Thursday, May 29, 2008

Websites for Kids/Auditory & A/V Therapy

I have several blogs that I read on a regular basis and have to tell you about a great resource for kids. This would also be perfect for auditory training and therapy for children AND adults who are looking for different ways to practice listening. Shannon at "Rocks In My Dryer" asked for some suggestions from her readers for websites to keep kids occupied during the summer and she ended up with a long list! I have not checked every one of them out but the ones I did see had captions with the words as you listened to the stories. My favorite so far is Shel Silverstein! I used to read his books to our kids all the time and am saving them for our grandchildren. Below is the link to "Rocks In My Dryer" and I will also post a button in my sidebar (with permission). Enjoy and let me know what you think!

(Click here)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day is a time to reflect and remember those who have gone before us to give us the freedom that we enjoy today. Steve and I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS on Sunday night and appreciated the music and stories. I LOVE listening to patriotic songs and always get the goose bumps when I hear them. Especially when I hear "Taps." The stories brought tears to our eyes, too. I cannot imagine how hard it is to serve our country in the military but can only get a glimpse of it. We do have several veterans in our family. My grandfather on my mother's side served in WWI (Army?), my father-in-law served in the Korean War in the Army, my own husband served in the Navy, and our son, Chris, served in the U.S. Marine Corps (and spent 8 months in Iraq). When I see someone in uniform, I try to thank them for what they have done. A smile or simple ASL sign saying "thank you" speaks volumes. Anyone can read and understand "thank you" on your lips even if they can't hear you. Or if you see someone in uniform at a restaurant or diner, pay for their meal. Someone once did that for Chris when he came back from Iraq and he has never forgotten that thoughtful gesture made by an unknown person.

My father-in-law passed away three years ago on Memorial Day. Before I got my first cochlear implant. How I wish I could sit with him and listen to his voice one more time. He was a GREAT storyteller. He didn't talk much about his time in the Army or the Korean War. But, I know it affected him mentally and physically. He was also a quiet man but when he spoke, you listened. Thank you, Dad. We love and miss you.

Below is a video worth watching. . . it is close captioned, too!

May God Bless America.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nashville Weekend & Nashville Deaf and HOH Library

Me & Jennifer (or is it Jennifer and I?)
I had a quick whirlwind trip to Nashville for the TCDHH meeting and had a great time visiting with Jennifer and relatives. It takes me three hours to drive to Nashville and it was hard with the rain, fog, & truck drivers. Jennifer and I met at the Doubletree Hotel at the same time and wasted no time catching up on each other's news & doings. After we got settled in the room, we walked several blocks to the Melting Pot for dinner and had a nice, long & relaxing meal. If you've never been to the Melting Pot or done fondue, it is a treat! It was a little dark in there for conversation but Jennifer and I did just fine. I had trouble seeing the waiter through the steam that was rising from the fondue pot in the middle of our table so Jennifer did most of the talking to him - imagine that! Walking back to the hotel was a little unnerving for me because it was getting dark and several homeless people tried to stop us or talk to us. Walking in the dark and strangers do not mix for me and we quickened our step and hurried back to the hotel. Nashville is a great town to visit during the daytime but is not really all that safe at night unless you are walking with someone or a group. Next time we'll eat at the hotel!

Jennifer and I stayed up late talking until almost midnight. Jennifer likes to go to sleep watching TV so we turned it on and quickly realized that it didn't work! We could hear the sound coming from it but the screen was blank. We tried everything to get it to work but only had the universal remote and the buttons on the TV were worthless. If we weren't in our pajamas, we would have gone down to the lobby and said something but it was too late and we were tired so we turned it off. I did mention it to the front desk the next morning and they apologized, offering us a free breakfast. We really didn't have time because we had to walk several blocks to the meeting. I love staying at the Doubletree Hotel and if they had had more time, I'm sure they would have fixed our TV situation for us. Anyway, we made it just in time with our Starbucks drinks in hand! (We could have driven but had already paid for valet parking at the hotel and would have had to pay for parking at the library. A little exercise never hurt anyone!)

This was the 30th anniversary of the Tennessee Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing so it was a special meeting held at the Nashville Public Library. The Council meeting went well and we heard reports from members and the various agencies around the state of Tennessee. There is a lot going on behind the scenes for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Council consists of 11 members which are representative of different groups and organizations around the state. I love hearing about what is going on and am looking for opportunities to help or support these different groups. The meetings are interpreted and transcribed, which is great because no one misses out on what is being said. One of my tasks is to review and change the Bylaws for the Council. They haven't been changed since 2001 and needed some revisions. We could not vote on my recommendations because we didn't have a quorum so that will be set aside for the next meeting. Jennifer was fascinated with the whole meeting and it certainly was not boring! We had a photo session afterward and Jennifer ended up using her camera because she had the only good camera available!
Tennessee Council for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
30th Anniversary Picture
This was also the 30th Anniversary of the Nashville Library Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services. After the meeting was over, Sandy Cohen (she is the short lady in black with the white shirt in the above picture), gave us a tour. This is the largest library for the deaf & hard of hearing in the United States. There is not another one like it. Sandy has spent 30 years collecting and organizing this section of the library and it is WONDERFUL! She has equipment, books, magazines, and every publication and gadget available for anyone in the state of Tennessee who is deaf, hearing, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. There is an extensive collection of videotapes, CDs, and DVDs for children and adults. She even has assistive devices that anyone can borrow for up to three weeks. Even video phones are available for those that need to conduct an interview or phone conversation but cannot afford to get one. Any resident of Tennessee can have access to this library if they register online or at the library. And the library will gladly mail any book or CD to you at no cost, along with return postage! There is also a Directory of Services that has a comprehensive listing of organizations and services across the whole state available to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind in the state of Tennessee. Below is a picture of Jennifer modeling the various TTY's, adaptive equipment, and assistive listening devices available. She is also demonstrating a collection of "See-N-Say" CDs that Sandy gave to her! If you live in the state of TN, I would encourage you to check out the library in person or on the website and register for this valuable service. If you are from out of state and visiting Nashville, this library is a must-see activity, especially if you have children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Nashville Public Library is just beautiful and I plan to come to Nashville early next time take advantage of the facilities there. They even have a courtyard and cafe where you can relax, read, or work on the computer. The Children's section is huge and has a stage for puppet shows and story time. Check out their website for all their services and programs.
Entrance to the Deaf/HOH ServicesJennifer "modeling" assistive devices in library
Jennifer & "See -N-Say CDs
Last but not least, I had some time to visit with my aunt, Nelda. We saw the movie, "Made of Honor" at the theatre (no, it wasn't captioned but I got most of the storyline) and went out to eat at PF Chang's. I also got to see my cousin, Jenny, and her new baby, Kaci. (and the rest of her family, too!) I remember when Jenny was born and Kaci looks just like her! Isn't she precious???!!!
Jenny & Kaci
Laurie & Kaci
I'm off on another adventure with my husband. . . and will post about that soon because I have some things to say about airlines and hotels!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nashville Here I Come!

Just a quick post here. . . I still can't get a picture of the woodpecker! But he is beautiful. He has a zebra striped body and a red cap. I'll get his picture one of these days! I think he likes to drill on/in the corner of the metal gutter because that is where all the leaves collect. There are probably some nice juicy bugs in there!

Mama Bird celebrated Mother's Day with a new baby in her nest! It is so cute. Even though there were three eggs, only one hatched and the other two are still silent. We've have some cold spells lately and I wonder if she couldn't keep them warm. I did find another nest just outside my front door. I love my birds and keep the bird feeders fully stocked!

I'm headed to Nashville today for my quarterly Governor's Council meeting. I will get to see Jennifer and my aunt Nelda. Jennifer and I are going to hang out together tonight and she will come to my meeting tomorrow. May is Better Hearing month and also the 30th anniversary of the Council so we are having our meeting at the new library downtown and having some sort of celebration. Should be fun! I'm also hoping to see my cousin and her new baby, too. I miss Jackson so much and need my "baby fix!"

Speaking of Jackson, he is doing well and growing! He weighed 10 lbs. 3 oz. the last time I talked with Jessica! Jessica is having a nice break from school and enjoys being a mommy full time! Jason would like to get some sleep! Sorry Jason, your nights of sleeping are OVER!

Last weekend we traveled to Virginia Tech for Brad & Caitlyn's graduation. It was a wonderful weekend and the graduates are so happy! I enjoyed the commencement ceremony on Friday night more than the graduation on Saturday because I could understand what was going on better. Hoda Kotb from NBC was the guest speaker and she was WONDERFUL! I'll save that for another post when I get some time to write. Nothing was closed captioned or hearing impaired friendly at any of the ceremonies. Below is a picture of the graduates! We are so proud of them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day. It is a very special day for all women - a day to remember mothers. Even if you never gave birth to a child, it is in a woman's nature to nurture other people. And to appreciate those who have nurtured them. I am truly blessed. I have had many Godly women in my life who have loved me, encouraged me, and influenced me in many different ways. I could not begin to name them all but the most important one for me was my mother. So, I am thinking about her today and all the other women who are so important in my life.

I miss my mother very much but I see her gentleness and generosity of spirit in my sister and my niece (and my brothers and nephews, too). She taught us all so much about how to treat people and her desire to help others is with me every day. I would not be where I am today in my life if it was not for her strong faith, strength, confidence and determination. Several weeks ago when I was preparing for my first visit with Dr. Merwin, I was going through my file that Mom had saved for me with my audiograms, letters, documents, newspaper articles, notes, etc. I had tears in my eyes just reading her notes with her familiar handwriting. I miss her so much. She was my best friend, prayer partner, and confidant. She lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 1992 at the age of 58.

I was almost two years old when I was diagnosed with my deafness. There was no explanation or family history of deafness. As God said to Moses in Exodus 4:11, ". . .who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." My being born was no accident or mistake. I know that my parents were deeply discouraged when they found out that I could not hear but they NEVER gave up on me. I had the privilege to grow up in a loving, Christian home. God gave me two wonderful parents who did everything within their power, no matter what the sacrifice was, to help me be a part of the hearing world. They were told by doctors and professionals in the speech and hearing field that I would never be able to have a normal life and that I would never be able to talk or amount to anything. Mom and Dad were determined to prove them wrong and continued with their plan to teach me to read lips and to talk. Sign language was not a part of that plan so I never learned it, except to sign to music later in my adult years.

The challenges of growing up in a hearing world was often very overwhelming for me and still is at times. I know firsthand the frustration of trying to understand what people are saying when I cannot read or see their lips. I also know what it is like to misunderstand others and be misunderstood. My first word was probably "what?!!" Despite these difficulties, Mom was always there for me. And she still is, in a way. I believe she is my guardian angel, watching over all of us.

I will close this message with a quote that I found a few weeks ago written by Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1855) who was an American writer. She wrote, "The woman who creates and sustains a home, and under whose hands children grow up to be strong and pure men and women, is a creator second only to God."

*This post was originally published on Mother's Day 2005

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Woodpeckers, Baby Birds, & Roses

**Update** We have a very elusive woodpecker. I hear him every morning but he flies away as soon as I peek around the curtains with my camera. I'll get his picture one of these days! He still drills on the same corner of the metal gutter! I did post two pictures of the bird's nest and roses - see below!

I love this time of the year because I can hear the birds. We have so many of them around here! We have a beautiful red-headed woodpecker that has been visiting our bird feeder every day. (My bird book says he is a red-bellied woodpecker with a zebra-striped back and a red cap.) This morning as I was reading and having some quiet time in our breakfast area, I heard him! And with only one CI. (I like to start out my mornings with one ear while the house is quiet.) I've been hearing woodpeckers for some time but this wasn't the typical "rat-a-tat-tat" sound I was used to hearing. It was so loud and sounded like it was drilling on something other than wood. This woodpecker sounded like he was drilling and hitting the house! When we first moved here, woodpeckers were a problem for the previous owners because they would drill holes in the house. We haven't had any problems but I surely didn't want any holes in the house since we are getting ready to sell it. I heard it three times and said "Hey!" to get him off the house even though I couldn't see him. That didn't stop him because I kept hearing him. I started looking around trying to figure out where the sounds was coming from. You'll never believe where I found him. . .he was sitting on the edge of a gutter drilling into the metal! A cool sound and I listened to him do it several times. He then moved to the bird feeder. I tried to get a picture but he flew away before I had a chance. He'll come back and I'll post a picture when I get one!

We also have a nest of bird eggs in my hanging fern on the porch. I usually repot my ferns so I don't have to water them as often but was too late for this one. So, I left it alone. This nest belongs to the house finches that frequent our feeder and they are beautiful because they look like sparrows dipped in cranberry juice. The nest originally had four eggs in it but I found one on the ground last week after a storm. Can't wait for the baby birds!I love roses and try to buy a new plant every year. Actually, I buy them for Steve because he likes them so much. I found this one for $19.99 and thought it was a great deal because it has at least 30 buds on it! Beautiful! It is a Judy Garland rose and I love the red, orange and yellow colors.Must get to work but I wanted to share this with you. Check this space again because I'll load some pictures later today.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Branson Deaf Appreciation Weekend

I received this in my email box today from Signed Entertainment Enterprises (S.E.E.) and thought I should pass this news on to my readers. This event looks like great fun and I wish I was close enough to attend this! As you know, May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. I think it is wonderful when organizations and businesses make a special effort so that deaf and hard of hearing persons can participate in shows like these. You will note that the Osmond Family Hearing Center is one of the hosts. I just learned a few weeks ago that the Osmond family has a heart for the deaf and hearing impaired because one of the Osmond brothers is deaf. And will be making a one-time appearance on the 24th.


Memorial Day Weekend 2008, Branson's own Signed Entertainment will team up with The White House Theatre, The Mansion Theatre, The All American Café, The Branson Tourism Center, The Osmond Family Hearing Centers, and The Radisson Hotel to host Branson's very first Deaf Appreciation weekend. Starting on May 23rd and ending on May 26th .

The White House Theatre will feature Mr. Ken Glickman in Deafology 101:
Many profound questions are all covered and answered in DEAFology 101, a highly entertaining lecture on Deaf Culture where many questions are raised and explained on stage by "Prof. Glick" in his comical lab coat and beady black reading glasses. Just about everything from Anthropology to Biology to Physics is covered in this hilarious, fast-paced course!

Special Host will be Justin Osmond from the World Famous Osmond Family and founder of the Osmond Family Hearing Center! This is a one time appearance, on Saturday May 24th at 10:30 am.

Also Featured at The White House Theatre is The Magnificent 7 Dinner Show:
This show starts off with an incredible meal served by S.E.E. Certified "Deaf Friendly" wait staff, and then goes into an incredible show which highlights seven decades of Music, with the powerhouse vocals of Tamra Holden, Joe Tinoco, and an array of multi-talented performers!

The Unbelievable meal, and The Magnificent 7 show, and The White House Theatre, are S.E.E. Certified as "Deaf Friendly"!

The Mansion Theatre will feature:
"The Promise" a spectacular Branson play honoring the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ as you have never seen before! This incredible show speaks to the hearts of all ages.

"Celebrate America" a theatrical musical celebrating American Pride and Patriotism. Join us on a walk through time where you will discover that pride that was felt at the birth of our nation still rings true today.

These Incredible shows and The Mansion Theatre are S.E.E. Certified as "Deaf Friendly"!

The All American Café: Making it's debut as Branson's first "Deaf Friendly" restaurant. Serving American cuisine with a twist! The All American Café serves lunch and dinner, and is open after the shows. Catering and group menus available. All new atmosphere, menu, full bar, weekly dancing features and live entertainment. Also featuring one of Branson's largest Veterans' photo tribute.

We are proud to honor our Nations Deaf and Hard of Hearing by making our Branson businesses "Deaf Friendly", but remember, this wonderful fun filled weekend is for everyone! So come on out and see what all of the fuss is about!

For ticket or package information please contact our friends on the following links at:
The Branson Tourism Center - Or call 1-800-785-1550
The Mansion Theatre - Or call 866.707.4100
The White House Theatre - Or call 1-877-487-2386