Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

Back to Sharing My April
 Away From Home
May 22, 2017

Setting for wedding in North Carolina
As I shared earlier, I had volunteered to spend April in Dallas caring for our youngest grandson when his mom returned to teaching.  I would care for him in the daytime and they would cuddle and love on him evenings and weekends.  I told them the only time I was committed in April was late in the month.  For that a long weekend, I was going to North Carolina for the wedding of one of my nieces.  My mom, our daughter-in-law Barbara, I had gotten our tickets months earlier.

It worked out very well that our daughter-in-law had agreed to go with us since I had to change my flight to leave from Dallas but she was there to help Mom when I was not going to be on my original flight.  We did end up on the same flight from Houston on to North Carolina.  Our flights were scheduled so that we would arrive in N.C. at the airport just a few minutes after my sister who was coming from Idaho.  That was the plan.  Delays on my flight from Dallas changed that, but we ended up all together about an hour later that planned.

The next unexpected problem was a very long delay in getting our baggage, but in the early morning hours, the shuttle from the hotel picked us up and took us to our very welcoming beds.  It had been a long day.  My sister Debbie took the shuttle early the next morning while the rest of us slept in, and she got our rental car and came back to load us and our luggage to drive two hours to Black Mountain, North Carolina where the wedding would be held.

The entire weekend was filled with events of celebration.  We had missed the first one since we did not arrive until late Thursday night, but on Friday evening we attended the rehearsal dinner.  The afternoon was filled with our drive to Black Mountain, a visit with my other sister (mother of the bride) in the beautiful home they had rented, and then an additional drive to the house we had reserved.  Our place was a lovely A-frame cabin in the woods.  It was perfect for our needs.  It was quiet, secluded, deep in the woods, and very comfortable.  A close friend of our daughter-in-law joined us for Friday night.  They had a great visit and talked long into the night.

The rehearsal dinner was beautifully laid out and was a unique experience with sort of a tasting of foods from Spain.  It was good to have time with many of the extended family during that time.  As for hearing, things went pretty well at the dinner.  The tables were long but narrow.  It is hard to hear across a wide table.  Conversations were not loud throughout the room and I was able to converse with the mother of the groom who was seated beside me, and with my mom and sister who were across from us.
Rehearsal dinner
The wedding was Saturday late afternoon, so Saturday, we slept in and spent the day relaxing.  It had rained off on Friday night and all Saturday.  The wedding was outdoors on the top of a mountain.  The rain held off during the wedding.  I doubt I have ever attended a wedding with a more perfect setting.  Where the guests were seated, we had a marvelous view across the tree covered mountains, without a single road, house, or any other man made items.  All we could see was God's beautifully created world.  Rows of mountains faded into the mist.  A string quartet played before the ceremony and everything was lovely.
This little bird came and sat outside my window each morning at the
 cabin and sang a sweet song (rain, fog, or sunshine).

Again, the hearing was fine.  There were no mechanical noises overpowering the ceremony.  A few birds sang.  There were no traffic sounds, just peaceful, quiet, beauty.  The couple had some amazing friends who had traveled from around the U.S. and the world to celebrate with them.  The couple lives in Manhattan.  As for the hearing at the reception, that was a different story.  The room was crowded, the string quartet played, people were louder, and after the meal, a DJ set up with his huge speakers beside our table.
Mom being escorted to her seat for the wedding.
Sunday morning after we took care of things at the rental cabin, we drove back to Black Mountain for a breakfast hosted by my sister Janet, mother of the bride (and Janet's husband).  The gathering of friends and family was fun and lovely. 
  Lovely flowers and candles everywhere
After that, we joined Janet and her husband at their rental and eventually had lunch.  It was a good visit, the bride and groom were there for part of the time, and other family members were in and out.  Mid afternoon, we headed back on the two hour drive to Charlotte, in the rain.
My two sisters
Janet and Debra
We got up VERY early Monday morning to go to the airport.  Debbie drove Barb and me.  Debbie and Mom were going to spend a week seeing more of the area.  What fun!  We just barely made our flight due to slow security screenings.   The flight was good.  Barb and I parted ways in Houston again and I was back in Dallas by about 9:00 that morning.  Our son picked me up and I returned to my fun job as our grandson's loving Grandma.
Debra, Barbara, Mom, Janet, and me (Linda)
I am glad I was not traveling alone most of the time.  Hearing announcements in airports and even on the planes is next to impossible.  As the attendants would give safety instructions, the noise from the engines would cover their voices.  As we would arrive at the next airport they had some important things to say, (like when my flight to Houston from Dallas was an hour late), trying to tell me they were holding my plane for me.  I was the last on to board.
My mom with the bride and groom

It was such a lovely weekend.  It would have been good to stay longer, but hopefully Ron and I can do that some day in the future.  The month long break from my normal routine was nice.  Ron and I missed each other and especially while I was on the two weekend trips, I would think of how much he would enjoy the trips.
Reception dinner setting

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017

Too Much Going on, For
Me to Have Time to Share
May 20, 2017

Royal Poinciana tree in full bloom
Somewhere is the distant past, there was a time that things in my life seemed to go at a snail's pace.  I think that was maybe about 40 years ago, or was it 50?  This blog in many ways was to share about how after I went deaf, my Cochlear implant returned my life to near normal.  During May four years ago, I was deaf and waiting for my Cochlear implant.  Without it, I am sure my life would be a lot different than it is now. 

As the years of usage add up, I find that my early impressions of the Cochlear device have proved to be true.  It is a miracle that someone was able to devise such an amazing piece of medical equipment to allow a deaf person to hear.  It is not perfect, but it sure beats living in a completely quiet world.  Music still is a challenge, but I think there have been improvements.   New or unfamiliar music is too hard for me to process, but old, familiar tunes can often sound almost normal to me.

As the family has adapted to my limitations, they have learned that I can do most of the things I used to do.  Friday morning brought one of the limitations to my attention.  When I remove my sound processor, I have no idea how loudly I am talking.  Sometimes when it is brought to my attention, I realize that I can tell I am straining my voice (but not hearing anything I am saying).  The family has learned to signal me when I get too loud.  This morning, one of our grandsons and I were the first ones up at his house.  I had not yet put on my processor, and as I asked him a question, he took his hand and stuck it out straight (palm down) and lowered the hand.  That is the most common communication the family uses to let me know I am talking too loudly.

Yesterday afternoon I drove to McAllen to attend the ballet recital of a couple of our granddaughters.  We had front row seats in the balcony in the beautiful new Performing Arts Center in McAllen.  It is a lovely facility and the acoustics are amazing.  I could tell when the music was playing, but could rarely pick out the melody.  But that did not keep me from enjoying the time, seeing a great, entertaining, evening of little girls, young ladies, adult women, and a few guys, share their love of dancing with  friends and families.

The girls had taken ballet last year at a different school, and that recital, although well done, showed a different type of dancing.  Our daughter -in-law found a new school for the girls this year and the recital was completely different.  It was happier - more joyful, and more modest in dress and dance.  This was a great place for the girls.  The middle of the three girls dropped out after just a brief time, realizing her talents and joy came from other areas, not dancing, but the other two fully enjoyed their classes and performances.

Since the ballet recital was not over until late, I had gone prepared to spend the night and was glad that I had done so.  There was time to visit with our daughter-in-law who stays on the go all the time, and to chat with all the children.  Our son was out of town.  With all my traveling lately, I have had too little time with this group of grandchildren, but it looks like that will change in the next few weeks.  I may be with them a couple of days at the end of the month and a couple of weekends during June.  We have so much to catch up on.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017

Where is Czechia?
May 9, 2017 

Duck diving for lunch

When I open the home page for my blog to write a new entry, I always check to see where the recent views have come from, and I am always amazed with the diversity in the list.  Today's list included Czechia.  I had never heard of Czechia, so I went to Google to see what I could find out.  It turned out that the Czech Republic has been renamed, but the new name is not "catching on" and is not being used.  One article I found is titled "Czech Republic Changed Its Name, but No One Noticed."  The name change actually happened about a year ago (April 2016).

Closer to home, during the last few days, I have been busy still unpacking and putting things away.  I had not gone grocery shopping for our house in 6 weeks and it was time for me to take care of that.  Sunday evening I managed to get to Wal-Mart to do that shopping.  It took a couple of hours and my husband was about ready to send out a search party to locate me.

Last Thursday night we drove to McAllen to have supper with our son and his family.  We had a great visit and two of the boys came home with us.  It was a a quiet visit.  They both went to the office with us Friday and helped with several chores.  We had a good time and so did they.  They returned home Saturday afternoon after one of them spent Saturday helping one of the men in our church build the scenery for Vacation Bible School.  

We had gone to supper with friends Wednesday night and I am having trouble with the Cochlear mini microphone.  I am not getting a real good pick up and volume from it.  I will try it a little longer and see if things get better.  The places I have tried to use it have been very noisy and that may be the problem.  In quieter settings it works fairly well.  I did use it in the nursery some when I was caring for our grandson.  I would leave it on and I could hear him in the other end of the house.
 Wild turkey
During my 4 days in Alburque, New Mexico for Easter, Saturday we drove to a wildlife preserve and enjoyed seeing a variety of birds.  This is in the area where the Sandhill Cranes spend the winter, but they had already left for their homes far in the northern part of Canada.  I hope to time a trip there soon to see them at the right time of the year.  

We took a picnic lunch and some shade and enjoyed watching the birds while we ate our sandwiches.  My son and I were taking photos while his wife did the driving.   It was very windy and my photos were not spectacular, but we had fun.
Black-chinned Hummingbird in New Mexico
This past weekend brought a good variety of birds to the back yard feeders and fountains.  The birds have emptied the feeders several times in the last week.  They are so glad to see that I am supplying them with food again.  I have seen one of the little migrating birds that comes every year, a Water Thrush.  He is so cute, but he is probably upset that the waterfall is not operating.  He always stays around it.  The bird photos in this blog entry are ones from my trip to Albuquerque for Easter weekend.
Canada Goose in New Mexico
While I was staying in Dallas during April, I flew to Albuquerque for Easter.  On Easter morning, I had wanted to go to a Sunrise Service.  Growing up, we often did that on Easter mornings.  The only one our daughter-in-law was able to locate was a large one in the city stadium.  That was not what I had in mind and I was not sure how well I would be able to hear.
In my son's backyard in Albuquerque
It turned out, that God woke me up on Easter morning and in my night gown, I went out on the patio in a small fenced portion of their yard.  No one could see me, but I realized that I had a perfect view of where the sun would rise.  I spent an hour waiting for the sunrise and mentally went over the Biblical telling of the events of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As it got closer to the actual time that I would be able to see the sun over the top of the Sandia Mountains I was able to tell where it would crest.  
Easter Sunrise
There were two peaks on that section of the mountain where I was watching and what a gift God gave me that morning as the sun shown perfectly centered between those two peaks.  So as I sat alone on a quiet, chilly April morning,  I had an amazingly awesome view of the rising sun.  It would only be that perfectly aligned one morning a year (if I am correct), and I had a front row seat.  God is so good.  That is just what I needed that morning.
Sunlight pours through the gap in the mountain
As the sun continued to rise, the sunlight just burst through the morning sky.  What a morning.  After Bob and Vickey got up, we got ready to go to church.  They were having an Easter musical and the speaking parts of the program were written by their music director.  The auditorium was full and we were seated about 1/2 way to the front.  I started coughing and told my son I was going to get some water.  He went with me and we were greeted by a lady I assume was the church secretary who quickly got me water and led me to a beautifully decorated room with coffee, bottled water, snacks, and afghans hanging over the backs of all the lovely seats in the room.  (I guess this is their "cry room" for removing fussy children from the service.)  I told my son to go back and I would stay in there.  The sweet lady turned on a huge flat screen TV and the musical was live on the TV.  I could hear it so much better in that small room with a volume control on the set.  What a blessing as I watched the rest of the presentation.
 Dove's nest

We spent the afternoon with friends of theirs.  God continued to give me one blessing after another.  Right out the large window in the dining room was a dove's nest with two baby doves about ready to leave the nest.  In fact, one kept leaving just to walk down the branch and as his balance would leave him wobbling, he would scurry back to the nest.  What fun to watch the mother and father birds encouraging the babies to leave the nest.
 Dove's nest
Monday my son and I took the tram to the top of Sandia Peak.  They live fairly close the the base of the tram and it only took a few minutes to get there.  We were on the first tram of the day and it was so nice that we were able to enjoy the view and the quiet, and that we were about ready to head down about the time the loads of school children were arriving.  I love kids, but I don't want to watch them on the top of a peak like that.  It was time to go for another outing.  
 Sandia Peak Tram
We finished the day with a tour of Old Town.  I did a little shopping and took photos.  The flowers in the park and around a church in that area were beautiful.  When we finished up, we stopped for iced sodas before they took me to the airport for my flight back to Dallas.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

I'm Back!
Did You Miss Me?
May 2, 2017

The last 6 weeks have been filled with activities and the majority of them were fun, relaxing, and a break from my normal routine.  There is no way I can cover all of that time in one blog, so I will try to catch up a little and then share some other portions as I go along.  At home and at the office, I have a lot to catch up on as far as work, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

Our youngest son and his wife had a precious son in early February.  He started off just a little on the small size and it took him a week or so to get the hang of gaining weight.  Ron and I went to see him on my birthday weekend.  Then we got to see him again in early March when we went to take some classes for our state license (for our business).  Those were great chances to see our grandson, but you just can't get to know them in such a short time.
Adorable booties that he sometimes wore
Our daughter-in-law is a teacher and she went back to the classroom when the baby was 7 weeks old.  I had the wonderful opportunity to take care of him for a month during the days while she and our son were at their jobs.  What a special time that I will treasure forever.  When our son first mentioned the possibility of such an arrangement, I said that there was nothing I would rather do than sit on the couch and hold our grandson for a month, and that is just about what I did.

He needed to be fed on a regular schedule to keep him gaining.  I must admit though, he really has the hang of that now and he is growing rapidly.  Most days, our son woke me between 7:30 and 8:00 (since I don't sleep with my sound processor for the Cochlear implant on, I can't hear anything).  Usually I would feed our grandson while our son got ready for work.  His wife usually left before I got up.
Dessert flowers blooming 
The rest of the day was feeding our grandson, doing a few dishes, rocking him to sleep, folding his laundry, and preparing his next feeding.  He has sleeping  down to a science.  He enjoys the warmth of sleeping in the loving arms of a family member.  He changed so much in the month that I was there.  I told my husband that I really had more time to focus my full attention on this precious little guy than when our children were babies.  There were always things that needed to be done and with this baby, I just sat and enjoyed him. 

One day recently he discovered my shirts.  The first was a bright red shirt with sparkly accents on it.  The day he noticed that, his eyes got big, he looked at me, and then he started trying to reach and touch the design.  The next day my shirt had bright flowers on it and there was one color he liked best.  Previously he would respond to my facial expressions, but suddenly he was interested in patterns and designs, and wanted to feel them.

Every day was like that - a new item or sound would catch his attention.  I can't thank my son and his wife enough for allowing me the gift of that special time with their son.  They kept thanking me, and I owed them a lot more thanks than they owed me.  I will admit, I was reminded why God gives babies to the young parents.  There were days I was exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion - one from doing something pleasurable.
American Coot
A concern had been whether I would be able to hear the baby from the other end of the house.  The house is not real large, but the way it is laid out, it was a long way from his bed to the kitchen, where I often was when he was sleeping in his bed.  Between the great monitor they had and my wireless mic, I managed just fine.  Every few minutes, he would let out a whimper and by the time I got to his room to check on him, he was almost always back to sleep.

During the time I was there,  I wanted to give them time in the evenings and on the weekends to have their private time with their son, so I often went shopping in the evenings or read in the room they had prepared for me.  Two weekends, I left town.  On Easter weekend since our daughter-in-law was off Friday through Monday, I flew to Albuquerque to spend time with our oldest son and his wife.  I had an early morning flight out of Dallas Friday and got back late Monday night.
So many beautiful plants were in bloom in Albuquerque.
Then the following weekend, I flew to North Carolina for a niece's wedding.  When we first talked about me going to help out for April, I told them the only thing on my calendar was that wedding and I had already bought my ticket last fall.  That was a little hard on them since my son had to take off a day and a half to take care of the baby, but he enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the other days.

More later about those trips, but I wanted you to know I am back and will try to share some events with you in the days to come.  By the statistics I get on this blog site, I see that many have been reading older posts while I have been away and I expect they are new to the blog.  Welcome to any new readers from all over the world.
Mom with her three daughters in North Carolina following the wedding we attended.
My sister Debbie, Mom, my sister Janet (mother of the bride) and me.