Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Teeth and Clouds

You know that little blog stalking problem I have?

It really does pay off sometimes. I don't even remember how I stumbled upon Joey's blog, but I can almost guarantee there were stalking hijinks involved.

Joey's daughter, Julia, has mild/moderate hearing loss and I've loved learning about hearing loss from the parents' perspective. I've only ever approached my hearing loss from my experience, but it's something that affects the whole family.

Every month, Joey features a deaf or hard of hearing adult and this month was my turn! Head on over to her blog and read the (very. long. (oops)) post I wrote. Thanks for featuring me, Joey!

Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

Here's a math problem for you. All I did was make one batch of mashed potatoes, yet when all was said and done, I had four giant bowls soaking in sudsy water to get all of the potato-ness off of them, approximately 9,000 utensils scattered in the sink and took out two bags of trash in the last six hours.

How does that happen? If Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart ever need a replacement... don't call me.

But the potatoes... oh. my. word. They almost didn't make it to my aunt's for Thanksgiving because I may or may not have kept sneaking tastes. They are full of bad things. Heavy cream. Buttttah. Cream cheese. Don't look at me like that. It was a holiday. Go with it.

Annnnnyway, Thanksgiving. I feel like I won't be a good American unless I list all the things I'm thankful for, just like everyone else is doing. But that seems so... so... routine. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for a lot of things. I understand the value of a grateful heart. But I'm wondering if I really know what thankfulness means.

I came across this Thanksgiving poem last week that just rubbed me the wrong way. It starts out like this:

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank
You, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long
as possible, thank You, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

I think you can imagine why I found that a little offensive (!). The poem goes on to give thanks for things like family (because there are many who are lonely), food (because there are many who are hungry) and work (because there are many who don't have a job).

It's okay to be thankful for those things. But the motivation behind the gratitude in the poem is all wrong. Being thankful that you have something that someone else doesn't isn't really gratitude, but superiority.

The whole poem is really just one complaint after another. Paraphrased, it is basically saying something like:

"Poor me, I have to listen to my alarm shrill at me day after day, and I'm forced to leave my warm, cozy bed and work for The Man just so I can come home to crying children and a demanding spouse and burned toast in a modest house... but at least I'm not like those people! Even though I'm not really getting what I want, that's okay, because it could be so much worse."

Are we really that backwards that instead of truly being humbly thankful for what we do have, we're begrudgingly noting that at least someone else is worse off than we are? What we're really doing then is assuring ourselves that we're still awesome, that we've still got one up on everyone else. This isn't really a poem of Thanksgiving, but one of entitlement. It assumes that life should be free of restrictions and authority and cold and ruined food and illness and trials. That we are special and awesome enough to deserve a perfect life and have right to pitch a fit when it doesn't go our way.

I know this because I get behind the wheel of a car every day. I don't know what it is about driving that makes me act like a three year old, but it does. I mean, people are driving in my lane. What is up with that? I did not tell them they could be there. Why are they driving so slow? Don't they know that the speed limit thingy is just a suggestion? I have someplace to be and they are slowing me down and don't they know I will be late for work if they don't MOVE. IT.?! I act like I'm the only person on the highway who has schedule to keep. All of a sudden, everything becomes about me and my need to get somewhere and everyone who stands in my way is an enemy.

And the truth is that I live my life this way too. I don't know how to be thankful because I assume I'm entitled to live the way I want. It's hard to say "thank you" when you're distracted by the fact that your internet connection isn't fast enough or that the kitchen isn't big enough or the weekend isn't full enough. Then trying to fake an attitude of gratitude (cue cheesy sound effect) by mumbling, "Well, at least I'm not like that guy!" just doesn't cut it.

I think true thankfulness starts with humility, with recognizing who you really are (a sinner, not awesome and yucky), what you really deserve (wrath, hell and death) and what you got instead (grace, mercy and life). Only by breaking the illusion of entitlement will I really be thankful.

Which means I've got a long, loooooooong way to go.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Ephesians 2:1-10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am a dork

I get really excited when our office closes early, as it did today for the holiday weekend. It means I get home in time to watch Jeopardy.

True story. I am a nerd like that. And I even got a few of the answers right, too. I may be using the term "right" loosely.

Also, I heard that eggs should be room temperature because then they'll cook up fluffier. I have no idea if that applies to baking, but I'm making chocolate chip cookies and my eggs are still a little chilly. So I'm holding them in my hands to warm them up. (This is a really hilarious sentence if you understand "eggs" as part of a woman's reproductive system. Giggle. I mean, really, I'm about to bust a gut here. Tears are streaming. I entertain myself well.)

So how exactly, you might wonder, am I typing this post?

Very carefully, that's how.

Hope your Thanksgiving is egg-stra special!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catching a whiff

Is Sunday the start of your week or the end of it? I can never decide.

The last couple of Sundays, I'v noticed that I come home smelling a lot better than when I left it. I mean, I use deodorant and everything (not like that one time), but I'm not really a body spray or perfume kind of girl. But after a morning of hugging various friends (and let's face it, the gallery just gets real crowded real fast), their body spray rubs off on me so when I get home, I have some sweet scents to remember the day by. Which is kind of lovely.

And maybe a little creepy.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

(P.S. I've enabled comment moderation. Lame, I know. Just go with it.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'd rather have a pity party, thanks.

That's what I said when one of my co-workers offered me an orange. For the Vitamin C. Because I was busy nursing a sore throat. Cough, cough. I'm a smidge overdramatic when battling viruses. Little bit.

Anywhozzle, sometimes when I get sick, or when I have a lot of things to bring in from the car, or when I have a lot of housework to do, I think, "Score one for roommates." (I pretty much have a daily "roommate vs. living alone" kind of mental scoreboard going on. Just go with it.) Sure, living with people is hard. They don't always do their chores. Or maybe you do something that irritates them. Schedules conflict and decorating preferences clash. It can be rough.

But it's nice to be able to text someone and ask for help bringing on all the groceries. Or share the burden of chores. Or bring you soup when you're sick... or at least throw some sympathizing glances your way. And good roommates - if you are lucky enough that they are good friends, too - will say things like, "You kind of suck right now." And yes, that counts as a point for the roommate scenario.

This is the epiphany I had the other day. I mentioned briefly that sometimes I feel like my life is full of busy-ness but devoid of meaningful relationships. Then I started thinking about what I wanted my relationships to look like and why they did not look like that. There are a lot of factors. Schedules. Personalities. Priorities. Normal things. Neutral things. But outside of those, something I kept coming back to was: me. Maybe I'm one of the reasons that I don't have the relationships that I want. So I've been praying. And thinking. What are the things that I do or don't do that might turn people off? That might be overwhelming? That might just plain annoy others?

And then I realized, it would take me a long time to come up with that answer on my own. When I look in the mirror, I do see a sinner, but I tend to under-emphasize my sinfulness and exaggerate my awesomeness. So unless someone comes up and holds a different kind of mirror up to me and says, "Hey, you are being really dumb and it really hurts my feelings when you ________." Or, "I think that you are making a mistake by ___________." Even, "When you do _______, it is overwhelming/frustrating/irritating."

Those are hard things to hear. And I confess that I don't handle critique well. I want to be a more gracious person and take correction like a grown up, not a three year old with a temper tantrum. But if I don't know my sins, how will I grow? If I can't see the things that are keeping me from focusing all of my attention on Christ, how will I learn? How can I have genuine relationships with people if no one tells me how I'm being dishonest?

I need people to tell me when I'm being dumb. Left to my own devices, I'm going to think I am pretty hot stuff. I'll strut around, patting myself on the back for my good deeds or for being the most mature person the room (never mind that I'm the only person in the room).

I've had a few roommates who were willing to do that for me. At the time, I was mad at them for doing it. How dare they have the audacity to tell Awesome Me that I was really a Sinful Me? What I didn't know then was that it was the most loving thing they could have done. Thanks, ladies.

(And no, it's not just roommates who do that. Friends. Family. I was just reflecting on roommates in particular but by no means is saying hard things limited to people who occupy the same household.)

Hey, you know how when you let out a really big sneeze and you get light-headed for a few minutes and you can pretty much feel your eyes glazing over with that weird "I'm getting sick" look and your core body temperature rises about 500 degrees and you start saying loopy things like "One time, at band camp..."?


Oh, me either.

If you need me, I'll be delirious with cough suppressant and carrying on a conversation with the light switch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Love language

Sometimes I wonder (er, worry, if we're really being honest here) if my hearing aids are a turnoff to prospective suitors. How do relationships work if one person is deaf or hard of hearing and the other isn't? I know people do it and I'm curious how they manage. Does it get tiring for the hearing person to have to repeat themselves? Does it get tiring for the deaf/hard of hearing person to explain themselves?

Am I thinking too much again?

Don't answer that.

Just watch this video that I stole from Speak Up Librarian. It made me smile. And helped me stop thinking.

And I confess I teared up a little, too. I'm a girl. It's what I do. Just go with it.

Happy Weekend-ing!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Please send chocolate

Ummmmm... Thanksgiving is in TWO. WEEKS. howdidthathappen?

I bought three cans of pumpkin to celebrate.

I've never baked with it.

This could be interesting.

I feel like I have been super busy lately.

Mostly, this is a good thing.

A year ago, I rarely left my couch.

Now, I rarely see it.

But I wonder, am I so busy doing things that I'm not making room for people?

And if I have to ask...

So that's why it's been quiet over here.



Please send chocolate.

Over and out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stalking for Zoey

Let's talk about what an epic blog stalker I am. It's true. It didn't take long for me to earn the moniker of "Xanga Stalker" (haha, oh Xanga) in college, which of course quickly gave way to being a Facebook Stalker. And let's be honest, we can all attest to varying degrees of Facebook stalkdom, yeah? Now, friends, I have another badge to add - Blog Stalker. Not to scare you or anything, but if you're a friend of a friend of a friend of a cousin's third niece twice removed on Great-Aunt Sally's stepbrother's side, I've likely been lurking your site.

Just go with it.

Anyway, blog stalking turns up such a treasure trove of stories, and really (in a vain effort to make myself not sound so creepy), it's all about the stories for me (I used to be an English major, so I can get away with saying that). Funny stories, sad stories, make-you-think stories, life stories. I love it. I love learning about how other people are living and in some weird way, feeling a sense of community. A bloggunity, if you will.

This blog stalking passion of mine introduced me to Jessie. I don't know Jessie. I haven't met her personally. But I did grow up with two of her cousins (see, I wasn't kidding. No one is immune to the Blog Stalker! muwahahaha!) and that's how I found her blog. Jessie and her family are raising money to adopt their daughter, Zoey, from Africa. They're still in the midst of the adoption process. They don't know what she looks like or what her circumstances are or if she's even been born yet. But they've already named her and they already love her. Tell me you are not blinking back tears right now!

Anyway, this week, Jessie is holding a giveaway to help raise money for Zoey. Oh my word, you guys, there are so many drool-worthy items you could win. Notecards, necklaces, baby slings... (I know, what am I going to do with a baby sling? Well, I will tell you... Baby shower gift, that's what! Whoever said the birth rate was declining has clearly never been to my church. There are something like seven babies due in March alone!) I believe the word you're looking for is awwww-sum!

So, will you go with me and enter the Love Wins giveaway on Jessie's blog, so that Zoey can come home?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A call for recipes

I'm not a busy mom. Mostly because I am not a mom. But I am one of those weak-willed creatures for whom it does not take much to overwhelm. That didn't make sense, did it? my English major self scolds. In other words, I do lead a busy life and when I get home from work, I'm usually just jumping in the shower before grabbing dinner and dashing off again. And then even when I have evenings to myself, I don't want to do anything. Just lounge on the couch and watch re-runs of The Office. Because I am a wimp like that.

So what I try to do once a month or so is make a lot of food and freeze it so that I can just grab and nuke as needed. But let me tell you, as much as I lurrrrrv me some Mexican, enchilada casserole can get old after a while. Plus, it is a whole new season now, so I'm in the mood for soups, stews and the like. Or anything I can make in a crock pot, really. And mark my words, there will be potatoes all over my kitchen counter soon.

The only catch is that I don't want to spend a lot of money, so I'm drawn to recipes that will use things that I probably already have on hand. This means that I envision quite a bit of chicken tortilla soup in my future. My itty bitty kitchen is always stocked with corn, beans, salsa, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth. And spices. And loooove (insert cheesy head-tilt here).

So can you help a sister out? What are some of your favorite fall/winter recipes? And does anyone have an UH-MAZING homemade spaghetti sauce recipe to share? That one has proven most elusive to me. Send me your recipes and I'll even blog about it. If you know my propensity towards disaster in the kitchen, it could be pretty high-larious.

Please and thank you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Young whippersnappers

Continuing with this old lady theme I'm rocking, try this one on for size.

When I was growing up, it never really occurred to me to turn off my hearing aids, other than at bedtime or once in a very great while and even then it was in jest. Like when my dad was singing obnoxiously, I would make a big show of turning of my aids and effectively "muting" him. Ha. Ha. But other than that, I was too nervous to intentionally leave myself in silence for longer than a few minutes. What if I missed something?

But now lately, I find myself doing it all the time. Even at work. I've been known to spend the better part of the week in my little cone of silence. I can't filter out background noise. It just turns into this churning mass of hums, clicks, murmurs and whirs, all shaken up and poured out into my ears. It's always been bothersome, but I relished hearing while I could. Now, though, it's like nails on a chalkboard. The whir of the printer, the high heels clacking on the floor, the voices - and not just the ones in my head, thankyouverymuch - floating all around... cacophony. Jarring, grinding, nagging, irritating cacophony.

And I can't figure out why this is bothering me now when it never really has before. Maybe it's a change in my environment. Not having to share my living space has made me more comfortable with silence, perhaps, and so the rhythm of everyday life is suddenly jarring. Or maybe my hearing loss is changing somehow, or getting more progressive. Maybe I need to change my hearing aid batteries. Or my personal favorite, I'm old. Let's face it, people. I'm in my pj's by 6:15. I'm sprouting white hairs. Hymns are my favorite music these days.

I'm just one defiant "you young whippersnappers!" and a shaking fist away from the early bird special at Luby's Cafeteria. Come visit me at the nursing home, k?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Old lady

You guys. It is 8:29 p.m. and I'm in my pajamas. And I have been since 6:15. And I'm pretty sure that if I was laying down on my couch right now, I'd be losing a battle with my eyelids. I know, I am a wild woman. Don't hate.

I have about zero original things to say today, so I'll just point you to a couple of links I thought interesting.

Last night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition took place in Oregon. Instead of giving a family a new house, though, Ty and co. gave Oregon School for the Deaf new dorms! Neat-o supreme-o (oh my, yes.i.did.just.say.that. Old lady alert)! You can watch the video at ABC's website - and with subtitles, too! Marlee Matlin made an appearance and several of the students got new hearing aids from Starkey. So nifty (I'm just full of old school today)!

And then today over at (e's blog, she talks about conversational delays. It's one of those things that I notice about myself but at the same time, I don't. I'm so accustomed to these pauses that I barely notice them anymore. But I'm glad (e blogged about it, because I genuinely thought maybe something was wrong with me that it took me a few seconds to process information! ;) So now you know. When I stare at you blankly from time to time, I'm just trying to catch up.

Okay, the grandma in me is ready for some couch time, warm milk and either a book or Star Trek: TNG. It's an old lady kind of evening, and that's peachy keen with me.