Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas in San Diego

We returned from California late last night. I didn't have much time to regroup or unpack before I had to go to bed in order to get a decent night's sleep before returning to work this morning. I have a million things to do tonight but am too tired and jet-lagged to do anything - so I'll write.

We had a wonderful time as a family with Chris in San Diego. I know he was thrilled to have us there so that he did not have to spend Christmas alone. We spent five days together and kept busy. Steve and I stayed in a hotel while the rest of the kids stayed at Chris' house. We went bowling twice and had a blast. The bowling alley was quite noisy environment but I didn't care! We also ate and fixed meals together, made Christmas cookies, went shopping, watched movies and just relaxed as a family. We also saw the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis. I still have a hard time understanding what is going on without closed captioning but I was able to pick up some of the dialogue. But, it is hard to read animal lips on the screen! For some reason I thought I knew the storyline and got it mixed up with "Beauty and the Beast." I couldn't figure out why the lion and the witch didn't fall in love with each other. I realized my mistake later and will have to watch the movie again with closed captioning when it comes out in DVD or video.

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California to see "The Glory of Christmas." It has been a dream of mine to see it someday and it was beautiful! This year was the 25th anniversary of the Christmas pageant there. The pageant was great and worth the trip. It was complete with live animals, including three camels, several llamas, children carrying baby lambs, etc. to the Cave of the Nativity. There were also angels that flew high over us in the audience. The music was recorded and there were no live instruments playing. I was a little disappointed with that but the Crystal Cathedral looks like it does not have room for the stage AND an orchestra. I still struggle with music "sounding right" but it helped to hear the songs that I was most familiar with. When there is a lot of music playing, my processor has trouble deciding what sounds to minimize and what sounds to focus on. I hear the best with simple instruments and voices, especially solos. My favorite was the song "What Can I Give Him?" sung by a little boy who looked like he was about eight years old. Some of the scenes were very intimate and truly showed the true message of Christmas.

Steve and I toured the beautiful grounds before the show. We also met one of my online friends, Karen VanDenBrink and her husband, Paul (we had made arrangements ahead of time to get together). I had met her once before when she came to Tennessee several years ago and she has twin daughters who are also hearing impaired. We met on a quilting chat group online and have communicated by email and computer since then. I talked about her earlier when I started this blog. Anyway, we had dinner together afterwards at Hof's Hut, which was a local diner, and enjoyed visiting in person. The kids went skiing and snowboarding for the day while Steve and I were at the Crystal Cathedral.

I'm having more CI moments again. I'm noticing and hearing a few new things every day. Maybe it is because I am rested and am not so worn out and stressed like I was before the holidays. Chris has crickets in an aquarium IN his house for his roomate's scorpions and they were very noisy and annoying. A few months ago I was thrilled that I could hear them for the first time. This time I just wanted to dump the crickets in the aquarium with the scorpions to silence them! It was a relief to return back to the hotel so I didn't have to listen to them anymore. We also drove by the ocean a few times and saw the monster waves that everyone was talking about.

New CI moments:

  • Heard the strum of a guitar from another room with the door shut.
  • The sound of my sweetner pouring into my paper cup at the hotel while making tea.
  • The florescent light above our kitchen sink "crackled" when I turned it on this morning.
  • I'm catching and picking up more phrases from the radio and television and in the car without lipreading.

Christmas morning was special and of course I heard the wrapping paper and all the wonderful sounds of Steve fixing breakfast for the family (which is a tradition for him - he makes the best french toast!) I made bells for the kids and hung them around their necks with gold ribbon. Our time in California flew by too quickly and it was time to go home again. But, it will be a vacation to remember!

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