Episode 10 - Conservative Political Perspective

Mike is from Rusk, Texas and when asked about what he has been up to in life so far says:

"Mainly working on my marriage and raising three boys. Its very tough – so many outside negative influences, not enough time or money. Top Five Adventures – marrying my wonderful wife. Having and raising my first son. Having and raising my second son. Having and raising my third son. Anytime I spend fun times with family and/or friends."

When I asked Mike for a classic "Mike" story, this is the one that came up:

"My wife left her cell phone at home one day and she needed me to try and bring it to her. I found her phone and drove to her work – I told her I was in a hurry and she needed to come meet me at my car to get the phone. She walked, smiling and thankful, up to the car. I rolled down my window and threw it, 10 feet, to her. She freaked out! It wasn’t really her phone. It was an older broken one. I, then, gave her the real phone. I like to play jokes and I like to be joked on."


Episode 9 - Liberal Political Perspective

Lila is a from the mitten of Michigan but is an Oregonian.  She worked for 32 years as a teacher and also holds such identities as mother, grandmother, aunt, wife, and educator.  She has also worked hard to visit every state in the union.


Episode 8 - Domestic Violence Survivor & Advocate

Christina is a New York native and now Oregonian.  This is what she has to say to describe herself:

I am an activist and a minimalist. Activism runs deep in my family. My grandfather was a union pusher in the early 40s and 50s, helped stop a riot in New York in the 60s. I am an outspoken New Yorker with a strong Sicilian upbringing. I found I had a strong voice and used it to help others. So advocacy has been my niche I have made a career out of helping those in crisis and made it my identity. Now I am trying to find a healthier balance in life. Trying to make space for my other passions.

I grew up in Syracuse, New York on a horse farm. I had that Disney Princess Complex and needed to get married. I married someone with some issues who had emotionally and financially abusive tendencies. So finally, I left. I gave myself a journey from Florida to Washington state.

In Washington, I lived in a small town and immersed myself in nature. Then, I was set up with an incredible man whose family lived in this small town. We fell in love and developed a truly deep friendship. In that time I moved to Portland and started working as on call at a dvy shelter. I found myself getting promoted till I was the housing director in a year. Now it's just finding a balance of not having too many rules and being too free. It's a struggle and a dance working with humans. So now I am working on my other passions. Which is alternative loving and being a minimalist. This right now in my life is my "me moment."

I live in a van with my partner for the push to not be a typical consuming American. I want moments and experiences.  My biggest story is happening right now. Trying to explore this lifesy while in a leadership position. Among individuals who enjoy the finer things in life. So I have to have thick skin. I did tell some of them we park in a friend's driveway but my partner and I do stealth-van-dwelling. We park around Portland. A new place everyday. The goal is to make van life on the road life and explore different areas. We just got a goal zero lithium battery so now podcasting is a real possibility. Which is our next plan...


Episode 6 & 7- Mormon Identity Part I & II

Other identities: Father of six,  husband of one, mechanic, friend, brother, uncle, cousin, claims adjuster, car guy

Keith is originally from Orange, California but served his mission in Ohio.  This is what he has to say about himself:

My identity is my faith and my family. I am not ashamed to equate my identity based on my family and faith. Some don’t agree with that and that’s OK. By trade I am a claims adjuster so most people identify me as a car guy. Which is mostly true. I love cares and I love helping people. Service is my greatest joy. Serve my fellow man or serve God or my family. I can’t sit still for more than about 10 minutes. One of my favorites though is within my family, Tim the Tool Man. I have been to the E-room more times than I can count and so many tools its almost an addiction.

In my church I have been a Young Mens President, Sunday School President, and an Elders Quorum President. Kind of foreign terms for non-LDS people. In essence, I have been responsible for all the male youth and adult men in my local congregation as far as the spiritual growth side of life. As a Sunday School President I am in charge of making sure we have teachers for all the classes in church. I also make sure that the correct manuals are being used in classes.

A little not known fact I once had a job as being a model for tuxedo store. That was one of my favorite jobs. I was also once a mascot for a now closed restaurant called HomeTown Buffet. I was HT BEE!!.

I often say I am a jack of all, master of none. I build furniture, fix cars, mostly for free, and work on my house.

When asked for a very "Keith" moment, this is the story Keith told:

My wife and I went out to buy a new TV for the family from Best Buy. We looked and she wanted the budget met, I wanted to exceed it. We compromised and bought one that we both liked. When we got home we noticed that the TV looked bigger than what we had seen in the store and that it was way nicer than we remembered. We double checked the model number and noted the one we picked out was not the same one they sent us home with. We bought a lower quality TV for $800 and they sent us home with a $2400 TV. The model number was one digit off. My kids were ecstatic that Best Buy has screwed up, bigger, better, faster, smarter, sharper all the bells and whistles. I had a different idea.

I called Best Buy and told them what had happened. They were surprised that I had called and told me they had to think about what happened and that they would call me back. About an hour later the General Manager of the local Best Buy called me back. He asked if I liked the TV and I said yes but it was out of my $800 budget. He said he would sell me the one I had for 1200$ 50% of the actual posted price. I thanked him and said no. I said I would bring the TV back with all the packaging later that day. When I showed up he met me at the door and said he would drop the price to $1000, still outside of my budget. He then pointed to the wall and said I could pick any TV I wanted that was on display for a straight trade. We picked a year older model that was bigger and better than the one we originally had bought. The guy thanked me for being honest and said that they had the same issue one month prior and the customer refused to work with them saying it was Best Buys fault for screwing up so they kept it.


Episode 5- Gay Identity

Other identities: Catholic, Eagle Scout, Human Trafficking Researcher, Advocate, Midwesterner

James is originally from Ohio but currently works as a researcher in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with a focus on human trafficking. He has also focused on setting up dialogues between the LGBTQIA community and the Christian community in Cambodia. Prior to moving to Cambodia, he graduated from Marquette University and has spent time living and volunteering in South Africa. While there, he had the pleasure of meeting Desmond Tutu and hopes that one day Rev. Tutu will be the one to marry him to his future spouse.


Pete and Melissa

Episode 4- Perspective of someone who lost their house to a hurricane

Other Identities: Father/Mother, Husband/Wife, Missioner

Pete (a native of Long Island, NY) and Melissa have three children and are currently live as missioners in El Salvador.  Previously, Pete was the ED of a small non-profit that provided full-time post-graduate volunteers in jobs where they served women, adolescents, and children who had been affected by poverty, violence, and neglect. Before that, he spent 12 years as a high school and middle school teacher.  Melissa worked in the Campus Ministry office at a High School in New York and now works in a women's cooperative in El Salvador.

When asked for one story about their experience with hurricane Sandy, Pete said the following:

After the hurricane, our house was devastated. We returned to our neighborhood when they began to allow people back into the community to survey the damage to their houses. Melissa and I were walking down the street, joking and laughing. We suddenly realized that everyone else on our street was as if in mourning and that our "whatcha gonna do?" attitude wouldn't be appreciated. This attitude is captured in a photo of the two of us standing before our flooded out house. We both are shrugging our shoulders and have smiles on our faces.  This made me realize that our talk about not being attached to our material possessions was more than just lip service.

Dr. Steven Collins, Ph.D., CDI

Episode 3- Interpreter identity

Other Identities: Deaf Interpreter, Advocate for the Deaf-Blind Community, Interpreter Educator, Fulbright Scholar

Steven, who is a North Carolina native, has been working as an interpreter for more than 35 years. He currently works as Assistant Professor in the Department of Interpretation at Gallaudet University where he was the departmental chair of the bachelors, masters, doctorate degree programs, and now is the Coordinator of ASL Support and Deaf Interpretation program. He was the co-investigator of FIPSE-CAPES grant of Gallaudet which is collaborating with UFSC in Brazil. Steven is a Fulbright Scholar who has worked extensively with deaf-blind communities in the U.S. and Italy, with a specialty in Tactile American Sign Language (TASL) interpretation. His doctoral research focused on sociolinguistic variation in the use of non-manual signals in TASL. He has given numerous workshops, classes, trainings to a variety of audiences about Deaf-Blind people and their communication, Deaf-Blind Interpreting, and Support Service Providers (SSPs).  He has provided SSP training at several places including Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and Gallaudet University as well as coordinated SSP services at various national conferences, including National Association of the Deaf.  Dr. Collins received his doctorate degree from Union Institute and University, Cinn., Ohio.


Episode 2- Deaf Identity

Other Identities: Deaf, queer, crip, Orthodox Christian, musician, polyglot, introvert, ailurophile

Alex, who is originally from Florida, writes:

"I've been mobile. I have had the amazing fortune to live and work in seven countries on three continents. As my uncle says, "A moving target is harder to hit." :-) This has involved using eleven different languages, both spoken/written and signed. I started out in the field of education, but after just three years of teaching teenagers moved on to linguistics and foreign language teaching at the tertiary level, teaching Spanish, and researching sign languages. After being in full-time research for the past nine years, I'm currently determined to finally finish the PhD. Oh, and it's time to renew my passport... Must remember to get extra pages this time."

When asked for an "Alex Story," Alex responded:

"A highlight was definitely the time I gave a talk on bilingual deaf education in Milan, Italy, where in 1880 at the Second International Congress on Education of the Deaf, hearing educators declared that oral education was superior to manual education for deaf students and passed a resolution banning the use of sign language in schools worldwide, which would continue for nearly a century. I gave my talk in LIS (Italian Sign Language) and in ASL (American Sign Language) with interpretation in spoken Italian to a packed hall, extolling the virtues of bilingual education in which deaf students grow up using a signed and a written language from an early age. Take THAT, Milan Conference of 1880! "