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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who I am, what I stand for, and why I am willing to wait.

Who I am is based on all of the amazing things I have chosen to do with my life.

I have taken on so many mountains and conquered so many battles that sometimes I forget what it took to get me here. It took patience and perseverance, love and attention, drive and motivation, and most importantly it took me. I am the key in all of it. I use my positive attitude and my big heart to get myself to the end line and that is what sets me apart.
If I give up on who I am at any point-then I am not going to get what I need from life. If I lose sight of where I have been and don’t stay true to me then the future I have created for myself will dissolve. This is something I have already experienced with the time I spent with my ex-husband. I don’t blame him for all of the bad things in that relationship-I think we both went in it expecting different results I was just the one who decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t pretend to be someone I am not.
One of the main light-bulbs that went on (when my sub-conscious was preparing me for the changes that were going to take place) was when I realized my future was nothing like I had planned. Now, when you are married, your future changes. It has someone else in it and so their dreams come in to play too. It can almost be fun trying to fit together the futures of two people when starting a marriage. The problem was we didn’t do that. Our future became something dark and shadowed, something sad and pitiful, something neither of us wanted. That was when the bright, positive flame that formerly was me lit up inside and decided she wasn’t ready to be put out yet.
Today I had a miniature version of this happen again. When it comes to relationships, I don’t think I or anyone else has to worry that I will give up who I am for someone else. I understand the meaning of compromise and I am more than willing to put it to use-for the right person, but you better believe I will not sacrifice myself for someone who is not worth it (more on this later).
I think my biggest weakness now is not love (everyone’s weakness is love-if you don’t think you are weak to love you are completely naive or in denial or both). My weakness is my passion-interpreting. I am not a workaholic, I will not sacrifice myself for my career... or will I? Let’s go back to the beginning shall we… what it has taken for me to get where I am: Patience, perseverance, love, attention, drive, motivation, positivity, and a big heart. This week I gave up a few of those things because I was feeling pressured. Of COURSE I want the results from my NIC test, I have already told you how incredibly important this test is to me and my future.  But I let the need for the pay raise, the need for validation, and the need to please others out weigh the things that are most important to me. Deep down in my soul I know I am a great interpreter. I am a pioneer in my field, one day I will inspire others to interpret and to find what is most important to them and work as hard as they can for it but never give up on who they are. That is the key; I can never give up on who I am.
So to close this part of this entry:
I would like to thank you for all of your positive vibes and prayers and whatever you are putting into this. Having a little piece of all of you working toward this common goal is remarkable and, to be honest, it has humbled me to know just how many people my heart has touched and how many hearts touch mine daily. Thank you all for that. However, I am willing to wait-I hope you are too. I was told at the beginning of all of this that the NIC results CAN TAKE up to 180 days. 21 weeks. I am 1/3 of the way there, and I promise that as soon as I know, you will all be informed but until that day, our positive vibes shan't cease and we shall patiently wait, heart to heart across the globe. Thank you all for your love and support on this one. I can’t express my gratitude quite enough.
The second portion of this entry is to clear up something else:
From before: “I understand the meaning of compromise and I am more than willing to put it to use-for the right person, but you better believe I will not sacrifice myself for someone who is not worth it (more on this later).”
The time is now:
I am single. I have dated a couple of guys since being single. I started considering myself single around mid-June of 2010. Before that my heart wasn’t willing to love again, and I knew I needed the time to heal from my marriage and to solidify who I really am before bringing someone new into the mix. All of the “relationships” I have had since then have been short lived for one reason only-I will not settle for less than I deserve and if I witness a red flag or 2 in the first week it is not worth considering. (This is my opinion, you can choose to disagree-that is your right)
The first person I dated was for a day-ish? He and I have been friends for a long time, he thought there might be something there, and I thought there might be something there. I quickly realized there wasn’t and to spare further heartbreak ended it within 24hours. (Sometimes it takes reality to set in before I can make the decision) I hurt his feelings, he still cares for me-and I still love him-he is one of my best friends no matter how unbearably annoying he can be, we are friends! He was a GREAT person to trust and I am glad I did. I still trust him with my life.
The second person I dated was for a bit longer than that. We met through a mutual friend and hit it off like two peas in a pod. We talked for hours quite easily and it was swell. We dated for over a week and then a few things happened and I realized it wasn’t going to work. A lot of the qualities I felt he was missing were also qualities that were missing with guy number one. Unfortunately, they both fit the “GREAT FRIEND-no way in hell relationship” category. This guy has since moved. We are still friends-despite people thinking we shouldn’t be. There are things that happened that suck, and there are things that happened that rock! I care very dearly for this person and I wish them the best in their future, but it doesn’t include me in any way other than friendship.
Guy number three had me twitter pated, as many of you know. He was apparently everything I wanted and more. Or everything I thought I wanted. Luckily I can spot an alcoholic from a mile away, and when someone says rude things when they are drunk my forgiveness is short lived. Even though he was remarkable, he was done. One week. He was a bad kisser too. We are not friends. He chose to not be my friend afterwards. I think that is probably a good choice.
I am going to have boyfriends. I am going to date. The next guy I meet may but probably won’t be the next guy I marry. This is the way it works people. I have a feeling that our generation is too keen on not being single. We don’t want to be alone therefore we cling to any semblance of a relationship, any glimmer of hope that exists between us and another human being and are willing to ignore the rest. I am not willing to ignore the rest. I made a list (I know some of you won’t agree with this concept) of all of the things I need in my mate. Nothing on the list is physical, it is all mental emotional and spiritual qualities that I need from my partner. When I meet a guy they go up against the list. In order to even be considered to progress in a relationship they MUST pass with at least an 85% (B). Guy one and two have a 62% (GREAT friendship material), guy three has a 58%... I promise I will not sacrifice who I am for someone who is not healthy: spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically-not to mention financially…
Don’t hold it against me if I get all excited about a guy and then the next week he is curbside. That is the way this works. I know it is hard to remember when you were where I am. Or maybe you didn’t ever do it this way. This is the way I have to do it.

NOW… That is all I have for today J if you read this entire thing, I am incredibly impressed! I know it was very long.
Thank you for loving me for who I am. I love you for who you are as well. I will never lie to you, I will never be someone I am not, and I hope you treat me with the same respect. Thank you all.
Much love and gratitude,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The NIC and what it means to me...

I decided to post this because I know I will never have this exact feeling again and it is crucial that I document what it feels like because one day in the future I might not remember, it is important to never forget.

The NIC test is the basic holy grail of the last 4 years of my life. It is everything I have worked for and toward and will open up paths to me that I don’t even know exist yet. I might be seemingly over-dramatizing this but if you consider what being an interpreter means to me, then maybe you can get the idea. Nearly every step I have taken and every decision I have made since choosing to be a sign language interpreter has led me to this very moment. Granted, I am human and have made mistakes, that is why that sentence began with NEARLY instead of EVERY. I worried about the little things in life for much of my college experience because I forgot the main outcome, the end result. Now, with it sitting in front of my face almost mockingly I have a hard time ignoring it. It is impossible.

The National Interpreter Certification Test was created by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and National Association for the Deaf. It is supposed to be a gauge of an interpreter’s ability not only in the skill of interpreting but also in their knowledge and practicality when presented with ethical dilemmas. The first portion of the test was the written examination which I passed in January. It was a hard test, yes but it was based merely on book knowledge meaning even a person with no interest in becoming an interpreter, if they studied hard enough, could pass it. Now it is almost exactly 9 months later (I passed 1/28/2010) and I am awaiting the results of the second portion of the test.

The second portion is known as the Performance Exam which is broken down into two parts. Performance-one’s ability to actually interpret (video scenarios) using some back ground information and a bit of knowledge of clientele. Raters take into account one’s ability to match the affect of both the consumers and to balance the weight of the situation as if it were a standard assignment. There are 5 scenarios in which this occurs. The second part is the ethical/interview portion in which the interpreter chooses a deaf person from a group and that person signs 5 ethical situations. The interpreter is expected to use resources to respond to these scenarios (as outlined by the RID/NAD matrix) and respond (using sign language but not necessarily ASL) within the given 5 minute period of time. This portion of the test-cannot be taken and passed by just anyone.

The test video is then sent to RID where they make 3 copies and send them to 3 different raters: one Deaf, one interpreter, and one hearing (with no sign language skills). These raters then take (up to 180 days) their time to rate the interpreter in several categories (which I can’t recall at the moment entirely) including affect, production, reception and ethical things. They send their results back to RID who compiles the results and sends them to the test taker via email.

The levels of certification are: Not certified (not having passed the test), NIC-Certified (a great feat), NIC-Advanced (even greater), and NIC-Master (the greatest of all). There are some interpreters (typically ones who struggle with jealousy and competitive issues) who believe that this testing is not entirely fair and that some people are given the wrong certification. I can’t entirely disagree, I think that because everyone is being rated by different raters there is some form of variation, but this is the closest we have come to a standardized certification test and I am grateful for that much.

I took my test on July 31, 2010 at 1230pm CST. The night before my test I had the funniest nightmare known to man:

In my dream I woke up and got ready to go (in all black of course) and went to take the test. I got there and went in to the bathroom before the test and saw that I had mistakenly put on a tie dye t shirt and plaid pants… I asked the test giver if I could go home and change but she said no. She sent me to the thrift store (in the basement-which doesn’t exist). I went down and it was a rock-t-shirt thrift store and I purchased an Iron Maiden T shirt which I flipped inside out for my test. It was 5 dollars. I was told I would get my results on the 5th.

That was my night mare LOL

I was doing fine, waiting. I am a very patient person by nature and can typically endure waiting for long periods of time. But then my boss came to me and informed me that someone else had gotten their results already and they took the test after me… I was shocked and anxious. Then a week later, after I called to see where my results were, two of my co-workers who took the test WEEKS after me got their results as well. (One passed, one didn’t) I am no incapable of waiting any longer. I contacted RID several times to no avail so finally I emailed them. I was told through email that my final rater still hadn’t sent in my results but was planning to do my rating this weekend so I should have my results Monday, if I don’t have them by Monday evening to contact them again and they will expedite the process more.

My stomach is turning constantly. I barely slept a wink last week which put me in an odd mood all together. I am now trying to find new and interesting ways to distract myself.

I have several people-hearing and deaf alike-telling me they are sure I passed. Interpreters are a bit less sure they try to stay positive but they understand the frustration. I know I have the skills, but since taking the test I have improved. And since taking the test I have learned a new way to handle the important ethical part of the test.

I don’t know what the results will be. I would love to be more confident and be sure that I passed but I don’t think anyone is ever sure. I can only say that I want this more than I have ever wanted anything in my entire life. For me it is a matter of knowing who I am and where I am as an interpreter. I have worked so hard until now, and I want to continue forging new paths for myself. I love what I do with every fiber of my being. I don’t know anyone who is as passionate about anything as I am about interpreting, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just know that for some it is a job or even a career… for me it is everything.

When I lift my hands my eyes light up with a burning hunger and joy. With every assignment, long or short, good or bad, intense or mediocre I love every minute. Every time I lay my head down at night I am entirely satisfied with who I am and what I do… but there is that longing for my certification. The Legal Documentation that proves I am what I am. This is the last interpreter-related decision that is being made for me. I get to choose what specialty I want and if and when I go back to school. I get to choose where I live and for how long. I get to choose from here. But first I need my NIC. That validation. I can’t express to you how anxious and excited I am for tomorrow. Please think positive thoughts for me.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day Weekend and Primal Challenge 2010

Well this post isn't going to be long because like in this blog I am behind in pretty much everything this week but I don't want to get behind here because I know there are some people who only follow me through Blogspot.

This weekend was fantastic. I visited my family in Rapid City and we hiked through the hills both Saturday and Sunday, went to Sturgis, Deadwood, and Mount Rushmore. It was really quite the trip. How about a photo or two?

My brother and I at Sylvan Lake

Me atop a rock-also at Sylvan Lake

A beautiful view at Bismarck Lake
My family with said view

That's good for now. The rest can be seen on my facebook.

Also for my birthday my family contributed to help me purchase my new barefoot-simulating shoes known as Vibram Five Fingers. These shoes are boosted quite often on Mark's Daily Apple (Primal Website) and are very amazing. I have enjoyed nearly every minute of wearing mine. The space between my toes is still trying to get used to them, but with time I am certain it will be perfectly fine... I wear them pretty much from the moment I arrive home from work to the moment I go to bed.

I really do love them quite a lot.

Other than that Labor Day weekend was delightful. We had some delicious food, typically picnic style. We turned my favorite pasta salad into a pasta-less salad by making it with spaghetti squash and vegetables. Here is a photo:

It was incredible! (with Ham and Deviled eggs)

So that about wraps up the Labor Day portion of this entry.

The next portion of this entry is about something I hold near and dear to my heart. Primal Challenge 2010

A 30-day challenge which will help people (who are interested in getting healthier) reach their goals, whatever they may be. It doesn't matter if you start on day one (Sept 7th) or mid-way... you can still be entered to win one of many prizes totaling $10,000.00 in value, not to mention feeling healthier and getting back to your primal roots. :)

As part of this challenge I am doing interpretations of the entries that Mark Sisson makes via video and also plan to do a weekly or twice-weekly update on how the challenge is working for me and what portions of the challenge have been posted so far in more detail. My hopes are to be able to provide these videos in ASL and then voice interpret them so I don't have to type everything and you don't have to read it. :)

I do have some personal goals regarding the challenge. These goals are focused on the 10 laws of primal living and I hope to be able to do them successfully throughout. After being so behind from the weekend I feel like I am starting a few days behind, but Mark makes it pointedly clear it doesn't matter WHEN you start, it only matters THAT you start.

Some of my goals:

1. Eat 90% primal (its nearly impossible for me to get 100 because I am poor and have to cut corners)
2. Say no to eating out because (Refer to number 1)
3. Lights/Technology OFF at 930pm (when not working) and candles on from 930-1030(bedtime) wake up and get up at 630 am to have a bright day.
4. Eat more often (I struggle because I am single and get bored with food easily)
5. Go barefoot as much as possible (or VFFs) (I am pretty good at this)
6. Keep CrossFitting
7. Walk more often
8. Cook and eat at least one recipe from PB Cookbook every week (I bought it i should use it...)
9. Play
10. Have a kickin' Grokfest... AND win a cow! (More on this later)

I do have some goals as far as weight loss and fat loss but they are pretty much the same as my major goals... I am glad to be hovering at the 199-201 mark right now *basks in glory* I will be happy when I get to 175 as well but... I know it takes time and I have time.

The first thing I did for my Primal Challenge is interpreted Mark's intro video... I hope you are able to watch it and enjoy...

Click here to watch my video!

For now my primal and non-primal friends... That is all. I hope you are having a marvelous week. I hope to post again this weekend so I feel more caught up!

Thanks for supporting what I do and who I am. I love you all for it!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

PrimalTerp VLOG First Entry

Hello Everyone!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!!

Here is the deal. I have decided to add another thing to my docket (I hope you don't mind). My passion for interpreting is more than obvious, and my love and passion for health and Primal living is also quite apparent. So what I have decided to do is combine the two loves. This video will explain: (If you are not an ASL user there is an English translation below the video)

PrimalTerp Intro Video  (I can't figure out how to imbed a video yet, I will get there sorry.)


My name is Amanda Leisten and this is my vlog called “Primalterp”.

You may be wondering what PrimalTerp even means. Well Primal is a newer way of living focused on health I will explain more later. Terp is short for interpreter, which is what I am!

The reason I decided to make this Vlog is because with my recent extreme changes in health my friends, Deaf and hearing alike, would approach me asking about my weight loss and very apparent healthier happier disposition. I would tell them about Primal Blueprint. Primal Blueprint (which I will explain more in depth later) is really focused on health, and becoming the best you can become. When I told them this I noticed my Deaf friends had never had any exposure to this concept. Many hearing people at least have had some exposure through primal discussions on National Public Radio (NPR) and such. Whereas Deaf people have no exposure to the radio and I personally don’t know ANY deaf people who are primal.

These events led me to the decision to help expose and educate deaf people using this vlog and the book “The Primal Blueprint”. I plan to use this tool to explain the primal lifestylace more in-depth.

Now before I start the vlog I think it is a good idea to go ahead and introduce myself. I already told you my name is Amanda. I am from the state of South Dakota (SD) but I wasn’t born here. I was actually born in Denver, Colorado and that is where I grew up. When I was 15 my parents separated and my mom wanted to move back to Rapid City (Western SD) which is where she grew up. So we moved, and I really hated it. I missed my friends and family back in CO, it is my home. So I decided to graduate high school early. In order to do that I had to take a foreign language class at night, and so I took ASL, when I was 15. I ended up taking 4 ASL classes before graduating HS. Then I moved to college (in Eastern SD) and for 2 years focused on music education. I realized quickly that wasn’t my specialty, it was a great hobby but my passion in fact was interpreting.

With interpreting I am so fascinated by the signing, linguistics, culture and a variety of other things that really get my fire going. There was a new interpreter training program that recently had opened in Sioux Falls (Eastern SD) which is where I am. I completed a 4 year program in 2010 and got my degree and now I work as a full time interpreter. I absolutely LOVE interpreting. It is my passion and fascination, you might even call it an obsession. I am currently working as an interpreter but I am a strong advocate for more opportunities for Deaf people across America. For example Netflix doesn’t have captioning on their videos and I am one of the people working to change that, and aid in that process. Also many times there are cool videos on Youtube or other places without captioning and I would love to start interpreting those as well.

Another passion of mine is health, especially since I learned about the Primal Blueprint from a good friend of mine who is also an interpreter. She has gone from a size 14-6 through PB, and looks great. She taught me about PB in February (just recently). In February I was 261 lbs… no actually I was 240lbs and today I am 199 which means I have lost 41 lbs since Feb but I have lost 62 lbs overall since last Aug. So either way, she taught me about primal blueprint and I became obsessed and so now I think it is a great time to share it with all of you guys.

About PB itself, it is a book written by a guy named Mark Sisson and he is just a regular guy who has decided, through studying and learning, that it might be better to mirror the way people used to live 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors were really quite a bit healthier back then and Mark thought it would be a good idea to make this possible in modern day. So really PB is kind of about following the ways of the cavemen. For example: not eating processed foods, eating when hungry, not eating when not hungry, sleep if you are tired, play and have fun. There are plenty of rules which I will get into later.

Here is the book… This is Mark. And my plan for this vlog is to be able to summarize all of the chapters in this book as well as incorporate my experiences as well as my other friend’s experiences. There are some friends I have from Mark’s website:, on the forum, which I have had the pleasure of chatting with. One friend I have was diagnosed with diabetes and then became primal and the Drs told him he no longer had diabetes the symptoms aren’t there. There are some people whose families are riddled with cancer and they are healthy because of primal blueprint. It has helped people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and plenty of other health conditions. Also obviously weight loss is a huge contributor.

I really just want to be able to share as much as possible with you guys and if you have any questions comments or concerns please let me know. Feel free to check out my blog as well: Another great link is Mark’s site: That might be enough for now… and check out my youtube, username: Primalterp go ahead and get a hold of me there as well. Once again feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments let me know.

Good Luck! I look forward to seeing you again. I hope you enjoyed watching. I hope with this vlog you are able to become healthier and happier from here on with these tools. Its your life and you have the control, You can change yourself. WONDERFUL! Thank you again!

Thank you for watching!!! There are going to be MANY more installments of this same concept. I hope to be able to share it with as many ASL users as possible to expose them to this wonderful concept that has changed my entire life. Another thing I hope to do is be able to interpret informational and educational videos, primal and otherwise.--One step at a time--

Thanks again for all of your support. I am considering doing a spoken English video to go along with each ASL video, any thoughts? If you have any questions or comments please feel free to share them with me!
Take care and be safe!