Get Your Church in the Hearing Loop

I would love to experience a worship service with a loop system. Maybe someday.

Let's Loop Wisconsin

I recently received a letter from an audiologist asking for help to find funding for a hearing loop in a church.  Here is how I would recommend he/she go about this.

Form a hearing loop committee – number of members is less important than the willingness of the committee members to make this happen by reaching out to church members and into the community.

It is my experience that members of the church should be asked first. They have a vested interest that all members are able to hear. Stories abound on the web how congregations made this happen. Often, members in the congregation will step up to pay for a loop but, not until after the congregation is educated about why people with hearing loss/hearing aid users need this kind of assistive listening technology.

A short article in the church bulletin will go long way in this education process…

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Stuck Between Two Worlds

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A while back I noticed the Deaf Expo was coming to the Twin Cities.  This excited me greatly.  A friend of mine (hard of hearing) had attended the Deaf Expo in her state and she said it was an awesome experience and something she wished could be a regular event.  With knowing this information I immediately tried to get the weekend off of work.  We can stay with my parents when in the cities and the day just happened to be my dad’s birthday so this was going to be brilliant.  I texted my friend that is deaf and asked her if she wanted to go with me.  She was a yes this was going to be a new experience and one of learning and support.  I had this vision in my head I was going to be met with understanding and acceptance.  I had this feeling that it was going be like the couple days I got to spend with my hard of hearing tribe.  Not that we will all know each other, of course, but one of likeness.

The weekend has now come and gone and I was left with a very empty and let down feeling.  I expected this event to have a lot of signing.  It was a Deaf event with a capital D.  The reason I wanted to attend was it was advertised as Deaf, hard of hearing, family of deaf and hard of hearing, community member wanting to know more about the deaf and hard of hearing population.  I am still trying to process why this event was marketed this way.

I have been told before being hard of hearing you are stuck between two worlds.  You aren’t fully hearing but you also are not in the Deaf community.  I can sign minimally, and understand sign when done at a slower rate.  So I was excited to see and learn and immerse myself.  What I encountered was something quite different. We walked into the event and it was silent.  I knew then I was in for trouble communicating.  There was no talking, no lip readers.  100% sign at this event.  We walked into the exhibit hall and it reminded me of a college fair, job fair, county fair, you get the idea.  There were booths that held the vendors but very little information physically on these booths.  I found this odd.  I thought if I can’t converse with the vendors who were all sign I will grab their literature and read it on my own.  Nope had to talk to the vendors.  So again I was out.  I was again stuck in that in between.  I thought of all places different communication means would be set up.  I expected a sound system or at least a screen with CART (real time captioning).  There was nothing.  There was a stage and everything was in sign.  Again I realize this is a Deaf event but what community member is going to come and learn more about this community if they can’t understand what is going on.  Someone to voice, or to read the captions would have been very helpful.

We took our time and walked around the booths which took about 15 minutes maybe.  We talked to one vendor.  My friend signed and voiced for me.  I was able to understand most of the conversation through the sign so that was a high part of the day for me.  I felt we were getting the evil stink eye because we were talking.  We found a place to sit and we just talked to each other.  Saw a couple people we knew and they agreed it wasn’t the best event.  Made me glad it wasn’t just me thinking this.

This whole event made me realize we are really stuck in limbo as being hard of hearing.  We need to ask for accommodations to function in a hearing world.  Going to a Deaf event I guess we need accommodations there also.  This really made me wonder why this was marketed and advertised to hard of hearing, hearing, community whoever wanted to come.  The couple booths I was excited to see I couldn’t converse with the vendor, they had nothing to pick up so I just kept walking. My assessment was they wanted numbers of people not if those people could get something out of the day.

I later saw pictures on social media of the day and it looked like a marvelous day with tons of smiling people.  I wish I would have been one of them smiling.

The day wasn’t lost.  I got to spend a day with my friend and my family in the cities.  We laughed and talked and made a day of it.  Just wish we weren’t in limbo between the two worlds.

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I Found My Tribe

Almost two weeks ago I went away for 2 days. First off this is so unconventional for me. When I took my marriage vows almost 16 years ago I became a couple. Then kids came and our family was born. We do everything together. If the kids are somewhere then I am with Chad. We just don’t do things seperate. A day here and there but never overnight. This was new and wonderful. I am not against doing things seperate. We just don’t seem to do it. I travelled to the cities and met 3 ladies that I only knew from being online and active in the Say What Club. If you don’t get it from the title of the group we are part of we all have hearing loss. We met at the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis. I had never been at this cafe but have heard of it. It was a neat experience so now I can say “I have been there.”

I will be honest, I was nervous. I have never met these women but I feel I knew them forever. I was told by one of these women that you need to find your tribe. You need to find a group where you belong. There was an incredible feeling of sisterhood. One of acceptance, mentors, women that have your back. We had a fabulous lunch and discussion. From the cafe we travelled to Red Wing. We were very fortunate to have a good weather.

Upon getting into Red Wing we met our 5th woman and the house we would be staying at. We did a little sight seeing in Red Wing and over to Hager City. We enjoyed a drink at a dark Bar at the famous St James Hotel. Lip reading is hard in the dark so cell phone flashlights come into play and so do the fun of shadow puppets. The ice had been broken and laughing was one of the most prevalent sounds. We even had a chance to visit the biggest boot. Have you had a chance to do that yet?

The time we were together we laughed and talked about serious issues in our lives. We ate, drank the most wonderful margaritas on National Margaritas Day. We meshed and it felt so good to be sitting down with these women that had so much they could share with me. It was a feeling I never wanted to end.  We decorated hearing aids, arts and crafts time.  We had an adult woman’s slumber party.

I started thinking about our little group or tribe and it made me think of think of the book, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Very abstractly but there is a group of girls of different backgrounds, family structures and sizes- a single pair of pants fit them all. It made me think of this tribe we are from all over, we are different ages, different ways to hear (hearing aids, cochlear implants, lip reading, signing) it all worked. We are a tribe of strong fierce deaf/ hard of hearing women. I can’t wait to be with them all again.

How Our Story Began


It is Valentine’s Day and I use this day to reminisce of how Chad and I became a couple. Was it fate, the stars or divine intervention. I tend to believe the third one.

I was in college and I have had a couple different boyfriends during those years. One ended quite odd. I dated a man I worked with in St Paul. I cared for him and I believe he did for me. We had some great times together. He took a vacation to visit his family in Mexico. I come to find out he went home to be married!!! How does that even happen? Needless to say it was a shock and that relationship was over. The next boyfriend we were friends before we dated. When I went away to New Mexico to college it occurred to me we weren’t a good match. I ended the relationship and decided I wanted to look for marriage not just fun and a date.

Here is the part of the story that isn’t conventional. My mom had told me that I should have an arranged marriage. She wants the best for me so she could find someone. HA!! that would happen when hell froze over. As a joke I grabbed a meeting people magazine, threw it at my mom and asked her to pick me a husband. Yes a magazine, I hate to say I am getting old. Match.com and things like that didn’t exist. Still had AOL dialup Internet.

Mom poured over the magazine and she picked 3 ads. I was surprised never expected her to even look at it. I secretly looked at the ads and kinda agreed. I wrote one letter to the mystery man. I told about being in college and our new puppy. I never told a soul that I wrote this letter.

Around this time we gained another piece of new age technology, caller ID. My dad was getting driven nuts by this ,Chad Lundquist, that kept calling our home. We were never there when he called and it was driving him crazy!!  Finally we were home and I talked to Chad on the phone. We just clicked. We talked for two hours non stop. I finally had to tell someone I wrote to a personal ad and we are talking. We talked numerous times. Finally met for dinner at Baker Square by Sunray Shopping Center. Then went to a movie with a friend of mine, she was also on a date. The night was great. Chad was a gentleman. He opened doors and pulled out chairs. He was slow to kiss me that took a couple months. It was so fun dating Chad. 13 months later we were engaged and 5 months later we were married. The story took off from there. In a few months we will celebrate 16 years of marriage. We have had our good times and plenty off of bad times. Never have I looked back from picking up that phone when the caller ID said Chad Lundquist.

I love you Chad.

The Blizzard

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We are to be getting a Blizzard of Armageddon proportions today.  You know the type; the media is in a frenzy, the stores are packed and you have your rations of milk, eggs and bread.

I often wonder what are we to do with this milk, eggs and bread.  Is the staple meal with a blizzard, french toast.  Why wouldn’t we just have our normal groceries in the house and just eat our normal menu.  I am very glad in times like this I am a caner.  I can open a jar of soup, or meat to make a meal.  Very handy to have in situations like this.

So there is this hype and frenzy in the air with a storm.  Mind you not one flake has fallen yet but a big percentage of the schools in the state have already closed.  A major metro school district, St Paul, is closing at noon.  That floors me- these predictions better be good.  We are still in school but the school closings are getting closer and closer to us.  We are now seeing schools within a 30 mile radius are closing.

I don’t know what to think.  An old fashion big ol’ blizzard would be fun.  Watching the snow get higher and higher is exciting to watch.  No one has to leave tomorrow so we would be safe.  We have our bread, milk and eggs.  Then there is this practical adult part of my brain that is saying NO we don’t want this.  Our cars will be covered in snow.  Then we have to shovel this snow.  As soon as I am done shoveling the plow goes by and makes a wall that is waist deep that we now have to shovel through.

So we wait, and we wait.  The electricity in the air of anticipation is almost to much.  Technology is such that we can text friends and family far and near, “Is it doing anything by you yet.”  Yes that childlike part in my soul is ready for a big Minnesota Blizzard.

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Grandpa

I spent a lot of this Christmas season thinking and replaying memories of my grandpa in my head. First let me tell you about my grandpa. He was hard and firm. He swore with the best of them. He was a deputy sheriff in our county. If I ever rode my bike on the wrong side of the street, oh yeah I caught hell from Grandpa. Grandpa had his opinions. You didn’t change those. He was hard headed, but had the biggest heart in a man. So here is my word picture of my grandpa. Cop who spoke, drank and smoked. He was the first to tell you if you did wrong. He was a man that I immensely loved and my heart shattered in a million pieces when he died. He was a man that is bigger then real life and I still have a deep ache of loss for him. Thank god for memories and pictures. I would love to share just a few.

Last weekend we went to my family for Christmas. We stopped at the cemetery and I visited my grandpa.


He loved Christmas so much. He would do a small light display. It was segregated. The manger scene, Angels, choir boys were on one side of the yard. Grandpa would then put his frosty, Santa and such on the other side.

He let all of us kids pile on him on Christmas morning. We did our picture by the tree every year. We are up to 17 people now with spouses and kids. We still have the group picture. I always feel there is a big gap. Grandpa should be sitting there.


 Grandpa was so stubborn.  I remember when his hearing got bad. You could hear the tv outside. You know it was our fault. We mumbled or didn’t talk right. Boy does that sound familiar. He would give so much of himself. He was a volunteer driver for the county. He was high up in the Legion. He was a Mason, he was an army officer veteran. He was a man I was so proud to call grandpa.  I have one of  his rings it is dented for him hitting it on the table while he was making his point. That is the kind of man he was.

Grandpa and grandma would take us on a vacation every year us grandkids. We would go in the motor home and it was so fun. Everything was planned. I can remember my cousin and I would have to go in the camper and make a drink for grandpa. We would hand it to him and he would ask us if it was good. We would taste it and just shudder and he would laugh at us. Pure fun!!

Grandpa was so proud of me when I went to college. He and grandma would come visit me and take me out to dinner and he would ask about every class I had. He was genuinely interested.  They came to New Mexico to visit when I went to school there. There was such a deep connection.


I just had this ache in my heart this Christmas that Grandpa should be there. He should know my kids. He should be here to yell at them, set them straight and then hug them and sit on his knee. I sure hope he is watching. I hope I make him proud.

Is that …?

Do your kids ever tell you something or announce something that you can’t help laugh till you need to catch your breathe. With my daughter we used to call them Gretaisms. I really wish I would had written down more of these. She was so stubborn if we told her the correct name or saying it didn’t matter. Do you remember the animated movie of a family of super heroes , The Incredibles. Yep to her it was, The Commadores. There was no changing her mind.  All kids have these and being a mom who happens to be hard of hearing I can hear some hum dingers of mis hearing.

I don’t know what all influences our kids. I hope our well meaning parenting does the most shaping of our kids. I am afraid that the world and outside forces does their share also. Like a play do mold. I try to teach values and morals to my children. Mold them into someone of good moral character. There is always that play do that squeezes out of the mold. I wonder if that part absorbs the world around us. Like it or not. It doesn’t mean they will go down a bad path but they have heard it and they are exposed to it.

Tonight my family went for Chinese food. First we had to convince our son that K2 was a regular shrimp and fries plate not kids. You know being 7 we shouldn’t have to eat from a kids menu. So yes I lied K2 is a big meal…NOT   When he takes the step to read the menu this will be stopped I guess. We were eating and enjoying each others company. My son yells in the middle of conversation while pointing to the sweet and sour sauce, “WHAT IS THAT STUFF? IS IT MARIJUANA?” Needless to say I chocked on my Mountain Dew and I don’t think I composed myself from laughing for several minutes. Where did that come from. I still can’t even type this at 3:30am without laughing. We don’t do drugs we don’t talk about drugs. I am guessing news or the few times my husband and I have debated over medical marijuana. We feel very different about that subject. That is besides the point. What does he think Marijuana is? To him a sweet pinkish dipping sauce. I didn’t know to respond but to laugh. My husband just said “Marijuana is illegal” I am not sure that cleared anything up for him. Kids say the darnedest things.

So next time you are out for Chinese be careful you don’t have to much fun with the sweet and sour sauce.

I Just Wanted Captions


A year ago Thanksgiving weekend I went to a movie with my husband. We went to a neighboring town and got really excited because the movie theater had just gotten captioning. You can read about this epic fail on my blog so I won’t go into huge amount of detail in this blog piece.  A night at the movies starts the trio of blog pieces I did on this situation. I was told I didn’t sound deaf enough.  I learned so much with going through this mess. I learned that law dictates captioning in certain situations. I learned a little bit about standing up for myself. I deserve, we deserve to have equal access. I have battled Carmike theaters with no avail. They as in corporate and at the local theater I never heard back from them or issued even an apology. Since this dealing I have started trying to be an advocate. A letter to the editor was written and published. I tried educating the National Park service when a trip to a National monument didn’t have captioning. In the same breath we need to thank the businesses that do caption and do it willing. I wrote a note to the Crazy Horse Monument thanking them for captions. This is the great response I received.

Dear Sara,

What a wonderful treat to read your email! Your story and excitement is contagious, we have shared your comment with our management team and will make sure our staff know what a great job they did. We truly appreciate that you shared your experience with the Say What Club and the Collaborative for Communication Access Via Captioning organizations, it is an honor to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community. Your support and passion for the project is greatly appreciated and we look forward to your next visit.

Sincerely,

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation

It pays to advocate for yourself but also thank the ones that provide.

A couple weeks ago my family decided to go to a movie together. We drove 1 1/2 hours to go to a theater that provided captioning. We decided on Hotel Transylvania 2. A cute cartoon feature. I received my captioning device and I couldn’t believe how excited I was getting to understand all the dialog of this movie.



Well it was a good intention but sadly the captioning device couldn’t connect with the movie. I was so disappointed. I left the movie and exchanged it for another unit where I was told it would for sure work. Sadly this unit couldn’t connect either. I was bummed but didn’t want to spend more time outside of the theater with my kids. We were making memories not exchanging captioning devices for the entire movie. I returned it at the end of the movie and told the employee it didn’t work. I was told sorry, “it should have.” Yes it should have!!!! I just paid how much to go to a movie and I understood a quarter of it.

I didn’t want to leap into another battle. I just felt a tad defeated, I am not meant to have captioning. A friend reminded me I am worth it and contact the theater. I took the advice and wrote an email. I was shocked to see a reply and an apology. Not long after this email an envelope was delivered. 4 tickets for our family to try again.


Isn’t that life trying again. Like Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming”.  I will try again and I won’t abandon the cause. Isn’t 3rd time a charm?  Keeping captioning off and inaccessible just keeps a person in the dark. There is no positive to this. Advocate for captioning. You, me and all who require it are worth it.

Jars

  
I have such fond memories of washing jars in my grandma’s kitchen. She and my mother taught me to can. They gave me the love of a jar. The love of a full fruit room which is what grandma had. We made applesauce and peach halves. There is just so much satisfaction with a day of hard work and you get to wipe off your jars. You are feeding your family during winter months. Yes I live 2 blocks from a grocery store but there is this primal feeling of satisfaction. I have been given some very old jars that were my great grandmas. This top picture is an example of one. It is dated to the start of the 1900’s. It is a perfect home for dead hearing aid batteries. My other jars of this time period hold my rice, pasta and popcorn kernels. 

This summer I felt blah. Not really depressed but feeling I lacked purpose. Looking for a job and dealing with questions of self worth I moved to canning. I didn’t want to move to food to just eat I wanted a purpose. I wanted to provide. I filled my shelves and cupboards and my mood lifted and a sense of pride and accomplishment took over. I started with grape juice which now is the color of a dark amethyst. 

  
Cucumbers started coming in and it was pickle time. Pickles were a whole family effort. Seeing each member taking a job brought such joy to my heart. I am teaching my children a life skill. 

  
Tomatoes did really well this year.  I made spaghetti sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes and tomato soup. I find extreme pleasure of skinning tomatoes. 

   
    
   
My garden gave us so much this year. Lots of peppers. I tried pickled peppers, sweet peppers and I dried a large amount for cooking with. 

  
This past week I got an early Christmas present, a pressure canner. The doors just opened up now. Meats, soups, veggies. I have tried French onion soup and glazed carrots. So fun but scary. 

   
   
Seeing my cupboards and my shelf brings great pride. That is a lot of hard work. A lot of love and determination. It is as if I feel my grandmothers hand leading me downstairs to take in the awe of the fruit room. 

  
A jar was what my soul needed.