Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31, 2014

Five Grandchildren and a Lot of Laughs
May 31, 2014

The shirt says, "The Princess Has Arrived".  The apron has cupcakes on the fabric and was made for our granddaughters by Ron's mother.  We put it to good use today.

My baking helper.
Our second oldest son and his wife have seven children.  They are a delightful family.  Our son and his wife went out of town for the weekend and my mom is keeping the oldest two boys while Ron and I are keeping the five youngest.  They range in age from 2 years old to 10 years old.  They have been very happy all day and always love to play with the toys at our house that belonged to their dad and their uncles.  

We started the morning rather early and got donuts to have for breakfast.  Then they went back to playing.  The oldest granddaughter helped with the bird feeders, the youngest helped bake cupcakes.
While the cupcakes cooled, I fixed lunch and we ate.  We had spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches - two different requests, but most of them ate some of both.  Strange combination!
After lunch I frosted the cupcakes and the older kids decorated them.

Then we all enjoyed eating them!
Ron took two of the children with him on an errand to Harlingen.  I got the baby down for her nap and read for a while as the other two played happily together.  Later the two little boys rested for a while; the youngest had napped on the trip to Harlingen.
Later in the afternoon Ron set up a card table and let the kids each paint a birdhouse.  He had given me several for Christmas and we let the kids decorate them. 
Below:  Even the 2 year old painted one.
While they painted with Ron, I fixed supper.  We had egg salad sandwiches and fruit salad.  Our oldest granddaughter has always loved this fruit salad along with her mom and me.  Tonight her youngest brother and the baby of the family decided it was wonderful.  Our oldest granddaughter isn't pleased at the thought of so many liking the salad she loves. 
It has been a fun day.  I am tired.  The hearing challenges were always there.  Our youngest grandson has really learned about getting on the proper side of me to be able to get me to hear him.  I did fairly well with him.  The constant chatter and giggles are so sweet, but do wear on me.  At one point during supper I almost took the sound processor off, but knew I needed to keep hearing. 

It took a while, but we finally got everyone one in bed.  I think I am ready for a hot, soaking bath.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014

Friday Night Baseball
Friday,  May 30, 2014

Tonight was the last game of the season for one of my grandsons at the Little League Park.  The other of the little grandsons finished his T-ball season a week or two ago.  I had made it to a couple of games early in the season, but hadn't been back until tonight.  Several of the parents were late getting the boys there.  They were about to postpone the game until tomorrow morning, but finally had enough show up at the last minute.  Our team is the Astros and they are in the orange shirts. 

Hearing out in the wind and with the assorted ball park noises was a little hard.  My youngest grandson who kept wanting to whisper to me this past Sunday, learned where the microphone is on my sound processor is located and did better communicating with me.  It was good to see that he could remember that and use it.  Young, soft voices offer a challenge and that means this will be a challenging weekend since the five youngest grandchildren are spending the weekend with us.  Ron will be around and can help and they all help me understand the youngest ones.  I know we are going to have a great time.

This morning at the office I got several things done that needed my attention and I kept after my grandson to do some other tasks and he made a lot of progress.  He did a lot of filing  and printing for me.

This afternoon after our grandsons left for their Friday time with a man from our church who teaches them electronics and computer things, I left and went to get groceries so that I could feed the five grandchildren while their parents have a long overdue weekend away. 

We met our friends for the usual Friday night dinner and had a good visit.  They had been to visit their out of town grandchildren last weekend and had a good time.  I am so thankful that we don't have to travel long distances to see our grandchildren. 

Following supper, Ron headed home and I headed to the Little League field to watch for a while.  My grandson's hit was a ground ball but it got him to second base. 

It was late by the time the kids were settled in beds.  It is going to be a great, busy weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014

The Calm After The Storm
Thursday,  May 29, 2014

Royal Poinciana Tree survived the storm.  It lost a lot of blooms, but is still beautiful!
Yesterday afternoon we really did have a storm, but it washed our world.  The trees are bright green today (of course the lightening yesterday afternoon helped).  The flowers are trying to stand up straight again after the strong winds beat them down, and they are blooming.  The air is clean and the sky is a lovely soft blue with high thin clouds.  It is getting a little hot and muggy, but beautiful!

Royal Poinciana

For the life of me, I can't figure out why my hearing is different some days from other days.  Today was a day when it seemed everyone was mumbling.  I felt I asked for everything to be repeated!  I changed the settings at supper and it helped a little, but not a lot.

Moss Rose (Portulaca)
I slept later than I had intended to this morning and was just slowing getting myself to the office.  When I did get there, Ron left on jobs and was in and out the rest of the day.  I worked on some filing, located some missing papers on my desk.  I did some cleaning, sorting, and priced and put away some merchandise besides waiting on some customers.
  Hanging basket of Portulaca (also known as Moss Rose).

After work we met my mom for supper and had a nice time with a good visit.  Then Ron got supper to take to his mom and left to deliver it and Mom and I said good bye and headed to our homes.  I spent time in the yard, but with the heavy watering the plants got yesterday from the storm, I didn't need to water any of them.

This Ixora is getting ready to burst into bloom.  It is covered in buds.
During the evening I spoke to our son and his wife in New Mexico and enjoyed the visit with them.  Our daughter-in-law has been working at a school for children with severe autism for the last couple of years, but has resigned effective next week to be at home again and is looking forward to the change.  Our daughter-in-law here in town asked us to keep some of their children this weekend and we will have the five youngest.  I think I need to go do a little house keeping!  Let's see how well I can hear them this weekend or if I end up taking the sound processor off for some peace and quiet.
 One of the many clusters of buds on the Ixora.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014

Stormy Afternoon - Wonderful Rain
May 28, 2014

This morning I was able to sleep until 6:30 and it felt wonderful.  I am not sure I moved last night once I went to sleep.  I think I was tired!  The birds needed to be fed and I decided to take some photos of the hanging baskets and the Royal Poinciana tree.  Everything in the yard is growing so well right now.
The weather was very nice this morning, but the forecast was for it to get very hot with a 10% chance of an afternoon shower or thunderstorm. 
I took care of a few quick chores at the house before going to the office.  Ron had an appointment with the dermatologist this morning, so shortly after I got to the office, he left.  I was pretty busy while he was gone and it was well after noon when he got back.  The doctor had frozen several places of sun damaged skin. 
During the morning I got the blog entry for yesterday done.  During the afternoon I did some bookkeeping work for the office.  Then around 4:00 I asked Ron if he cared if I went on home.  My office has no windows and when I went to talk to him about my leaving I saw that it was getting dark from thick clouds.  I went back to the computer and checked the weather.  It looked like we could get some heavy rain, but it also looked like there was a chance it would miss us, as often happens.
I had one customer late in the afternoon that I just couldn't understand.  Just as he had started to talk, Ron had started using one of the noisy machines behind me.  I told the man he would have to wait until Ron was finished until I could hear him.  When Ron finished, he took over with the customer.  Later he came and asked if I could understand the man.  I said, "Not a word."  It turned out Ron knows him and that they are friends, but Ron said he and another friend of theirs can't understand him well either.  It was good to know my hearing hadn't just gotten worse!
On the way home I stopped for tortillas to make tacos for supper, but the sky was quickly getting darker and I hurried to get home and check the mail, etc. before the storm hit.  I still felt that as so often happens, the storm could bypass us.  After getting the mail I turned on the TV to find out that we were under a tornado warning and the area of concern was just about 3 miles north of us.  That got my attention.  I sat down at the computer to post on Facebook that we had a tornado warning and the rain started. 
The winds picked up and really blew the trees around.  I had hoped for about an inch of rain.  Our son who is one of our assistant city managers said the city got 3 1/2 inches in 30 minutes!  That is heavy rain!    I took several videos of the heavy rains and enjoyed every minute of it (after the tornado warning was lifted).  

Hearing the rain.  Hearing it pour off the roof and splatter on the sidewalk.  Hearing it drip, drip, drip on the leaves of the plants right outside the window where I sat.  Hearing the thunder roll, and roll, and roll.  All these sounds were beautiful.  In our home we have always loved the rain.  Our kids love it.  Ron and I love it.  There is something so beautiful and soothing in a rain shower.  This was more than a shower.  I am so thankful I could hear it all.  It sounded heavenly.

Following the rain, I went out to check on things.  There were a few broken limbs, but nothing major.  As the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, a beautiful rainbow appeared.  God's promise.  God has so many wonderful promises for us.  This one is that He will never again destroy the world by flood.  
Blooms from my lovely Royal Poinciana tree (pictured at the top of this blog) littered the yard, the ponds, and the birdbaths.  It fared better than I expected, but it took a real beating.
 This morning before the storm
This afternoon after the storm

After a rain storm the air is so clean and clear.  It was a beautiful evening.  

I made the tacos for our supper.  Ron was late coming home.  The area at the office had flooded as usual and he had to get out the sandbags and did a lot of sweeping water out of the warehouse.  I know he was exhausted.  We keep the sandbags handy.

May 27, 2014

Long Days and Short Nights
May 27, 2014

Tuesday I was up at 2:30 (that is why this blog is being written Wednesday) to be at the church by 3:30 to help on a project that many had been working on.  Lots of folks have had short nights and long days for a couple of weeks as they quietly served the Lord in any way they could.   That project came to an end today, so I don't have to be up at 2:30 tomorrow morning as I had promised.  Serving God is not always at a convenient time, or in a convenient location, but it is always worth the effort.  Others served at other times, but for many of us, early morning, before work was the only time we could help.  It was worth it!

A Cochlear problem that I encountered during those early hours Tuesday morning, had to do with a baseball cap.  I was to wear a baseball cap while working on this project.  It kept knocking off the magnet that holds the coil in place to transmit information from my sound processor to my brain so I can hear.  When it knocks the magnet loose, I instantly go deaf and I risk the sound processor also falling off.  It was a constant challenge to keep myself wired.  Cochlear makes baseball caps with cut out areas for the coil.  I guess I will need to order one for myself.

After I got home and cleaned up, I spent some time in the yard and relaxed by reading before heading to the office.  At 11:00 I had an appointment with my dermatologist.  He was pleased with how I was doing and froze off a few planter's warts on one foot and a tiny spot on a thumb that he said was a cyst.  Hearing him is an extreme challenge.  He is a very nice, happy man and I enjoy my visits with him, but he talks way too fast to live in Texas.  He is not originally from here.  My first statement to him is usually to ask him to speak more slowly, but he doesn't remember that for more than a couple of sentences.  Using the remote control to the sound processor, I had adjusted the unit to what I thought might work - hearing and understanding him is a challenge.

Back at the office, I got a few chores done and visited with my mom when she dropped by for a bit.  She is amazing.  At 91, after she left my office, she spent the afternoon visiting friends in the nursing homes, hospital, and at the home of a lady a who doesn't drive.  It was dark before she got home - tired, but again, serving the Lord, by caring for others.  Another of those "Long Days".

Just last week I had a discussion with one of my granddaughters about how we each have unique talents and abilities and we need to find out what they are and use them.  Often we can use them to glorify God and to touch the lives of others.  Our discussion started when she told me how many awards one of her brothers had won for his piano playing.  She said he was the King of Trophies at their house.  He is blessed with an amazing ability to play and to memorize music.  He loves to play.  I think God will use that talent in the many ways in the years to come.

When my granddaughter and I had that discussion on talents, I had laughingly told her that my talent was baking chocolate chip cookies.  We laughed, but there is a lot of truth in that.  Her older sister had texted me to see if I would bake some chocolate chip cookies for her Children's Choir party at church.  I did.  I love to bake and I think I do a pretty good job of it most of the time.  Many times I have used that ability to reach out to others to let them know that they are loved.  My piano playing would not touch their lives in a positive way.  I needed to find what I was good at and work to be great at doing it.  Just being good at something isn't enough, we need to use that talent to bless others.

A friend used his talent to bless me yesterday.  I have had a problem with downloading videos onto one of my computers.  I could do it at home, but not at work.  Knowing he is a computer expert, I had asked him last week if he had an answer as to why I was having a problem.  He has pondered that mystery since then.  Last night (even though he was one of those people working at the church at 3:30 yesterday morning), he and his wife came over and he figured it out.  He loves a technical mystery.  He blessed me by being willing to keep seeking an answer and helping me out.
Cave Bob and Vickey hiked to on Monday
We had a nice evening.  I was able to talk to our son Bob and his wife Vickey, and catch up with them.  They had hiked up a mountain to a cave on Monday and loved the experience.
Route to the cave
I did well on the phone.  Bob wanted to share about an article he had read on the future of hearing loss remedies.  The article had also talked about the amazing benefits of Cochlear Implants and he said that after reading the scientific article, he feels that my results are a miracle.  As frustrated as I get sometimes with what I can't hear, apparently I am WAY AHEAD of the majority of Cochlear users.  Thank you to God, Dr. Chang, Cochlear, and the Houston Ear Research Foundation for getting me to where I am today.  I will keep working on perfecting the results.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Memorial Day - Great Time for a Cookout!
Monday, May 26, 2014

Ron had gone to do some things early this morning and let me sleep late on this holiday.  I slept until about 8:30 and it was nice.  He got back about 9:45 and we got ready and went to do some work at the Hendrick Mission Center (HMC).  Our church has owed this property for probably over 40 years.  It is about 2 1/2 acres and currently has two dormitories and a home on the property as well as a storage garage.  For many years in the summers churches all across the nation would send young people to spend a week at the facility (formerly called the Mission Outreach Center - MOC).  During that time they would do mission projects in Brownsville and across the river in Mexico.  They would hold Vacation Bible Schools under tents all over town. 

In years past, there would usually be close to 100 young people here each week of June and July.  Now with more violence across the border in Mexico, many parents won't let their children come to the area.  It is a shame because there are still many who need to hear of God's love on our side of the border.  Over the last two or three years there has been a transition in the usage of the buildings.  During the past couple of weeks they have housed about 100 adults here helping in other ways.  There is currently a break in the usage for a few days and so several people from the church spent much of the day working to clean up the property and do some painting.  I went dressed to clean, but was assigned to scrape and paint a couple of benches that are used in the evenings when some of the group members want to sit outside and enjoy the birds and the breeze.
I did manage to do my job without getting paint on my clothes - just a little on me.  I am not sure how I will explain my sunburn to my dermatologist when I go for a checkup tomorrow.  I am sure I will be fussed at.  I just didn't expect to be outside.
There was a lot of outdoor work to be done.  Our school superintendent commented that he thought he reclaimed an acre of land by mowing some tall weeds.
Above is my husband, our two oldest grandsons, and Mrs. Hendrick (Connie) clearing some of the brush.  It is Connie's late husband, Dwight,for whom the center is now named.  Both Dwight and Connie Hendrick have put years of their lives into the work that flows from this facility. 
Here our pastor, Steve Dorman supervises his wife Karen as she grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the workers.  My grandson Isaac and I agreed they were probably the best hamburgers we had ever eaten.  Karen, you are an excellent cook!  After lunch, painting of the dining room started.  Once I finished my benches, I joined the indoor painters for a while.
Here, our pastor's wife and her son work on one wall.  While others are working on the other walls.

It was a very productive time and hopefully it will be in good shape for those who will be arriving to fill it up in a couple of days.

Once we got home, we cleaned up and Ron slept the afternoon away while I worked on yesterday's blog entry and read for a little while.

A late night trip to Wal-Mart for a baseball cap for an early morning assignment completed my day.  When the Cochlear Implant takes down background noise late at night at Wal-Mart, it is not a bad place to be, and a perfect time for shopping.

My Cochlear Implant takes down the background noises well, but sometimes it makes it hard to understand people speaking to me when it takes down the background noises too well.  When I was working outside at the HMC today, it kept down the noise of the riding mower and street traffic, but I usually had to have people repeat things said to me.

May 25, 2014

Wonderful Sunday, With a
Little Sadness Thrown In
Sunday May 25, 2014

Again I am writing this a day late, but wanted to do it separate from today which I hope to get written up before the day is over.  This is Memorial Day weekend, a time when we honor the men and women who have died fighting to protect our country and those in other countries who are in danger.  Americans historically care about people in other countries who are in danger.  Often when that happens somewhere around the world, or service men and women leave their homes to go help out.  Sometimes those who feel they are in danger come to America's doorstep.

Growing numbers of people are fleeing the drug wars in Central America and heading north - to America.  Just recently "the Department of Homeland Security chief declared an emergency at the Rio Grande Valley border, after he visited the Border Patrol station in McAllen where he saw childredn packed inside the station.  A recent surge in unaccompanied youths, mostly from Central America, prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to declare a level-four condition of readiness in the Rio Grande Valley, according to a the New York Times." the Brownsville Herald May 18, 2014

America does all it can to help the hurting around the world.  Often our service men and women have paid a price with their lives as they try to help people in other countries find safety in their own land.  Sometimes, those people must flee their homeland to find safety.  Along the southern border of our country right now, that is happening.  All that can be done to help these children is being done.  It kind of brings into perspective what our soldiers fight for around the world.  We have all seen news photos of our American soldiers trying in many ways to make the lives of  children better in other countries where they are serving.  Now those in need of safety are coming to our border. 

At church, in our Sunday School class, there was a lot of discussion of those current needs.  In the church service there was also information shared about the crisis.  Many are helping.  Many are praying.  Many are the needs.

My brother and his wife had come to see my mom for the weekend and were at church yesterday morning.  That is the only time I got to see them.  They were heading home after a quick lunch and we weren't ready to go when they left church.  Our son Jeff was locking up the facility after the services to fill in for one of our staff members who was out of town.

Ron and I went with Jeff's family to a Bar-B-Que place called Buddy's, for lunch.  We had a good lunch and a good time.  I was seated beside our youngest grandson and he kept wanting to whisper things in my ear.  That doesn't work with a Cochlear Implant.  He would cup his hand and speak softly, but I was not getting his secret messages.  Most of them were requests for more food or ice cream, or toys from my purse (that had no toys in it).  After looking at the menu price for Ice Cream, I invited them to all come to our house for ice cream since I could serve all eleven of us for the price of two servings at the restaurant.  The kids got their ice cream and then scattered to our play rooms. 

I have mentioned before that my two oldest granddaughters leave signs that they have been here. I had not made my bed before going to church yesterday and when I went to bed last night, I saw my granddaughter had made my bed.  Is she a jewel, or what??  They also took the beanie babies and added hats and assorted accessories to them and left of row of them in the window.  I love those girls!
The family stayed all afternoon visiting and napping.  We had a nice time together and I am so glad we were able to get together. 
They are growing up too fast!  One of the reasons they wanted to come over was to see the baby woodpecker.  Sadly, the photo at the top is the last we saw the baby.  I took that photo Sunday morning before we left for church and when we got home after lunch we never saw it.  I have mentioned before that some stray cats hang around and we don't know if that is what happened - a cat.  Both male and female Golden-fronted Woodpeckers spent much of the day by the hole, or in the hole, or just a ways above the hole in the tree.
The mother bird has spent hours by the hole.  It is so sad.  I know that in the animal kingdom, things like that happen, but I will miss that little bird.  It has brought hours of joy to me and delighted many of my facebook friends as they have watched the videos of the baby growing in size and confidence.  It may have gotten brave enough to get out of the hole and couldn't protect itself.
The parent Golden-fronted Woodpeckers appear to be grieving the loss of their baby.  I will miss it a lot, too. 

Ron spent time with his mom during the afternoon and then during the evening we relaxed and read and did a little yard work. 

As for my hearing, I did well in church.  I was able to hear all of the preacher's sermon which was well prepared and very good.  I used the cable that goes from the sound processor to the transistor radio that the church uses for the hearing impaired.  At lunch, the restaurant was not too busy so I did fine other than not being able to hear the whispers from my grandson.  At home I did fine.  I do start to get a very tinny sound to my voice and to the voices of others when there is a lot of background noise going on.  I will be going back to Houston in a couple of weeks and we will see if any adjustments can be made.