Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The lipreading reflex

It’s raining!

Harumph!

But on a positive note, this morning, after a week of head scratching, I finally remembered that I had not lost all my winter jumpers, I had merely packed them away during the summer.

This meant, that when I remembered where, I discovered a whole load of fabulous clothes I hasn’t seen since May! It’s like I’ve just been shopping, but without the credit card hit!

Anyway, today I want to talk about my dancing. You see, I’ve been going to Zumba class for two months now and, while I’ve got the moves – sort of – I’m lacking finesse...

This is mainly because no matter what move I do, my eyes are always on the instructor.

So my body is going one way, but my head is always going another, and this makes me look very strange – kinda like a jiving plank of wood.

The problem is, staring at people in order to hear what they are saying is a reflex that I just can’t shake off. It’s as strong as the old knee and hammer one at the doctors. It is literally physically impossible for me not to look at the person I am trying to hear.

I haven’t actually told my Zumba instructor I can’t hear, mainly because I never got around to it, and now, two months on, it seems a bit random to suddenly let her know. But I do wonder if I freak her out by staring at her from start to finish instead of looking at my hands or the ceiling, which is the head movement most of the dances seem to require.

I’ve actually tried practising at home – such is my desire to actually be good at this – and, when there’s no one to try and hear, my head definitely goes in the right direction.

So I’ve just got to work on breaking the reflex in class now. Perhaps over time as I learn the steps more, it’ll get easier. And in the meantime, I’ll just get my hip shaking and grapevines good, so that when my head eventually decides to join in, I’ll have it all...

…or something!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hearing Mt. Desolation

What do you get it you cross two members of Keane with the Killers, Mumford & Sons, and Noah & the Whale, and a whole host of additionally talented musicians?

A band called Mt Desolation it seems!

And, while today, I am very, very deaf, it was completely and utterly worth it to see them in concert last night.

Being a not-very-hearing person, I'm not going to tell you how the lyrics moved me, as I didn't hear them. But I did hear the harmonies, the amazing bass and lower octaves of the treble and was able to musically-read the harmonica and violin.

We arrived early – yes, I know, we’re so cool – and took our places in the venue. It was at this moment that The Singing Swede and I realised we had positioned ourselves under the ONLY air conditioning unit in the entire building and it was blowing cold air right on our heads – I’m not joking, I looked like I was in a Celine Dion music video.

So the night began with me trying to look cool with a scarf draped over my head to keep the polar chill off my neck and my hair from flapping around wildly, and a group called The Staves. Three sisters, three amazing voices, two of them ex-Grange Hill – all wonderfully talented. As they shyly took to the stage, I had no idea what to expect, but as they performed each song, I felt my mood being raised an octave at a time. You can’t help but join in their sweet enthusiasm for what they do.

I also felt this bizarre jealousy that they could sing like that, before remembering that even before I went deaf, I could never sing like that!

And then, all of a sudden, Mt Desolation took to the stage, with me recognising only the main man, Jesse Quin – the bass guitarist from Keane, and the guitarist from The Staves – I know, I know, I should know more of them than this!

And what did I think? Well, they were amazing. There was incredible ‘audience body language lust’ going on for the bloke on the left, who I discovered was also in Keane and the girls at the front were in danger of giving themselves brain haemorrhages from dancing around so much. But it was brilliant.

From upbeat folky jigs to lilting melodies, I loved it all. It was captivating, entertaining and left me wondering why I don’t go to gigs more often. And the best bit? Nothing got too loud. And this was not because it wasn’t too loud, it’s because my hearing has recently got worse, and the recruitment I used to suffer, seems to be diminishing with it.

While this is a pain in many ways – it meant last night really was the best gig I’ve even been to. Lets hope my hearing hangs around until they’re next on tour again!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Deafinitely Girly does DIY

Another great weekend always signals the start of another week. But I'm not going think about that, because for now, I am basking in the glory of my slightly cowboy DIY success.

You see, being exceptionally blind as well as deaf, means that in the morning I get up, switch on my shower and hop in, all without my glasses on. I then leave the bathroom and go and get dressed.

But on Saturday morning, I had my glasses on when I turned the shower on and quickly noticed a torrent of water pouring out the corner of my shower door, down the wall, behind the skirting, before disappearing.

Argh!

Really just wanting a shower and not having to do DIY, I begrudgingly got my screwdriver out of the cutlery drawer and took off the skirting board and side panel of the bath to assess the problem. And there I found a very soggy wooden floor...

Argh

Amazingly though, this has clearly been going on for ages, as nothing new has happened to my shower door, so I was somewhat relieved my neighbour hasn't had a ceiling flood courtesy of me!

In the process of trying to fix the problem, I drowned my entire bathroom when the shower head took on a life of its own and flew around the bath spraying water as far as my hall carpet.

Argh

And after this? Well, I declared war...

I got out my gun, my er, silicone gun and I sealed the hell out of my shower door...

The result?! No leak. Hurrah! Well, from that bit of my bath anyway. The other leak? A takeaway carton seems to be for catching that for now – until I can get someone in who's answer for everything isn't just silicone sealant!

*blush!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Deafinitely Girly's on a mission

It’s official: I’m a deaf girl on a mission!

Recently, as I’m sure you’ll be aware, my posts have been a little thin on the ground here at deafinitelygirly.com and this has been frustrating me.

While I can, to some extent blame my busy day job, manic social life and sometimes crohn’s episodes, deep down I know that really, if I want to get something down on here, nothing will stop me.

But recently, I’ve been without a project. I’ve become complacent in a world of bad services for deaf and hard of hearing people. I’ve stopped complaining.

But not anymore. After a very successful brainstorm yesterday, I’ve rediscovered two battles that are worth fighting… or at least pitching politely to the people in question. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.

And while it’s all a little bit undercover right now, I can tell you that I am starting with Richard Branson. Anyone got his email address?!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Close encounters of the male kind

So, it turns out I am not so deaf that I cannot hear the roadworks that started up VERY loudly outside my bedroom window this morning. One peep through the blind confirmed that they were digging up a road that looks perfectly OK to me, but clearly needs thousands of pounds of my council tax spent to make it better – I tell you what, it had better be paved with gold by the time I get home tonight.

Harumph!

Anyway, on a more positive note, after something of a dry spell on the man front, I finally got one to notice me! Hurrah! Although, maybe not in the way I had hoped…

You see, there I was, striding purposefully to work, when on rounding the corner I almost bumped into a guy coming the other way. My reaction was to simply stop and let him negotiate his way around me, so that we weren’t to-ing and fro-ing in the same directions like often embarrassingly happens.

His reaction however, was to jump in the air, drop his rucksack and yelp!

*blush

Never in all my life has a man reacted to an encounter with me like this and I was so startled I burst out laughing, which then caused the strange man to pick up his rucksack and make a bolt for it.

I hastily checked my reflection, wondering if his fear had been caused by a lack of make-up, my concealer still being blobbed not blended or my mascara heading southwards, but everything was as it should be.

So heaven only knows what made him scream and run for the hills, but I’m hoping my next close encounter with the male kind will be slight more successful…

I’ll keep you posted!

Monday, 20 September 2010

A hearing headache

Do you know, I think last week's headache signalled a drop in my hearing.

I'd forgotten that this used to happen in my teens. I'd get a crashing headache, which was a clue that either my eyesight or hearing was on the move.

And since the floating triangles incident, my eyesight has been fine. And my hearing?

Well, let's look at the evidence...

Recently I've been watching my TV practically on mute. It's as thought the sound is irrelevant – all I want is subtitles

I've also forgotten we have a radio at work, when this time last year I was able to hum along to the bass tune.

And perhaps the most indicative of a hearing shift – loud noises are not making me fall over anymore… mainly because nothing seems very loud.

On Saturday for example, while out with Gingerbread Man and The Singing Swede, an ambulance went past full pelt. I braced myself for the noise, but none came. ‘Ah well,’ I thought to myself. ‘Perhaps the siren wasn't on.’ But then I noticed the Singjng Swede had her fingers in her ears.

Yup, there was deafinitely siren. And I heard nothing – not even up close! I mean, I'm used to not hearing sirens from afar, hence all the mishaps with emergency vehicles. But this? Well maybe that explains my close encounter with the police car earlier this month.

So this week, I'm going to have a ‘What can’t I hear anymore’ week, and report back. And if the evidence continues?

I think it's time for a trip to the audiologist! Don't you?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Today is Thankful Friday…

…and I am thankful that I no longer have crazy vision! I am not however thankful that I haven't had time to blog this week – it's not good enough and personally I blame the great books I've been reading on the bus instead of writing my blog.
Will do better next week – I promise!
DGx

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The day I couldn't see or hear!

So, I know I've been a little quiet this week...

I had been looking forward to telling you all about my wonderful weekend of seeing Penthouse Flatmate, SuperKathyFragileMystic, The Photographer, and Blackberry the poodle...

But then on Monday, while sat at work, I was suddenly aware that I couldn't see properly – it was as though someone was letting too much light into my eyes. Within 10 minutes, this had progressed to flashing triangles across my vision, and at that point I was starting to panic. You see, if I can't see anything, I can't lipread, and if I can't do that, I can’t hear. And if I can’t hear or see, I am, in my opinion, utterly screwed.

Luckily a savvy work colleague was on hand to tell me she thought I was experiencing aura symptoms – what you get just before a migraine...

And boom! Just like that, a headache appeared.

And, 36 hours later, it's still here. Better than it was before however, which is relief, but still not gone, which is annoying.

Having never had migraine before, I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of it going away. But it can apparently take a while, so I'm not too worried at the moment.

The most relieving thing is that I can see again. I have never been so thankful for anything in my entire life.

When I couldn’t see, I felt almost claustrophobic in my own head – a mass of panic spreading through me, wondering what on earth was going on. I never, ever want to feel that way again.

But anyway, back to the weekend – it was perfect in every single way. So nice to catch up with good friends, eat great food, meet new little people, hear about Goddaughter’s first week at school and congrats Penthouse Flatmate on becoming a Yummy Mummy of three.

And then, there was Blackberry! Well, regular readers will know I am definitely a cat person – but on meeting Blackberry the poodle, all that changed! She is without a doubt the most fabulous canine on the planet. While sitting in the sunshine of SKFM’s cottage courtyard on Sunday, Blackberry decided it was cuddle time, and before I knew it, I had a full-size poodle on my lap, trying her hardest to shrink to fit! It was brilliant – and the most amazing experience to spend time with such a loveable, intelligent dog.

So scrap the cat plan, I’m getting a Blackberry of my very own – and unlike the phone variety, this one won’t be pink!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Deafinitely Girly and the deaf mouse!

Today is Thankful Friday, and I am thankful that my parents are some of the few people I can still hear on the telephone.

And here’s why…

Regular readers may already know that I have an unwelcome housemate living with me at the moment – a mouse!

Now, not wanting to kill it, I wondered if I could drive it out with a special humane mouse repellent kit, which included a powder that the mouse didn’t like the smell of and an Ultrasound Mouse Repellent thing that plugs in and emits a high-pitched noise that mice apparently hate.

Well, get this – it appears I have a deaf mousemate! This is no joke because this mouse shows no sign of disappearing. And last night, it was almost as if it was trying to prove a point about this, because while I was in bed reading my new Katie Fforde book, which is splendid by the way, the mouse brazenly scurried into my bedroom!

And what did I do? Well, I screamed of course. And that was when I realised that this mouse cannot be profoundly deaf, just hard of hearing, as it turned on its heels and legged it under my wardrobe!

Oh joy!

And then, I did what any considerate human being does at 12.30am on a school night – I rang my parents!

Actually, I don’t know why I did this – they live 100 miles away from me, so are hardly handy for mouse catching. Call it reflex, call it needing to share my fear, call it these are the only people in the world who are likely to not kill me for calling them at this time, call it what you like, but call them, I did!

And, of course, they were asleep but thankfully, (phew!) saw the funny side to the fact that I felt the need to share with them my evening of mousecapades…

So then, what of the mouse? Well, he clearly doesn’t have an aversion to high-pitched noises, which I guess makes two of us, but seriously, there is no room for him in my house. He’s very badly behaved and keeps pulling tufts of carpet up for his bedding.

If he really is a hard of hearing mouse, maybe I should get a low-frequency repeller and see if that works…

Otherwise, there’s only one thing for it…

I’m getting a cat!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Be thankful for what you have... and say a little prayer

This morning I watched the most moving film, which has prompted me to actually post it here, a first for Deafinitely Girly. I never normally post films as they are never normally subtitled, but this one is – beautifully so.

It was a heartfelt birthday message from an Australian guy to his wife on her birthday, done in the Love Actually style where Andrew Lincoln tells Kiera Knightly he loves her.

The heartbreaking thing is that Kristian is fighting liver cancer and has two little boys, who also feature in the film.

Watching it, made me resolve to be thankful for every day I have and live my life to the full, whatever is thrown at me.

And now, I'm keeping everything crossed that Kristian gets to do that for a long time to come, too.

Rachel's Birthday Video from Kristian Anderson on Vimeo.



See the full film on Kristian's blog HERE

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Deafinitely Girly and the siren she didn't hear!

Today I walked to work as all the tube people in my area were on my bus because of the strike.

GAH!

But honestly, I think I probably still beat them all to the centre of town as there were crowds of people clamouring to get on at each stop and the bus is always full from my stop even when there’s not a tube strike.

While tiring, especially as I have a lunchtime Body Combat class too, the walk was quite relaxing. There were lots of things to see, including people doing the same thing as me but in heels!

Anyway, yesterday’s lack of blog means I haven’t yet written about my brilliant weekend oop north with Best Friend And Head Girl and her family. It was my godson Petit Pois’ first birthday so I was keen to visit and give him birthday wishes personally.

He’s gorgeous, as is his older brother, Northern Boy, and we had a crazy weekend of midnight baking – the decoration of which was somewhat interesting – and mid-afternoon naps on the sofa when I could keep going no more!

I have ultimate respect for BFAHG – she keeps going on minimal sleep and has a very lovely happy family. I don’t know how she does it honestly.

Then, on Sunday, Jenny M came to stay – but I almost didn’t get to see her. In fact, I almost got to see the windscreen of an unmarked police car close up.

You see, on arrival at Kings Cross, I realised that due to tube closures, I would have to get a bus to Paddington to meet Jenny M. So I crossed the road, looking at the green man and was suddenly aware of something in my peripheral vision that didn’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping.

A quick look right, revealed it to be an unmarked police car with a blue light on the top, and I’m guessing, judging by the fact everyone else had remained on the pavement, a siren!

And of course, I did the logical thing when you have a police car flying towards you at speed. I stopped in shock.

‘MOVE!’ I willed my feet, but it took a few seconds for them to get the hint, by which time the police car had stopped and I was the focal point of quite a few people on the Euston Road, all wondering what the hell I was doing.

*Blush

It was most embarrassing, and the adrenalin led me to walk most of the way to Paddington, rather than bus it.

But this was good as it gave me the thinking time to remind myself that it was better to be embarrassed than embedded in the windscreen of a police car, better to be thought of as a moron by the policemen than be embedded in the windscreen of a police car, and erm… better to be alive and well than embedded in the windscreen of a police car.

As a deaf person who cannot hear sirens anymore, these things do happen and thankfully, on Sunday, I had a lucky escape.

Fingers crossed I continue to be as lucky. And in the meantime, could unmarked police cars please get fog horns, and in return I will try and not trust the green man and look around a bit first, before crossing the road.

That is all!

Friday, 3 September 2010

A Thankful (for my writing) Friday

Today is Thankful Friday and firstly I’m very thankful for all the wonderful people who have voted for me so far in the Superdrug competition. I really do appreciate it.

I am also thankful that this weekend I get to see Best Friend And Head Girl and her family. It’s her son, Petit Pois’s first birthday and, as he’s my godson, I am going up to see him... with a very unsuitcase-friendly, impractical present! Well, that’s what godmothers are for isn’t it!

I don’t, however, trust northern weather, so inspite of the relatively tame forecast, I’m believing none of it, so am currently melting on the bus in knee-high boots and jeans. If it is warm oop north, I will be pleasantly surprised and continue to swelter there!

Anyway, one last thing I am thankful for is Superdrug. Seriously, since I became part of the blogging team, writing an reviewing things, I’ve felt incredibly inspired. I love the thrill of coming up with new ideas, and I also love looking back and seeing the ideas I had.

Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing creatively if Deafinitely Girly didn’t exist, and honestly, I don’t have a clue... I think all my ideas would just be sat there festering while I did the normal London thing: commute, gym, drinks, commute. Deafinitely Girly enhances that, and I can honestly say that writing for Superdrug does, too.

Now go and vote for me please – so it can continue to…

DG x

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Things my ears do instead of hear!

Today, my right ear is burning. The edge and lobe are simmering gently.

Someone once told me that left ears burning are for love and right are for spite.

So, if that is to believed, then someone’s being mean about me – a lot.

I also have tinnitus – and another someone else also told me that this was a warning signal humans have had since they were cavemen and some people kept it, while others didn’t. If that is to be believed, then every time I get tinnitus, should I hide?

Isn’t it amazing how my ears are so utterly useless at their originally intended purpose, and instead able to tell me when someone loves or hates me, and when danger is nearby?

Did they miss the memo about actually having to hear, too?

It would appear so!

I know these are silly things to believe, and I do take them with a pinch of salt – but it is quite interesting how over the years people have come up with explanations for random occurrences such as ears ringing or burning…

And, with so many scientific discoveries occurring these days, it’s something that probably won’t continue for much longer…

Soon there’ll be a complete explanation for absolutely everything…

And in the meantime, would the person who is saying nasty things about me please stop – my ear’s threatening to overheat!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

VOTE FOR ME!

OK, so I don't normally do this, but my final competition post has just gone live on the Superdrugloves.com website and I'd love it if you'd have a look at it and gimme a rating! I had a Beauty Sale in aid of UNICEF's Pakistan flood appeal and raised £75, as well as having a fabulous time taking pictures and larking around with the Blancos and London Family. Click HERE to check it out!

Thanks wonderful peeps!
DG
x

Mispronouncing words… again!!

Oh dear! Pronunciation mishaps have been few and far between lately so I guess I was due one sooner or later...

And what a good one it was.

There I was sat watching a TV programme about some famous artist with my Pa when I asked, ‘Was he more famous posthumously?’ except I pronounced it post-hume-oos-leee

*blush

After pausing for a good old chuckle, Pa told me the correct pronunciation and I realised just how wrong mine had been.

Making those kind of mistakes in front of Pa is fine though. His chuckles are good-natured and as he’s a really word expert I think he finds my quirky take on my own language entertaining. He was also the one to point out that envelope has two pronunciations and that the paper posting way wasn’t quite appropriate when related to hugs, for example.

But it does worry me about who else hears my unique and quite frankly bonkers pronunciation…

And who hears it who doesn’t know I am deaf, and instead thinks I am like Joey from Friends taking inspiration from word-of-the-day loo roll?

I worked hard to build the vocabulary that most people build aurally during their teens and uni years where the big words come out in force. I grew tired of reading ‘limited use of vocabulary’ at the bottom of my essays and so I read as many books as I could to help this – even dictionaries, which were insanely dull – but the problem is, this doesn’t help the pronunciation… and pronunciation is another word that sounds totally difference to how it reads… just ask Friend Who Knows Big Words.

In fact, I think I’ll do just that, when I meet her for dinner tonight.

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...