I got myself a PaperWhite Kindle awhile ago in order to free up space on my other digital devices, and to make it possible for me to read in sunshine. I’m not sure I’m a particular fan of the size/shape. Maybe it is the severe deep tendonitis going on with my left arm/wrist/hand due to a pincer grip problem a few months ago.

It isn’t easy to fit in the hand like an iPhone, but I make do. It does have room for a ton of books.  I think I’m set for the next 20 years or so the last time I checked. I’m a prodigious reader.  Sadly, many of my reference books are not in epub formats of any kind, so I’m still lugging around some out of print books.

If I misplace my iPhone or iPad mini or even if one of my computers were stolen, I can find any of them. Yes, I have GPS on and am delighted with it.  The alarm is loud enough that if I’m in the general vicinity even *I* can hear it.

Kindle? Nope. To make it worse, it is black and, therefore, easy to overlook in shadowed areas. I’m forever and a day looking for the bloody thing.  An actual book is easier to see. This slim, black thing can become invisible. It slips under pillows on the couch, between couch cushions, under the pillow on the bed, under the bed – anywhere I might be found reading. This last time it took almost four days to locate. Long enough that I re-activated Kindle on my iPhone. 😛

I’m going to have to get one of those electronic “tags” for it.

Another Reason I Love My iPhone

In addition to texting (which I have come to appreciate on a depth level), being able to handle almost all my photo from taking to having near PhotoShop abilities in apps, and a variety of other uses, my iPhone just notified me of flash flooding in the area via a very loud and obnoxious blaring warning noise while coordinating that auditory notice with a the very bright flash which strobed with the “blat! blat! blat!” noise. (“Danger, Will Robinson!“)

When I flipped the iPhone over the text was very easy to read and the iPhone kept making noise and flashing until I acknowledged the message was received.  Since I wasn’t sure where the message came from I did check google and it had the same alert from NOAA for the area around my daughter’s home (where I am).  So that’s kinda neat.

Big brotherish?  You know who you are – I can hear the grumbles from here, even without my hearing aid.  I use the location feature so that if I leave it somewhere I can find it, have it make noise and flash, lock it, or even disable it.  This really helps when it slides under a car seat – especially at night when the flash is highly visible.

Apparently, NOAA or some other governmental or quasi-governmental function can now send critical warnings to my cell as well as radio and TV stations.  Works for me.

Out with the old, in with the new

Apparently it was time for an update.  I was bored silly with the grey on grey of the prior theme.  Granted, it did focus on the text, but… this one has a bit more verve to it.  And I admit that I am color starved this dreary spring. So, voila! We now have red and blue as well as a bit of beige to make the words “pop.”

Speaking of “in with the new,” I’ve been using my iCom more now that I replaced the charger cord.  For those of you who are not sure what an iCom is, it is made by Phonak (maybe other brands have similar items – I dunno) and it can be used for a variety of things.  I can listen to iTunes using the iCom and my bluetooth hearing aid.  Only the sound isn’t all that loud for places like the gym.  And, I admit, that sometimes I do something – bump something – and suddenly I’ll hear The Eagles wailing “Desperado….why don’t you come to your senses…” and start looking around to see where the sound is coming from.  So, mostly, I avoid the musical functions I can access with it.

The iCom really makes life better for me when I am on the telephone.  Since my only phone is my iPhone that means I am one of those annoying people who do talk on their cell phone in public.  And I’m Hard of Hearing and trying to talk loud enough for the iCom to pick up my voice.  You get the picture… And to make it worse, there is no headset hanging off my ear with a flashing light.  I sometimes see folks with what looks like a large metal beetle on their head and they’re talking to themselves – but the metal beetle has a flashing light so I know they are on the phone.  Not so with me since my hearing aid does not come with a flashing light to indicate a connection.  And, honestly, I think I’d rather not have an LED flashing in my ear.  No, I just look like a well-groomed street person talking to herself.  Except I have the iCom hanging around my neck.  Not exactly a fashion accessory and I’m sometimes asked what the heck it is – a fair question.  At least I’ve never been confused for a mad bomber as I once was while wearing a different type of FM loop system.  Things are less stressful at the Federal Court these days since apparently bombs and iCom are not closely associated.

The only problem with the iCom is that it eats up battery life in my hearing aid like batteries are free and it runs out of steam fairly rapidly.  I’m not sure how to keep it charged during the day and I don’t have the money to get multiple ones.  I suppose that’s a problem for another day.

Silly Saturday

Having made my way through Freaky Friday with only a few bumps and bruises I decided to master what was clearly going to be a Silly Saturday.

Woke up in the wee hours and realized there was a huge electrical storm (my windows were lighting up). Went to the top of the stairs and saw the dog quivering at the bottom. Took him upstairs where he proceeded to hide in the closet. I got him and covered him with a couple layers of blankets on the bed to keep him from tearing up stuff in the closet. This morning I woke up to my vibrating alarm with dog pressed against the small of my back.

Got to the train station and picked up a fellow lawyer, dashed to the office, met with a client, built a website for the lawyer (yes, I do that too) and all the time kept reminding. “I can’t hear you on that side.” Despite it all the site was launched, linner/dunch was eaten and I drove her back to Greater Boston.

I took an iphone photo of my old hearing aid and was going to send it to LipReadingMom.com for her hearing aid feature and I realized (1) this thing is HUGE compared to the Naida, (2) it actually fits better that the Naida (I feel a fitting session coming on) and (3) I can wear bling on this, but not the Naida because there is no hardware in the earbud. In either case the earbud is invisible to the naked camera eye. The reason it is so large is that it has an fm plug on the end of it – on the Naida it resides on the iCom which enables me to use it bluetooth. I’m sure there is more to it than that, but I’m not a tech.

I finally remembered how to operate this hearing aid (which can be adjusted without using a remote control) and am actually pretty happy with it at this point. 🙂 The adaption back to not really hearing all of the sounds in the “hearing banana” took place quicker than I imagined it would – once I figured out how to turn it down. LOL

Remember that groaning

This morning I got up to this (see video below).

Perhaps the next time my hearing aid assisted ear can hear a tree groan I should run like hell.  I did not even hear it fall last night and it must have made noise when it went down.  Spooky… so I can only hear a tree getting ready to fall if I am right up next to it with my hearing aid facing the part that is cracking?  Oy vey!  And  I don’t hear it fall unless what?  It falls on me?

video via my iPhone 4S.

Dead Squirrel

Dear little black squirrel.  You know who you are.  I know who you are.

Last year you dined in my tomatoes and pretty much ruined my pepper crop as well.  I sighed and prayed you’d get indigestion.  You survived the winter.  You tease the dog.  You’re very cute, little black squirrel.

But eating the top off my sunflower plant as well as eating the major bloom off the side is over the top.  I wonder, little squirrel, what will make my sunflower plant smell like teen spirit dead squirrel.

Aha! I have researched and found out you don’t like red pepper.  Guess what I have large spice jars full of?  Red pepper.  This is war… And I intend to win, little nature spirit with the sharp front teeth.  Take that!

Signing aids

Last Thursday I took my iPad to the ASL Meetup for the newest signers who know little but some very slow finger spelling.  The three of them huddled around the iPad looking at ASL 101 by Everyday ASL and then tried out basic signs with each other.  I’ve also got ASL Zoo, ASL Pro, ASL Mini Dictionary and Idioms 1&2 on the iPad, but these folks need to learn basics so they can ask and answer simple questions or ask for a repeat of the sign.  The more advanced signers just signed away while the neophytes were learning.

I also have ASL Dictionary 4800 signs which would be my fav if I didn’t have to cache each mini-video – and if I haven’t and I don’t have access to an Internet connection then the words not cached don’t run.

One of the new signers emailed me for the URL of the website they were using.  Um, sorry, these are apps designed for tablets, iPads, and smart phones.  However, there are websites people can visit.  One of my friends loves http://lifeprint.com (ASL University) another swears by http://signingsavvy.com, still another by http://ASLPro.com and there are a plethora of ASL tutorials on youtube. I prefer videos to books because books are flat and one dimensional, whereas ASL is a 3D language.

DVDs work on computers.  App work on smart phones and tablets such as the iPad.  Websites need Internet connectivity and at least one of them doesn’t work well with the iPad. I prefer to the apps or the DVDs.

Classes are probably best, but if access to a class is not possible then websites or apps are the next best thing.  And signing with others who are learning the language – and then with members of the Deaf community.  You’d be surprised how many of the oral deaf struggle with sign.

Although a lot of people lip read, the reality is that lip-reading isn’t as accurate as learning Signed Exact English (SEE) or American Sign Language (ASL). I’m lucky to get half of the words if I lip read without the ability to get any of the sound from the person speaking.  So I fall more and more into the use of ASL.

I continue to feel that we should be teaching ASL as a second language in schools from early on. We’re living long enough that half of our elders are deaf in their later years.  And for those with the misfortune to also go blind, ASL is all they’ve got.

An adventure into body art

Something that really doesn’t require hearing, just intention and the willingness to allow yourself to be punctured a zillion times with a needle bearing ink.  It felt like a very tiny scalpel making tiny cuts.  I do wish I’d turned off my hearing aid since the hum of the machine was sort of like having a very large insect buzzing in my head.  But once the artist started working moving wasn’t an option.

The tattoo was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter.  I’ve had folks tell me to make sure I really want this because I’ll have it “forever.”  I responded that “forever” from my age is not nearly as long as “forever” from the aspect of a younger person.

I did not grimace or comment even though the session was pretty uncomfortable. And it was done in stages as it was shaded.  The sore spots got sorer with each application – deep purple, lighter purple, and white.  Take a lesson from that if you’re considering taking the plunge. Consider lettering – all one color – no shading.

The artist did an excellent job.  It will take a bit of getting used to that I now have a permanent  purple bracelet on my right wrist, but as with all changes with my body (the scars, ear piercings, hearing aids, sagging skin, wrinkles, etc.) soon it will be the most normal thing in the world.

I’d found a “bracelet” associated with Irish Brehons and then lost track of the website – which was really quite annoying.  Look as I might, I never duplicated the search.  I considered the word “Serenity”, but settled on Celtic knotwork across my right wrist as a”bracelet” of sorts.  I suppose it should have been green, but I don’t care for that much green.  I like purple – purple fingernails, dresses, scarves, blouses, even a purple shawl, so there you have it!

I don’t have a good photo of it.  It’s darned difficult to take a photo of your wrist with your other hand using an iPhone. I know.  I tried.  And the photos taken at the tattoo place really don’t do it justice.

I wonder how many boomers out there have taken the plunge into body art (outside of pierced ears).

The joys of sounds

“The hills are alive….” well, no, not the hills.  The room.  And it isn’t exactly the sound of music, it’s the sound of my cell phone.  During a meeting.  An interpreted meeting.

Now, mind you, when I use my cell phone in general I use my bluetooth enabled Phonak hearing aid with a Phonak iCom and I know my cell phone is ringing when I hear a ring-tone in my ear.  However, the ring tone I use on the cell phone is loud and funny.  It suits my sense of humor as it blasts out, “Oh, where is my cell phone?” over and over.  This is great if I am in a quiet space or I can feel the phone vibrate or see it flash.  But… if the phone is in my purse, on the floor, by my feet, and if I’m  not wearing my iCom or it is not on (why wear an iCom in a meeting?) then I’ve got no clue the cell phone is screaming “Oh where is my cell phone?  Where is my cell phone? Where, oh, where oh where oh where…is my cell phone?

Which brings us to last night.  I’m intently focused on the terp when suddenly one terp who is “off” starts signing at me about a phone.  Phone?  What phone?  I look around the room.  I look back to the terp. She points to my purse and I look down to see a glimpse of my iPhone flashing away and I’m acutely aware it’s telling me to find my cell phone.  Oops!  I duck under the table, scoop it out of the purse, turn it to vibrate and submit to good-natured ribbing about the ring tone and the deaf lady with the phone.

Which brings us to the fact that some of us hard of hearing, almost but not quite deafies can use a cell phone under certain circumstances.  Like when I’m in a quiet area and I’ve got my bluetooth function feeding sound into my ear.  Mostly, though, I use it for text messages and email, but sometimes I do use the phone feature.  And I guess I’ll keep the funny ringtone since everyone (but me) got a good laugh out of it last night