Monday, March 30, 2009

Ah-huh! and OMG!!!

I am learning how to paint.

For a few months now I have been working on this 'flower explosion' painting. I huge 4 foot by 3 foot painting of a photo I took of some lilies in a local park. A very close-in shot, painted much larger than life.

I struggled and struggled with this painting. The compostion was great and I loved the colours but something had been bothering about it since I started it and today it finally hit me....


One whiff, instant headache. Once I had this revelation, I could barely look at the painting without getting that 'lily headache' feeling. The psychological effect was that strong.

So, what to do... what to do...

I whipped-out the gesso (acrylic primer) and lilies, their 'stink' and many painting hours, be gone! Gulp! OMG, what have I done?


Back to square one and literally a blank canvas...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scenic Sunday

I'm being lazy today and hibernating but this was taken a couple of Sundays ago. It's Koma Kulshan, aka Mt Baker, in Washington State from Victoria, BC.

See more Scenic Sundays here!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday... brace yourselves!

Looking south towards the beautiful Olympic Mountains of Washingston State from Victoria, BC.

It's an old photo but the view is sometimes like that, as it was today. One photo of it in my collection is quite enough, so I'm recycling! That view can also look like the picture at the top of my blog. Every cloud has a silver, and sometimes very thick, lining!

To see more skies at Skywatch Friday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What does it look like?

So, I'm in a gemstone shop, drooling over a display of carnelian quartz and Ms Sales Woman asks me if I need any help, then turns her head towards some commotion in the back of the shop and says something else. I say, "Sorry, I didn't hear that last bit. Can you repeat it?"

She apologises for being distracted and that she knows that the shop is quite echoey and that she should know better as people not being able to hear happens every so often.

Feeling bad that she might be feeling bad, I say, "It's not all the shop, nor you. I'm hard of hearing."

Suddenly, she winces and puts her hands to her ears. I'm thinking, wft? migraine? aneurysm? I look at her, "Are you ok?" She looks back at me, puzzled.

After a moment, she relaxes and looks at me. "Did you not hear that?"


"The security alarm."


"You really are hard of hearing!"

"Yes, I am."

"You don't look it."

Hmmm... thinking... should I?... Yes, I shall...

"What does hard of hearing look like?"

"Ah! You caught me out! I guess I assumed that you're too young to be hard of hearing."

(ego swells)

I think people generally associate being hard of hearing with elderly folk. It's a reasonable association given that hearing loss is often accumulative over a person's lifespan and bites them in the ass later in life. I would guess that practically everyone has an elderly relative who is hard of hearing. I completely understand why Ms Sales Woman would make the assumption that she did.

(BTW, the commotion was an alarm repair man testing the system. And I now realise that I can not hear burglary alarms. Another career option down the drain, sigh...)

It's an interesting thing though; the invisibility of hearing loss. My being hard of hearing is quite invisible to others. Most of the people I interact with have no clue that I am hard of hearing unless they already know or until a situation occurs where I need to make it known.

Added to that is my 'youth.' I'm 41 and to many people, I'm too young to have a problem that they associate with senior citizens.

This invisibility results in having to inform and to remind people of my hearing loss and to speak a bit clearer, to speak up and etc and having it not taken very seriously. It can all be quite draining. Sometimes I wish, my hard of hearingness was more obvious like having to get around in a wheelchair or using a guide dog. What I want is a visual cue to inform and to remind others that my ears don't work so well. Something subtle, yet effective. How about this?:


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Talking tampons...

Yes, more bothering.

A while ago, I bought a box of tampons. Not my usual ones but some other brand as I'm currently in a financial tight spot, need to be frugal and they were on sale.

So, there I was in the privacy of my own bathroom. I open the box and select one. Hmm, there's writing on the wrapper, I wonder what it says? I was anticipating 'this end up' or similar but my eyes were met with, "You can do it!".... wtf? I know I can do it. I've been menstruating monthly for over 25 years, I know what I'm doing here you stupid, patronizing tampon.

Just to see, I select another one and it reads, "All you can do is your best." Oh, give me a fucking break! I want feminine protection here not psychotherapy. I dump the contents of the box out onto the counter and see that there are all sorts of comments.

One not included in the above photo was "Work it out!" When I read that I instantly thought about that constipated accountant joke* and seriously wondered what I might be getting into if I used this product.

But work it out is exactly what I did; it wasn't difficult.

I'm suppose to read these little slogans and feel the love and associate that lovely warm feeling to this product and then when I'm in the store buying my next box of tampons I will remember the nice words that these talking tampons uttered and the warmth that I felt and purchase this product again. And again. And again.

Most advertising bothers me but this sort of insidious, intrusive marketing really irritates me. I don't want to live in a world where some of my most private moments (that I am discussing openly on the internet) are contaminated with attempts to manipulate my mind.

On the plus side, these talking tampons reminded me of an interesting documentary series I watched a few years ago called 'The Century of the Self'. It describes how those in positions of power can use the theories presented by Sigmund Freud to manipulate the masses. Much of the documentary is about Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays who was one of the first people to use Freud's theories in advertising to manipulate people's consumer behaviour. And I've decided to try a DivaCup.

Here is a short snippet from the documentary but I recommend watching The Century of the Self in its entirety; it's fascinating. I'm trying to find a version with subtitles or CC. If anyone knows of one, can you let me know.

Update! I deleted the embedded video as it seems to interfer with the comment feature. And! I found a transcript of the entire documentary. Not as good as CC or subtitles but better than nothing.

*How did the accountant cure his constipation?
-- He worked it out with a pencil.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mog's Meme...

My friend Mog is starting a meme (don't feel bad, I had to look that up too). Here's her post about that and here are her instructions:

"All you have to do is go for a 30 minute circular walk from your home and take a photograph every 5 minutes, post them and tell us about them. So five photos in all. Show me where you live because I'd really like to see."

Here's mine. Well, sort of. I didn't go entirely circular... so, here's mine, part one:

This is a typical street in my neighbourhood. The blue-ish grey blobs at the end of the street are the Olympic Mountains. Actually, they aren't at the end of the street but in Washington State, across Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria. When the skies are clear they look amazing (this pic doesn't show them at their best).

I live near Government House the Ceremonial Home of all British Columbians and the office the Lieutenant Governor of BC, Steve Point, the Queen's rep in BC. It's where a lot of governmental bigwigs, ambassadors, etc meet and stay when visiting Victoria, even the Queen and her brood themselves. Many people think it's quite off-limits but actually it isn't at all. The grounds are open to the public and they're gorgeous. I consider it my backyard and go there a lot. This is the duck pond. My ceremonial duck pond.

More of the grounds. Here's a Google map of the area. It's a wonderful place as there are many different types of gardens; from very formal rose gardens, to conservation areas to just wild areas. This is why I don't mind living in a condo. All this garden space without having to actually look after it!

Leaving Government House and heading back down the hill towards downtown and my place. Trees can be very tall here.

This is a normal sight in Victoria. Skateboards are a legitimate form of transportation and fun. This man regularly swooshes down this street (it has a nice gentle slope, curves and only one intersection). I'm a poor judge of age but I would say he's about 45-50 years old and wow does he glide! He makes it look entirely effortless.

I will do a circle in the other direction soon!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday...

eventhough it's Thursday...

See more skies at Skywatch Friday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Powerless day...

Literally. BC Hydro had to replace a pole out front. No electricty from 9am to 5pm. No phone either. I work online, so day off! Woohoo!!!

Nothing like not having something to help you realize how much you rely on it! But, it's also a good experience to go without to explore options, get perspective and/or simply be more appreciative. I'm not just talking electricity and phones here...

But I also am talking electricity and phones!

Today I had no internet, music or calls. No hot bevies and it was cold today (forethought and a thermas would have been a good idea). Not much to eat! (again forethought could have been handy here!). No hot water or hairdryer and a serious head of bed hair (again, forethought!).

But it was also very nice...

I went for a walk (wearing a nice hat). I read a book in a sunbeam. I caught up on a correspondence course. And I've been reminded that going to the loo in the glow of candlelight is very nice!

I might do 'no power days' more often. Marnie unplugged days. I feel very peaceful...

(BTW, I did a Google image search for hydro poles and he appeared on the first page. Not really my type but I thought some man-candy might appeal to some of my readers... you know who you are, you hussies!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I think it's sunken in...

Slowly and finally after many years. It's been a rough week.

I really am hard of hearing. And it really has affected my life. And it still does. And I really do fucking hate it! And it really is damned difficult. And I really do have to do life differently. And I really have experienced a great personal loss. And I can't be the self I want to be. And I have to figure out who this hard of hearing self is. And I hate feeling defective. And I hate waking up in the middle of the night and not being sure what the noise I am hearing is. And I hate feeling scared, unsure, excluded, misunderstood and less-than. And I hate that some days I just need to stay in because the sounds of confusion out there in the world are just too much. And I really do fucking hate it! And I really do fucking hate it! And I really do fucking hate it! And I hate that it's taken me so fucking long for it to sink in! I'm so stubborn... but I also love that about me. ;-)

Thank you Judy, Mog and Rob. You've helped me very much but I'm too messed up right now to put it into words. But I suspect you understand what I mean.

I would like to introduce to you, Laverne and Shirley:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Auto maintenance in 252 easy steps!

Today I decided to become more intimate with my lovely Rusty. A few days ago he started warning me that his wiper fluid was getting low. So today I decided to take care of it.

Context... I live on the third floor and my Rusty is parked in the underground parking. That's 42 steps up from the underground to my floor; I've counted it a thousand times. I don't use the elevator if I'm going up unless I'm carrying groceries but I do use it going down as my left knee pops on each step down and I find that disconcerting.

Down elevator.

Unlock him. Release the hood. Oh whoops, I forgot that I had taken the wiper fluid upstairs.

Go up 42 steps.

Get wiper fluid. Down elevator.

I go to the front of the car and slide my fingers into the grill trying to find that latch. Ok, not in that grill layer, try the next... again. again. again... try again, again, again, again. Better go get the manual. Go to glove box. Not there. Oh, right, I took it upstairs to read up on something.

Go up 42 steps.

Get manual. Down elevator.

Look at manual, compare with Rusty. Still... I can not find the latch. Anyone who has met me knows that I have small hands. Maybe I need longer 'fingers'? Decide to go get a wooden spoon.

Go up 42 steps.

Get spoon. Down elevator.

Bingo! The latch is obviously made for grown ups and not people with hamster hands. I find the wiper fluid tank, no problem. Ok, I go get the bottle of fluid to fill it up. Wow, this cap is really on there... I can't budge it. I am not a weak female; I lift weights. I figure maybe I need a rag, the texture of the cap and my cold fingers was causing pain. I go get a rag.

Go up 42 steps.

Get rag. Down elevator.

Chat with neighbour about the lingering snow. Try the rag on the wiper fluid bottle. Nope. Again. Nope. Get angry at it and try again. No. Argh!!! Decide to go get a wrench.

Go up 42 steps.

Find my tool box, get a biggish wrench. Down elevator.

Argh!!!! Too small!

Go up 42 steps.

Get biggest wrench. Down elevator.

ARGH!!! Still too small!

I'm near tears now because I've been feeling blue and this was just getting so frustrating! Suddenly I got very angry and whacked the cap of the wiper fluid with the wrench, 'take that you stubborn little fucker!!!' and pop! The top of the cap broke away. It fell back into the bottle... not perfect but hey, at least it's open!

Filled the wiper fluid tank, had a good laugh and Rusty is now a happy boy.

And, I've now been positively reinforced to believe that temper tantrums really do work! There's a few hundred dollars worth of therapy down the drain! haha! ;-)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

my tv... is smokin'!

I don't have cable, I don't watch tv. When I'm in the mood to watch stuff, I watch a film or documentary or I surf the net, usually ending up on YouTube. The net is so much more interesting than tv to me as you just never know what you'll find!

Check out this YouTuber CONRADCIGARSPIPES! 6300 plus videos of him smoking a pipe! I love it! Not only is it truly and wonderfully interesting to me, the variety of music he plays to smoke to, is great! 6300 plus videos!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

my tv... the sci-fi channel

Yesterday I went for a walk along Dallas Road and the breakwater at Ogden Point. It's one of my favourite places to walk and I walk there almost daily. I brought my camera hoping to catch some groovy sunset shots as the clouds were looking favourable.

There I stood at the end of the breakwater with a few other sunset watchers... waiting and waiting... but the sunset just stayed, seemingly forever, like this:

It got cold quickly and I decided to get moving. As I was walking back home I turned around expecting nothing and saw this following show:

Sort of a freaky sunset! I slept with my special hat on last night. ;-)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Purple squishies and a guinea pig named Rob

(Rob not entirely as shown.)

I am hard of hearing and so is my good friend, Mog. And so are a lot of people. In fact, one in eight to ten people are hard of hearing or deaf (depending on the survey). We are everywhere... mwhahaha! But, in our increasingly noisey and aging world, the ratio of people who are hard of hearing or deaf will only increase. So, look out! ;-)

With so many people in our communities who are hard of hearing or deaf, our communities are very unaware of what hard of hearing or deafness is, what are the issues faced by people experiencing these conditions, what solutions are available, what solutions could be available, etc. Hearing loss is invisible and quite often the issues that people with hearing loss* face are also invisible.

This invisibility allows discrimination, social stigmas and negative stereotypes to flourish, to go unchallenged and to go unaddressed, often placing people who are hard of hearing or deaf feeling as though they are second-class citizens.

I'm very much a believer in 'walking in someone else's shoes' in trying to understand various experiences of the world. I like it so much, I went and got myself a degree in it. The hook, for me, is that understanding a person, a group's or a culture's point of view from their point of view, is an effective way to understanding, not just knowing. I believe that understanding links 'how it is' to 'how it could be.' I believe a 'Black Like Me' experience is an effective practise in understanding.

A while ago, Mog and I were discussing our frustrations about some ignorant a-holes and their seeming inability to comprehend why people can take offense to insults, jokes and put-downs about their disabilities. I shouldn't really call them a-holes; it's not like me to want to offend anyone's anus.

Anyways, Mog and I went on to talk more seriously about the frustration of not being understood, of not having our experience understood. And not just understood by a-holes but by just 'regular folk'; our hearing friends, acquaintances, family and society, in general.

Enter Rob and his purple squishies. Somewhere along the line Mog asked Rob to try being hard of hearing or deaf for a day. He was insane enough to agree! ;-)

Here's Rob's report and here's Mog's report. Kudos to you both!

If anyone reading this wants to try being hard of hearing or deaf for a day, let me or Mog know!

* I am aware that I can seem an audist here to anyone reading this who identifies themselves as Deaf, ie, culturally Deaf and I apologize for this. I walk on the edge of a sword here, being hard of hearing and experiencing that very much as a personal loss and having an awareness of Deaf culture, please understand my position.