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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photo Fun: Scarecrows pt. 4


"Girl Scouts on Duty All Year Round"

"Nature's Creatures"

"Nature's Librarian, Autumn,
Growing a Garden of Knowledge"

I like the way the book covers
attached to sticks remind me
of a cemetery with headstones.

Now that I'm taking another look at this,
perhaps those book covers are meant to
represent the little seed packets gardeners
attach to stakes to mark their garden rows.

"Garden Goddess"


And I voted for.....

....the only Librarian scarecrow.

You guessed that, didn't you?

We librarians have to stick together!

Read more about the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum.
[So far no winner has been announced.]
View all my photos from the Scarecrow Trail
including several entries not posted on my blog.

Hope you had fun with these photo posts
and that you enjoyed a happy and safe Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photo Fun: Scarecrows pt. 3

"Fancy Fall Fright"

This scarecrow reminded me of Stephen King's
Carrie at first glance. But this unfortunate lady is
attired in a bridal gown rather than a prom dress.
The yellow and red stains made me wonder if she
had been involved in some sort of a condiment fight,
but if you look closely you can see she holds a paint
brush in her right hand. What do you think happened?

"What I Like About You"

A sporty scarecrow! I took this photo especially
for my son who loves all sports that involve balls.

"Magic Tree House Visits the First Thanksgiving"

I'm not up on Magic Tree House, but I
can spot a pilgrim when I see one.

"Miss Candy"

A refugee from Candyland?
Or perhaps the girl scouts were anticipating
their Halloween treats when they created her.

"Life Guard"

A Baywatch babe, Illinois style
I liked this one because I found it totally unexpected.

Tomorrow I'll post the final photos and reveal the scarecrow I voted for in the Girl Scout contest.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo Fun: Scarecrows pt. 2

"Hanna Lulu Hawaii"

"Miss Lei Low Scarecrow"

"Green Goddess"

My hair always does that on
windy days too. Oh, bother!

"Alice in Natureland"

I saw a little girl approach this
scarecrow and pour her some tea.
A charming and fun contest entry.

Another Alice in Wonderland themed scarecrow.

This is pt.2 of my photos of the Girl Scout scarecrow exhibit/contest at Morton Arboretum.

I have to admit I was quite surprised to see the Hawaiian themed scarecrows. That was a popular theme as there were more than these two of them. I would not have associated an island girl with a midwestern cornfield. Probably just a lack of imagination on my part no doubt.

Tomorrow I'll post more. Don't forget to let me know your favorite(s). I plan to post the final ones on Halloween and reveal the one I voted for then. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Photo Fun: Scarecrows pt. 1

"Ninja Scarecrow"


"Brownie Girl Saves the Earth"

I love her bucket head, oversized black
glasses, and long straw hair. Fabulous!

"A Scarecrow for Every Brownie"

For the 7th year in a row, local Girl Scout troops have decorated scarecrows and placed them on display at the Morton Arboretum. This year 33 scarecrows adorn the trail around Meadow Lake.

Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite. The winning troop earns an overnight outing at the arboretum and the second place troop wins a badge tour. There's no online voting option, so you have to visit in person to place your vote. But for those who can't make it there, I am happy to share my photos and then you can comment here on which one is your favorite.

I didn't snap all 33 but I did get a wide variety as you'll see. I've included the scouts' titles for their scarecrows in quotation marks for those I've been able to identify from memory and the flyer I brought home. In my final post, I'll reveal the scarecrow that got my vote.

If the Tables Were Turned

Liz from Liz's Deaf Blog posted this video recently. It makes such a good point that I thought it was definitely worth adding to my blog too.

For my hearing readers, what would you do if the tables were turned and you were the one with communication difficulties? Does this video give you new insight into the frustrations deaf people face everyday?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Support Group New Members Luncheon

October 2010 031x
Karen and me at Anyways Restaurant

On Saturday I was officially welcomed into my local ALDA hearing loss support group. Previously, I had participated in several of their social events, but it wasn't until I decided to represent the group at the Chicago Deaf Awareness Day that I sent in my membership application. My timing turned out to be perfect because it made me eligible to attend a lovely New Members luncheon two weeks later!

About ten of us met for lunch at Anyways Restaurant in Oak Brook Terrace. [I'm giving the restaurant a shout-out because their food was delicious and their service couldn't have been better. We were given a room with large windows which gave us plenty of light to see each other's faces and hands. Our room had excellent acoustics as well, which can be hard to find in a restaurant.] There were two other new members besides me. The other ladies, our gathering happened to be all female, were mostly longtime Chicago ALDA members. I was really impressed by their dedication to offering support and friendship to newbies like me. They were women who had been dealing with their hearing loss longer than I have and they are wonderful examples that "life does go on". Several of them signed as they spoke which I found both helpful and admirable.

I was very happy to find out that one of the other new members is a blogging buddy of mine, Karen from A Deaf Mom Shares Her World. Karen and I have known each other online and attended some of the same events but this was our first time to be introduced. I was in awe. Karen is a wonderful writer and reading her blog inspired me to share my own story by starting Speak Up Librarian. When she smiled approvingly at me, I felt ten feet tall. Later, after I'd taken my turn introducing myself around the table, she even commented that I'm a natural at sign language. I felt so accepted by her.

One of the other ladies had a hearing loss story that was similar to mine, so naturally, I was drawn to her and wanted to know more. She was friendly and I hope to get to know her better through future events. One of the ladies offers a monthly informal support group meeting with a free sign language class following. This woman has such a kind, nurturing manner that I feel certain I could learn to improve my signing skills from her. I had no idea this opportunity was offered before attending the luncheon.

At the table, I happened to be placed with my back to a fireplace with a fire going. The warmth on my back was matched by the glow in my heart from the friendship and understanding offered to me from Chicago ALDA.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photo Fun: Tree Roots Sculpture pt. 2

With these closeup shots, I attempted to frame the sculptures so you could sense their shapes extending beyond the two dimensions of the photograph. I really enjoyed interacting with the sculptures and my camera in this way. Let me know if you get what I mean. I'll be posting additional shots of the sculptures to my flickr account.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Photo Fun: Tree Roots Sculpture pt. 1

To me these tree roots look like they
are on the run. Where could they
be headed in such a hurry?

Perhaps this one has stopped to catch its breath!

This one stretches wide

As this one reaches high.

This one starts to dance a tango

While this one pirouettes in place.

Last Saturday my friend the Web Goddess and I visited Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL where I took these photos. This marvelous sculpture display is called Steelroots by artist Steve Tobin. Don't you agree that the sculptures look as if they are in motion?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Starkey Laboratories is Featured in New Book on Business

Heart & Soul, a new book by Robert L. Shook, discusses five American companies that demonstrate how doing good can be good for business. The companies featured are Starkey Laboratories (hearing aids), Mary Kay (cosmetics), Resource One (a recycling company that has a side business which provides employment for people who have suffered brain injuries), DaVita (dialysis), and World Wide Technology.

To create this book, the writer heavily relied on quotations from company personnel interviews so I am going to use quotes from the book in good faith. My review will discuss the Starkey Laboratories section of the book although for the record I did read the whole book and enjoyed learning about all of the businesses. But this is a hearing loss related blog, so I think the Starkey Laboratories part is of most interest here.

If you are unfamiliar with Starkey Laboratories, they are the only major hearing aid manufacturer headquartered in the United States. Heart & Soul describes the history of the company and its chief executive officer, Bill Austin. Before reading this book, I did not know that Bill Austin at one time contemplated whether he should become a doctor or an audiologist. In making the decision, he considered how to make the best use of his time on this planet and chose audiology as his life work. The book quotes Austin as saying
"You have one life to live and one life to give. You must make it count for as much as you can. I can give the gift of hearing, the vehicle that creates love and caring between people. And it allows them to learn so they can live more productive lives."
I was touched by that thought. I was also inspired by the following tidbit of company history. At the time that Austin acquired Starkey Laboratories, he was the owner of a company called Professional Hearing Aid Services. When he announced to the previous owner of Starkey Laboratories, that he was merging his company into Starkey and keeping the name, the man asked why he wasn't changing the name to Austin Labs. Austin replied "I want this company to be bigger than I am. I don't want it to be always associated with me." He also liked the Starkey name because of its two word combination. "We want to help people reach the stars and we want them to find their key to success."

Starkey Laboratories has been a success story and responsible for innovations including the first customized in-the-ear hearing aid. The company has had an impact worldwide through its Starkey Foundation which donates hearing aids to needy people in developing countries. Mission trips are regularly conducted to Latin America, Africa, eastern Europe, and Asia. Bill Austin personally fits many of these aids. He claims to have fitted more aids than anyone else in the world.

Bill Austin certainly has a heart of gold and a dream of helping as many people as he can to hear better. To learn more about the Starkey Foundation, you can check out their website.

Heart & Soul is available from Amazon. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about Starkey Laboratories, Bill Austin, and the Starkey Foundation. Before purchasing, please be aware that the section on Starkey Laboratories is 60 pages of the book's 315 pages and that the book's focus is on companies that do good rather than offering an unbiased depiction of the companies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Wear Hearing Aids or Not?

To paraphrase Shakespeare, "to wear hearing aids or not to wear them" is one reader's dilemma. She wrote me recently to ask the following question: Do people with mild or moderate hearing loss benefit by wearing hearing aids?

This has been her experience. One audiologist told her she didn't need hearing aids. A second audiologist said she did and she purchased a pair. She wore them for awhile, stopped wearing them, and has recently started wearing them again. In noisy situations and when people whisper, she finds that the aids are helpful. But she's self conscious about wearing them and has a spouse who is non supportive. She wonders if it's worth it when she can function without them.

I've emailed her my two cents on the topic. It's an issue I've debated myself as regular readers of my blog know. I often take hearing "breaks" without my hearing aids because listening tires me. But I do wear them most of the time. Somewhere I got the idea that wearing hearing aids with a milder loss helps your brain adjust to hearing through them and is better than waiting until the loss is greater. Her audiologist told her that by wearing them now she would not have as great a loss in the future as she would if she didn't wear them.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this?

  • Do people with mild or moderate hearing loss benefit by wearing hearing aids?
  • Does wearing hearing aids help prevent hearing loss?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicago Deaf Awareness Day at Columbia College

Today I had the unique opportunity to attend Chicago Deaf Awareness Day sponsored by Columbia College. I volunteered on behalf of Chicago ALDA, a chapter of the Association of Late Deafened Adults. In all there were about 30 booths providing information about services for the deaf and hard of hearing. The turnout was terrific. Many were Columbia ASL students. I enjoyed explaining to them that ALDA is a social group for people who lose their hearing later on in life. I gave anyone who looked my way an ALDA brochure, information on upcoming social events, and a handout on sign language.

Halfway through the day, two faculty members performed on the stage in the room. Both used humor and audience participation to tell their stories. Voice interpretation was provided for those of us not fluent in ASL. The performances were fun to watch and received frequent rounds of deaf applause - hands waving in the air.

Here are some photos from today's event:

My friend Gary at the ALDA display table

Peter Cook, Columbia College professor

Crom Saunders, Columbia College lecturer

A display by a private company that provides ASL interpreters

Captioned telephone

Additional phone choices for the deaf and hard of hearing

Display by disabilityworks

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Employee of the Month

Congratulations Teddy Bear from a Coworker

Yesterday I was surprised to find out I had been chosen as the university's Employee of the Month for October 2010. Although it was news to me, it turned out everyone else in the library was in on the secret. This is how they sprung the surprise on me: Two of my close work buddies lured me away from my desk for a "vital meeting" on planning the staff Christmas party. LOL, I fell for it and they played their parts well. We were in the midst of discussing menu and decorating options when we were suddenly interrupted by the arrival of two Human Resources employees. I should have had a clue at this point because it's a tradition here to inform employees of their award in a "Gotcha" kind of way. But like all the unsuspecting winners before me, I was completely caught off guard when the announcement was made. "What did you just say?" I asked in disbelief. My friends loved my reaction.

Before I knew what was happening a library cart laden with cupcakes, a veggie tray, and drinks appeared. Shortly afterwards the library staff showed up to offer me congratulations and share in the treats. I was flabbergasted that 35 people could have been in on the secret and I never suspected a thing.

Secretly I have coveted the Employee of the Month award for a long time. The tricky part is that it's based on a nomination submitted by a coworker rather than your boss. Since you can't nominate yourself, you have to hope someone's paying attention to your job efforts. It would be too crass in my book to outright ask a friend to nominate you.

Of course, I was anxious to know who had suggested me. It turned out to be a coworker in the cataloging department I worked in previously who I still worked with occasionally. While filling out the lengthy nomination form, she consulted with my boss and a coworker to get the details of my current job description right. Of all she wrote, I was particularly pleased with the following two sentences I want to share with you:

"From my observation it appears that my nominee loves the task of bringing our library material up to the 21st century through technology...With my nominee you can rest assured we won't be left behind in connecting to digital information sources."

Her words and the opportunity to share the moment with nearly everyone on the library staff meant so much. Just as much if not more than the $150 bonus and reserved parking space I also received.

It was wonderful sharing the news with my family after work. I saucily told my husband to just call me "Miss October". Wink. When I picked my son up from school, he noticed the leftover party cupcakes in the back seat right away. When I told him what they were for, he said, "Finally!" Awww. I'm feeling totally appreciated right now.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Praying Dog Video (Captioned)

This is a very sweet video with special appeal to Christian dog lovers. I wonder if Rusty could learn to do this...

Chicago Deaf Awareness Day

Columbia College offers a degree in ASL-English Interpretation.

I plan to attend this event and help out at a booth for Chicago ALDA (Association of Late-Deafened Adults). If you're in Chicago, please stop by.