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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Warning: Easter Can Be Hazardous to Hearing Health

One-eared chocolate bunnies (3769) [crop]
Originally uploaded by

Easter can be hazardous to hearing health....if you're a chocolate bunny. This fellow has just joined the ranks of the hard of hearing, ha, ha.

If you're laughing, you can thank Jonathan who put this idea into my head.

Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Big Dog, Little Dog: More Puppy Fun with Dundee

Here are two more photos and a short video of Dundee's
first playdate with Rusty in my kitchen.

Dundee checks out Rusty's food bowl.
That's a big bowl for such a small dog!

Rusty teases Dundee by walking
past him with a toy in his mouth.
Watch Dundee's reaction.

Eventually Rusty lets Dundee play with his toy
which is almost the same size as Dundee.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Puppy Love!

Happiness is a warm puppy -- Charles Schultz

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I'll Be the Eyes, You Be the Ears

One silver lining to my hearing loss is that I have become more sensitive to challenges that people with other disabilities have. For example, one of my work friends has mobility issues. She often complains to me about objects she finds carelessly set in her way. Things that can be easily walked around but are an obstacle to someone on a scooter. I don't think anyone intentionally leaves a library cart or other impediment out with the idea of blocking her access but the result is the same. Listening to her vent her frustration has raised my awareness of how I can make life a little easier by moving things aside near the doorway and always keeping a clear path to my cubicle.

Last week I assisted a patron in a wheelchair. She was unable to see the computer screen that another librarian was using to answer her question, so I brought around printouts for her to see. When she was ready to go to the stacks for books, I accompanied her. She commented how annoying it is that step stools are left out in every aisle blocking her access to the shelves. I had never considered that problem before and urged her to express this concern on our library's suggestion form even going so far as bringing over a blank form for her. I don't know if she filled it out or not, so I may need to follow up on this myself. I just hate the idea of someone feeling shut out from browsing our library collection.

Another time I helped a woman at the photocopier who admitted to me she has visual difficulties. "That's okay", I responded, "I don't hear so well. I'll be the eyes and you be the ears."

But even though I've become more aware of how challenging ordinary situations can be, I still have much to learn. This was demonstrated to me one day, when a student asked to be shown where our machine is that magnifies written material. She had been to the library to use it once before but due to her visual difficulties needed me to guide her to where it was located. I was happy to assist with her request. When we got there, I asked if there was anything else I could do for her and she explained that she needed to reschedule an appointment with a campus writing tutor. I suggested we use the telephone at the reference desk. We went back there, I dialed the number for her, and gave her the phone. When she was finished, I asked if there was anything else I could do. She said yes, that she needed to be shown the way back to the magnifier machine. Duh! I felt so bad that I had just assumed she could get back there on her own. It gave me a flash of understanding as to how hearing people can seemingly forget my communication needs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Flowers for Friday: Crocuses

First splash of color in the garden this year!

Bring on Spring!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Funny Mistakes While Listening to the Car Radio

I was driving in to work yesterday and listening to a Christian radio station. A female announcer began a promo for her talk show that would be on at noon. She said the question of the day was "What's the hottest thing in your purse, ladies?" I was puzzled by that choice of topic until she went on to explain that women tend to carry a lot of stuff around with them and sometimes there can be some pretty strange things inside their purses. Once she restated the idea using different words, the lightbulb went off - Aha! She had actually said, "What's the oddest thing?"

A few minutes later, a male radio host announced the subject that would be coming up next for discussion would be the Opposum's Creed. Huh? I had never heard of that! The context of its being a Christian station helped me realize he had actually said the Apostle's Creed. Chuckling to myself, I reached over and switched off the radio.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Must Have Been Quite a Happy Hour

When you come into the office and see the clock tipsy looking like this, it kinda makes you wonder what happened after work last night. Too much happy hour perhaps?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What to Expect When Getting Hearing Aids for the First Time

I have been contacted by someone who is getting her first pair of hearing aids soon. I want to give her some friendly supportive advice without overwhelming her with information on hearing loss.

So far I've suggested
  • Get adjusted to your aids slowly.
  • Begin wearing them in quiet places.
  • Use your own comfort level as a guide to how long to wear them rather than a set schedule.
  • Return to the audiologist for adjustments as needed.
  • This link for understanding her audiogram.
  • This link for understanding if her loss is mild, moderate, or severe.
My hearing aids are BTE open fit and are mostly comfortable and out of sight under my long hair. What would you respond if asked if your aids are comfortable to you? What do you say to people when they comment on your hearing aids?

What advice would you give to someone getting hearing aids for the first time?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dessert

St. Patrick's Day Themed Trifle

Angel food cake
1 small package lime Jello
2 large cans mandarin oranges
2 small boxes pistachio Jello instant pudding
1 container Cool Whip thawed

Cut angel food cake into 1" cubes and line bottom of glass serving bowl with them. Put a layer of mandarin oranges on top. Make lime Jello using 1 cup hot water but only 1/2 cup cold water. Pour the Jello over the oranges and cake. Place in the refrigerator to set for 2 hours or in the freezer to set for 45 minutes.

Prepare pistachio pudding. After the Jello is set, spoon half of the pistachio pudding on top, followed by half of the Cool Whip, then add remaining oranges (keeping out a few for decorating the top), then remaining pudding, then remaining Cool Whip. Decorate the top by making a circle with oranges. [I used a small cookie cutter to shape my pistachio pudding shamrock in the middle.] Place in refrigerator for 30 more minutes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hearing a New Sound

Canada Goose 2
Originally uploaded by SewerDoc

As I was walking in to work the other day, a Canadian goose flew overhead. It was flying very low and wheeling around in the air above me. I heard a rhythmic whirring sound and realized it was the sound of the bird's wings flapping strenuously. I had heard the sound of geese calling but had no idea that it was possible to hear their wings moving. I looked all around me to see if there was anything else that could possibly account for this sound. There wasn't. I was really hearing the bird. I was amazed.

Later I talked about my experience with my son and he explained to me that birds' wings do make a noise but only if they are flying low can you hear it. That was all the confirmation I needed.

So often my blog posts have been about missing out due to my hearing loss that I am very pleased that thanks to wearing hearing aids I could hear a sound that was new to me. I'm dedicating this post to Joey Resciniti, the mother of a daughter with hearing loss who left the following lovely comment on my post "A Whole New World".
It's neat for me to think of her having those same "wow" moments when she heard the world for the first time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sign of Spring?

I was looking around my yard for any signs of spring Saturday when I noticed a "snow robin" perched in this tree. What do you think? Does your imagination allow you to see a little birdie popping its head up out of a nest atop the tree trunk but just hidden from view? At any rate, that was the best I could do for now. How about where you live? Have you seen signs of spring?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Renewing My Driver's License

My driver's license was just about to expire, so I thought I'd better head over today to the DMV to get my renewal. Since there's a branch in my neighborhood, I didn't give it much thought. I assumed they'd be open on a Saturday. Wrong! I was so mad when I found that out at 10:05. I had taken my time getting ready and had dragged my son with me so he could get an idea of what to expect when it's his turn to get a driver's license. I thought it would be a good life lesson. Listening to mom swearing wasn't the life lesson I had in mind, though. We both had a chuckle over that later.

Meanwhile I had to rush back home and look online to find the next closest branch open on a Saturday. By this time it was 10:10. I found one about a half hour drive away that was open until noon and we headed off. When we didn't find it where we thought it should be my son urged me to pull over at a gas station and ask for directions. It felt like we were in the Amazing Race for a moment. Fortunately someone inside the gas station knew right where it was at and we weren't far away.

Pulling into the nearly full parking lot should have clued me in that this place was busy. The line to the door stretched past several other storefronts in the strip mall. We got into line noting the time was now 10:45. A few minutes later, a man came out asking that all the people who needed to take a written test come with him. Did I have to take a written test? I wasn't sure. It had been 8 years since my last renewal. I hadn't studied up on the rules of the road or anything. Uh oh. The man reiterated if you need to take a written test or even think you might, then come now. When he put it like that, I decided to go.

This moved us up near the front of the line. When it was my turn, the clerk said I needed a vision test only and handed me a number. I was so glad she didn't send me to the back of the line. Then we took our seats in a huge waiting room. There were probably a hundred people already seated. The time was 11:00.

This facility knew how to process people quickly. I was very impressed how deaf friendly the setup was. There was a large screen (almost as big as the kind in airport terminals) that showed which numbers were currently being served. Each counter had its own smaller screen that would post the number being served there as well. When the next person's turn came an announcement was made over the loudspeaker in a low pitched female voice which I could hear thankfully. Even so I continued to keep my eye on the screen so I wouldn't miss my turn. I had brought a book to read but hearing the numbers called off in a steady stream and looking up at the screen distracted me too much to concentrate on my book.

After 40 minutes my number was posted. I practically ran up to the window, greeting the clerk with a sunny smile and enthusiastic "Good morning!" I handed over my old license and then had to answer the tricky questions of height and weight. At that point my son was very willing to be helpful and provide the information I generally fudge on a bit. Drat!

Just when the clerk was finishing up my paperwork, I said, "Wait a minute." The words hearing aid had caught my eye on the piece of paper. I asked the clerk about it and told her I wear two hearing aids. She checked the box and said it added a restriction to my license. I told her I hoped that marking it would help a police officer to know I would need him to speak loud and clearly to me. She nodded and then added an apology for not realizing to ask me about hearing aids. I waved that off saying, "I doubt you see that many people my age wearing them."

Then it was time to pay and pose for my photo. Smile! The camera flashed and a minute later I had my new driver's license. We had finished the process at 11:55. Phew.

My question for you is does your driver's license state that you wear hearing aids? I'm asking because sometimes I actually don't wear mine in the car. Usually for one of two reasons: my hair is still damp from my shower or on highways the road noise that my hearing aids pick up is very loud. Now I suppose I have got to wear my hearing aids every time I drive. What do you think?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Put on Your Thinking Caps, Everybody

My friend and fellow blogger Liz is sponsoring a Quiz Game tomorrow on her forum. Everyone is welcome to participate. The quiz will be in the form of 6 brain teaser questions. All the rules will be explained just prior to the start in the chat room.

I happen to love TV game shows that test contestants' knowledge like Jeopardy! and Cash Cab. I also enjoy challenging my family and friends to a lively game of Trivial Pursuit. It's always interesting to find out what other people know and don't know and learn new things.

I am really looking forward to Liz' event but we need players to participate. The real point of the game is to enable people with hearing loss to interact with each other through the forum and get to know each other better. Bragging rights are a bonus.

So if you'd like to take me on at Liz' game, here's everything you need to know:

  1. Liz HOH Forum can be found at

  2. You need to become a forum member to participate in the quiz. It's free to join. All you have to do is agree to the forum's registration agreement terms, create a username and password, and provide an email address. Register here

  3. Quiz time is Friday March 5 at 10:15 p.m. UK
    For those of us in the US, that's 5:15 p.m. Eastern/4:15 p.m. Central
    *Remember to login a bit ahead of time, so Liz can explain the rules.
See you on the forum! If you have any questions, leave me a comment or you can leave a comment on Liz's blog here.
Update 3/6/10
Turned out I was the only one who logged in for the quiz so I guess I won by default, ha ha. We went ahead and played anyways and Liz asked me a literature question, geography question, and several brainteasers. It was fun connecting across the ocean (Liz is from England). Liz says it's my turn to host the next quiz game. I'll let you know more about that once it's arranged.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Respond When People are Difficult

Click on Image to Enlarge.

These words have been an inspiration to me. I have them taped to my computer tower at work where I can see them at all times. I hope you will find Mother Theresa's words helpful when you are faced with difficult people who would derail you if they could.