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Monday, December 29, 2014

Full circle

Did anyone see the article in NY Times about Amazon's Unlimited ebook service? Times are changing, again! Once upon a time, the only way a write could get published was through a traditional publisher. Then, self-publishing came along. I, myself, rode that wave and made a nice tidy sum marketing myself through Google and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Then, they started charging for ads. Today, it's too expensive for my small business to advertise on social media; and my posts don't show up without the ads. Therefore, that wave is over for me.

Today, writers have Amazon Kindle Unlimited giving their books away as fast as they can write them. The NY Times article says there are too many writers, and you know what that means? Basic supply and demand from Economics 101. Supply is up; price is down. That is just a fact of economic principles. So, what should we do about it?

For me, I'm using my experiences to teach in a classroom (at least until technology takes that away!). As far as writing, I'm doing it for my own pleasure. I enjoy writing; and, someday, if I work hard enough, perhaps someone will want to publish what I write. I guess I have gone full-circle: publishing, self-publishing, and now back to publishing.

What about you?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mystery Progress and Software

This morning I woke up at my usual time and started working on my mystery. I am using Scrivener to  create an outline of sorts. I really like this software. I created chapters, then I created cork board note cards for the first two chapters. That's as far as I got - bare bones outline of the background and murder.

I worked on character sketches using the character feature and even put in some "photos" of my main characters. Now, when I work on the characters, I can look at the photos and get a "feel" for their personality. For names, I downloaded the popular names of the decade from Social Security website for each decade in my book. After I found a first name, I used Scrivener's Name Creator feature for a last name. I didn't put a lot of effort into names as I will probably change them or they will get changed if I get published.

Scrivener Screenshots
There is a places feature on Scrivener as well, but I didn't do much with it yet.

I was having trouble getting my dates and times mixed up, so I did a search and came up with Aeon Timeline. I'm using a demo of this to see if it works. So far, I am really impressed. I can create a timeline of events and intersect it with people who interact with those events. The software computes ages of your characters as well. I'll write more about this software as I do more with it.

Aeon Timeline Screenshot
I also downloaded a sample of Scapple, which is a software created by Scrivener. It is a tool for creating and connecting ideas. I haven't used this one at all yet. I will keep you posted.

Scapple Screenshot
So, I feel like I had a productive day. I don't have a lot of time each week to work on writing, so I have made myself a schedule to keep writing a priority. Otherwise, I won't write at all. As most of my friends know, I am still teaching part time. I am also the chauffeur for my vision-impaired husband, I work part time as an accountant for both my son and daughter's self-employment, and, when I have free time, I scrapbook, read mysteries, work out at the gym, and walk my dog. So, it's a challenge, but scheduling is helping. Each day, I have a specific task and I only deviate for doctor appointments, if I have to. Even if it takes me the rest of my life, I'm determined to write this mystery!

Mystery Writing Basics

I found a nifty resource for mystery writers written by Gillian Roberts, author of You Can Write a Mystery. The information is a brief extract from her book and provides quite a bit of information that will get you started on your first mystery.

Lesson #1 —Where do you get your ideas?
Lesson #2 —Writing your character's stories.
Lesson #3 —Amateurs, Semi-Pros, and Pros: Who will be your sleuth?
Lesson #4 —What to think about when you think about your setting.
Lesson #5 —Descriptions the reader won't skip.
Lesson #6 — It's all in your point of view.
Lesson #7 —Making the reader care.
Lesson #8 — How to write what you know (about murder).
Lesson #9 — How to write what you don't know.
Lesson #10 — Talking about dialogue: Part I.
Lesson #11 — Dialogue, Part II: Ways to present dialogue.
Lesson #12 — Do actions speak louder than words?
Lesson #13 — Playing Fair and Keeping Secrets: Hiding clues.

Check it out on her website at GillianRoberts.com.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Scrapbooking Christmas - Part II

This year, I created some of my Christmas cards and gifts using my scrapbooking supplies and got them all in the mail on Monday. It was very time consuming, but it was well worth while. I feel like it makes Christmas that much more special. For those of you who are interested, here are photos of some of my projects: 

Inspired by Gina K
Also inspired by Gina K
I don't remember where I got the inspiration
for these cards.

Tags with money envelopes on the back.
Christmas 2014 mini album
Raining Cats and Dogs Gift box and cards
Last, I made a Dr. Who notebook for my daughter. She's a big fan. I took a brown notebook, covered it with blue paper (her favorite color), cut out some Dr. Who images from a magazine and covered them with mod podge. After attaching these items, I added some glittery stuff as she likes all things glittery! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Enjoying my Christmas Break!

I’m definitely enjoying my Christmas break. First, my husband, Oreo, and I went to Dallas for the weekend to shop, walk, and visit my son. It was beautiful weather both days we were there. We stayed at La Quinta where they allow dogs at no extra charge – love that! The room was huge! It was two rooms in one. Oreo loved it, especially chasing her toy off the bed, across the room, and back again!

We went to a beautiful park on Saturday and walked around the lake. Then, we went to some bookstores where I bought some new mysteries to read. Had dinner with my son at Season’s 52. This is a wonderful restaurant. Wish we had one here in Broken Arrow!

The only bad part about the weekend was the drive home. It rained so hard that I had to pull over for a time. I followed a big rig the rest of the way so I could see the road. It was terrible!


This week, I spent some time planning biology lessons for next semester, moving books around to prepare for our eventual move, working on my mystery and picture book, and making Christmas cards. In addition, I continued to play “Driving Mr. Daisy” taking Bill to various appointments and ham radio functions. 

I hope you are having a nice Christmas season as well. 

Garrett the Ferrett

I've been working on my Ferret in the White House story again. Polished it up one more time and sent it off to another editor. I can't seem to give up on this one. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Detours

In my progress towards writing a mystery, I got sidetracked with an idea for a children's picture book.   So, now, I'm working on both of these at the same time. I've already got the picture book roughed out and I want to work on it through Christmas so that I can have it ready for critiques in January. Our writer's group has a one-day critique session in January in preparation for meeting the publishers and editors that come to the conference in March. So excited!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cozy Mystery Bucket List - Part 2

So far, I've come up with a character, but she is not fully developed yet. The plot is beginning to weave its way through my brain - very slowly - inch by inch. I'm not going to tell you what it is, yet. Not until I get the book written. This blog will only tell you about my progress as I go along and how I am working it out. I hope it will inspire some of you to join me!

I am reading several books to get me started on this project:
  1. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. I bought both the book and workbook for this one. This provides very practical suggestions on how to go about writing your book. Excellent. I'm working on Chapter 3: Creating your Lead. 
  2. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I'm also working through this book, SLOWLY! Just started and I can already see that this will be very helpful.
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I've read through chapter four, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to write, not just fiction, anything! Very good for motivation as well as practical instructions.
  4. Broken Arrow, The First Hundred Years by Steven L. Stapleton, J.D. (This is for background information on my setting, which will be Broken Arrow, OK)
  5. Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PhD. I'm using this as a reference to help me develop my characters.
  6. I'm also reading lots of cozy mysteries as that is the genre I am working on and the type of book I read the most for entertainment.
So that's my reading list for right now. I have several more books I want to read, but I want to get through these first. Since I can't find an online class to help me, I'm depending on book for now. There are classes out there, but with my schedule, I'm not ready to attack them. I might do this in the summer. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bucket List - Write a Mystery

I've been threatening to write a mystery for quite a while now. I completed a children's picture book (Garrett the Ferret, the White House Exterminator (never published), a children's mystery, The Moundbuilder Mystery (never published), and now I want to write a cozy mystery for adults. I don't really care if it gets published, although that would be awesome. My main goal is to complete the task and learn something in the process. So, here are the steps I'm taking:

1. I joined Sister's in Crime and SIC-Guppies. I need some help figuring out how to write a mystery!

2. I purchased a couple of books on fiction writing. I will review these as I complete them. I also hope to find a class on fiction writing that would help me. Still looking for that.

3. I'm spending part of my writing time trying to develop a character for my story. I'm also researching my potential setting. I don't have a plot yet, but I thought if I could develop a good character in a fun setting, perhaps the plot will come. I probably won't write much about the actual story line on this blog until much later. I don't want to talk it to death!

4. I'm trying to write more in general, just to keep my skills up and develop new ones.

5. I'm reading more cozy mysteries - as if that is a problem. I LOVE cozy mysteries!

6. Although I don't have a lot of time to do all this because of my teaching responsibilities and my role as chauffeur for Bill, I plan to commit to a minimum of one hour a day. I know I can keep that goal.

So that's the plan. More as I go.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scrapbooking Christmas - Part I

Today, I spent all day creating a Christmas mini album. I really enjoyed my day! Here are photos. I still need to buy some gold rings and more gold grommets for pages.







Sunday, November 9, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus

Yes, I bought one! I couldn't resist. I thought this would be the ideal phone: I could use it as a phone and as an ebook reader. Since my AT&T contract was up, I was able to buy one a lot cheaper, so I did.

I've had it for about three weeks now. It took a bit of getting used to because of the size. I've had to learn to hold it differently than I did my other iPhones. In fact, I'm looking for a case now that will not only protect it, but also have a "kickstand" so I can prop it up. I think that will be helpful in many cases.

The new IOS system is awesome. I love the thumb print ID on the front of the phone - so much easier to use. The camera is exceptional. I can read my email, text messages, and ebooks SO Much better on this. I really do not need my iPad or Kindle any longer for ebooks. However, because my eyes are older, I can't play some of my games (hidden objects and puzzles) on the iPhone 6 plus. I just can't make the screen big enough to find all the objects. So, the bottom line is no, I'm not giving up my iPad or Kindle yet. I like my games too much.

However, I find myself using my phone much more with the plus. I love the recording feature on the phone. This is not a plus only feature, but I only discovered it with the plus.

I can't always fit it in my pocket, but it slips perfectly in my Vera bags with outside pockets. Makes it easy to carry and easy to retrieve. I purchased an arm band for working out - still looking for a better one since it flops around a bit, but it will do for now.

All in all, I'm a very happy customer.


Retirement Home Shopping

Yes, it's that time of life for us. Perhaps a bit early because of our situation, but it is time. My husband and I have decided that we need to move out of our 3,000 square foot house into a smaller place and a place where he can get some of the help he needs to be more active. Since he cannot drive (he is legally blind), he depends on me and friends to get him around. Because of this, we are looking into independent living communities. 


Our first stop was the Methodist Manor in Tulsa, Beautiful place, but out of our price range. You have to have more than $200K just to walk in the door! That one was out without looking! 

Next stop was Silver Arrow in Broken Arrow. This is a beautiful campus. The dining facilities is the star attraction as far as I could see. They have chefs on staff and serve five(?) course meals. I'm not sure how many courses, but it was a lot and it took a lot of time. The food was delicious, but I can't see myself spending two hours a day sitting around a lunch table. If you have nothing else to do, that would be excellent. But, I still work. So, that one is out for us. The cottage had lots of room which was a plus. No shuttle service, which is something we need. So another reason this one wouldn't work for us. Beautiful, though. 


Our next stop was Country Club of Woodlyn Hills where we met with T.R. Jones. As soon as we began walking around the campus, we could see ourselves living here. It's older and has been around for 25 years, so it's mature. The campus is cozy. The staff has been around for several years. Not a lot of turnover in staff or residents. You can sense that they have system and it works. There are two choices in living options: the cottages and the apartments. They provide all meals except Sunday dinner, transportation to bank or Dr., all utilities, once a week housekeeping and linen laundry, and if you need it, they provide help with medication monitoring, bathing, and other daily living activities. The price is on par with other independent living communities as well, but there is no buy in. You have a month to month lease. In addition, if you need more care than they can give, you will have to move to a different location, such as University Village, which is owned by the same company. 


We also considered a new facility that is just moving into the Tulsa area, Tapestry of Woodlyn Hills. This facility is an "in-between" facility - in between an apartment and an independent living facility. When completed, it will have a pool, outdoor walking trail, dog park, an exercise room, a library, craft room, movie theater, and a pool hall. They are planning to have activities for the residents, and you can reserve a room for private parties. They do not offer dining. The cost is about half to two-thirds of the cost of independent living, depending on your options. 


We put a deposit down on Country Club of Woodlyn Hills as this is the one that best meets our present needs. There is a waiting list, so while we wait, we will continue to see what else is out there. But I'm pretty sure this is where we will end up. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day Trip

Last week, my husband Bill, Oreo, and I went on a day trip to Shiloam Springs, Arkansas. I wanted to visit the scrapbook store there called, Creative Corner on Broadway. We had a wonderful time!

On the way there, we stopped at Natural Falls State Park. What a beautiful park! There are all kinds of walking trails there from easy ones for strollers to the all-terrain trail of Dripping Springs that take you back to the falls.


The trails to the falls were nice, sometimes with boarded bridges:



At the end of this trail, it leads down several hundred feet to a waterfall:


It was cool and beautiful here. From there, we took an even more rustic trail around to a "lake" and back. In some places, the trail was climbing rocks! In addition, there were several steep climbs, not an easy trail. 


BRING WATER! I decided to do the trail a 2nd time and left Bill at the top. On my way down, I got dehydrated and almost passed out. Lucky for me, a nice couple came by and gave me some of their water! 

After our hike, we stopped for lunch (and met the couple who rescued me!). Then we went to the scrapbook store. The owner there was extremely helpful. I told her I wanted to make a mini album for a friend's baby. I picked out some super hero paper and she patiently explained what I needed and how to do it. If you live near this store, you must visit. She is a gem! 

I thought I'd add a photo of my finished product so you could see the results:






All in all, it was a fun day! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scrapbooking Bags

During the past two weeks, I have been learning how to make gift bags out of scrapbooking supplies. I made three so far, each one turned out better than the last one. Next week, I'm going to learn how to make a scrapbook photo album. I sure am having fun this summer!


Friday, June 6, 2014

MD Hearing Aids - They do work!

I had just about given up on using my new hearing aids full time. I had decided that they worked only in quiet situations like in the classroom or at home. I wouldn't wear them at restaurants, watching TV, or in crowds of any kind as they were just too noisy. Although the aids include three settings for background noises, using them only seemed to muffle everything.

Then last week, I was out with my ham radio friends discussing hearing aids. One of my friends had just gotten a pair that cost $2,000. Another friend was looking into hearing aids. As we were chatting about the different aids, one of my friends said he was high-frequency impaired and needed open ear buds. That was when the light bulb went on. I am high-frequency impaired, but I have been wearing the closed ear buds. I came home and switched out my hearing aids. Voila! Instantly, I could hear better with no loud noises. They were comfortable, easy to adjust to the volume I needed, and NO BACKGROUND NOISES! Even when I wore them in the restaurants, no noises! This is what I had been hoping for.

So, the bottom line now is: MDHearing Aids are fabulous hearing aids. All I had to do was put on the correct ear buds! I am wearing them full time now and loving them!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mentor Texts

I just purchased this book from Amazon and had to share it with those of you who teach writing classes. The book is called, Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6 by Lynne R. Dorfman and Rose Cappelli. It was published in 2007, so it's been around awhile; but, in case you missed it, here's a short review.

First, the author's explain what a mentor text is and the value of mentor texts. I discovered that I had been using "mentor texts" but didn't know that is what it was called. For example, last fall when I was teaching my 3rd-5th graders, I used the book, Faint Frogs Feeling Feverish to teach them about alliteration.
After we read the book and saw how the authors used alliteration to tell a story, I had the children create their own story using alliteration.

The rest of the book provides examples and short lesson plans for using mentor texts. For example, there are lessons on using mentor texts to learn how to write details; how to choose topics; how to write beginnings, middles, and end; how to choose specific words, and and to write descriptive sentences. There are so many wonderful ideas! I can't wait to use them in my classes next year.

I liked this book so much, I just ordered Nonfiction Mentor Texts by the same authors, today!

I can't recommend Mentor Texts enough. If you're teaching writing, this is a must-have resource!

Scrapbooking Cards

Last fall I taught a class to 3rd - 5th graders called, Kids Can Write. In the process, I took up the hobby of scrapbooking. I taught the kids some of the techniques I learned so that they could use it in their writing journals. It was a lot of fun!

Unfortunately for my budget, the hobby didn't stop there. I got so interested in the making cards that I asked for and received a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas. I started going to a Stampin Up class taught by a friend of mine, Cindy Williams, and buying kits from Gina K Designs.

One of the first cards I made with my Silhouette was a Christmas Card for my Pink HAMster friends.


Next, I made a card for a friend who was going through some tough times. I used an idea from Gina K for this one. 

My brother who does clowning for the Shriners had a birthday, so I had to try out a clown card. I used the cut and print feature of the Silhouette for this project. 


My next project was a birthday card for a friend. I don't remember where I got this idea. I'm sure I stole it somewhere? 


A very nice sister of a friend of mine did some ancestry search for me, so I thought it appropriate to try to make an appropriate thank you card. This was what I came up with (based on a Gina K design). I tried to incorporate some old 50's images for the old look: 


In the meantime, I was having fun at my Stampin Up Class. Here are two of the cards I made there: 


This card was also a Gina K design that I made for a friend who is going through Chemotherapy: 


In the meantime, I was finding more ways to use my Silhouette. Here is some robots I made for my electronics class at school. We used this to make Robot "operation" games! 


I also used my Silhouette to create a poster for my ham radio club. I found this radio tower somewhere online and used it to create the focal point. 



Yesterday, I spent the evening making a belated Birthday card. I tried to create this design myself from a variety of ideas. Other than it is crooked, I was fairly happy with the results. I do hate it when things are crooked! 


So that is my scrapbooking adventures so far. I have a bit more time this summer, so I hope to create even more projects. It is my new favorite hobby! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hearing Aids, Part III

I wanted to give a last report on my MDHearing Aids in case anyone else is considering them. My recommendation: Do it! But, here's the catch: You have to be motivated to wear hearing aids to get through the "NOISY" stage!

The first two weeks, I wasn't sure I would be able to continue wearing them. I wanted to pull them out all the time. I left them in for five hours a day and then took them off. That was all I could stand. Then, about the 3rd week, I started finding myself leaving them in for longer. This week, I almost went to bed with them on!

The bottom line is this: If you really need hearing aids, you will have to go through an adjustment period. There is so much noise out there that you haven't been hearing, and it takes a while for your brain to adjust to the new noise level. If it had not been that I was highly motivated for the sake of my students, I don't think I would have persevered long enough to have success.

Now, I am very glad I persevered. I can hear my students MUCH better. My husband doesn't have to deal with my loud TV and radio! I can hear the birds singing and all the pleasant noises I've missed for so long. I've learned to tune out the fans, the car noise, and the other non-so-pleasant noises that interfere with my hearing.

I like the fact that, with a press of two buttons, I can tune out much of the restaurant noise. If you get hearing aids, make sure that they include this background noise elimination feature. It's well worth it!

If you are on a budget, or even if you are not, I highly recommend the MDHearing Aids. (I do not get free ones or $ for saying this!) For $600, I got two hearing aids that would have cost me $4,000-$10,000 elsewhere. Are the $600 ones as good as the $4-$10K? That I can't tell you. All I can say is that I am happy with my purchase. Perhaps, it's like cars. I can't afford a Mercedes, either, but I'm happy with my Prius. On my budget, the MDHearing Aids do what I need them to do. I can hear better and they are comfortable enough to wear all day.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl is a new author for me; but, after reading Gathering Shadows, she is now one of my favorite authors! 

The story line is best described on the back cover: "Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary. 

Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life.”

What I loved most about Gathering Shadows is that the author grabbed my attention from the first page and held it all way to the end. The plot is so intriguing that I had trouble putting the book down! Near the end of the book, I was turning the pages so fast that I had to read the ending twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything! This is a five-star plot! 

The book includes inspirational themes of love, forgiveness, and trust between the characters in the book, as well as between God and man. Personally, I didn’t find the Christian themes intrusive, but others may not feel the same way. It is obviously a Christian book and does not include any sex scenes or cuss words.

Gathering Shadows is Book 1 of a series. Many times, I avoid reading the first book in a series until after the other books are released because the first book doesn't “end” and I usually feel “cheated." I didn’t feel this way about Gathering Shadows. Mehl did a good job of tying up the major plots while leaving hints of what will happen in the future. I was satisfied with the ending, but I’m still looking forward to finding out what happens next to my favorite characters!

If you’re looking for an inspirational, nail-biting mystery with a touch of clean romance, then this is the book for you!

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House Publishers to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What I DON'T LIKE about teaching at the Tutorial Center

I love teaching at Cornerstone Tutorial Center, but there is one problem with it: There isn't enough time to do all the fun things I want to do with the kids! I only get them for 80 minutes per class, one day a week (160 minutes for Biology). I know we are only supposed to supplement what they are learning elsewhere, but I feel cheated!

For instance, yesterday, we did a project in composition class from the Always Write website called, A Tale of Two Cities. It was so much fun; but, we had to quit before we were finished. The object of the exercise is to learn how to write and punctuate complex sentences, as well as improve vocabulary. The way it works is this:

1. We read the introductory sentence to A Tale of Two Cities (which is a paragraph long!) and discuss the use of antonyms and commas in the piece.



2. The kids then had to come up with six of their own antonym pairs for their own writing project.

3. They had to find words in the thesaurus to replace their 10 cent words with 50 cent words (ones that they were not familiar with).

4. We discussed how to connect sentences with conjunctions.

5. Then the students had to take their six pairs and write a paragraph that ended with "In short" as in our sample piece of literature.

Since we didn't get it finished in class, I asked them to finish it at home. I hope to showcase some of them on here when I get them.

The creator of the lesson plan, Corbett Harrison, strongly suggested that the teacher complete one as well. I did, and here is my prose of the day in 30 minutes or less! Not Dickens, but it sure was fun!



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Somerset by Leila Meacham

I just finished Somerset by Lelia Meacham and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had not read any other books by Meacham, but I will certainly be looking for them now.

This book is a family-saga set just before, during, and after the Civil War.  It follows three major families, the Tolivers, Dumonts and Warwicks, as they move from South Carolina to settle in Texas. Because it spans three generations, prepare yourself for some tears. Babies are born, children and parents die, marriages are made, and marriages are dissolved. Everything you expect in a family saga.

I enjoyed the book mainly because of the main character, Jessica Wyndham. We follow her from the day she is forced to marry Silas Toliver to the day she dies. She is the glue that holds everyone together, and the  hero of the story in my eyes.

If you enjoy family sagas and historical novels, you will enjoy this book. Now, I want to read Roses. Somerset is the prequel to Roses, but Roses was published first.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hearing Aids Part II

Today was my first day with my hearing aids. It took me about 20 minutes to read through the instructions, put the batteries in, and fit the correct dome for my ears. Then I turned them on. It takes a few seconds for the sound to begin to amplify, but once it did the fun began! The first thing I did was to go outside with my dog. Everything was louder - the door, the dog's bell, and the birds! I could hear a choir of birds chirping and tweeting. Although some of the noises were too loud, overall it was awesome!

This is where I purchased my aids.
My next tryout was watching television with my husband. I had him set the volume to where he likes it. Then I began trying out the various settings on my devices until I found what worked for me. At first, I liked it on Program 1, but later, I decided Program 2 seemed to work better for me. It was wonderful watching TV without my headphones and the captions!

Next, we went to a restaurant. There was so many sounds there that I had never heard before, including dishes clanging. Not every sound I was hearing with my new aids was pleasant! But I finally turned my aids to Program 3 and it seemed to quiet everything down. I could still hear Bill, but most of the background noise was reduced. I drove home on Program 3 as well and was not annoyed at all that car sounds!

Next, I tried the telephone. I tried Program #4, which is recommended for some phones, but it didn't work. I have an iPhone. Then I read that some phones work better with 1, 2, or 3. So I switched back to 1 and it worked fine. No problems hearing through the phone. I later found a list of compatible phones on the MDHearingAid website. If you have a T3 phone, then you can use Program 4, but I am quite happy using my iPhone on Program 1-3.

Choices of domes
I found that I was getting a bit of feedback off and on, so I changed from the open dome to the closed one. This seems to be working better for me. I'm not sure it the feedback was from having the aid too loud, using the open dome, or what; but it is not doing the feedback thing now that I've switched to a closed dome. I will continue with these for awhile, and then switch back after I get used to the device.  If it still doesn't work, then I'll know I need the closed domes. They give you several sizes of both the open and the closed so that you can find one that works for you.

The last thing I did today was go to handbells practice. I was afraid the bells were going to be overwhelming, but I was surprised. I had no problem with the bells. Instead, I had more problem with my director. Apparently, he has a very loud voice (at least through my hearing aids). I had to turn down the volume. Other than that, all went well.

My impression from my first day is that I think I will get used to these in a short time. There is a lot of extra noises to deal with that I have not heard before. Some pleasant; some not so pleasant. I heard my car engine continue to run after I shut it off. That was weird, but apparently it does that all the time. Feedback from putting my hands in front of the hearing aid can be extremely noisy, but I soon learned not to approach them from the front. Some noises in my surroundings are uncomfortable, but I've been told that you eventually get used to it. I'll let you know after 21 days. That is the period of time that the company says it will take to get totally used to them.

I am really anxious to try it out at school. For me, this is the main reason I got them. I have a hard time hearing my students. If they pass that test, I will be extremely excited!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hearing Aids - Part I

I'm definitely getting older. My hearing has gotten so bad that my husband bought me a headset for the TV. Apparently, I was blasting him out!

Since I am going through the process of finding the best hearing I can find for a price I can afford, I thought I would share my process. I'm sure there are some others of you who have the same problem. Hopefully, what I share will help someone out there. 

My first stop was a local audiologist in Broken Arrow. After giving me a test, he told me I probably wouldn't wear them, so don't waste my money. Hmmm. That was last fall. Meanwhile, my hearing got worse. 

Now, it's so bad I have to walk up to my students' desks in order to hear them. Not a good thing. So, a friend recommended Clear Tone in Tulsa. I was really excited about going because she let me wear her hearing aid and I could see that it would definitely help. I knew she paid about $4,000 for hers, so I was expecting a large bill. 

I arrived 15 minutes early, but did not get in to see the technician until 45 minutes later. She did the tests - there were several. Afterwards, she confirmed what I suspected. I have moderately severe loss of the higher tones in both ears. Background noise is my main enemy. 

The next step was discussing the solutions. This is where it got depressing. It was going to cost $10,000 for the earphones that could best help my hearing loss! I went home very depressed after being high pressured for a while to purchase something as "anything is better than nothing."

After posting on Facebook that I was depressed about my hearing aid shopping, a couple of friends suggested some alternatives. One was Costco - apparently they have a great audiology department and you can get a pair for about $2,000 that does the same as the $10K pair at Clear Tone. 

Another friend posted an article from the news that cheap alternatives found at Bass Pro and other places can be just as helpful as the expensive types. So I began to search anew. 

Finally, I came up with MDHearing Aid. This product is made by an Ear-Nose-Throat PhD who thought, if you can build an iPhone for $200, you ought to be able to build a hearing aid for $200. So that's what he did. 

He has recently developed a newer one called the MDHearingAid Air for only $349 each or 2/$600. They are supposed to be equivalent to some that cost $3,000 and these are 100% money back within 45 days. It has 3 programs and a volume dial to accommodate the most common types of hearing loss. It's the size of a dime, so it should be fairly discreet. So, I bought a pair. They are coming in the mail this week. 

I will write more after I get them.  The website says it takes about 21 days to get used to them, so I don't expect to write my final comments until after that period. I sure hope they work. If not, I'll try Costco.