I’m an Extraordinary Machine

June 10, 2010

I read this post by Sweetney today: The best I can. She did articulated better than I ever could what’s been swirling in my head for months. Please read it.

In the last year I’ve been so afraid I’m failing, hurting, scarring my kids in this shaking of my snow globe.

We’ve had oatmeal for dinner. We’ve eaten dinner at non-routine times, sometimes past regular dinnertime. We’ve eaten out more than in their entire lives. They’ve watched more TV. They’ve gone to bed late.

I’ve been snappier — okay, downright bitchy. I haven’t done enough fun things with them. Spent enough peaceful time with them. They’ve seen me cry and yell and sink to the floor.

But I’m trying so hard. I want to do my best. In spite of me, they’re doing well — because they are amazing. I want them to know I love them fiercely, without hesitation. That this trying is for them.



Finding and Losing

April 20, 2010

I wandered around an old, falling-apart place that looked like a trailer from the outside but was a house inside. Surrounded by weeds. Hot, the afternoon holding its breath. Worrying, searching for Gretchen. I climbed decrepit stairs – no G. Came down, searched the living room. Ventured down into the dusty old basement, a single bare bulb…dim, on its last strand of filament. Cobwebs. More corners than one room should have. Trudged upstairs, head hanging low. I gasped in relief to see her sitting at the kitchen table, calmly drinking a soda. I got a soda from the fridge and walked down the hall toward my room, passing the guest room on the left —

— frozen

Melissa was sitting on the bed, writing, her things on the bed. She’d let herself into the house while no one was home.


Angrily folding my clothes, wondering why Gretchen wasn’t upset.

Went to kitchen, around the corner where Linder was starting dinner. I hissed under my breath and signed at the same time. “why is SHE [Melissa’s name sign] here?!” Linder looked at me blankly and shrugged. “she let herself in! how dare she??” It was clear I was working myself into a state of solitary righteous indignation so I stomped out.

Melissa was now sitting at the table with G. I signed to Gretchen, “where you? search – not find. worry i!” Shrug. Intruder = Lin.

I packed, tasting loss and sorrow.

I couldn’t get the proper ASL conversation quotes to work b/c the html editor overrode me despite extra spaces. I’m short on time. Apologies to any d/Deaf or HOH readers out there.

Back to Skool

April 6, 2010

Spring 2010

Visual/Gestural Communication [dropping] MW
Religion: Exploring the Christian Faith MWF
Native American Social Systems MWF
American Sign Language II TTh
Current Events Th

Four years ago in a lightning flash of Knowing I realized I wanted to be a Sign Language Interpreter. Until that moment I assumed I’d go into something English-related [later narrowed down to magazine editing of some flavor] given my grades, test scores, and Proofreading Twitch Factor. I was cool with that. I love words and language; my freshman year of high school I took the only foreign language, Spanish [taught by a gentleman from Mexico — huzzah for real learning] and did well. When I transferred to public school my sophomore year I took French, my first love. I continued taking French classes in college both in Oregon and Iowa. I even considered adding a French minor until I realized how many classes I’d have to take with the prof who didn’t like me. With Interpreting, though, it was different.


I’ve also loved sign language as long as I can remember. No, really. This is not one of the Lin Exaggerations of Doom. I learned to fingerspell when I was 6 or 7, adored Marlee Matlin, read about Helen Keller, and checked out ASL dictionaries from the library. When I met a deaf girl – Lacey – I was incredibly disappointed that she couldn’t read yet thus couldn’t fingerspell. I remember this incredible urge to communicate and connect with her in some way. When I was 10 my Sabbath school class [think of it as Sunday school, only on Saturday…look, it’s a whole other thing, roll with it] signed “Amazing Grace” for special music [realizing now it was actually Signed Exact English, not ASL, but that is not the freaking point now is it?]. I read a Baby-Sitters Club book [shut UP] with a deaf character & learned the sign for “dance” and as a sophomore in high school wrote a ghastly, cheese-laden short story about a deaf girl struggling to fit in with her hearing family and mainstream school. Seriously, I lit the emo fires with that one.

/tangent, again

Out of curiosity and overthinking the future [one of my specialties] I looked into Interpreting programs around the US and got chills when I learned that Augie had just established their B.A. program. One hour away. That year. I felt alight, alive and I couldn’t get the words out fast enough every time I attacked someone else with my happiness. Four years later with my life upside down and losing my job two days before my son’s birthday I began to consider school. The original plan was to wait until my daughter was in kindergarten but it was your classic spork in the road, you know? On one side a murky pond and on the other a moody sea. So I held my breath and jumped. [sporks and water analogies…you know, I don’t know.]

Spring semester began February 4. Full time. I was afraid of looking like a complete misfit or, worse yet, the Misfit Who Tries So Hard to be Cool. I knew those @ UNI. So far so good…I think. from bella_sol on LJI want to be seen first as Lin, as myself, not That Girl OMG Did You Hear?. I drive an hour each way to school every day. It’s not awesome and it’s expensive but it’s what I’ve got to do. I realize that to someone who doesn’t know the entire situation it would seem easiest to move but it isn’t. I’ve considered it so many times but I keep coming back to the reasons I have to stay, all of which are related to my bebes and their well-being. I hesitate to say this b/c I am afraid some will take it as a personal attack [it isn’t], but I don’t feel like I’m home when I get back in town. Walking into the house I let out a held breath and remind myself to let go of muscles I didn’t even know I was tensing.

It’s really hard not living in the same town, let alone near/on campus. It results in me feeling so lonely and isolated and removed that I want to curl up in a ball. Then I think about how no one would even notice if I curled up in a ball and didn’t move. No, these aren’t suicidal thoughts. They’re the thoughts of someone who has been forgettable and invisible most of my life.

Hell’s bells…I’m really not as grey and gloomy as I sound. School is good. It’s a positive to hang onto and I feel like I’m doing something, moving, trying. Worth something. I’ve made a couple at-school friends. Augie is the friendliest school I’ve experienced. People smile, say hi, hold doors. Faculty members say hello. The staff is helpful; they treat you like a person; they go above and beyond with individualized attention.

My birthday was February 25. I dreaded it for months, mentally counting down to what I knew would be the first of many Lonely Days in this new existence. That night though my friend Paula & I met for a reunion/birthday dinner — it was the first time we’d hung out in 2+ years. Said dinner lasted three, count them one-two-THREE hours. It was fabulous. Catch-up session #1 over, I dashed to the movie theater where I met a couple friends from ASL & a friend of theirs for my second birthday gift. The three of us saw Shutter Island and I sobbed, oh yes I did. I have no shame. In the cozy dark of a movie theater, that is. When the lights come up it’s a different story.


Less Than Stellar

March 24, 2010

I tweaked a couple things on here and, like rearranging a room, stepped back to get a feel for things. There are a few posts that are definitely me, but overall, it’s less than stellar. One factor is not knowing what and how much to write about. When so many local people have the potential to read my words, how much of me is too much? I realize a certain amount of restraint is a good idea. That’s why I use the filter feature on Livejournal, after all, where I’ve been blathering on since 2001. But the more I censor and filter the more I lose the Linnetude and the more bland this space becomes.


The Year According to Jakob

March 8, 2010

Jakob turned 8 on Nov 4. EIGHT. Because 7 8 9. I can’t believe I have a second-grader. Notes from spring to now-ish [precious few, I know]:

Oh, great, we start with a sad one…He called himself “stupid” and my heart broke. On the other hand he’s having trouble putting down a book and I love it.

Saturday, April 25
J – What does suspended mean?
L – That you got in so much trouble they won’t let you go to school. You have to stay home.
J – *jaw drops* Then you can’t even learn!
L – Exactly.

He knows the different kinds of clouds.


He already outgrew his shiny black bike. He experimented with his dad’s old skateboard. He played soccer, baseball, and hockey and took swim lessons. Before you get your panties in a twist they don’t overlap and I know my kid. kthx.

January 5
He’s responding awesomely to my personal growth and changes in how I approach things. Not even changes so much as doing a much better job at what I was trying to do before. His teacher has noticed too.


Despite the tumultuous year, he has been doing well. Considering. His evaluations are often the highest in the class and always well above the goal. He is still very social, having worked through a more withdrawn couple of months before Christmas. The move to Orange City was hardest on him and he has thrived since being back in Sioux Center.

He’s taller still. His 12 slim jeans won’t work in the fall. He likes to listen to music & stories on his mp3 player before he falls asleep. Sometimes he finds games on the radio instead. He loves to read and grasps new math concepts without blinking. His teacher loves his personality and well-developed sense of humor.

I’ve made – and continue to make – so many mistakes with him. He’s so special to me; he was not a mistake but a surprise. An unexpected, undeserved gift. He was part of me learning that I could be a mom; how to be a mom. That I love being his mom. What it is like to be filled to bursting with such love it surprises you.


Shake the Dust

March 6, 2010

by Anis Mojgani

This is for the fat girls.
This is for the little brothers.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the former prom queen, this is for the milk-crate ball players.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Wal-Mart store front door greeters. Shake the dust.
This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them,
for the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns,
for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children,
for the nighttime schoolers and the midnight bike riders who are trying to fly. Shake the dust.
This is for the two-year-olds who cannot be understood because they speak half-English and half-god. Shake the dust.
For the girls with the brothers who are going crazy,
for those gym class wall flowers and the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers,
for the kid who’s always late to class because he forgets the combination to his lockers,
for the girl who loves somebody else. Shake the dust.
This is for the hard men, the hard men who want to love but know that is won’t come.
For the ones who are forgotten, the ones the amendments do not stand up for.
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to and then are never spoken to. Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself.
Do not let a moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 900 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.
Do not settle for letting these waves settle and the dust to collect in your veins.
This is for the celibate pedophile who keeps on struggling,
for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone.
For the sweat that drips off of Mick Jaggers’ singing lips and for the shaking skirt on Tina Turner’s shaking hips, for the heavens and for the hells through which Tina has lived.
This is for the tired and for the dreamers and for those families who’ll never be like the Cleavers with perfectly made dinners and sons like Wally and the Beaver.
This is for the biggots,
this is for the sexists,
this is for the killers.
This is for the big house, pen-sentenced cats becoming redeemers and for the springtime that always shows up after the winters.
This? This is for you.
Make sure that by the time fisherman returns you are gone.
Because just like the days, I burn both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes I am cutting out a part of myself to give to you.
So shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has never been for me.
All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.
So grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.
Make my words worth it, make this not just another poem that I write, not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all.
Walk into it, breathe it in, let is crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust.
So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.


dailykeira and randomjakob

January 23, 2010

I started posting the things Keira says every day and the things Jakob randomly comes up with; I didn’t mean to start with the New Year but hey, it works. Facebook and Twitter friends you’ve seen them, so I’ll throw them behind a cut. It’s a bit long, I know — my goal from here on is to post them weekly.

I know. This is totally a soccer mom thing to do. But my kids make me laugh my pants off…and soccer moms don’t dance to Incubus or listen to Melissa Auf der Maur. =D

Jan 1 – Currently: wearing hot pink sequined cape, an apron, and dress-up plastic heels. Last night: asked if God has snow pants.

Jan 2 – The week before Xmas I explained she has 2 g’mas & her great-g’ma died in ’05. K absorbed this. “Did she die in hot lava?”

Jan 3 – Jakob & Keira battled over a Matchbox car. J: “It’s mine!” K: “No, it’s PINK!! It’s mine!”

Jan 4 – I have reason to believe K cleaned the bathroom sink. With Dove liquid soap. With my toothbrush.

Jan 5 – I turned up the space heater. K: “oh good, it’s loud again!” That’s right baby. Next milestone is your first concert.

Jan 6 – J caught a few moments of my audiobook yesterday. Later overheard him singing…as David Sedaris as Billie Holiday. #randomjakob
– K asked to bring big stuffed Eeyore to sitter’s b/c “he likes snow.” I said sure & put him in the front seat. “Will you let him sit normally, like this?” She demonstrated. “I taught him how.” #dailykeira

Jan 7 – Walking downstairs w/ Grandpa J to spend the afternoon @ their house, unprompted: “It’s nice to see you today.”

Jan 8 – K had been reading to her doll when it fell from her lap. “That was my baby. I didn’t like her so I dropped it.”

Jan 9 – Took kids to Adam’s, who appeared w/ freshly shaven head. K exclaimed, “Daddy I didn’t want you to shave your head off!”

Jan 10 – Playing with her dolls and bears: “Would you like some tea?” “Certainly.”

Jan 11 – K dove for the phone. “I’ll handle it!” After a min I asked if it was for me. “Oh, it’s for me.” SIL had just asked for me.

Jan 12 – “Mom I had a loud slap fart! Did you hear it?” [she’s going to hate me for these one day. My work here is done.]

Jan 13 – Multitasking in a.m. I grabbed two heels to put away. J said gently, “…Mom, I don’t think that’s a matching pair of shoes.” #randomjakob
– “Why are we not supposed to eat dirty snow? Because I tried it and it tasted good.”  #dailykeira

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