Seen & Heard: Glenice Swenson

6 07 2012

Glenice Swenson, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the July/August 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Seen & Heard is a new column I developed for the magazine in 2011. We had 48 members get enthusiastically involved in our first outreach effort and just last week I photographed more than 20 members during HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I. We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine. Other members previously profiled were Danielle Nicosia, John Kinstler, Judy Martin, Anne Taylor, Sam Spritzer and Jeff Bonnell and Eloise Schwarz.

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

GLENICE SWENSON  

Owatonna, MN / born Sept. 2 in Grand Forks, ND

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY DAUGHTER, JANA… I love many things about Jana and today I love that she chose an education and profession that makes her incredibly aware of what it is like to be hard of hearing. Because she pursued her degree in Deaf Studies and is a sign language interpreter (even though I do not sign) we have had many interesting conversations about subjects regarding challenges of people with hearing loss.

MY HEARING LOSS… Although my mother and my pediatrician suspected there might be an issue with my hearing, I wasn’t actually diagnosed until I was 14. The junior high I was attending did a screening of all 9th graders in preparation for high school. As recommended by my school, my mother took me to our doctor to be checked out and they found I had some hearing loss—possibly progressive. When I was 18, I graduated from high school. I decided I better find out more about this hearing loss diagnosis. At that point it was determined that it was definitely progressive as I had lost more since the diagnosis. At the age of 28, I got my first pair of hearing aids. When I was 44, I had my first cochlear implant surgery. I currently hear fabulously with bilateral cochlear implants. Life is grand.

SAGE ADVICE… During my most challenging years of hearing loss, I did not have a support system other than my hearing family as I knew nothing about support groups and none were readily available. My advice is join HLAA, seek out others with hearing loss, learn what your options are, and use the tools and technology that is so available in this modern day!

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… After a family gathering, I was out with some of my cousins who I didn’t see very often. We were having a great time in one of the local bar and grill joints when it was time to close. As is the tradition to signal closing, they shut the lights out and without skipping a beat, I said, ‘Oh, no! I go deaf in the dark.’ When the lights came back on, the cousin I had been visiting was looking a little uncomfortable, but chuckling and grinning from ear to ear, was looking at me with an expression of surprise. He had no idea that I had a sense of humor about my hearing loss and need to read lips.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… It takes a lot of energy to pursue the same things as hearing people.

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… I don’t usually think of hearing loss in terms of advantages. Communication in our house is a priority. We developed many communication rules and courtesies in our home during the years I was losing my hearing and our daughters were growing up. I think the courtesies enhanced my relationships with my daughters. The fact that I needed to stop whatever I was doing to read their lips and focus my attention on them was a good thing.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… in the Navy, a WAVE! My second choice was to be a hairstylist. Due to my hearing loss, I did not get to serve my country as a Navy WAVE. I did go back to school for cosmetology after having my children. I ended up leaving that profession after three years when I had reached the point where I could no longer make appointments by phone.

MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… is my first bike! When I was seven, my dad had a friend who knew he was looking for a little bike for me. His friend was working out at the Grand Forks Air Force Base when he spotted a little bike in someone’s trash. It was awful, but my dad was great at fixing things up. He worked on it until it pedaled like a dream and it was fast too. He was going to paint it my favorite color—blue. Dad got the primer on it, which was an ugly gray. I was trying it out before he got it finished and discovered how fast it was. When the neighborhood kids saw me riding this bike and how fast I was going, they wanted to try it. The next thing I knew one of the boys got out a stop watch and we were timing each other to see who could get around the block the fastest. That bike was so busy getting ridden that it never got painted blue.

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… a bike! I started babysitting when I was about 12. I saved my money until I had enough to buy my first big bike. I ended up finding a used 26” blue bike for $13.

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… When I read this question, the memory that jumps out at me is my last hearing test before I qualified for the cochlear implant. When the audiologist went to get the picture board to give me clues to the words she was saying, I knew it was bad. Getting through that testing session was really hard.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… I did not hear birds for many, many years. Even with my hearing aids, I never got the songbirds back, only the coo of a dove. With my cochlear implants, I can hear all birds! There is a pair of cardinals that live in my neighborhood and it still chokes me up when I hear them. I love listening to the birds. I also love listening to my grandchildrens’ giggles.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… I’m almost always reading something. I enjoy getting outside to Trikke, bike, or walk. I also enjoy swinging kettlebells and going to kickboxing.

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… a couch potato, except when I’m working on my laptop!

I MISS… my kids and grandkids. They are spread out from 40 to 1,000 miles away.

HOBBIES? photography, writing, sewing, crocheting

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… like motorcycles and used to have one.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT… This is a new thing that I’m doing, but I’m pretty good at carving a Trikke!

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR… public speaking.

YOU JUST WON A $10 MILLION LOTTERY. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?  I would plan a trip to St. Moritz in Switzerland!

MY FAVORITE PLACE TO BE… is on a ski slope when it is 28 degrees, the air smells great and the snow is perfect.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… chocolate.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… the Queen of England.

MY FAVORITE SEASON… is autumn. I enjoy the cooling of the air, the beautiful foliage changes and the anticipation of the holiday season.

I COLLECT… crosses in the forms of home decor and jewelry.

I HAVE A FEAR OF… big bridges.

YOU HAVE JUST WON A $1,000 SHOPPING SPREE TO A FAVORITE STORE! WHAT DID YOU BUY? I would probably get an iPad and an iPhone from the Apple Store.

PLACES I’VE CALLED HOME… Warren, MN; Grand Forks, ND; Crookston, MN; Owatonna, MN

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… carhop at A & W Drive In; waitress at Del’s Coffee Shop; parking enforcement officer for the City of Grand Forks; bookkeeper and teller at Polk County State Bank of Crookston; full-time mother

MY FAVORITE FOODS… chocolate, dark cherries, peanuts, avocado, shrimp

MUSIC TO MY EARS… You and I by Stevie Wonder; Manheim Steamroller’s version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Don’t Take Away My Heaven by Aaron Neville; I Believe in You by Don Williams; Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

LITERARY FAVES… The Bible, The Biography of Hellen Keller, The Biography of Annie Oakley, All Creatures Great and Small, Where Angels Walk

THE BIG SCREEN… Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Parent Trap, Sound of Music

THE LAST BOOK I READ WAS… The Secret

MY KIDS HAVE TAUGHT ME… patience.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… to never judge a book by its cover.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… to love music.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD? Microwave bacon cooker!

WORD OR PHRASE THAT I OVERUSE… “and stuff”

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… chocolate!

SONG YOU LOVE BUT ARE EMBARRASSED TO ADMIT… the original recording of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” by Jimmy Boyd

NAME SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… antique Lincoln rocking chair

MY FAVORITE QUOTE… “If it was easy everyone would do it. It is the hard that makes it great.” — Coach Dugan in A League of Their Own

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to write a book.

MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE IS… when people assume versus finding the truth.

RIGHT NOW I AM CRAVING… Good Earth original recipe tea.

MY MOTTO IS… never say never.

I WOULD LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED… as a good, kind and caring person.





Summer afternoon on Lake Champlain

6 07 2012

Click on the image to enlarge for full panoramic effect!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A few more from the archives…

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on water lily

6 07 2012

I think this is an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera), photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water lily

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Trypophobia, anyone?

6 07 2012

I was just researching Sacred Lotus seed pods (which is what you’re looking at in the photo below) and discovered there is an unofficial phobia name for people who have a fear of holes—Trypophobia. Read this interesting article about unusual phobias by Georgie Lowery on HubPages here.

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On the subject of “trypophobia,” Lowery writes:

My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I did an internet search for ‘fear of lotus seed pods’ and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It’s considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.

Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people’s reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I’m not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the link.

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Granted, the little seeds do look like a multitude of creepy little alien eyes, but clearly I don’t suffer from trypophobia since I photographed it without incident. Hmmmmm…you learn something new every day, doncha?

Trypophobia-inducing photograph © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Water lily

5 07 2012

Unidentified water lily, photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly and Sacred Lotus

5 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus blooms

5 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus

5 07 2012

Click here to see more photos from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ah Sunflower

5 07 2012

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake (1757-1827)

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Craft Room: T-shirt scarves

4 07 2012

Yet another craft project with my sister Debbie—scarves crafted from t-shirts. These were fun, easy and fast no-sew projects with unlimited possibilities! Thanks to the lovely Barbara Kelley for modeling for us.





Craft Room: Ear bling

3 07 2012

My sister heads back to San Antonio this afternoon, but we have had a blast being on the road in Rhode Island and Vermont, then back home crafting earrings, necklaces, bracelets, napkin rings and t-shirt scarves!





Mesmerizing WaterFire

2 07 2012

On June 23 attendees to the Hearing Loss Association of America Convention 2012 were treated to the WaterFire experience at WaterPlace Park in Providence, R.I. After dinner we walked along the river and I photographed the festivities.

It was a really unique event and the accompanying music piped through speakers all along the river was especially mesmerizing, encompassing Italian opera, classical, contemporary pop, oldies, acoustic guitar and other genres. The 2012 soundtrack to WaterFire included pieces such as Hallelujah (written by Leonard Cohen and performed by Jeff Buckley), Desperate Man Blues (composed by John Fahey), I Am You (composed by Sally Potter and Yo-Yo Ma), Bella Ciao (performed by Franco Morone), Amazing Grace/House of the Rising Sun (performed by The Blind Boys of Alabama), I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz from Love is a Four Letter Word), Ain’t No Sunshine (composed by Bill Withers and performed by Buddy Guy and Tracey Chapman) and Lovesong (performed by Adele).

Braziers, clad all in black and with an air of mystery and suspense, motored down the river in small boats full of wood, tending to the dying embers along the way. Gondoliers, clad in black and white striped shirts and straw hats, steered visitors down the river as well. Below are just some of the images I shot of WaterFire.

To give you some background on the origin of WaterFire, here is an excerpt from wikipedia:

WaterFire is the award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans presented on the rivers of downtown Providence, RI. First created by Evans in 1994 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence, WaterFire has grown to become an annual public art phenomenon.

WaterFire is simultaneously a free public art installation, a performance work, an urban festival, a civic ritual and a spiritual communal ceremony. Well known nationally and internationally as a community arts event, WaterFire’s symbolism and interpretation is both inclusive and expansive—reflecting the recognition that individuals must act together to strengthen and preserve their community.

On WaterFire evenings, downtown Providence is transformed by one hundred bonfires that burn just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence in Waterplace Park (the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck and Providence rivers). The public is invited to come and walk the riverfront, and enjoy the beauty of the flickering firelight, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the changing silhouettes of the volunteer firetenders, and the music from around the world—each of which engages the senses and emotions of all who stroll the paths of Waterplace Park.

Average attendance is 40,000 a night, ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. WaterFire is presented for free, with only ten percent of the funds needed to host WaterFire acquired through governmental means and the remainder coming from private and corporate donations.WaterFire Providence consists of about 15 staff members and relies heavily upon volunteers for the production of WaterFire. On a given night, up to 160 volunteers make the entire event possible.

Barnaby Evans created First Fire on New Year’s Eve 1994 for the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence. First Fire consisted of 11 braziers on steel tripods stretching from WaterPlace Basin to Steeple Street. In June 1996, Barnaby created Second Fire for the Convergence Art Festival and the International Sculpture Conference.

Through the support of dedicated volunteers, WaterFire returned as a seasonal event. WaterFire gained regional attention and a coordinated effort to fund the project began. In 1997, WaterFire expanded to 42 braziers, and had an estimated attendance of 350,000 people over the entire season. Barnaby Evans received The Renaissance Award for his effort to revitalize downtown Providence, and WaterFire became the symbol of the city’s renaissance.

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Vermont Road Trip Part 1: Ice cream, shoes, cheese, and a most memorable picnic in the rain

1 07 2012

The Lower Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Ferrisburgh, VT, near the entrance to Kingsland Bay State Park, encompasses 738 acres of wetland and floodplain forest habitat. Otter Creek reaches out to Lake Champlain and hosts a wide variety of wildlife: birds include state-endangered ospreys, bald eagles, ring-billed and great black-backed gulls, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, mallards, hooded mergansers, and many types of ducks; mammals include mink, fox, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits and gray squirrels; reptiles include many species of salamanders, bullfrogs, spring peppers, tree frogs, turtles and snakes; fish include large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, chain pickerel and yellow perch.

After photographing the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I. (June 21-24), my sister Debbie and I hightailed it up to Vermont for a short road trip. We left Providence about noon on Sunday and officially kicked off the Vermont tour that evening with a visit to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Waterbury. I tried the Late Night Snack, which was inspired by Jimmy Fallon (vanilla ice cream, fudge covered potato chip clusters and a salty caramel swirl). I just read a few online reviews and although the reviewers rave about the flavor, I wouldn’t try it again. I should have stuck with my favorite standby: chocolate chip cookie dough. You can’t go wrong with that flavor, no matter which company makes it!

We stayed in Shelburne that night. On Monday morning we impulse shopped at the Vermont-based Danform Shoes (great bargain basement where I bought a pair of my craziest shoes to date—heretofore known as my Saturday-Day-Night-Fever-Don-Johnson-Miami-Vice-white-Mafia-don-Wendys-advertising-newsprint-tabletop mules; stay tuned for a shot of these wild things!), drove around part of Lake Champlain, visited Shelburne Farms (a beautiful 1400-acre working farm) where we bought picnic supplies (cheese, crackers and various spreads), stopped at the Vermont Wildflower Farm in Charlotte, then stopped at Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh for more cheese, crackers and Vermont maple syrup. It rained off and on all day, so I wasn’t able to hunker down and get some macro shots at the wildflower farm, unfortunately. That was something I was really looking forward to. I did get some great deals on wildflowers seeds and perennial bulbs, though, so it was worth the trip. Plus, who cares about rain when you have cheese?

We then drove to Kingsland Bay State Park and had a wonderful late afternoon lunch picnic on the porch of the historic Hawley House, c. 1790. This property dates back to the first settlers in Ferrisburgh and was home to Ecole Champlain, an exclusive girls camp, until the late 1960s. I’ll have photos and history to share on a future post about this lovely stone house with a wraparound porch on all four sides. We started our picnic at a picnic table by the bay, but the intermittent rainfall drove us to the wraparound porch. It was the most memorable picnic ever! Debbie and I concocted our own strange Chopped dishes with the various cheeses, crackers, chocolates and sweets we picked up along the way (photos and descriptions to come!). Aside from the two employees at the park entrance, a few seagulls and one very attentive chipmunk, we had the entire park to ourselves that afternoon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

I shot this image with my iPhone using the app “645 Pro” in 6×17 panoramic format. It is one amazing app! It gives you lossless developed RAW tiff files and high quality jpgs, low-light performance, and live preview and real-time LCD readout. It offers seven professional color and b&w “film” options inspired by classic print and transparency film, and five switchable “backs”—645, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9, 6×17. Amazing! (I own a FUJI 6×17 panoramic film camera, so I’m very familiar with this format. It’s so fun to use this app to mimic the panoramic film format—it’s much lighter and easier than the real deal!)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/40177690″>645 PRO for iPhone</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/jaggr”>Jag.gr</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>




Craft Room: Beaded napkin rings

1 07 2012

My sister Debbie and I made these beaded napkin rings this weekend to add to her entertaining accessories. We used inexpensive beads (Michael’s and other bead sources), 20 gauge tarnish-resistant silver-colored craft wire, needle nose pliers and a wire cutter. The diameter of each set ranged from 5 to 5.5 inches. Form a tiny loop at the start of your piece, thread on the beads, then make another loop at the end. Open one end, feed through the other end loop, then close. You could also purchase memory wire in the small bracelet size, cutting the wire into separate sections. This would give you continuous loop napkin rings (this would use more beads than our one-loop version).