Friday 28 November 2014

Deaf Girly's Thankful (not Black) Friday

Today is Thankful Friday.

Not Black Friday.

And I am thankful that I am not one of the people that felt compelled to queue for something I didn't need while being photographed by The Daily Mail this morning.

I am thankful that I do not need to buy anything so badly that I will lose a shoe running for it, or risk arrest scrapping with someone else because there is only one thing left.

I am thankful that I did most of my Christmas shopping last week – and still saved 20% thanks to those amazing voucher code things.

So anyway, yes, I am one of those people raising a disdainful eyebrow at the invasion of Black Friday on UK shores, especially when we haven't got the day before it to celebrate – Thanksgiving – and were not able to take holiday yesterday and stuff ourselves with an unpardoned turkey.

However, this weekend FJM and I will be doing something a bit early for both of us and putting up the Christmas tree. It's ready and waiting to be decorated and lit and to fill our little flat with festive cheer. And I can't wait.

I love Christmas. Not the shopping or the traffic chaos or the snow that one year prevented us from going away to somewhere erm… snowy. Instead, I love fact that ordinary things become festive. Things like switching on lights – not table lights but fairy lights. Or buying satsumas, which always taste much better in December. Or baking – because it's the only time of year I actually make pastry. Although my mince pies always look like pork pies for some reason.

Cranberry sauce fights for shelf space with canap├ęs to rival a wedding and wrapping paper gets more wardrobe space than shoes. Chocolate becomes an acceptable breakfast food.

And then there's the pang.

Every year about this time, I start to feel a pang. A pang that I want to spend all my time with the people most important to me.

And that is what I am most thankful for today. That I have these amazing people who I love very much.

Happy Friday peeps.


Monday 17 November 2014

Deaf Girly hears a baby (I KNOW!)

A few weeks ago, I went to meet SuperCathyFragileMystic's new baby, Baby A.

And she is cute. Cute in the way that I don't think I put her down the whole time I was there, unless I had to, or someone offered me a biscuit, or I was asleep on the sofa.

I love babies. Especially ones that belong to my friends, because I get to enjoy all the great bits but still get eight hours sleep at the end of it. If I ever have my own, this will not be the case.

Anyway, one of my anxieties about babies is that I can't really hear them cry. They're completely out of my frequency, unless I'm actually holding them right there, or they're in a quiet room with me, and I"m awake!

Take the time, aged 22, I babysat for London Aunt and Uncle while they went to a party next door. London Cousin 2 – a young toddler at the time – decided to have complete hysterics in her bedroom, which had a stair gate across the door and I heard nothing. It was only when London Aunt and Uncle heard her crying from the party next door and came over to find a puce and downright furious London Cousin 2, that we all realised that a baby alarm would be a really good idea.

But don't get me wrong, not hearing babies crying has its benefits. Overnight visits to friends with kids means I am rarely disturbed. Unless of course they burst into the room I'm in and actually start yelling in my face that is.

So anyway, after a long day of baby holding, I had fallen asleep on SCFM's sofa. Baby A was snoozing in her crib in the living room and SCFM was indulging in her Strictly Come Dancing obsession.

And then, all of a sudden, before I knew what was happening, I was stood in the living room, holding SCFM's three week old daughter.

And SCFM was laughing. Apparently, Baby A had made one loud squawk and I had leapt up (from being fast asleep) and picked her up and stopped her crying. Except I did all this without even realising I'd done it.

I did the whole thing on instinct. SCFM was impressed.

And me? Well, I found myself beaming. Somehow my rubbish ears had managed to tune into the one important thing in the room and made sure she woke me up. Made sure I went into autopilot and that Baby A's cries didn't fall on deaf ears.

And do you know what? I could have cried. With absolute relief. Relief that my ears worked a little bit better than usual just when I needed them to.

Amazing huh?

Happy Monday peeps


Wednesday 12 November 2014

Deaf Girly's book addiction

Over the last week. I've had a cold. I've felt ill. My face has what looks like a thousand spots. It's red and blotchy from the fast-approaching winter. I don't know whether to smother it in tea tree oil or moisturiser.

I hardly recognise myself.

Most days I leave the house with a sigh, a cough and sniff. But leave the house I do. Mainly because I'm excited about my bus ride to work.


Because I can read.

I am racing through the books on my Kindle at the moment. Currently I am reading the Unfinished Symphony of You & Me by Lucy Robinson and in my ill, hazy, emotional state, I found myself bawling my eyes out on the bus this morning.

Warm and cosy under the cream checked alpaca scarf that is actually a blanket (no really, my Ma took it off a bedroom display in a shop and fashioned it around her neck to see if it would fit the bill before buying it for me for my birthday) I was a snivelling wreck as the characters I'd come to know and love went through quite a bit of emotional trauma.

Add red puffy eyes to the mix of my amazingly unrecognisable face.

I've written before about the amazing escapism I get from reading. About how I can disappear into a world where I hear everything but don't have to have a presence. Nothing is required of me. Nothing except the ability to read the words and click the button to turn the pages.

When I read a book, it doesn't matter anymore that I am red, blotchy, puffy eyed, snotty and spotty. (What an amazing vision I am?!). It doesn't matter that my hair has taken a turn for the worst and turned into straw – fluffy, uncontrollable, coarse straw.

It doesn't even matter that by scragging it into a ponytail (How do people do those effortless up-dos?) and wearing my glasses – because my eyes are stinging from feeling ill – my hearing aids push my ears out at right angles and make me look like a cross between Big Ears from Noddy and a vagrant Cabbage Patch Doll.

Because I am IN THE BOOK.

And that's where you'll find me for the next few weeks. In other people's books and in my own. The latter needs a lot of work. And there's no better time for it.

Happy Wednesday peeps


Wednesday 5 November 2014

Deaf Girly and the light bulb

I have a cold.


As well as all the usual side effects of a cold – the nose-blowing, the sniffing, the sneezing so many times you do your entire weekly quota of sit-ups in one go – I am also much much deafer than usual.

I seem to have lost the edge of the sound that helps me get by. That turns the lipreading into comprehensible conversation.

So yesterday, I had a snuffly lunch with one of my favourite people TT. We were sat there chatting and I was getting by until suddenly I lipread the word 'boobs' at the exact same time that she did a corresponding hand movement that also looked like boobs.

I sat there for a moment backtracking, recounting the train of conversation, my mind flailing around wildly, fork mid-aid as I struggled to work out why the hell TT was telling me about boobs complete with sign language when just a second ago we'd been talking about her new flat in Battersea.

'Boobs?' I said, stuffing a mouthful of EAT's delicious Falafel salad in my mouth.

'Boobs?' TT replied, the question mark audible even with my very, very deaf ears.

'Boobs.' I said back, fighting back a snort of laughter for fear of falafel coming out of my nose.

'Didn't you just say boobs?' I continued, while doing the exact hand movements (kind of Benny Hill-esque ones) at the same time.

And at that moment there was a slight danger of TT's meatball panini being laughed all over EAT…

Turns out boobs and bulbs (as in the ones for lights) look the same when lipreading… and the dual hand action of screwing in a lightbulb, cupped around the bulbous bit…



So we went shopping after lunch to buy boobs. Still giggling like a pair of schoolgirls.

Problem is, I have a day full of meetings today. Important ones. With important people.

Please nobody say bulbs. Or anything else with dual lipreading consequences.

Such as colourful. And I love you.

Wish me luck peeps...


Tuesday 4 November 2014

Deaf Girly: I'm hearing when I read

After the excitement of discovering you can download programs with subtitles to iPlayer and watch them offline later, I've been spending my commute watching all sort of documentaries and dramas.

The downside of this however, is that I have missed reading. I've missed the pure escapism of immersing yourself in a world created by someone else.

So last week I dusted off my Kindle, charged it up and set off through the books waiting there patiently to be read.

When I first moved to London 10 years ago, I didn't know anyone – except London Aunt and Uncle. I was also struggling with my deafness in the profession I had chosen. The reality of being deaf made me cry most days. All the listening and attempting to use the phone was exhausting.

And so everyday, I read for one hour on my way to and from work. My chosen authors – Freya North and Katie Fforde. Freya North because many of her books were set in London and so I'd take myself off to find the places her characters went, which meant I spent quite a lot of time in the National Gallery talking to Mr and Mrs Andrews in Gainsborough's painting (Read her book Chloe if you want to meet them yourself).

And Katie Fforde because her books were set in the Wild West erm Country – my childhood home –and it was amazing to be back while seeing it through new eyes.

In those early days, I read their latest books and re-read their old books. And in that one hour as I hurtled under London in a tin tube (I didn't hate the Underground back then), I wasn't deaf and struggling to follow what was going on. I could follow everything. I could 'hear' conversations. I wasn't left exhausted. And I didn't feel lonely.

And this week, after ploughing through the books on my Kindle I've realised that even though 10 years have passed and I'm way more confident and sorted about my deafness, I still love the fact that when I step into a book, I 'hear' everything and miss nothing.

And so, while I love the iPad and downloadable BBC programmes very much, I'm giving it up – at least for my morning commute anyway. After all, why have subtitles when you can step into a book and 'hear'.

Have a fab Tuesday peeps


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