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. 

 

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

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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.

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