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Monday, May 28, 2012

Do You Find It Hard to Be Happy?

Do you find it hard to be happy? I do. Worrying is much more my style. I tend to fear the very worst thing I can imagine at the moment is just about to happen and it will be ALL MY FAULT. I also take disappointments hard. Especially when someone close to me has let me down. I cry a lot and struggle with sadness. Despite the many blessings I've received and the upbeat outlook I present on my blog, happiness does NOT come easily for me. But I'm working on it. I thought perhaps I'd share some helps I've found, and perhaps you would share some tips with me.

One thing I do is keep the following words posted front and center at my desk at work:

I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be grateful. I’m going to smile a lot. I’m going to be easygoing. I’m going to count my blessings. I’m going to look for reasons to feel good. I’m going to reflect on positive events from the past. I’m going to notice positive things happening now. I’m going to anticipate positive things in the future. It is my natural state to be a happy person. It’s natural for me to love and to laugh. This is what is most natural for me. I am a happy person!
Source unknown

I really like the line "I'm going to be easygoing." If I can manage that with all the challenges I face on the job, then I can be proud of myself for that day's work. I probably also made my coworkers' day a little better too.
Hey girl library style

All of this is on my mind because I recently reread one of my favorite library books on the subject: Happiness is a Choice by Barry Neil Kaufman. This author recommends making happiness a priority in your life, being authentically you, letting go of judgments, being present in the moment, being grateful, and simply deciding to be happy. I love this book. It always makes me feel better to read it. I waste a lot of time thinking about how everything would be so much better if I were "thinner, healthier, stronger, prettier, etc....whatever "er" I think I'm lacking in at that moment. Or I make myself and others unhappy by wishing THEY were something they are not (at least in my perception). "Bears" Kaufman won't have any of that. He is all about acceptance and the importance of being happy right now.

I saw a cartoon recently that said "Making the Best of an Odd Situation". The drawing shows a biker guy with "love" tattooed across his knuckles on one hand, and "happiness" tattooed across the other hand which has 9 fingers!

Now it's your turn, readers. What is your secret to happiness?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blondie and Rusty

Love is blind.
Love is Blondie!

My little miss at 4 months and 40 pounds.

Look how tall she's gotten.

"C'mon, Rusty. Let's play!"

Blondie & Rusty - best buddies

Enjoying each other's company in the backyard
It's going to be a wonderful summer!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't Let Hearing Loss Keep You Home

The beach is my favorite destination!

It's almost summer time and many people are thinking about how to spend their vacation. In the U.S. gas prices are high and air travel is a hassle, so I can understand if some choose to stay close to home. But I don't want anyone to use hearing loss as an excuse not to see new places! With a little planning and self assertiveness, you can get where you want to go.

Can you see the palm trees
reflected in the window?

Last Saturday, I attended a seminar on travel tips for people with hearing loss by Tina Childress, an audiologist who's late deafened and wears bilateral cochlear implants. I'd like to share a few of the many things that I learned from her and offer my own thoughts and experiences.

For Travel by Airplane
  • Don't pack any hearing aid or cochlear implant equipment in your checked luggage. The scanner for this luggage is much stronger than the one for carry-on bags. I've had my luggage lost before, so I never put anything of value in there.
  • It's OK to walk through the metal detector with hearing aids or ear level CIs. But a body worn CI has more metal and may set off an alarm. I've wondered about the effect of metal detectors on my hearing aids and even asked security staff if it was OK... but even though they gave me the go ahead, I always felt a little leery about it. I never had any damage or problems occur, but I feel better knowing from a hearing professional that it's all right.
  • When you reach your gate, let the staff at the desk know you have a hearing loss so you can be informed in case of delays, gate changes, or other announcements. It's in your best interest to sit as close as possible to the desk to make it easy for them to find you. I have not actually approached airline personnel about my hearing loss, although I do sit as close as I can to the desk. Now that I know Tina has done this, I will be more assertive myself.
  • Hearing aids and CIs will not interfere with the plane's navigational instruments and do NOT need to be removed during takeoff and landing. I don't like to wear my hearing aids on a plane because of the engine noise. I was surprised to hear from Tina that occasionally cochlear implants are mistaken for Bluetooth devices and the difference has to be explained. By the way, if you ever meet Tina yourself, be sure and ask about her Redtooth story - it's hilarious!
For Travel by Automobile
  • Turn on the light at night for better lipreading. I wasn't sure that was legal. Good to know!
  • Purchase an extra wide rear-view mirror which eliminates blind spots and reduces headlight glare. That sounds like just what I need! That's a good tip for everyone in fact.
General Tips
  • When traveling alone on a plane, train, or bus you may want to let the person sitting next to you know about your hearing loss in case an emergency announcement is made. I might do that if the person were friendly or solicitous, but for me it would definitely depend on the person! Some people make me feel uncomfortable. Use your gut instinct on this.
  • Bring along the customer service number for your hearing aid/cochlear implant manufacturer. If you need a new part, you can get one shipped to your travel location. I had never thought of that. It would be very helpful to have that number looked up in advance. Just in case.

Tina is an outstanding speaker and there was much more than this to her presentation. If you ever get the chance to attend "Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Travel Tips for People with Hearing Loss" or any of her other workshops, I highly recommend it. 

I wish you all safe travels wherever you choose to go this summer. Do you have any plans made?

Monday, May 14, 2012

People Hearing Better is the Talk of the Town

Last Friday my hearing loss story was featured on the People Hearing Better blog sponsored by Second Sense Hearing Solutions. If you're interested you can read the story here.

You may also be interested in their summer Talk of the Town contest. Three winners will receive an iPhone 4S. All you have to do to enter is complete a form and answer one of the following questions:
  1. Who or what inspired you to treat your hearing loss?
  2. Who or what inspired you to upgrade your hearing instrument?
  3. Who did you inspire to treat hearing loss or upgrade a hearing instrument?
Complete contest details can be found at the People Hearing Better blog. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Please note this is not an endorsement of Second Sense Hearing Solutions as I have never used their services. I received no compensation for sharing my story with them or for posting about the Talk of the Town contest.

Rabbit Man Photo Fun

  This is a sculpture I've dubbed Rabbit Man. From here
it looks as though it might be made of stone or clay.

 Standing closer, you can see some wires.

My favorite photo. I wonder what the Rabbit Man
is "thinking". His eye is so enigmatic to me.

 Rabbit Man's folded hands. They look as
though they're touching. But they aren't.

From this view you can see the hands are separated.

In fact, they are so far apart, you can
walk inside this sculpture.

A view from inside Rabbit Man.

This close up photo shows that Rabbit Man is made
up of tiny metal fibers. I can't imagine how much work
it took the artist to shape them into Rabbit Man.

What do you think of Rabbit Man?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Captions Set Automatically to ON

I just learned this really cool tech tip about a piece of HTML code that will turn captions on automatically when you embed a closed captioned YouTube video onto a website.

Simply add to the embed code
after the movie URL and inside the quotation marks.

I did this for a short video I made for my job and it really works. A viewer still has the option to turn the captions off, but what I like is that the default setting is for accessibility! To find out more and see an example, check out YouTube's help page Showing Captions by Default.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yes, You Can!

It's so important to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. When people try to tell you no or you can't, you mustn't listen.
I had two experiences within the last year where people tried to discourage me. The first was when someone said she didn't think I would win the Oticon Focus on People Award because the other finalists were so impressive. That hurt. Although she was right about the caliber of my competitors, I knew that she did not know me as well as she thought she did, and I was very happy when she was proved wrong. The other time was when a group leader solicited ideas by email for upcoming meetings and then immediately vetoed a suggestion I made. In a group email, I was told in detail why my plan was so very bad. Ouch. I withdrew my offer. But then I turned around and within the year made my idea a reality for a different support group with fantastic results. I knew my instincts were right regarding this particular idea and I'm glad I stayed with it. These two incidents, while unpleasant at the time, ended up making me stronger.
The inspirational video below shares the stories of deaf people who have found success in their careers through hard work and persistence. I watched it tonight with my teenage son (who's hearing) and told him to think about the important messages shared about believing in yourself and making your dreams come true. I recommend everyone make time to watch it. The video runs 15 minutes.