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Knowlesville      

The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

March 2008

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Sat, Mar. 1, 2008 - Life Changing Events

Life Changing Events

If you've been wondering why I haven't been updating Knowlesville much lately, it's because life decided to throw us a curve ball. For those of you who haven't already heard, Lori has experienced almost total hearing loss in both ears quite suddenly. The good news is that several causes such as brain tumors have been ruled out, so nothing life threatening going on. The bad news is that it looks to be permanent.

At this point we are hoping she is a candidate for cochlear implants. (Please stop mentioning Rush Limbaugh to me. Yes I know he has a cochlear implant. Karma should have taken away his voice, not his hearing.) We've been spending lots of time researching them in general, as well as trying to decide which of the three companies to go with. It's not like you can go down to your local stereo store and try them out and see which sounds best.

The whole technology of cochlear implants is pretty amazing. I really don't know how someone figured out to make them work, and the surgery alone is pretty amazing.

Since it may take up to a year to get a cochlear implant installed, we're learning sign language in the meantime.So between the time I spend on the Internet researching things like cochlear implants and smoke detectors for deaf people and other things you never think about, plus spending time every evening learning and practicing ASL, I haven't had much spare time to keep my personal web sites up to date.

If you would like to learn ASL on you own so that you can talk to Lori (or some other deaf person you may know) here are three web sites that we have found very useful:

  1. Starting out you will want to learn how to Finger Spell. Not only is this necessary to spell words you don't know (or words that don't have signs, like people's names) but many of the Fingerspelling signs are used for word signs. Bill Vicar's ASL Fingerspelling Tool is a great way to practice and there is also a fingerspelling chart on his site.
  2. Once you have the fingerspelling down, then you can start learning words. But you also need to learn ASL grammar because it is very different from English grammar. ASL University has some great resources, lessons and a good dictionary to get you started.
  3. The dictionary on ASL University is good in explaining but for most of the words they use a series of photographs. For a video dictionary of ASL words, we've been using the ASL Browser provided by the Michigan State University.

We've also been borrowing ALS tapes from the Tri County Independent Living center in Eureka. The tapes are fun to learn from and they help a lot with the grammar. Our VCR is getting a lot of use for a change, especially in slow motion mode. Experieced signers sure can sign FAST!

Through my work with the fire department, I've seen a lot of people's lives changed in an instant. I'm glad this is something we can work through, but it's another reminder that you need to express your love every day and make sure you're doing everything possible to enjoy life now. You just never know what might be around that next corner.

Wed, Mar. 5, 2008 - Trees

Trees

I went out today on the Sprint to collect photos for Roger Rodoni's Re-Election web site. I ended up taking a back way from Garberville to Shelter Cove and came on this scene. I love how the hills green up this time of year, and the various shapes, textures and shades of the trees really caught my eye. I hung out in Shelter Cove until sunset but it didn't end up being that interesting. Cold ride home though. It was 42 degrees when I got home even though it had been a very warm and pleasant day. Noticed on the way home that my right hand heated grip wasn't working. When I got home my left hand was still very comfortable, but I had just about lost feeling in the right. What a testament to the effectiveness of heated grips.

Thu, Mar. 6, 2008 - Arsonist on the Loose

Arsonist on the Loose

I was just getting warmed up from my ride yesterday when the fire alarm went off for a hay fire in a barn. Naturally one thinks of spontaneous combustion when it comes to hay fires, but this one had some help in the form of several containers of accellerant found in the barn, some empty, some still full. We managed to get the fire extinguished with minimal damage to the barn. The fire was up a steep narrow country lane and I had the fun job of driving the water tender up there and then carefully backing it up to Engine #2. This makes the 3rd arson fire we've had lately.

Sat, Mar. 15, 2008 - Lori had a little lamb

Lori had a little lamb

Last year during lambing season, I saw the newborns in this field during the week, and planned a bicycle ride out there with Lori to show her. By the weekend they had moved the flock to another pasture and they were barely visible way up on the hill. So this year I figured it was best not to waste any time checking them out. We had fun watching the little ones run around leaping and just being silly. After that we took a drive around some of the farmlands in Ferndale. Once again we were reminded how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful area like Ferndale.

Fri, Mar. 21, 2008 - Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?

As part of the process of getting cochlear implants, Lori needed to get hearing aids to try out. I guess the insurance companies insist on trying the $3000 solution before going for the $40-60k solution. So today we met with her audiologist for her first test fitting. Only one hearing aid fit but at least it was the one for her better ear. She was able to hear the audiologist pretty well, but still has a hard time with my voice. But I can talk to her if I'm real close and talk loud, slow, and clear. Still, it's wonderful to have some form of verbal communication back. I don't see the hearing aids as a permanent solution, but rather as a small window of opportunity to talk to her before her left ear ends up as bad as her right ear. It is a lot easier to learn sign language when I can tell her what I'm signing.

Sat, Mar. 22, 2008 - Sacked out kitties

Sacked out kitties

I was working late tonight. Everyone else was on the futon. Lori enjoying her Harry Potter book, and the kitties all doing what they do best.

Tue, Mar. 25, 2008 - No More Pink

No More Pink

The last bit of pink has finally been banished from my office. I still need to do a second coat on the trim and then let that dry for several weeks before I can start doing the graining. But that will give me time to get up the courage to try the graining. After that it's just put up the frieze and fix the floor. Oh and patch the hole in the ceiling. And strip and paint the two doors. And then move all the furniture back in. Damn, I'm not as close as I thought I was.

Wed, Mar. 26, 2008 - Raffle tickets anyone?

Raffle tickets anyone?

A fact of life of living in Ferndale is that on a weekly basis you will either be buying or selling raffle tickets. I've often thought it would save us all a lot of time and effort if we all just funded our own interests ourselves. Right now I have two organizations I'm selling raffle tickets to. Engine Co. 1 of the Ferndale Fire Dept has their annual raffle coming up. Tickets are $50, only 100 are sold and you can win $1000. There are only 4 Company 1 guys right now so we need your help to get these sold. If $50 is too steep for you, can I interest you in a raffle ticket for the Native Sons of the Golden West. These are only $1 each, and you can win $1000 in this one as well, but your odds are a lot slimmer. I don't know the number of tickets sold for this one, but it's a statewide raffle. Our operators are standing by.