Thursday, January 20, 2011

Turning Technie

As it turns out, my mother is not imagining her hearing loss.  There is a measurable loss in both ears since her last test.  As the technician pointed out, "When you are in the mid-to-profound loss range, any additional loss is significant."

We came home with a new toy, a device called TV Ears.  It's earphones with a volume control, drawing its signal off a connected TV.  You can change the volume to your ears without changing the volume on the set itself, thereby saving the ears of those of use who don't (yet!) need the additional amplification.

Connecting external devices to a TV set became old hat years ago.  I used to laughingly claim that I should get tech wages at work (nearly double my actual salary) for all the times I had to wire cables into a Superintendent's TV set, or my own video editing system.  After the multiple decks, multiple sound sources, multiple image sources, and multiple monitors all hooked together into a single coherent editing system, adding a listening device like TV Ears ought to have been a piece of cake.

Until I discovered that my parents' TV, made in 2000, has NO audio out ports.  No familiar little red/white/yellow places to plug in the correspondingly colored wires that come with every device purchased these days.  Just solid plastic coverings where I'd expect to find the connectors.

Think, Bonnie, think!

What should, in theory, have provided a work-around -- didn't.  At least not for several hours.  A mad dash to nearby Radio Shack only confirmed the theory.  Even replacing the TV set would not solve the problem.  New TVs have lots of computer, iPod, and other digital connections.  Most have no more than one RCA outlet, one usually dedicated to another device.

Several hours later, after much cable moving, connection jiggling, channel changing,  powering equipment on and off -- and frustration -- the whole package came together.  Both the TV and the Ears now work.  

Mother's judgement?  "It is louder, but it is not any clearer."  I suspect the Ears will be returned before the end of the 30-day trial.

Give thanks for technology that works the way it is intended!
Don't forget to pray.......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Reality Check

It's just after 10:00 p.m., the house is quiet, and I'm hearing the telltale sound of raindrops of the aluminum roof of the lanai.  For you non-Hawaiians, read "patio roof".   It sounds kinda' like lah-NIGH.   It has been threatening all day -- overcast skies, temperatures cool enough that long sleeves were comfortable today.   It's supposed to rain for the next several days.

Last week brought several days of torrential rain.  The plover who makes our yard his (her?) winter home was dancing around the puddles, remembering that he really is a shore bird.   Yesterday I found him exploring the carport.  Silly bird.  No bugs there, just 70 years of cars parked there night after night.

My mom had wanted to attend a real estate presentation this evening dealing with property values in this neighborhood.  I think the sponsoring real estate office wants to expand its client base.  But by mid-afternoon she announced that her hearing has deteriorated so much in the last week that she didn't think she could hear anything even if she sat in the front row.   I don't know that her hearing has gotten significantly worse in the last week -- she couldn't hear the dialog  in a commercial movie theater last summer.   We didn't go to the presentation tonight; we are going to the hearing clinic tomorrow.

Give thanks for the health you have.    Don't forget to pray!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Honoring our Ali'i

Mauna 'Ala is not just another cemetery.    It is not a part of the State of Hawai'i, nor is it part of the Untied States.  Here, one stands in the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Here many of our Ali'i, our royalty, are buried.

Here members of the four Royal Societies and Daughters of Hawai'i (we are not a royal society, i.e., not founded by one of the ali'i) gather on specific days to honor one or more of those ali'i.  On New Year's Eve we gathered to remember Queen Kapiolani, wife of our last king, Kalakaua.   On January 2 we gathered again, this time to honor Queen Emma, wife of Kamehameha IV, on her birthday.

We are reminded of the contributions the ali'i made to society.  Most were writers and musicians, poets and composers.  They were social reformers in a world of change.  They were fierce champions of their people and their nation.

Queens Emma and Kapi'olani are each credited with founding a hospital -- Emma, the Queens Hospital opened originally to combat the western diseases decimating the Hawaiian population; and Kapiolani the hospital which bears her name, serving specifically women and children. My mother, my brother and I were all born at Kapi'olani Hospital.  Today Kapi'olani provides the only 24-hour pediatric emergency care and the only pediatric and neo-natal  Intensive Care Units in the state.

Emma petitioned the Anglican Church to come to Hawaii, and to establish a school for girls in Honolulu.  In my own line, I am the first in five generations not to attend St. Andrew's Priory.

The photo above shows a portion of the procession entering the chapel at Mauna 'Ala.  The ladies in black with golden lei are members of the Ka'ahumanu Society.  Daughters of Hawai'i, similarly garbed in white with golden lei, follow them.  Ahead, with capes, are members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha.  The processional order may change depending on the ali'i being honored, but it is always single file, always silent, always a reminder of who we are as part of the Hawaiian community.

Give thanks for the contributions of our ali'i, especially the Queens Medical Center,  St. Andrew's Priory , and the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children.

Don't forget to pray.

Signs of the New Year

Hawaii is one of those places where cultural diversity is -- and has been for a long time -- the rule rather than the exception.  Absence of diversity is one of the things local folks notice when we move away from Hawaii.

These views, taken just inside the entrance of the neighborhood grocery store, are typical.

Kadomatsu are a Japanese tradition.  They are displays of bamboo, evergreen and sometimes flowers.  Their composition, arrangement and placement at or near the front door are traditional, and steeped with religious symbolism and significance.

Next to the Kadomatsu is the tray of bamboo leaves, another of oranges, or tangerines with a leaf attached, and boxes of mochi. 

Making mochi at the New Year is as tradition in the Japanese community as making ravioli is to my Italian friends, and tamales to those from Mexico.  

Give thanks for the diversity that adds spice, breadth and awareness to our lives.

Don't forget to pray....