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.


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.


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. 


State Fair

We traveled across the state from our land of flat to the land of people, traffic and food on a stick. We traveled to the Minnesota State Fair, The Great Minnesota Get Together. This really wasn’t a planned trip. Not one we were anticipating all year. We had our county fair in late August. Both kids had their projects in tow and I had my open class box of goodies to enter. We all had nerves, hopes and dreams of high ribbons. We all did great but what this little mussing is about is my daughter Greta. Greta did very well on all of her projects and in fact two projects earned a state fair trip. She had to pick one and she choose her Health projects on Hearing Aids.  


Her project started months ago when she contacted Starkey Hearing Technology and asked for help on a project about hearing aids and different types of hearing aids. To her surprise came a FedEx package with brochures and dummy samples of hearing aids. Also included was a Halo hearing aid which is a hearing aid that can connect to an iPhone. A very neat process. I personally wear Starkey hearing aids and have had two different types from them and I am extremely pleased with their sound and quality. 

The fair experience was a new one for all of us. We have never been part of state fair judging. It was different than the county fair and just an incredible experience. 

Started out with Breakfast at a church booth. Such a small world. We started chatting with the other folks at our table and we live 40 miles apart. 

We explored a tad bit before judging started. Nerves were high. 

Greta did wonderful being judged. She had passion, drive and determination to get her project across and to have the people there know the importance of hearing loss and what you can use to help in that area. She earned a blue ribbon and a wonderful judges report. 

Since Starkey provided her with the great resources for this project they wanted to support her and see her and the project. After the judging we met with an employee of Starkey. She got a couple pictures of Greta and her project and took a video or Greta interviewing me about hearing loss. 

I think this was a magical day for Greta. It was a day of nerves and confidence. It fueled her fire to do more and be more. She would love to continue with this theme so she has to think of a project for next year. Maybe cochlear implants? 


Fair Time

It is the busy time of summer again called, county fair. Both kids are active in a 4H group and projects had to be made and deadlines were looming. Fair time reminds me a tad of Christmas time. So much to get done and finished by a date were tons of people will gather to all look at your items. 

Henry brought a rock he had gotten from Crazy Horse, a painting he had done, dill pickles he helped make and a Lego creation. He was happy talking to the judges and getting ribbons. 

Greta brought a couple pieces of art she drew and painted, dill pickles and chair she painted and recovered. She also did two posters. One about hearing aids and one dealing with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. She did great with the judges and received some great ribbons. 

I also entered items in the fair. This year between art, photos and canned item I had 21 entries. I am not sure how I did yet. I am always hopeful for a grand champion. 

The next morning we went work our scheduled shift at the 4H food booth. It was Henry’s 7th birthday. Both kids loved serving the fair goers and taking the it all in. 

Before we left we checked to see if Greta had won a State Fair trip. Sure enough the girl won on two projects! Beyond proud of her. She choose to take her hearing aid poster. We have already been in contact with Starkey since her supplies for the poster came from them. They have some pretty awesome ideas of how they are going to come to the fair and support Greta. Tune in soon and I will share what happened. Just so excited for her. 


Scrambled Brain

I have embarked on a new adventure. I started a new job this week. It is something completely new, something I have never done before. I took a job as a part time radio operator and on air person. For anyone who thinks it is just sitting back and talking in a microphone, that is not it. There is so much to learn. I have only worked a couple days and I have learned more in the last couple days then I have learned in years. 

I have learned about FCC logs, channels and pots and buses which are all things on the board. It is so much information. Today we started training on recording a simple weather report. You might think again oh how simple just tell the weather report. Oh how wrong I was. First to get words out, then to make it flow, then to sound intelligent and the hardest it has to be 27 seconds. Not 26 not 28 it needs to be 27. It will take time and practice. It will come and one day become second nature but for now it is hard and it frustrates me some that it wasn’t perfect right away. 

I am learning and trying to be a sponge and soak up as much of the info I can during this time of training. I know what day will be my first alone. I am praying there will be no national disasters, severe weather, or glitches my first time alone. I pray I will remember what I learned and it will go smoothly.  

Now to train, read and retain everything I am taught. I am proud of learning something new. I am excited to start a new job which can change from a job to a career. 


Summer Life

Summer is busy, and summer seems to just get away from us. Day to day chores and obligations mixed in with family fun is what summer is all about. I can’t believe that a month is left. A mere month. I also can’t believe all we have fit in the summer. Family vacation, day trips, a trip to the zoo and relaxing at the pool. This was such an uncertain summer. I had many hours of lost sleep over this summer. A husband laid off and me who had a job only during the school year how was this to work, but it did. We had a great time. We traveled and laughed and played games and the list goes on and on. God will provide was made known to me this past year. Our needs were met. The summer isn’t over. We still have a son’s birthday and a family reunion, county fairs and the list goes on and on. We trusted and we survived and we rose even higher than we ever expected. Our family is blessed with wonderful family and friends that assured us all would be fine. 

A few pictures of family fun


Don’t Give Up


This has been a trying season in my life.  I strive to keep it all together but you can’t always have that brave face all the time.  Yesterday I broke, I let that one tear drop out which burst the dam of emotions open and the tear turned into sobs.  I had applied for a job and had the interview.  I felt it went really well I found out I didn’t get the position.  I wanted this job, I was well qualified and I had experience with every part of the job but it wasn’t meant to be.  That doesn’t make it any easier.

This spring my husband was laid off from his job along with the entire plant he worked at.  We were hoping for maybe a month.  Well it will be 3 months.  The date to go back has been pushed back a couple times, it is hard to not have your head leap to scenarios of what if or will the work last?  We are surviving and trying to have some fun this summer but it is hard to not have the feelings and emotions and thoughts of all that is going on.  The beginning of the layoff wasn’t so bad.  I am a sub at the school and I worked everyday of that month.  Summer hit and I am out of work.  I really enjoy working at the school, this past year was the best ever.  Problem is there is no pay till fall and since our district pays a month later and once a month my next paycheck will be October 20th.  I need something for my family and for my piece of mind now.

I am pushing 40 what do I do for a job.  Do I look for a job or a career.  There are a few things I would love to do and try to get into them.  I would love to get into some career that deals with deaf and hard of hearing.  I have tried to apply a few times to a hearing aid distributer.  That is not an easy business to get into.  They want someone that is already licensed but how do you get licensed if you aren’t in an office or an apprentice.  If anyone out there knows how to break into this please let me know.  I took a few audiology classes in college (communicative disorders major) and being a hearing aid wear and consumer I feel I would be good at this position.

I enjoy people all types of people.  I would love a job where I could help people that maybe need some help, maybe life hasn’t dealt them a good hand, or they need a helping hand to achieve their goals.  I would love a position that would incorporate these things.

I will get over disappointment and I will get over being sad.  I will pull up my bootstraps and keep going.  I won’t give up even though I want to crawl under the covers and escape but I will go back on my computer and send out those resumes.  I will do what I can for my family and for me.


Waiting to Wake Up from a Dream


This amazing day happened a year ago today. June 10th is a day I started a whole new being. It started me taking advocacy to a new level. It started me taking action with emails, phone calls and letters to the editor. I have truly been blessed to be a Hearstrong champion and all that that entails. I still love my Starkey hearing aids. I now have 3 series i110 RIC’s instead of the Xinos I had in this blog post. I love going to Starkey for a tweaking of programs or a fix of some sort. They are the most caring people I have ever encountered at a business. June 10th was a wonderful day, I hope I will have new things in my life soon and June 10th will be a great day for this year also.

Originally posted on Musings of a Momma:

hearstrong me greta and allison

On June 10, 2014 I was invited to attend a ceremony at Starkey World Headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN.  I traveled the near 3 hours to the headquarters,  I was full of nerves, and excitement since I had no idea what I was to expect.  I was presented a HearStrong Award.  It was a wonderful honor and experience.  I hope I can get into words what I experienced and what transpired on that wonderful day.

HearStrong is the nonprofit that is held by the  company EarQ.  It honors individuals that have overcome hearing loss and decide to do something about it.  The way they heard about me is they happened upon one of my blog posts on the SWC Blog.  I was given a gold medal and a framed certificate from two great gentlemen from EarQ and from Tani Austin from the Starkey Hearing Foundation.  I was accompanied…

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Our Family Vacation Day 5&6- Driving and Driving and some sight seeing

Day 5 and 6 were days that got a little long and we drove a lot.  They were still good days but it was getting a little long for everyone.  Henry was really getting sick of the drive by this day so lots of movies were shown on these days.

We were up early and left Kadoka.  I drove today.  We didn’t get far and we stopped at 1880 town.  Now this was a fabulous stop and so glad we made it.  It is a town made up of old buildings.  There was a jail, church, little houses, a saloon and more.  There were lots of memorabilia from western movies and the movie, Dances with Wolves.  The best part was you could rent a costume and meander around the town in your 1880’s dress.  The kids were so excited for this part of the experience.  Henry decided he wanted to be an outlaw and Greta wanted to be a beautiful young lady.  Henry had boots and chaps and a gun, he loved it and played the part well.  Greta was given a beautiful dress, silk stockings, shoes, a choker and a hat.  They looked great and it made our walk through the town so fun.  Stopping in the saloon for a sarsaparilla and popcorn was a good treat.

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After playing dress up was done and yes there were some tears when the costumes needed to be returned.  We continued on driving and some more driving.  We stopped at Al’s Oasis near Chamberlain for lunch and then back in the van again.  We continued driving to Mitchell South Dakota to see the Corn Palace.  I was shocked of how big Michell was.  The Corn Palace is under major construction.  The large turrets on the roof were off and they were changing the scenes on the outside.  All these scenes are made of corn.  It is kinda amazing to think of the work to do these scenes and change them each year.  The inside was under construction also, a new lobby and museum is being made.  We did a little shopping and looked around briefly then we were on the road again.

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We made it finally to Sioux Falls.  We found a hotel got some dinner and did a little shopping.  Henry got his first pair of cowboy boots and the same for me.  I had kinda been holding out buying something on vacation and it hit me, BOOTS, that is what I wanted.  We both found a great pair and we both love them.  The kids stayed with their grandparents in the hotel room and played Crazy 8’s and I have heard conflicting stories that some cheating may have happened.  Chad took me for a drive around Sioux Falls.  We found where he used to work, he welded water towers.  We looked for where he lived but that whole area is all new so the house he lived in is most likely gone.  We drove and talked and it was nice.  It was a very nice 40 minutes or so of just us.  We also drove around and found the South Dakota School for the Deaf.  Heads hit the pillow and another day of driving would come soon enough.

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Day 6 came and it is the last leg of the trip.  I just wanted to snap my fingers and get home.  This was the hardest day for me.  My knee hurt riding in the back seat and I felt car sick all day.  I can’t physically snap my fingers so maybe that is why it seemed so long.  We stopped for a quick lunch in Marshall and then on towards home.

It was a fabulous trip and it is a trip I will always remember.  I hope it was a special time for the kids to travel with their grandparents and parents.  I hope they will always remember parts of this trip.  We all have our favorite parts of the trip.  I think Wall Drug was a favorite for both kids, they loved the donkeys and the prairie dogs.  The kids also love their new stuffed animals a buffalo and jackalopes.  I loved Crazy Horse and fascinated by the dream Korczak had and his family is continuing.  I loved the sheer display of nature we saw out there.  Chad had his favorites of the Air and Space museum, the Railroad museum and the Badlands and the knife he bought.  This blog and the pictures will be here to look at in the future and remember and smile of a wonderful week in our families lives.

Our Family Vacation Day 4- Dinosaurs, Planes and Rocks Oh My

Wake up was again early on day 4.  My husband seems to think between 5-6am is a good time to wake up while on vacation.  We were ready to go in record time again.  I tell you traveling all together I think we did dang good.  Chad, my husband, is now a pro at packing the pod.  It was packed and secured in record time.  We checked out of our Keystone Hotel and we were on the road again.

Our first stop today was the Cosmos Mystery Stop.  It is a cabin up on a mountain side where everything defies gravity.  You stand sideways, water runs uphill, drop a tennis ball and it goes uphill also.  It is a place of mystery or to my husband it is a place of trickery and everything is built on such exaggerated angles what you think up is actually down.  I don’t know all I know it was a steep walk up that mountain and when I got up there I was so dizzy I felt sick.  I have terrible balance and have a tendency to stumble on flat normal ground I thought for sure I was a goner up there.  My head was spinning and I was so dizzy I am really shocked I didn’t go down.  The kids and Chad laughed the whole time up there.  They did the experiments and had a grand time at the Cosmos Mystery Stop.

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The one “trick” or amazement not sure what to think was a supposed level spot where the kids stood across from each other and then switched spots and it looked like Greta grew and Henry shrunk.  I wasn’t quite so dizzy for this part so I enjoyed it.

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We left the dizzy producing fun spot and continued on to Rapid City.  We stopped at Dinosaur Park this was suppose to be a highlight for Henry and Grandma.  They were so excited to have a picnic in Dinosaur park.  Well we got there and there were about 500 steps to get to the park.  Ok maybe a little less than 500 but there were a ton straight up the hill or mountain.  My mother in-law is in a wheelchair/walker.  It wasn’t going to happen the dream of the picnic was over.  I felt soooo bad about the situation.  My in-laws stayed over at the gift shop/snack shop and we took the kids up the steps.  Afterwards we did have a little picnic at the snack shop at dinosaur park and got one picture with the grandparents and a dinosaur.

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We had a busy day planned for our Day 4 so we had to be On the Road Again…. We headed out of Rapid City and went to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum.  This was Chad’s pick for the vacation and I think he was getting worried that it wasn’t going to happen.  It was really a good museum and FREE.  For me that doesn’t know one plane from the next it was interesting and I really enjoyed it.  Chad loved it and wants to go back and go on a base tour next time.  I took some pictures of the Korean War for my grandpa was in that War.  The Vietnam War exhibit for my uncles that were in that war and the B-52 planes for my Grandma who went to California during the war to work on these planes.

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We hit the road and stopped in Wall Drug again for some free water and an ice cream treat.  We really packed a lot in day 4 now writing it all out.  We hit Badlands National Park.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and it was beautiful.  The color of the rocks reminded me of Colorado Garden of the Gods or something like that.  I wish we would have hit this park a little earlier in the day.  This would have been a fun park to get out and explore a little more.

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We drove the park and ended up in Kadoka South Dakota for the night.  We stayed at an old Rodeside Inn.  There were a lot of famous people that had stayed there before, Charlie Daniels Band, the actors and crew of Starship Troopers etc… I just wonder what this town was in it’s hayday.  I saw a clean but old motel.  It had some dry rot on the wood and it was in need of repairs.  Chad and I drove the town and it was very rundown and old.  There were hotels and campgrounds completely overgrown.  It is like a major little town just gets jumped over now reminded me of the movie, Cars.  Kids ran around the grounds and played on some old horse swings probably from the 1950’s.  It was a good night in Kadoka that was population around 500.


Day 5 would be one step closer to home.  We would head towards Sioux Falls.  I was excited to see where Chad lived and worked for a while before I knew him.  Another wonderful day that was packed full of fun.