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Monday, August 31, 2009

Reflections on Friendships

Over the weekend I finished reading The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow. This book really made me think about the value of friendship. The girls in the story are ten childhood friends who have remained close into their mid forties. They've supported each other through the joys and sorrows of the transitions that occur in women's lives including for them careers, marriages, divorces, cancer, and even the death of a child.

I'm different from them in that I haven't stayed close with my childhood or college friends. Recently I've gotten in touch with a few people through Facebook but it's been a long time and it's hard to fill in the empty spaces since high school and now.

I do have a wonderful friend that I met in graduate school that I've stayed in touch with over the years. In 2008 I presented her with a scrapbook chronicling our twenty year history together. She's been through many transitions with me such as career, marriage, and having a child even though her path has been quite different from mine. But we didn't know each other as children and I realize now the difference that makes after reading The Girls from Ames. In the book, one of the girl's father's succumbs to Alzheimers and the condolences that mean the most to her are from her childhood friends who knew him as a doctor and respected member of their community. Her more recent friends could not understand her sorrow in the same way they could.

For me, my unexpected midlife hearing loss has affected my ability to maintain various friendships. I no longer enjoy regular hour long telephone conversations. I crave emails and text messages over phone calls. In place of group gatherings, I prefer a one on one lunch in a quiet restaurant or a private chat in my home or a friend's. At work a quick update in a cubicle is easier for me than having lunch in the noisy cafeteria. I've looked for ways to let my friends know I still care even though I've changed my social habits. I'm not sure I've succeeded there. Reading The Girls from Ames has inspired me to try harder.

How about you? Do you have friends from childhood? Or like me have you put distance from your past? How do you communicate with your hearing friends and maintain ties with them? I'm open to suggestions. I'll leave you with the words to a song I learned as a girl: Make new friends, but keep the old. Some are silver and the others gold.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Hibiscus, Mushrooms, Mums & More

Tee hee. These drooping pink hibiscus remind
me of Sunday School where the children are told to
bow their heads and close their eyes for prayer.
There's always one who peeks!

I love the vibrant color of this
hibiscus
bloom. Gorgeous!

This pale pink/white hibiscus is pretty too.


Lots of rain makes the pond water clear and reflective.
If you click to enlarge this photo, you can spy goldfish.

The wet weather also brought these three mushroom
visitors to the backyard. From a distance they
remind me of golf balls perched on driving range tees.

Summer is definitely waning. It's nearly fall
and soon these mums will be blooming.

Oh look! Here's a bloom that's already started.

I never noticed this until I posted these photos today...
but don't dahlias look a bit like mums?

Whether your weekend is wet or dry, hot or cool, make it a good one!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hearing Aid Market: Off to a Good Start


Hearing Aid Market is a wonderful new resource for the hard of hearing, especially those in need of free or discounted hearing aids. Created by Steve of Deafness and Hearing Aids, Hearing Aid Market is designed to connect those who have unwanted hearing aids with the people who can use them. Unused and unwanted hearing aids can be sold through the site but Steve encourages people to donate them whenever possible.

In the site's first week, a successful match has already been made. A man from Texas who needed hearing aids received them from a woman in England who graciously donated her late mother's aids. Steve reports that the recipient has had great results with his new hearing aids.

I would encourage everyone to bookmark Hearing Aid Market on their computers and spread the word in the hard of hearing/deaf community.

Thanks, Steve for all your hard work in making this resource a reality. If you would like to drop Steve a word of encouragement, you can contact him here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Li-berry I Scream Anyone?


Vanilla Ice Cream Cone 8-6-09 3
Originally uploaded by stevendepolo

Have you heard the news? Library fans who like ice cream are petitioning Ben & Jerry's to create a new library themed ice cream flavor. Andy Woodworth, a New Jersey librarian, is behind the movement. He says, "libraries are awesome, Ben & Jerry's ice-cream is tasty, therefore a library-themed Ben & Jerry's ice-cream would be tasty awesome". He's created a Facebook page to garner support for the idea. Four thousand members have joined already.

Here are my favorites from their creative flavors suggested so far:

  • Dewey Ooey-Gooey [vanilla with butterscotch swirls]
  • Dusty Stacks [layered ice cream with a dusting of cocoa]
  • Rocky Read [vanilla with chocolate chunks and chocolate covered nuts and raisins]
I have to admit that I would favor Li-berry I Scream over Sh-sh-sh-Sherbet just for the name alone. I am the 'speak up' kind of librarian after all.

You can see the complete list of flavors here. Which ones do you like? Do you have an idea of your own? You can submit ideas directly to Ben & Jerry's at this link.

P.S. Thank you to the reader who sent me a news story on this!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Hedge, Hibiscus, & More

We have several flowering shrubs
planted along our back alley
to form a privacy hedge.

From here it looks likes a wall of flowers!

Notice the three different colors.

A closer look

Rose of Sharon

The hibiscus blossom below measures approx. 9".

It's hardy enough to withstand our cold winters.

Here's what the hibiscus buds look like.

Not sure what this one is but it seemed
to go along with the other purple flowers
in today's post so I included it as well.


The other day I mentioned to my husband that
I'm unable to take photos of these morning glories
when I come home from work because they're closed up.
He gave me a look. When I asked, "What?" innocently,
he replied, "That's why they have that name."
Groan. I'd never put that together before.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm blaming this one on a 70s song!

I almost had a heart attack at work the other day. This is what happened. I went down to the cashier's office to get change for the reference desk. My friend was working behind the counter. She made the change and put it in an envelope for me. Then she said "I'm going to take it" and she walked away. My heart stopped for a moment... until she went over to a scotch tape dispenser and sealed the envelope for me.

Consonants trip me, up but sometimes my mind plays tricks on me too. I wonder if the Steve Miller Band's song "Take the Money and Run" played some part in this. Hmmm... How many times do you suppose that song's been played on the radio since 1976? If your brain has to fill in the blanks, which is more likely "tape" or "take"?

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this video enactment of the song's storyline I found on YouTube. [Note: There is no dialogue other than the song lyrics which I've added below the video.]



Song Lyrics for Take the Money and Run

This here's a story about Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue
Two young lovers with nothin' better to do
Than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube
And here is what happened when they decided to cut loose

They headed down to, ooh, old El Paso
That's where they ran into a great big hassle
Billy Joe shot a man while robbing his castle
Bobbie Sue took the money and run

Go on take the money and run
(Repeated three more times)

Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
He ain't gonna let those two escape justice
He makes his livin' off of the people's taxes

Bobbie Sue, whoa, whoa, she slipped away
Billy Joe caught up to her the very next day
They got the money, hey
You know they got away
They headed down south and they're still running today
Singin' go on take the money and run

Go on take the money and run
(Repeated six more times.)

source for this song's lyrics

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Captions, captions, captions!

[Trumpet fanfare: da da da daaaa]

At long last, we have a television in our home with captions. [Cheering]

Here's my first impressions: I love, love, love captions. I can't believe how much I was missing without them. The captions that are perfectly in sync with the dialogue are fabulous! In my first evening of watching, I noticed commercials seemed to have the best captions of all. Even sound effects were noted. [smile]

On the other hand, the captions for an entertainment news program I watched were less than optimal. [frown] They ran behind and had many errors. When I missed a key word or phrase in the dialogue, I would wait for it to appear in the captioning, only to see that sentence skipped over completely. [sigh] I guess for now I will probably avoid watching "live" television shows. I've been spoiled by the excellent captioning I've grown accustomed to on movie DVDs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Under Pressure


image_5
Originally uploaded by speakuplibrarian

Recipe for Pressure:

Preheat the oven with family arguments over the weekend.

Begin with an online class for work with an estimated time required 5 hours per week. [Of course no work responsibilities have been taken away.]

Mix in deadlines for metadata creation. [Example: On Friday four files were given to me after 2:30 p.m. to be done before 4:00 p.m. One file contained a 600 page report that needed to be summarized! Somehow I managed it.] Wonder what deadlines this week will bring.

Add a listening ear to friends' problems you can do nothing about but sympathize. Whisk in worry that your friends are hurting.

Fold in medical bills the insurance company should have taken care of months ago. Whisk in worry that you'll end up having to pay them yourself.

For flavor, add in PMS symptoms. Whisk in worry that this is your new everyday mood.

Add panic that you've forgotten an important appointment. Check calendar to see that no, you haven't. Replace with worry that you still won't remember.

Shove in the oven and cook until burnt to a crisp.

Serve to the accompaniment of Queen's Pressure [read the lyrics and listen to the song here].

Then write a funny blog post and feel much better!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saturday Shadow Fun


Today we celebrated my son's birthday by taking him and four of his buddies out for miniature golf, go kart rides, and laser tag. It was a wonderfully sunny day and I saw shadows everywhere! After I'd taken numerous photos of the boys, I decided to have some fun experimenting. I loved the way the shadows fell on the support legs of the picnic bench in the photo above and couldn't resist snapping a picture.


I liked this action shot that shows what activity we were participating in without revealing any of the kids' identities.


When I saw this giant golfer man shadow, I had to act fast and snap this picture. The boys were always in motion so shadow shots of them were hard to get.


This rope bridge railing left a beautiful shadow on the green mini golf fairway, don't you agree?


This is my first tree shadow picture. I like how the mini golf setting appears in the upper right of the photo. The rock that extends over the curb looks to me like a pig. Can you see the pig's snout, eyes, and ears?


Queen Anne's lace makes a delicate shadow in this picture. The rounded shadows in the bottom right of the photo are made by short log pilings bordering one of the golf holes.


Yes, I know my feet are in this photo. You can blame Marnie for that idea.


Another shadow self portrait against the green of the mini golf course. Hope you enjoyed the photos at least half as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flowers for Friday: August Splendor

Balloon flower

Dahlia

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Pretty spot to kick back and read a novel amid the lilies.


Gratuitous photo of my dog.
What do you suppose he's thinking?

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Photos from My Friend's Garden

Sunny yellow sunflower

Perfectly pink but what is it called?


Pale pink hollyhock (I think, correct me if I'm wrong.)

An intriguing spotted orange flower but what is it?
Tiger Lily (thanks, Mog)

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks with bee


Another sunflower variety


These cheerful yellow flowers remind me of daisies
with a cone flower center. Do you know what they are?

Perhaps a Yellow Coneflower Echinacea Hybrid (?)

Yellow dahlia
Yellow Rose (thanks, Mog)

Green Thumb Friend thought it would be fun for you to help identify the names of the flowers that I didn't know. If we're all stumped, I'm pretty sure she'll come through with the info. Meanwhile if you can help me out, please post in the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Reflection on Hearing Loss


I've Forgotten What It's Like...

to hear the phone ring from another room.

to unintentionally overhear a conversation.

to comprehend the lyrics of a song heard on the radio for the first time.

to sense someone's presence behind me.

to catch the punchline of a joke at the same time as everyone else.

to understand an urgent whispered secret.

to choose a seat in the back of the room.

Hearing people have so many abilities they simply take for granted, but I've forgotten what it's like to be a hearing person.