Friday, 28 August 2009

Most deafinitely thankful it's Friday

Gosh, where to start in being thankful on this vaguely sunny Thankful Friday?

Well, firstly I am thankful that it is payday! YAY!

Then, I am thankful that it is a Bank Holiday!

Next, I am thankful that I will see SuperCathyFragileMystic for tea and cake and photo taking tomorrow at some point!

In addition to this, I am thankful to Superdrug for sending me Clapham Weekender tickets – most kind of them, don’t you think?

And let’s see…

I am also thankful that my month’s schedule at work is – touch wood – successfully drawing to a close.

And finally…

Well, I am thankful for flapjack.

I made a big batch of it last night to keep up the blood sugar in the office today… and it seems to be working.

No one’s bouncing off the ceiling yet though, but give it time…

Deafinitely Girly will be back on Tuesday! See you then.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Did a noise wake me?

This morning, I woke up at 4.45 am. I lay there for a while, sleep seemed like an impossibility.

I then looked at my phone and answered a text mesage from SuperCathyfragilemystic about the weekend – I forgot to tell her it was a techno dance festival I'd invited her to as part of my Superdrug Summer Insider prize, and she was dreaming of hippies, flowers, tea and cake.

*Oops

And then I started writing this…

*yawn (It's now 5am)

When I wake up in the night, I always wonder whether it was sound that woke me. Whether my ears hear better when I'm asleep! They certainly hear better in my dreams, which I love - sometimes I have whole dreams that are spoken in whispers just because I guess my subconscious knows it can!

But on this occasion, it could have been the things digging into my back when I rolled over that woke me up – my glasses.

You see, because I can't hear at night, in the dark, and I am also very blind, I always have my glasses close to hand, and sometimes even on my face when I sleep – I have a designated old pair so I don't trash my nice Marc Jacobs ones.

Anyway, it basically means that if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can at least see something.

Well that's the plan. But it doesn't really work if you wake up lying on them.

I find I have a definite, unshakable need to be able to see, all the time. Except when my eyes are closed of course.

My sight, however short, is to me, my last remaining useful sense. If I can't see, I feel trapped in my own head, kind of claustrophobic if you will.

I remember once, going to an idyllic cottage in the middle of nowhere, settling down to bed, turning out the light and totally freaking out. There in front of my eyes was nothingness. It was the scariest thing.

But right now, writing this on Pinkberry, the glasses are off – I accidentally popped both lenses out when I squashed them – so I'm writing this with the screen held very near to my nose. I'm also being forced to confront my blurry world, both visually and audibly.

There's a low rumble of a plane, a vague outline of the window and that is it.

It's not so bad.

Facing my fears at 5am! What a constructive way to spend insomnia.

Time to see if I can sleep again, I think.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Come back Summer

And, today is Wednesday, the middle of the week, hurrah, hurrah!

The countdown continues.

Wednesday is technically the end of my week at the moment, too, because it’s the day that I have to submit all my Superdrug Summer Insider stuff. Each week I keep a little Excel spreadsheet of stuff I’ve done and post it off to them. It’s all rather meticulous and thankfully I haven’t forgotten to do this yet.

This week, I took the ‘Feels like Summer’ message on tour and also reviewed the new Nokia 6700 classic.

But rather ironically, it’s thanks to Pinkberry that I really am able to keep up with all this extra blogging. Internet access allows me to update Superdrugloves.com on the move to ensure I don’t miss my deadlines or neglect Deafinitely Girly’s usual gig right here. Even better, emails pinging through day and night mean I am always up-to-date on my latest tasks, assignments and other such lovely things.

Perhaps I should have reviewed the Blackerry Pearl huh?

But today, it’s Pinktop that’s getting the outing as I am sitting on the bus tap, tapping away. I’m nearly at work, it’s 7.39am and threatening rain. Winter is here.

*sniff

I miss summer – it was here at the weekend and then it went away again. I miss picking out what to wear instead of working out what I don’t mind getting wet in the rain.

Come back Summer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Wishing for subtitles

Today is Tuesday.

I’m starting to wonder if I will begin every post like this, this week. Is it a countdown to the weekend? Quite possibly, as I’ve got a nice long one ahead with lots of fun things planned. I’m off to a festival with SuperCathyFragileMystic courtesy of Superdrug, and then possibly on to a carnival with London Aunt!

There may also be a tracksuit party in there somewhere, the dress code of which I am slightly in denial about. I haven’t worn a tracksuit since, well, since I had to at school, and even then I looked on the wrong side of geeky and chunky all in one go.

Anyway, first of all, I’ve got a whole four days of the week left to go and somehow, it seems wrong to be wishing it all away.

But it got me thinking about the origin of the weekend. Where did the idea come from? And which mean guy decided it should only be two days long?

A quick glance at Wikipedia told me that Weekend is a term referring to a two traditionally non-working days in a seven-day week, and then gave me a whole load of song titles with the word weekend in.

Handy!

NOT!

Clicking on seven-day week got me to a new page. Here, I was informed that the seven-day week is used in most countries. It didn’t give me the origin of the weekend, but it did tell me that:

1 week = 7 days = 168 hours = 10,080 minutes = 604,800 minutes – except at daylight saving and leap seconds…

Eh? Leap seconds…

Damn, this Wikipedia is like the Pied bloomin‘ Piper of Hamelin – I can’t stop following it.

So, a leap seconds is a positive or negative one-second adjustment to Coordinated Universal Time…

*snooooore

And that’s enough learning for today.

Isn’t it amazing though how modern technology allows us to instantly find things out? Debate in the pub over something? Google it from your phone and settle the argument.

I remember the days when my school desk contained a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, calculator and encyclopedia. Now you can use them all from your phone or laptop, all in one go if you really want to.

It’s quite mind blowing to think that 15 years ago, mobiles were a relatively rare thing in people’s lives and school essays were still hand written on sheets of lined A4 paper.

But now I get to my old bug bear, the thing that I regularly moan about here… why is technology for deaf people not leaping and bounding its way to being ultra convenient? Why isn’t every movie at the cinema accessible? Why isn’t every programme on every TV channel subtitled? I turned on Fiver the other day, one of Channel 5’s digital channels and the programme showing wasn’t subtitled.

I spoke to Girl Who Can’t Help But Knit, who works in theatre, and she helped me to understand why not many plays are subtitled. A lot of work and money goes in to sorting this out – script changes and last minute alterations mean that many, many man hours are spent making sure the subtitles flow perfectly with the play. And having seen two things with subtitles, that were impeccable in every way, I can now appreciate that it’s not as simple as just typing out the script and pressing play. She also said that quite often, there’ll be no deaf people in the audience making use of the Stagetext and then it really is a waste of money.

It’s kind of a catch-22 I guess. One night of subtitles – what’s the chance of every deaf person who wants to see that production being free? But two nights of subtitles? That’s twice the cost and still no one might show up.

I’m not quite sure I know what the answer to this is really. I’m off to have a think.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Ear electrocution

Good grief, is it Monday already?

This morning I got up at Stoopid O’clock after my vibrating alarm clock shook me awake. Then, after I dozed for a while, contemplating the day ahead, my vibrating phone buzzed away on my bedside table, reminding me it was time to get up.

I snoozed both, and lay there a while longer before the whole thing happened again.

This made me grumpy – I could have got out of my bed vertically today and it would still have been the wrong side. And the reason for this is that I didn’t want to get out of it at all.

And I think that’s because I am a teeny, tiny bit tired from the weekend shenanigans.

In all fairness, I did have an absolutely super weekend at The Rents with Snowboarding Boy and my entire family. The occasion?

Big Bro was over from Clogland with his family, Maxi-, Mini- and MicroClog. This was indeed a momentous occasion, so we all pitched up to say hello and eat a fabulous roast dinner and pavlova and crème brûlée made my Ma.

There was talking, trampolining, drinking, Connect 4 tournaments and more talking – and so, unsurprisingly, my ears got tired.

It was great though – all of us together, chatting on the patio, but following conversation was quite tricky. Thankfully I had lots of people to ask for help and translation.

The only thing to plague the day was wasps!

GAH!

Loads and loads of wasps! One of which stung Snowboarding Boy. But to help keep them away by erm… killing them, we had a tennis racket with electrified strings on it. So when they came near we swiped at them and

POOF!

they died.

It was a tiny bit grim, but it worked.

Then, after a few beers, the Jackass antics began. Nottnum Cousin 1 electrocuted Nottnum Cousin 2’s ear. He then retaliated resulting in a squealing Nottnum Cousin 1.

But then, Nottnum Cousin 1 got cocky and went for Big Bro’s ear, who retaliated with a dead-leg punch – remember those?

You’d think it would stop there, wouldn’t you? But no…

Nottnum Cousin 1, all of his own accord, decided to see what happened if he licked the electric wasp-killing tennis racket.

And the answer?

We all found it hilarious. He felt a lot of pain, lost control of his eyelids and erm…

Well that was it actually, but it was enough to put an end to the experimentation with that.

Luckily, no one attempted to electrocute my ears. I think, being deaf, my ears are treated with a bit more care, so I’m not sure they would have dared.

Immunity by deafness! I like it!

It’s weird to think that just this time yesterday, all this was going on in the baking hot weekend sun. I miss it all already. I miss everyone already.

And now, I’m looking forward to the next time…

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I can't text

Phew!

Today, I am busy!

So busy in fact, that I think I forgot to breathe earlier. All of a sudden I got pins and needles in my fingers and felt all light-headed. Is there no end to my blondeness?

I am so busy in fact, that I don’t even have time to write text messages, which is unheard of for me! As a deaf person, text messages are my lifeline – I always have time to write them, mainly because I am so fast at typing them… or at least I was.

I have news… Pinkberry is taking a sabbatical and I miss her.

But the wonderful upside to this is that as part of my prize for being a Superdrug Summer Insider, I got sent a fancy new Nokia – a 6700 classic, which next week I will be reviewing on Superdrugloves.com. The phone is shiny and bright and although it’s not pink, I’ve got to concede that it’s really quite smart to look at and I do already love it quite a bit.

But there's just one hitch… I can’t work it yet!

Snowboarding Boy handily pointed out that I might be able to work it better if I read the instruction booklet but being a girl, I lost this almost immediately and so now, I am winging it.

It’s different to Pinkberry in practically every way. Emails are pulled not pushed apparently and I can’t leave programmes running while I work on something else. It’s much more of a phone I guess – but then erm… it is a phone.

I think I will grow to like it, but right now, I miss being able to whiz out text messages. I now understand why people who don’t like text messaging or find it hard, never text.

London Aunt doesn’t like texting – I get the shortest texts in the world from her, and when I am with her, she asks me to do her texts for her. My Gma however, is a text whiz! She’s quite something, even talking in txt spk, which sometimes I actually have trouble understanding. Is it right to have a grandma who’s more street than you?

Ah well, at least if I really miss Pinkberry so much that I have to go back to her, I know the perfect person to give my all-singing, all-dancing new phone to!

Look out for my Nokia 6700 Classic review on Superdrugloves.com, next week!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

My clumsy day

Yesterday, I slipped off the pavement while running for a bus and ended up on my backside in the middle of the road with a great big double decker bus flying towards me. My life flashed before my eyes and then as I staggered to my feet and got off the tarmac just in time, I just felt insanely, incredibly embarrassed.

People were staring for heaven’s sake!

*blush

But it really was the icing on the cake of embarrassing moments that happened to me that day. Take my journey to work. I was walking along the pavement when I got distracted by a handbag in the window of LK Bennett, and walked smack bang into a roadworks sign.

Then, during a particularly busy moment at work, I was trying to write something on my notebook while walking across the office, when all of a sudden I realised I’d hit something squishy – the printer man – who was more than a little shocked by the blonde girl stomping all over his feet.

*cringe

Then, at lunchtime, I misjudged a corner and walked into it. Misjudged a gap between people and bumped into them. Misjudged the stairs and fell up them. Thankfully, I didn’t get as far as falling down them. But then there is always tomorrow.

I hate it when I have days like this. And once I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll. I mean last time I had an episode of extreme clumsiness like this, I dislodged a picture off my wall, sent it flying through the air, knocking over two cups of tea and a glass of water, filling my sock drawer with tepid liquid and dousing all my jewellery, in the process.

It was not fun.

So last night when I got home, I did absolutely nothing. I sat on the sofa, staring at the TV, feet up, lest I should kick something, a blanket to stop my flailing arms from knocking stuff over. I also made sure I had the TV remote to hand and some chocolate too, so if I got peckish, I didn’t have get up and risk hurting myself.

As you can imagine, it was an incredibly tough evening, but it was the only answer…

…really!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

What came first, me or my deafness?

I have learnt a valuable lesson recently – never under estimate the power of someone else’s belief in you.

Or, as Friend Who Knows Big Words says, ‘Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups’, which when you actually think about it is scarily true.

Anyway, I’ve also learnt that just sometimes when you stand still and yell for help, or just let people know that you need something – the right people appear and remind you they are there. Sometimes you don’t even need to yell, they are just there anyway.

Take yesterday – shattered from a busy day, I arrived home to find a brown envelope waiting for me. Ripping it open I found a card from SuperCathyFragileMystic to say she saw a little something that made her think of me. Inside the prettiest little box were cupcake earrings – little pink cupcake earrings.

It made me grin that SuperCathyFragileMystic knew just the thing to make me smile from all the way over in the Wild West erm… Country.

And then on Sunday – when I needed a hug at an exact moment, I got one.

I used to think that it was important to power through things, to never ask for help, to do things my way or not at all. But this week, I’m learning that’s not always the answer. I’m learning to do things other people’s way and it’s not been so bad.

I wonder what came first, the need to be in control or the deafness?

Yesterday, I spoke on the phone three times. The first two times, I didn’t enlighten the people at the other end about my deafness and I felt like I was hanging on by a single thread. But after the third, I decided enough was enough and asked to continue on email and after the fourth, I asked for email confirmation for what was discussed.

OK, I didn’t hear any more than usual and it was just as hard to follow what was going on, but the difference was, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I calmly emailed through to check stuff. I asked, without apology to continue the discussion on email.

I was proactive about my deafness in a way I haven’t been in a very long time.

I think I’d become afraid of failing. Afraid of being in situations I didn’t like. But life is full of situations you might not like, and if you avoid them all, it’s a life half lived.

I wonder what came first, the fear or the deafness?

But now, I’m more determined than ever to see the positive in the situations I am experiencing. To see how I can learn, draw strength from them and use them to build who I am becoming.

I wonder what came first, the determination or the deafness?

It’s quite an exciting journey if you think about it – some people feel the need to find themselves by travelling hundreds of miles, some lose themselves in the hope they’ll get answers, but I think I’ll be able to do it from right where I am.

But sometimes I do wonder what came first, me or my deafness.

Ps Don't forget to check out my new gig - waxing lyrical about make-up!! - at Superdrugloves.com

Monday, 17 August 2009

Good luck Friend Who Knows Big Words

This weekend was one of adventure, excitement and a little bit of sadness, which was wonderfully followed by a cheer up session with London Aunt, Snowboarding Boy and the Girl That Can't Help Knit.

But here's the thing, Friend Who Knows Big Words has gone. She's now residing in Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City with her husband, French Boy.

I woke up this morning and realised that by now, her plane would have crossed the 3000 miles and she'd already be there, checking out her new flat, planning her new job and dicing death on French Boy's new moped.

It was nice however, to have a last weekend with her. On Saturday, we packed up the car with essential cheesy tunes, and set off for the Wild West... Um Country for a trip down memory lane. First stop was Friend Who Knows Big Words' home town where we had a picnic by the river, wandered into all our favourite teenage shops and reminisced about all the things we'd done.

Our final call here was her old house. It hadn't changed a bit really and if I closed my eyes I could visualise her Pa cooking on the BBQ, her Ma in the kitchen, and me and Friend Who Knows Big Words working our way through an entire wine box... but that really is a whole other story.

Next stop was my home town. We called in on our old school, which now resembles Fort Knox, with more fencing than brick work and a whole load of new buildings where the old ones used to be.

Then it was up the hill to my old house, which has changed quite a lot. New doors, new extension, new blinds. Pah! It was lovely before I thought!

And then it was goodbye to everthing. We waved as we went past each thing important to our years there and headed back to London, to my future, and Heathrow for her future.

I always said in our high school year book she'd end up somewhere exotic and now she has.

Once again I hope that her prediction that I'd be writing for Cosmo from a padded cell, doesn't come true!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hearing my voice

Today, is Thankful Friday – it comes around so quick these days.

Firstly, I’m thankful to London Aunt and French Aunt for a fabulous evening I had with them. They were my willing Superdrug Summer Insiders make-up testers. I smothered them in foundation, smoked their eyes into oblivion and painted their nails the brightest colours on the block, while painting my own a different colour on each nail, which kinda looked…erm weird.

London Aunt enthusiastically declared that the Revlon foundation was better than Armani, while I liked the way it was white when it came out the tube but magically morphed to match your skin colour when you rubbed it in… Amaaaaa-zing

The evening was however brought to a grinding halt by the arrival of an unwanted visitor. It had eight extremely long legs and a big hairy body and I’m not kidding, was the size of a small rodent. It was of course, a harmless spider, but it had me, London Aunt and French Aunt standing on our chairs screaming, wondering if it was too late to wake up London Cousin 2 - who’s particularly brave with bugs – to ask her to remove it.

Eventually however, London Aunt managed to coax it into a box, while I took on the courageous role of opening the front door, which I managed to do this just in time, as moments later, the spider hurtled past my nose, in its box and bounced onto the front path.

Poor spider!

I was also introduced to the delights of SingStar on London Cousins 1 and 2’s Playstation. They’ve only just got it and are more than a little addicted. Now, I remember a time when I could sing in tune – I used to be in my school choir – and as I took to the microphone to sing Kiki’s part in Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, with London Aunt as Elton, I really did try my best, but not knowing the words meant I was a bit slow on the first note of each of my lines.

And then came the most horrific part – the playback, where you hear yourself sing…

*blush

It was quite simply the worst thing I have ever heard in my life! I sounded like one of those XFactor wannabes they put through because it's good entertainment, not because they can sing.

I know that everyone sounds different when they hear a recording of themselves, but this was quite something. I think when I sing, what I hear in my head actually dominates over what is actually coming out of my mouth.


So apologies to anyone who's ever had to endure a long car journey with me and my continuous singing without knowing the words.

*double blush

Anyway, during that playback, part of me burst out laughing that I was ever under the impression that I would sound good, while the other part of me wanted to burst out crying in the knowledge that before I went as deaf as I am now, I did actually use to sound good.

*sniff

And that brings me to my last Thankful Friday thing, which is that last week, when I was in the Austrian-themed bar with Snowboarding Boy, Friend Who Knows Big Words and Tsarina, the beer came in litres. As this prevented me from actually being able to get up and sing karaoke to The Sound of Music.

Sounds like everyone had a very lucky escape… most of all, me!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Lipreading from the bus

I love people watching from the bus on my journey home from work. But better still, I like lip watching.

One of the skills I've picked up over the years of getting steadily deafer is the ability to lipread.

When I was younger, I used to practise with the TV news on mute so I'd get better and therefore hear a bit better. And now, I'm not bad at all at getting complete conversations from lip patterns alone.

Yesterday, the traffic was bad, my bus was packed and I had a window seat overlooking the pavement. Each time we stopped, I found someone to watch and at one particular stop I saw a boy of about 12 with his mum and dad and little brother.

'Why do we have to get the bus?' I lipread him saying to his mother. 'Can't we get a taxi instead?'

His mum gave him a withering look, which I'm guessing meant no.

They were laden with shopping bags – perhaps out-of-towners on a school holiday shopping trip, or tourists on holiday. But whatever they were, the boy didn't seem impressed at the idea of getting on a bus.

Next, there were two young women who'd been caught in the rainstorm that had descended upon rush hour. They were giggling and asking each other how their make-up looked, licking their fingers and running them under their eyes to wipe away the smudged mascara.

And then, right in front of me on my bus was a loud, brash man talking on his mobile phone. He droned on and on and all I could hear was noise...

It seemed ironic that inside the bus was a noisy world I couldn't understand but outside, there was a world that although silent, I could understand perfectly.

Kinda topsy turvy, but actually kinda cool.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Deafinitely Girly's new gig

Keen readers and people with good memories – mentioning no names… French Cousin 2 – will remember that a few weeks ago, I announced I had won a competition.

Well now, I can finally reveal just what it is.

I am a Superdrug Summer Insider!!!!!!

*whoop, whoop

So you see, The Writer told me about this writing competition and so I entered and got picked to blog for Superdrug over the summer and write product reviews and go places and generally talk and talk and talk and talk and talk…

*gasp

…in writing form anyway.

As well as winning some pretty great prizes, I am also up against four other Insiders to become the Ultimate Insider and win the whole competition.

*gulp

It’s going to be strange being away from Deafinitely Girly like this, but I’ll still blog here, too. But what I’m asking of you, is that you check out the Superdrug site by clicking here, that you spread the word about Deafinitely Girly’s summer job – beats Sainsbury’s dunnit? – and hit on me both here and there, heck, hit on me everywhere.

Follow me on Twitter here, make comments on my SuperdrugLoves.com blog posts – keep it clean please- and see if you can help me be the Ultimate Summer Insider for Superdrug. I’ve already written my first post – it’s about cupcakes… what else?!

If I win, I can promise you I will be grinning from ear to ear – after all, what else are those ears of mine there for except for holding up my smile?!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A hearing guide for Ma

I’m writing this morning’s post from Pinktop, on the train home from The Rents. I had a fabulous long weekend with them, and it’s also nice to know that I’m beginning my working week one step closer to the weekend.

One thing I noticed this weekend is how my lovely Ma is still struggling to adapt to not hearing so well. All the tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years that now come so naturally to me are alien to her, and she quite often finds herself wondering if she’s got arrangements right, confused about who’s meeting who when, and struggling on the phone to follow what’s going on. She also forgets that she can speak up about these things and people will be happy to help.

It got me thinking that perhaps she needs a crash course in how to sneakily deal with her hearing loss so other people effortlessly help her – not because being deaf is a bad thing, but because sometimes this really is the only way to get by.

In my own personal experience telling someone you are deaf is a bad plan. I don’t sound that deaf, I don’t wear hearing aids, so they often think I’m a teller of porkie pies and continue at 50 words apace, which means I still have no clue what they are saying.

So then I try the words, ‘I’m hard of hearing’, which often do work actually. The people nod at me and smile, and then instead of slowing down the sentence they were saying, they get distracted and start asking me how I can be hard of hearing but still have good speech, and very occasionally they try and test my lipreading skills.

Of course, I take it all on the chin, I’ve had 19 years of practice and not all of it’s been very fun. But this is all new to my Ma. She forgets that she’s hard of hearing, so by the time she’s remembered to tell the person she’s struggling with, she’s so flustered that the whole episode has convinced her that being a hermit would be a good idea.

So, I was thinking, that maybe we could all help my Ma and somehow turn this post, with comments, into a sort of handbook, where she could get tips and cheats to help her so that, with a bit of practice, telling people what she needs will soon become second nature.

When an arrangement went wrong on Saturday, perhaps due to her not hearing on the phone, I suggested always following a phone call up with a text message to verify what was going on, or, if the person was happy, to do the whole thing by text message.

I also suggested that she try out different ways of telling people she couldn’t hear, so that she had a sentence that tripped off the tongue whenever a situation was stressing her out. It was Fab Friend Who Actually Wears Her Hearing Aids who gave me that tip. She’s incredibly assertive outwardly when asking people to acknowledge her deafness, and gave me a staple collection of sentences to choose from, which I have now passed on to my Ma.

But this is where my mind goes blank and I run out of tips, which is why I’m asking you guys for help. Tonight I am seeing Fab Friend for dinner so I will ask her for more then. But Speak Up Librarian, if you have any advice for my Ma, please post it here, and Kate of the fab blog, Kate's Cochlear Implant, what are your coping mechanisms?

And, it would seem that it’s never too late for me to learn a thing or two, either as I’ve just discovered this instant. A man is sat beside me in the train carriage and he just asked me something. I had no idea what it was, and presumed he was asking me if I knew something, so I fudged an answer of, ‘No,sorry.’ He looked a bit alarmed, as did a few of my travelling companions.

I sat there for a while, rolling the sounds of the sentence that he had just said to me around in my head, piecing the syllables together until I finally worked out what he’d said, which was, ‘Is this train going to London?’

*blush

Whoops! Right now, my cheeks are scarlet and I’m hiding behind Pinktop in embarrassment, which is kind of hard, as it’s kind of small.

I feel as though everyone thinks I’m the crazy lady on the train to London who doesn’t know where she’s going.

Help! How do I get myself out of that one?!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Holiday

I'm once again dancing around the house 'la-laing' to Madonna's Holiday, as I don't know the actual words, because once again I am on holiday...

...just for one more day.

This long weekend oop norf at The Rents has been a wonderful chance to relax and catch up with family. Yesterday, I went further oop norf to see Gma and Nottnum Uncle. He's an actor you know, and is going to be in a pantomime at Christmas - hopefully with a subtitled version so I can go along and know when to scream, 'It's behind you!' or 'Oh no it isn't!'

I used to love pantomimes as a kid. I always wanted to be in one in fact. So one day, when we went to see one when I was about 6 years old, I managed to do just that. We were sat quite far back, in the middle of a looo-ooong row of seats and I was enthralled by Lionel Blair, who was the star of the show.

Just imagine my excitement when he announced that he wanted people up on stage. I jumped up and down, hand in the air, willing to be noticed. And then, when that didn't work, I clambered over every single person in my way until I got to the stage.

*blush

Pre-discovery of hearing loss, I really was quite a plucky kid it would seem.

And so, I chatted away to him on stage, I told him that Big Bro was in the audience and gave him a wave, I told him all about Ma and Pa, and gave them a wave, too, and he gave me lots of sweeties and chivvied me off the stage, probably wondering if I was ever going to shut up.

That was, I think, the highlight of my 6-year-old life! I ate all my sweets in the excitement of it all and promptly threw up in a charity collection bucket. But I didn't care, as I got to be on stage and dance with Lionel Blair.

Oh how things change!

Nowadays, I'm happier away from the limelight - at least visually! Sure, I love writing Deafinitely Girly and still seem to regularly, but accidentally, make a spectacle of myself. But luckily, I don't feel the need to clamber over people to get on stage anymore.

But it is weird, I can almost pinpoint when I lost that desire to the time when I lost most of my hearing. Before that, when I was about 8, Big Bro and I decided to sneak downstairs one Sunday morning and enter a radio show where you had to guess what an object was by the clues they give you. I was rubbish at that game, but I just wanted to get on air so I could tell jokes, talk about my teachers and have a nice chat with Lucy the DJ.

Then one day, the phone rang, it was radio Wild West um... Country and they spoke to Ma. They told her how much they loved Big Bro and I calling in EVERY Sunday and would it be possible for us to come in and co-present a Christmas cookery show.

*Gulp

So, after a telling off for using the phone without asking, off we went to be on the radio. And I loved it!

I often wonder what on earth I would have been like if I hadn't lost my hearing. Would I still be clambering over people to get on stage? Would I be fame-hungry and ambitious to be a Hollywood movie star? Would you see me auditioning for XFactor and Britain's Got Talent?

If the answer's yes, then I think I'm the most glad I've ever been about being deaf!

Right now, I think I'm quite happy for Deafinitely Girly to grab the limelight. It seems to suit her more than me.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Naked at the Chilean dentist

Shhhhh don’t tell anyone but today is Thankful Friday…

…for me anyway.

Tomorrow, I have the day off! Yippee!!!!!!!

Anyway, last night Snowboarding Boy and I met up with an old uni mate called Scruffy. He got that name because he used to be quite erm… scruffy. But nowadays he’s really quite neat.

He moved to Canada over four years ago, and now lives there with his girlfriend, Trilingual Girl – she speaks French, Spanish and English, all fluently you know!

Also joining us were The Parisians – who live in Paris and were over visiting, too.

Mrs Parisian is actually from Mexico, and where I was having trouble following the conversation because I couldn’t hear, she was having trouble because English isn’t her first language.

First of all the conversation veered off on a tangent about how amazing Chilean dentists are at removing wisdom teeth, and then we hit a topic about a massage that Scruffy had in Chile, while there with Trilingual Girl, which involved the masseuse stripping him naked.

Apparently, this particular masseuse only strips the men, which I think poor Scruff found a bit traumatic – the women, he leaves clothed.

So this conversation was flying around when all of a sudden Mrs Parisian piped up, ‘The dentist did this?’

*cue hysterical laughter

She’d been sat there horrified, thinking that Chilean dentists strip you naked before they get to work.

Erm… then I really would be afraid of going.

Realising that hilarious mishaps don’t just happen to deaf people reminded me of something NikNak once told me. She said that she finally realised what it must be like for a deaf person in a group situation when she moved to France for a year.

She said it was so tiring following what was going on, that she preferred to lead the conversation so she knew where it was going, and regularly didn’t catch things. And she’s so right – that’s exactly what it’s like.

I wonder what it would be like for me to try and get by in a foreign country and learn the language. Would I get double the amount of misunderstandings? Would I learn to lipread it?

Maybe I should find out just for a little while one day…

somewhere warm and sunny…

*has a little daydream

if only for a holiday…

one day.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Knowing when to stop

Dammit, don’t you just hate it when you find something out you shouldn’t have, but don’t have all the facts to know if you should be worried or not?

As I’ve said before, I’m a naturally nosey person. Things bug me, so I investigate. People lie and I notice.

Body language gives away so much – excessive talking even more.

Then there are other clues. Things you’d normally not notice. Things that are seemingly harmless. Things that have the ability to bring everything crashing down.

But then sometimes, you can pick up all those pieces – the body language, the lies, the curious combination of events, the clues – and build a jigsaw simply by ramming the pieces into place. After all, if you hit them hard enough, they will eventually fit. If you force something to seem to be true, it may eventually come true.

And sometimes, when you’re so busy ramming the jigsaw pieces in the wrong places, you miss the slots they were meant to fill.

This can sometimes be worse, or it can sometimes be better. But once you’ve started piecing things together, there’s no going back from your chosen path.

I’ve been ramming pieces of a jigsaw recently. I’ve been incredibly nosey.

I hope I’m wrong.

I think I’m going to throw this jigsaw away.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Seeing is enough for me

I love London right now.

OK, so today it’s drizzly and as I walked along the streets, brown leaves were falling from the trees – BROWN LEAVES?!

Is it autumn already?

But anyway, as I was saying, I just kinda like it.

Take yesterday – it was nice yesterday, there were no brown leaves falling from the trees. The sun was shining, the birds were most probably singing and Snowboarding Boy and I went to play in a park near his house and catch the last of the evening sun.

As well as the sun, and the manic cloud patterns, the moon was also up – milky white against the blue, blue sky – it looked utterly amazing.

And, do you know what? It’s at times like this, when everything is so visual, that I truly forget I can’t hear. There’s so much to take in, that it’s almost a relief I don’t have all the sound effects, too.

I saw the dogs over the other side of the park, I saw the teenagers mucking about on their bikes, and I saw the planes circling overhead waiting to land at Heathrow. I saw Snowboarding Boy crack up when I spun around in circles so much I fell over in a heap on the grass.

I saw it all and that was enough for me.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Hearing directions

Just another manic Monday, whoa-oh-oh, wish it was Sunday...

Yup, this morning is definitely a time for quoting those 80’s greats, The Bangles.

I had a cassette tape of their album as a kid that I actually wore out from rewinding and listening to Eternal Flame so many times.

Naturally, I had to make up my own words, and still sing them to this day!

So yah! The weekend! Well, in a nutshell, it was bloomin’ lovely!

Onion Soup Mate came to stay and we spent Saturday being tourists in London. If you want to know more about that, you’ll have to read my column in Hearing Times, as that’s where I’m gonna be nattering about it.

We had a lot lot lot of fun though, catching up, hearing all about her house renovations and eating gigantic pancakes. On Sunday we went for a walk around Hyde Park, and while this is where I get my countryside fix living in the Big Smoke, it wasn’t quite enough for Onion Soup Mate, who usually hails from the Wild West um... Country!

‘I need a hill!’ she declared! Cue frantic looking around by Deafinitely Girly, hoping to be the good host and provide one. But alas Hyde Park was offering no such thing.

Until...

…we took a little break by some ornate fountains overlooking Kensington Gardens and – ah-ha! – a hill!

OK, in fairness, it was a very small slope, but it was enough for me, and I think it kept Onion Soup Mate going until her return to the Wild West um... Country.

It was while we were sat on this bench, staring at the ‘hill’, that an old couple asked us for directions. They had quite strong accents so I didn’t really understand them, but they were so lovely and smiley I didn’t want to let them down.

Onion Soup Mate clearly felt the same way, and so, she listened, and then translated for me, as she doesn’t really know London very well so couldn’t tell them where they needed to go herself!

Eventually after this very longwinded attempt to help them, and their immense gratitude, we went on our way, giggling at how odd we must have seemed to anyone listening in.

A question being asked, Onion Soup Mate repeating it, Deafinitely Girly answering it.
But it worked for us, so hey, who cares!

*heehee

And then, last night, Miss K cooked chilli for Friend Who Knows Big Words and me. It was splendid, absolutely splendid!

Friend Who Knows Big Words was over to drop off her bag for her impending move to Ho Chi Minh City

*sniff

But it’s cool, as I know she’ll be back some time and I will make the 6000-mile trek to see her, too.

But what it’s teaching me is that things change, nothing stays the same forever. But the trick is not to be afraid. Friend Who Knows Big Words isn’t, and from now on, neither will I!

Deaf Girly: Finding the good in my deafness

Most regular readers of this blog will know that I'm pretty comfortable with my deafness in the workplace these days. I've got a...