Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Roan Mountain

I've added pictures from our trip to Roan Mountain in 2007 to my flickr account. Also note my new flickr badge to the right. Hopefully, I'll be adding more pictures to flickr so that people can view them wherever they are.

I wrote about our trip to Roan Mountain in a previous blog post.


I've been wearing my new hearing aid for almost a week now. My audiologist made some adjustments to it this morning, mainly the fix the problem of "squishing."

"Squishing" is when the hearing aid, in an attempt to make what it perceives as loud sounds more comfortable, compresses the sound. Sometimes this works, but in my case, it was making a lot of sounds, mainly people's voices, muffled. So we'll see how it does.

So far, it works for me. I'm still getting used to hearing more 'soft' sounds, like paper crumpling, pens clicking against the table, fingers tapping at the keyboard. At first, they seemed to interfere with people's voices, but when I thought about it, I realized that I could still understand people, my brain just had to adjust to picking their voices out of the sea of sounds.

Hearing is more than just an ear taking in sound waves. There's a lot of brain work involved as those sounds have to be processed, some noises being tossed into the 'white noise' category, other sounds receiving preferential treatment, and still others being completely ignored so that my conscious part no longer notices them. We all do this naturally, but when there's an adjustment process, it can be a little perplexing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Olde Worlde shot-Jon & Laura

I've put some wedding photos up over on flickr. This is my favorite. See the others here

The place of remembering

The library is always in an interesting place. It must be forward thinking, even as it must preserve the past, keeping it present for the next generation. This is a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it.

I realized this while listening to A. telling Tamera about the move to make Holocaust-denial illegal. It's hard to imagine that people would refuse to admit the Holocaust, but the more years that separate us from that cruel event, the more distant it becomes, relegated to books, photographs, documents, for more and more survivors are passing away, their memories locked away beyond death.

Yet those materials, however pale in comparison to the memories of survivors, are taking the place of those memories, taking over the task of remembering. And where are these materials of remembering usually housed? At libraries (and archives, museums, personal collections), so one sees the unique role libraries have in society. I never thought about how critical that role was until I heard the story of Holocaust-denial.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A new order

I've had my new hearing aid for about 3 hours so far.

Some good things:
-I can hear
-There appears to be better distinction between types of sounds, but I have yet to distinguish it (i.e. I have yet to adjust)
-I do not look like this model from the Phonak hearing aid ad

What is different:
-Some things are louder than others, in strange ways: the crumple of paper is much louder than a voice (which my audiologist may adjust if this doesn't go away)

When I walked out of the office and into the main part of the KY Clinic, it felt like I was entering a war zone, where one side had dragons that they were using to great effect: it was that loud! Everyone else was walking along, oblivious to the war they were in the middle of.

When I went into Kroger's, there were the dragons again, along with airplanes taking off: it was that loud! Jon thinks it must be the ventilation system.

Obviously, I have a lot of adjusting to do. I go back for a hearing aid tweak next week. There may be more tweaking to do after that. It will probably take up to half a year to become completely used to this hearing aid. But I'm optimistic for several reasons:
-I can hear
-I can understand Jon
-I can hear Pope's mews

We don't realize how much we rely on simple things until they are threatened.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I was checking out books for a guy this weekend and realized that the cover of a book looked familiar. It was Rhododendron Gap, of the Grayson Highlands (see my post below).

It gave me an opportunity to wax poetic about the beauties of southwestern Virginia. He looked very impressed, and I was, consequently, very impressed with myself. How much we esteem the opinion of our fellow man...

Talk about being able to recommend a book!

What's in a name

I came across this name while working on a Kentucky DAR scrapbook today:

Beach Jett

How appropriate for summer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The briefest movie review you'll find here

The Dark Knight is very good. It actually had a theme that it explored, in the midst of superhero chaos.

Heath Ledger made the Joker his own.

Christian Bale is one of my favorite things.

The things we will eat

I went to a writing workshop hosted by Tamera from the library. I felt a little shy in a group of strangers, especially when I saw that Tamera was going to have us read our writings out loud, so my creative bent was hindered by that, but I enjoyed it very much. Tamera is a very good teacher (and writer too!). One of the prompts she used was scents. She handed out little containers of random things that we were to smell, then write down our associations to that particular scent. I got vinegar, which evoked the kitchen. This is what I wrote:

Jon in the kitchen, carefully, methodically dumping these ingredients in, measured by sight, carelessly tossed into the pot, there to simmer the appointed time.
Our life is composed of these moments, these nightly rituals in the kitchen--he concocting his latest culinary miracle while I read in the living room, keeping my clumsy hands far away from the things we will eat. Our cat goes to and fro, drawn by the smells of fish oil, mewing his pathetic cries, tail bushy with anticipation.
I read and wait--the feast is served.

I'm not sure how fish oil showed up, but that's how the power of association works for you: one thing leads to another, and you discover something new.

This exercise reminded me of a post I made on this blog a while back: "The associations we come up with."

A few of my favorite things

Here are some of my favorite things right now:

1. The show "So you think you can dance?"
2. Christian Bale (he has always reminded me of my cousin Brian, my good buddy from the days of growing up, even though they hardly look a thing alike--I think it must be the dark eyes)
3. Almond croissants from Magees
4. The Dark Knight
5. The wall of new books wanting to be processed at the library
6. Ashland Avenue, Lexington, KY (gorgeous old homes)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rhododendron Gap - Baby Pony and Mama Pony

This past weekend, J. and I went to Damascus, Virginia with our friends Jenni and Carson. We rode the Virginia Creeper trail (17 miles, mostly downhill), which I always like because I can ride very fast without the fear of being hit by a car.

We also hiked up to Rhododendron Gap, in the Grayson Highlands. It was too late to see the rhododendron in bloom, but the ponies were out in full force. We saw this mother and baby out and about--note their coloring!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another day as always

Fannie called the library and asked for two other people. Since they were not there, I said, "Sorry, you've got me."

"Wellll...that's allright. It's just you know nuthin'."

I did not take offense, as she has been thrilled by my help many times in the past.

All she wanted to do was tell us that she had had a half-hour nap and was going to eat dinner.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thinking of trees

Alan Jacobs has written an awesome essay : "The life of trees".

Some of the "tree-reveries" I've had:

--Somewhere in Scott County, there is a grove of mature oak trees. I saw it for only a fleeting moment, glimpsed from the car as we rounded a bend. That brief glimpse gave me such a powerful sense of peace that I still remember those trees now. Tall and stately, the oaks set that place apart. One could go there and think.

-Late, late on a summer night long ago, Jenny, Rosie, and I took a walk down the lane. It was the full moon, and vast expanses of clouds were passing overhead. The moon played coy: hiding, then dashing out in a blaze of cold silver light. We walked through that interplay of darkness and light, each of us touched by the moon, our eyes and teeth flashing as we talked, our hair almost glowing, so that we looked like a group of fey wending our way to the dark forest beyond. The fields to either side of us shivered under the wind, the grass transformed to stalks of silver that, together, moved like the ocean, drawn by the moon.

My tree-reverie came during one of the moon's bold moments, when we were passing near a group of trees, a moment I happened to look up and saw the dark outline of those trees against the sky. It should have filled me with dread, to see the inky shapes of branches and leaves, lines of darkness against the riot of silvery clouds moving overhead, and the black space deep among the trees. Instead, I was overwhelmed with calm: there was no other place I would rather be. My petty fears of the dark had disappeared in the face of such a rare show of beauty.

"Hamburger!" she cried

I was helping someone at the reference desk who was asking about researching the history of a property when I heard, "Hamburger!"

I looked up to see Fannie, about 20 feet away, saying again (quite loudly), "Hamburger!"

When she got to the desk, she said, "Don't forget hamburger! ... Hamburger at Kroger's has e. coli--don't you eat it! Don't forget hamburger!"

Then she turned to one of the women I was helping and poked her, "Don't forget about the hamburger at Kroger's!" She walked away muttering to herself, her duty accomplished.

Thankfully there were no small children in her way, otherwise they too would have received a poke.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The pleasures of lists

Because I love lists and books, I can't resist posting a list of some books I'm ordering for the library.

-Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, by Rita Nakashima Brock

-Original sin: a cultural history, by Alan Jacobs

Finding our way again: the return of the ancient practices, by Brian McLaren

-Berlitz complete guide to cruising & cruise ships

-Berlin Wall: a world divided, 1961-1989, by Frederick Taylor

-God's gold: a quest for the lost temple treasures of Jerusalem, by Sean Kingsley

-Life with God: reading the Bible for spiritual transformation, by Richard J. Foster

-Perfect summer: England 1911, just before the storm, by Juliet Nicolson

-HarperCollins atlas of Bible history

-Complete Travel Detective Bible: The Consummate Insider Tells You What You Need to Know in an Increasingly Complex World!, by Peter Greenberg

-American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds, by Marilyn Yalom

-Come on shore and we will kill and eat you all: a New Zealand story, by Christina Thompson

-Barbarians to angels: the Dark Ages reconsidered, by Peter S. Wells

-Muhajababes, by Allegra Stratton

-Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid, by J. Maarten Troost

-Mutiny: The True Events That Inspired The Hunt For Red October, by David Hagberg

Libguides at EKU

This is so cool! I wish we had these "LibGuides" when I was still in school, particularly as an undergrad. When I think about how I did research back then (and I'm still not quite sure exactly how I researched things before library school), I cringe.

The folks over at EKU have started making guides to various subjects, ranging from geology to theater to social work to homeland security. Depending on who made the guides, you can find news feeds, databases of interest, tips on how to do effective searches, websites to check out, etc. For an example, see LibGuides@EKU: Geology, created by Cindi Trainor, or LibGuides@EKU: Social Work, done by my former supervisor Kelly Smith.

What was going to be a simple click-through from Trainor's blog turned out to be an in-depth exploration as I mentally filed away tips and ideas for use at the reference desk (while we don't get serious researchers everyday, enough students come in for help to keep me on my toes--particularly as a small public library doesn't exactly have a lot to offer on topics like sociology or small child counseling).