Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Where Did June Go?
June 30, 2014

Everyone seems to be asking the same question: "Where did June go?"  This month seems to have flown by so rapidly!  My customers have commented about it and I just keep shaking my head each time I date an invoice and wonder what happened to one of my favorite months.  I guess since it is our anniversary month, I am extra fond of June.

Today I was slow moving as I started the day.  That seems to be more common lately.  I am not sure why.  I did have a restless night last night so that may be one reason for today getting a slow start. 

When I got to the office I hit the ground running as I worked on the assorted end-of-the-month chores.  I was able to get most of them done and have little to do tomorrow on the first of the month.  That will be nice for a change.  Lately the first of the month has been extra busy as I catch up on tying up all the loose ends from the month just ended.  So the day was spent mostly doing paper work.

Ron was out on jobs for a couple of hours and it was a little quiet while he was gone although I was listening to Rush on the computer.  I was pleased to hear the Supreme Court ruling today in favor of Hobby Lobby and was curious to hear Rush's comments. 

I got the last deposit for the month made and took it to the bank and was able to get finished quickly at the bank.  Sometimes it is very busy and slow at the end of the month.  It felt good to be on top of things for a change (although my desk is still a mess, but improving).

After work I went by our son's home.  Our son and his wife were spending the day house hunting in the town they are moving to a little more than an hour away from their current home.  My mom had been watching the children all day and I stopped by to see if she needed me to pick up something for supper.  Our daughter-in-law had taken care of it, so I just visited a while.  

It seems that they had made a new acquisition in the last couple of days.  They had bought a baby grand piano for the family.  Four of the children take piano lessons and that will probably increase to five in the fall.  The four who are currently taking lessons are good at it and so I guess they decided they needed another piano so practice time could be handled a little more easily.  Three of the current piano students played for me.  The fourth is away at church camp. 

It is interesting that the one away at camp has been the one who would complain most about the years of lessons.  He is an outstanding pianist and his teacher says he puts such feeling into his playing.  Just a couple of weeks ago he told me he had ordered some music of his choice and was now playing for enjoyment when he was tired or stressed.  What an wonderful way to unwind.
 Our second grandson pictured here, if technically the best of the bunch, but needs to put more emotion into his playing.  He loves to play and can either read music or play by ear.  He memorizes music very easily.  He is delighted with the new piano.

This is the youngest of those taking lessons currently.  She usually has a quick smile while she is at the piano - in front of family and close friends, but is very shy in front of strangers.  She enjoys playing.
The oldest granddaughter pictured above here, is so graceful looking at the piano.  She is beautiful as she plays.  I love to watch her as she plays the piano with her long slender arms and fingers.

With my Cochlear Implant, watching them play is about all that I am good for.  I cannot discern what they are playing.  At one point, while my grandson was playing I thought I detected one of the old hymns, but as for the rest of the pieces, I have no idea what they were playing.  That saddens me since I love music.  Now the piano playing is honestly, just "noise".  But I do love to see the grandchildren enjoy it and I am so glad they were able to add this new piano to their home.
On my way home, I stopped for milk and bread - wonder how many times I have done that over the years?  Once I got home I fixed supper and read for a while.  I worked in the kitchen some and answered some emails. 

Today was a productive, good day.  I just hate to see June end so soon!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29,2014

A Beautiful, Blessed Sunday
June 29, 2014

We went to Sunday School and church as usual.  We had a good group in our Sunday School class and a nice amount of discussion.  Our church service started with a ministry group who was visiting to do work in the area with the immigrant children coming from Central America.  The group is NAPS - National Association for Prevention of Starvation.  They work all over the world in various difficult situations.  Very friendly group of young adults who spent time passing out hugs to church members before the service.

It was late when we got out of church and then we came home and I fixed spaghetti for lunch.  It was so good - nothing special, but we both agreed it was great.  We spent time in the yard talking about what needs to be done and what we hope we can accomplish out there.  I cut up a huge watermelon I bought yesterday and cut 1/2 of it into bite sized pieces.  It is the best watermelon we have had in years.  Yummy!  During the afternoon I spent time reading and relaxing.  Ron left a little before 4:00 for a meeting at the church and shortly after that I spotted some little birds at the bird bath and they turned out to be a pair of Lesser Goldfinches.

There were the usual doves and grackles at the birdbath along with some sparrows, but it is always fun to see the cute, colorful birds visiting.
I want to say to this bird, "Your eyes will cross if you keep looking that way!"
At 6:00  this evening the church had what we call "Family Style Lord's Supper".  We have a light meal and then tonight there were about 8 wonderful testimonies.  Well, I say they were wonderful.  In most cases I knew the people and knew enough about their situations to know what they were sharing, but I really heard very little.  Ron filled me in as much as he could when we got home.  After the testimonies, the Lord's supper was served and then we stayed and visited briefly.

After the service I went by Mom's house to borrow some videos that I wanted to see.  Once we got home, Ron and I had time to talk.  Later in the evening I got to talk to both our son and daughter-in-law in New Mexico.  They are doing well.  We will be seeing them very soon when all the family gathers for a long weekend.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014

Filled-Up Friday and Sewing Saturday
June 28, 2014

Again I am covering two days.  Friday was another full day.  After taking care of the usual things at the house, I started the day with another trip to the Sprint Store.  I had a problem last week with the phone thinking I was roaming when I wasn't - in other words, they might add extra charges.  When I first got there, a young lady said, it was an easy fix.  She said the problem was due to the technicians working on the towers and she could easily fix the phone.  Wrong.  She next had the repairman work on it and after 20 minutes I told her I would leave it and be back later for it.  They called about the time I got to the office to say it was ready.

I did some office work.  Before long it was time for me to go to a scheduled mammogram appointment.  When I got there, they asked when my appointment was - like they weren't aware of it, but I was quickly called in.  My appointment was for 11:30 and I was pulling OUT of the parking lot to leave after the appointment at 11:30.  Nice.  Then I went to get my phone.  They have been nice at the Sprint Store, but I hope not to see them again for a while!  When I finished there I had a text that my grandson would like a ride to work.  He had slept-in and was now ready to come to work.

He was ready when I got to their house and after hugging the other grandchildren, we went to the office - in time for lunch.  Ron has always laughed about employees who arrive in time to eat.  Our grandson and I did some jobs and then he left to work with the man from our church who works with the boys on Friday afternoons.  The rest of the afternoon I spent doing some computer work and a little cleaning on my desk.

Our usual Friday night dinner partners were not available, so we came home and had left-overs.  I was asleep by 8:00.  That is why there was no blog yesterday.  Of course that meant that I woke up before my alarm went off this morning.  I was up by 5:45.  I started doing laundry and some kitchen work.  I was in the garage doing laundry when my housekeeper arrived - about 30 minutes early.  God must have told me to look out the window because I didn't have my Cochlear sound processor on yet since she was so early.  She said she had just rung the bell when I opened the door.  I didn't hear the bell at all.

I spent much of the morning in the sewing room working on cleaning the sewing table and trying out a new pattern I had seen on a video yesterday.  After making a couple of blocks, I decided it was easy enough for our granddaughters to be able to make them.  I had a text from our daughter-in-law asking if I wanted some leftovers from a party the previous day that was given for our son who is changing jobs.  I told her I would take sandwiches and girls.  She brought me some of each.

First I showed the girls the new block I thought that they could make.  They were excited about trying it.

 This is the block.  The oldest granddaughter worked with this color grouping.
She got right to work on her blocks. 

The rest of the day was spent in the sewing room with the girls.  They did a great job on the sewing and had a wonderful time.  I don't recall my mom allowing me to use her sewing machine at their ages - maybe she did and I just forgot, but I am so amazed with what they make when left on their own.  The girls are 8 and 10.
These are the color combinations our second granddaughter was working with. 
The second of the girls got off to a slow start since she was trying to use my older sewing machine and it was giving her some problems.  They do both like my good machine!
 Once she got a turn at the good machine, she quickly had things under control.

The cutting was my job.  The oldest of the girls loves to iron so she did a little of the cutting and most of the ironing as well as her own sewing.  They took turns with the good machine and by lunch time they each had the first set of triangles around the center blocks on 16 squares each.  They had just started adding the second set of triangles.

After they got a little of the second stage done, they wanted to take a break and play with my miniature General Store.  Before I found the world of quilting, I used to build miniature houses and stores, etc.  I will only let them play with this one when the younger kids aren't here.
They clean the store for me each time they play with it.
I love seeing them enjoy the things that I do.  We had a great time.

While they played, I baked a chocolate cake and then introduced them to the joy of eating hot cake right out of the oven with butter on it instead of frosting.  I am sure their mother would rather I taught them some other things, but I want them to have all the joys in life!

We returned to the sewing room and they spent a little time working on their quilts, but then started on projects of their own design.  The younger on started with the scrap box and pieced a little quilt in a rather primitive style, just adding pieces where she wanted with some raw edges showing and some not.  Then she made another about the same size and sewed them together in layers so that it was like a reversible quilt.  She had that sewing machine humming - and she was using the old one.
The front of her little quilt that she designed.
The back of the quilt.

Meanwhile, her older sister was making a purse.
Our daughter-in-law texted and asked if I could take the girls to a party they were to attend - she was running late.  I took them and then went to the grocery store.  
While the girls were here, I did well with the Cochlear Implant.  I rarely had to ask for things to be repeated.  The time at the grocery store was nice.  When I have the program on that takes down background noises, a trip to the grocery store is not too bad.

It was 8:00 before I got home and I must admit that I was tired.  Mom stopped by with some plants for my garden!  They are lovely!

I made frosting for the rest of the cake and fixed an easy supper for Ron and me.  Stephen called this evening and I did a little better with him on the speaker phone.  I had a great day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26, 2014

Two Days, One Blog Posting
June 26, 2014

Today's posting covers two days.  It was just too late last night to get one done.  Yesterday was a very nice day - filled with nice activities.  I was up early, but knowing there would be a lot going on, I did not try to go to the gym.  I got my workout other ways.  I spent time in the yard and enjoyed the beauty of a clear day following a rain.  The air was so clean.  The birds were all chirping.  I love hearing them!

My youngest sister and her husband are in town and they came over with my mom about 9:00 and we had a nice visit and a tour of the yard.  Their yards (Mom's, and Janet and Joe Bob's) are beautiful.  Joe Bob has a little more time to work on theirs than I have for mine.  Theirs has inspired me to get to work on mine.  They are so creative with unique ideas for their yard.  Mom's yard is always beautiful.

My sister wants to make a quilt for her son.  I made one for her a few years ago with just cat print fabrics and recently her young adult son let it be known he would like one for himself.  I already had a small stack of cat fabric squares cut so I taught Janet how to use a rotary cutter and left her cutting fabrics when I went to work.  Mom was curled up napping on the couch and Janet's husband was visiting a friend.

At the office I paid bills and got a package ready to go out in the mail.  I worked on an assortment of little projects at work.  I left the office a little early to go pick up some roasted chickens for supper since several of the grandchildren were coming to our house for the evening.  I had first been told the four youngest would be coming.  Instead five came and two of them were still doing school work.  Since they are home schooled, they don't always finish their school year with the public school schedule. 

We had a great visit, good food, and lots of laughs.  Ron took our oldest granddaughter to the church for Children's choir when we finished supper and the others scattered to play and one to finish school work.  When Barb finished a meeting at the church for parents of kids going to church camp, she brought the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter with her.  The oldest grandson is serving as an intern at the church this summer so he had been there all day for youth activities. 
This is the second grandson - he was still doing schoolwork.
Late in the evening Mom, Janet and her husband came back over to see the grandchildren.   Again, we all had fun visiting and watching the grandchildren play.  It was late by the time everyone left and so I didn't try to do a blog posting. 

As far as my hearing, I really had trouble at the supper table.  When the children and all talking at once and laughing and being silly, the sound processor gets overwhelmed.  But asking children who are bubbling over with happiness to talk one at a time just doesn't work.  They are so much fun!

I think Ron and I both slept soundly last night.  We were up on time this morning, but there was no way I was up early enough for the gym.  In the yard this morning, there were a lot of hibiscus plants with buds starting to open.  They were a little slow opening because of a rain overnight and a heavy cloud cover this morning.  I made sure to check on them this evening and I am sharing a variety of them in this portion of the blog entry. 

After taking care of things in the yard this morning, I got ready for work and went first by our doctor's office.  Ron and I each had a bill that we think should be covered by Medicare, but seem to have been coded wrong and I went to see if they had an answer about them yet.  Again the man we needed to talk to was not in.  Then I went by PaperJay - the place that has been printing my bird shirts.  I had bought a couple of blank t-shirts on Tuesday and took the shirts to PaperJay this morning.  They had one design ready to do and they printed the shirt while I waited.  It was interesting to watch the process.  There is a young lady there who is doing a great job preparing my photos for the shirts, but she is soft spoken.  I really have trouble hearing her.  Most of our contact is by email and that works well for me.  She is a kind, talented young lady.
My new t-shirt - hot off the press - literally!
From there I went to the office.  I prepared a bank deposit and took it to the bank.  By that time it was time for lunch.  When I finished eating I ran a couple of shop errands - I paid a bill at Sears and then went to Staples and bought ink cartridges for our printers.  On the way back to the office I stopped to buy ice.  I sure use a lot of ice!  I love my drinks with a full glass of ice.  The rest of the afternoon I worked on my files.  I found some that were messed up - things in wrong files or in the wrong order.  I got that all taken care of and then finished filing the most recent things.

After work we met Mom, Janet and her husband for supper and had a nice visit.  The place we go seems to me to be the quietest eating place in town in the evenings.  For lunch they are very busy, but not much in the evenings.  We had a good visit and most of the things I could hear.  The one negative is that this place like several others these days has TV sets in each room.  Why?  Can't we all be away from the TV while we eat a meal?  When the kids were young we decided not to have  a television that could be watched from the dining table.  There are a few rare occasions when we have broken that rule, but very few.  I think that is why most of the memories I have of our boys at home growing up is their laughter around the supper table.  They weren't glued to a show on TV, they were interacting with each other. 

Then my hearing was put to another challenge.  As I have said, I do very little on the telephone.  Our daughter-in-law from San Antonio called and I talked to her and to her niece and nephew who are our grandchildren - by love.  David and Diana are raising them and we have the joy of adding them to our family.  Sadly, we don't get to see them often enough, but we hope to work on that now that we are not having as many medical trips to Houston, etc.  Last year was really spent on so many medical needs that we didn't get to see some of the family members often enough.  When we had so many times when we had to close the office to go to Houston, there just was not time and money to make trips to San Antonio, etc. 

At the end of the evening we tried another new challenge.  We did Skype session with our youngest son.  We had never done that.  I had someone help me install it on my Kindle Fire HD, but had never used it.  Poor Stephen (who does not have a Kindle Fire) was trying long distance to talk us through it.  It took a lot of time and patience, but we finally got it going.  It was so nice to be able to see him while talking to him.  He looked great.  We are so thankful for all of our boys!

Oh, forgot!  I guess I got to see or talk to each of our boys or their families today.  There was the talk with daughter-in-law Diana and the kids in San Antonio, the Skype with Stephen in Dallas, the phone visit with daughter-in-law Vickey in New Mexico, and then on the 10:00 news there was an interview with our son, Jeff, talking about the serious situation with the thousands of children from Central America flooding across our southern border.  As Brownsville's Assistant City Manager, he was talking about how the city is working to meet the needs of these people.  We are so proud of all our boys and their families.  We thank God for each one of them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 2014

A Nice Rain Overnight
June 24, 2014

Since I do not wear my Cochlear Implant sound processor when I sleep, I missed out on hearing the rain that came last night.  I love to hear the rain and we needed the moisture.  It would have been nice to be able to hear it.  When I got up this morning, the windows were covered in condensation as it was hot and humid outside while nice and comfortably cool in the air conditioned house.

Having felt bad last night, I did not try to get up early to go to the gym this morning, but hope to go tomorrow.  Instead I watched the doves at the feeders.  They were sharing at the feeder this morning but this evening they were chasing each other away.  I watched for about 15 minutes and I don't think any of them ate any food, they just chased each other away.  Silly birds!

I went to the office about 10:00 and spent much of the day on the computer working on a book I was making on the Shutterfly website.  I have made several books through them with my photos.  One is of bird photos I have taken at South Padre Island.  Another is of birds in my backyard.  I have done two or three of family gatherings and one on my quilts.  One was of the celebration last year for my mom's 90th birthday.  Today I finished and ordered one of our family and the assorted activities over the Christmas holidays in 2013.  All of our family members (our sons and their families and our moms) were able to be here this past Christmas and it was a delightful time of celebrating.  I am pleased with the book and look forward to receiving it in a week or ten days.  The grandchildren always enjoy looking at these books when visiting at our house.
This is one page from my new book. 
I enjoy the Shutterfly books, note cards, and calendars, but you really have to be careful on the pricing.  I had a slight problem with them today and did a chat session with one of their employees and worked it out, but it was a $5 problem and I have had more expensive problems with them in the past.  The product is good but some times their website is not clear on some issues.

 On the way home from work, I stopped for a few items at Wal-Mart.  At home I went into the backyard and checked on my flower bed and the ponds and feeders.  I spotted this Golden-fronted Woodpecker out in the back on the bamboo.  I have not seen him around a lot since they lost their baby.  It was good to see him.  I have spotted the pair in the front yard where they moved to an old hole in a dead tree.
The evening was relaxed as I worked to get some sewing ready to be put together and then later chatted with our son and daughter-in-law in New Mexico.

June 23, 2014

Problems with My New Phone
June 24, 2014

My new cell phone has been helpful with Cochlear Implant.  I can at least hear it ringing!  But over the weekend it went dead.  Nothing I could do did any good.  So first thing Monday morning I took it to the Sprint store and after about an hour they called to say it was ready.  The repairman said it was a light sensor.  Hmm?  I asked if it was something I did wrong that I might by accident do again, and he said no.  Yea!  No charge since I had insurance.

On the new phone I was given a free 30-day trial of a voice message to text application.  I LIKE it!  It is great for me since often on voice mail I have no idea who it is or why they are calling.  The transcribed messages are amazingly accurate.  I think I may go ahead and pay for that option at the end of the month.

This is being written Tuesday afternoon instead of the expected Monday night.  I was not feeling well last night and was also exhausted, so I didn't try to post last night.  The day started with me getting up at 5:15 and going to the gym for the first time in a while.  I did pretty well considering I hadn't been there in a while, but I had been doing a lot of yard work.
A re-potted fern.

At the office, it was a slow day, but I had a lot of odds and ends to work on like balancing the checkbook, etc.  I wrote several letters and caught up on some emails.  When I got home, I was delighted to see that my new flower bed looked great!  Everything seems to have been fine with the transplanting.  One fern that I divided into two pots seemed a little shocked, but all the plants in the bed were in great shape.
This plant is one I bought on our trip to see the audiologist in Houston 2 weeks ago and it has not bloomed until I put it in the flower bed.  One day in the bed and look at it!
After spending some time in the yard, I went in and made a big pot of broccoli and cheese soup for supper and got to feeling bad (before I ate the soup).  So I headed to bed earlier than normal.

Having a Cochlear Implant presents lots of challenges.  One of them is a hair style that covers it.  It is not a real big problem to me when it shows, but some folks may wonder why I have a wire seeming to run out of my head, (it doesn't run out of my head) so I try to keep it covered.  Last Friday I tried a new hair stylist.  She may not get a second chance to try.  I am very disappointed in the outcome.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014

A Good Sunday
June 22, 2014

A sparrow getting a drink at the fountain in the birdbath.
For some reason I was up early today and had time to work in the yard a bit before getting ready for church.  Our Sunday School class was great.  We had a good lesson with lots of discussion.  It is so great when the lessons sound like they could have been today's news headlines.  We have an outstanding group of people who know their Bibles well and can add to the lesson with insights and comments.

The worship service was also excellent.  I am enjoying them so much more now that I am using the cable with my Cochlear Implant sound processor to the little radio the church has for the hearing impaired.  It really helps.  The pastor was just back from the Southern Baptist Convention and as always happens he met people who have come here in the past to work for a week at our Mission Outreach Center (that is now called the Hendrick Mission Center in honor of a man who spent many years leading work in that facility).  They share with our pastor that the week they spent working here led them to surrender their lives to ministry or mission work or in someway to serve the Lord in full-time work.  God has blessed that ministry.  A group arrives tonight to work this coming week.  Future leaders of our convention may be in that group coming tonight.

During the service, a group of children who had attended a day camp at the Hendrick Mission Center (HMC) sang in the service.  Four of our grandchildren were in the group.  I think almost all of us know that when you get a group of little children up in front of the church, there is usually one child who stands out from the rest - usually for not doing what they others are doing.  Today that was our youngest grandson.  He had only been able to attend 2 of the 5 days of the camp so he didn't know the song well.  Someone must have told him to watch the little boy next to him to see what to do.  He did.  (That is our grandson in the white shirt.)
By the end of the song he was catching on.  The two older granddaughters were on the other side of the stage as was the other little grandson.  Ron could not get the other grandson in the photo but here are the two girls.
After an excellent sermon we decided to go to Wendy's for lunch.  I got a few grandchildren photos before we left the church.
The middle of the three girls.
The youngest of the girls.  
The oldest of the girls had already headed to the car with a friend.
The three youngest children.
The two oldest children.  The one in the green is the oldest. 
At Wendy's we had a relaxing lunch and enjoyed visiting as we had our hamburgers and fries.  Mostly, we talked about the changes that are in store for our son and his family.  He has accepted a new job in a town a little over an hour's drive from us.  I know that they will all quickly make new friends and find places to use their many talents, but we will really miss them - especially on Sundays.  Our son starts his new job soon, but they need to find a house before the family can move.  In the meantime, he will drive back and forth each day.  We will miss them, but we have always told all our sons to do what is right for their families.  Their decisions need to be based on their needs.  We are thankful to have had them in our same town for all these years, and are thankful that they won't be too far away.  Since they are home schooled, their schedules are a little more flexible.  They don't have to move by the time school starts, but they may find a house by then.

Our son has worked for our city in one job or another for most of his adult life.  While in college he worked summers in Yellowstone National Park, but during those college years he got training to be an EMT and worked for our city on the ambulances and then used those skills in Yellowstone.  He then took a law enforcement class to use in Yellowstone as a park ranger and later went to the Police Academy here in Brownsville.  As soon as he had returned from Yellowstone he went to work for our Convention and Visitor's Bureau.  He later worked as the assistant director for the city Ambulance Service, about the time they were combining them with the fire department.  From there he became the Emergency Management Director when the city created that position.  That was just before the time of the 9-11 attack in New York City.  Prior to 9-11, his job was mostly to deal with hurricanes and local emergencies like oil spills, etc.  Within a few days of 9-11, the position changed to encompass much more. 

He continued working with the Emergency Management even after he became Assistant City Manager.  He loves that work.  I tease him a lot about that Emergency Management job.  When he first told us about it, the focus had to do with preparedness for evacuating the city in case of a major storm or other major disaster.  Then a few days before he actually started the job, he called to say he was getting fitted for a bullet proof vest because he would be busy in case of a hostage situation or other type situation that involved several departments of the city workers.  It wasn't much longer before 9-11 occurred and then the anthrax scare.  He called to check on assorted shots that he had been given and what antibiotics he could take since he has a lot of allergies.  First responders might need to have small pox shots, etc.  The city has seen to it that he received great training for each of those situations.  Our city has good plans in place in case of a need for them. Jeff loves to work for the community.  He loves to help people and to solve problems.  He is great at his job and our city will miss him.
A relaxing Sunday lunch with our son.
Late this afternoon Ron and again worked in the yard.  I finished my flower bed.  I was hot and tired when it was done, but I am hoping the chicken from next door will leave it alone and that the ducks won't trample it.  I know the birds will love the new birdbath.  I will love the plants and the added bird attraction.
The flower bed!!!!
Close up of the birdbath, with a cat figure on top.

Today was hot and the birds really used the other birdbaths a lot.  It was fun to watch the young sparrows try to figure out how to use them to get a drink. 

It has been a long, good day and we did a lot.  Can't believe it is time to go back to work in the morning.  I do need to go to the Sprint store first to see if they will take care of my new phone that quit working.