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Protected: De’VIA Elders Reunion Conference • May 2016

June 25, 2016

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Arrrgh! Writer’s Block!

June 18, 2016

A lot of bloggers keep to a schedule– once a week or once a day. I’ve never been able to do that. I only write when I have something I really want to share with my readers.

Pat and me, May 2016.

Pat and me, May 2016.

I’ve been trying now for a couple of weeks to write about the fantastic week I had in Chicago just before Memorial Day weekend. For the first few days I visited with my cousin, Pat, in Lake Bluff, Illinois. We haven’t seen each other for more than 30 years. It was nice to reconnect with her, and through her and her kids, reconnect with my mother who died in 1995.

Then Pat drove me into the city to attend the De’VIA Elders Reunion Conference and Exhibit at Columbia College Chicago. I’m really glad I went– it was not only a good time, but a great process to re-examine the four-day workshop where De’VIA was born in 1989 and see how De’VIA has grown since.

But I’ve been stuck. Yes, I have other things to do in my life, and I’ve really been busy. But I’ve also tried to write and couldn’t. I even purposely haven’t returned some emails because I don’t want to dissipate my thoughts and energy about this. I did, though, have dinner soon after my return with my friends Carolyn and Judy. I commanded all the attention that night, telling them all about my experiences in Chicago– but I haven’t been able to get that energy onto the page. Last night, I vented about this to Judy, and she replied this morning:

Judy and me, last winter.

Judy and me, last winter.


Boy, now I’m wishing that you were filming me when I held court at Carolyn’s about the reunion conference. What I’m writing feels so dry compared to what I told you. I haven’t had such a hard time writing for quite awhile.


You’re expressing yourself in a different mode now with an audience you can’t see– and one that can’t see that you are charming. Without our rapt attention encouraging your spontaneity, you feel you’re trying to capture ideas as slippery as fish with your hands– instead of making them leap from your hands on the wave of your joy at expressing them.

Writer’s block — how I sympathize 😕

Be nice to yourself with tea and dessert– inspire yourself by rereading something that you wrote previously under the spell of eager transport of ideas buoying you along. Without that feeling, the heavy sinking sensation will be hard to escape every time you look at a clock.

Btw– thanks again for our girl’s afternoon out– I really needed to stop writing for a bit so I could stop trying so hard. When I felt better about myself, it was easier to more efficiently release my ideas about each child I was documenting.

Sorry for all this blather! Catch up with you later 😘💕❗️

BLATHER??? Thanks, Judy! This support was like getting a shot of B12. I sat down and just poured out unconnected ideas and memories, and got down the most important points I want to get across. So that was a breakthrough. Now, I’ve got to pull it all together into a post you can read sequentially. Give me a couple more days for that.

2015 in review

January 1, 2016

According to the annual report below, I only posted three times this past year, and three times the year before that. I’ve been busy, just haven’t been writing about my busyness. While recovering from a broken hip has taken up a lot of my physical and emotional time, I’ve also:

Planned and produced a memorial for Betty with a lot of help from our friends!

LTBLcoverforad500pxParticipated in a gathering of deaf artists who were part of an art show: Let There Be Light: De^Artivism.

Did the layout work for the art show’s catalog, which is available here as a free download, and also as a print-on-demand book.

Looked for a job but haven’t found one yet (job hunting is amazingly time consuming!) If you think you’d like to hire me, see my LinkedIn profile for more information.

Began formal training in indexing. I just completed Module A of the course provided by the American Society for Indexing, and am waiting for the test results.

Did design work, as contractor or subcontractor, for the National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC) and the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC). You can view the result of those jobs and others on my online portfolio.

2016-HNY-VeronicaI’m looking forward to 2016 as a year of possibilities, and wish the same for you.

–Nancy Creighton

(Dick is my brother, Tucker is my dog, and the rest of our family are cats.)



The Annual Report

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Looking at Deaf art: online is informative but real is powerful

August 11, 2015

“Bell School, 1944” as seen in “Deaf Heritage.” (Used with permission)

You’ve seen this image before, haven’t you? It’s on page 129 of Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America by Jack R. Gannon. That’s the first page of the entry on Betty G. Miller, and it’s one of the most well-known paintings she’s created. But if all you’ve seen is a photo like this online, or in the pages of a book, you’re missing out. In the book it’s only 5″ square, and this online version is only 500 pixels square, and it’s in black and white. In reality, though, it’s a large color painting.

Betty G. Miller standing in front of her painting,

Betty G. Miller standing in front of her painting, “Bell School, 1944.”

Here’s a photo of Betty taken with the painting which gives you an idea of the actual color and size. Surprised?

Nothing beats real

It’s true that in this internet-driven world most of us only see art on the screen, and before the ‘net, we mostly saw it in art books. The image may grab our attention. We may like it, or even love it. But it isn’t real. Real artwork has power. When you see the real thing, it draws you into the experience and makes you feel. Sometimes you recognize that feeling because it mirrors your own experience. If it doesn’t, then it probably opens your eyes to how someone else experiences the world, someone different from you. And that’s a good thing.

Let There Be Light: De^ARTivism

An art show begins this week in DC. It’s being held at the Pepco Edison Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, NW, WDC, 20068. I’ve been working to create a digital catalog of art show, and it’s going to be very powerful. It’s called Let There Be Light: De^ARTivism. Yes, that’s a new word. As exhibit curator Ellen Mansfield writes in her statement:

… [defined] the term artivist as an “…(artist + activist) who uses her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression— by any medium necessary.” … Thus, we have coined the term “De^ARTivism” to represent De’VIA artists who take a stand, and we use the caret (^) instead of the apostrophe (‘) to mimic the sign for “STAND.” (De’VIA, short for Deaf View/Image Art, is art created when the artist intends express ideas and feelings about the experience of being deaf.)

Two of Betty’s paintings will be there, Bell School, 1944, and a neon called Frazzled. They are just two of around 80 artworks! Please come to see and feel the power of original art. The gallery hours are limited (12 noon to 4 PM, Tuesday through Friday), so come to the receptions.

The opening reception is Wednesday, August 12, 2015  from 5 to 8 PM.

The closing reception is Wednesday, September 2, 2015  from 5 to 8 PM.

See you there!

~~Nancy C.

I’m on Instagram as purpleswirlarts. I’ll be in DC all week because I’m joining a group of Deaf artists represented in this show in a retreat. I plan to post photos using the hashtag: #D^A so follow me and see what’s happening.

Also, for more information on everything about the show, see:

 UPDATE Tuesday, August 18:

Between trouble getting online (I’ve an iPod Touch, not a phone), a busy week, and plain old exhaustion, I’m behind in my Instagram postings. I’ll catch up, just after the fact.

My new TV thinks I’m hearing

April 17, 2015

by Nancy Creighton

My new TV is not bad, it’s perfectly serviceable. But it’s got a built-in assumption– that television viewers are hearing people. In these days of diversity, respecting the disabled, and universal design principles, such an assumption is indefensible.

The old RCA and me.

The old RCA and me.

The old RCA TV I’ve been using gave up the ghost recently. It was an excellent TV in its day– built-in VCR, and built-in closed caption chip (that wasn’t mandated until 1990; thanks go to NAD, NCI, TDI, FCC and others for making CC a reality). I tried for one day to live without TV, but these days, I’m hooked. So my brother and I went out shopping for a cheap digital TV that was big enough for me to read the captions from across the room. We ended up getting a brand called Insigna from Best Buy, a brand I’d never heard of before and can’t recommend for deaf viewers.

What’s great it is has a button on the remote specifically for toggling the CC on and off. What’s awful is that every time we turn the TV off, the CC turns off, too.

What’s worse is that when we turn the TV back on, just pressing the CC button doesn’t turn on the captions. It took awhile to figure this out– the words that come up on the screen say the captions are on, but they aren’t. Not until we cycle through the three settings: CC ON, CC ON WHEN MUTED, CC OFF, and finally get back to the CC ON setting do the captions turn on. And it takes a few beats for them to come up so we’re sure it’s working.

On a daily basis, it’s annoying, but livable. Just hit a button four times instead of once to turn on the closed captions. There are worse things to live with. But step back and look at the larger picture– it’s another example of institutionalized discrimination. “Institutional discrimination is built into the structure itself. Thus it is more covert and more tenacious. It can occur regardless of the desires or intentions of the people perpetuating it.” (Freeman, Woman in Society). While Dr Freeman’s article focuses on women and employment, her statement can apply in many situations, including design and manufacturing decisions.

I don’t know why the manufacturers of my new television designed the closed captioning function to wipe out the information when turned off, or why it takes four presses of the CC button to turn it on again. It can’t be difficult– my RCA was over 20 years old. Maybe it was cheaper? By how much? Perhaps they just didn’t think about it. But then, they thought about it enough to include a CC ON WHEN MUTED function. Do they think that hearing and deaf people don’t watch TV together?

Some televisions, more expensive brands, allow the customer to set the size and color of the captions. There are a lot of possibilities for customer control of the captions, but most television manufacturers don’t take advantage of the digital capabilities.

On a cheap TV, I wasn’t expecting to customize my captions, but I did expect them to stay on until changed. That’s not unreasonable. It’s good business.


Not up on the acronyms?

FCC: Federal Communication Commission, Closed Captioning on Television

NAD: National Association of the Deaf, Making Sounds Visible

NCI: National Captioning Institute, History of Closed Captioning

TDI: Telecommunications for the Deaf, Media and Information Technology: Access Milestones

Further Reading:

The Seven Principles of Universal Design

Freeman, Jo. “Institutional Discrimination.” Institutional Discrimination. Accessed April 17, 2015.

One year anniversary of… my fall

April 2, 2015
Nancy in hosptial bed, Patient is deaf" sign above her head.

In the hospital one year ago.

I just came in from walking my dog, Tucker. A year ago, I took him out, drove to one of our places to walk, and just after letting him out of the car, I fell. It was just before 8 pm, and getting dark. I was very lucky that a kind stranger driving by noticed me lying on the sidewalk– I was only there for a few minutes. He helped me up and half-walked, half-carried me the few steps to my car, but the pain was too much, I couldn’t stand or walk on it. He called my brother for me, and Dick arrived and called 911, and one of my best friends, Judy, a “sister by choice.” Judy tells me that when the paramedics moved me off the gurney onto the bed at the hospital, I screamed. I had no idea I was making any sound, but she said she’ll never forget it. A day and a half later I had surgery to replace my broken hip. It was a partial replacement– I still have all of my pelvic bone, only the head of the femur was replaced.

The true loss of this fall was the loss of my independence. I was lucky to have my brother living with me, able and willing to take care of me. In the beginning he had to do all of my shopping, my laundry, help me get out of bed the days it hurt too much to move, and drive me everywhere. Recovery has been a long, hard road. Even with excellent physical therapy (thanks, Joe and Yoni!) I’m not walking like I used to.

I limp, I take Aleve, I use a cane. But I also walk my dog, do my own shopping and laundry, drive. I’ve got about 99.99% of my independence back– I still ask Dick to bring in the bags full of food after I’ve gone shopping.


I’ve been busy the past few months. I posted a lot of the sharing from Betty’s memorial before diving into other work. But not everything. The hangup? Accessibility. In the slideshow I prepared, there’s a video of Betty talking about one of her paintings. I tried to caption it, but kept running into technical problems. Though I’m pretty good at teaching myself new things, I had to stop working on this to work on a paying project, and haven’t yet had a chance to go back to it. I will soon, and then I’ll announce it. In the meantime, you can see what’s available on the link at the top right of these pages, “Betty G. Miller – Memorial.”

It’s back on! You’re invited to help celebrate Betty’s life

November 23, 2014

12/7/2014 is the date for Betty's memorial

This is just a quick note to tell all of you about the upcoming Memorial Program for Betty G. Miller.

As you all probably know by now, Betty died December 3, 2012 (see for her obituary). This is the third time we’ve started to plan a memorial. The last one, planned for April 12, 2014 had to be cancelled when I fell and broke my hip. I was in a rehab facility working on learning to walk again last April. I’m a lot better, though walking with a cane for now.

I’m finally able to work on a memorial, and with the help of several friends, we’re planning one for December 7th. It will be held in the lobby of the Washburn Art Building at Gallaudet because that’s where Betty was happy. Here’s the specific information:

Sunday, December 7, 2014
Washburn Art Building
Gallaudet University, Washington, DC
Memorial Program 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Gallery closes at 1:00 PM

Jan DeLap will be the emcee for the program, and there will be light refreshments served before and after the program. Parking at Gallaudet will be free, no need to get a permit.

Please RSVP to NanC (a temporary address) ASAP so that we have a count for the chairs and food.

— Nancy Creighton

P.S.: I recently went to NTID for their Viva De’VIA events. I’d never used Instagram before, so I played around with it. You can see my photos at:

P.P.S.: Patti Durr at NTID has posted some videos from the banquet online. Brenda Schertz played the part of Betty, going up to different tables and giving her biography. See it here:

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