Category Archives: Muffy

I love you, Mom!!!!

Yesterday, I tried painting outside.  I decided next time I might just stay inside. 🙂 While I enjoyed a whole afternoon outside with my family, I did not enjoy flies landing on my wet boards, my paint drying too fast as I was trying to paint, and finding a spider crawling on my shorts. I just so happened to be painting with red! I voiced my “Mel scream”–just a big AAHHHH!!!!–and hit my leg with my red paintbrush a few times. I don’t think I killed it (although my shorts and shirt say otherwise), but at least I got it off me! Yuck. I am no fan of spiders! 😛

Otherwise, I did a set of paintings that turned out pretty neat. At first, I was not liking the colors. Somehow they looked better in my mind when I was planning them, but when I put the beads on later, then it turned out really different!! I like it. The beads are not glued on yet, because I ran out of glue. When they are set on, you can make the paintings stand up; they are wooden boxes, not canvases.

 I painted the “o” with a sponge! 🙂

My mom has the gift to see the potential in things. Yesterday, it was a small painting I was trying to do for a friend. I came in the kitchen and said, “See,” with disgust. Mom looked at it and said, “Let me think of some different ideas.” 🙂 Moms are great for that. You hand them anything you make that is not worth the potential and they see beauty in it. We would make Mom bird houses out of milk cartons when we were little and she thought they were great.

Today is Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to my grandmas! Thank you for your love and godly influence in my life. Happy 1st Mother’s Day to my dear friend–Auntie Mel can’t wait to meet Baby M!!!! 😀 And Happy Mother’s Day to my mom! You are my best friend! Thanks for listening to my thoughts, day of work stories, frustrations and tears, laughs, tacky jokes and questions. Thanks for spoiling Muffy, being with me at appointments, all the times you drove to Denver for chemo and to do fun things. The week we spent at the Hyatt (thank you Broncos!), which were the days before iPhones and GPS…all the wrong turns and one way streets. 🙂 Thank you for the encouraging notes, prayers and Bible verses that bring me hope on the days I have none. The list could go on. I love you so much, more than I could ever write on a blog post. XOXO

My first Mother’s Day

The first time Mom and I were together in Denver was in 5th grade. She was a chaperone for my class field trip to the Capitol and Nature & Science Museum. She bought me a necklace from the souvenir shop. I still have it. 🙂

Right after my surgery, December 2008, to place in my medi-port for the IV chemo treatments I had during that spring of 2009.

Right after a chemo session, 2010. We went to the Art Museum for the King Tut exhibit. Mom was pushing me in a wheel chair and I fell asleep. 🙂 Which was a bummer, because it was such a cool exhibit! Oh well. We hope to go the Pompeii exhibit in Cincinnati soon!

Most recent picture.



Filed under Family Times, Funny Stories, Hospital Trips, Muffy, Paintings

Friday, the 13th.

I must be brief: 1 pm approaches!! Good thing I am not superstitious. I am not awaiting doom. I have already crossed paths with a black cat. Muffy is not bad luck…except for when he shows off his dinner on the back patio or the time he pranced in the house with a mouse head and dropped it on the kitchen floor. My parents were gone on a date and I knew Dad would be so upset if he found out. I put Muffy outside and cleaned the floor, topping it off with Lysol–much like a child putting on their own Reddi Wip on angel food cake. 🙂 Mom came home and asked if I had been cleaning…well, yes!–the kitchen floor at least. 🙂

Back to 1 pm. Momentous. My artwork goes up for display/sale at a coffee shop in town! 🙂 There are two coffee shops in town: one is real art focused with live music on the weekends and some tables are made of checker boards. The other one is their neighbor, but it is more a style where I would go to discuss philosophy or study history. It is very patriotic themed with old American paintings and documents aligned on the walls. It has a historic feeling to it. The outside patio is right on the river. A wonderful place to contemplate or enjoy a fresh breeze and shade in the heat of summer. My paintings are going in the first coffee shop.

I am both nervous and excited. All this week–after returning from my grandparents house over the Easter weekend, getting back to work, and last week of physical therapy–the focus has been painting and getting ready for today. Lesson learned: painters do not procrastinate. Not that I painted in a hurry–I am proud of my work and this has been a good experience. Usually my paintings are painted with a specific person in mind–a friend or a family member. Now I am painting for a broad/unknown audience. I used most of the same styles of brushstrokes, but really saw an expansion of something new…presenting a display that covers a variety of themes and colors. Some are a serious tone (an 18×24 mountain scene titled, Summit Venture) and some are an upbeat tone (an 8×10 bright-colored, five poppy flower scene titled, Polka dot Poppies).

My uncle is here helping my dad fix the back patio. Aside being an excellent carpenter, he is also excellent with art and music. He has given me great ideas and tips to make my paintings better. Biggest tip: bigger is better. 🙂 I look forward to painting bigger pieces this summer! Last night he was viewing my canvases and asked what my 11×14 was supposed to represent. I had aimed with fireworks in mind (but they are pastel colors…almost like the fading of the fireworks). I had glued three buttons on the bottom to match the colors and give it a bit more spark. The conversation:

Me: “This is fireworks.”

Uncle: “What is this?” (pointing to the buttons)

Me: “Um, people watching the fireworks??” 🙂

The fireworks painting also gave my mom and I a great laugh. She was helping me finalize the titles. We set up the study room like an art gallery then sat down and experimented with different words and titles. We were a bit stuck on the fireworks painting. It could almost be a touch of patriotic theme: The 4th of July. But again, too pastel. I finally blurted out, “Evening Fireworks.” I turned to my mom and she had that look: fireworks ARE in the evening! We laughed so hard I was crying!!! Truly a classic Mel moment! 🙂 We finally took my dad’s advice and named it, Celebration.

I must be off! Time is approaching quickly! More to come…


Filed under Funny Stories, Muffy, Paintings

A pleasant day, indeed!

Today was refreshing. Got to do some laundry, organize my paper clutter of bills and things to do (while getting things done in the process) and I even got to go to the town’s public library. 😀 It was the first time that I stepped foot in there and I thought it was a very studious library! It is not very large, but it presents an adventurous atmosphere of learning, especially for children. I even got a county library card and can’t wait to put it to good use–guess I need to finish the books I have already started!

I am a funny person when it comes to reading books. I think it reflects my personality. I read at least two books at a time; right now I am reading three. Might seem silly, but unless it is absolutely captivating (such as Safely Home by Randy Alcorn or I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp), then I like to switch off and on with books–reading a few chapters a day out of one book and switch to another book the next day. I see this pattern in the way that I go about completing projects or “to do” lists. Some people might say my jumping from one subject or task to another is the same as being distracted. Possibly so, but I like to think of it as following a train of thought, so to speak. Even when I talk in a conversation, the subject at hand will remind me of something else, so I say what I am thinking and then return back to the original conversation. Of course, if I think too fast–I forget my train of thought and then say, “Where was I going with this?” 😀 Relating back to books–see how I am following my train of thoughts, ;)–reading ignites a path for learning. My brain loves learning! However, I am about as picky with my book preferences as I am with my vegetables. I am getting better; as I grow older, I see that my preferences are starting to broaden in what I enjoy reading and even what veggies I eat. 🙂

What kinds of books do you like to read? There are so many aspects of literature: fiction, autobiographies, biographies, history, philosophy, theology, sports, science fiction,  poetry, drama, folktales and myths. fantasy…the list goes on and on!! Thomas Jefferson had a personal library of over 200 books! We saw part of his collection in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.! I own 2 bookshelves and try to keep my books organized, but somehow I never put them back in the same spot. Jefferson had his library completely organized in relating to what subject the book was about and even had the sections labeled. For example, “Mathematics”, “Philosophy”, “Science” and “Theology” are a few of what I remember he had labeled. There were so many subjects presented! Jefferson once told John Adams in a letter,

“I cannot live without books; but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

Cappon, Lester J. ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1959. Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson, 1988. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. March 30, 2012 <;.

[*A really fascinating website! We visited Monticello when I was in junior high. Very rare piece of history and another favorite is George Washington’s Mount Vernon!]

If you have not noticed by now, history is one of my favorite subjects! If you want statistics, I would say that probably eight out of every ten books that I own is about history. I find any period of history an enjoyment to learn more about and study! (Which is another thing that I am excited for in using my library card: documentaries! :D) I also enjoy biographies, classic works of theology or philosophy and of course, any other books considered to be “timeless classics.” Right now a few classics on my list to read are Utopia by Sir Thomas More, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Moby Dick by Herman Melville and The Arabian Nights: tales from a thousand and one nights by Sir Richard Burton. A few of my favorites already read are A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I told myself that I would like to see more time spent reading. After I got out of the hospital from the blood clot, I had to sit a lot with my feet up. I read A TON! I finished three books and started a few more! It was so relaxing!

Even Muffy was relaxed! 😀 I find now that my physical body is back to a more normal status, my time is now back to a “busy body” schedule. I miss sitting for hours reading, but at the same time I am very thankful that I don’t have to sit for hours and can get out to enjoy the warm weather–hard to balance between the two. I could read outside I guess. 🙂 Speaking of the outdoors, I must go. It is a lovely evening and I get to spend it with my Dad. More to come…


Filed under Books and Movies, Muffy, Random

My new droids.

Howdy. If you are eagerly awaiting the news of my hearing aids–this post is for you! The past few days have been interesting. I am in the process of retraining my brain to hear noise. Cool. And yet sometimes my first reaction is, “This is annoying!” Noise, noise, noise. I feel like the Grinch who hears the noise of Christmas below down in Whoville. 😉 There are exciting noises: I can hear myself breathe. I sound like Darth Vader. 😎 I can hear Muffy meow, purr and chew his food…which I thought was a frog at first. I hear better on the phone, but will still use Sprintcaptel. I have been trying to listen outside for birds, but I have not heard any yet. Communication is better, but that is part of the hardest retraining of the brain. My parents voices sound the same. I can hear the car engine tick…sort of annoying. I can also hear when the refrigerator comes on. When I text or type, I can hear the keys being pushed. And church echoed this morning, so I actually had to turn my hearing aids down. These are just a few things I have noticed. I was told that it will take 3-6 weeks to get used to these new hearing aids, and that it is easier for someone to adjust to new hearing aids if they have never had them before rather than if they switch hearing aids–(which I agree completely, based off experience!)

On my new hearing aids, I have all these settings and options to learn and understand; right now I feel a bit overwhelmed! The strangest habit for me to get used to is the method of how I turn the hearing aids on and off. These are my OLD hearing aids:

The number “4’s” are the volume control. It was always on number four unless there was times where the background noises were excessive. Then I would turn it down. Also, the switch at the bottom is how I turned it on. Imagine a good seven years of turning the switch off and on…now I have to pop the battery in and out. Old habits are hard to break.

Here are my new hearing aids:

This is only the right hearing aid. Both are this new “chestnut-brown” color and the same size. See how the battery is popped out? That means it is off. It might take another seven years to get used to that method. 🙂 These are like R2-D2! These little “droids” make beeping noises when it changes to a different setting and a little song when it turns on. They are also set so that my functions change automatically. For example, when I put the phone up to my ear…it automatically changes my hearing aid into the new setting. I do have the option to have manual settings. The only one I think that I will probably set for manual is the setting which minimizes background noises. I have plenty of time before my follow-up appointment to think about all the settings and my preferences.

Going to sign off for the evening. This past weekend was a big turn of events in many ways, which leaves me right now very exhausted! This morning I thought of Matthew 11:28-29,

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 Off to make tea, then enjoy some quiet moments reading before I fall asleep. More to come…

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Muffy


If I had cable, I would only want it for two things: football and ABC’s The Middle. If you have not seen The Middle, I suggest you rent season 1 from Best Buy and start at the beginning. Season 1 is hilarious! The show is about an ordinary family in Indiana–hence “the middle of nowhere”. 😀 Mike and Frankie Heck have three kids: Axl, who would rather play sports than study; Sue, extremely optimistic and tries out for everything but never makes any teams due to some funny issue or lack of talent (until cross-country made the team a “no cut” team); and Brick, six-year-old bookworm with extreme knowledge who whispers to himself. Every episode presents the family in a real life situation…but ends as a family sticking together.

Some of the best quotes come from Sue. She is quite the character!

Sue sees a possibility in every situation. Most often–although her family tries to tell her simple truths she is missing–Sue’s naive and energetic personality does not get the message. For example: Leap Year. Sue’s birthday is on Leap Year and she is ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that she is going to have a surprise birthday party, even though the family tells her that she is not. At one scene, Sue comes in the kitchen where Axl is eating a bowl of cereal. She starts asking Axl if he knows any details of the surprise party. Getting annoyed, Axl takes Sue by the arm and leads her to the basement, telling her to wait there and not to come out–Sue’s not understanding he is playing a big joke, thinks it is real. Axl leaves and there is no one in the house. All you see is an empty kitchen and then Sue says from the basement…”This is so exciting!!! 😀 HA! Best part–they DID forget her birthday and woke her up at 4am singing happy birthday. Thus, she was surprised and thought they were planning it that way the whole time. Her family let her assume so. 😀

I have a surprise for joke! 😉 Tomorrow is a big day; a “THIS IS SO EXCITING!” sort of day!! 😀


The hearing aids I have now are 7 years and 3 months old and let me tell you–that is like dog years in comparison to human years…these things are OLD! Every new audiologist that I meet is shocked at the model of my hearing aids, let alone the fact that they work so well. My hearing aids have been maxed out (meaning the highest possible they can go) since spring of 2008 when my right ear collapsed at a chapel. Before that, we had discussed the possibility of getting new hearing aids, but we were not sure how long my hearing would remain after that incident. To be honest, I thought I would be completely Deaf by now. God had other plans as I still have a little hearing left.

Currently, my hearing loss in my left ear is considered severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and my right ear is considered moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines sensorineural hearing loss:

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.

(All Contents Copyright 1997-2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). All Rights Reserved.

My hearing loss obviously comes from the tumors on the Auditory nerves. For the most part, the hearing loss has been gradual–except that spring of 2008. MRI results did not show any growth in the right tumor, so it was assumed that the tumor hardened on the inside. This is why doctor appointments can get frustrating, because I can have new physical symptoms but nothing shows on the scans. I have an MRI and hearing test every 3 months. I have been relatively stable since July 2010. A little prayer goes a long way. 🙂

The only time in these past ten years of NF2 that my hearing ever improved was when I was on the Tarceva chemotherapy pills. That was a happy hearing test!!! Ask my family, I am not a fan of hearing tests. I have to sit and punch the button when I hear the noise. I have such high pitch ringing in my ears that most often I just sit there knowing that I am supposed to be hearing things, but I have difficulty discerning the noises from the ever-present ringing. But most of all, I very much dislike the “word recognition” part of the test. I get asked often if I can hear. Yes, I can hear (with my hearing aids on); however, if I am not reading your lips then you sound Japanese. Words have no meaning if I cannot read your lips. Simple fact: I am fluent in English AND in lip-reading (also American Sign Language, but I lip read so well that I only use ASL and interpreters for church and doctor appointments..or if I chat with a Deaf individual that I meet at stores, etc.)

My current hearing aids have three different settings: Setting 1, I hear everything. Yes, everything. Maybe not quiet things, but there is a constant background murmur! I also hear everything in LOUD proportions. Setting 2 focuses on people who I am talking to and helps to minimize the background noise. Setting 3 is supposed to be for the phone, but when I do call people on (like a free TTY service), I usually leave my right hearing aid on setting 2. I cannot hear well enough out of my left ear to carry a phone conversation.

If you are a hearing person, what things would you miss hearing the most if you had sudden hearing loss?? Just curious. I miss listening and following along with music; hearing frogs, crickets and birds–even Muffy’s meow!! There are other things: communication with little kids or just my family in general, especially in night car rides or star-gazing chats on the grass. Watching TV or movies with no captions; my grandparents calling me at 7am on Saturday mornings to chat about life and current events; listening to the radio (we grew up on Adventures in Odyssey!!) and hearing sirens, such as police cars, firefighters or smoke detectors. Thankfully, modern technology allows me to have an amazing alarm clock that uses a flashing light and vibrator to coordinate with fire alarms and door bells. I do not use the alarm sound anymore, but the vibrator and light work just fine for me! 😀 Here it is:

See the yellow button? There is a connection at the back for a lamp. So when you have the lamp plugged into the alarm, you turn the light on by pressing the yellow button. The volume and tune knobs are if you want the alarm sound adjusted. On the right side where there are words: the top is “outlets”, which allows you to choose your wake up preferences. I set the combo of vibrator and light. The bottom is for the vibrator. You can choose steady or pulse. My favorite is pulse, because otherwise it feels like a steady head massage. 😀

I will say one quick note on having hearing aides…whenever my ears get tired of hearing, I just take them out. Instant silence. I realize that I have come to a place in life where I actually enjoy a few hours of silence. In silence, I like observing; I like focusing without being distracted by other noises; I like singing songs in my head or have a conversation with God. Sometimes God seems silent. Like Elijah, I expect to see or hear God in big ways (Elijah looked for God in the wind, earthquake and fire); He came in “A still small voice” (I Kings 19:11-12.) God has done incredible things in my life right down to the little details. Even today, another specific prayer was answered. When I tune into God–not distracted by the noises of the world–even in my deafness, I can hear His still small voice–the voice of Truth–say, “This one’s mine.”

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Muffy