Friday, 31 July 2009

Deafinitely excited

Deafinitely Girly has news!

*catches her breath and squeals

She’s has won a competition!

It’s making Deafinitely Girly talk like Dobby from Harry Potter.

Erm, anyway – today Deafinitely Girly is struggling somewhat after a rather adventurous night out. It started very civilised in my favourite Thai restaurant with Snowboarding Boy. I stole his scallops as they were very good.

Then, we went to an Austrian bar in Notting Hill to meet Friend Who Knows Big Words and co, and it all went down hill from there. Do you know they serve litre tankards of beer there? They were so heavy that I burnt calories and built muscle just lifting one – and I lifted one many times.

It’s a truly crazy place. There is karaoke but only songs from The Sound of Music are sung, with the occasional Bohemian Rhapsody thrown in. I was desperate to sing something but I don’t know the words to songs – unless I actually sit down and learn them – and it wasn’t the kind of karaoke where the words show up.

Instead, I got talking to an old man who was singing and attempted to sing along without knowing the words, which went something like this…

Mamaaaa, just killed a man, dedededee-de-de head, pulled the trigger now he’s dead. Mama lalalala-lala

Hmmmm!

Thankfully, the litre tankards of beer numbed the hearing of poor Snowboarding Boy who was sat right beside me.

And today…

I have a sore head. Which makes for a very tricky Thankful Friday.

Ah yes, I remember now though, I am thankful for the fact I have won a competition. I’m going to wait until Monday before telling you all about it though as that’s when I find out more.

*squeak

One more thing I’m thankful for, is Onion Soup Mate – she’s coming to visit this weekend. There will be no onion soup as she’s sleeping in my room.

Nuff said really.

I’m off to dance around the office with glee about winning this competition, before having a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Go away noise

Just recently, I've been looking forward to weekends so much that Thursday has become the new Thankful Friday.

And today, was no exception. My teenage renaissance has passed and I jumped out of bed, looking forward very much to the day ahead and the anticipation that the weekend would soon be here.

I whizzed around my flat, washing my hair, tidying up, drinking tea, eating breakfast, and watching Neighbours (cripes, I miss Harold) before dashing out and jumping on a bus that was just pulling in.

And now, I don't LIKE it – this noisy, cramped, smelly environment. There are people everywhere talking, eating, yakking on phones, hitting me on the head with their HUGE handbags...

Right now, I'm craving peace.

It often amazes me, that as a deaf person, I would rather be in quiet situations. But then, when you actually think about it, it's like trying to enjoy a pork chop from a back-street butcher while knowing that everyone else is chowing down M&S’s finest.

When it comes to general noise, the quality of my hearing is so poor that quite often I'd rather not hear at all.

Sure, one-to-one conversation is fine. I can handle that. But honestly? The rest I find exhausting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of hermit, and I do like group situations. I'm also more than happy to participate in conversations, if I can follow them. But mostly I prefer to observe, to sit back, block out the din, and watch people interacting with each other.

You notice a twitch of annoyance here, a spot of flirting there, a total and utter disinterest, or very rarely, total adoration.

I don't think people take the time to notice these things in every day life.

If I could hear, I doubt I would either. But because I can't, I'm afforded this rich, visual insight into the world of complete strangers. And that's kinda fun.

Take this morning, on my bus. I'm sat at the back and to my right are three identikit blondes who seem to know each other. One is talking animatedly, while the other two have glazed expressions and keep elbowing each other. There's a private joke between them that the chatty one is oblivious to.

Then opposite, is a couple. He's absorbed in his Blackberry, tap, tap tapping away, and she's bored. Every now and then, she'll stroke his leg, ruffle his hair and, right now she's nibbling his ear. He's totally oblivious. She's totally defeated. If he took the time to notice the sadness on her face, I wonder if he'd care.

And finally there's the couple who clearly have no issues with who likes who, and they're currently chewing each others faces off about two rows in front of me.

But what they haven't taken the time to notice is the look of disgust on everyone else’s faces. It's kind of funny.

When I try and listen, I don't notice anything. So I think I am going to try and not listen. After all, I reckon the visual story I create is going to be a whole lot more interesting.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Swish, swish

Today, it is highly likely that Deafinitely Girly will get run over/walk into a lamp post/fall down an open manhole, or walk headlong into someone.

The reason for this is that yesterday, I had my hair done.

*swish, swish

and I cannot stop swishing it

*swish, swish

and looking at my reflection.

*swish, swish

I mean, cripes, I am almost embarrassed to admit to being so vain...

But I am!

This whole hair-being-done-in-a-salon experience is still relatively new to me. I used to get Ma to cut it with her sewing scissors. But now, every three months I pop to see Amazing Hairdresser and she cuts it, puts some non-chemical seaweed lightener on the front, and blow dries it into submission.

The result?

*swish, swish

Very swishy hair!

This morning I got up and caught sight of myself in the mirror

*swish, swish

Running for the bus, I swish, swished it and loved how the new cut felt heavier than my lanky old one.

Then of course on my walk to the office from the bus stop…

*swish, swish

*stare

OK, you get the picture yah?

*swish, swish

But really, to the untrained eye, it doesn't actually look that different. So people are probably wondering what the weird blonde girl, swishing her hair around while looking in shop windows, is actually doing. And when I fall down an open manhole because I was too busy looking at my reflection to notice it, they will probably remember the fact I smell like sewage on my emergence, not the fact my swishy hair is ruined.

Erm, this is worrying. I've just written an entire post about my hair.

*mental note to self:

No swishing in my lunch hour. I'd better go and find a cure for this extreme, but hopefully short-lived, dose of vanity I seem to be experiencing.

But in the meantime...

*swish, swish

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A weekend of hearing

Deafinitely Girly is back after her day of writers' block and raring to go!

It's kind of a relief to tell you the truth, as I was a teeny tiny bit worried about the fact I didn't have anything to say yesterday.

I always have something to say! Hell, I even talk in my sleep!

So anyway, where was I?

Ah my weekend! Well, to be fair, it is the reason I am still yawning and why London Aunt had to kick me out of bed like a lazy teenager this morning, but it was utterly brilliant!

On Saturday, it was Miss K's birthday party, held at a hard-of-hearing person's dream venue.

This bar, in Central London, was all-white inside – the walls, the sofas, the floor, the ceiling – and forget ambience lighting, that was white, too.

It kinda made you feel as though you were inside on a very sunny day, and no matter how loud the music was, I was able to see enough to lipread – quite a novelty when I’m on a night out.

‘Hurrah!’ I thought. ‘This is fun! A bar where I can hear.’

And then, we moved on to a pit of a place, with no lighting and music so loud I almost fell over.

‘Bother,’ I thought. ‘That's the night over for me.’ And I went home – striding past the queue of people clamouring to get in to what I later learned is quite an exclusive establishment.

Yawn!

On Sunday, it was Lovely Freelancer's wedding! I arrived early and parked in the grounds of the big country house where it was being held. The parking signs were more than a little vague and eventually it transpired that I'd parked in the garden, which apparently you're not meant to do. But, because I'd done it, everyone else followed.

*blush

Anyway, Lovely Freelancer, being so lovely, reserved me a place on the front row for her ceremony, beside her mum and dad, so I could lipread! I felt incredibly privileged to be able to watch – and hear – her say her vows, and there really wasn't a dry eye in the house.

She looked quite wonderful, too! All glamorous and quite Audrey Hepburn and the grin on her man's face said it all when he spied her for the first time.

I love that moment where the grooms face lights up when he sees the bride for the first time.

And now, a new week has begun. And because I'm tired, I'm hearing less! Yesterday, in my lunch hour a lady came up to me in Next and it took three attempts before I understood what she was asking me. She was foreign with limited English, which meant my admission of being deaf was not understood and she probably thought she'd picked on a crazy lady.

Which to be fair, she probably had!

Monday, 27 July 2009

More than words...

Today, I have no words...

It's odd, because after the weekend, I have lots to say – but it's just not translating itself into coherent sentences.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Let's hope so...

Friday, 24 July 2009

I hear Italian... you hear Australian

Hurrah! It’s thankful Friday and today, I am thankful for Miss K’s Rents as today it’s her birthday. Hurrah! She’s perpetually 21 don’t you know!

Miss K is having a birthday weekend of celebrations, with dinner tonight and a hot shot London party tomorrow... And then on Sunday, I’m off to Lovely Freelancers wedding...

…a weekend of dresses to wear me thinks.

In fact, I started the weekend yesterday when I wore a new dress out for dinner with Snowboarding Boy.

I took him to my favourite Italian restaurant. ‘It’s amazing!’ I told him. It’s a family run business of two restaurants and the women work in one restaurant, and the men work in the other.’

So we arrived, sat down, ordered, and the most delicious food arrived. A steaming hot plate of meatballs and fusilli pasta with the tastiest fresh tomato sauce, pizza with the most divine toppings, and of course, a carafe of wine.

We were chatting away when Snowboarding Boy suddenly said, ‘When you said it was family run and the women worked in one and the men in the other, I thought they’d be Italian.’

‘Um...’ I said

‘But they’re all Australian!’ he went on.

*blush

I had never noticed this fact! Perhaps because the restaurant is quite noisy so I couldn’t hear the twang but just knew the lip pattern was different so I assumed they were Italian. Who knows...

But I do know that I take all my friends to that place, saying the same thing as I told Snowboarding Boy, and fully believing everyone there to be Italian!

All of them must think I’m completely bonkers!

*cringe

But Snowboarding Boy is part of an elite group of people I know, who can point out when I mishear, simply don’t hear, or fabricate Italian accents where there aren’t any, so I didn’t get that mortified feeling and want to bury myself under the table…

And now, I’m looking forward to our next meal out in my local authentic Australian pizzeria!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

My teenage renaissance

Hurrah! It's Thursday!

Normally I jump out of bed ready to face the day with gusto. But just recently I've been needing a little more coaxing.

Take this morning. I set my alarm. It vibrated and woke me up. I hit snooze, and went back to sleep. And so this pattern went on for a good 40 minutes.

Then I sat up. I rubbed my eyes, stretched, yawned and lay back down again 10 minutes, before repeating the whole thing again for 10 minutes later.

Then, I realised the time and adrenalin kicked in to make sure I hurried and wasn't late. Magical stuff, adrenalin.

But it's quite alien to me, this not being able to get out of bed stuff. I feel like I'm having a teenage renaissance. Maybe I'll get spots too, and start slamming doors and screaming, ‘I hate you!’ when things don’t go my way...

The latter two, I'd definitely like to do actually. I could be a naughty teenager... again.

To back this up further, I also read yesterday that being naughty relieves stress and makes you happier. So I'm off to find something (legally – in case you're reading this, Rents!) naughty to do after work tonight!

And I think I know just the person to join me!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Give me a sign

The road I live on does my head in at the moment!

Every day, week in, week out there seems to be a new section of road works, a new bit dug up, and a new set of badly-timed traffic lights!

*squeak

So, Monday, I left early to account for the road works I knew were there, but guess what? A further 200 yards up the road, there were more. Which means, rush hour traffic has these two sets of traffic lights as well as the three regular set of traffic lights in that area – and to make matters worse, the timings on them have clearly been programmed by an imbecile.

*pauses and catches her breath

Now, as I've said before, I hate being late. So yesterday, I left early and took an alternative bus route to work. Except that was no better and after 15 minutes in stationary traffic I could feel my blood pressure start to rise. And so, this morning, I walked a little bit more, to try yet another bus route.

I'm on it right now, and although I don't want to speak to soon, so far so good.

In fact, the only things that have delayed my journey are idiots on their mobiles, Starbucks lattes in hand, crossing at lights when they're green.

Really, I don't think it should be illegal to run these people over. In fact, maybe buses should get those snowplough front things that American trains have so when they hit half-wit pedestrians no damage is done.

Wow, I'm feeling charitable today.

There is however one flaw in my plan, and that is how it affects deaf people.

Regular readers will know I'm always having near misses with traffic because I haven’t heard the siren or horn. So, if it wasn't illegal to run down pedestrians, then how would they know who was deaf, and who was just stupid.

Thinking about this reminded me of the shocking story of the Miss Deaf Texas who got hit by the snowplough mounted on the front of a train, while taking a short cut along the track and texting at the same time. She couldn't hear the train coming and the plough extended about a foot either side of the tracks apparently.

*eek

In Holland you can get a plate for your bike if you are deaf with the letters SH on it, which stands for Shlect Horen – bad hearing. I have one of these signs in the back window of my car as Big Bro sent it to me. But this means only Dutch people on holiday in England will know I’m deaf and they may also be slightly confused as to what this sign is doing in an English car.

But I do wonder if we should have something similar here – not just for bikes, but for cars, too. It would save me from the cringe-worthy moment where I don’t hear the ambulance/police car/fire engine coming up behind me until it’s visible in my rear view mirror and everybody thinks I am an evil person who doesn’t give way to life-saving vehicles.

It might even make me more eager to ride my bicycle in central London…

But then I think about the time I nearly wrote myself off on the side of a white van while changing lanes on Hyde Park Corner and failing to notice the car in front had stopped suddenly.

So, erm actually, on second thoughts, I think I’ll take the bus

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Coo-ee Summer!? Are you there?

OK, so I'm sat on the bus in jeans, a long-sleeved top and a long merino wool cardigan... And it's almost August!

This is not fair! I have a wardrobe full of summer clothes that remain unworn, and a whole load of winter clothes that are getting far too much wear for my liking.

What happened to the scorching temperatures that forecasters predicted? The sunshine? The cloudless blue skies?

They went to the rest of Europe, that's what – and left the UK in a perpetual state of winter!

Yesterday, I was in a newsagent and the headline read, ‘Rain continues into August.’

Argh!

I think basically need a holiday somewhere sunny. Just to recharge my solar panels. Snowboarding Boy had one and came back a lovely shade of brown, and The Rents are still enjoying theirs – I'm getting daily updates on the fabulousness of the weather.

*sniff

I want some fabulous weather. I want to lie in a park with the sun on my face and some good company.

I don't want this – it’s making me moany and I don’t like being moany.

*stomps off to make a cup of tea

Monday, 20 July 2009

Thank you for being my ears

I know it's not Friday yet – far from it in fact – but today, is deafinitely Thankful Monday...

...and I am thankful for NikNak!

I'm baking her wedding cakes you know and we've had loads of fun practising the various icing ideas and licking the bowls and beaters afterwards.

But NikNak is also great at 'getting' my hearing loss too – she's Fab Friend's sister – who also has a hearing loss – so she's kinda grown up with it. But, in addition to this, she's also just amazingly wonderful at anticipating people's needs.

She knows when I haven't heard her and always makes sure I know what's going on in group situations.

In short, I think I would be lost without her.

So last week, I put out and SOS to several of my 'EARS' – Miss K, Onion Soup Mate, Friend Who Knows Big Words, and of course NikNak – asking them if they could please book my car in for an MOT at a garage up the road from my flat.

They all replied saying of course they'd do it – but NikNak was the speediest – and so she booked it all in for today.

Now, as it's an MOT – that means certain things need to be done to get it to pass and that means phone calls, checking it's OK, etc etc and so NikNak has been negotiating this with the garage for me all day. It's meant something I would normally find incredibly stressful has passed without a hiccup.

It's amazing and I feel so lucky that I have such supportive friends always willing to be my ears.

I'll just have to make sure I do something for them all in return, as a thank you...

Cupcake anyone?

Friday, 17 July 2009

The sound of erm... thunder

Hurrah! Today is Thankful Friday – and today, I am thankful for Big Bro!

Last night, in London, we had a very, very big thunderstorm with lightening and everything.

Now, along with my deafness, I have a thing called recruitment, which I think basically means the gap between what I can hear, and what's painful for me to hear, is getting smaller, and is much smaller than most normal people – hence why I fall over when I hear loud noises.

I also have very good lower frequency hearing compared with my other hearing and this means that thunder, unlike raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, is not one of my favourite things.

So last night, after returning from a brilliant climbing session with Fab Friend, I was home alone. I don't normally mind this, but then the storm started, and I wasn't so sure.

FLASH went the lightening!

BOOM went the thunder!

EEK went Deafinitely Girly!

I changed my Facebook status to something about being a little bit afraid, particularly as my block of flats is currently surrounded by lightening rods – in the form of scaffolding.

But then, all the way from Clogland, Big Bro reassured me! He told me to look up the Faraday cage on Google – so I did. And while I still have no idea whether the scaffolding makes an efficient Faraday cage, it did make me feel a whole lot better!

It's amazing how big brothers can do that! Even though mine now lives far away and has Micro and Mini Clogs of his own, he still does a good long-distance job!

He sends me jars of Speculoos Paste because you can’t get it in England, and advises me on any technical purchases I may be about to make. When I wanted to buy Pink Top, he spent ages making sure I didn't buy a laptop just because it came in pink, which means Pink Top actually works, unlike the no-memory, no-power, tiny-screened one I almost bought, ‘because it was pretty!’

Anyway, ooh there is one more thing I am thankful for – and that is that at the end of the weekend, there is Sunday evening – and just thinking about that, makes me smile.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

I swear, I'm deaf

I pride myself in being able to lipread from any angle! From upside down on the sofa, one of my favourite places to be, and sideways in the office to the rearview mirror in my car when I’ve got passengers in the back seat.

For me, the lip patterns still make sense, which is great. But sometimes I do forget that this skill isn’t always 100% reliable – and one of those occasions was yesterday.

In my office I answer to everybody’s calls of attention, whether they want to speak to me or not. So I often find myself in a conversation I didn’t need to be in just in case they were actually talking to me.

So yesterday, when my boss, still looking at her computer said, ‘I’ve been thinking about sex’ I almost spluttered my tea all over yet another keyboard.

‘You talking to me?’ I said in a very Robert De Niro way.

‘Er yes,’ she replied.

‘Sex?’ I said tentatively.

‘Er no!’ she replied beginning to laugh.

She was in fact talking about DECT, which to be fair lipreads from the side the same as sex but isn’t quite so sexy as it’s all about digital telecommunications something or other.

*teehee

It reminded me of when I used to have to do the word test as part of my hearing assessment at the audiology clinic.

As I’ve said before, during my teens, when a lot of my hearing went, I became quite stubborn, angry, and a teeny tiny weeny bit attitudy about my deafness.

I missed important appointments there were long waiting lists for, I insisted on attending all my tests alone – excluding my poor Rents in the process – there may have been some door slamming, but perhaps my worst behaviour was in my word test one day when I had simply had enough.

My long-suffering audiologist had been testing me since I was 10, so she was more than used to the bundle of emotion I often was.

But, I’m not really sure she was prepared that day.

OK, so there I sat, in front of the big black speaker waiting for the man to delcare, ‘Word list one’ and so it began.

Now, word lists work on three levels, the first part of the word, the middle and the end. So that means there are lots of similar words listed together.

So angry was I that day about my deafness that I replaced every word I kind-of heard, with a rude one.

So ship became... erm can I swear on here?

Duck became...

And shunt became...

OK, OK you get the picture!!!!

So there I was, smiling sweetly, ‘trying my hardest’ and swearing my head off.

To her credit, my audiologist sat there and marked me, or rather failed me, and didn’t say a word.

And do you know, I found those few minutes more therapeutic than any hearing therapy can offer.

Sometimes you just gotta let off steam.

So I’m gonna duck off now.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Grieving my hearing

Do you know, London Aunt asked me if I could remember not being as deaf as I am now the other day, and it made me quite teary just thinking about it!

Obviously I pulled myself together relatively quickly, but in those first few moments where I contemplated that past, it was as though I was grieving an old friend.

I missed my hearing.

It was weird – for London Aunt as well as me, as I don't think she was expecting such an emotional reaction.

I think it's because there were lots of things I enjoyed about hearing when I was little. I loved my violin, listening to story tapes, watching nature documentaries with the husky narrative of David Attenborough. Having some decent hearing enriched my life.

And it's the things that enrich your life and then go, you miss the most, isn't it? Sure, it gets easier as time passes, and there are days where I don't even think about it. But it's always there, rumbling in the background.

However, I think that whatever you lose in your life that you love, whether human or not, you seek a surrogate when it goes. So I lost my violin, story tapes and nature documentaries, but instead I got the double bass and new non-musical hobbies, writing my own stories, and an interest in bizarre foreign movies.

And after all, I doubt at 28 I would still be listening to The Secret Seven, nor would I probably have time for the violin.

So it all makes sense, it's all balanced out.

But I do I still miss it…

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Can't sleep, count sheep

Today, I woke up at 4am. I lay there a while, wondering what had woken me up, and then my mind began to tick.

This is most unlike me! I normally sleep like a log, go out like a light, and every other sleep-related phrase there is. I rarely suffer from bouts of insomnia.

But last night I did. And being quite unable to lie there relaxed, I thought about the fact my car needs a service and a MOT, and began to wonder who to ask to call the garage to book it in, and whether they would mind me asking, and what information I would need to give them.

Then, I began to wonder which garage I should book it into as I don’t want one that’s going to rip me off, charge me for stuff I don’t need and plunder my hard-earned handbag fund.

And then, after that thought, I began to wonder how much that would all cost.

Tick, tick, tick went my brain! Whirr went my worries!

It was most annoying! I wanted to be asleep.

So then I tried mentally changing the subject to baking. I thought up a few new cupcake recipes, but then I began to wonder about my piping skills and whether they’ll be good enough for Niknak’s wedding cupcakes.

I almost got out of bed and into the kitchen to practise!

However, last night I actually had a success with my new secret butter icing. It went a bit weird at first and the cakes were lacking coffee essence because my kitchen cupboard was, but with Miss K as my official house taster, I think I can declare the new icing a success, and the piping wasn’t too bad either!

So with this reassuring me, I changed the subject again. I wondered about swine flu, what the weather would be like when I got up, who the people were in the cars that kept going by were, whether I should get up and do something constructive, what chores I had to do and so it went on, and on, and on until...

...my shaking alarm clock told me it was time to get up. Then, of course, I felt sleepy! And I still feel sleepy now, as I write this on Pinkberry on my bus to work.

I don’t like being pointlessly tired. I don’t mind it if I can say, ‘Yup, I am absolutely cream crackered because I went out last night and had the time of my life!’ But ‘Yup, I am absolutely cream crackered because I sat in bed wondering about EVERYTHING’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Tonight if I wake up at stoopid o’clock, I will not wonder. I will count sheep and relax my brain and jolly well get back to sleep... I hope.

*yawn

Monday, 13 July 2009

I'd like Top Gear with subtitles please!

Today, I feel like Bagpus when he does that really noisy yawn and goes to sleep – except I can’t go to sleep as it’s Monday and there’s work to be done.

Although I am tired, I have no complaints about the weekend. It really was most excellent! And it started being excellent on Friday night as I was walking home from work.

There I was, striding through the streets of London when, there right in front of me was James May.

JAMES MAY!

Now, I don’t get starstruck very often. The last time was when I met Katie Fforde, one of my favourite authors and gabbled at her incoherently, completely unable to stop. So, I used the memory of this cringeworthy experience to ensure I didn’t waltz up to Mr May and say ‘Hello’ or ‘Please can I be the female Stig?’ or ‘You’re much taller in real life’.

Instead, I stood there, stock still – which was still pretty embarrassing – and then I emailed Big Bro from Pinkberry to tell him!

On Saturday, I had a wonderful time at Lovely Freelancer’s hen do. We went for afternoon tea and then on to a fabulous jazz night, where we danced the night away with champagne.

And then last night – after my second afternoon tea of the weekend – I settled down excitedly to watch Top Gear… with subtitles… er almost!

To be fair, there were subtitles for most of it, but I swear someone over at the BBC is having a laugh with us deaf people, as the subtitles disappeared during the Usain Bolt’s lap as the Star in the Reasonably Priced car.

This meant I was left trying to lip read his accent while trying not to panic about whether the subtitles would ever resume or if I would have to cope with yet another half-enjoyed episode of Top Gear.

But then – phew! – the subtitles did thankfully return and the rest of the show was excellent.

But why are the subtitles so bad Top Gear I wonder? Is it because the subtitlers are so busy watching they forget to type? Or is it just that this is the only TV programme I am dedicated to watching – aside from Neighbours *blush – that it’s the only one I notice how bad the subtitling service really is.

Either way, I am hoping that next Monday, there will be no complaints!

Friday, 10 July 2009

My writing mojo

Phew! Thank goodness it's Friday!

Today, I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine gracing the city. It's already warming up and looks set to be a beautiful day.

However, this morning I am also yawning, due partly to my evening with Fab Friend. She gives excellent advice you know, and it was last night, over wine, that we set the world to rights, or some of it anyway.

I told her about a dream I'd had this week. Someone had given me a derelict building by the sea to open up my own cake shop. It was a tiny, grey stone shack, with big windows and barely enough room to swing a cat, let alone a piping bag.

I remember being completely amazed that I had the opportunity to do this but slightly scared, too.

And that's when I looked down and saw that covering the floor were hundreds of blue feathers. They were everywhere and I had no idea how to clear them up. And there, on the windowsill were the wings of a blue bird, glittering blue and turquoise in the light of my dream.

Birds, particularly dead birds are not the best news in dreams it seems, neither are derelict buildings and feathers. They all tie in to hopes and disappointment, which perhaps means I'm afraid of opening a cake shop!

Anyway, Fab Friend and I sat talking about our passions, about what really mattered to us and what was holding us back and it was then I realised that it's not just one thing for me.

I have lots of passions! I have a job i've wanted to do since I started plagiarising Topsy & Tim at the wise old age of 5, but without the other bits, my writing, Deafinitely Girly, my column in Hearing Times, my cupcake enterprise, and of course my cards, I don't feel complete creatively.

Recently, I've been neglecting the writing side. So last night, upon leaving Fab Friend's, I had two urges…

One, was to try out my new secret cupcake recipe, which I dreamt up last weekend in Brussels, and one was to open up my work-in-progress book and get writing. Seeing as my cake beater is quite noisy and it was quite late, I plumped for the latter.

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I laughed as I met new characters along the way, and felt as though the old ones were friends I hadn't seen in a long while.

It was great. I've rediscovered that aspect of my creative mojo, and for that, I'm thankful!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

I'm deaf, please speak slowly

When I was a teenager, Pa bought me a T-shirt with the words, ‘I'm blonde, please speak slowly!’ written on it!

I loved that T-shirt! It signified that start of me laughing at my deafness. Until then, I'd been a teeny, tiny, wee bit stroppy about it!

But what really got me, was that people are more likely to observe the instructions on that T-shirt to do with my hair colour, than if I actually tell them I can't hear and they need to speak more slowly!

Mental huh?!

And so, it got me thinking about what would happen if I had a T-shirt made in my Deafinitely Girly shop with ‘I'm deaf, please speak slowly’ on it. Would anybody buy it? I'm not sure I would really, as only I can laugh at my deafness, while other people can laugh with me. With blondes however, it seems it's acceptable to laugh at them, too!

Quite often, if I'm in an environment where I've made a total tit of myself from mishearing something and there isn't time to explain, I will roll my eyes and say, ‘Tsk, I can be so blonde sometimes!’ and the situation is defused! It saves my face when people think I've been rude, and saves their face when they're rude back.

But just occasionally, I relish in telling the intolerant/rude/tutting person that I'm not deliberately ‘acting like a moron’ – their choice of thought, not mine – and I am in fact deaf.

I did it the other day in a Central London store. I'd missed the mandatory bag question, fluffed an answer for the would-you-like-a-storecard question and totally ignored her, it seems, when she asked me to enter my PIN. She huffed and she puffed and threw my shopping bag at me, and that's when I'd had enough.

So, I smiled sweetly at her and said, ‘I’m terribly sorry if I came across as rude just then, I'm actually hard of hearing.’
Her jaw hit the floor and she mumbled incoherently to try and backtrack on her actions. But it was too late – the rest of the queue thought she was a rude shop assistant being nasty to the poor deaf girl.

Hmmm, was that really fair? I mean she wasn't to know I was deaf – but should she have been so rude even though she didn't? I think she should have given me a break before assuming I was the rude one.

And so, from now on I'm going to do that, too. If someone's walking slowly, bumps into me, or doesn't answer me when I speak to them, I will try and give them the benefit of the doubt, try and have a little patience just in case I'm missing the bigger picture. And maybe, eventually, I'll get the same in return.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Middle of the week

So, today is Wednesday! That's the middle of the working week don't you know – unless you're in certain Arab countries where apparently weekends are Thursday and Friday.

When you think about it, it's quite odd how our lives are dictated by those seven days of the week, and how they build the endless never-ending cycle of routine.

Anyway, for me, Wednesday is good – it's the countdown to the weekend – unless you're Snowboarding Boy, whose weekend starts tomorrow…

*turns a little bit green with envy

…and lasts a whole week and a half

*is now greener than Kermit and the Incredible Hulk – but thankfully better looking – I hope.

Wow, how off topic am I today. Where was I? Ah yes, my coming weekend is not a long one but it should be a fun one, as it is Lovely Freelancer's Hen Do!

Whoop whoop!

We're doing posh afternoon tea followed by an evening of jazz – so I cancelled the stripper and have managed to get a refund on the veils and fairy wings I bought in preparation.

*Teehee

It should be a fabby day where we celebrate Lovely Freelancer’s brilliance and where she lets her hair down after quite a stressful week. Champagne will be at the ready, as will the dancing shoes. I’m rather excited!

But now I must focus – it’s Wednesday and I have lots of fun to fit in between now and then!

Hurrah!

Right, back to work…

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Mussels in Brussels

Apologies for the lack of blog yesterday – I was sipping beer in Brussels!

Hurrah!

I did have the most fantastic weekend away with Uni Housemate – lots of laughter, chatting, a little bit of sightseeing, much food and of course, an abundance of the wonderful Belgian tipple.

After a peaceful Eurostar journey there, we navigated our way through the city on the most confusing public transport system EVER! There seem to be 300 tram lines that all go to the same place off one platform, with trams that never seem to come – it’s most odd. There are two metro lines that don’t seem to go anywhere useful and the tram is, as far as I can tell, under the Metro.

Most odd!

Anyway, we overcame this confusion largely by walking everywhere. But on Sunday, we were brave and ventured out to Antwerp. But getting there proved to be something of a challenge. The road to the station was closed. We followed the diversion. The diversion was closed. So we followed my sense of direction and took a three-mile detour and missed two trains.

Once on the platform, a train rocked up. ‘Is this our train?’ we thought. There were no signs, announcements or any other clues that this was in fact the right train to Antwerp. So we didn’t get on.

The next train rocked up. ‘Is this our train?’ we thought and jumped on anyway, as by that time we were two hours late. This train, we discovered, was going to Amsterdam – so if it didn’t stop at Antwerp, at least we could have had dinner with Big Bro before trundling back to Brussels.

But luckily, it stopped at Antwerp and we dashed off for a refreshing, erm… lemonade, followed by a refreshing erm… Leffe.

I liked Antwerp best out of the two cities. Perhaps because it had more of a Dutch feel to it and Clogland is one of my favourite places. We met up with a colleague of Uni Housemate, took a boat tour and erm… drank more Leffe.

Back in Brussels, we went in search of mussels – teehee – for Uni Housemate and found them in an eccentric establishment with old men dressed as naval officers. It was quite surreal, so we had an erm… Hoegaarden.

And then, all too soon, it was time for us to go. But not before paying 57 euros for breakfast – *gulp – which we discovered was not included in the price of the hotel.

*sniff

At the station we were looking forward to a chilled return journey back to London – but alas it was not meant to be. There on our train were hundreds of festival goers all returning to London, all having neglected to shower before boarding the train, and all smelling like last year’s socks.

Uni Housemate and I were particularly fortunate to be penned in by two such people of Australian origin – both boys – with questionable stains on their shorts and enough stubble to grate Parmesan. It wasn’t pleasant, and when they started snoring I thought Uni Housemate was going to hit them with her Teva sandal.

It was dee-lightful!

*Mental note to self – start saving for first-class travel from now on!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Deafinitely Girly – 1, deafness – 0

Phew, Deafinitely Girly is in a much more sprightly mood this morning, thanks most definitely to the lovely messages I got yesterday when I was having my sad-about-being-deaf day!

And after all, it's Thankful Friday today, so I gotta find something to be thankful for!

Firstly I am thankful to everyone who reads Deafinitely Girly because yesterday I made a milestone – I got over 100 hits in one day!

This made me happy!

At 11.45pm I was teetering at 98 visitors and then, at 11.58pm – BOOM! – the daily counter read 102!

Whoop!

It's humid in London today and so misty I couldn’t see the tower blocks from my kitchen window that normally loom in the distance.

But it's Friday and I'm seeing lots of my favourite people so I don't mind!

Very excitingly, Uni Housemate is coming up on the train tonight from Pompey as we're going on a trip!

Tomorrow morning at stoopid o'clock, we're off to Brussels! I'm really looking forward to it not least because I have a bit of a soft spot for Belgian beer.

Yum!

So yah, we're gonna explore, eat, drink and be merry!

And on another exciting note – Deafinitely Girly made a phone call today! It was tough, I couldn’t really follow what the man from British Gas was saying, but I got there, and Miss K is now on listed as living at my flat.

I didn’t panic, I said pardon lots, I explained my ear predicament and I got through it.

Deafinitely Girly – 1, deafness – 0

*big grin

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Today I am sad about being deaf…

Well, it’s a bee-yoooo-tee-ful day today in London. Hot, sunny and a sky so blue even Wise Friend couldn’t fault it!

I am currently feeling a bit tired as Miss K and I celebrated her moving in officially last night with bubbly followed by wine.

*sniff

Coupled with a complete forgetfulness to drink any water, it would seem I have a mild dosage of a hangover!

I don’t like hangovers – even the mild ones like today's. They make my head feel like it’s about to roll off my shoulders onto the floor. They make my eyes ache, and they really affect my hearing, too.

Today, and whether this is related to the hangover or not I’m unsure, I am struggling with my deafness.

It’s actually getting me down, and for the first time in a long time on this blog, I feel like I can’t find the silver lining. I mean I do know it’s there, but today it’s not enough. It’s not enough to lift me, and make it OK that I can’t do the same stuff as other people.

It’s quite a selfish attitude really, but then we all have off days, we all have selfish days and we all have days when things about ourselves annoy us.

Today is one of those days.

Today, I am sad about being deaf.

Today I would like to be hearing, just for a few minutes, just so I could make the important phone call that needs to be made – that I can’t make.

But what would help? I mean really – I can’t have that wish granted. I can’t be hearing – it’s not who I am.

So I’ve decided there’s only one thing for it – if you see me today, please give me a hug – or do an impression of the Wicked Witch melting in the Wizard of Oz – that’ll cheer me up, I can guarantee it!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The nutter on the bus goes 'You're not deaf!'

And so the heatwave continues! The BBC can't do a weather report at the moment without putting the NHS Direct emergency number at the start – a bit excessive perhaps? But then I am not elderly, vulnerable or likely to leave the flat without being slathered with suncream and my lovely hat.

Even at 7.30am this morning as I am typing this on Pinkberry, everyone on my bus looks like they’re slightly wilting at the edges – the men in suits are shuffling around trying to stop their trousers from sticking to their thighs, and the women seem to be wearing as little clothing as possible.

I do love this weather though. I mean, take last night, there I was walking home at 10.30pm, after a delicious dinner with Gym Buddy and Lovely Freelancer, and it was so hot I was in T-shirt!

Lovely Freelancer is getting married this month, and Gym Buddy is getting married in just over 400 days, and they're both very excited about their impending big days.

I am going to Lovely Freelancer's wedding. I've got a fabulous dress, which Ma has hemmed to my pigmy proportions, as it was about 2 feet too long! Even with the hemming I have to wear incredibly impractical platforms… er actually I just want to wear the incredibly impractical platforms.

*blush

Anyway, we had a brilliant catch up about weddings, jobs and life in general before tipping out and going home in our different directions!

On the way to my bus, I got given a free Evening Standard newspaper. Hurrah, I thought, something to read on the way home!

Hah! No chance!

I boarded a relatively empty bus and sat down. And right beside me sat a man. Except he tried to sit so close that just the natural act of breathing meant I could tell that he'd clearly spent the evening lying mouth open with his head under a draft beer pump in the pub.

And then, he began to talk. Except when you have more alcohol in your body than blood, this means speech is more than a little unclear! He definitely told me I was cute and he wanted to talk to me, but the rest, I have no idea!

I smiled at him politely in the way British people do when they're really thinking something quite rude, and hoped he’d leave me alone...

Hah! I should be so lucky!

The problem was, I really couldn't understand him. So I tried a different tactic.

‘I'm hard of hearing,’ I told him.

To which I received a sharp jab in the ribs with his elbow.

‘No you're not,’ he said. ‘You don't sound it.’

‘Erm, well I am,’ I replied, wishing he’d pass out and leave me alone.

But instead, he came up very close, and shouted in my ear, which really was the last straw, but seeing as I was penned in by him, I wasn't quite sure what to do.

So I let him do all the usual annoying deaf tests: the covering his mouth when he spoke to see if I really needed to lipread; the shouting then speaking really quietly to see which I understood better (the answer was neither); and the confrontational questions about whether I was lying to him to get him to stop talking to me.

By then, I had realised this man had a brain the size of a Fantail goldfish. So I decided to try and distract him by asking him lots of questions. Where had he been, where was he going, where did he live etc etc and it was then I discovered he was only on my bus for 2 more stops.

This made me happy, so happy in fact, that I was almost nice to him, in spite of his rib jabbing and quite frankly rude behaviour.

It's weird being told by a complete stranger that you're not something you actually are. I don’t think people are that judgemental about other disabilities.

I mean, if I was blind, people would know, and if I was physically disabled, people would awkwardly fall over themselves to make sure they did and said the right things. And yet with deafness, people are so flipping rude.

I was in a shop the other day where the tweeny assistant hadn't quite got the hang of using her lips when she spoke. After the fourth or fifth pardon from me, I explained I was hard of hearing.

‘Yeah right,’ she said incredulously and carried on mumbling away.

So gobsmacked was I that I walked away not having said anything. How can I get people to believe me? How?

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