Finding Love

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Valentine’s Day is here. I am not a girl that gets flowers, or gifts. I am not upset about this, just our relationship. In fact I told my husband I was going to have some balloons delivered to his workplace today. He told me tomorrow divorce papers would be delivered to me. He is just not a guy of public displays of affection, but always has a kiss or an I love you for me. I love my husband and I thought this Valentine’s Day would be a good time to tell how we met. 

Many many years ago I was working for the State of Minnesota. During that time in order to get a promotion or another job you had to take a written test and be put on a list. I was taking a test on a Saturday morning in St Paul. On the way out I grabbed a Meeting People magazine. I should back up a tad. I had just gotten back from a semester of school down in New Mexico. During my time there I found myself a little more, I tried to break out of the very hard shell of insecurity I had around me. During my time away I broke up with my boyfriend that had become very controlling. I realized I was worth more. 

A week or so before this fated Saturday my mom had made the comment, “you should let me pick your husband.” Well that was the craziest thing I had ever heard. But in saying and thinking that why couldn’t a parent know what is good for their child. Would they want their child to be unhappy or in a bad marriage? Still I didn’t like the idea of this at all. Now we are back to the Saturday and the Meeting People magazine. I got home and threw the magazine at my mom as a joke. Asking her to pick my husband, in a very sarcastic tone. 

Few days had past and the magazine was given back to me with dog eared pages and circles drawn. I thought are you kidding me she actually went though this thing. I was really in shock. I expected this had been thrown away. 

I went downstairs and decided to read the ads mom had circled. There was one ad that stood out to me. One that seemed to call to me. I did the unthinkable.  I wrote a letter. I told of me, of our new puppy, school and my major. I sent this letter off with no mention to ANYONE. 

A few weeks passed and my family got another new piece of technology, caller ID. A Chad Lundquist kept calling our house but we were never home. Messages were never left. This was about driving my father nuts. Who is this Chad and what does he want. Finally one night he called and I was home. He was the placer of the ad. We talked on the phone that night almost 2 hours. There was an immediate connection over the phone. I had to go upstairs and tell my parents who I was on the phone with. They were shocked and even more shocked I had answered an ad. 

We talked a bunch of times on the phone. Finally we met and had dinner, a drink and a movie. Worst movie ever but it was fun. We doubled dated with a friend and her boyfriend for the movie. Wow that would have been 1998. Seems like so long ago but at the same time last week. 

I loved dating Chad. We had so much fun. What I love is I could open up to Chad. I could tell him anything. The dark secrets you hold inside were easy to tell him. From our first meeting to our wedding was two years. Lots of has happened to us. Lots of stuff that probably would have caused couples to split. I love Chad he is my Valentine. 

He surprises me still. A couple nights ago we were driving home and he grabbed my hand and said he was proud of me. It took me off guard. He explained he was proud of me and the volunteer jobs I hold. He is proud of me for putting myself out there. That comment while holding my hand is exactly the kind of Valentine’s gifts I need. He is my Valentine. 

One Foot in the Present and One in the Past

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Do you ever get that feeling that you are living in the wrong period of time.  Don’t get me wrong I love all the new modern technology.  A lot of technology has helped me in this world. Digital hearing aid, streamers, and personal loops have made a huge difference for me.  I also love the internet.  What I am getting at is crafting, cooking, gardening.  I know people do these things now in time but I don’t believe it is as prevalent than generations before us.

I enjoy having my garden.  Snapping peas or beans, making a BLT with a homegrown tomato is wonderful.  It sure beats a store bought any day of the week.  Seeing the plants grow, getting to maturity get me excited for canning.  Another skill that is declining.  I love to water bath can and to pressure can.  Knowing we have food and meals on a shelf is a satisfying feeling.  You never know when money may be tight, storms and you can’t get to a store, or a zombie apocalypse.  All very plausible and canned goods would be imperative.  Can you tell I am thinking spring!

Cooking from scratch is another lost art.  There is plenty of people that cook but there are so many box meals, take out, fast food.  Don’t get me wrong we do that also but I am trying so hard not to.  I want to use basic whole food ingredients for my family.  I want and enjoy making a meal from start to end.  Can be a little stressed on nights where there are evening activities but I get it accomplished most nights.  Knowing what is in our food I believe is the first step in trying to get healthy.  Slow and steady wins the race I have been told.  Call me old fashioned but I feel if I am home before my husband it is my job to make a meal for us all.  Minus the tablecloth, good china, a dress and a string of pearls.

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Lastly is crafts.  I love crafting.  I love seeing something in a magazine or online and trying to make it.  If that would be painting, jewelry, or decorating.  My main craft I go back to for almost 30 years is knitting.  For a birthday when I was a teenager I received a wicker basket with knitting needles and blue and yellow yarn from my aunt.  She taught me to knit and I made my first scarf that was an homage to my Swedish heritage.  I have left knitting behind at times but it is like an old friend and always welcomes me back.  When I attended college in New Mexico blankets were knitted for people.  It was a good past time.  Scarfs and hats have been made for my children.  For a while I knitted and sold my items under, Ausome Knits.  My knitting needles have been out again this winter.  A new scarf for my son, a couple birthday gifts are being made.  Tonight at church we are having a crafting night.  Bring what ever projects you are working on and we can fellowship and work on them together.

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Now there are some skills I wish I could get a little stronger at.  Sewing, I have a couple sewing machines.  I would like to boost my skills in this area. Also small needle crafts like cross stitch.  I have never done this but I think it looks like another good past time.

Could I live in another time period.  I think I could.  It wouldn’t be as easy as now but heck I have never owned or had a dishwasher so that dreaded chore would be the same.  Going to have to live one foot in the present and one in the past.

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Super Bowl 2017

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Super Bowl in America is like an unofficial holiday.  Snack food is on display at all the stores.  People are asking you who are you cheering for this year.  Parties are held, bars are full and friends and families get together.

A few weeks ago I told my husband I wanted to host a party this year.  We used to attend a yearly party with friends.  I have great memories of those parties.  Kids playing, food galore, guys watching the game, and lots of laughter.  He agreed to the party and I got started trying to organize my small soiree.  I decided to make a turkey and we would have shredded turkey sandwiches.  Other food would be brought so I wanted the main dish type food covered.  We cleaned the house, made sure we had enough seats, made the food, and got excited.

I am not a football fan.  I will watch a game more often now in my life since my husband and son are interested in it.  My son is 8 and he is going to play for the Seattle Seahawks some day.  Just giving everyone fair warning we may may have to brag a lot when that happens.

There was something different this year than going to other get together’s or parties.  It was hosted at my home.  A person with hearing loss can have great anxiety when with a group of people.  I used to think this was unique to me but after finding my tribe I have learned I am not alone on this topic.  I enjoy socializing with people but that first step out the door going to a social event terrifies me.  If it is a home party, a meeting, or even church I feel like I could be physically ill.  Knowing when I am in a group of people my hearing for comprehension drops like a rock.  I try to answer the most obvious questions but that can often be wrong.  I think they asked, “How are you?” I answer, ” I am great how are you doing?” they do a little laugh and then re-say their question which was not what I answered at all.  I feel my cheeks burn and I am embarrassed and feel stupid.  I probably shouldn’t feel these emotions but I do.  I am human and that is what I feel.  Being in a group of people, like a Super Bowl party there is laughing, kids yelling, TV is on, a few different conversations going on.  It is darn hard to focus on one conversation and follow.  Saying all this I had a great time last night.  We had enough food I could have fed the whole block.  We had a great turnout.  We were missing a few due to illness, darn germs.  There were a few times I just checked out.  I faced the TV and watched the game and was amazed how into the game I got.  It was a nail-bitter that is for sure.  I was able to escape to my kitchen, or my room for just a few minutes if needed.  The Lundquist 1st Annual Super Bowl Party I believe was a success.  I hope our guests equally enjoyed the company of friends and fellowship.  Next year is already on my calendar.  It will be a big deal next year as it is held in Minneapolis.  I am excited and so relieved that the night went well.

I was cheering for the Falcons but it was a good game and it held your attention until the bitter end.  Football, Food, Friends, and some funny commercials was a great end to the weekend.

A Burden

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I have a woman’s name that is lying heavy on my heart.  I just learned about this woman yesterday.  It consumed my thoughts all day.  Let me back up and I will explain.

I arrived at work yesterday.  I am a personal care attendant in a private home.  Dr Phil was on the TV when I arrived.  I have never been a huge Dr Phil fan but I watch it and more often than not I can get pulled into the episode.  Dr Phil had a guest Bethany Storro, a woman who survived having acid thrown into her face.  What makes this shocking is Bethany did this to herself.  A failed suicide that had to be accompanied by horrible pain.  When she realized she wasn’t going to die, and made a huge personal mistake, she said she was attacked.  She said someone did this to her, a big mistake.  She didn’t point out a certain person but she gave a description.  She later retracted her statement and took the blame for the act.  She was charged and went to court were fines and time were given to her.  This is where the story ends in the newspapers.  I researched more on Bethany yesterday and what I read was horrible.  She was told to die in these articles.  She was called dumb, idiotic, ugly and deserved to die.  When did common human decency go out the window.

That was the back story, now why this is lying on my heart.  Bethany had a speech impediment. I could hear it and thought maybe acid near her mouth might have caused this.  Dr Phil did more questions and was very kind with Bethany.  It then was brought out.  Bethany is hard of hearing.  She has a deaf accent.  She poured her soul out with Dr Phil that because of her lack of hearing she has always felt like a burden.  This brought instant tears to my eyes.  She felt like a burden for her lack of hearing.  This ripped at my heart.  How was she raised? Did she have parents that advocated for her? Did she have a mentor to show her that life can be good? All these questions swirled in my mind.

I work as a deaf/hard of hearing role model with Lifetrack in Minnesota.  It is a new groundbreaking program that pairs a family that just got a diagnosis of hearing loss for their precious child with an adult who has hearing loss.  They can learn and see that this isn’t a dark road they have to walk alone.  These kids can do anything.  These children can grab the brass ring like any other child their age.  Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids are not a burden because they can’t hear.  I have attended many Hands and Voices events and I see children that are full of life and energy and promise not a burden.  These children are tought to self advocate.  A very hard skill to learn for anyone but they are learning it young.  Skills that will take them far.  I have learned so much from these young children to young adults, they are remarkable.

Bethany of course has mental illness on top of her hearing loss but I just sense it all was a cumulative effect from her hearing and her speech.  Did she learn to self advocate, did she have adults that advocated for her as a child?  I look into my own life again with a son that has an IEP (Individual Education Plan).  He has had an IEP since age 3 and we know he will have one for sure for the next 3 years to 5th grade.  We have tried to do the best for him.  He doesn’t have huge issues but every smaller hurdle he has we have been there with him.  From a fluctuating hearing loss, to being on the Autism spectrum, to learning disabilities.  We are helping him and trying to teach him how to self advocate for himself.  Advocating as an adult is hard, you put yourself out there and exposed.  It is daunting at times but so valuable and needed.

People are not a burden.  People need a hand at times, people need help. We have a job as a fellow human being to help them.  Bethany ended the interview with saying she was sorry.  She was sorry for the pain and problems she caused.  Dr Phil had the perfect response, you don’t need to apologize there is no need.  You have a hearing impairment which lead to speech problems.  You never felt like you fit in.  You now have a burned face and still show your face and get out there.  You are brave and you have grown.  Now Bethany can read lips and says she still see’s people saying she is ugly, she is stupid, and she should have died.  Please have compassion people, this world would be so different if we can just remember no one is perfect and we are not a burden.  We all have a purpose and we are all wonderfully made.

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A New Year

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A new year has seemed to creep up on us. 365 days seem to be a long time but when living, working, and enjoying life a year is fleeting. The holidays were a great time of family. We traveled across the state to spend time with my family. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. I had a realization when visiting this time. It wasn’t home. Yes my childhood home and early married life. This time it felt like a visit not coming home. When driving back to the land of the flat that was home. It was like I was outside looking in. I enjoyed my visit but it no longer seemed like a place I want to go back to. We have established a life on the other side of the state. In saying that we had a great time. We shopped, visited, went out to eat. We went to a morning movie complete with recliner chairs. That was a first for Chad and I. It was quality time with family. 

I took each child individually and we did a little early morning exploring. Greta, I took her to downtown Stillwater. We drove around and checked out the ice castle that was being built. 


Henry I took to the Bayport park to check out the St Croix River. This was a place I spent almost everyday. I swam in the river everyday and we played on the ice in the winter. One of my favorite spots. 


Christmas Day was at my grandmas house like everyday since ever. We have moved up in technology. This year was a group selfie picture. 


Always a great time with everyone. Christmas Eve was at my parents house. I absolutely love watching the kids with their cousins. 


We travelled back and headed to the farm for the Lundquist Christmas. Again a very fun gathering. I can truly say I am very blessed with having 2 great families. 


Now we are in 2017. I am not a big one to make resolutions. I at least don’t say them out loud. I want my family to be healthy. That is a big one for this year. I want more unplugged times also. Games, reading, and outside time. I have taken knitting up again. Greta is playing here ukulele she received from us. Henry is planning World War 3 with nerf guns. Chad always has his nose in a book. Just need to make these things more prominent. 

So the year marches on. Henry is in basketball and bowling. He is my sports lover. Greta is in knowledge bowl, speech and numerous other activities. We are busy and that is good. 

I wish you all a happy New Years! 365 days will go fast. 

Christmas

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Christmas is almost here. A favorite time of year for me. I love the time to gather with friends and family. Times to see the beauty of the lights that are strung on houses and trees. I love to see the beauty that surrounds our saviors birth. 

With living in a larger house this year comes with putting up a larger tree. I am in love with the tree, the lights and the majesty. Ornaments that my children had made look beautiful. 


I have hung a few Christmas or winter pictures around the house. 




Outside is decorated also. We took an afternoon and filled and decorated milk cans. I love these old milk cans. Brings that vintage feels to an outdoor display. 


I am ready for this season. Presents are wrapped, cards are addressed. Christmas program practice is underway at church. This year I am helping the kids sign Silent Night. It should be a beautiful performance being done in sign language and being sung. 

I want to thank you all for taking a moment to read my blog. I want to wish you all a merry Christmas. I hope you all feel the peace of the season. 

Battery Power 

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Have you ever seen a hearing aid battery?  They are tiny, very tiny, and they are responsible for so much. I started with a size 10 battery. Then went up to a 13 and my current pair of hearing aids use size 312. That is a lot of batteries. I have accepted hearing loss. I have found my tribe. My tribe is composed of wonderful people from the deaf/hard of hearing community. They are funny, fearless, understanding, loving, they are what true friends and family are made of. In saying all of this there is one thing that just stuns me. My understanding is completely controlled by a small little battery. Ok that isn’t totally true. I am very visual and use lipreading and visual cues, but that battery plays a large role. 

Last weekend my husband and I attended a yoga class together. First off I never dreamed that would have happened. Chad agreed and we had a wonderful time. It was time for the two of us together with a wonderful yoga instructor at Empowered Living Company. Sorry for going on a little tangent but had to say how proud of my husband for attending with me. 

Before class, we just got to town. Yes we are rural and “get to town.” My hearing aid battery died. Ok no problem I have this new 16 pack in my purse. Well this took some time but this is truely what happened. Every battery was dead! I checked the package, expires 2018. This is so frustrating. Now my understanding in this yoga class just went to very low. 

Class went well. Great teacher that is so visual. Chad was great, a couple times we were laying and I didn’t have a clear vision line he told me or showed me what we were doing.  I should have advocated for myself instead of using my husband but I don’t think he minded. 

This made me really realize how dependent I am on these tiny batteries. It really boggles my mind. I am not sure why, why is this my big hang up? Why is a battery something that baffles me, causes anxiety that can come out of no where? A lack of a battery or one that works can quicken my heart, cause sweaty palms and make me want to skip what ever I was going to do. 

I contacted the battery distributor and have a new pack coming in the mail. Will I ever buy that brand again, no. I know a bad batch can happen but I won’t take my chances again. 

I will go on. Keep those precious batteries with me. I keep the old ones in an old Ball jar that was my great grandmothers. I am getting quite the collection. My family has told me having to use technology or a battery is almost like being a cyborg. I guess that is a compliment. For now it is placing great importance on a tiny silver disk.