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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No alarms are needed when we are on vacation I guess. Everyone was up and ready for breakfast by 7am. In fact I think it was about 8am when we were all loading the van again for a day of fun. It was a beautiful day out cool but blue sky and we were surrounded by mountains and beauty. A high point of this morning was no packing of the pod and the van. We were able to just take our water, cameras and some snacks and we hit the road. Today was going to be some driving loops through the Black Hills Forest and Custer State Park. I was hoping to see Rocks, Mountains and Wildlife. We accomplished all of those goals.
First we went to The Black Hills Forest and it was gorgeous. There were hills, mountains and trees and a lot of it. We made the switch back turns and the beautiful wooden bridges. We climbed higher and higher. My father in-law was a wonderful driver and maintained his composure wonderfully on those roads. My husband always seemed to be on the edge side which he hated. We stopped a few times and climbed some rocks, had fun and took some pictures.
As we left this patch of wonder we entered Custer State Park. Here we were excited to try and see some buffalo and maybe a prairie dog. We were able to see more than that. We took some time at a ranger station and looked at the exhibits and maps. When we came into the park we came across a herd of Buffalo. They are always amazing to see.
We continued on to these rolling hills and we saw deer, pronghorn antelopes, and then wild burros. Oh this was so fun. We happened to be eating carrots in the van when we came across these donkeys. They were not shy, they thrust their heads in the windows and wanted a snack and a pet on the nose. They were just the sweetest things ever!!! Their noses were velvet and I just loved them!!! We also came across a couple prairie dog towns. There were tiny little babies that were frolicing around their holes and parents and grandparents always on the look out for their families. Just wonderful!!!
We left this wildlife part of the park and went for lunch in Custer City. After a stretch of our legs and some food we headed back towards the park and headed towards Needles Highway. Another place that took your breath away. High towers of rock and narrow tunnels to drive through. Only pictures will do it justice but they still don’t show all of the awesome works of God you see in real life.
After Custer we continued on to Hill City where we visited the South Dakota Railroad museum. There were some hands on items which the kids loved the best. I loved reading the old menus and seeing the china that was used on the trains. Another time that has gone from this country. When I rode on Amtrak it wasn’t fine china. ***a footnote here, the movie is Dances with Wolves not Dances with THE wolves, get it right***
The rest of the day was a little shopping in Keystone. The kids had an old time picture taken with their grandparents and Greta got a pair of Minnetonka Moccasins. We all went out to eat to the Powder Room in Keystone which was excellent. The food was the best ever!!! Greta tried bacon wrapped tiger shrimp and she said they were WOW!!! Henry had his hamburger which was every meal out there. Chad and I had sirloin and twice baked potatoes. Just a great place and atmosphere.
The next day would be packing the pod and the agenda was Rapid City, Badlands and trying to get some miles on the van.