Thursday 22 December 2011

Deafinitely Girly's noisy morning

Last night I went to bed at 10.30, woke at 3am and woke at 5am. The 2nd time, I was so convinced it was time to get up that I switched on my bedside lamp and lay in the brightness, clearing the sleep from my eyes.

Then I put my glasses on and looked at the clock.


However, there's something lovely about being awake at that time of the morning. It's so peaceful and still. I played my old game of 'what can I hear?' and heard the howl of an early morning flight, departing from Heathrow, the rumble of another arriving.

It was so quiet. Until I actually decided to get up that is.

Once in the bathroom, I dropped the heavy metal loo roll holder on the floor.

Crash it went, in the very next room to where The Girl That Can't Help Knit was trying to sleep.

I picked it up, put it back together and dropped it again.

Crash it went… louder this time.

Once in the shower, I proceeded to drop everything.

Crash it all went, including a giant bottle of TIGI shampoo, which landed on my foot and caused me to stumble backwards over my bath edge and onto the floor with a...

Yep, you guessed it, CRASH!

All this has left me rather nervously anticipating an email of complaint from my neighbour, but seeing as she was crashing around herself yesterday evening, I'm hoping she'll think better and just scuttle back under her rock.

I don't know why it is, but whenever I try to be quiet, i am noisy. Just like if I try to diet I eat twice as much as usual, and if I try to be myself – especially on dates – I become this crazy woman.

Now I'm on the bus to work and I'm trying not to fall asleep, so naturally my eyes keep falling shut.

So I think today I am going to try to be noisy, try not to be myself and try to sleep at every opportunity. And if that all goes to plan, it should be a very good day indeed.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Thinking of Kristian Anderson

One of the people I follow on Twitter is dying.

I first wrote about him here, and since then he's done some amazing things. He's travelled to America, he's met Oprah, he's battled and battled to fight the cancer consuming his body.

A few months ago, he was told he wouldn't win his fight, and the fear and anguish on his Twitter feed was palpable.

Indeed, one morning when I awoke to a tweet about being frightened about dying, I cried all the way to work on the bus.

I have continued to follow his progress and gradually a shift has happened. His tweets have become calmer, he has appeared to accept what is going to happen to him. This morning he tweeted that he was ready to go home. Ready to die.

With Christmas nearly here, I can only hope that he gets to see one more Christmas with his gorgeous sons and wife.

Do you know what? If you do just one thing today, this week, this life, make it to have a thankful thought or be there for someone you really love. Don't sweat the small stuff and remember those facing the big stuff.

I for one, will never forget Kristian Anderson. Not while he's alive, and not after he's died.

And from the other side of the world, on this cold December day, I hope he feels the comfort of everyone's good wishes.

I wish you could get well soon Kristian, I really do.

Love DG

Monday 19 December 2011

Deafinitely Girly's pre-Christmas clearout

Good morning from my freezing, unheated bus – the only glow coming from the amazing sunrise…

And what a brilliant weekend I had.

On Friday, I met up with Accent Man and I think we should both be congratulated for not falling asleep in our dinner. After we both had pretty mad nights out, we were more than a little tired, and this played havoc with me understanding what he was saying… and actually with him understanding me, too. As I face-planted my duvet for a full 10-hour kip, I couldn't help but curse the Christmas season for making us all so tired and busy.

Anyway on Saturday I was up bright and early to join the Singing Swede for a punishing gym class – it was so punishing that we both came out with faces redder than Santa's, but with stomachs considerably flatter.

On my way home from the gym I took a wrong turn and ended up at IKEA – surely a recipe for self harm on a Saturday morning, but surprisingly it was really rather empty and I whizzed around the market place picking up the things I needed, and of course the things I didn't, too.

And Sunday? Well after a half-hearted workout with the Singing Swede and a wholehearted catch up with her on the running machine, it was time for some life admin. To throw away the thousands of photographs that will never make the album cut, to clear out the crap I will never wear, read or use again and to sort my head out for 2012…

Sitting on my living room floor, surrounded by photos of my eight years in London, I couldn't help but feel my tired spirits lifted by the knowledge that, even with their challenges, they've been a good eight years.

And with an emptier, more organised flat, I know I've made room for the next eight years, too.

Friday 16 December 2011

I've sponsored a Hearing Dog

When it comes to giving money to charity, I'm not sure I do enough.

I'm as guilty as the next person of dodging charity muggers 'chuggers' in the street – always being careful to be polite but at the same time being firm that, no, I don't want to give my bank details to a stranger on the street who's stalked me halfway to Boots in my lunch hour, when all I want is a sandwich and a packet of crisps.

It's these uncharitable feelings that have been sitting heavily on my mind these past few months and I've been trying to work out if I can find a middle ground – a happy medium where I can hold my head up and say to chuggers, 'No thanks, I already give money to my chosen charities.'

But then of course, there's the dilemma of who to support. When there are world disasters – the flooding in Pakistan, tsunamis, earthquakes etc, I will always give money through Oxfam or Unicef, but apart from that, I don't make a regular donation to anyone.

The other day, I got caught my a chugger who convinced me to part with £5 to fund 15 minutes of care with Marie Curie – I did not mind doing this, either. What I did mind though, was being hounded with phone calls for the next week from the charity wanting more money.

That pissed me off.

Anyway, today, in my hungover, post-Christmas party state, I've been sitting at my desk – working – and also wondering who I'd like to support in the new year. Which charity I'd like to donate to regularly, and make a difference to.

And suddenly it hit me, and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before: Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

You see, one day, I would like a Hearing Dog. I would like to have that security of knowing that a bundle of fur would alert me if something out of my range was occurring, be it a child crying, an alarm going off, or my neighbour having a shrieking fit about my very existence.

But how can I possibly expect to ask for a Hearing Dog, if I don't support the charity that's responsible for training and caring for these life-changing animals? Quite frankly, I can't.

As a kid, I did loads of fundraising for Hearing Dogs. I went carol singing, I did sponsored silences, which those who know me vouch for is a very tricky thing indeed, and I once even did a sponsored famine.

But then I stopped and now it's time to start again.

So today, I started by sponsoring a puppy – a brown cocker spaniel called Coco, who looks so cute, it left me wishing I could be her owner…

But that puppy called Coco will go to someone who really needs her right now. She'll change their life, she'll be their ears, and what could be better than that?

And as I sit here, in my post-Christmas party hungover state, I can't think of a single thing.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Deafinitely Girly and the toys I can't hear

Today is a very special day. It's Mini Clog and Northern Boy's fifth birthdays.

The former is Big Bro's son – he should soon be opening a Spiderman costume that I posted to him – and the latter is Head Girl's first little boy.

I still remember the day I got a texts to say they'd both been born. I was in HMV in my lunch hour in Leicester Square and I promptly burst into tears while trying to buy a Goo Goo Dolls album – the till guy was a little disturbed.

I'm not sure quite why I had such an extreme reaction. I guess it just felt so surreal that at 26 I was an aunt and my best friend since i was 11 was now a mum.

Thankfully, I no longer have this extreme reaction to the arrival of my friends' children – and there are quite a few these days. Even better, I'm apparently balanced enough to be godmother to two of them, but I'll never forget the way I felt on that day – a mix of happiness but knowledge that everything was now changing.

Anyway, the countdown is now on for Christmas – the tree is up and looks like an explosion in a tat factory, the poinsettias are out and at some point there will be some mince pie making.

I love Christmas. I love walking down the street peeking through people's windows at night and seeing what they've done for decorations. I love the fact that all the Christmas lights make it so much easier to lipread in the dark, and I love that I get to go toy shopping for the little people in my life. Having a justifiable reason to be in Hamley's is never a bad thing.

As a kid, before I knew that I was deaf, I never really understood a lot of toys – the ones that spoke or beeped or chimed… I thought that half the challenge was guessing what they were doing. I thought the point of the mini keyboard I was given one year was so you could compose tunes without being able to hear them and then hold it up to your ear to play it back and see what you'd created.

One year I got a red walkman and the latest Kylie album and I remember wondering why it had a volume control when I could only hear it on the highest setting, and I also thought Kylie made up the words as she went along, so I did, too – to this day I reckon this helped me get my first at uni in writing poetry!

But what this does mean is that when I'm in Hamley's choosing Christmas presents for the little people in my life, I'm completely oblivious to just how noisy they could end up being…

So apologies to all my friends with children this year. I didn't know I'd bought the noisiest toys in the shop… honest!

Monday 12 December 2011

A very Thankful Monday

Coo-eeee I'm back!

Last week's silence was due to a rather busy time in my day job, which left me very little spare brain power to blog.

But I have exciting news. I am one step closer to getting broadband, thanks to the helpful peeps at O2.

This means I am one step closer to being able to Skype Big Bro in Holland and SuperCathyFragileMystic in the Wild West Erm... Country.

How amazing is that?

But what's more amazing is the weekend I've just had.

Penthouse Flatmate and First Uni Flatmate came to stay for the weekend bringing with them my goddaughter, Miss D. She's five, and considering I was brought on board to teach her about the fun things in life, I think I'm doing a pretty good job – if you overlook the fact she's going back with a slightly more colorful vocabulary.

Sorry Penthouse Flatmate...

Anyway on the Saturday, after I'd given a guided tour of my flat, which consisted of standing in the hall and pointing at each room off it, we set off to watch The Snowman ballet at the Peacock Theatre.

As the lights went down and the music began, I snuck a look at Miss D, who was sat there, utterly captivated for the entire performance.

And who could blame her – it was truly amazing. A young child's dream scenario and still a great watch for the grown-ups, too.

Quite how a giant snowman melting caused me to tear up, I have no idea, in fact, ahem, I think I just had something in my eye.

Having my flat full of girls and giggling was so fantastic. Seeing London through Miss D's little eyes was so refreshing, and showing Penthouse and Uni Flatmate where I lived made me feel very proud of everything I've achieved.

Then yesterday evening, I went to toast the brilliance of French Boy and wish him Happy Birthday in a local pub. In short, I had a fantastic evening – amongst other things, I learnt how to say Power Shower with a Northern Irish accent. 

Perrrr Sherrrrr...

and I laughed more than I had done in ages.

So today you could say I'm having a very Thankful Monday.

Hope you are, too, peeps.


Monday 5 December 2011

Deafinitey Girly, the broadband and the Mac

Something amazing happened yesterday.

I finally got the point of Skype…

I finally saw the point of broadband…

And I finally realised that I need a new computer – and in an ideal money worry-free world, this would be a Mac Book Pro.

'What?' I hear the people who know me cry. 'Deafinitely Girly might get the internet at home? And hell hasn't frozen over?'

I know, it's mad isn't it. For many years I have resisted this piece of technology because I resent the fact that I have to pay for a phone line I will never use to get broadband, or that if I choose to go with fibre optic without a phone line then the deals aren't that great…




That's as maybe, but honestly, if I spend to long thinking about it, I risk combusting with rage.

Anyway, yesterday it turned out that with a combination of a shiny Mac Book, a great broadband speed and Skype, I had the longest, most-coherent chat I've had with Big Bro EVER… lipreading the whole thing.

It was amazing. It was an unbelievable feeling. I now see why other people have this.

I understand it. It's life changing.

It's also expensive. But what I experienced yesterday – the excellence of the picture, the clarity of the sound, the brilliance of the whole thing, made me realise that this is money well spent. This isn't the clich├ęd £500 a year I could save if I gave up my Pret Latte luxury (I've never bought a latte from Pret in my life), this is an investment worth making proper sacrifices for.

There's just one teeny tiny problem, what comes first? The Mac Book or the internet? If it's the former, then I should be online by this time next year even with a savings plan. If it's the latter, I will be online but without the proper tools to make the most of it.

Chicken or egg? Mac Book or broadband?

I want both of the latter. My neighbour would go mental if I  got the former.

Better get saving eh?

DeafGirly: How I feel about being deaf at work

It's been a whole year since I posted a blog on here. Life's been happening. And I guess I am no longer 'deaf in the city and ha...