Tag Archive | Humble Pie

Listen to what the man said

I can’t speak for all baby boomers, but many, many of us grew up with parental and other authoritarian voices ordering “turn that music down! You’ll damage your hearing!”

We probably should have listened to what the man said.

I first noticed the chirping three or four months ago – only sometimes, only in very quiet times and not enough to interfere with my life (yet, and I hope it stays that way). I hope that it’s stress-induced and will go away altogether but also recognize that that’s dreaming.

Especially after reading Shouting Won’t Help: Why I – and 50 Million Other Americans – Can’t Hear You, a reported memoir by former journalist (the New York Times, the NYT Magazine, The New Yorker) Katherine BoutonShoutingWon'tHelp

I can’t remember where I heard about it, but the introductory excerpt on Amazon.com hooked me so hard I hit the pre-order button (adding in Joan Osborne’s Bring It On Home CD to qualify for free shipping – I can’t help myself). JoanOsborneThe The

The book was released Feb. 19 and both arrived few days later.

My initial reasoning was that in addition to being fascinating reading,  the book would help me understand my husband’s hearing loss and his reluctance to wear the hearing aid he wouldn’t even get until he turned 60. There’s no shame in it, I’d callously thought – he spent too much time around loud machinery without hearing protection in his younger years and tinnitus runs in his family, in each direction for generations. No big deal.

Bouton begs to differ and frankly writes about the anguish associated with years of trying to hide her hearing loss.

After finishing the book a few minutes ago on my noisy treadmill, the crickets are going to town in my quiet kitchen, and I realize the information will be helpful in more ways than I’d imagined.

It’s really a must-read for anyone who loves or spends time around someone with hearing loss or deafness – as well as anyone who has played fast and loose with her hearing. The facts and statistics may startle you in places, but it’s an upbeat, can’t-put-it-down book.

I knew my hearing was damaged from five years of teaching at Central High School. The halls are horribly loud, and the security guards’ whistles are (literally) deafening. One of my newspaper staff students did a science fair project on just that – he was a doctor’s son and brought a decibel meter to school. Exact details escape me years later, but the whistles definitely hit the permanent-damage-inducing level if blown directly into the meter.

Or into an ear, which happened to me once in the hall outside my room. A female security guard about my height stood directly behind me and blew her whistle full blast into my ear – I assume she thought I was a student. I couldn’t hear anything for a few minutes and couldn’t hear out of the receiving ear for hours. I could visualize my little inner-ear hairs flattening out in self-defense.

My ears, despite my predilection for loud music, have always been sensitive. Music can be painful, especially if I don’t like it. I loved Humble Pie in my teens – had two of their albums (and at least one on CD now) – but I walked out of their concert at Barton Coliseum because they were so loud my ears felt as if they were bleeding.

A year or two later I had a close encounter with a firecracker with a short fuse that went off in my hand next to my ear. Don’t ask.

After reading Bouton’s book, I find myself thinking about all the reckless listening I’ve done.

But I won’t stop playing music loudly. Just maybe not as loud.

When Pam and I were adolescents, we discussed just about every potentiality you can imagine. “If you had to go deaf or blind, which would you choose?” was one of them. I always chose to keep my hearing – hard choice, but I couldn’t imagine life without music or the voices of my (then unborn, of course) children and grandchildren.


Speaking of children and grandchildren, my baby girl is 33 today. Her baby girl is smitten with two maternity tops I made for her mother and delivered yesterday (not birthday presents – they were just way delayed by circumstances of late). Sylvie stroked them over and over jabbered on and on about them. Beyond cute.

Happy birthday, Liz. Love you.

Tell me something good

My 10-night recent bout of insomnia has left me with a new mantra: “Tell Me Something Good.”

I started hearing Chaka Khan’s throaty refrain on auto-play in my brain the first morning after I started sleeping again. My mental vision of Rufus on stage in Fayetteville in the mid-1970s, with Chaka’s Afro bobbing and silver lamé hot-pants, bikini top and knee-high platform boots sparkling, still makes me smile.

I’ve realized hearing or reading about too many bad things, especially things about which I can do nothing, is not good for my sleeping habits. I’m on a Time, The Nation and MSNBC diet for a while.

Of course I’ll continue to read enough to be informed (and Calvin Trillin is a necessary delight), but for now, we have enough going on in our family circle to keep my brain occupied. Overdosing on bad news and hype is bad for my health. And I don’t believe we’re going over a damn cliff anyway. Maybe a speed bump ….

So with that in mind, here’s a dose of good news (some arising out of bad):

Mother is in horrible shape with her back, bed- and wheelchair-ridden – but it’s fixable. We saw the surgeon Thursday, Dec. 6, and are awaiting a surgery date (soon, soon, soon). Rehab will be a long haul, but she should end up in decent shape for a 77-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis.

The doctor’s visit was followed by The Bernice Garden Tree-Lighting and Craft Festival, which was a big success. A good time was had by all. One of my neighbors was delighted to report that at the last few events there she’s only seen about three people that she knows – it’s not just our neighbors taking advantage of the beautiful facility anymore.

People of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels mixed and mingled at The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting party.

People of all ages, races, and socioeconomic levels mixed and mingled at The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting party.

Forward thinking downtown-dwellers are tickled about that!

Carolers from a neighborhood school were a precious part of the entertainment.

Carolers from a neighborhood school were a precious part of the entertainment.

I bought one gift and some wonderful “Lavish Ylang” beeswax-based Killer Bee Wholy Healin’ Cream that I’ve been using on my face at night to help me sleep. Lavender and ylang-ylang. Yum. Can’t get much more relaxing than that. I highly recommend it – excellent, locally made and inexpensive! That’s a winning combination.

KillerBees Wholy Healing Cream was just one of the vendors at the Garden.

KillerBees Wholy Healing Cream was just one of the vendors at the Garden.

Saturday I put up our lovely little live tree, yesterday I got Mother’s up for her, and last night we had the pleasure of seeing our boy Jude sing his heart out at the Immaculate Conception School children’s Christmas concert. He’s such a handsome, big boy.

I’ll end this short post with a couple of random things that made me smile the past few days. Since Washington state legalized pot, the Seattle police department has invoked The Dude in its outreach campaign to stress the limits of the legality. “The Dude abides and says, ‘take it inside” is one of their slogans.


(I’d like for them to have said “toke it inside,” but that’s the editor in me.)

And in today’s Zits comic strip, dorko Dad, a baby boomer like yours truly, is sporting a Humble Pie T-shirt.

Gotta love it. Happy December.