The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Friday, August 26, 2011]

Great Friends Are Great


Cindy and Cari, I love you girls!

And of course Laynie and Kate. :)

[Tuesday, August 23, 2011]

Earthquake, Curriculum, and Chinese, Oh My!


We had an earthquake in Maryland! The epicenter was in Virginia, but we certainly felt it up here. I was in a large meeting room, and it felt like I had vertigo... just swaying and moving around. It was a trippy feeling, made me wonder if something was wrong with me. But everyone else was feeling it!

The teachers in my county (probably whole state) are FREAKING OUT. New curriculum! Aaaagh! I am loving it, because the new curriculum is much better than the current one--it's language based. All about thinking and reasoning.

And I might be learning Chinese this fall! My elementary school is participating in a pilot program with immersion world languages instruction. All of the students (yes, even my deaf darlings) will have an hour each week of Chinese in the fall and Spanish in the spring. I may decide to go in with them. Certainly at the beginning of the school year I will, to help them understand the concept of language. I'm afraid they'll think it's just more speaking that they don't understand. Chinese, English, it's all Greek to them.

[Sunday, August 21, 2011]

Three Musketeers


We are planning to hang pictures in a variety of black and gold frames to adorn the very large wall above the fireplace, so we have been choosing pictures. This is one that we're going to use, which I think Bryndi took. (Hi Bryndi!)

It is so us.

We haven't played Guitar Hero together is sooo long, but we still do nerdy things together. For example, today we played Rummikub while watching Kung Fu Panda. We're very homey and familyish.

Katie is funny, because she generally refers to Laynie as her sister. She'll say to her friend, "I went there with my sisters," or "My sisters would love that," meaning Laynie and me. It's very sweet. I'm glad we all get along.

[Tuesday, August 16, 2011]

Good Listener!


Laynie has been spending a lot of time upstairs at the desktop computer, working on a project. We email each other if we need to say something, so that we don't have to run up and down the stairs all the time (I hang out downstairs).

The visual email notification isn't working right now (dumb OSX Lion), but it still pings when a message is received. I can't believe that Laynie hears that ping every time! I asked her whether she was keeping the mail program on top of everything else, and she said no, she just listens for the ping.

Even if I'm watching TV downstairs, which is very audible upstairs since Laynie's in a loft room that is open to the living room, she hears that ping!

Just now I turned down the volume on the TV a little to hear a video on the internet, and I got a message from Laynie right away. She was asking what that noise was, whether someone was yelling or if I was on the phone. She's such a good listener!

[Monday, August 15, 2011]

Last Quiet Week


I can't believe I'll be back to work full time again next week! Next week will be a blur of meetings, trainings, and set up; the kids start back the week after. I am looking forward to seeing my kids again and meeting some new ones.

[Thursday, August 11, 2011]

Wicked Awesome Pictures!


Laynie, Katie, and I went to a sign interpreted performance of Wicked a few week ago at the Kennedy Center. It was such a fun night. We got there early, so we went up to the terrace for pictures!

Me and Kate


No, those are not long earrings... They're Laynie's 'plants! She changed her cochlear implant processor batteries before the show.

Look, she's so happy to hear! (Or she nearly dropped her left 'plant and barely caught it.)

You can see the Lincoln Memorial on the right and the Jefferson with the dome.

Yay! Almost time! Check out the interpreter--on the left. She was a fantastic actress!

The Wasps


I'm finally getting around the posting pictures of the unwelcome guests on my old balcony.

Big nest!

My poor finger was swelling up. I tried a baking soda paste, which helped. That was after the initial half hour of stabbing pain. Wasps mean business!

[Tuesday, August 9, 2011]

New Friend and Family History


After a Relief Society activity focusing on family history, I spoke with the woman teaching the class, Mary. She offered to work with me one on one to help me find my ancestors--who seem like they don't want to be found. Challenging. Well, I went to her house yesterday at noon... and didn't leave until 5:30! We chatted, worked on genealogy, and then chatted some more.

And I have already made some progress with my family history and am so excited to get more done.

[Sunday, August 7, 2011]

Benefit? YES!


On Friday I went with Laynie to interpret for her rehab appointment, where a rep from Laynie cochlear implant company, Med-El, would be present. The woman showed up early, and they were chatting in the waiting room. One thing she asked Laynie was, "Do you think you benefit from having cochlear implants?"

Benefit? How do you quantify that. Laynie was surprised by the question and not able to answer it fully. The simple answer is YES. But how to explain why? It's especially tough when she's really not understanding much spoken language yet. (yet)

For someone who is hearing and becomes deaf, gets an implant, and understands when people talk, I think a CI would be such a relief. The benefit would be clear. Similarly, a young child implanted and learning to hear and speak, as many implanted kids do, would clearly benefit. But for someone in Laynie's situation, the benefit is less externally apparent. She shared an anecdote about understanding her mother say, "I love you," which made an impact, as well as a few small examples of ways that hearing aids and cochlear implants have been different for her.

At dinner later, we were talking about it, trying to think back on life before implants. After two years with them, it sort of feels like she's always been this way.

I was telling Laynie that I have a very clear memory of an instance when we were standing in a busy area on the BYU campus between classes. I had asked Laynie what she heard, as she happened to be wearing her hearing aid that that day. She said that she heard noise. I asked her to describe it. All she could say was that it was noise, that it was all one sound blended together, at a constant volume. People talking, construction nearby, cars passing... all one sound.

The other day we were in a restaurant, and she asked if there were kids around. I told her which direction, and she nodded knowingly. Later she asked if a table was being cleared nearby. She had heard the clatter of dishes. Not only is she distinguishing the sounds, she's identifying what they are. She can identify laughter in another room. Jazz music, which she hates. A piano amidst the din of a department store. A car vs. jetliner vs. prop plane vs. truck vs. motorcycle going by. Thunder. A baby vs. a toddler screaming during sacrament meeting.

In the kitchen today, Laynie's back was toward me. The microwave was in use, the fan over the stove was on, and food was sizzling in a pan. I don't remember what her attention was on... throwing away trash or something. I said her name at a conversational level and she turned to me.

With hearing aids, Laynie could hear some things, but she could only identify a few. Whistling. A drum. A piano, if she knew it was music and focused on it. But she couldn't tell a voice from a car going by. Not that she couldn't hear the voice. Everything just sounded pretty much the same.

Laynie is hearing quieter things. Today she heard distant thunder from inside the house. She hears all the speech sounds, including very quiet ones like H and TH. Today I whispered quietly from three or four feet away, just to see if she heard me... she did. With her hearing aids there was a whole slew of sounds she didn't hear at all.

Obviously hearing and understanding are two different things. Two different levels of the same thing. Hearing is the bottom rung of the ladder, and understanding is the top. Laynie understands some things when listening purposefully in therapy. But she also understands things occasionally outside of therapy. Just simple things like asking a question and not looking as the answer is given, listening for the yes or no.

Yesterday she was sitting next to me on the couch, telling me something--showing me something on the computer. I don't remember exactly. But I remember that I asked, "Where?" She told me what it was again. I said, "I know, but where?" She said, "Right here," and showed me. I didn't sign it, and she wasn't looking at me. She heard and understood. I asked her if she knew what I said, and she answered, "Where." She didn't realize that I didn't sign it until I told her.

Things like that happen every day. Just the fact that she uses her CIs every day, all day long, is testament to the benefit she receives. She likes them. They help her feel connected to the world around her.

Like many children with CIs, she's beginning to prefer sound over sight for some things. Sometimes sound is easier.

She was saying that she wanted to get a doorbell, because some people knock quietly, which is hard to hear (even for me, and I'm "very hearing" as she says) from the kitchen. We discussed getting a flashing light doorbell, which she's had before. We realized that she hasn't used one in two years! With her CIs, she doesn't need one. She hears a knock just like everybody else. She thought that she would prefer a doorbell that chimes rather than flashes. A flashing light can be easy to miss in the daytime, if you're not looking in that direction. But she could hear a chime from wherever she is, whatever she's doing. So she'll be getting a doorbell that chimes... and she found one that has a portable receiver with a blinking light.

That doorbell will be a perfect fit for a girl who's straddling two worlds. She's Deaf yet very much a person who hears.

[Monday, August 1, 2011]

Off the Juice


I am so glad to be off Benadryl!

I was sleeping way too much, and I was miserable and cranky when I wasn't sleeping. Or maybe I was miserable and cranky because I was ready to tear my hand off to stop the itching and burning.

I'm doing much better now. The itching had increased and decreased since I stopped icing and began massaging, but it generally decreased. Today it's not bad at all. The allergy junk seems to be stuck in the base of my finger, because that's where it's stiff and itchy now.. but nothing like Friday and Saturday! I'm definitely counting my blessings. I got a blessing yesterday evening, which didn't end up really addressing the wasp allergy problem but did address others on my mind. Love that!

So here's something funny: I'm wearing makeup again. I gave up on it for several years, because it just seemed to accentuate my acne... But now that my face has mostly cleared up, I'm into it again. I'm obsessed with eye makeup. Laynie thinks I've gone mental.

And.... get ready for it... Wasps have built a nest above the front door to my new home!