Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 2016

It's Beginning to Look 
A Lot Like Christmas
November 27, 2016

November 27 is special in our family.  Our second son was born on that day (several years ago).  He was actually born on Thanksgiving morning.  But since Thanksgiving Day is not on a set number date, but rather on the 4th Thursday in November, his birthday celebration day rarely falls on Thanksgiving Day.  We have not yet really celebrated it, but plan to do it next Saturday.  His youngest daughter was born the day after his birthday and we will celebrate both next weekend.
Jeff and Ron - solving the problems of the world I am sure.
Jeff was an easy baby and a happy toddler.  We were living in Houston at the time and the workers in the church named him Jolly Jeffrey because he was always happy and laughing - except when we went to pick him up after church, to go home; he would fuss because he wanted to stay and play some more.

What a joy he has been to our family.  We are proud of all he has accomplished in so many areas of his life.  He is strong in His faith in God and along with his wife, they are quick to open their home to so many people.  He is a wonderful dad and husband.  They would all like to have him home a little more but I think he is making progress in that area.  He has compassion and empathy for others and that serves him well in his work.  He is raising seven of our grandchildren and doing a superb job in that area.  Our only complaint is that he moved out of town but at least it is just a little over an hour away.

The oldest one of his children is away at college this year, but the other six came to our house this past Friday and spent the day helping make our home look like Christmas is on the way.  This has become a tradition in the family and even as little toddlers, I have let them help decorate the tree.  At least now with a good variety of heights, the ornaments are no longer are all at the bottom of the tree.  It is very rare that an ornament gets damaged.  None were broken this year and with hundreds of ornaments, we can spare a few.  Children need to be taught to respect special things and I joking told my daughter-in-law Friday night that by now the kids were on first name basis with all the ornaments.

We met our daughter-in-law 1/2 way between our house and theirs at 9:30 Friday morning and the parents came to pick them up about 10:30 Friday night and stayed to visit for a couple of hours.  The children decorated the trees with almost no supervision.  One of the youngest children set up the Christmas village by himself.  He loves it and looks forward to doing it each year.  They helped set up a few of the table top decorations, but there are a few more to do.  They helped Ron put away most of the storage containers.

During the afternoon the youngest child helped me make sugar cookies, helping to measure ingredients, cut the cookies and later to help decorate them.  Several helped with the cookie decorating.  All helped with the cookie eating.  We ordered pizzas for lunch and had grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.  They vacuumed up needles that fell off the two trees, which is a neat trick since the trees are artificial.  They sewed, working on gifts for others for Christmas.  They worked on making a few ornaments from some supplies I had purchased.  A couple of the kids helped put batteries into the animated decorations.

It was a wonderful day!  We used my Cochlear mini mic in the car while the oldest son still at home told me about details he is picking up in his current Bible reading in the gospel of Luke.  He is very observant and had some good observations to share.  He and his grandpa got into some good discussions in the car and later at the house as they shared Bible insights.

Saturday, I slept until past noon!  I had a busy Friday.  I wonder when the grandchildren got up!  I never left the house all day.  Sunday was much the same.  I was having some side effects to the medication the doctor gave me last week for an infection so I did not make it to church.  I sewed in the late afternoon and evening and have about 1/2 of the quilt in progress put together.  Finally.  I have put it off too long.

Friday, November 25, 2016

November 24, 2016

Give Thanks With
a Grateful Heart
November 24, 2016

Ron and I are thankful to have our mothers living in our town.  They are both in their early 90s and are able to live in their own homes.  They are in pretty good health and mentally alert.  They both love their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  What a blessing they are.  
My mom is on the left and Ron's is on the right.  Such sweet ladies!

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone.  Giving thanks should be an every day occurrence.  We don't need a special day to be thankful, but on that one day designated for giving thanks, most people think about what they have to be thankful for.  The list can be limitless. 

Talking to one of our daughters-in-law this evening, an interesting thing came up.  Ever since they moved to Albuquerque, they have hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in their home for friends mostly from our son's office.  There has been one man in the group who always offered to fix the turkey.  This year he had a new home and wanted to host the dinner in addition to fixing the turkey.  That worked out well since our daughter-in-law had not been feeling well.

The man does not believe in God and has no relationship with God, but before the meal, he asked our son to offer the blessing as our son always did when the meal was in their home.  We talked about how everyone has things to be thankful for in their lives and at this time of the year they normally realize that and are thankful.  But sometimes they don't know who to thank.  Everything we have is from a loving God.  If we have a lot or just a little, God is the one who deserves thanks.

Sometimes we compare what we have to what others have.  We very often compare ourselves to others who seem to have more.  How about to those who have a lot less?  Comparing really doesn't accomplish much.  We can feel slighted if we have less or may feel arrogant if we have more.  For me, I think God have give me what I need.  He has blessed me with all my needs and many of my wants. 
Apple pie
God has blessed us generously and for that, I am so thankful.  Most importantly, I am thankful for His love for me.  I am thankful that He paid the price for my sins on the cross.  He died to set me free from the punishment for those sins.  I am thankful for my family, for my home, for food and daily needs.  I am thankful for things over and above "needs", but things that make my life more comfortable like air-conditioning, heat, clean water, a beautiful yard, a Cochlear implant so I can hear.  I am thankful for running water, an oven for cooking that does not require hauling wood.  The list could fill pages.  I hope you took time today to express your thanks for a loving God for our many blessings.

The last few days have been busy.  I have not felt very good this week and finally went to the doctor Wednesday morning.  She said I had an infection and prescribed medication for it.  I am to go back Monday or Tuesday to see what the tests show that she ran.  I am feeling better tonight than I did that day.  I think the medications are working. 
Cherry pie
We went to supper Tuesday evening with friends since we would not be able to do it on our usual Thursday evening.  I felt too bad Wednesday evening to start preparations for Thanksgiving lunch so I spent Thursday morning in the kitchen.  Lunch turned out great.  The turkey took longer to cook than it should have taken, but it was perfect.  Ron said the pies were the best in a long time.  Maybe it was because he baked them.  Notice I said he baked them, not made them.  I had him leave ahead of me to transport the food to his mom's house for lunch and I had him put the pies in the over at her house and they were ready as we were clearing the lunch dishes.  So we had hot apple pie and cherry pie.  Yummy.
Ron sending the kids photos of the pies he baked.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving is Coming
November 20, 2016

Here we are 2/3 of the way through another month.  November used to be when I did my Christmas shopping.  I am not wild about crowds and limited selections.  These days I don't seem to even get started until well into December. 

In years past, we often had large crowds for Thanksgiving.  There was one year when our boys were young and Ron's and my families were out of town for Thanksgiving.  We invited people who were not near their families and had about 30 come for lunch on that Thursday.  Our kids loved it and everyone helped.  It is a fun memory.  Now, I don't have the energy for that anymore.  None of our children will be coming this year and so it will be Ron and his mom and me and my mom.  We will have a yummy lunch.

Since I have not made a pie in a while, I made a cherry pie this evening and it was great.  It was a little extra brown around the edges, but that was because I did not take the time to cover the edges.  It still tastes wonderful.Not sure which kinds I will make for Thanksgiving.

Within a few days after Thanksgiving, there are several family birthdays.  So many things to celebrate this time of the year.  I always love to hear people who say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday.  The turkey is thawing, all the trimmings are purchased.  Let the celebrations begin!  Or least the celebration preparations.

Yesterday afternoon I made some King Ranch Chicken and it turned out great.  Lately I just have not done as much cooking as I should and after 3 hours or so in the kitchen, I remember why.  I never get as much accomplished one the weekends as I plan, but at least I did a little better this weekend.

Friday night we had supper with Mom at the Mexican Food restaurant where we had been going for a while recently.  I had taken Mom to the dermatologist this past week and he removed some spots.  She needed some Band-aids for the spots so we stopped to get those on the way home.

My youngest sister's husband is a commercial pilot and his work schedule is variable.  He flew into town Saturday late afternoon and spent time helping Mom with handy man type jobs until he flew home Sunday afternoon.  He is so good to my mom.  We had lunch together Sunday and Ron took him to the airport later in the afternoon.  Meanwhile my sister was doing Christmas decorating back at their home.

A lot of my weekend was spent working in the sewing room.  Not much of the time was sewing.  Most of it was cleaning and searching.  I was looking for things I needed for assorted projects and the cleaning was a major necessity.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

November 17, 2016

Interesting Week
November 17, 2016

At the office, it was a little slow this week.  I did a variety of normal office chores, but nothing spectacular.  I had a problem with the new wireless mini mic from Cochlear.  I could not get it to work.  I finally had Ron call their help line and as he was talking to the helpful person, it dawned on me what I had done, or rather, NOT done.  There were several steps involved in pairing the new mini mic to the new sound processor.  I had done those steps, but I had forgotten to then turn on the remote and pair it to the mini mic.  Now that I did that, it is working great.

Sometimes things happen that delay us in going somewhere and we later find out that because we were delayed, we were spared something dangerous.  I recall many years ago when we lived in Houston, I was taking our two oldest sons who at the time were toddlers, to join Ron for a picnic lunch at NASA where he was working at that time.  It was during a space mission and he could not leave the base, but we could go join him for lunch.  Two or three things had delayed me and part way there we came to a very serious traffic accident that had just happened a few minutes before we got to that place on the highway.  I realized that our delay probably spared us being a part of the accident.
Ron took this photo of a parrot close to the office one afternoon recently.
Another time as I was again headed to NASA to meet Ron, I was on the Gulf Freeway, and an 18-wheeler cut in just in front of me.  I had been following a plumbing company repair truck.  I moved over to another lane and about that time saw that the plumbing truck lost his load of pipes and the 18-wheeler was hit by them.  He just keep on "trucking" unharmed by the pipes.  If I had been behind the plumbing truck in my small Opel station wagon, I am sure much damage would have happened.  So I try not to get too upset when I am delayed or when something unexpected happens.
 The cormorants have decided to spend the nights
 in the trees behind the house again this winter.
Tuesday evening after work I went by Mom's and she and Carmen came along as we all did our grocery shopping.  Since I had been out of town over the weekend, we all had  not shopped for about 10 days so we each had several bags of groceries.  When I finished, I loaded mine in the back of the Suburban and went back in for Mom's groceries.  I put them in the backseat with Carmen.  When we got to Mom's house, Carmen hurriedly carried in Mom's purchases. 

When I got home I brought in mine with Ron's help.  Then I went to get my tote bag out of the car that I use at the office.  It was not there, but in it's place, was a bag of Mom's groceries.  Carmen had picked up the wrong bag.  I returned to Mom's house to trade bags before having my supper.  As I drove home thinking about the unexpected extra trip across town, I spotted the moon rising.  I had missed the Super Moon the two previous evenings due to cloudy skies.  The moon was still beautiful and I stopped several places to try to get good photos of it.  I realized that it is not always bad things God protects us from but good blessings that he has to show us by putting us in a particular spot at a particular time.

This afternoon I took Mom to the dermatologist and he took care of some spots she was concerned about.  This man is so hyper, talks so fast, and just keeps going full speed ahead, that he just wears us out trying to keep up with what he is saying.  One of his helpers was telling us how many steps she takes at work just trying to stay a step ahead of him to have the next patient ready for him. 

Ron and I went to supper with our friends and had a nice visit and good food.  My friend Pat and I commiserated on how little shopping we have done for the holidays and how quickly they are coming!  She wanted a little help with a gift she will be making and thankfully I had just seen the directions for the project about 10 days ago in my sewing room.   Now, where did I put them????

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016

Can You Hear the Music?
November 14, 2016

For 3 1/2 years now, I have been telling you about the music in my head since I went deaf.  It is still there, but for a couple of days last month, I lost it.  I really missed it!  It was replaced with noises that sounded mechanical.  Strange.  I was about to make a doctor's appointment, to have it checked, but then it went away and the music came back. 

Actually that is not the music I was going to tell you about.  This past weekend, we went to San Antonio since our son Dave was going to be singing a solo at his church Sunday morning.  It was a solo with choir backup.  We sat on the top row of the balcony so we could be beside our daughter-in-law as she did the video taping of the service.  The special music was not a song I was familiar with so I could not figure out the melody, but I could enjoy seeing both our son and his wife serving the Lord in their church with the talents God has given them.

We left early Saturday morning and drove to San Antonio (about 4 1/2 hours away), and spent several hours going to quilt stores.  Dave has a Saturday job so he was not available and his wife was busy with the academic decathlon team that she coaches at her school.  We met up with Dave about the time he got off work and by the time we got to the house, his wife was home. 

We all went to supper at the Alamo Cafe where we had hosted Dave and Diana's wedding rehearsal dinner 12 years ago this month.  Diana's niece and nephew were home and joined us for supper.  Her nephew is now in college and her niece in the high school where Diana teaches.  Supper was nice although a little spicy for me. 

Sunday morning we four adults made it to church with time to spare.  The kids were spending time with other family Sunday.  It was good to see one of the ladies at church who used to live here and attend our church.  Lunch was great at one of our favorite Bar-B-Que places.  We returned to the house to chance clothes before driving home. 

The trip was way too short, but it was the best we could do right now.  Dave and his family stay so busy and Ron hates to be away from the Sunday School class he teaches at our church here. 

Traffic was heavy coming home.  Friday was a holiday, so I guess that is why so many were on the road.  Just south of Raymondville, there had been a very big accident with about 15 - 20 emergency vehicles helping out.  There was a light rain and it was dark.  Thankfully we were able to take an exit right away and bypass the congestion. 

Today at the office, I did not accomplish too much.  The afternoon was slow and I left early to come home.  We are glad we were able to make the trip. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016

Remembering our Veterans
November 11, 2016

My dad on leave while in the service,
 treasuring time with his infant son, my brother.

There are so many men and women who have served our country through the military over the years.  Since we no longer have the draft, most of today's service people are serving out of an internal calling to duty or following in the footsteps of the men in their families.  Some serve to provide for their families; some serve as an alternative to punishment for crimes they have done; and I am sure there are almost as many variations on these and other reasons as there are those who are enlisted.  Whatever brought them to the service, they all start out learning to obey, increasing their physical and mental strength, and learning routines. 

In today's society, many young people are not being taught these things in their homes.  They may be sitting around on the couch playing video games, or "hanging out" at the mall.  What ever they are doing before joining the military, they become as brothers and sisters to those that they serve beside. 
Their lives depend on being able to trust that their buddies will be there for them in times of war. 

Sometimes people will discuss the silly question, "If you had to be one of the following, would you rather be deaf or blind?"  As a deaf person, my answer would be that I would rather be deaf than blind.  Deaf people can still carry on a fairly normal life without hearing.  Yes, there are many things that are much harder when you can't hear, but as a blind person, it is almost impossible to function outside your home without the help of others.

At my age (70) many of our male friends served during the Vietnam war.  Many who served during that time as well as during other wars, have hearing loss from the battles they fought, the guns of all shapes and sizes are noisy.  One friend just got two strong hearing aids which are helping a lot.  I have come to think Veteran's benefits should include hearing aids.  Today, better hearing protection is available, but not always practical. 

There are so many reasons for hearing loss.  Loud noises rank up there at the top.  Many in my generation suffer hearing problems from loud music as rock music grew in popularity during their young adult years.  The current generation will probably also suffer in years to come from the damage done by loud music at concerts and movies.

Another reason for hearing loss can be illness.  Several childhood illnesses can cause hearing loss and babies born very prematurely can also suffer from damage to their hearing.  If a mother has German measles during pregnancy, that can cause deafness to the unborn child.  When my children were young, if they had an ear ache and the doctor treated them for it, he insisted that I bring the child back in one week so he could be sure the infection had healed.  He did not charge for that recheck because he was so convinced that everything possible be done to protect and save a child's hearing.  More doctors need to do that!

Let me suggest that you do all you can to protect your own hearing and the hearing of the children in your life. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 8, 2016

Election Night
November 8, 2016

Staying up late, watching election returns and waiting
 for one candidate to reach the magic number of 270.

Since I am up late watching election returns, I think I will try to do a blog entry.  Again, it has been a while since I did one.  Things have really been busy for us.  We made a trip to Dallas about the time I did my last entry I think.  Then I spent last week at the office working on the end of month things and I just have one more thing to do before I can send those papers to the accountant.
Me in my clown costume

I spent last week making a costume for a masquerade party celebrating our daughter-in-law's birthday and her oldest daughter's birthday.  I finished the costume about 30 minutes before time to drive to McAllen for the party.  That is cutting it a little close, but it got done! 

Our family: 3 granddaughters, our daughter-in-law, Barb, Mom, and me.

The party was fun and Mom went with me.  She won first prize for her creative Elf on the Shelf costume.  Everyone at the party enjoyed her outfit.  My clown costume was well received.  Everyone looked great.
It is great to see how many friends our granddaughters
 have made in their new community.
We have continued to enjoy eating out with friends and family each week.  All in all, this has started out as a busy, but fun month.  Mom and I spent the night in McAllen instead of driving home late that night.  It was nice to relax.  We headed home mid-afternoon Sunday.
Two of our friends who came from Brownsville for the party,
with Mom, Barb. and me.
I have had some Cochlear issues the last couple of weeks.  One problem is a battery that was damaged.  The next problem was that one of the sound processors had a problem causing me not to be able to attach one of the cables to it.  The third problem was I wanted to ask the technicians at Cochlear to clean my mini mic. 
Good friends
Ron made a call for me, to the Cochlear technicians and the man he talked to was so helpful.  Within 2 days I had a new mini mic and today (about 5 days after Ron's call) I have a new sound processor that has been already been programmed to my specific needs.  I should get two new batteries in a couple of weeks.  It is so reassuring to get such great customer service.  They are a great company.

Tonight I stayed up to see who won the Presidential election and just listened to an excellent speech by out next President of the United States, Donald J. Trump!  What an evening.  The election was called about 1:30 a.m., our time.  It was worth staying up late.

We have gotten some rain the last few days and have rain in the forecast for the rest of the week.  Went to the doctor yesterday to get a refill on a prescription.  Actually changed two medications.  Hope I do well on them.