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This blog is no longer active as of 2017.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I received some thoughtful gifts this Christmas. The ones in the first four pictures came from my dear friend Liz, who lives across the ocean from me in England. She's the writer of Liz's Deaf Blog as well as a photography blog and a blog narrated by her cat, Miley. I met Liz in person when I went to England in 2010. We keep in regular contact through email.

I had been thinking to myself that I ought to buy a pretty pen for my purse so you can imagine my delight when I opened the box (on the right in picture #2) and found a pen with my name on it. Isn't the bookmark next to the pen lovely? The photo doesn't do it justice. It has a 3D effect and contains lovely facts related to my name on the reverse side. I always associate the color purple and butterflies with Liz.

Photo #3 shows two books she gave me on castles in England, a postcard of a Robin Hood statue, and a Union Jack tea towel. Just the thing to tide me over until season 4 of Downton Abbey begins.

The plaque I am holding in photo #4 says Life's truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way. Liz is certainly a true friend of mine who has added to my happiness this year and ever since we got to know each other. Thank you, Liz. I'm fortunate to have you as my close friend.

More thoughtful gifts I received include those from my Aunt Louise. She reads my blog regularly and is a great source of support for all that I do. She took seriously my posts on my desire to do more public speaking and sent me two recommended books on the subject. I can't imagine a nicer gift than having someone take your dreams seriously and help you to achieve them. Thank you so much, my dear Aunt Louise.

This year I am especially thankful to share the holiday with my family. Although they are camera shy and seldom featured on my blog, I wanted to include photos of them in this holiday post.

The first photo is of my husband Rob. He's my rock. The second is of my son Charlie. He's holding an Army cap ornament. He has enlisted and will be serving our country after he graduates from high school. I don't know if he will be spending the next Christmas with us or where he will be posted, so this ornament is poignant.

The third picture is of my Dad. It's hard to see but he's holding a pocket New Testament. It's our family tradition that my Dad reads the Christmas story from Luke and Matthew before we open our gifts. As soon as he got into my house, I asked him, "Dad, did you bring your Bible to read the story?" With a big smile on his face, he said, "Of course I did."

The next photo is of my Mom holding Melody. My mom was really happy to meet her today. Although we had a present for Blondie to unwrap, we all knew that the real present for her and all of us was Melody, the new puppy who has claimed our hearts. She's a little sweetie, just adorable and Blondie's shadow. Happy Holidays from my home to yours.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Meet Melody

Meet Melody, our new golden retriever puppy, just 7 weeks old.

Golden retriever puppy, 7 weeks old.
Our little beauty

Golden retriever puppy sitting up looking alert.
She's ready for playtime.

Woman holding golden retriever puppy in her arms while seated in a recliner.
Me and Melody bonding.

Golden retriever puppy sleeping.
Sleepy little girl.

2 year old golden retriever awake next to sleeping golden retriever puppy.
Blondie watching over her new friend while she sleeps.

Melody and Blondie meet for the 1st time.
(with captions)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Surprise

A kindergarten girl with Deaf parents chose to sign the songs for them rather than using the generic hand motions with the rest of the class at her school's holiday concert. Now that's what I call inclusive communication! I bet her surprised parents were so proud. Whether you know sign language or not, this short video is guaranteed to lift your spirits this season. I could watch it over and over to see how this little girl stole the show. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Holiday Decorations
I love the optical illusion of the Christmas packages floating in air! It was really fun to take this photo of the decorations where I work. Hope you enjoy it. You can click on the photo to enlarge it. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Lies Ahead?

Presenting on Digital Preservation last month
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what I will do once I have my Masters degree program completed. Previously, I have thought about working in public relations for a nonprofit organization, preferably one which advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing.  But recently, my aspirations have changed direction and I'm thinking instead about being a communication trainer. I have really enjoyed the several opportunities for public speaking that have come my way this fall through my job and my class on leadership and group communication. Mostly because they each gave me a chance to connect with people and share my enthusiasm for a subject. I think it would be great to create and teach a course on how to communicate effectively with people who are deaf and hard of hearing. From stories I've heard and read on the Internet, there seems to be a real lack of awareness on this topic. It is especially hurtful to the deaf/hard of hearing person when their own family members don't have these communication skills and sensitivity. I've been exploring the subject of inclusive communication on the Internet and what I've found resonates with me. Maybe becoming a communications trainer will be the next step in my career.

My family is getting a golden retriever puppy on Friday. Blondie has been so lost without her pal Rusty. We are all looking forward to this new addition to our family. Stay tuned for heart-warming photos/video to come.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dodge the Highlighters

The other day I was in the car with my 17 year old son and I asked him if he had any good school stories to share. The week before he had told me of his heroics when a snake was discovered in the school lunchroom. The story went that his teacher had unsuccessfully attempted to capture it using two Styrofoam cups. When Charlie and two of his buddies heard about the situation, they raced from the gymnasium to get to the snake. Charlie got there first by jumping over a counter. He picked the snake up behind its head and waving it menacingly at his classmates took it outdoors.

It was only a harmless garter snake, but still - what a story. I could picture the whole episode in my head. With that in mind, Charlie began telling me about finding a knife that day. Not a butcher knife or switchblade, simply a table knife. But naturally, he didn't tell me that part right away, just like he didn't mention that the snake was a garter until after he got the effect of seeing my face react to the word snake.

Anyways, he told me this occurred during Dodge the Highlighters. Hmmm. When he said that, my mind got busy imagining a scene of unsupervised teenagers tossing neon colored pens at each other and ducking behind tables and chairs. In disbelief, I said, "Is that what you were supposed to be doing?" He said "Yes, that was our M period today." When I asked where was the teacher during Dodge the Highlighters, he said, "No, Mom. I said Adopt a Highway!" Oops. He had been outdoors participating in a service project to pick up trash along the roadway instead of having an out of control study hall session. We got a good laugh out of that hearing mistake and it gave me a story of my own to share.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Update on Grad School Progress

Speaking in public on November 2.
After more than a full year in grad school, I thought I would share how it's been going. In less than a month's time, I will have completed my 5th class  towards my master's degree in Communication Studies. The classes taken so far are:
  • Introduction to Graduate Communication
  • Research Methods
  • Project Management
  • Principles of Effective Fundraising
  • Group Communication and Leadership
This represents 12 hours so I am one-third of the way towards the 36 required hours.

I have enjoyed learning many new things. With the practice I am getting, I have improved my public speaking skills. I now find it enjoyable to present in front of groups. I like to watch their facial expressions and check their comprehension and involvement with what I am saying. I think my hearing loss helps me tune in to the audience's nonverbal responses. It may not be apparent here, but my academic writing skills are improving as well. I'm really glad I took on this challenge although I must admit it has been difficult and not easy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Deaf World Library and Museum

Another exciting project in the works is the creation of a digital collection of deaf studies. To make this dream a reality, Utah Valley University professor and Director of American Sign Language & Deaf Studies, Bryan Eldredge received a $50,000 grant from the Washington D.C. based Institute of Museum and Library Services.

To learn more, read the official press release.

Kinect Used for Sign Language Translation

Very cool project. I especially like the part near the end of the video where they show a deaf employee using the system.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Farewell, Dear Rusty

Rusty - final photo
Sad, sad news. My beloved golden retriever, Rusty died earlier this month. He was nearly 9 years old. He was part of our family for eight years. We had many good times with him, several of which were shared on this blog. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Brown Sugar Incident or Sweetest Dog Ever!

The Soggy Doggy Easter Egg Hunt

His first blog story, Pancakes for Puppy.

A short story of mine that included Rusty was published this month in the ALDAReader, a publication distributed at the national ALDA convention. The piece was based on this blog post in which dependable Rusty served as my "icebreaker" at a hearing loss support group event. I never dreamed when I submitted the story that he wouldn't be around when I received my copy. I'm really glad I picked that one to share.

Rusty and Blondie - final photo together
We are all heartbroken and Blondie is a little lost without her buddy. She stayed very close to him during his final days. In the first photo, you can even see her fluffy tail by Rusty's nose.  Everyone asks when are we going to get another dog. We are just not ready to think about it yet.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I've Been Reading: In Pursuit of Silence

After stumbling upon it in Google Books, I recently read In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise by George Prochnik. I think it's a wonderful companion to the book I reviewed in 2011, One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet by Gordon Hempton. If you missed that review, you can read it here.

Prochnik's book is also a quest of sorts. He travels all over to explore why humans are noisy and to seek out places of silence. Naturally, he encounters the deaf community along his way and devotes part of a chapter to discussing Deaf Space, an inclusive architecture project at Gallaudet.

I highly recommend his book to you as a very interesting read. To learn more about the author, check out this online interview (deaf friendly as it is all text, no video) in which he discusses his affinity for silence and why people are afraid of silence.

If you've already read this book, published in 2010, let me know what you thought of it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You Might Be an Audiologist If ...

I was asked by ReSound if I would be willing to share this post of theirs with my readers. I found it amusing and said yes right away. I hope you will enjoy this lighter moment with me today. You may want to pass it along to your hearing care professional and make their day too.

You Might Be an Audiologist If ...
  • Every time you tell someone your profession, they say “huh?” or “what?”
  • You have a random copy of hearing aid software in the trunk of your car.
  • You have alcohol swabs hidden in every pencil case and otoscope bag you own.
  • Ears are the first thing you look at on a person.
  • You cringe when someone mentions using Q-tips in their ears.
  • When you’re drunk and feel like the world is spinning, you grab someone and ask them to look at your eyes to see if you have nystagmus*.
  • You bust out your sound level meter app….. in church.
  • You have ever used the term “externship”*.
  • People ask you if you’ve seen the light on the other side
  • You’re not grossed out by cerumen*.
  • You have an urge to push an elderly person’s earmolds in properly when you’re standing behind them at the supermarket checkout.
  • In public places, you try guessing what kind of BTE a person is wearing like you’re on a game show.
  • You have a pair of ety plugs* on your keychain.
  • You look at what type of earphones people are using at the gym as they walk by you.

*Not being an audiologist myself, I needed to look up a few of these terms. Here are explanations for
Cerumen means earwax.
Ety plugs are earplugs.

Here are some more responses from ReSound's Facebook community shared with me via email:
  • You find battery stickers all over everything you own, and especially on the bottom of your shoes and in your hair.
  • You give your card to the guy in the car next to you with his speakers blasting and tell him to call you in a few years.
  • You can't help but look at other people's ears in a crowd to see what types of hearing aids you can identify from a distance.
  • You find yourself talking loudly for no reason.

Did you enjoy that? Can anyone come up with some answers for You Might Be Hard of Hearing If...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Affects Library of Congress

On the Library of Congress' website is this message:
Due to the temporary shutdown of the federal government, the Library of Congress is closed to the public and researchers beginning October 1, 2013 until further notice.

All public events are cancelled and web sites are inaccessible except the legislative information sites  Thomas. gov and

How do you like that? I hope this situation is resolved soon.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Writing and Photos Are Featured This Week

I am really pleased to share with you the news that two websites have featured my blog this week!

The first site is Quilt Shop Navigator which highlights quilt shops across the United States and Canada through video interviews with shop owners and photos from inside the stores.

So how does that connect with me? In June 2012 I had the joy of touring the Amish Country Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail in northern Indiana which I posted on this blog here, here, and on flickr. When the Quilt Shop Navigator was in the area this year, the flowers were not yet at the height of their beauty. So, for this week's post on a quilt shop in Middlebury, Indiana, three of my photos were used to illustrate the article.

I was contacted online first by the author who requested permission which I was happy to grant her. As a bonus, I enjoyed getting to know her a bit through our emails back and forth and hope she will continue to stay in touch. I may even take up quilting someday. It looks like so much fun.

Here's the post with my photos and a nice shout-out for my blog.

A second site to feature my blog is Healthy Hearing as part of a series they are publishing on bloggers. Speak Up Librarian is included in an article on professionals with hearing loss. I was very touched by the kind words used to describe my writing. I hope you will take a look for yourself. As a bonus, you can find out about other blogs on hearing loss.

Here's the post which features my blog writing.

I'm very grateful for this recognition and for all who read my blog and share the journey with me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Skunk - 2, Dogs - 0

Recently, our dogs have had two unhappy encounters with a skunk in our backyard. P.U. Multiple baths later and hours outdoors drying off, they have been allowed back into the house. 

P.U. That skunk smell is hard to get rid of. We used a home made recipe from the internet which combines 1 qt. hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 2 teaspoons dish washing liquid. We also used a product from the pet store. (We had to visit two stores because the first one was sold out of it. Apparently skunks are active right now around the area.) Then we used normal dog shampoo and conditioner with oatmeal. 

As you can see from the photos below, the dogs were not too happy about their cleanup. Maybe next time they will learn to run the other way when that skunk comes calling!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Google Docs Online Forms

I learned a new thing today and thought I'd share it with you in case you haven't discovered it yet. Google Docs offers unlimited, free online forms. The service is easy to use. I'll walk you through the basics.

  1. Log into your Google account and select Drive from the menu options - located between Gmail and Calendar. 
  2. Click on Create, the red button at the top left. 
  3. Choose Form. 
  4. Pick the style/look you like. 
  5. Type the name of your form in the Title box. 
  6. At this point, the form workspace will open. You can now type a description of your form. 
  7. Next, enter the data entry fields for your form which are presented here as questions. 
  8. Use the Question Type drop-down menu to choose between text boxes, multiple choices, check boxes, lists, and more. 
  9. If you need any assistance, click on the Help button and select Forms Help.

A nice thing about the Google forms is that Google will tabulate the responses into a spreadsheet for you. No need to keep track of response emails. You can share the form with the people you choose and they will be able to view the responses spreadsheet too. You can also embed the form into a website.

This is a great tool for those who need to use simple web forms. Please be aware that it does not have all the bells and whistles that come with forms you have to pay for through a subscription.

If you have used Google Docs online forms before, I would be interested to hear about your experience with them as I am just getting started. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That Girl

Unlike Marlo Thomas, I don't like being That Girl. Although for me That Girl doesn't refer to being a single woman/aspiring actress who wears gorgeous clothes and has the perfect boyfriend. No, in my case it refers to "that" girl - you know, the one who asks for special accommodations.

This week a new semester is starting and yesterday I met with my professor. I had to talk to her about a problem I saw with one of the assignments. According to the syllabus, for one of our class sessions, we would be watching a movie and then writing a reaction paper to it. My problem was that the movie is a "classic" and unavailable with captions.

After last semester's class experience of watching a required film with no captions, I was not going to waste two hours of my life again. So, I took a proactive approach and looked for a copy with captions. Thanks to the abundance of libraries in my area, I got my hands on three different DVD releases of the film. They were all marked CC - closed captioned - either in the catalog records or on the DVD boxes. But to my disappointment, it wasn't true. Yes, they had subtitles for the film, but only in Spanish and French, not in English. That is not the same as CC!

Well, I gave it the old college try by watching the film at home with the volume turned up. I'll admit that I got the general idea of the movie and understand why the professor picked this powerful film for our class; but many of the conversational moments passed me by. Luckily, the next day I found an English captioned version on YouTube. You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the title of the film. That's because I don't want the person who uploaded it to YouTube to get into any trouble! What they did was incredibly helpful. I watched the film online and saw how much I had missed without being able to "read" the dialogue.

Yesterday, I shared my experience with my teacher and asked permission to be excused from the class the evening the film would be shown. She was completely understanding and gave approval without hesitation. Of course, I will be submitting the required reaction paper. I then asked my usual questions about how many will be in the class and how the room will be arranged. I found out there will be 30 students and we will be sitting at tables placed as a rectangle so we can all face each other. She told me to be sure and let her know if I had any difficulty hearing and keeping up with the discussions.

Although I hate being different and having to call attention to it, I find it's necessary if I want to succeed. I hope that by doing this, it will raise my teachers' disability awareness and make it easier on future students with hearing loss.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Friend is Featured in a Book!

Karen Putz has published a new book called The Passionate Lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People. Karen has been a role model to me for years so that is reason enough to buy the book. Tina Childress, another person I admire, has her story included in the book which was another reason for me to buy the book. But what got me right over to was reading on Facebook that my friend Jonathan Nicoll was also featured in the book. Way to go, Jonathan!

I got to know Jonathan, who lives in Canada, because he was one of the early readers of my blog. During the summer of 2011, he took a cross-Canada car trip on his own, from Ontario all the way to British Columbia. Returning home, he came through my area and my family and I took him for breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants. It was so fun to get to meet Jonathan in person. He's a very interesting young man who is a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing. I don't want to tell you too much about Jonathan because I want you to read his story for yourself in Karen's book. And no, you can't borrow my copy. Jonathan has promised to autograph it for me the next time he's in Chicago.

Rusty says, "If I could read, I would buy this book. It features my pal Jonathan as well as famous people like I. King Jordan, Howard Rosenblum, Kathy Buckley, and CJ Jones. There are 24 inspiring people profiled."

My friend Liz has posted her own review at

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Last Saturday, I took a day trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with ALDA Chicago. In the morning, we had a board meeting in Cary, Illinois. That town is northwest of Chicago and located en route to Lake Geneva. My husband Rob came with me and we left our house at 6:30 a.m. to have plenty of time to get to Cary by 9:00 a.m.

On our way, we stopped at Walker Brothers pancake house. In the photo at left you can see the impressive looking exterior of this restaurant. The inside was decorated like a castle. I had a yummy breakfast of 3 pigs in a blanket (sausage links wrapped in pancakes) and Rob had french toast. Later, we were very glad we had stopped around 8:00 a.m. and had a substantial breakfast.

The board meeting ended promptly at 11:00 a.m. because we needed to arrive in Lake Geneva in time to board the boat for our lake cruise at 12:30 p.m. We were booked on a cruise that included a tour of Black Point Estate, one of the oldest mansions on Geneva Lake. [Lake Geneva is the town and Geneva Lake is the body of water.] Rob and I enjoy seeing historic homes and were looking forward to it. The board meeting location was about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Lake Geneva, so we thought we had plenty of time.

As you can see from the photos, the skies were blue and we had a beautiful day for travelling. What we didn't know was that Lake Geneva was having a Venetian Festival that weekend drawing more than the usual number of tourists. Traffic on the road was slow-moving getting into the town and parking near the waterfront was difficult to find. Sadly, we missed our boat's departure.

But all was not lost because one of the group members arriving ahead of us but also too late for the boat made arrangements for 7 of us to board the next boat leaving at 1:00 p.m. We got on just in time to claim the last available seats.

The cruise company graciously provided us with scripts of the tour narration which were very helpful in following the descriptions of the million dollar homes we were sailing past. Hooray for deaf advocacy! But I have to admit that looking down at the script and then looking up at the shoreline made me a little seasick. My husband bought me some 7Up from the ship's bar and after drinking that my stomach settled. I did have to take a break from my reading, though, and just enjoy the passing scenery.

The 1:00 cruise did not include the stop at Black Point Estate so we got back earlier than expected and had free time to explore. As Rob and I had missed lunch completely, our first stop was for ice cream cones. Mmmm.

I've included a few photos of things that caught my eye as we walked around: an angel fountain, a horse with rainbow colored "socks", and a pub sign.

We met back up with the group from ALDA Chicago at 5:00 p.m. to have dinner at Popeye's restaurant located on the waterfront. I had a delicious perch sandwich for my meal. It was fun to be together with my friends and catch up on their lives. But I was really puzzled when people kept telling me that after dinner they were stopping to buy funds. I had no idea what they were talking about despite repeated attempts on my part for clarification. It wasn't until we were nearly home that night, that I figured out they were talking about buying fudge. Smile.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Reader Request: Blondie & Rusty

I was asked by a blog reader to post a recent photo of Blondie & Rusty. So here they are! It's hard getting the dogs to pose together, so I hope you will enjoy these two separate portraits. The dogs were wearing flag bandanas in honor of a special family occasion.

Blondie is now a year and a half old.
Rusty is almost 9 years old.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Update on DDW's Work in Costa Rica

Recently I had the privilege of talking with David Justice (DJ), co-founder of Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) . Long-time readers of my blog may recall I took a trip to Costa Rica with DDW in 2011. DJ brought me up-to-date on what's new with DDW and Costa Rica. With his permission, I can share with you an excerpt of our online chat conversation reformatted as an interview.

Sarah: Did you ever imagine DDW would grow into what it is today when you and Christy started the organization in 2007?

DJ: When Christy and I first took that trip our goal was 'to make an entertaining video of stories in 10 different sign languages from 10 different countries' and now here we are working with governments, post-secondary institutions, and national associations of the deaf on organizational development and long term sustainability projects. [It's] all very exciting! Our long term goal as we expand is to incorporate international teams to provide capacity building in sign language-- so not just DDW people from USA, but a combo of people from USA and Philippines will begin this "train the trainer" organizational development cycle in the next country.

[I told DJ about my recent Train the Trainer experience with the Library of Congress.]

Sarah: The Train the Trainer program was exciting because I got exposure to experts in this field which I knew nothing about. And now with having to do the training myself, I have to learn the subject and be very engaged with it, to be able to do it.

DJ: That's great. It's something we try to do with our work in international development -- involve those we are working with in every step of the process. Even our discussions/trainings are always "co-facilitated" by one 1 DDW person and 1 person from PFD, or ANASCOR, or whichever organization we are working with. You definitely see a quicker sense of empowerment and self confidence that way.

Sarah: Speaking of ANASCOR (AsociaciĆ³n Nacional de Sordos de Costa Rica), what's new?

DJ: They are in the process of establishing another Deaf advocacy organization in Costa Rica called "Siglo 21" or "The 21st Century". They will be independent of ANASCOR but will work very closely together with ANASCOR. The goal of Siglo 21 is to focus on enforcing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Are you familiar with that law?

Sarah: No, I'm not.

DJ: CRPD is an international disability law that is very similar to the ADA we have here in the USA. The Costa Rican government passed this law 5 years ago and every two years, they are required to submit a report to the UN explaining how they are amending or developing policies that are accommodating for people with disabilities. In their first two reports, ANASCOR was not mentioned at all, and LESCO [Costa Rican sign language] was only mentioned once, so there is a "disconnect" between the government (who controls policy for education/employment/etc) and the Deaf community. That is the gap that Siglo 21 is going to focus on closing up. They plan to conduct some concrete research on the needs of the Deaf community to have evidence behind their complaints, then offer constructive advice to the government on how to improve language access, deaf education, job training, etc. It's a big project, and will take several years-- but they are moving along. Our [DDW's] role has been to provide "process consultation" on the development of Siglo 21 as an organization. For example, we worked with them on refining their mission, vision, values statements; conducted a SWOT analysis, established a timeline with committees to achieve their goals etc.

Sarah: That is a big project, I am glad DDW is supporting them.

DJ: I went to Costa Rica last summer with Dr. Scot Atkins who works with DDW (and as a professor at NTID) and we made some great progress together. We will likely return again this winter at some point and will likely visit Costa Rica once a year or every two years. Perhaps if we expand, we can run a similar exchange program like we have [recently] done with the Philippines.

Sarah: Thanks for the updates, DJ. Everything sounds great.

DJ: Pura Vida!

To learn more about Discovering Deaf Worlds, please visit their website

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Artist Gary Price

I am currently reading a book called The Passionate Lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People. I'll be writing more about it soon. But in the meantime, I wanted to share with you about Gary Price, a friend of mine, who is living out his creative dreams.

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending Gary's Meet the Artist exhibit and reception at a local coffee shop. I've known Gary for about 5 years and this was the second exhibit of his I've attended. Gary is very personable and his paintings are colorful and lively. Gary says that his specialty is creating art on canvas or paper, using paint, charcoal, pastel, pencil and collage. You can view his work for yourself online here. He also has a shop on Etsy.

Going to the Edge Coffee House was a fun outing. My husband and I went together as a sort of date last Friday night. He bought a large cup of coffee and I got a delicious chicken salad croissant with a broccoli salad on the side. (That was my dinner as I hadn't eaten yet.) Gary's paintings, priced for sale, were hanging throughout the coffee shop. Gary also had art prints, note cards, and magnets for sale. I purchased his lion magnet (see photo below) for my office because it reminds me of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Outside on the patio area of the coffee shop, a musical husband and wife duo were performing. Although we spent most of our time inside with Gary, we did get to hear the last three songs of their final set. It was a relaxing way to end our evening. All in all, it was nice to celebrate the art of talented regular folks.

Photo from The Edge Facebook page

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

That Sounds Gross

I was at a picnic recently and thought someone offered me mustard or bad eggs. Say what? It took me a couple seconds to realize that what was actually offered was mayonnaise.

Try saying them both without the consonants, "a ayz", and you can hear how similar they are. But quite different in appeal, ha ha.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Learning About Digital Preservation & Owning My Hearing Loss

Train the Trainer Class - July 2013 - Photo by Library of Congress
I am in the second row, wearing purple.

This summer I had a fantastic work opportunity to learn about digital preservation from the Library of Congress through their outreach and education program. The Library of Congress is committed to getting Americans to think about digital preservation and start taking steps in that direction. To achieve their goal, the Library of Congress is presenting Train the Trainer workshops throughout the country. The trainers who attend the training are charged with presenting the information to their local communities to spread the word on the importance of digital preservation.

For a brief introduction to digital preservation, please view the video below.
Note: Captions not available :(

During our training, I connected with a librarian who works near me. The two of us plan to present our training together. We want to present a workshop called "Getting Started with Digital Preservation". Neither of us have done digital preservation before, so we are going to discuss the concepts we learned and then share how we have gotten started implementing them at our libraries. We will probably offer our workshop sometime in the fall. Then, we will also participate with a more in-depth regional workshop series to take place next spring.

When I went to this training last month, I was planning on not saying anything to anyone about my hearing loss. I would just manage as best I could. Ha! I didn't even last a day at that. This is what happened. The first morning of our class, I arrived twenty minutes early to get the best possible seat for hearing the speaker. I found one at the front of the room with a great view of the projector screen and located well away from the projector itself. I knew from past experience that projectors can make plenty of distracting background noise. I thought I had it made.

But later that day, the trainers had us count off by numbers 1-6. I ended up being a number six. This meant I had to move to the very back of the room and be part of group six. So much for my effort of arriving early to get the best seat. Then, we had some group work time where all the groups were talking among each other at the same time. Oh, the hubbub! I was relying completely on lipreading at that point. Then, we broke up to receive more instruction from a Library of Congress trainer. But, of course, now I was at the back of the room. I had to do something. I told my group, "Sorry, I have to move up to the front to hear" and pulled my chair up to sit at a front table. That group looked a little surprised to have me join them, but I simply explained, "I need to sit here to hear." The trainer didn't even seem to notice.

I was so glad later that I took the initiative to make that move. I met someone at the front table who was compassionate about my hearing loss and one of the training organizers told me later she just assumed I had moved to be able to see better. LOL, I had never even considered that possibility.

Through this training opportunity, I learned about digital preservation AND the importance of owning up to my hearing loss. It was a little embarrassing in the moment to move my seat, but not a big deal in the long run.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Editing YouTube AutoCaptions

Did you know that it is very easy to use YouTube's AutoCaptions feature (known for inaccuracy) to create correct closed captions for your own videos? If you have never done this, here are the steps:

  • Login to your YouTube account
  • Click the drop down arrow next to your account name in the upper righthand  corner
  • Choose Video Manager from the options displayed
  • Select the video you want to edit
  • Click the drop down arrow next to the word Edit
  • Choose Captions from the options displayed
  • When the video opens on the right it will say Active Tracks with a box labeled English automatic captions already there.
  • Click that box and the automatic captions with the time codes will display.
  • Next, play your video.
  • When you catch a mistake in the captioning, click on the words and retype them correctly.
  • When finished, click Save a Copy. This creates a new caption track labeled as English.
  • If you did not finish the editing, you can choose the English version the next time and continue where you left off. Then click on Save Changes.
  • To view the captions, remember to choose the CC button and select English.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Freedom Through Forgiveness

Have you ever felt stuck?

Yesterday, I saw this deaf-friendly video [no audio, only music background] which helped me to see how I could be set free by looking at myself in a new way.

I couldn't wait to share it here. I am unable to embed the video, but you can view it for free here. I hope you find it as beautiful as I do.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 4th of July and Your Dog

This is a photo of Rusty from 2006. He was "dressed up" to watch a 4th of July holiday parade.

Rusty enjoys being with people and attending picnics with good food smells and possible table scrap opportunities. But, fireworks, not so much.

Dogs' hearing is even more sensitive than humans and many dogs become frightened by the loud booms of fireworks. It's important to be considerate of our canine friends and keep them inside in a familiar environment if fireworks are audible in your neighborhood. You may want to turn on the television or radio at normal volume levels to help mask the sounds. In the morning, check your yard for any bits of fireworks left over from a neighbor's party. These tips will help your dog stay safe this holiday. More dogs run away from home at 4th of July than any other time of the year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Perennial Pleasures

We cut back on our gardening this year and have not planted any annuals. As a result, there are bare patches in my garden beds. But, there are also spots of color from our perennials planted in previous years. Here are some photos of what's blooming now.