Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

Thanking God for His Protection
January 31, 2014

Everyday God is protecting us and taking care of us in ways we may never know this side of Heaven.  Sometimes He gives us just a glimpse of the way He has provided for us.  This afternoon was one of those times for me.

Last night when I went to pick up my grandson at Driver's Ed, my car was making a new noise.  I have told Ron that due to my hearing problems he needs to drive my car occasionally to see if there are new noises that I have not heard.  By the time I got home (the entire trip to Driver's Ed and back is probably a little over a mile), the noise had stopped.  I did mention it to Ron when he came in around 9:00 last night. 

This morning, I heard the noise when I started the car, but the noise stopped within a couple of blocks.  At almost the end of the work day, I told Ron I was going to the bank to make a deposit and hoped to be back before closing time.  Since it was almost closing time, I did not take my granddaughter with me - her dad would soon be coming to get her.  She had come to the office after lunch and spent the afternoon.  Two blocks from the bank I went to make a right turn off our main street in downtown and suddenly lost all power - the engine had died, I had almost no steering and no brakes!  Yikes!  I was just slightly into my turn and was aimed right at a large pole holding the street light.  I turned the steering wheel with all my might using my strong arm and my weak arm.  I was applying the brakes with all my leg strength and managed to turn the car enough to just barely clear the intersection. 

Thankfully, I was turning onto a one-way street because I turned not just into the far left lane, but the parking lane.  Thankfully NO ONE was parked at all on that street.  Thankfully there had been no one in the crosswalk.  Thankfully there was no one on the sidewalk.  I did not run up on the sidewalk except for just the width of the curb, but I would have been so scared if anyone had been on the sidewalk, not knowing if I could stop or turn enough to avoid them. 

I had brought the car to a stop against the curb on the left side of the street and sat there and started shaking.  Very little shakes me up, but this sure did!  I called Ron and know I must have scared him with how shaken I was.  He said he would lock up and be right there (it was almost closing time anyway).  He brought our granddaughter with him.  Ron looked at the engine and quickly determined the problem.  (He will probably say I explained this all wrong, but he is already asleep, so I can't have him fill this in.)  It turned out that a bearing had frozen up and the belt slipped off, so the engine died when that happened and I had no power steering or power brakes. 

God had cleared a path for me to bring the car to a safe stop.  Usually at that time of day, there isn't much traffic downtown, but today there was.  A few days ago, there was not one car parked along main street in that area, but today all the spots on main street were full - but the ones of the side street I needed were empty.  There were people walking everywhere in the next two blocks, but none at the corner where I was trying to turn.  God prepared a place for me.  Was I shaking?  Yes!

The neatest thing that happened came a few minutes later.  Ron told me he thought he could drive the car to our mechanic (4 blocks away - one turn and then a straight shot).  He told me to get my things that I needed out of my car and move them to his.  My granddaughter took all my things (briefcase, tote bag, jacket, garage door opener, etc.) and put them in Grandpa's car.  Her dad (our son) had his office just two blocks away and it was time for him to be leaving to come get her at our office.  I said I would walk her to his office and meet him and Ron called him to let him know.

I warned Ron to be sure he could turn the steering wheel and that the brakes were working before he pulled out into traffic.  He said he could manage it.  As my granddaughter and I stood on the sidewalk and watched him slowly, carefully pull away, I said, "I sure hope he knows what he is doing."  Instantly she replied with a spark in her voice, "He does."  I laughed and said, "Yes, you are right, and he is much stronger than I am.  He can turn the steering wheel."

How can I NOT think of God and the way He cares for us?  Do we stand by and say, "I sure hope He knows what He is doing"?  Our instant response should always be, "HE does!"  And He is so much stronger than I am.  He can steer my life in the right direction.

Ron had brakes.  I didn't because the engine had died.  He had strength to manage the steering without the power steering.  He safely arrived at the mechanic's place and the mechanic quickly spotted the problem, hurried to the parts place and had the problem fixed and us on our way in probably under 30 minutes.

I had walked our granddaughter to meet her dad and then they walked me back to Ron's car.  I went to the mechanic's place and checked with Ron.  Then I returned to my original plan and went to the bank to make a deposit.  By the time I got back to the mechanic's place, the car was ready.  All of this is within a 6 or 8 block area.  Perfect place, perfect timing, for a part on my aged car to give out.  It could have been in a worse spot, at a worse time, with not so great an outcome.  Thank you, God for your protection!

As for the rest of the day, my left arm and wrist had hurt all day.  I am sure I am going to be very sore from the strain I put on both arms this afternoon.  I took some Tylenol as soon as I got back to the office this afternoon.

Our oldest grandson was at the office this morning and he and I got a good bit of work done.  I had started yesterday packing up all of the 2013 records and he helped me finish that chore today.  He priced merchandise and later his sister and I put much of it away.  Our grandson left at 2:00 and our granddaughter arrived about 1:00.  She helped me clean some and then I let her do some sewing. 

Several years ago a good friend who was also a quilter, passed away.  Her daughters gave me a lot of her fabric and projects in progress.  There was a large Ziplock bag filled with pieces she had cut out and never put together.  I gave my granddaughter that bag this afternoon and let her try out the sewing machine.  She quickly worked on several projects.  She tried out the pieces in the way they were intended to be used.  Then she tried them her own way.
Next she put some rows together without pinning as she sewed.  Without obsessing over matching corners.  Just having fun.  Her corners matched pretty well.  She then took this piece (below) and folded it in half, stitched up the side seams and had a bag.
She cut some tiny pieces and made a small book showing several floral patterns.  I think this is for her doll.
She just had fun.  It was a good afternoon with her and a good morning with our grandson.  God is good.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014

Thursday Nights At Grandma's House
January 30, 2014

Our oldest grandson has been taking Driver's Education classes for a few weeks.  He has been going Monday - Thursday evenings from 6:00 - 8:00.  Tonight was his last class.  He will have the driving training to still do, but this was classroom time.  On Thursday nights, we have picked him up after class and brought him to our house and have also picked up his next youngest brother.  Then the two have spent the night with us.  I am going to miss them being here on Thursday nights.  It is has been fun.

Tonight the younger of the two boys arrived around 6:00 after his mother took his brother to class.  He had not seen the current puzzle in progress and he very aggressively attacked it.  He is an excellent puzzle worker as is his older brother.  The boys finished the puzzle tonight!  They had a good time working on it, constantly trying to out do each other. 
After class, I fixed supper - we had mini-pizzas.  They ate everyone of them.  I had baked and angle food cake and we had it with cherries and homemade whipped cream.   Yummy!
When the boys talk, I often have to ask them to repeat things, but they are so kind and patient with me.  I never get complaints.  They have such good manners.  They have seen what I have gone through the last year from the loss of the hearing to receiving the Cochlear Implant, and they are understanding of the situation.

On my way to the office this morning I went to the post office to mail a gift for a bridal shower.  Then I went to work.  Ron was out on jobs for a while.  Since I had spent the last two days at home waiting for the plumber, I had bookkeeping responsibilities to catch up on.  I needed to send a couple of cards to friends and I answered an email from my friend I visited a couple of weeks ago when we went to San Antonio.  I have really enjoyed catching up on things with her.  For many years, she lived in Washington state, and San Antonio is much closer, but still too far for regular visits.

Around 4:15, I left the office and came home.  I worked in the yard for a bit, filling the bird feeders and the ponds.  I pulled one limb out of the resaca that fell from the weight of the ice yesterday.  It was 1/2 way on the bank and 1/2 way in the water.  There is another larger one in the resaca that Ron may try to get out soon. This one is probably 12 - 15 feet long.
I checked on the plants in the yard and the hibiscus plants on the south side of the house are fine.  Some were blooming today.
The leaves look burned around the edges, but the plants are loaded with buds and should be fine.  A few of the hibiscus plants out in the yard in unprotected areas may suffer a little more damage from the ice, but should be fine after I cut them back in about a month.  There is a vine that keeps trying to take over everything and it looks bad after being coated in ice, but that is fine with me.  It is way too big and climbs the trees and strangles them.

Today my elbow that I broke last June, hurt.  It was sore and the wrist was more painful than it has been in a long time.  I am not sure why.  I  don't know of anything out of the ordinary that I have done.  (I pulled the limb out of the resaca after the wrist was hurting - not before, and I used the other arm to pull the branch out.)   The orthopedic surgeon says there is arthritis in that wrist so I guess that is what it is, but it has hurt often today.

I better close and check to see that my grandsons are at least trying to go to sleep.  Morning will be here before they are ready to get up.  Love those guys!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

Icy Weather in South Texas
January 29, 2014

Last night was cold.  We did not get snow.  We got ice.  A lot of ice for deep South Texas!  The news says we had about 1/2 inch of ice.  Thankfully the streets didn't get too bad.  They closed all the overpasses around midnight.  Around 2:00 a.m., it was 32 degrees and ice was beginning to form on metal objects such as cars, fences, etc.  There was some on the palm trees and bushes when I went to bed around 2:30 a.m.

Snow is so rare here, that we all hope for it when it is cold and wet, but it didn't happen last night.  Many people in this area don't have proper heat or warm enough clothing for severe cold, but even they delight in seeing snow.   Instead, we all awoke this morning to a Winter Wonderland of our world coated in ice. 

As soon as I could focus, out came my camera and I stepped onto the front porch to take some photos.  Then I went to my sewing room and opened the window and took more.  Very few cars were out, so the quiet added to the beauty.  Yes, even a deaf person can enjoy the quiet in certain settings. 

Ron waited a little bit before leaving for the office.  He said the roads were fine, just the drivers were all in a panic.  At one point while I was taking photos of the backyard I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a huge branch come crashing down from our eucalyptus tree.  Later I spotted a couple of other broken branches in the tree, still attached.  The weight of the ice was just too much for them.  We lost a few more smaller branches from other trees.
The plumber who was supposed to come yesterday came today to replace the hot water heater.  He had an emergency call yesterday and had to take care of a gas leak.  A gas leak is much more serious than my small water leak.  So he worked hard to get the old heater out and then went to get a new one.  This man is in our Sunday School class and has helped Ron out on several "emergencies" at his mom's house.  In our business, we know that there are true emergencies and things that can be put off temporarily.
As we chatted in the garage, I became aware of the ice beginning to melt and fall from the trees.  This photo was taken around 11:00 and you can see how much ice was still in the trees.
While the plumber was gone I kept hearing a sound like someone knocking on the door.  I would get up and check, but no one was there.  I finally figured out it was the ice falling on the roof that I was hearing. 
The birds arrived early and some of the food was easier to get to than some other.  The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were here in force and for some reason, they were whistling.  At times they got noisy.  I don't know if they were calling their friends to tell them that breakfast was being served or what.
There were several sounds I enjoyed hearing today, the ducks, the ice falling, the ice on the limbs crackling as the trees would sway in the winds.  I am so thankful for my Cochlear Implant.  I would hate to be without it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 28, 2014

Will It Snow?
January 28, 2014

What a winter we have had!  Most of you across the country have also had an unusually cold winter, especially in the eastern half of the country.  As I watched photos today of icy conditions in many places that normally have very mild winters, I thought of the dangers.  There of course is the danger of auto accidents on icy or snowy roads, but I think my thoughts went to the possible falls that many people experience on icy steps or sidewalks.  As I continue to regain strength in my left arm from the serious break I had last June and the two surgeries that were required, I am so glad I am not having to deal with icy conditions.

Someone on Facebook posted a video that had pictures of people helping other people who were in dangerous or difficult situations and most were of elderly people trying to cross busy, icy streets.  In the clips, someone would go to their aid to get them safely across.  A couple of the clips showed someone who had fallen and couldn't get up.  As they say, "Been there.  Done that."  When I fell and broke my elbow, I could not get up even with Ron's help.  I was using the right hand to hold the broken bones in the left elbow in place.  As Ron would try to help lift me, it would cause extreme pain.  Even when the ambulance came, they could not get me up without causing a lot of pain until they put the arm in a splint to keep it immobile.  So, if you are in an icy area: STAY SAFE!  If possible, stay home.

Stay home.  That is what I did today.  It was not the weather that made me stay home, but it was a leaky hot water heater.  The plumber was supposed to come replace it today, so Ron told me to just stay home and wait for him.  I did.  All day.  He didn't come.  I cleaned the kitchen, worked on the puzzle, and cleaned a lot in the sewing room.  I did a little sewing, but not much; mostly the time spent was on cleaning off the sewing table and the counter tops so I could do the cutting more easily.

I did not do a blog yesterday.  There were not a lot of things to share.  I was at the office without Ron there most of the day.  It seemed every customer talked really fast and with a heavy accent that made it very hard for me to understand them.  An oriental man was the hardest to understand.  He talked super fast and I finally gave him a piece of paper and asked him to put his phone number and name on it so Ron could call him back.  I have no doubt Ron also had trouble understanding him.  Then one of the Winter Texans had a heavy European accent and I also had trouble understanding him.  Again, he had both the accent and the rapid speech pattern.  If they only knew how hard it is for me to understand them!

In the evening I picked up our grandson after his Driver's Ed class and brought him to our house to stay until his mom got back from picking up his brother at scouts.  While he was here, he helped on the puzzle and enjoyed the challenge.  He got some done in the upper left corner where there are several pine trees. It is tedious work, but we are all enjoying it.  This is how it looked when he left last night.
Today while I was home, I did more on the puzzle and below is how it looks now.
Working puzzles is addictive!  I am enjoying having it on the table where I can add a piece as I go past.  Funny thing happened as I posted these photos.  I had posted the first one and then put another one on and looked at them and thought, "I didn't get much done."  Then I realized I had posted the same photo twice, so had to go back and delete the second and put in the correct one.  I do need my grandson to come back and work some more on those pine trees.  He and his brother will be here again Thursday night to spend the night and maybe if I don't finish it before then, they can finish it.

I remember when we started doing puzzles this past fall, I could not pick up the pieces with my left hand.  It was just too weak and the position I needed to use to pick them up was too painful.  I had no pain or problem doing the work on this puzzle.  Progress!  Also this evening I was thinking as I chopped an onion to put in the broccoli soup, that this onion is the first one I have chopped since the start of last June, that did not cause extreme pain!  I didn't even consider asking Ron to do it for me.  Progress!  There continues to be progress.  I just don't clearly see it every day.

Today Ron said he would text me if he needed to tell me anything.  He called on the house phone shortly after he got to the office and said he had forgotten to take his cell phone.  That ruled out any texting.   We chatted a few minutes and he said, "You are doing very well on the phone."  Of course, I said, "What did you say?"  Really, I didn't understand what he had said, but sometimes I do that just to keep him on his toes.  I told him that the house phone was working better.  We have had it worked on twice lately and hopefully it is going to be alright for a while now.  I will try the house phone with the kids in the next day or two.  Our youngest son called this evening for a chat, but we used the cell phone with my cable from the phone to the sound processor of the Cochlear Implant.  I had just given up the last two times with him and given the phone to his dad to finish the conversation.  Tonight we did fairly well.  He had to repeat several things, but I got most of the conversation.

I opened this blog posting tonight with the question, "Will it snow?"  I doubt it.  But there is a slight chance.  The western part of the valley has a better chance of getting a little than we do, but the weather man said around 3:00 a.m. there is a slight chance that we could see a few snow flurries.  3:00 a.m.??  Why not during the day.  I don't want to miss it, but 3:00 a.m.?  Brrrr.....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Wonderful Sunny, Winter Sunday 
January 26, 2014

I was up early this morning and had time to make us a nice breakfast.  We arrived at Sunday School a few minutes early and quickly had a room filled with wonderful folks who have become our friends over the years.  Some in our Sunday School class we have known since high school and some we have only met in the last year or two.  At this time of the year, about 1/2 of the people in the class are Winter Texans.  These folks are blessed to be able to leave the cold north to come to sunny South Texas for the winter months.  Well, usually sunny except for a couple of days this past week that were very cold and a couple of days this coming week that are expected to be cold.  Still, it is usually a lot better here, than what their friends at home are dealing with in the winter.

Most of the Winter Texans come to the same place year after year, sometimes having a trailer here for the winter and their home up north.  They become friends with us here in Brownsville, and with the people in the park they live in for the winter.  This morning one of the ladies was asking about 2 Winter Texan couples that she had not seen this year.  She was missing seeing them as are we.  It is hard when for various reasons they can no longer come to spend the winter here.

We had a great lesson in class and I heard much of it.  I don't hear it all, but enough to follow it.  That is much better than in the past years.  We always have a lot of class discussion and I can't hear that as well, but I can sometimes hear the comments but not know who is talking.  Voices just don't sound the same as they used to.  Sometimes the more I talk to a person, the more familiar their voice sounds. 

Our pastor is out of town on a trip with the church school juniors and seniors.  One of our associate pastors preached.  He brought a good message and I heard a lot of what he said but he talks very fast, so it is hard for me to keep up when I mentally stop to figure out a word I didn't understand.  Two of my grandchildren and my daughter-in-law were sitting with me.  Ron's sister is in town for a while and she sat behind us with a couple of our friends.  It is nice to be able to worship with family.

After church we went to lunch with our son's family to a fast food restaurant with a playground.  The kids had a great time playing and by the time the food was ready they were sweating from playing so much. 
We are so blessed to see our grandchildren frequently.  They are growing up so fast!  Where are the years going?  I am so glad I can hear what is going on in their lives.
This is our oldest grandson in his new glasses, all ready to start driving soon with his learner's permit. 
This is my grandson who tangled with the cat he was trying to rescue a few days ago.  He is healing well and still likes the cat.  He is a good guy!
Most of the kids wanted to have their Icee drinks 1/2 Coke and 1/2 cherry.  Here the youngest boy is mixing his up.
The beautiful baby is growing too fast.  She loved the Icee!  She had gotten so hot playing and the Icee tasted fantastic to her. 

The three middle children came home with us for a couple of hours before they had to go back to the church for evening activities.  As always they loved playing with Legos.  We had a quick snack before time to go to the church.
The one on the left was helping the one on the right with his Bible memory verses for his evening class.  He was learning the first four verses of Psalm 23.  He is a quick learner on memory work.

When I have several of the children in the car, their high-pitched, sweet voices, can become overwhelming, but it is still lots better than silence. 

Ron and I spent time working on the puzzle after I took the grand children to the church.  What a nice day. 

I was talking about the years rushing by and this evening I had an email from my brother.  One of his daughters, (my niece), became a grandmother today.  Talk about the years flying by!!!!  Oh, my!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25, 2014

Productive Saturday
January 25, 2014

Yesterday (Friday) I did not get a blog posting written.  There were a couple of reasons:  not much happened and I was sleepy.

Friday morning started out very cold.  It was 37 when I woke up and the temperature continued to go down for a while.  The lowest I saw on my phone was 34 degrees.  Brrr....  I met a friend for breakfast and she was running late - turns out one of their cars (which was parked behind the other) wouldn't start on the cold morning.  While I waited for her to arrive, I watched herons and cormorants across the resaca from where we were meeting.  The bank of the resaca was lined with Snowy Egrets  and Great Egrets.  There were close to 20 when I arrived, but they began leaving one at a time, probably heading to their favorite fishing holes. 
The cormorants were frolicking in the water and flying circles above it - again, in 36 degree, misty, weather.
When my friend arrived, we had a relaxing breakfast, catching up on family news from  her family and mine.  We had not gotten together since before Christmas.  It was good to chat.  We began to make plans for the Winter Texan Banquet that our church will host in early March.  We had made a few plans earlier, but now it was time to plan theme, decorations, and the menu.  So many things to do, but it is good to have a helper. 

When I got to the office, my grandson was there to help for part of the day.  I kept him busy and we had a good time visiting.  It is so nice to have a conversation with him without having to have him repeat everything.  I still have to ask sometimes, but not often.  He had just gotten eye glasses for the first time, so he was adjusting to them.

We went to supper with friends and shivered at the table by the window that I had chosen.  We didn't stay long and then came home where I started on a few household chores.  My housekeeper is out of town this weekend and we were out of town last weekend, so it was time to do some house cleaning.  I got sheets changed.  The last time I had tried that, I couldn't do it due to my arm hurting so much.  So even though I don't like doing housework, it was good to be able to do it. 

I did a little sewing on the scrap quilt I am working on.  I now have 6 squares made.

I got up early this morning and did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, fixed a nice breakfast (that Ron slept through), cleaned the dining room, put away the completed puzzle, and got out a new one. 

This one will be a challenge!  Not only is it 1,000 pieces, but they are shaped oddly.  I can't even find some of the border pieces!

I got the sky portion put together late this afternoon, but I have a feeling this puzzle will be on the table for a while.

Ron slept until noon and shortly after he got up I went to get my hair cut.  After coming home and washing and drying it I went to the grocery store.  I had not been in a couple of weeks, so it took a while.  I had a bit of soreness in the arm today.  Several times when I picked up heavy things, it hurt badly.  As I have said before, when that happens, as soon as I stop doing whatever caused the pain, it goes away.  But a couple of times it was very uncomfortable.  While at Wal-Mart doing my shopping, I got an exercise weight to use with the weak arm to try to strengthen it.

At the grocery store I noticed that I could hear the clerk just fine, but the general "noise" in the store of children crying or begging for goodies, and general chatter, was not loud.  That is a nice way to do the shopping.  Once home, I had groceries to put away and I fixed leftovers for supper.

It is hard to believe January is almost over.  It seems like Christmas was only a few days ago.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23, 2014

Surprise Supper!
January 23, 2014

This morning my husband started bringing in the potted plants from the yard.  It is due to get very cold here tonight and tomorrow.  I don't think it will freeze, but I had a lot of damage to a couple of my plants from the first cold spell when it also didn't freeze.  I helped Ron get them in and they should all be nice and protected in the garage tonight.  Some of the plants I could carry with my weak arm and others I couldn't.  I am so glad he took time to help me before he left for the office.

At the office, it was slower than yesterday so I did a little work on the area I am setting up for sewing.  Then I started ironing some of the scraps.  If I could just sit down and sew, I would get so much more done.  The process of getting ready to sew takes as much time as the sewing.  The photo is of the sorting and cutting area at home.  I have boxes and boxes of scraps that I love and hate to part with.  I like scrap quilts, so it is time to make some.

I had not taken a lunch to the office today so about 1:15 I went to pick something up.  Just as I sat down to wait for my order, Ron texted me that the telephone repairman was on his way to the house.  As soon as I got my order, I came home and the repairman was already hard at work.  The phone lines are underground here.  That was nice when they did it, over 35 years ago, but over the years the lines have deteriorated and every time it rains, our phone goes out.  This time it has been out for over a week.  The rain was long ago.  So the man said the problem was down the street somewhere but to work on it they have to go in the backyards and if no one is home, they can't do that.  This has been a problem for at least 15 years.  They have put new cables in our yard over and over, but it doesn't solve the problem, or at least not for long.  I do like having the cables underground, but they put them about 1 inch under surface in an area where people love to plant things and have tropical gardens.  This seems to be a problem.

The man worked for a while and left to work at another location.  He came back to tell me it was fixed and left me his phone number in case we had additional problems.  I got one political phone call and then it went out again.  It will ring once and then go dead, or we'll have loud static.  So I called him and got his voice mail.  An hour later I had Ron try and he got the man.  The repairman said he would be here as soon as he finished the job he was on.  That was 4:00.  He never made it back and the phone is still out.

I did have a wonderful time sewing all afternoon!  I tried a new scrap pattern and enjoyed making the blocks.  I got three blocks made this afternoon and hope to work on it some more this evening.  I know not everyone loves scrap quilts as I do, but they have so much variety in them and I love the various colors.  Now, if I can just get one together!

The blocks are 8 1/2" square and I have not yet decided what arrangement I will use.  I expect that I will put fabric between the squares (called sashing) and I will play with the blocks to see what color will look best. 
I rarely have a specific project in mind when I start playing with a new pattern and I don't have a specific recipient in mind, I just start making blocks.

As for my Surprise Supper, do you ever put things in your freezer unmarked?  I did that a couple of times this past fall when I was so busy getting ready for Christmas.  I knew at the time I should mark them, but didn't.  On Thursday evenings we usually go to supper with my mom, but she is at my sister's house.  We were out of town last weekend so I never got to the grocery store this week.  It was time to raid the freezer for supper.  I got out a container that I thought was a spicy soup we like.  When I make it, I always make extra.  So I started heating it only to find out it was spaghetti sauce, not soup.  So the spaghetti is cooking and we will have supper soon.

As for my hearing today, it went pretty well until the phone man tried to call me to tell me the phone was fixed.  I could tell that was the nature of the call, but could not get the details.  I asked where he was and he said he was on my front porch, so I hung up and went to the porch to have him explain what he had done (that turned out not to fix the problem).  My arm is still a problem when I am cutting my fabrics with the rotary cutter.  It is not strong enough to hold the Plexiglas templates still.  It takes work to be able to do it another way, so I still have a ways to go in regaining strength and flexibility, but things continue to improve.

January 22, 2014

Comparing Notes
January 22, 2014

Today at the office was busier than some days.  Ron was out on three different jobs and my afternoon was very busy with customers.  Part of the morning was spent with a salesman, and then I worked rearranging some things in my office.  I am setting up a sewing machine in my office so when I am not busy with customers or bookkeeping, I can sew instead of being tempted to play computer games.  I don't do the on line games, but I play Free Cell and a couple of other games like that.  So currently I am in the process of setting up the things I need to be able to work on some scrap quilt squares at the office.  I don't expect to be able to assemble a quilt there, but I can make squares.

During the afternoon I stayed very busy with customers.  That is good.  That is why I am there.  It was a day for broken keys - when a customer brings you two pieces and wants you to copy them and make a new key.  Sometimes that is not too hard; other times it is nearly impossible.  One this afternoon was missing a piece in the middle.  I still think I got it and he didn't come back, so maybe mine worked. 

After finishing an order for one man, he asked if it was me he had seen at physical therapy at Dr. Olson's office.  I said it was, although I did not recognize him.  He remembered me and had watched me doing my exercises.  It turned out he had dislocated his elbow and wondered what I had done to mine since some of our exercises were the same but some were different.  Our mothers all warned us to always be on our best behavior because you never know who is watching.  They are right. 

Apparently I had already been at physical therapy a few sessions when he started, so he decided if I was getting better, he would, too.  He had been dove hunting and was tromping through mud when he fell and tried to catch himself with his left hand and dislocated the elbow.  Apparently he is still seeing if he will be able to fully recover without surgery.  We had a nice chat, comparing notes on our progress.  You just never know when someone is watching, needing to be encouraged.

When that customer left I had picked up a heavy object with my weak arm and realized that I continue to make progress.  I noticed several other chores as the day went on that I had not been able to do for a while without pain.  This evening as I opened a can of beans, I thought back to how it was impossible for me to use the can opener in the beginning.  I opened a jar that I couldn't have opened a few months ago.  I can use both hands to shampoo my hair, I can drive without pain, I can open the car door with that arm, I can turn a doorknob with it.  On and on, I took stock of the things I can now do.  There are still some that are difficult or painful, but I continue to make progress.  

I didn't do too much sewing during the afternoon and I still have a lot of cleaning and rearranging to be able to work comfortably, but I made some progress.  I made up a deposit, paid some bills, went to the bank, and did a little sweeping.  (The sweeping was impossible in the beginning of my recovery from the broken elbow.) 

Once I got home I cooked supper, took care of the ponds in the backyard, and did some cleaning in the kitchen while the cornbread I had made was baking.  It was so good with the brisket we picked up on our way home from San Antonio.  Yummy.  While in the yard I enjoyed lots of hibiscus plants blooming and wondered what this next cold spell will do to them.

Our youngest son Stephen, called and we had a nice visit.  Later in the evening I talked to our daughter-in-law, Vickey.  I exchanged some texts with our son Jeff, and he shared a picture of one of his sons with a bandaged hand.  He had tried to rescue a cat, caught on in a fence and the cat was to the point of panic.  Cat is doing well.  My grandson is doing OK after a trip to the doctor.  He used to tell me he wanted to be a veterinarian.  I am not sure if that is still his chosen field.  Before long I fell asleep in the recliner.  It had been a busy day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

Just a Normal Day
January 21, 2014

Just as I typed that title it occurred to me that having a normal day is pretty nice!  So few of our days over the last year have been "normal".  I went to the office earlier than I have been recently.  Ron was out for a little while this morning.  The rest of the day, we both waited on customers off and on.  There was a good bit of customer traffic in the shop.  I did some cleaning in my office - not enough, but it was a start. I had some emails to answer this morning and worked on some accounting chores. 

My brother-in-law Jim had a large shipment of his new books sent to our office and those arrived today.  This is his second book on birding.  The title is Birding Trails Texas Gulf Coast.  The previous was Birding Trails Texas Prairies and Pineywoods - Panhandle.  They are both available through or he will be doing a book signing at South Padre Island this weekend.  I was given a signed copy today while he was at the office to pick them up and I know it will get used a lot.  Jim and I are trying to plan a birding outing in the next few days, but it is supposed to get cold Friday night, so we will have to see what the weekend brings.  He will also be leading some walks and talks at the island Friday and Saturday.  After a few book signings over the next few weeks he will be starting the next book in the series and this one will be Birding Trails New Mexico
Jim's books tell you where to look for birds in Texas.  A couple of pages are used for each site, and it tells you how to get there, what you might expect to see, how much it may cost if there is an entry fee, and contact information.  This new book also gives the GPS coordinates to each location. 

Ron and I went to supper with Jim and my mom.  Mom is heading to my sister's tomorrow and Jim will be staying at her house while she is gone.  She hopes to see some snow in Idaho as she spends time with my sister (Jim's wife) in Salmon, Idaho.  We chose a restaurant that would be rather quiet and had a nice visit.  I find myself asking for a lot of things to be repeated, but I am trying to do that instead of just acting like I understood what was said.  It is always fun to talk to Jim.  He has lots of stories to share and tonight I was able to hear most of them.
Mom will be at my sister's when her birthday comes, so I told her tonight's dinner would have to be her birthday dinner.  She will be 91 next month.  Can you believe it??  We are so blessed to have her so healthy and active at her age.

When I got ready to leave the office this evening, the sky was lovely.  The photo at the top was taken in front of our office.  Then as I drove down the street I pulled off a couple of times to take more photos.  This is one I liked. 

This past weekend, someone asked me if I thought it would be harder on a person to lose their sight or their hearing.  I think for me the loss of sight would be the hardest.  I miss music and a few other things, but I could have friends write notes to tell me what was going on when I couldn't hear, but there is no way to adequately describe the beauty of God's creation to a person who can not see.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

The Perfect End to a Three Day Weekend Away
January 20, 2014

What a perfect ending to an outstanding weekend.  This was today's sunset just as we were arriving back in town.  The weather could not have been better.  The visit with our son David and his wife was wonderful.  The visit with my friend was a treasure.  The shopping was fun.  I wish I could have found a new Sunday dress, but everything else about the weekend was very good, including the food.  Diana's nephew and niece were not with us most of the time; they were with other family, but at least we had time with them at Christmas.

This morning David and Diana both had obligations that meant they had to leave the house early even though it was a school holiday.  We left early also and stopped at Bill Miller Bar-B-Que for breakfast tacos.  We sat and chatted a little, deciding what we wanted to do for the day.  Ron and I have been out of town a lot this past year, but the majority of those trips were either medically related or business trips.  It was so nice to just be having a relaxing day together.  Ron took me to one of my favorite quilt shops.  I spent a couple of hours shopping there while he relaxed with his Kindle, reading the time away.  Next we switched roles and he shopped while I read from my Kindle. 

Following that, we started our trip home from San Antonio.  It was a beautiful day and we were tempted to try the Riverwalk, but being a holiday, we doubted that was a wise decision.  We again found Bar-B-Que for lunch and took time to sit in the restaurant and not eat on the road as we often do. In the car as we drove we were able to enjoy visiting and evaluating our weekend.  I think we both enjoyed it very much! 

When I was shopping at the quilt store this morning, I got into an extended conversation with the saleslady who was helping me.  I had tried one saleslady and got very little help, so I tried another one.  I know I have mentioned before that this is the type of conversation I avoided  if at all possible in the past years due to the hearing problems.  The funniest thing happened as we talked.  I told her we were in town to visit our son and his wife.  She said she had only lived in San Antonio a few years but really liked it.  Then she told me that she was from Albuquerque.  I told her I had a son and daughter-in-law who live there.  Then she told me she moved to Dallas.  I told her I had a son who lived there.  At that point I am not sure if she still believed me.  I am sure she was beginning to wonder how many sons I have or if I just make things up as I go along.  It really became funny.  We did have a delightful conversation and she was very helpful.  Here are a few of my fun fabric purchases this weekend. 
When we arrived at home, we unloaded the car and then met my mom and my brother-in-law Jim for supper.  Jim was here last winter when I went deaf and I still could not hear when he left in the spring.  He was eager to see how I was doing and chose to sit by me at the table at supper so we could chat.  It is probably time for Jim to see about a hearing aid, but we each have to make that decision for ourselves.  The saleslady this morning told me she needed to get one, but keeps putting it off. 

I know that the expense is a major reason many people postpone buying one, but they aren't getting cheaper and it is good to get one before the hearing gets too bad.  The hearing isn't going to get better and the price isn't going to go down, so "bite the bullet" and go get tested if you struggle to hear conversations.  It takes time to adjust to one, and you MUST wear it to adjust to it.  You will not get used to it by leaving it in your desk drawer or your jewelry box.  Normally there is no expense to get tested and most places have an easy payment plan.  They are not cheap, but the rewards of being able to hear again are wonderful. 

It was a delight to see a copy of Jim's new book that is hot off the press.  He had one copy with him and a shipment of them should arrive tomorrow.  This book like the last is about places in Texas to go birding.  The books give clear directions and tell you what you can expect to find when you arrive, both in the way of what birds and also what amenities.  The new book covers the Texas coast.  When I get my copy, I will show you a photo of the book. 

About the time we went to supper, our daughter-in-law Barbara texted and asked if we could pick up our oldest grandson from his Driver's Ed. class again this evening.  Since we missed seeing the grandchildren this weekend, it was a great excuse to get to see them.  We picked him up after his class and he helped us finish the Hot Air Balloon puzzle.
Barbara had taken one of the other boys to his scout group, so when it was over she came by and we got to see all the grandchildren.  It is fun to see a van full of children who can't wait to give you a hug.  We are so blessed!!!