friends see my “failure”. Maybe they’ll learn from it too.

Failure to Communicate and Around the Internet

Sometimes, working with a deaf person is interesting solely because of how other people react. This can range from the normal silly questions (“Oh, deaf people can drive, then?”) to simple confusion on how to interact with a person through an interpreter. The latter point is, I think, a bit more excusable. It’s not everyday that you use an interpreter. Not to mention that ASL Interpretation is simultaneous, so it throws people off.

(By simultaneous I mean that no breaks are necessary for the actual act of interpreting the message. A deaf person can be signing while the interpreter simultaneously gives voice to what they’re saying, or vice-versa. With a spoken language, on the other hand, the audience usually has to wait for at least part of the message to be conveyed in the source language, then listen to the interpretation. Otherwise, the interpreter would be talking over the speaker.)

Anyhow… The point of this story is that sometimes funny things happen between the deaf person and other hearing people who may be around. Yesterday, I was on one side of the classroom, dealing with something else. My deaf student was sitting at the table with a few other kids, doing some work. Suddenly, one of the other boys (autistic) at the table turns to her and speaks to her. Even though I was on the other side of the room, I could catch the conversation:

Autistic Boy: Hi! How are you doing?

Deaf Student: *Gets confused look on her face, looks at him, and almost seems to mouth “what?”*

Autistic Boy: I said how are you doing?

Deaf Student: *Maintains confused look*

Autistic Boy: Good or bad?

Deaf Student: *Finally seems to have had enough of trying to work out whatever it is he is trying to say to her. She smiles and gives a thumbs up, then goes back to doing whatever she was doing.*

Autistic Boy: (To himself, after a time.) She doesn’t talk very good…

I confess: I LOLed.

In other news, I recently discovered MS Paint Adventures. I am absolutely hooked. I am partway through Act 3, though, and still have no idea what’s going on. Still, it is hilarious, regardless. So much geek humor packed into a very interesting format. Check it out!

Overheard in the Teacher’s Lounge: BOOKS???

I wanted the first post to my blog to be somewhat funny, light, and not as rant-like as some of my posts will likely end up becoming. First, though, a bit of background may be helpful…

I’m an ASL Interpreter. That’s American Sign Language, not Age/Sex/Location, for you internet junkies out there. Currently, I work for a school system in my hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Which one is unimportant. The exact high school is unimportant. What is important, though, is that currently I’m assigned to a special education student who is deaf. In this case, it means we’re in an isolation classroom for most of the day. (Though my student and a few others from our room DO go out for a few classes with the general education population.) As you may imagine, working in a special education classroom has its crazy moments. Occasionally I will write about them here–obfuscated so as to protect confidentiality of the students, and myself, of course.

This story, though, has nothing to do with special ed. It involves one of the English teachers. At lunch, the other day, she shared this tidbit about one of her students. They were in the library, getting ready to do research for the essays they were supposed to be writing. Here’s a rough approximation of how this conversation went:

Teacher: So, as I was saying, I don’t want you to use the Internet for any of your sources. You may, however, use Insight (a newspaper, magazine, and other periodical search engine the school has paid to access) to find articles to use for sources. OK?

At this point, the teacher notices there’s a table full of girls who have all turned their chairs around so that they have their backs facing her. They’re not paying any attention to what’s going on. The teacher moves around to their table so they’re now facing her, looks directly at them and says:

Teacher: Again, remember, no internet sources.

Student: WHAT??? What’re we supposed to use then? (In a highly offended tone) BOOKS???

Teacher: … *Facepalm*

So that’s it for the first post. A momentous occasion, etc. Yay. More to come soon, I’m sure!