Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30, 2014

A Blessed, Productive Sunday
March 30, 2014

It has been a very good day.  Sunday School this morning was great.  The only bad thing is that some of our Winter Texans are heading home.  We hate to see them go, but they have families up North who miss them a lot, so we are just glad they spend part of their year with us. 

In Sunday School this quarter (of the year) we are studying in the book of Proverbs.  There is so much wisdom and information in Proverbs.  It is one of my favorite books.  It is good to be able to hear most of my husband's teaching on these great passages from the Bible.

In church, our pastor is still out of the country.  He will be returning in the next couple of days from 16 days in the Philippines doing disaster relief work along with 4 or 5 other men from our church.  We are eager to hear their reports when they get back.  Filling the pulpit in his absence is one of my favorite ministers, Darrell Mortalla, who just happens to be from the Philippines.  Darrell is an amazing Bible teacher and also does a great job of adding humor to his messages.  I was not able to hear all of the sermon, but followed along well enough to get the basic message.  Wish I could have heard it all.

Ron and I picked up some lunch on our way home after we ran an errand.  After lunch I gave in to a nap.  As I have mentioned before, I hate to do that because then it is hard to go to sleep at night, but I was tired. 

After my nap, Ron decided he would help cut back the bougainvillea bushes!  Yea!  We both worked.  He cut and I hauled.  He also took out two mimosa trees that were behind the bushes he was trimming.  I told him I did a neater trimming job than he did, but he worked much faster.  That is probably all we will do.  There is one more, but it is not hanging out into the street. 

As we worked a flock of small birds flew into the trees and chattered away at us.  I think they are migrating.  I did not get a good look, but they did not look familiar.  They were very high in the trees and all we could make out was a yellow tummy.  This was the only photo I got and it is of no help in identifying the noisy little birds.  I am thankful I could hear them.  It was a very pleasant sound.  I hope they show up again.  They were about the size of American Redstarts I think. 
This is one of the bushes that we were cutting back.  It is the only one that was currently in bloom. 
As I worked, I thought of the comment a friend made following my blog a couple of days ago about working on these bushes.  I had not really realized how well I could do the work with my artificial elbow piece.  I was able to rake, lift, carry, and toss debris into the trash pile without any pain or limitations.  There are times most days where I cringe at the pain from lifting something with the arm in an awkward position, but unless that happens, I rarely think about it.  Even a couple of months ago, I would have been hard pressed to do the work I did today in the yard. 
When I went into the backyard to fill the feeders, this Snowy Egret was in one of the trees in the back.  I spent a bit of time in the backyard checking on things.  We picked up our supplies and cleaned up the mess.  I must say, I did hold my breath every time I saw Ron stepping over the extension cord to the chain saw.  It was the same extension cord that I tripped on when I broke my elbow.  He did fine, but when I had worked out there a few days ago I didn't have the extension cord and I still found myself being very careful where I stepped.  A fall happens so quickly.

Inside I started doing some cleaning in my sewing room as I prepare to start a new project.  I had some new storage boxes for my "Projects in Progress" or as Quilters call them "UFOs" Un Finished Objects.  I have a large collection. 

The last of the fabric for the new quilt is in the dryer right now along with the last load of laundry.  I made our version of Sloppy Joe's for supper.  We call the recipe Tavern Burgers.  The name came with the recipe that has been passed through the family for many years.  We had supper and relaxed a little after the yard work.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29, 2014

More Yard Work
Saturday,  March 29, 2014

This morning, as usual for Saturday, I was up early before the housekeeper arrived.  I got my hair washed and dried and left to go to the doctor's office for the blood work that I had tried to get yesterday.  I was the only patient there and it didn't take too long.  I made one quick stop on the way home and then worked on cleaning the kitchen some before relaxing for a few minutes with the book I am currently reading. 

Then it was time to work in the yard again.  I had bought a couple of plants to use to decorate at the Winter Texan Banquet and needed to get them planted, so I dug the holes and planted them under the windows of the sewing room.  I hope they don't get too large and block my view.  I also re-potted an Easter Lily that has buds on it.  I hope it doesn't go into shock, but it really needed a bigger pot.  I weeded a flower bed.  Next I worked on cleaning both of the elephant birdbaths.  Both elephants were covered in algae, so I scrubbed them and cleaned and refilled the birdbaths.  Neither is totally clean, but both are better than they were.

By the time I got in the house, the birds had shown up to enjoy the birdbaths.  I read and cooled off.  It was much cooler today than yesterday, but still I got warm working in the yard. 

We had two beautiful hanging baskets last year and they looked pretty bad by the end of this winter, but they are both now full of new growth and I have great hopes of them being as beautiful this year as they were last year. 

About 1:30 I decided to go to the grocery store.  For some reason I was reminded of this time last year while I was totally deaf and before I had the Cochlear Implant, and my shopping trips.  I had commented at the time that shopping in Brownsville and not being able to hear is not all bad.  It does help to be able to talk to the checker.  The store was a little busier than most times, but I was able to get the shopping done.  When I went to put my cart in the area for cart storage in the parking lot, I noticed the cart in front of mine had a different color in the seat.  On closer inspection, I saw someone had left their pocket book there.  I took it back into the store to customer service and then came home to unload and put away my purchases.

By that time I was hungry.  I made a sandwich and had my lunch at 4:00.  Ron was working on a couple of jobs in Harlingen and had texted me about the time I left the grocery store that he was heading back to town but had some errands to run when he got back.  He didn't get home until after 6:00, so he had a very long day, too.

The last couple of days I have been washing fabric for a new quilt I am about ready to start.  This one is different from my normal style, so I think I keep putting off making the first cuts.  I must get started!  I ironed most of the fabric this afternoon, so I am out of excuses.  Maybe tomorrow afternoon.  Here is just a small group of the fabrics for the new quilt.

The Red-winged Blackbirds filled the yard much of the afternoon.  I read for a while and then fixed supper while  doing several loads of laundry.  Two more loads to go but I think they will have to wait until tomorrow. 

I was able to talk to our oldest son this evening and we always have a good time discussing politics, science, scripture, and when I will send him cookies next.  He does love his mom's chocolate chip cookies.  I need him to live closer so he could get them while they are freshest.  His wife is still sick (has been sick for a couple of weeks) but is a little better.  She has a bad respiratory infection.

March 28, 2014

A Roseate Spoonbill Photo Session in the Sunshine
Friday,  March 28, 2014

My day got going earlier than on some days.  I needed to have some blood work done at the doctor's office, so I decided to try it before going to the office.  The bad thing was that Ron had a job set for a specific time and they were moving slowly at the doctor's office, so after waiting 40 minutes, I told them I would come back another day.  Since it had been "fasting" blood work, I had not had breakfast so I picked up some on the way to the office. 

Ron was staying busy at the office and so I helped as much as I could so he could leave, but every time he started out the door another customer stopped him.  He finally got out the door at time for him to start the job, but they didn't seem to care.  I must say, the job was at a new Chick-fil-A that is about to open near our house!  They must have heard about me!  He even came back with an invitation to their Opening Night!  I will be glad to welcome them to the neighborhood.

After that job, Ron came back to the office so I could get my lunch.  Then he headed out again on several things, staying out much of the rest of the day.  I spent the morning filling key hooks with blank keys for us to use cutting keys for the customers.  Normally our grandson does that chore, but he wasn't with us for the day.  Of course I continued waiting on customers and doing paperwork.  I got a lot done. 

Several of the customers were hard to hear and seemed to not be willing to take "no" for an answer. More and more customers buy "Made in China" locks (padlocks especially) at the Dollar Stores and then can't understand why I can't make keys for them.  It is because in China, some factories often lack quality control, or they combine the designs of two or three American lock companies and make up their own locks with their own blanks for the cheap locks.  The keys are often thin and the American blanks, even if they have the right groves, are too thick to go in the lock.  If the customer wants a lock for short term use, and they don't plan to give out keys to anyone else, the locks may meet their needs.  If they need 10 copies of the key, it may not be the best choice.  Oh, well, off that soapbox for now.

Ron had a busy week (thank you, God) and is out on a couple of jobs today even though we are not open on Saturdays.  Ron stayed late at the shop and worked and I left to run errands on the way home.  I stopped by the same resaca that I had a couple of days ago to photograph the Roseate Spoonbills again, this time in the sunshine!  There were a dozen of the Spoonbills this time instead of the previous 7.  There were also two Great Egrets in the tree with them.  I just noticed, this is just one tree.  The birds were noisy, but I couldn't figure out which ones were making the noise.

Again I didn't have my tripod, but balanced the camera in the same tree where I later discovered a large number of huge ants!  Thank you, God they didn't want to nibble on me.

I spent a while taking pictures and then went to do my errands.  It was 6:30 by the time I got home and workmen doing work on a house across the street had parked where I planned to work on trimming the bougainvilleas.  I considered asking them to move the cars and then decided to work in the backyard first and hope they soon left.  It didn't take long in the backyard to notice that there was no wind at all after days, if not weeks, of high winds.  It was also hot.  It was 7:00.  I pulled out my phone to check the temperature and it was 94 degrees!  Can you believe??  94 at 7:00 in March?  Oh, my.  So I spent about 30-45 minutes in the backyard and decided not to try doing the trimming.
 Once in the house, I fixed supper and finished the 1,000 piece puzzle while supper cooked.  Ron and I have decided this is one of the hardest puzzles we have worked.  It was fun and I love the picture, but it is not for young kids.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 27, 2014

Yard Work
Thursday,  March 27, 2014

Thursday was another cloudy, windy day.  First thing in the morning, I spent 30 minutes or so working in the back yard watering plants, filling feeders and rearranging the placement of some feeders and hanging baskets.
The red-winged blackbirds continue to flock to the feeders from dawn until sunset.  I love to be able to hear them.  They are noisy, but their call is a high trill which is a very nice sound.

At the office, I spent the day on accounting things and some filing.  There is a large pile of papers awaiting my attention still.  It was not very busy in the office, and Ron was in much of the day.  His work computer crashed last week and so the man from True Solutions who does our computer work spent the morning working on setting up his new one.  Ron's morning was spent working with the man to get the things he wanted, set up.  We both agree that although it is nice to have a new computer, the transition days are hard on the blood pressure.

In the afternoon I had an appointment with our General Practitioner for a "Wellness Check-up".  Why do they call it that when their number one goal seems to be to find something wrong?  Mostly what it seems to be is a list of referrals to other doctors for assorted checkups.  For the next few weeks we will be doing that.

Our GP, Dr. Bhondi is a very pleasant man and seems to do his best to take good care of us.  As I have mentioned before, he is the one who saw me first after I lost my hearing and that was my first time to meet him.  He and I enjoy the fact that now I can hear him.

It was 3:00 before I was finished there (for a 1:00 appointment) and I stopped to pick up some lunch on the way back to the office.  Ron left for a couple of jobs once I got back and also to get my car inspection done.

On the way home I had several errands to run: things to mail at the post office, a prescription to leave at the drug store, etc.  Once I got home I took my things in the house, and headed out to work in the yard.

We have several bougainvillea bushes along the side of our property by the street.  They have not been cut back in way too long.  Last year all our health issues prevented us from doing the normal late winter pruning.  Ron really doesn't like to do it and the bushes always seem to attack him.  Even though he wears heavy gloves, he comes in scratched up all over.  I don't know the difference in our methods of attack, but I spent an hour and a half cutting back one of them yesterday and survived unscathed.  I cut and hauled and sweated up a storm.  It was good to be out there doing something constructive.  Or would that be considered destructive?

The only negative was that as I cut the branches, I could tell that the birds have been spending a lot of time in there and I know they won't be happy.  In fact at one point, I could hear a large group of them really fussing at me and encouraging me to go away.  Sorry little birds, but it must be done.  Some of the branches were hanging out in the street 6-8 feet.

As I said, there are several of these bushes and I only got one and a small portion of the next one done, so I hope to be able to keep working on them a little at a time for the next week or so.

Once I went it I had to get cleaned up before I could fix supper.  Ron came home about the time I had it ready.  We ate and worked some on the current jigsaw puzzle.  By the time I went to bed, I had made great progress.  This puzzle is a photo of ice cream cones of all colors and sizes.  I am down to 3 cones that are all similar in color.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 26, 2014

Stopping for Bird Photos
Wednesday,  March 26, 2014

It may be confusing when I post the news from the 26th on the 27th, but I have been trying to go to sleep a little earlier and I am not always getting my blog done at the end of the day as in the past.  The date on the blog is the date covered in the writings.

Last night it dawned on me that new people find this blog off and on, often through the bird photos.  When they do, they may not know why I set up this blog.  Very briefly: January 2013 I went deaf.  The blog tells of my journey to have Cochlear Implant surgery in June of 2013 and the daily challenges in adapting to a new way of hearing.

Wednesday was a nice day.  It was cloudy and windy - one of those days where our office door blows open setting off the strobe light in my office and the electronic door chimes.  So I look up from my desk to the monitor that shows me what is going on in the showroom, to see if someone actually came in with the chime.  Normally on those windy days, I see no one in the showroom.  That makes it hard because my thoughts are constantly being interrupted and I have to think what I was doing when I was interrupted and it is easy to start ignoring the chimes and someone can actually come in and need to be waited on.  I really need those chimes and the strobe to let me know when customers are in the showroom.

Ron was out on jobs most of the day.  He was in and out a few times, but mostly "out".  I left the office a little early and went to stop by my mom's house for a minute.  On the way, I passed a resaca where assorted birds gather, particularly to spend the night.  There are several small islands in the resaca and the birds feel safe on them.  The last few days, a small flock of Roseate Spoonbills have been gathering on one of the islands.  I took time to photograph them on my way to mom's house.

As I mentioned earlier, it was very windy.  I had trouble holding the camera still for the photos.  I got close to the water's edge and was able to brace it in a tree for some of the shots.  My tripod was at home.  The Roseate Spoonbills seemed to be having trouble keeping their balance in the strong winds.
They were fun to watch and to photograph and although they kept a watchful eye on me, they didn't seem to feel threatened.
The only thing that could have made the chance photo session better would have been some sunshine to really show off their coloring.
I completed my errand and headed home where I went in the yard to check on the feed for my bird visitors.  Inside I took care of our supper and worked some on the current puzzle.

Later in the evening I spent time on the phone with our oldest son.  I really had trouble understanding him last night and had to have him repeat very often.  It is so frustrating not to be able to have a normal phone conversation.  The first or second day they activated my Cochlear Implant, the audiologist told me I might not ever be able to use the phone.  Then went I did well with general conversations, she was surprised a few visits later to learn I can't really use the phone.  

It was a good day and made better by the lovely Roseate Spoonbills.  They are one of my favorites.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 25, 2014

Business as Usual
Tuesday,  March 25, 2014

Included are a few more photos from the island 
Saturday of the birds we saw.  Enjoy.
Black Skimmer

Each day at the shop is different.  The customers each have different needs.  Probably the majority just need extra copies of their keys and I sometimes get tickled at how they think I need to know why they need more or who they are for.  Sometimes when I ask, "How many?"  They will say, "One for my son, one for my neighbor, one for the cleaning lady, and an extra."  Often as they do that, they are putting up fingers to count as they go.  Other times, they tell you why they need them, like the lady who told me she put her spare in her bra as she went for a run this morning and lost it.  Every summer we have several who run over their keys with the lawn mower or drop them in the bay while on jet skis.  Sometimes the stories are interesting or funny, but sometimes I am tired or there is a line of other customers and I just want to know how many they want so I can finish and take care of the next customer.
Roseate Spoonbills

Today I kept pretty busy.  Ron was out much of the day on jobs and I had many customers to help.  Some of the customers are hard to hear.  Some are hard to understand, and some don't speak my language.  The first customer I waited on this morning didn't speak English.  I understood enough of his Spanish to know he was talking about the lock on his car.  We do very little work on cars, so I gave him the phone numbers of two other locksmiths who might be able to help him.  No, that was not what he wanted.  So he motioned he wanted to show me something.  I don't like to go out and look at their cars because there is nothing I can do to help them fix it.  But he walked to the door of the business and did a very good pantomime of spraying graphite in the lock.  "Oh, you want to buy graphite?"  So I made a sale.  I would not want to be on the opposing team to play Charades against him!  He was good!
Black-necked Stilt

The next customer told me he wanted 10 copies.  I repeated it back to him and he said, "Yes."  He watched me cut all 10 keys and then said, "NO, I said 3."  My hearing is bad but not that bad.  Then a salesman came in and stayed an hour hoping Ron would be back, but we had a nice visit.  He is a new one with a company we don't buy from very often.  I was able to share with him about my hearing loss and he said he met a man last week who lost him hearing but then got it back.  Yes, some do.  I didn't.  He shared some major health issues he and his wife have been through and it is the kind of situation that makes you so thankful for your own set of problems as compared to theirs.
Elegant (or Royal) Tern

He and another customer today talked about being without insurance (the salesman has it now, but didn't for a while).  The other was a lady who was limping.  I asked about her problem and she explained that the doctor wants to do knee replacement surgery but she has no insurance.  One doctor had done one procedure for $8,000 cash in advance, and it didn't solve the problem.  The cost of health care is a problem in the United States, but the Affordable Care Act is not making health care affordable. 
Great Blue Heron

Ron was in the office long enough for me to eat my lunch, but then was gone again.  He got back around 4:00 so I could leave to get ready for quilting at our house.  I had a couple of stops to make on the way home.  Once I got home, I took care of my supper and fed the birds and filled the birdbaths.
The hibiscus plants in the yard are blooming beautifully.  I really enjoy them.
At quilting only 2 of the ladies were able to come, but we had a good visit and I accomplished nothing except to have a relaxed visit - which when you think about it is a pretty good thing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

Monday Lived Up to Its Reputation
Monday,  March 24, 2014

Today wasn't a terrible Monday, but it was a day I would rather have spent at home with the covers up over my head.  To back up a little, Saturday night I could not get to sleep.  I was still awake at 4:30 a.m.  So when Sunday came, I was tired.  We were late getting to our Sunday School class because we both overslept, but my husband had been up a while before he woke me.  That is not good; I am normally the first one up by about an hour.

We had expected to be out of town for the weekend so I had not bought groceries.  We stopped and picked up some lunch on our way home from church.  Then I took a nap after filling the bird feeders and birdbaths.  The migrating Red-winged Blackbirds took over the backyard along with Inca Doves and a couple of other types of doves.  Ron and I watched them for a while but both agreed naps were in order.

My nap was about 3 hours.  That did it!  When night came, I could not sleep.  It was well after 5:00 this morning when I finally got to sleep.  I spent part of the evening working on the puzzle in progress and talking to our youngest son.  Many of the wakeful hours were spent praying for assorted people and their needs.  It isn't hard to fill the time with those.  I did read for a while, and took a hot bath when my hip started hurting.  My guess is that this is due to a new medication I am on.  It says: May cause drowsiness.  Not for me!

All that being said, I overslept this morning.  Ron got up and left for work without waking me, so I got 3 hours of sleep last night.  At the office, there were a variety of things going on.  There were some tax forms to sign and send in.  There was a stack of filing.  I needed to find some old, paid bills to be sure they had all been paid, and actually the day went pretty fast (it helps when you come in late).  I had a couple of customers who really mumbled.  I would watch their mouths and they would barely open them.  How do they expect the words to get out???

As soon as I was up this morning, I went out and took care of the birds.  The first thing this morning, I saw a pair of Green Jays.  They always bring a smile to my face.  Again, the Red-winged Blackbirds were all over the place.  At one point yesterday afternoon I started counting them as they flew down from the trees like falling leaves and reached over 65 before they took off because they saw me move.  Today there were more.

One of the funny things that happened this morning which I didn't realize until just a few minutes ago is that I shot a nice video of the Red-wings and it was before I had put on my sound processor this morning.  When I just played it back, I could hear the TV morning news.  Oops!  I will see if there is a way to "mute" it so I can post the video.  Otherwise I will try again.

That experience (not knowing the sound on the TV was turned on while I was filming) shows one of my other challenges.  Without the sound processor on, I am not aware of what is going on around me.  At night when Ron goes to bed, I may have the sound of the TV on, but I may have taken off the sound processor and not be aware that it is at a disturbing level.  Also, Ron was sharing with our Sunday School class yesterday how I can't hear myself.  Most of those in class were not aware of that.  Even with the sound processor on, I don't really know how my voice sounds.  I can come across sounding much different than I think I sound.  I can't tell how loud I am talking or my tone of voice. 

We kept the five youngest grandchildren for the evening.  Their mom was needing to get some things done at home while their dad needed to be at a scout meeting with the two oldest boys in Los Fresnos.  They were all wide awake and full of energy.  I baked a batch of cookies for them to take with them.  Of course they had to try them out to be sure they were good.  (They were.)  The noise really got to me.  I changed the setting on the sound processor and it got better, but with the five kids, the a/c, the mixer, my sometimes noisy refrigerator, and several phone calls, it was loud.  But we did have a lot of fun.  The youngest found an Easter Bunny that laughs when you squeeze his had and she must have done that 30 times in a row, giggling along with it.  I offer to her dad that she could take it with her, but he declined.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014

Enjoying the Chatter & Songs of the Birds
Saturday,  March 22, 2014

It has been a couple of days since I posted a blog.  There are a couple of reasons: not a lot has been going on related to my hearing issues, and I have been busy.  It is now "catch-up" time.  Thursday and Friday at the office were a little busy and I also had some chores with assorted paper work that kept me busy Thursday, but not really on Friday.  In fact I did some reading.  I used the system I talked about a few months back "Immersion Reading" where I am listening to and reading the book at the same time.    In the evenings we joined friends for supper.
Our new puzzle challenge
Last night after supper I picked my grandson up from his driver's education class and he came home with me to spend the night.  I got out a new puzzle for us to work on and he helped me get the border almost done before he called it quits and went to bed.  He and Ron spent the morning together.  I had invited him to go birding with my brother-in-law Jim and me, but his grandpa made him a better offer.

As soon as the housekeeper came, Jim and I headed to South Padre Island to look for birds.  It had been raining at my mom's house when Jim left to come get me.  When we got to Port Isabel, the fog on the causeway to the island was very thick.  We looked at each other and just laughed.  We have been trying to go birding since he arrived almost 2 months ago and we finally got to go (he leaves tomorrow) and we encountered thick fog!

Our first stop was the Valley Land Fund property near the old Palmetto Inn on the island.  There were only grackles there and a few doves, but no fruit had been put out to entice the birds and the area is so overgrown, it will be hard to see the birds if they are there.

Great Egret
From there we went to the Birding Center and Jim paid my admission.  Almost as soon as we got on the boardwalk, we started seeing a nice variety of birds which were willing to pose for our photos.  We got some great shots. 

Clapper Rail
The Clapper Rail can be a very noisy bird!  But that was one of the nice things at the island today, everywhere we were, I could hear birds.  There were MANY Red-winged Blackbirds and they are loud with their trills.  The assorted ducks were making their presence known.  Grackles are noisy and there were a lot of them and of course Sea Gulls.  Many other birds were calling for mates or asking us to leave, but many of the calls I could not identify. I can't blame that on my hearing, since I have never really been able to do that.
A little further down the boardwalk one of my favorites showed up.  It is the Sora Rail.  Actually my bird book just calls it a Sora, not using the word "rail" in the name, but it is listed with the Rails.  He is just about half the size of the Clapper Rail and scurries about looking for food. 

Long-billed Curlew
Just before we saw the Sora, we had a Long-billed Curlew that posed very well for photos.  I always appreciate cooperative subjects when I am taking photos.   
Jim (my brother-in-law) is the one I have mentioned that writes birding books, telling readers where to go to look for birds.  The most recent book covers the Texas Gulf Coast (our area) and he always enjoys stopping to visit with the other bird watchers and exchanging information.  One older lady had a new camera and was trying to figure out how to work it and how to get a good photo of one of the birds.  Jim hooked her camera up to his very powerful zoom lens and she left with some amazing photos on her photo chip in the camera.  That was one happy lady!  
Little Blue Heron with crab for breakfast
Another favorite of mine is the Little Blue Heron.  Jim found one down an empty boardwalk and we photographed the bird for 15 minutes or more.  The Little Blue Heron was working on finding his breakfast and at one point got a crab.  He had a little trouble getting it in his mouth because the crab kept holding on to the long beak.  Fun to watch.  That had to tickle all the way down.
Pied-billed Grebe
There were lots of other birds we saw today.  In fact when we stopped for lunch on the way home, I asked Jim to read his list to me that I had seen him making while we were birding.  After reading it, I told him he left off some and mentioned several.  He thought of several more and I am sure as we each go through our photos, we will lengthen the list.  It was a good birding day.  Oh, there were a few migrating birds by the Convention Center at the island, but not too many.  There were a few hummingbirds and a few warblers, but the numbers should increase in the next few weeks.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (I think)
Once home I downloaded the photos and got a bath, I had gotten hot and sweaty while out on the boardwalks.  I spent time in the yard filling feeders and ponds.  I will share more of the bird photos in the days to come. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 19, 2014

Busy Day at the Office
March 19, 2014

There are slow days at our office and there are days that are swamped.  Sometimes it doesn't seem like there are many in the middle of those two extremes.  I had a lot of bookkeeping things I needed to handle yesterday: sending the state sales tax deposit, paying bills, working out some discounts on things we bought at the trade show in Dallas, finding inventory information for Ron, and a variety of other things like that. 

About noon I realized I had not taken my antibiotic that morning, so I headed home to get that and detoured on the way to buy some tamales at Ybarra's Tamales.  I needed to eat something when I took the pill so I had my lunch of tamales while I was home and then returned to the office.  Ron had several customers when I got back and the rest of the afternoon went that way. 

Often when I tell people I have a Cochlear Implant, they ask, "Is that what Rush Limbaugh has?"  The answer is "Yes".  Rush has done a lot to educate the public about Cochlear Implants.  Those who listen to him on the radio think he functions very well with his implant.  He does, but...  If you watch his show on the computer, you see a slightly different story.  If I mention that I have trouble on the phone, people may say, "Well Rush does fine on the phone."  Rush is using the same system he used while he was deaf.  A typist is typing the call onto his computer screen as he hears if on the phone.  It is rather like how closed caption TV works.  He hears much of what the person is saying on the phone, but when you watch him, live on the computer, you can tell he is often pausing, to read the screen.  He depends on that.  Once in a while his pause will be so long that it is noticeable to the caller or the radio audience and he will explain to those listening that he had to read it on the screen.  There are also times he misunderstands what is said.  He is so representative of what happens with the implant.  Users can function but all the additional aids they can get make life easier.

The reason I brought up Rush and his Cochlear Implant is that yesterday on his show he mentioned an event that he normally attends and strongly supports, but said he would not be attending it this year.  He talked about how hard it is for him to hear in that type of setting.  It was to be a dinner for a huge crowd and he talked about how he could not hear a thing at the event last year.  His description was right on the mark to what I experience.  I could totally identify with his experience and was glad he explained that to his audience, although he was making another point at the time and it may have gone unnoticed by many of his listeners.  He talked about feelings of embarrassment at not understanding what was said, and of just trying to smile at the right times and having no idea what had been said.  So true.

Again, Ron had to work late.  He does the taxes for several family members and it is that time of the year.  He completed a couple of those last night.  At home, I completed - very little.  I ate supper and worked briefly in the yard and then fell asleep reading.  It was almost midnight when I woke up and moved to my bed where I was then wide awake, so I read for a couple of hours.

It is strange at the office with my sound processor, if I am running the machines, it lowers the sounds and I can still get a little of the other sounds around me - not enough to understand conversation, but some.  If Ron is using the machines and I have my back to them, the sound processor cuts the noise down completely and I can't hear the person I am talking to.  This happens when I am waiting on customers.  There are two microphones on the sound processor and one is sort of toward the front (near the top) and the other is toward the back not far from the other one.  There is a program on the processor called focus that turns off or down (I am not sure which) the back microphone, but that program has some other limitations that don't make it the best choice at the office.  They recommend it for restaurants or church, etc.  I have not really found that it helps me in those settings. 

Since I fell asleep last night very early, this is being posted Thursday morning, but it is the Wednesday blog - if you care.  Hope to do one tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014

Hello, Doctor.  I Can Hear You.
March 18, 2014

The General Practitioner that Ron and I use is a man named Dr. Bhondi.  The first time I met Dr. Bhondi was when I went to see him a couple of days after I lost my hearing.  I had lost the hearing on a Friday afternoon and my husband had a bad case of the flu, so I waited to go to the doctor on Monday morning, thinking he would say my ears were stopped up and that is why I couldn't hear.  So almost all of my visits to Dr. Bhondi were last spring and early summer when I was deaf.  He had quickly diagnosed the problem as Sudden Hearing Loss, but then referred me to other specialists.  I had many visits with him as I prepared for my Cochlear Implant surgery early this past summer.  I think I have only seen him once since I got the implant and I think I was with Ron on a visit at the time. 

Today may have been the first time I had gone to Dr. Bhondi alone as a patient, without Ron going along to help me understand the conversation.  I have had a minor sore throat and sinus infection going on for a while and then added another minor infection so I went to see him this afternoon.  It was nice to hear him and converse with him without the aid of the iTranslate program on our cell phones that we used last spring.  He is a very pleasant man when he is not worried about his deaf patient.  I could tell each time we saw him last spring that my condition weighed heavily upon him.  He wanted to make me well, but could not do it.  It would take a specialized surgeon to help.  But he pointed me in the right direction each step of the way.

Today he decided to try a new antihistamine and to give me an antibiotic.  He had a new technician working for him who was a very nice lady.  She did some x-rays of my sinuses and we talked a good bit about my Cochlear implant.  It turns out she had so many questions because she has a family member who can't hear.  I gave her my blog information and told her to read about my experience.  She appreciated the information and thanked me for answering her questions. 

Ron had gone to see Dr. Bhondi this morning for a follow up on his physical and I asked him to make my appointment while he was there.  Ron said he and the doctor had a great visit while the doctor told him to cut back on the cheese, etc.  Too bad. 

I kept busy this morning while he was out of the office and this afternoon after I got back I had several tasks to finish up.  I am still boxing up old files.  I realized I had boxed all the shop files last winter (from the previous year), but not my personal files.  That was about the time I went deaf and too many things got set aside.  So I am in the process of going through two years of files, but I made good progress today.  A couple of the Winter Texans from the church were in the shop this afternoon and it was good to visit with them before they head home.  They say things have thawed out back up north where they live, so they think it is time to leave. 
After work I went to pick up the two new prescriptions and then headed home.  I again spent time in the yard when I first got home.  Our winds are still very strong - almost 50 mph much of the day.  I filled ponds and feeders.  Very few birds are venturing out in the wind.   Ron worked at the office until very late.  He had  a lot of tax things work on and got some of it done.  I fixed supper and ate alone long before he got home and pointed him to the leftovers when he arrived.
The yard is alive in color.  There are so many buds on the hibiscus bushes along that brick wall.  They will soon be even more beautiful as the blooms open.
I think I counted about 25 buds in this small section of the hibiscus hedge.  It will be so lovely.
 This is the second pot of amaryllis plants and two of the 6 buds are open.  They are doing so well this year.
We do have a problem with stray cats that come in our yard and kill the birds.  Does anyone have a suggestion of how I can get them to go away?  I think this next cat was put together by a committee or out of leftover parts.  Look at those back legs! 
We changed some of our plans for this coming weekend.  We had hoped Stephen could meet us in Houston, but that didn't work out.  We are going earlier than originally planned and will be staying with our friends who open their home to so often.  They are moving soon to a new location and I thought they would already be moved, but their move has been delayed.  We will really enjoy spending some time with them. I think the last time we saw them was when I was at the Quilt Festival in October. 

This evening I talked to our son in San Antonio.  After we had talked a while, he asked how I was doing on the phone these days.  After the third time I had him repeat the question, I guessed right about what he was saying.  Does that answer the question?  I can do the phone, but it takes a lot of effort on both my end and on the other person's part to keep repeating the things I don't understand.  We did catch up some on the various things going on in our lives and the lives of his family.