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Friday, May 29, 2009

Flowers for Friday: End of May

Our peonies are beginning to pop!

Geraniums soaking up some late afternoon sun.

A new addition to our yard: rhododendrum .

Bicolor petunia I fell for at the garden center.

Yellow irises originally from my grandmother's garden.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Cubicle: Speak Up Librarian Style

I practiced using some of my video software today. For your viewing pleasure, I offer you a short tour of my work cubicle. My apologies for the blurriness, I used my cell phone to record this.

For everyone who's stuck in a small space all day, here's a hilarious "My Cubicle" version set to a parody of James Blunt's Beautiful song. You don't really need the words to enjoy it but I did include the lyrics below the video (in case you have any questions).


My job is stupid,
My day’s a bore,
Inside this office,
From 8 to 4.

Nothing ever happens,
My life is pretty blank,
Pretending that I am working,
Pray I don’t get canned.

My cubicle, my cubicle,
It’s 1 of 62,
It’s my small space,
In a crowded place,
Just a six by six board booth,
And I hate it, that’s the truth.

When I give a sigh,
As the boss walks by,
No one ever talks to me,
Or looks me in the eye,
And I really should work,
But instead I just sit here,
And surf the internet.

And my cubicle, my cubicle,
It doesn’t have a view,
It’s my small space,
In a crowded place,
I sit inside there too,
And sometimes I sit here nude.

Lyrics from Ear Sucker.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Flowers for Friday

Geranium planted in a window box on our deck


Our first iris to appear this year!

Bishop's Weed also known as Snow on the Mountain

This perennial is great for borders. Be careful though
as it likes to spread and will even grow into your grass if
not contained. It's special to me because I got it from
my parents' yard and it always reminds me of home.

The water is so clear in our pond after it rains.
This is one of my favorite places to sit and reflect.

Coming soon: Peonies

Thursday, May 21, 2009

All in a Day's Work

While doing some "spring cleaning" of old files on my computer, I came across the following anecdote I had jotted down when I was first contemplating starting a blog.

At the reference desk, I had a patron call on the telephone and ask to speak to her husband. As we have no loudspeaker/public address system, this involved my having to locate him personally. It wasn't busy at the time and very few people had come in that morning, so I was willing to give it a try.

When I asked her to describe him, she responded, "He's average." Well, yes, that narrows it down, hmm.... Then she added, "He's bald." Obviously, I wasn't thinking straight because I put her on hold and set out to look for the man with just the meager information that he was an average bald man.

Halfway through my search, I returned to the phone and asked if there was any more information she could give me. "He might be wearing a baseball cap," she added helpfully. So now I was on the lookout for an average man who is bald but may be wearing a baseball cap so I wouldn't be able to tell he was bald.

At this point I asked for his name. Long story short, the husband wasn't in the library at that time but he came in shortly afterwards and I told him to contact his wife. Please!

Isn't it crazy the things patrons expect librarians to be able to do?

Update: Google Contest Winner

Don't forget to click on Google today and view the winning design for the Doodle 4 Google contest. Congratulations, Christin Engleberth!

Your wish for A New Beginning is something we can all agree on. Great job!

You can view the three other national winners here: Friendship Around the World, Stop to Smell the Flowers, and From the Ashes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Know I Saw That Around Here Somewhere

Every morning in the final moments before I leave for work, I'm always searching for something. Some days it's my purse, other days it's my jacket or shoes. On really bad days it's my keys. I'll be late for sure if I can't find those!

Today I wanted to write about some intro to ASL videos I'd seen on YouTube a few years back. They were created by a girl from Canada and I wanted to share them especially with my Canadian readers. But alas, I can't find them anywhere. Drat.

So instead of sharing an internet discovery today, I'm going to write about a way to keep track of interesting sites you find so you can locate them later. If only I'd done that for those videos...

I would imagine almost everyone is familiar with bookmarking or saving a website in favorites. But do you know about Delicious? Delicious is a website where you can save your bookmarks and share them with others. It really comes in handy when you access the internet from more than one computer or location. It's also a convenient way to share your research when you're working on a group project.

If you'd like to take a peek at my bookmarks, you can find me at Delicious here. And if anyone is familiar with the videos I mentioned, let me know.

Update 8/10/2010 - My Delicious account has been deleted. It's a great idea but I didn't have time to keep up with it. And I never did locate those videos.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Song by Sia

One nice thing about having my coworkers aware of my hearing loss is that sometimes they show me something online I would otherwise have missed. A great example is this video of Sia performing on the David Letterman show last fall.

I love Sia's artistry and her colorful hands using ASL to express the meaning of her song. Sia has an even more creative and beautiful rendition posted on YouTube which she doesn't allow for embedding on blogs. You can see it here.

Sia is a pop singer from Australia. She explained in a press release that she chose to use ASL in this song because "I've always been obsessed with the beauty of sign language. To ignorant hearing me, the movement and expression appears as a dance — a beautiful, emotive dance. But the real beauty is the communication hidden within these perfect shapes."
You can find out more about Sia at Wikipedia.

Lyrics for "Soon We'll Be Found"

Come along it is the break of day
Surely now, you'll have some things to say
It's not the time for telling tales on me

So come along, it won’t be long
'Til we return happy
Shut your eyes, there are no lies
In this world we call sleep
Let's desert this day of hurt
Tomorrow we'll be free

Let's not fight I'm tired can't we just sleep tonight
Don't Turn away it's just there's nothing left here to say
Turn around I know we're lost but soon we'll be found

Well it's been rough but we'll be just fine
Work it out yeah we'll survive
You mustn't let a few bad times dictate

So come along, it won’t be long
'Til we return happy
Shut your eyes, there are no lies
In this world we call sleep
Let's desert this day of work
Tomorrow we'll be free

Let's not fight I'm tired can't we just sleep tonight
Don't turn away it's just there's nothing left here to say
Turn around I know we're lost but soon we'll be found

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photos Worth a Thousand Words

by Sara L. Chapman and used with her permission.

Sara L. Chapman's Fave Photos blog is a visual delight. A professional photographer, Sara has created this blog to share some of her favorite personal photos. She regularly participates in themed photo blog memes including Scenic Sunday, Ruby Tuesday, Watery Wednesday, and Skywatch Friday. You'll see more outdoor than indoor shots on her blog with landscapes, flowers, and shadow pictures featured prominently.

I've never taken a class in photography but I've learned a lot just by looking at her photos and seeing how she frames them and how she captures contrasts in texture and light. I love the way she looks at the world and the beauty that she sees. I've been utterly inspired to get a digital camera of my own and learn how to take better pictures.

All this week, I plan to share some delightful internet discoveries I've made. I came across Sara's blog through this post by Ms. ToastBurner. Visit Sara's blog and tell her how you feel about her photos. She welcomes comments.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Pink!


Closeups of my Mothers' Day bouquet for the Pink Posse and Mog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Children Express Their Hopes for a Better World Through the Doodle 4 Google Contest

Have you voted yet in the Doodle 4 Google contest? Students from grades K-12 have created Google logos that express their dreams for a better world. The public is invited to choose their favorites among forty finalists in 4 categories: grades K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12.

The National Winner will receive a generous scholarship for college and a technology grant for their school. You can read more about the contest here.

It was harder to choose than I expected. The young artists express their hopes for peace, love, and harmony among the people of the earth, for the care of animals and for a healthier environment for all of us. I was very inspired by the words each wrote to accompany their drawing. Several of the doodles are quite remarkable. Here were my picks:

Grades K-3: Region 9 One World One God I thought this was a very clever use of the Google logo.

Grades 4-6: Region 9 Learn Teach Reach and You Can Change As I work in education, I thought this was very appealing.

Grades 7-9: Region 5 Stop to Smell the Flowers I really liked this one's emphasis on nature appreciation as part of one's wellbeing. My second choice in this category would have been Region 3 Cleaner Oceans for the World. I was really drawn to the creativity and artistic ability in this drawing.

Grades 10-12: Region 8 Time to Go Home This category was my hardest choice because several of the drawings appealed to me. In the end I chose this one because it spoke to my heart. It expresses the hope for war to end and imagines what it would mean for the soldiers and their loved ones.

Congratulations to all the Regional Winners. Good luck on making it to the next level of the competition. Kudos to Google for offering such a marvelous opportunity for these students to have their hopes and dreams seen by the world.

I'd love to know which ones you liked and why if you care to share that. Voting in the contest ends May 18th. The winner will be presented on May 21st.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tammy & Victor Cross the Amazing Race's Finish Line First

The teams travelled over 5,000 miles from China to Maui, Hawaii for the race to the finish. For their first task, teams were required to season a 145 lb pig and then carry it dangling from a pole 200 yards to a luau. Margie & Luke although arriving in last place were smart and got the pig pole up on their shoulders. They passed Tammy & Victor and Jaime & Cara who were attempting to carry it at waist height instead. The other teams dropped their pig several times en route.

Moving on to the second task, Margie & Luke were in first place. They travelled to a beach at McGregor Point and swam out to a waverunner (jet ski). Margie drove with Luke behind her to a buoy field where they had to search among 100 buoys to find their next clue. They found one and were going back when they passed the other two teams. Jaime & Cara found their clue next putting Tammy & Victor in last place.

The clue directed teams to the final Road Block that would test their memory of race events. One member from each team was required to search through a large pile of surfboards looking for 11 boards with logos associated with an event on the race. Most of the surfboards in the pile had logos completely unrelated to the show. After finding the right ones they had to be lined up in the correct order to create a surfboard "fence".

Margie & Luke arrived first and Luke took the task. I thought they had the race in the bag at this point. As an avid fan of the show, Luke knew that the final leg would involve recalling previous legs in the proper order and Margie interviewed that he had studied up on everything they had done. Indeed Luke got off to a tremendous start having most of his surfboards in the right place before Tammy & Victor showed up next. Unfortunately, Luke had two incorrect boards in place and got hung up on that point. Victor quickly found the boards he needed and put them in the right order. Meanwhile after more cab trouble, Jaime & Cara had arrived and Jaime had taken the task. Victor finished and the brother/sister team leave for a triumphant finish at a golf course.

Luke found one more of the boards he needed. Jaime had all of hers but the first one. We weren't told how much time had passed since the siblings left but eventually Margie suggested that Jaime & Luke work together. Luke showed Jaime what she needed and she finished second. Before leaving Jaime showed Luke all her boards until he discovered he had been missing one with scorpions on skewers. Margie & Luke leave last.

There wasn't much suspense when Tammy & Victor crossed the finish line first in the presence of the other teams. Some time later Jaime & Cara arrived second and Margie & Luke came in third.

I was sad that my favorite team didn't win but I am proud of the great race they ran. At the finish line, Phil asked Luke to admit that his mom is the Bionic Woman. He then asked Luke what was special about Margie. He responded that not all parents of deaf children sign and he was happy that she learned to sign so they could communicate with each other. Tearfully, Margie interpreted what he said for Phil. Margie reiterated how very proud she is of her son and how wonderful it was to see his dream of competing on the Amazing Race come true.

Awww, Happy Mother's Day, Luke & Margie. Congratulations, Tammy & Victor. Well done! Jaime, stay out of taxis and Cara, pat yourself on the back for putting up with Jaime and finishing second.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Hooray for May

Two purple perennials:
violets in the foreground
grape hyacinths in the background.

Remember the parrot tulip from last week?
Now these tulips have opened up and from this angle
it almost looks as if the "birds" are ready for flight.

White lilac
Lovely fragance. Once I stuck my nose
right up to them and inhaled deeply. Big mistake.
I was stuffed up afterwards. Allergic I suppose.
Now I keep my distance and sniff from afar.

In my area we are advised against planting annuals
until May 15. It's tough to wait. I've always wanted to
plant pansies (one of my mother's favorites) and
this is my year. It's okay to plant these flowers
now because they can stand the cool weather.

This sunny sweetheart is called a viola.
It's a relative to the pansy. I bought extra
of these ones to give to my mother in a pot
for Mother's Day. Yellow is her favorite color.

Our ferns add a woodsy touch to the backyard.

Look how the hostas have grown!
The walkway will narrow as they continue to grow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is Surgery Worth the Risk?

I received the following comment on my blog post, "Does Research=Hope for the Hard of Hearing?" and I thought Steve's question at the end (which I marked in bold) was worth posing in a separate blog post so perhaps more of you will post an answer. I would especially like to hear from anyone who has had cochlear implant surgery to know if losing all hearing is one of the risks of the procedure.

Personally I agree with Steve and I'm not ready for surgery (although I have envied the audiograms of people with cochlear implants that have better hearing than I do). I will cope with the hearing I do have for now although I do hope for a better hearing aid when it's time to buy a new one.

Here's Steve's comment:
I'm not really much bothered about a cure for my hearing loss. I've accepted my situation and I don't think my life would be any different today if I had full functioning hearing. I'd say, "eh?" a hell of a lot less but that'd be it. But for all the people suffering because of their hearing loss I'd love to see a science breakthrough that'd make things easier for them. Thing is though: there's a lot of people out there who can't afford to buy aids, would they be able to afford surgery? Probably not. So it'd only be helping the people that are currently being helped by hearing aids. Not that I'm knocking the science progress, of course. A question: would anyone here go through surgery to restore their hearing even if there was a chance that it could go the other way and leave you profoundly deaf?

Another point I'd like to address is that in the United States, insurance companies are often more likely to cover a surgery than a hearing aid. That may not be true elsewhere in the world.

What do you think?

Update: Dan commented that everyone should check out Sara's blog as she has just been implanted and discusses her surgery experience. I agree with Dan that what she's written is completely relevant to the discussion in the comments.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Margie & Luke Make It to the Final Three

Last week's episode ended with Phil announcing that this leg of the race wasn't over yet and handing the next clue to the cheerleaders. Their task was to search a marketplace for a Travelocity Gnome (groan...isn't it time for a gnome target practice task? Oh, but I guess the sponsor wouldn't like that.) Jen & Kisha are stunned to discover they are still in the race. Phil tells them not to give up. All teams find their gnomes without much difficulty. The only purpose for the gnomes appears to be that clue directions are printed on the bottom. All racers carry them to the Pit Stop but Phil makes no mention of them there.

Next teams locate electric bikes and ride past Tiananmen Square. Tammy & Victor are fortunate enough to see a procession of guards and raising of a flag ceremony. When Luke gets on his bike he almost runs down Jen (not on purpose).

The Detour choice is Beijing Opera or Chinese Waiter. For Beijing Opera, teams must apply makeup to each other and dress in costumes to match example performers made up and dressed as a princess and a gentleman. For Chinese Waiter, teams must take the orders of 6 customers given in Mandarin and repeat them correctly to the cook. Once the dishes have been served to those customers, they receive their next clue.

Tammy & Victor who speak Mandarin opt for Chinese Waiter. They get the orders almost exactly right on their first try missing only by saying squid in place of fish. Well done!

All the other teams choose Beijing Opera. Margie is totally disgusted with Luke's efforts to make her up as a princess. She keeps turning to look at herself in the mirror frustrating Luke in his attempt to finish. He apologizes, "Sorry, Mom that I'm not a girl!" Heh. The all girl teams have no difficulty with this task but have a great deal of trouble finding the next clue box where a U-turn is posted!

Here Luke's knowledge of the game pays off. He tells his mom, the U-turn is always located close by the task. He's right. It's in the opera house. When they find it, they see that Tammy & Victor have already been there and U-turned Jen & Kisha. The sisters' photo has a scrawled message, "Sorry, but we can't outrun you." Ha. It's a lucky break for Luke & Margie that Jen & Kisha didn't get there before them!

The next clue directs the racers to a Road Block task. Who has a taste for adventure? Perhaps it should have read who has an iron stomach. The task is to eat grasshoppers, larva, scorpion, and starfish. Ewww. If it helps any, the food is fried and served on skewers. Victor takes the challenge and asks for ketchup. Heh. He does a great job eating these Chinese delicacies he had never tasted before. Next come Margie and Luke and Margie eats for her team. She also seems to have no problem eating these unusual foods.

Meanwhile the sisters and the cheerleaders lose time looking for the clue box. Jen & Kisha find it first and are not pleased to see themselves U-turned. They hurry on to the Chinese restaurant. This part was fun to watch. The girls write down the orders to the best of their ability and then say them back to the cook. The amusing part is that CBS posts what they really say in Mandarin. Total nonsense of course. The girls persevere and eventually get the orders right. I have to admit I was impressed there.

They go on to the food challenge while the cheerleaders decide to retrace their steps from the opera house. Fortunately they check inside and discover the clue box. They wonder if the sisters have had time to complete the second task while they've been wandering the neighborhood. The answer is yes and Jen is nearly done eating the food. When the cheerleaders show up, she is starting to gag. She drinks alot of water to get the food down while her sister looks on in concern.
Cara steps up for the cheerleaders and eats like she's on a race for a million dollars. Whew. I was impressed for the second time tonight.

Meanwhile, Victor & Tammy have arrived at the mat and received the news that they are team #1 and will be competing in the final leg of the race. They also find out from Phil that they have won a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Nice.

Margie & Luke arrive second. Hooray! They are in the final three. This is what I've been hoping for this whole season. Way to go, Margie & Luke.

Now it's a cab race between the cheerleaders and the sisters. The sisters arrive first but Jen has to take a potty break due to all the water she drank while eating. It's a costly stop as the cheerleaders make it to the mat seconds before they do. Jaime & Cara are in the final three. Although disappointed, Kisha insists she won't hold their loss against her sister's urgent need for a bathroom break. She says they wouldn't have made it this far without her sister's strong performance other times. Wow, what a nice sister.

There are three strong teams for the finish. Of course I'm rooting for Margie & Luke. My second choice would be Tammy & Victor. I'm glad they did so well in China as they felt it would be important to their parents. Jaime & Cara are a team I am not that excited about with the exception that they were the first team to become friendly with Margie & Luke. Phil pointed out to them that they have an opportunity to become the first all female team to win the Amazing Race.

Go, Margie & Luke, go!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For my online friends

I found this quote on my friendship calendar yesterday and thought how appropriate it was for my online friendships with other deaf and hard of hearing bloggers.

"A friend listens with her eyes and her heart...and understands what you can't put into words."
- Anonymous

Hope you are all having a good weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Tulip Time

Red tulips

Purple tulips

Yellow tulips

Parrot Tulip - named for its
bright colors and feathery petals

One of my favorite daffodil varieties. It's a
double blossom kind but I don't know its name.

Look how much the hostas have grown!

Last week

This week