Tag Archives: lip reading

Like Plain English

I have never been a Shakespeare fanatic. Mostly because I never understood the language of his plays. In high school, I read and watched a few plays (movies) in English class and did the homework discussion questions but always seemed to grasp the scenes differently than others in the class.

“So what is going on in this scene here?” Or, “What does this character mean when he says this?” I would sit and hope that I would not be chosen. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was not understanding.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have this problem all the time–only when discussing Shakespeare or poetry (like his Sonnets.) I love books, English class, creative writing and diagramming sentences. However, if I made a list of my favorite classic authors of all time, Shakespeare would not be in the top five. But I have discovered something that is helping me appreciate the works of Shakespeare. It is called, “plain English language.”

Barnes and Nobles could just very well be what I consider a great hangout place. It is almost like a huge library where you have freedom to chat and walk around with your coffee. I often go in to the local store just to look around at the bargain books, read a few children books and see what is newly released. In this meandering a few months ago, I headed towards the playwright section. Mom and I had watched James Stewart’s old film, Harvey, and I knew it was based on the play of the same name by Mary Chase. I wanted to see if there was a copy of the original play. There wasn’t, but I found the play Our Town, by Thorton Wilder, and skimmed through the text remembering seeing the play in the Creede Repertory Theatre and crying during the final scene. Excellent play.

What fascinated me the most in this section was the amount of Shakespeare plays available. I think all (even his Sonnets) were on the shelf. I didn’t bother to skim through them, but picked up this instead:

9781411401006_p0_v1_s260x420 www.bn.com

It is genius! This morning I sat at Beans-n-Cream sipping my Pumpkin & Spice coffee and found that I was not only enjoying the play, but understanding the play. Shakespeare is on the left page–plain English translation is on the right page. Maybe this is considered a “cheat sheet,” but in my opinion…if it allows me to understand the text of someone who is considered to be one of the greatest writers in the English language, then it is worth the modern translation.

My everyday conversations can parallel much to that of a Shakespeare play. As much as I do my best to lip read, words and phrases constantly get mixed up; I miss context or transition clues to next conversation; and I sometimes just say, “I have idea what you’re talking about.” Lately, if it really important– after attempting fingerspelling, but obvious that I still am missing one or two words–my parents will write it down. Like plain English and I understand.

When it comes to translation in communication, I think I use a lot of different methods: sign language interpreters, text messages, closed captions on television or movies, and a Captel service when talking on the telephone. After my hearing dropped and I returned the Phonak Cros, I decided a better investment would be a Cap Tel landline phone. Up until this point, I have been using an internet caption service through Sprint. It was free and accessibly convenient in college. But it is getting more inconvenient: To make a phone call, I would have to start my computer, get on the site, log in, put my number in and then the person’s number who is receiving the call, press enter, wait for Sprint Cap Tel to call me, press send and finally be set up for the conversation.

It is not like a TTY or landline phone where captions are fast, accurate and promising not to cut out of a conversation. (Believe me, many times during chats with credit card companies gets frustrating as you never get the same representative.) I will say that I found humor though…because the captions are based on voice recognition, there were many laughable “read between the line” moments. I can relate–happens to me in real life daily.

But these woes are no longer my concern. I am now the owner of a Cap Tel captioned phone!!!


It works fantastic and I finally understand the whole phone conversation! It provides accuracy and convenience (especially safety for emergency phone calls). On the bottom of the screen there are little boxes…the left is mine and the right is the person I am calling. When talking, the box flashes, so I know when to listen and when they are done speaking. My box flashes too, and st often in red, which means I am talking too loud. Ironic, since most of the time people say I talk too quiet. This phone allows me to receive calls, make my own appointments, and best of all-talk to my grandparents (as well as other family and friends.) Out of all the new accommodations made recently and still to come–this is placed in the top five favorites, perhaps even as number one.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times

Thanksgiving Lessons 101

This Thanksgiving was a very special time. We celebrated my Grandpa’s M.’s 90th birthday with a surprise family reunion. And he was surprised!!! 🙂 What a great time it was to have the family here. I just don’t think it could have been any better!! Dinners ran buffet style through the kitchen; we somehow got all of us to fit together in the same dining room area/hallway so we could all eat together; we enjoyed chatting, pictures, playing games with the kids; and most of all, we enjoyed the precious time spent with Grandpa and Grandma. 🙂

Grandpa has taught me so much over the past years, but these are my top favorites: Don’t put your elbows on the table and collecting coins is a cool thing. Grandma taught me that it is okay to eat dessert first (you only have one life to live) and writing letters brightens the day. And together they taught me the most important lessons of life: Give and you receive, trust God in all circumstances, and to honor the ones you love as you honor God by doing so. Grandpa and Grandma have been married for 66 years. And they still love each other, care for each other. It is such a testimony. I have been blessed with not one set of grandparents, but three who all have shown me the same lessons of faith and love in their own special ways. Each give me a glimpse of something in my life that I can improve on. During the family reunion, Grandpa yet again showed me a life lesson, but this time I don’t think he realized it.

I must say it was refreshing to not be the only one with hearing aids. I actually had some good conversations about hearing aids with my uncle. It was fun for someone to “understand.” But Grandpa showed me a different way to understand the communication problems that come with lack of hearing. The first night we all were together–after the “SURPRISE!!!”–things were still on the energetic level and it was loud. I could not hear anything but the constant vibe of the family chatting and laughing murmur in my ears. That might be hard to understand, but it is hard to explain. Anyway, after giving my hello and hugs, I went over to sit by Grandpa. I can’t speak for him, but I wonder if the murmur was the same for him–either that or it was just still complete shock that we all were there. 😀 We exchanged a few sentences, then just sat quiet. I noticed as he looked around the room that he was just all smiles. He was not even engaging in any conversations, but still had joy in his face just as if he were chatting with someone right next to him.

I did pretty well at Thanksgiving. I had my hard moments with hearing but for the most part I did well, just hopping from one conversation to the next. It was last night when my frustrations reached a peak. After the extended family left, we decided to play Mexican Train (dominoes game). I got the rules down and we started to play. Then things started changing like “you have to cover the double” and then I said, “I don’t want to cover the double, I want to play here.” That kind of started it. By the next few rounds I had one question about the trains and doubles that I was trying to get an answer for, and everyone was telling me answers at the same time. Finally, after much frustration, we got it quiet and my brother-in-law restated why we had to put the trains down if we can’t cover the double and it clicked. I finally got it.

I am not blaming my family…they are not at fault (although we should work on the talking at the same time part). I could have not raised my voice in frustration of not understanding but because often in loud conversations I can’t get my voice heard, I get so used to shouting louder than I should just to be heard. I have always have had that problem. I just want to be heard. But Grandpa’s approach was the complete opposite. He does not shout to be heard, but when he speaks it is sincere and it is heard. So as the family left this morning I reflected on the past few days and how I see myself every time in these situations. I speak loudly before I try to lip read (which is my version of listening); I get angry when I cannot be heard and frustrated when I cannot hear or understand or know what is going on. It is a constant battle, but it is not for Grandpa. He showed me that you can live out James 1:19 and still enjoy life as if I had regular hearing.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

I have tried so hard to live out this verse, but I think it is now time for a new course of action: Be more like Grandpa, because Grandpa is an example of Christ’s love and humility. So thank you Grandpa for the lesson you taught me while you were enjoying your birthday festivities. I love you so much. 🙂

More to come…


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times


This week has been a good week. I restarted a few hours of cashier shifts. Let me clarify that…I said I would do a max of 2 hours cashier each shift. I am so glad I said that because it ended up being more exhausting than I realized. Or maybe it was due to late (LATE) nights on the weekend, because my sister was officially home from college. Much cheer. 😀 Either way, I found Tuesday’s 2 hours in cash office/2 hours of cashier consuming my energy. I came home that afternoon and found myself sitting on my bed watching a bit of tv shows on Hulu while I worked on a wedding gift. Wednesday, I just came home and took a full nap! 😀 I had today off! I am so glad! It was BEAUTIFUL outside!!! I went with my mom on some errands, picked up my bridesmaid dress for a wedding in June (more to come on that in a bit!), took a walk around campus in town and read a lot! I am finishing up an amazing book. I want to tell you about it now, but there are so many thoughts in my head and emotions that I think it is best to finish it (almost done!) and then share my thoughts. It was one of those books where once I started it, I could not put it down!! Good thing I started it Wednesday evening. I only worked 2 hours yesterday, so most of the day otherwise was spent reading. 😀

Yesterday, I got my new glasses! I think they are superb!!! And totally cute too! Here are the sides. Note the lack of eyebrows and perfect eyelashes. 😀

And here is the front:

I got a comment from a friend that they were my “librarian look” glasses. Now, people might think of this as a strange comment, but anyone who knows me–knows that I think librarians are cool (most anyway). CCU librarians probably thought I was an obnoxious student, because even if they were sitting at the desk, I would still come up and ring the bell. LOL. That is my favorite part! 😀 I thought about being a librarian. Who knows. Maybe someday I will be. But for now, I have a few things I need to work on. One–not so much that I talk loud (which is a no-no in public libraries–at least the one in my neighborhood at Denver), but I talk TOO much! So, I need to control my talking, especially when books or my favorite subjects are concerned. A librarian listens and offers good recommendations (and doesn’t reveal the entire plot or ending of books to people). 😉

Also, if I were wanting to be a librarian, I would need to take a bit more caution on my pronunciation of words. I think what is hard for me is that I do not always hear the correct sound when someone is saying the word. Or, I say it like I am reading it. Or, I just don’t know the word and the first time I say it, I say it how it is spelled. Other times, I just get my words mixed up or something with lip-reading is involved. Maybe part of it is my talking too fast or now that my lips move a bit slower on the left side (I now spit when I speak…embarrasing!) maybe that affects my speech. The latter is a bit more an excuse. I have a history with getting my words mixed up or pronouncing things wrong. The first one I remember saying wrong is when I was in junior high…maybe freshman year of high school. I was discussing hair with my dad. Not sure why we were having this conversation, but I was telling him how he should get a toupee though I said: “Dad, you should get a tapoo!” My dad was confused and asked, “What is a tapoo?” I said, “You know…” while pointing to my head. Thankfully, Dad thought it was hilarious and that was the last time I mentioned anything to my dad about a new hairstyle! 🙂

Another time, we were driving through town and I noticed a new shop that opened on Main Street. I said, “Look! Corner Mercantile.” But I pronounced it as “mer-can-til-ee”. My mom liked that one. Once in college, my roommate and I were getting ready to call it a day. She had the top bunk and I slept on the bottom bunk. I was always up later than she was so I thought she was already asleep. I had already taken out my hearing aids and taken my glasses off (the time when I feel a bit like Helen Keller) and my roommate turned over and sat up. Pretty much startled me and she asked if I could get her the vaseline from her desk drawer. Of course I read vaseline clear as day (I had her bend her head down and I stood on my tiptoes to read her lips), but for some odd reason when I opened the drawer, I grabbed the sticky notes. Confused in my brain, I went back to the bunk beds and said, “For some odd reason, ‘vaseline’ looks like ‘sticky notes’ when you read lips.” [It doesn’t. LOL] My roommate said, “That’s because I did ask for the vaseline!” HAHA. We laughed so hard about that one for a long time.

After I graduated, I roomed with several roommates over a year and a half. The last girls I lived with were really fun and made my last of Denver a great experience. I remember one time I had chemo on Friday, December 30th. I went to work the next day (yes, more to come on that in the post about the book!) and as I got home, they invited me to attend Downtown Denver with them for Cheesecake Factory and fireworks. I knew I was tired and cold, but I thought I could attend the fun. We rode the metro to the 16th street mall (first time metro ride for me), but it was not a fun experience. I got such bad cramps, I felt sick! I knew I was having a bathroom problem, so I told the roommate sitting next to me that I was about to be sick and needed to find a bathroom asap when we got off. We found a Walgreens, but they don’t have public restrooms (ugh!) So, we found a Starbucks not too far from there and thanks to the compassionate girls in line, they let me cut and that was that. My hands were so cold, I could not button my pants and just tried to buckle my belt tight. I came out in tears and my dear roommate (her boyfriend was there too) offered to take me back home. 🙂 Anyway, back to pronunciation–two of my roommates worked for a coffee shop called, The French Roaster. They had awesome White Peach ice tea. I went in a lot to read and have tea. Once, I decided to go for breakfast. I was reading the menu and decided to try something new. My roommate’s friend took my order (my roommate later told me this) but I said, “I will try your cinnamon crepes.” But I pronounced it as “creeps.” How was I supposed to know the French italic pronunciation?? LOL. I was so embarrassed after that when I saw the girl. She was so kind about it though and we had a good laugh.

The most recent one, I have to admit was only a few weeks ago. My mom and I were driving back from an appointment and we passed some restaurants, one being a Thai Asian place. My older sister has Celiac disease, so she is not allowed to eat any glutton or wheat products. I know her and her husband love Asian food and so I said, “Too bad she isn’t here so we can go to the Thai food place.” Except I pronounced it as “thigh.” Oops! 😀 Needless to say, we had a good laugh about that one!!! There have been many others, but I can’t think of anymore at the moment. Maybe with more intellectual looking glasses, my phase of mispronunciation will pass. Here’s to hoping. 🙂

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Filed under Family Times, Funny Stories