Traveling Safety tips

I was reading my friend Edwards blog today and thought I would share this valuable information.  Having been in a full-fledged house fire at the age of 12, I am well aware of the dangers of fire and am always very inquisitive and alert to my surroundings while I’m away from home.

This section really hit home: Most of us do not pay attention to the hotel’s fire suppression system but trust me this one is important. Make sure your room is equipped with a smoke detector and that each room (and the hallways) have visible sprinkler systems. In many countries the fire response teams are not as fast, well equipped or trained as in North America.

11 years ago I was paired up with my first Hearing ear dog.  Walker and I are a great team, and should there ever be a fire, he is trained to alert me (by jumping on me, barking) and then take me outside. Pretty cool eh! I do however, have as back up plan at home. Walker is very close to retirement, so last year I installed a home alerting system which makes me feel quite safe.  We must always be diligent when away from home.

Read Edwards full blog here.


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Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasChristmas time is always a very happy time for me. I love spending time with my family and extended family. On boxing day we are all gathering at my home to spend the day together. It’s really nice to be able to do that!

We’ll exchange gifts, catch up, hug and laugh. Life is good!

Here are some great communication tips for big gatherings (applies to grown ups too):

  • Keep your face in view
  • Speak clearly
  • Avoid background noise (not going to happen, but nice to keep in mind)
  • When all else fails – use Sign Language

Hope you and yours have a wonderful family Christmas…..if you know of a neighbor that is alone, invite them over! (I’ve done that before and it is such a treat to be able to make someone feel loved and welcome PLUS, it’s hilarious to watch them fall asleep on the couch after a turkey dinner).

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Laughter is the best medecine

A friend was celebrating his 50th birthday and we were invited to join him, along with a bunch of friends for an evening at Absolute Comedy on Preston street. We had no idea who was headlining, but we sure had some great laughs.

Joe Bronzi was the 2nd act and he specializes in unplanned comedy, he makes it up as he goes, he was absolutely hilarious. He finds humour from everyone’s life, quite naturally. I found myself laughing uncontrollably and it felt really good!

When was the last time you laughed, like really laughed that you had tears in your eyes? According to the Mayo clinic you can relieve stress with laughter, it’s no joke!

The Short-term benefits:
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Read the entire article here.

Check out Joe’s Unplanned in Ottawa on YouTube

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Michèle’s Helpdesk

I was at a customer appreciation evening  tonight hosted by my realtor Adam Mills @ottawaishome. As I was handing out business cards and trying to drum up business,  I got into a conversation about computers. Did you know support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014? What does end of support mean, read this.  If you’re running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) after support ends you will not receive all important security updates for Windows, you’ll need to upgrade to a later version, such as Windows Vista,  7 or 8.  In the IT corporate world a lot of businesses have successful made the transition to Windows 7…we are in the process of doing that at my office.

All the end of support dates are listed here. It’s always important to stay up to date with all the Service packs.

Windows support

What do I do when I finish helping my guy  or someone else with computer stuff,  I always say “Thanks for calling Michèle’s helpdesk”.

Remember to stay up to date and as always contact me if you have any questions.

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Updates and more updates

bonjovi songIt all started with my good friend from Cary, NC posting an awesome video of the BonJovi concert last night. I had gone to see him for my birthday this past February.  I really love BonJovi, he puts on an amazing show! I listened to the video and decided to go to iTunes and buy the song…problem #1 – I was on my computer and it asked me to update to 11.1, so I said sure (sarcastic smirk here). Later in the day I decided I would synch up my Apple devices, enter problem #2 – I decided to upgrade my iPad to IOS 7…yikes bad news. The first error 3004 led me to believe my MS Vista patching was out of date. So I updated and rebooted and updated and rebooted, ran out to do some errands, came back and updated and rebooted again #sigh. So once all the patching and security updates were done and I still got the same error, I turned to the Apple community and lo and behold – it’s a known bug!! So off to the Apple store I go tomorrow.
So what do you do in a high frustrating and stressful situation? I was aware of my frustration level, I had given my guy a I’m in a grrrrr mood text before he god home and just kept at it. Life is tough sometimes, don’t lash out you’ll only feel bad later. Be aware, talk about your frustration. It sure helps.

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Empty nest – Letting your babies go and handling change

Cory's apartment painting

I helped my son paint his new apartment last night. We had a really fun time and I admit to hitting the ceiling only a ‘few’ times with the roller 😉

It never gets easier for me to see my kids move on, moving out, getting married….etc I’ve always loved being a Mom so much, it feels so empty without them. But again I’ve never really done really well with change, and then I think again, I HAVE!

Cory's apartmentEveryday something is always changing in our lives, from our jobs to the type of coffee we make in the morning. The important thing is that although we can’t always control the change, we can embrace it and honor it. I dropped everything last night to go help him paint, because for me, that’s what love looks like. I also didn’t want to miss this opportunity to connect with him and see for myself how he’s living his life. We had many talks last night and I am so proud of him for having a strong opinion on things, but NOT forcing it on everybody else. He’s a well rounded young man! (Proud Mama moment)

So when things aren’t quite perfect (ie: paint on the ceiling) embrace life, take a deep breathe and take it one day at a time.

I highly recommend reading Who Moved my Cheese, it will help you see change in a different light and enjoy life with less stress and more success.  (I got the teen version for my step-daughter last year).

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Ghosts and Goblins & flashing lights?!


This was our first Halloween in our new hood. I was so excited that I was going to meet little kids from our neighborhood, I absolutely love Halloween and little kids. The puppies and I even wore a costume. Bandit wore Walker’s old Hearing Ear dog jacket (he was not impressed at first) and Walker just wore a hankie. Since I was hanging out at the front door all evening, I knew there would be no issues hearing the doorbell. I do normally have issues with that, so do you know how I know when the door bell rings? Other than Walker alerting me, I also have several of these flashing devices (like strobe lights) throughout our home (bedroom, basement & my office) and when someone rings, well, they go off. It’s like disco-town. In the busyness of handing out candy I hadn’t really paid any attention to them, until afterwards it dawned on me that they might have gone off a few times. The teen says “oh ya, they’ve been going off ll night!!” as she rolled her eyes.  Good thing she laughed about it 🙂

Hope you all had an awesome Halloween tonight. Now onto the candy.

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Service dog makes Canadian history joining Calgary MLA in legislature

There’s a cute Hearing Ear dog showing up for work at the Calgary legislature. His name is Quinn and he’s a miniature poodle.


He’s actually creating quite the buzz as he’s the first ever Service dog to be accompanying the Calgary MLA – Heather Forsyth in the Legislature.  Well, truth be told Walker (my Hearing Ear dog) and I once attended a session in Parliament in Victoria, BC in 2010 while I was visiting my brother.

I personally think this is great news and will be a huge awareness for Hearing Ear dogs across Canada, mine included.

Want to know more about Service dogs, check out the Lions Foundation of Canada  Dogguides

Read the rest of the story here.

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I am in fact, legally deaf…..


According to the Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) ‘Deafness’  is medically defined by the extent of loss of functional hearing and by dependence upon visual communication.

It recognizes a person to be medically/audiologically deaf when that person has little or no functional hearing and depends upon visual rather than auditory communication. “Visual means of communication” include Sign language, lipreading, speech-reading, and reading and writing. “Auditory means of communication” include voice, hearing, and hearing aids and devices.

The CAD also accepts the definition developed by Gallaudet University in the United States: “Anyone who cannot understand speech (with or without hearing aids or other devices) using sound alone (i.e. no visual cues such as lipreading) is deaf.”

A commonly-used definition of deafness is the inability to “fully acquire spoken linguistic skills through [the] auditory channel, aided or unaided” (J. Woodward, “Implications for socio-linguistics research among the Deaf”, Sign Language Studies, 1972). The CAD rejects this definition because it excludes all post-lingually deafened persons

They also reject the definition, once common in government programs, that a person is deaf or hard of hearing based on his/her ability to hear another person with whom he/she is familiar, in a quiet setting. Our lives are not lived in quiet settings, and persons already familiar to us are not the only persons we must deal with in our everyday lives. There is no legitimacy in a definition that measures our deafness by our ability to hear Mommy speaking quietly in the family kitchen!

Any realistic definition of deafness must give consideration to environmental noises. In a quiet room with one or two other persons present, many hard of hearing persons can function quite well with a hearing-aid. When any kind of noise such as traffic, air-conditioning, or numerous other people enter the situation, however, the hard of hearing person who does not have Sign language can in effect become deaf. This example demonstrates that hearing loss per se cannot be used as the sole factor or as a “stand-alone” factor in defining deafness.

The Deaf, the deafened, and the hard of hearing are all very distinct groups. Using the proper terminology shows respect for their differences.

A medical/audiological term referring to those people who have little or no functional hearing. May also be used as a collective noun (“the deaf”) to refer to people who are medically deaf but who do not necessarily identify with the Deaf community.

Deaf (with capital D):
A sociological term referring to those individuals who are medically deaf or hard of hearing who identify with and participate in the culture, society, and language of Deaf people, which is based on Sign language. Their preferred mode of communication is Sign.

deafened (Also known as late-deafened.): (This is where I fit in)
This is both a medical and a sociological term referring to individuals who have become deaf later in life and who may not be able to identify with either the Deaf or the hard of hearing communities.

hard of hearing:
A person whose hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and whose usual means of communication is speech. It is both a medical and a sociological term.

hearing impaired:
This term is not acceptable in referring to people with a hearing loss. It should never be used in referring to Deaf people. “Hearing impaired” is a medical condition; it is not a collective noun for people who have varying degrees of hearing loss. It fails to recognize the differences between the Deaf and the hard of hearing communities.

person who is deaf :
Acceptable but overly sensitive substitute for “deaf”.

manual deaf, Signing deaf:
A deaf person whose preferred mode of communication is Sign language.

oral deaf:
A deaf person whose preferred mode of communication is verbal and auditory and/or lipreading. An oral deaf person who can both Sign and speak can be considered “Deaf” if he/she is accepted as such by other Deaf persons and uses Sign within the Deaf community.

Unacceptable. A deaf person may choose not to use his/her voice; this does not make him/her a “mute”.

deaf and dumb:
Offensive. NEVER use this term!!

Although it has been used for many years to refer to people who have disabilities in addition to deafness, the preferred terms now are “Deaf with mental disabilities”, “Deaf-blind”, “Deaf with CP”, etc.

Sign language: (I took ASL 101 years ago, I can get by on Sign Language quite a bit)
The official language of the Deaf community. Should always be capitalized, just as “English” and “French” are capitalized, because all three are legitimate languages.

The proper acronym for the special devices used by deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people to communicate with each other through the telephone system. The French term is ATS.

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Dragon Boat Festival – EDC/BDC Power Paddlers

Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in my very first Dragon Boat festival and be on the EDC/BDC team.

This festival has long been on my bucket list, but without a corporate sponsor, well, it’s quite expensive to get a Team going.

Our races were 500m in length.

In our first race on Saturday we had a time of 2:37.03 –not bad for the first time in the boat together! It got us a 3rd out of 8 boats. (Interesting to note that in that race there was a collision between two other boats)

In our second race of the day (the financial services challenge cup) we had a time of 2:32 – which put us in 3rd place overall. It is important to note our improvement and I would like to mention the other banks that followed in our wake (RBC Warriors, Scotiabank Spitfires, and Desjardins). The only two teams that bested us on the water were MD and RBC Ignition. With a little training I am sure we can take them next year!

Our team raised $437 which will go to 7 charities including: ​ Youth Services, CHEO Foundation, Bruyère Foundation, ArtsSmarts, Ottawa Humane Society, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, Debra Dynes Family House.

I had an absolute blast and have been asked to join next year’s team 🙂

I even ran into Kevin who was on the Hummingbird Medi Spa team; small world!

Power Paddlers - 2nd Race

Power Paddlers – 2nd Race

EDC/BDC Power Paddler Team 2013

EDC/BDC Power Paddler Team 2013

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