Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31, 2016

Lots of Visiting Family
January 31, 2016

Ron (on couch), his brother and brother's wife

It is not real common for us to have a lot of visiting family.  Usually only one or two come at a time and if it is siblings of Ron or mine they normally stay at the our moms' houses.  This weekend, my brother and his wife are at Mom's house for a few days.  Ron's sister has been at Ron's mom's house all month.  Ron's brother and his wife arrived last night and stayed with us.  They thought his sister was staying for another day or two, so they were going to stay with us until there was more room at their mom's house.  Then plans changed and his sister went home today.  So they were only with us one night.

We were all up early this morning even after our late night visiting.  Everyone made it to Sunday School from our house on time.  Then my brother, his wife and Mom joined us for church.  A couple of people were confused when I introduced my brother and his wife and Ron's brother and his wife (Ron was out in the foyer).

After church we went to Ron's mom's house so we could get instructions from Ron's sister before she left.  She had left by the time we got there, but she gave information to Ron's brother.  We are thankful for siblings who will come and help out with the needs that our mothers have.  Since Ron and I both still work, our time is limited.  We can usually rearrange our schedules to meet their needs, but it helps when the others are here to share the responsibilities.

We went to Luby's for a late lunch and picked up lunch for Ron's mom.  She doesn't like to go out - too much effort.  Ron's brother came over after lunch and got their things so they could move over to the mom's house.  I spent the afternoon napping and reading.  Ron was at his mom's for a while and then at the church.

In church this morning, the transmission on the radio at church had a lot of static and even though I was hooked up to my radio, the static made it too difficult to hear.  So I unplugged the radio from the Cochlear sound processor and just listened.  I did pretty well.  They have just recently worked on the sound system and some things are better while others are worse.  Hope they get all the bugs out of it soon.

It was nice to relax this afternoon and evening.  I finished a book I had been reading and just relaxed in the recliner.

January 30, 2016

I Heard the Christmas Bells Today
The Christmas Tree is Finally Down
January 30, 2016

Just below the front foot of the elephant ornament,
 is the brass bell referred to in this blog.

The Christmas tree is finally down!  All the ornaments are boxed and put away!  Never has my tree been up this long!  What a job.  As I took ornaments off the tree, I sorted them putting ornaments that looked alike together.  Then I had categories like angels, snowflakes, bells, hand-painted ornaments, etc.  As I was taking the last of the ornaments off the tree, there were several bells.  I picked up a heavy brass bell that I had bought when on a trip with my parents to Thailand about 30 years ago.

As I removed that bell from the tree, it rang out a clear tone that was louder than I had expected.  When I added it to the pile of other bells, I took time to ring several of them, rejoicing that I could hear those bells.  (In spite of my deafness, my Cochlear Implant allows me to hear the bells as well as millions of sounds.)  The Christmas song, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was a favorite of my Dad's.  I began thinking of packing those bells away and started to write a silly little poem about that task, but stopped as I thought more of the Christmas carol and its words.  I began to rejoice knowing that although I was packing away the decorations of Christmas, the Christ of Christmas is with us every day. 

We may pack away our nativity sets, but that baby born in a manger died for our sins on a cross.  All we need to do to spend eternity with Him in Heaven is to accept the free gift of salvation that He paid for on that cross with His blood.  For some it just seems too simple to be real.  They want to add things to salvation - usually works.  If you have accepted God's gift of salvation by admitting that you are a sinner and that Christ died for those sins, and you are willing to make Him Lord of your life, you will want to serve Him.  That is where works come in.  We want to help others, tell others what we have found, and do all we can to serve our risen Savior.  But we don't have to do works to become a Christian.  Nothing we could ever do would be good enough. 

By our works we are known.  If we serve the Lord, others will know there is something different about us and most often they will want what we have - maybe not today, but soon.  If your Christmas decorations are stored for the year, in a closet, in the garage, or in a storage place, just remember that the most important thing about Christmas is that we can have that joy and peace in our hearts all year long.

The day was VERY busy!  Ron's brother and his brother's wife were coming to spend a couple of days with us and although the house was in pretty good shape if you don't count the living room that was filled with boxes and decorations, I still had work to do.  I got several loads of laundry done, Ron helped with dishes, I spent about an hour in the yard early in the day, and took care of ponds and feeders.  In the guest room, I had to put away the last of the Christmas wrapping items. I had a couple of bathrooms to clean and a kitchen floor to mop.  I worked all day long and almost all was done when they arrived at 9:00 p.m.

While I worked on my chores, Ron helped by actually taking down and packing away the Christmas tree and taking it to where we store it.  He helped with dishes and vacuuming and running a couple of errands for me and for his mother.  It was a long, busy day, but it sure is nice to have all those things done.

Once they arrived, we sat up talking until about 12:30 or later.  It was so good to see them and spend time catching up.  They will be helping Ron's mother for a few days as Ron's sister returns to her home for this week. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016

Yes, I am Glad it is Friday!
January 29, 2016

I continue working on blocks for this quilt; 
even have a few more blocks made since photo was taken.
This morning before going to the office, I did a little cleaning in the kitchen.  There is always more to do, but every little bit helps.  I gathered things for my lunch and got to the office about the same time as usual.  I started working on some items on the computer.  Ron was working on a safe he is refinishing and it is looking very nice.  The morning was very busy with customers.  Ron and I both kept busy helping them.

Later I had my lunch and then Ron left on a job.  While he was gone I continued to stay busy and was just ready to start sewing when he got back.  Instead, I returned to waiting on customers so he could get some things done in his office.  One of the customers stayed to visit for a long time.  He got to telling me about his childhood in a little town just north of Brownsville.  It was another of those conversations I was thankful I could have.

Late in the afternoon, I started sewing and got 9 of the blocks made for the quilt in progress.  I am enjoying the bright colors in it and the contrast of those against the white background make for a bold quilt.  This evening I have made a few more.

After work I picked up Mom and we went to Jason's Deli for supper.  We arrived at the same time Ron did.  Supper was good.  The mini mic worked well.  I was able to hear most of what Mom said.  The evening was relaxing and enjoyable.  I took Mom home after supper and once I got home, I spent a little time sewing.

January 28, 2016

Beautiful Day!
January 28, 2016

Image result for water balloon catapult
 This is something that I found on sale
 at a local Wal-Mart's last day in business.  
Can't wait to see my older grandsons play with it! 
The morning started out in the upper 30s and was amazingly lovely.  There was not a cloud in the crystal clear sky.  It sure was hard to go to the office instead of to the beach in search of birds to photograph.  Instead of birding, I went to the Wal-Mart that is closing for their 75% off sale.  I bought mostly craft projects for our grandchildren.  There were not too many people there and all were being nice.  The biggest problem was getting down the aisles since the few remaining items had been put in a small portion of the store.  The other thing I bought was puzzles. 

I made it to the office at my usual time and it was a very quiet day.  I got my bank statement balanced, a few folders of papers packed away, and a few new files made.  It will be nice when that is all finished, but I expect it to be next week before it is all done.

At closing time we went to meet our friends at Texas Roadhouse where we have been going lately.  The food can't be beat but the noise is a problem.  The first week we went there, we were in the quietest area.  The next time we were in the loudest area.  This time it was in between but even my husband said it was very loud. 

Once we got home, I read for a while and then went to sleep early.  I continue learning about my wireless mic and wireless phone clip (kind of like a blue tooth).  They work better in some situations than in others, but I am so thankful for them.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27, 2016

Didn't Get Much Done at the Office
January 27, 2016

Image result for public domain clip art office

There are days where I just seem to spin my wheels and it is usually my fault - poor planning and lousy memory.  Thankfully Ron had plans to spend the day in the office, so my disorganization did not mess up his day.  I was a little later than I wanted to be getting to the office.  First, I spent some time outside getting some weeds out of the cracks in the parking lot. Then I took some palm leaves to the dumpster only to find that someone else is dumping in our dumpster.

I had not been at the shop long before I remembered that I had planned to mail a couple of boxes when I took my mom to the eye doctor later in the day;  her eye doctor's office is close to the post office.  Ron told me to go on to the house and pick up the things.  I needed to make two more stops while I was out, but all went quickly and I was back at the office in about 45 minutes.  I spent the next 45 minutes fixing the boxes to mail.  I had a birthday gift to mail and a box of things to send to our son in New Mexico.

Once the boxes were sealed, I got my lunch out to eat and Ron came in with things to add to one of the boxes.  That meant cutting the tape, repacking, and resealing one of the boxes.   By the time I finished my lunch, it was time to go get Mom to go to her eye doctor for an appointment for a field of vision test.  She was under the impression she was also to see the doctor and she had an eye problem she needed him to look at.  I dropped her off and went to the post office and got my boxes mailed.  I failed to see that Mom had a packet to be mailed also.
eyechart full page

Back at the eye doctor's office, she was still waiting to be called in for her appointment.  One of the receptionists in the office is a lady who used to be one of our church secretaries.  We visited a little bit before Mom was called in for her test.  Then it turned out she did not have an appointment to see the doctor until May, only for the eye test.  She asked for one sooner and was given one in March.  In the end, they said they would check with the doctor and call her tomorrow.

Before I left Mom at home, we made one more stop.  She had ordered a phone provided by our state for the hearing impaired and it had arrived.  I hope it will help her.

Back at the office, I did a couple of little things.  Mostly I was doing more paper work.  My space in the office gets smaller and smaller!  There is too much stuff in there.  I need a BIG trash can.

After work I went by Mom's to leave some papers and we visited for a while.  Our youngest son called and I returned his call on my way home from Mom's house.  I came home and had supper before reading for a while.  I did a little cleaning and then talked for a bit with our son in New Mexico.  They have started their move.
Image result for public domain clip art office

I forgot to mention that while Ron and I were at supper last night we used the mini mic with the Cochlear Implant.  It worked so well.  I only had to have him repeat a couple of things.  It does limit my hearing of others and when the waiter would come, Ron would have to handle almost all of that.  Then on the way home this evening I used the Cochlear phone clip and had great success talking to our youngest son.  I don't recall having to have him repeat at all and usually we both end up hanging up frustrated because I have him repeat so much.  Then again I used it with our oldest son and did well.  I am so glad I went ahead and spent the money on those accessories.  I hope it the future, they will provide them with the supplies for new Cochlear patients.

January 26, 2016

An Unexpected Treat
January 26, 2016

Blocks for a new quilt
Tuesday morning I had to be up early to be at the doctor's office for blood tests at 8:30.  It takes nearly 30 minutes to get from our house to their office.  It was a fasting blood test, so I didn't get breakfast.  Thankfully, it did not take too long and by 9:15 I was on my way to the office.

An interesting conversation occurred at the doctor's office.  I was just seeing the nurse.  They have had trouble getting a good vein lately and I had expected the same problem this time, but it actually went pretty well and I got out with out a bruise.  I asked the nurse where she grew up and she said in our community.  She told me her parents were migrants who worked in the fields where ever the crops were ready for harvesting.  They traveled to Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan - where ever the work was.  She is a very bright lady and I have always enjoyed talking to her.

This lady has the same name as one of my granddaughters and so I am able to remember her name.  She said that where ever they traveled her parents took the children to local county fairs, etc.  She loved the beauty of the places they went.  She loved the hills and trees and cool streams in the middle of summer.  There were 10 children in her family and she talked of the fun they had.  Weekends were always for the family to do special things.  She said the boss was a very nice man who invited them to picnics.  She said she had a wonderful childhood.  What a difference perspective can make.  Her parents didn't complain about the circumstances, they made it fun.  I wish we could have chatted longer.

That is another conversation that I would not have tried to start a few years ago due to my limited hearing.  I love hearing people's stories about their families and their memories.

At the office I spent more time on paper work but later in the day, I did some sewing.  I got several new blocks made.  (See photo at the top of the page)  This is another of the projects that I can easily work on at the office.  Ron was out for part of the day.

As I was doing some bookkeeping late in the afternoon, Ron said he had a job that was an emergency at Port Isabel and he wondered if I wanted to go with him.  It had been a very windy day and the cool front had arrived.  I went home a little early so he could pick me up there and only have one car for the job.  The drive across the barren area along the ship channel was really windy and there was a very light rain.  His job only took a couple of minutes and then we went to supper.

Pirate's Landing in Port Isabel is one of our favorite places to eat and it was a nice treat to get to do that when I thought our supper was going to be leftovers.  Due to the weather, the crowd at Pirates' Landing was down and we were able to get a table by the windows.  The bay was very choppy from the high winds. 
The view from our table when we first arrived
Our waiter was a delight.  He was fun to talk to and so considerate.  I asked why he carried so many ticket pads.  He mentioned a recent large group who wanted 12 or 13 separate tickets for their table.  We gave him our sympathy and then I turned to Ron and teasingly asked if he had told the man we wanted separate tickets.  I thought the guy was going to fall over laughing.  He got a generous tip.  He added to our enjoyment of the evening.

Supper was so much better than the supper at home.  We shared a platter of nachos and shared a meal of beef fajitas which were amazingly tender.  We were both full when we left and relaxed.  The drive home was almost traffic free.

Back in town we stopped at the Wal-Mart that is closing to see what additional bargains we could find.  We found several.  Almost everything is gone.  Only about 15% of the store is now being used to house the items still available.  I got a rotary cutting mat - larger than any I have had for under $15 and that is a great price!  Ron got a couple of shirts and some yard items.  I got a jigsaw puzzle and a few more canned goods.

One of our sons called as we had just gotten to our table at supper.  Ron talked to him briefly and he says they are close to starting work on updating their kitchen.  They are going to enjoy the changes so much!

It was 9:00 by the time we got home.  Since I had left the house at 8:00 in the morning, it was a long day; but a very nice one.
The water got rougher as the evening went on

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2016

A Good Monday
January 25, 2016

This morning when I got up (later than I should have) I felt good.  I had more energy than I have had lately.  It did take me a while to get to the office because I had to take care of things in the yard since I had not felt like doing it yesterday.

When I got to the office, Ron was staying busy with customers.  I got to work on some things in my office.  As Ron gives me credit card receipts (like when he puts gas in his car, or buys supplies for a job) I put them in a box and save them until the bill comes and match them up to the bill.  He forgets to bring them to me most of the time, so when I fuss, he goes through his car and brings a stack.  Today I was going back over the last 2 or 3 months, putting them with the right bills.  That took a long time, but I got it all done.
The color on this hibiscus is so intense
Then I ate lunch (some of that chicken salad) while he went on a job.  He was not gone long, but had only come for supplies and went back.  After he got back I paid a few bills and dealt with today's mail (a larger stack than usual).  That doesn't mean it was anything useful, although there was a nice refund check from one of the business insurance companies.

There were several errands I needed to run, so I left the office early and went to the bank, the utility company, and to Sears to pay the Discover bill.  After Feb. 1, you can no longer do that.  I will miss that convenience.

Following the errands I came home and spent time working in the yard and hoping to get some bird photos, but they weren't interested.  So this is what I got instead:
This snake was on some oleander branches that hang out over the water.  He was the smaller of two that were in the same branches, but the other took to the water when it saw me.  Yuck!

Returning to the house, I had supper since Ron was working late.  Then I finished reading a book I was working on.  I really liked it.  Back to the Christmas tree.  I got about 1/2 of the ornaments off the tree and boxed up a lot of them.

Last night I forgot to mention, I was watching a new movie on the Hallmark station and it did not have closed captions.  I really did not realize how dependent I was on them.  It seemed to me the sound quality was not great.  It was disappointing to not really be able to follow the story well.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24, 2016

Sick on Sunday
January 24, 2016

During the night last night I was throwing up and so when Ron woke me this morning, I just told him about my night and said I was not going to try to go to church.  I immediately went back to sleep and slept until about 10:30.  I got up, had breakfast about 11:00 and by 12:30 I was asleep again until about 5:00 this evening.

Once I got up, I cut up the assorted things to put in the chicken salad that I had cooked the chicken for yesterday.  It turned out great and I ate some for my supper, followed by a little piece of yesterday's apple pie.  I guess I am feeling better.

There was still laundry to be done, so I have worked on it this evening.  Ron had some meetings at the church so he was gone all evening.  I forgot to mention that last night I finished the binding on a quilt that I have been working on recently.  It is great to finish one.  It does not happen often enough.  This one has 192 different fabrics in the picture portion.

I read some, watched TV some, and did very little else.  The Christmas tree is still waiting.

January 23, 2016

Bows, Bears, and Blooms
Taking Down the Christmas Tree
January 23, 2016

The tree on Christmas morning

Never have I been this late in taking down our Christmas tree.  Until the last 4 years or so, we have always had a real tree so the fire hazard made me get it down right after Christmas.  This year, I have been too busy or too tired to get it done.  Thankfully the grandchildren helped me put it up or we would probably not have gotten it up in the first place.
The tree minus the bows, blooms, bears, and candy canes
This morning I was up early and got a lot done.  I did laundry, baked biscuits for breakfast, took care of the ponds and feeders for the birds in the yard on a beautiful clear, chilly morning, and got started on the Christmas tree. 
 From China - I bought it when visiting there with my parents
Our ornaments are an eclectic mixture of ornaments from our travels around the United States and some from foreign countries that we gathered in travels or were gifts from others visiting various countries.  To tie all these various colors together, I use a lot of red, white, and silver.  As I started to "undecorate" I decided to take off all the red and white bows, the red artificial flowers, the bears ( I use small stuffed white polar bears and black and white pandas) and the artificial red and white candy canes.  I wanted to see what it looked like without those things to unify the look. 
Old ornaments - these are close to 60 years old,
 having been on the tree as I was growing up.

After removing those things, I realized I still had a lot of red and white, but the tree sure did look different.  Some day I might change the accent color of red, but I doubt it.  I like the way it looks.  After boxing up the bears and other small stuffed animals that surround the base of the tree, I packed up the bows and flowers.  There is still so much to do and so little energy to do it.
New ornament - from a granddaughter

I worked in the kitchen for a while, clearing a counter top and redoing a couple of cabinets.  I started lunch and Ron came in as it was cooking - good timing.  I sewed for a little bit after lunch.  I was trying out a new pattern.  I love the look, but it may take too much effort to be enjoyable.  I will see how it goes.
Old - I painted this about 49 years ago
Late in the afternoon, I went to Staples to use up some rewards coupons.  They arrived just as I got back from shopping there a few days ago.  I got some more storage containers so I can do away with the cardboard boxes. 
 Some ornaments are silly
From Staples, I went to the grocery store for meat, fresh fruit and veggies - the things I could not get at Wal-Mart on my trips there this week.
New - from another granddaughter

The kitchen needed attention and I was able to get all the recent purchases put away and the shopping bags back in the car.  I shared texts back and forth with our son in Dallas and later talked to our daughter-in-law in New Mexico.  They are all set to make their move this coming weekend to the house almost across the street.  They are excited and seem to have a good team of helpers lined up for the work.
Ornament from Denmark from foreign exchange
 student who lived with us many years ago.

I cooked some chicken breasts I had just bought, so I can make a big bowl of chicken salad for this coming week.  I also baked an apple pie that is the best in ages.  Yummy!
  From Wales - bought when I was traveling there 
This was a very productive day but it was small bits of a lot of projects and nothing totally finished.  I do not know how Moms with small children who work can manage. 
Some ornaments proclaim the whole reason we celebrate CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 22, 2016

Glad for a Friday
January 22, 2016

Somehow this week seemed to go quickly and I could not believe Friday had arrived.  I was up very early and got ready to go to the Wal-Mart in town that is being closed.  I had gone Wednesday evening, but my son had asked me to look for some things.  When I arrived, the parking lot was already almost full.  I found a spot and found a basket in the parking lot which I luckily took in with me.

The store was so full - especially the aisle I wanted.  Prices had been dropped to 50% off!  I took a photo of something and sent it to my son.  He replied quickly and the item was already gone when I turned back.  I did locate several items he wanted and then got more groceries for myself.  $120 in groceries for $60 is pretty good.

Then I went to check out.  The lines were already long and they had policemen and women there to direct people to 3 VERY long lines to wait for an open spot.  I waited about 40 minutes and I was fairly close to the start of the line.  The lines went to the back of the store and then I don't know where they went.

In the parking lot as I was putting my bags in the car, a man approached me and quickly said he was only waiting for my basket, but was willing to put my things in the car for me.  I thanked him but said I had some breakables, so I would rather do it myself.  I told him it was a good basket that worked well and he was welcome to wait for it, which he did.  People were driving up and down the lanes looking for parking places.  My plan had been to go to the office supply store, but instead I took my purchases home and then picked up lunch for Ron and myself before going to the office.  It was about 11:00 when I arrived.

I spent the afternoon on paper work again.  I paid bills and shredded papers.  I filed some things and prepared a bank deposit.  Ron went out on a couple of jobs and an errand or two.  I took the deposit to the bank and then returned to the shop briefly before going to pick my mother up to go to supper.

For supper we went to Jason's Deli.  Mom and I used my wireless mic for my Cochlear implant, and it worked very well.  I was very pleased.  Mom commented how much quieter it was than usual.  A few minutes after her comment, 4 school buses arrived and deposited loads of students in front of Jason's.  Jason's Deli was in for a busy evening.  We finished and left knowing they were going to need extra tables.

After taking Mom home I came home and spent the evening relaxing.  I did a little laundry, changed sheets on a couple of beds and read a little before going to sleep.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21, 2016

Conquering the Paper Mountain
January 21, 2016

Packed up files, ready to store

My day at the office was mostly spent on paper work again.  I worked on the large lateral file cabinet where all the business records are kept and made good progress on boxing up all of last year's records.  They are all packed in a box I bought yesterday at the office supply store and are ready to be stored.

While working in the corner by the file cabinet, I also shredded a stack of papers and gathered some trash.  Progress was definitely made and the end of that project is in sight.  I replaced several hanging file folders that were falling apart and need to replace a few more.

Ron went on an errand for his mother and then went to the Wal-Mart that is closing and got some work pants and work shirts.  I hope to get out there early tomorrow for a couple of things.

Back at the office while Ron was gone, I had a couple of difficult customers who took a lot of time but bought nothing.  Some days are like that.

After work we met our friends for supper at Texas Roadhouse.  We had a very good meal but the service was not great and the table we had was in a noisy area.  I had asked for the same area we had last time but did not get it.  The battery had run down on the wireless mic, so I really had to struggle to hear, and probably gave wrong answers to questions I heard instead of the questions she asked.  My friend is probably used to that.

Once we got home I sorted some laundry, read a little, talked to my son in New Mexico and changed some bedding.  Now it is time to go to bed after I start the washer!  I feel good when I accomplish a lot of things that have to be done.  It is a lot more fun to do the things I want to do than the things I have to do.

January 20, 2016

Papers, Papers, Everywhere!
January 20, 2016

So much of my day at the office was spent on paper shuffling.  I got most of my medical papers sorted and packed away so that the file folders are ready for this year's information.  I hope the files are a lot skinnier this year.  There were just too many papers from too many doctors for this past year.

After I ate my lunch, Ron went out on a couple of jobs and when he returned I ran a couple of errands.  The previous day I had gotten a blood pressure machine from the medical supply place.  The cuff was the wrong size, so I returned it and got the correct size.  From there I went to the office supply store for supplies for today's project of the shop files.

At the office supply store, I was able to get all the things I needed, but it took longer than I had planned.  The store has downsized and so nothing is where it used to be.  I spent time hunting for each item I needed.

By the time I got back to the office, it was time to put things up and go home.  Ron was going to stay late and work so I decided to go to the Wal-Mart store that is closing in our town.  It has been my favorite because it was not usually crowded and I am sure that it why they decided to close it, but I will really miss it.  There is a new one closer to me and it has not been very crowded, but it is not as large as the one they are closing.

Looking around took a lot of time.  It was packed with people!  Funny thing I noticed as I wandered through the aisles was that almost every person I passed was pushing an empty basket.  Everything is 25% off, but having just had Christmas sales, the 25% didn't always look like a bargain.  I ended up buying one gift item and then mostly grocery staples such as baking supplies.  The sales had started last weekend so paper products were all gone.  Lots of the shelves were empty, which is their goal, but in the end I got about $100 worth of groceries for about $75.  Not too bad.

By the time I got home it was 8:00 and as I fixed my supper, Ron came home.  We were both tired from our long day.  I talked to our daughter-in-law in New Mexico and they are still  waiting for the lease on the rental they found.  She said in the beginning as they prayed for a house they asked God for a house just like the one they love that they are in, and in the same area.  God really answered that, giving them the exact same house plan, flipped over on a bigger lot with the mountains out the kitchen window instead of out the back door.  They would have enjoyed more space, but this will do very nicely.

I also talked to our son in Dallas and was able to have a better conversation with him than usual as I used the wireless phone clip.  He and his wife are exhausted.  They are still working with the contractor on things for their house and are living with boxes everywhere, but they know the updates will be worth it in the end.

How are so many of us ending our days too exhausted to enjoy being home?  That is something I need to work on for the coming year.  For my son and his wife in Dallas, part of theirs is that our daughter-in-law is working on her Master's Degree and both class time and papers to write are eating up her time. 

 Thursday will be back to the paper mountain at the office!  Maybe by the end of the week I will have conquered the mountain!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19, 2016

A Productive Day at the Office
January 19, 2016

*Playing with arrangement of small 
half-square triangles to for different patterns
Are you remembering to write 2016 every time?  It seems for some reason this year has been easier.  Maybe I just don't catch my mistakes.  I went to the office mid-morning and after a bit, left to run two  errands.

A couple of months ago my doctor ordered a nebulizer for me to use to help my breathing.  At the time, I was still having some coughing from my bronchitis earlier in the fall.  They had to see if Medicare would approve the machine.  I had checked a couple of times at the medical supply place and they had no order for it.

I had forgotten all about it and last week they called to say they had the order for the nebulizer and that I needed to come pick it up.  I went and they were out of them.  They ordered one and I picked it up today.  From there I went to the pharmacy and they had the medication ready for me to use in the nebulizer.  When I read the instructions it was for 3 times a day for 10 days.  That means it was just for that nagging cough that was hanging on that has been gone for weeks now.  Here was a treatment the doctor thought I needed and it took 2 months to get it.  What a great system - NO, not a great system.

Thankfully I had gotten well in the meantime and now I have the machine on hand for next time I need it.  All of that took over an hour even though both places were close to my office. 

During the afternoon I worked on files.  I started packing away some of my medical files from last year and filed some of the shop's paperwork.  I need to get manila envelopes to store the things in and I will try to go to the office supply store in the morning on my way to the office.

After work, I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked up some things for supper.  I had it all just about ready when Ron got home.  We enjoyed our supper together and then I spent some time reading.  I gathered a few Christmas decorations from all over the house, and put them in the living room which is where I will pack all of them away.  I packed up the village and Ron got all the ornament storage boxes down.  This is going to be a big job!

During the evening I exchanged a few texts with one of our sons.  We had not chatted in several days.  Ron washed the supper dishes for me and that was a nice treat.  The list of things to do only grows longer and not shorter.

At the office, it was a little slow and Ron took care of most of the customers while I worked on the files.  There were really not any hearing issues today - that is, once I remembered to put the sound processor on.  I recently have forgotten to put it on a couple of mornings and have gotten a block or two from the house before I realized I could not hear anything. 

It is a good day when I don't have any hearing issues!

* The quilt block is made up of 16 small 3" squares that are black on one half and a different color on the other half.  I am just playing with it at this point and will decide if I want to do anything with it.  It may be more work than I want to put in on it at this time.

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

Three Years Since I Went Deaf
January 18, 2016

Just a few weeks after I went deaf

On Friday afternoon, January 18, 2013, I was working at our shop and our oldest grandson was spending the day with me.  My husband was at home with a very bad case of the flu.  He had already been off work for a full week and was still very ill.  Just two days before, he finally went to the doctor and the doctor called an ambulance to take him to the hospital because his oxygen level was too low.  All day I had seemed to have trouble hearing and by noon, I was having to ask my grandson to tell me what the customers were saying.  Then I had to turn over the phone calls to him because I could not understand what the callers were saying.

At closing time, our son came to pick up our grandson.  I told our son I thought I was going to have to replace my hearing aid because it was not working.  I had been hard of hearing for several years and my hearing aid (my first and only) was 8 years old.  After they left, I locked up and went to start my car.  I turned the key and nothing happened.  I thought "What else can happen?"  Then I realized the car was moving.  It had started but I could not hear it running.

When I got home, I did not disturb Ron.  I fixed supper and when he came to the table to eat I told him about my problem.  We decided I would go with him to the doctor on Monday (he had a scheduled appointment to check his case of flu).  I spent a very silent weekend, thinking my ears were stopped up.  What else could it be?

If you have followed my blog, or gone back and read the early postings, you will know the rest of the story.  In June of 2013 I was able to receive a Cochlear Implant in Houston and in early July it was turned on and I was blessed to be able to hear clearly.  That does not mean I have perfect hearing.  I do hear the words, but sometimes that is not enough.
Dr. Chang, my Cochlear Implant surgeon.
In the 895 blog postings I have written during this time, there have been 60,443 page views from a total of 92 countries around the world.  I am humbled by the regular followers of these posts.  Many are curious about the hearing status.  Some are long time friends who are mainly keeping up on family news.  Whatever brings you to this page, I appreciate each time you visit the page.

People who have been reading the blog, but have not seen me in person during this time are often surprised at how well I can hear them.  If we are in a quiet setting, I normally do very well.  Things continue to improve with practice and with added equipment.  I have a cousin who is a speech therapist and recently she and her sister visited me.  She was astounded that I was able to hear words as soon as the device was turned on.  There is no way for me to express my thankfulness for that outcome.  That is not the outcome for most recipients.
 My Audiologist, Shari in Houston
Not having any hearing in the other ear puts me at a disadvantage and I can not tell where sounds are coming from.  When I take off my Cochlear sound processor, I am basically totally deaf.  As I am typing this blog entry, I have taken the processor off since I am the only one in the house awake.  The television is on but the sound is off.  I occasionally turn toward the TV to see if anything interesting is on that I might want to hear.  Sometimes I forget to mute the TV and it can be blaring while my husband is trying to sleep but I am not aware that any sound is coming from it. 

Emotionally I have had a variety of reactions to my situation, but for the most part, I just accept that this is the way it will be for the rest of my life.  I would say the first month or so I was in a state of shock.  I did not really realize it at the time, but when I look back at photos taken during that first month, I see it in the photos (like the one at the top of this page).  There was a sadness and a stubbornness that were a part of that time.

About a year and a half later, I began to slip into depression as I was constantly confronted with all the things I could not do.  I miss the beauty of music, especially sacred music and classical music.  I miss being able to enjoy the talents of my grandchildren who love playing the piano.  As we cared for the children this past weekend, at various times, the children would spend time at the piano and I could tell they were playing but had no idea if the piece was one I should know.  I sat down at one point and practiced a piece in one granddaughter's book and just sight reading it, I could tell how it should sound, but I could not tell how correctly I was playing it.

It is such a blessing to me and to my family that I was able to get the Cochlear Implant and that I have had such great results with it.  I try not to dwell on the negatives.  A potential problem came it this past weekend.  I came home from the office about noon Friday, packed my things into the car and headed up the valley.  My husband came home later in the afternoon after he closed the office and loaded his things before coming to join me at our son's home.  I had sent him a text that I had forgotten the laptop and to please bring it.  When he arrived, he had my Cochlear suitcase with him and asked if I had meant to bring it.  Yikes!  Without it, I would have been without hearing by morning when my battery ran out.  I had my charger and several other pieces of equipment in the suitcase.  We were both tired, but one of us would have had to make the 150 mile round-trip to get it if he had not seen it where I left it by the door.
 The suitcase with the original variety of equipment.  
Much has been added.
I hope you will continue to follow my adventures (and my often dull boring days) as I share my experiences.  Please share the blog with friends who have severe hearing loss and with anyone else who might be helped by the information I share.  Thanks for taking this journey with me and for the frequent encouragement many of you give to me.  I appreciate you all being a part of my cheering squad.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 16 & 17, 2016

A Weekend With 
Some GRAND Kids
January 16 & 17, 2016

We are so proud to be Grandparents
 to this bunch of wonderful children.

Friday night, Ron fell asleep on the couch at Jeff's house.  Saturday morning he woke having a little trouble breathing and found our 4-year old granddaughter sitting on his chest.  After he lifted her off his chest, she snuggled in with him on the couch for a while before she was really ready to wake up.  When she was wide awake, she came into the guest room where I was sleeping and woke me up. 
Reading books 
Breakfast was soon started for the three early risers, Ron, the 4 yr. old, and me.  We had some biscuits and about an hour later I had breakfast ready for those who slept later.  After breakfast, the kids scattered throughout the house and played with Legos or played on the computer.  Most of the day was spent with the Legos.  Several took turns at the piano, playing for fun or practicing for their next lessons.  We read some books, but the television was not turned on all weekend, except for a brief time Friday night while the two oldest boys watched a video for one of their home school classes.
The 4yr. old who woke Ron up.
It was extremely windy all day Saturday.  Winds were gusting to at least 40 miles an hour.  The children did not even ask to go outside and the only outside activities were feeding the cats and taking out trash.  In the afternoon, the oldest of the boys went to a home school meeting for the high school seniors.  They were to do their photos in caps and gowns, but there was a problem with some of the gowns, so they only did some casual shots.  When he finally finished he headed to Los Fresnos for a Boy Scout meeting.
Attention to detail
Meanwhile, Ron had gone to a memorial service for a friend of ours and then took the second oldest boy to the same Boy Scout event.  It was for a member of their troop who had earned his Eagle Scout rank.  It was very late when Ron and the boys got home.  By then, I had all the rest of the children bathed and in bed. 
His security blanket had been at our house for a while
 for me to mend.  I don't know how he survived without
 it because he hardly turned loose of it all weekend.
Supper had been a difficult time for me.  The children were talking and laughing and playing at the table and the noise was overwhelming.  I took off my sound processor a couple of times.  They were just having fun, but it was too much noise.
Beautiful flower bed at their house
Sunday morning we were all up early and got ready for church.  I fixed breakfast and most of the children ate.  We finally were all ready and actually had a few minutes to spare, so I took a few photos before we left for church. 
The sun was so bright it was hard for them to keep their eyes open
Everyone went to Sunday School and then at time for church to start, Jeff and Barb arrived, having skipped the final class at the island, so they could be in church to hear their second oldest son sing in a quartet for the special music at church. (the singer is the tall one on the back row with the blue tie on.)  It was his first time to do something like that.  He just recently joined the church choir and loves it.

After the church service, we visited for a while with various friends of theirs and then went to Jeff and Barb's where leftovers were warmed for lunch.  As we finished eating, friends of the children arrived to spend the afternoon playing in the yard on a beautiful day.  It was a little cool, but they were running and playing and didn't need jackets.
While all the children played outside, Ron and I had time to visit with Jeff and Barb.  About 4:00, we headed home.  When we arrived, my sister and her husband came over to borrow a chain saw to cut up a tree that had fallen at Mom's yesterday in the high winds. 

As Ron and I unloaded our cars, Ron pointed out a bird to me that was on the driveway playing with a couple of red hibiscus blossoms.  I got my camera and started taking photos.  It looked like a mockingbird, acted like one, was a little smaller than most, but had yellow on the top of his head.  It took me a while to figure out that the yellow was pollen from the hibiscus blooms he had played with.  I was about to decide we had a new variety of bird.  He was not bothered by us and kept playing around the area, and at one time landing just a few feet from Ron's head.  Cute little bird.
My yellow-headed mockingbird

Our evening at home was quiet and relaxing.  I talked to our daughter-in-law in New Mexico and caught up on emails and mail.  We had a very good weekend.