Friday, December 9, 2016

Remembering Pearl Harbor, 1941.

In 1939 Adolph Hitler was well on the way of conquering the European Continent. The superiority of the German army seemed unquestionable as they invaded country after country; Denmark, Sweden, Norway. Then France and the Netherlands were overtaken.
When the German's invaded Poland, an ally of Britain, the British entered the conflict and a full scale conflict raged in Europe. Iceland declared neutrality.
In 1941 a fierce fight broke out in the Denmark Straits - the ocean between Iceland and Greenland which became know as 'Torpedo Junction' - and the new German warship 'The Bismarck' sank the British battle cruiser 'HMS HOOD'  the pride of the British Royal Navy.. Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, promptly issued an order "SINK THE BISMARCK" The British Royal Air Force chased down the notorious menace and sank it.
By now the United States had entered the war and  Churchill is said to have "slept the sleep of the saved and the thankful" because " there was now no doubt about the outcome of the conflict." It was no longer just a European war but had now become World War II and American service men and women were sent all over the globe. Among them was U.S. Navy man,Del Herman, who proposed at our second dance and I accepted even though he didn't speak Icelandic and I knew about handful of English, truly it was "love at first sight"...It lasted for 70 years. He passed away in February 2015.

I have been asked; "What was it like, to leave your family, your country and, even your language?" Frankly when you are in love nothing else really matters, at least that's the way I felt. As I reflect back I think having several children - ten total - kept me much  to busy to have any regrets or doubts. At age 28 my husband felt a call for the ministry and I became very busy with children's ministries and church in general. Building, and starting several small churches in central Illinois we traveled quite a bit.

Although I did get a few remarks and unpleasant looks of "OH, ONE OF THOSE WAR BRIDES" most folks at that time had zero clue as to where Iceland was located and I was just happy to talk about my surrealistic, beautiful little country.

Slowly my self-taught English improved, by the help of Readers Digest "It Pays To Increase Your Word Power. Also doing crossword puzzles, which, I admit I am addicted to even to this day :-)

Life wasn't always easy, but it was good.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

STROKE; Dreaded word

I am 91+ always have been very active; exercised, rock-wall climbing, paragliding rope jumping kind of person...

 I woke up aon the morning of Tuesday, Nov 1st. and Idid my routine: ten sit-ups  while in bed  then did a few stretches as I walked into the kitchen to start my coffee. Suddenly the whole kitchen spun with amazing velocity, for a moment I grabbed  my head - I never have headaches - the spinning stopped and I carefully walked back to the bedroom. I found my aspirin and as I swallowed one tablet the bedroom went totally out of control - I knew right away that this was the DREADED STROKE!.
 I live with my youngest child and called to her what was going on. She called 911 immediately. By the time I got to the hospital emergency, 20 minutes or so, my speech was very affected and my left leg paralyzed my blood pressure had shot up. After all kinds of procedures and innumerable hook-ups to machines, I.V stuck into my arms ICU Doctor verified the stroke. Needed my permission to do "clot-buster" procedure, with the usual "this could happen" warning. I told him to go ahead. Later the same day I was able to speak more clearly, lift my leg up and squeeze the Doctor's hand just a little firmer.
On the evening of the 2nd. I was moved out of ICU. My hospital bed had nice "grip-railing" on each side so I was able to do small sit-ups - as much all the paraphernalia hooked to my body would allow me to do.
November the 4th. I was dismissed. Feeling almost "myself" again I did my usual exercises; My Microwave Hop Prance and Dance - the Crane Stand and Wand.

November the 7th. Did rope jumping on the deck

Keep moving and exercising pays off big-time; Doctor follow-up; "You are doing very well, Ieda, keep doing what you're doing"...Stroke therapist; "You don't need therapy, Ieda, keep doing what you are doing"

I am determined, I've made up my mind I'll keep moving my body, it's the only one I'll ever have.

I choose to have Joy, I have confidence that God is in control

The Window, by G.W. Target...From Charles R. Swindoll's book, Laugh Again.

Two men, seriously ill, occupied the same small hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he wold pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the outside world
   The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man said. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid flowers of every color of the rainbow. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. Unexpectedly, an alien thought entered his head. Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything?
    As the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window - that thought now controlled his life.
    Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room, he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped. Now there was only silence - deathly silence.
    The following morning the day nurse found the lifeless body of the man by the window and called the attendants to take it away - no words, no fuss. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
     Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. He strained to look out the window by the bed.
     It faced a blank wall.

    One ship drives east and another drives west
    With the selfsame winds that blow.
     'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales
     Which tells the way to go

    Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
   As we voyage along through life:
    It's the set of the soul, that decides it;s goal,
    And not the calm or the strife.

     The winds of Fate, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Saturday, November 5, 2016



After an eleven-day, arduous journey from my country, Iceland, I arrived in Normal, Illinois, USA
Mary's (my new mother-in -law) house was a small, one-story, white painted home in a row of other similar
homes in an older neighborhood. That evening I stood in the yard and looked around familiarizing  myself with my new surroundings.
Across the street from Mary's house was a church. I was looking at the building and thinking how strange it was - almost middle of June and very dark outside. I was used to seeing part of the sun all night at mid-summer. Then I saw these little sparks! The church must be on fire!
I ran inside and tugged at Mary's dress.
"Hey, you, kirkjan (church) fire, fire!" I stuttered. Still not used to saying Mary, or Mom, I often called her 'hey you'. I pulled her to the front door and pointed. The sparks were even thicker that before and coming dangerously close to us!
"Fire?" She stared out and then looked at me, puzzled."Where? I don't see any fire." She cocked her head at me, trying to understand my fear.
Frantically I pointed. "See there, there!" I was twenty and acting like a six-year-old.
Turned out this was my first encounter with fireflies.Bugs with their own lights! Startling, and scary, I thought as I watched these little sparks land in grass and bushes, and not starting any fire. Mary had quite a time in educating me.

2012...5:45 A/M

Suddenly I'm awake. I started to get up and glanced at the white sheers at the window where glimmer of sunlight was filtering through. I stared at the weird shape; PALM-OF-MY-HAND-SIZE, BLACK BLOB..Then frantically shook my husband, Del, and whispered "what is that thing clinging to the curtain?"
Both of us stared for a moment. "I can't make it out." Del said
"I'm scared." I eased my feet to the floor.
"Get a towel or something, and I'll grab it." Del bravely offered.
The THING hadn't moved so I crept closer o the window, IT didn't move. Frightened beyond belief I crept closer and peered at the creature.
"It has a face and pointy ears like a mouse, but THIS has wings!" I gasped in unbelief as I backed away.
"GET A TOWEL,I'LL GET THIS THING." Del started to get up
" I'm scared." I whined. "What if you miss, what if IT takes off? It looks hideous!" I was now frantic with all the awful possibilities racing through my head. "What if IT has a family in here? Surely IT didn't hatch all by itself, maybe there are bunch more and come to look for this one, THEN WHAT???!!!"
"JUST GET A TOWEL!!!" Del raised his voice.
I got the towel. Del grabbed, and wrapped the THING in the towel without any trouble. The THING didn't protest as I put IT into a plastic bag, towel and all, then tied a firm knot. Put it into another plastic bag and firmly tied a solid knot. There the bag awaited for us to take it somewhere for the CREATURE to be identified.

10:45 A/M

We were dressed and had breakfast then, with hands on my hips, I demanded of my hero. "Now what? We got a horrendous creature in the we call the fire department? The terminator? The firing squad?" I wanted this THING out of my house, like RIGHT NOW!!
Del held up his hand "Let me think... Okay, let's drive over to the zoo and see if there's someone who can identify it."
I fortified myself with six cups of coffee and gingerly picked up the bag, all was quiet inside. I felt remorse:God had created IT and I just couldn't let IT suffocate.I picked up a toothpick, holding my breath, thinking IT might just explode out of the bag. But everything was suspiciously quiet as I made few holes.

The Zoo was a madhouse, school buses and kids everywhere. No place to park. Del had to stay in the car while I went for help.
"You mean you have IT in that bag?" The guard exclaimed after I related the episode
"Yes."' I nodded.
 "I'll call someone from the animal house, please wait outside" She pointed to the door. I stepped out, bag firmly in hand, and sat down on a bench.Pretty soon a burly individual swaggered up to me and asked.
"So, what do you have in there?" I proceeded to explain.
"Hmm, sounds like a flying squirrel." I felt better, a squirrel doesn't sound so bad. The man pursed his lips.
"How did you get it in there?"
"My husband grabbed it with a towel, so it's all wrapped up in it, and then I put it all into the plastic bags"
"Wait here while I take this over to that tree." Taking the bag out of my hand he opened it up against the tree-trunk and shook the towel. He cocked his head and studied the THING for a moment then wadded up the towel in the bags.
"It's a bat, and still alive. I will throw all of  this away." Indicating to the towel and bags.
"Yikes! I sure don't want it! How in the world did a bat get into my house? Do I have to worry about more of them, a mom, a dad, a brother or a sister?" I must have looked a little nuts. I think my English went north for a minute.
The burly guy laughed."I don't think so, this one probably came through an open door and couldn't find its way back out." As I profusely thanked him, he continued. "It only eats insects!" He chuckled, reading my mind. Somewhere I've read that bats suck the blood out of humans!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Yikes! Troll Troubles Galore! Follow the Icelandic Yule Lads as Heidi writes of their escapades.

Follow Heidi Herman's Yule Lads story-fun funny troll troubles In Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland...Yikes, they all have troll troubles! Delightfully illustrated by Colleen Stiles...

Read from the beginning at

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Nazi’s Disappointment With Iceland

I came across this article recently when researching another topic.  Having lived in Iceland during WWII I found this humorous and interesting.  I am re-posting it in its entirety with the accompanying photo, the original article was from Reykjavik Grapevine.
Published March 6, 2014 in THE REYKJAVIK GRAPEVINE   
By  (click to link to original article)
In the early hours of May 10, 1940, British forces launched Operation Fork, invading Iceland. One of their first tasks, upon disembarking in Reykjavík, was to arrest the German consul, Dr. Werner Gerlach. He was a fanatical member of the Nazi Party and had tried, under orders from the highest level, to win Icelanders over to the German cause. The Nazi leadership had identified the Icelandic nation as a pure and brave “Aryan nation.” Dr. Gerlach became, however, extremely disappointed with Iceland and its inhabitants, which he deemed to be pathetic. “There is nothing left of the noble nation and its pride, but servility, lack of decency, toadying and humiliation,” he writes in his memorandum.
Iceland had been looked upon as a Germanic paradise of pure racial stock by the fanatical pseudo-intellectual circles inside the Nazi party in the 1930s. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and a leading party member, was very interested in mysticism and idolised the Vikings, who he thought were symbolic of the alleged racial superiority of the Nordic race. Dr. Bernard Kummel, a scholar close to Himmler, wrote a book on the ™spiritual treasures∫ of the Icelandic people and encouraged Germans to seek these in Iceland.
Dr. Gerlach’s assignment was to encourage the mighty Icelanders to join the Nazis in the pursuit of racial purity and domination of inferior peoples. Gerlach, who was a respected physician and a long-term member of the Nazi Party, did not find any of the spiritual treasures promised by his commanders. Instead he only saw what he describes as a pathetic behaviour of savage and corrupted degenerates. We know this because his memos on Icelanders have survived and are stored at the National Archives of Iceland. Werner Gerlach was released as a prisoner of war in 1941 in an exchange of Allied diplomats. He died in 1963. The Allies maintained control over Iceland until the end of the Second World War, denying Germany a chance to seize this “racially” and strategically important island west of Europe.
Telling Quotes From His Memos:
“It’s nothing short of arrogance, that these 117.000 souls, one third of them degenerate weaklings, should desire to be an independent state. Add to that that the cultural level is as not high as they say.”
“Icelanders are a great disappointment. The upbringing of children is pathetic. Schools are beyond the pale. The only school considered remotely acceptable is the Catholic school. In the others, the children learn only to argue. Lack of discipline. The director of educational affairs is a communist. The youth has no longer any idea of the sagas or Iceland’s history, no sense of family or race.”
“We need to reconsider our position on Iceland completely. We need to have scientists do what can be done, but other than that, this grovelling, which meets no kindness, must stop. Modern Icelanders do not deserve us, neither for their temperament, nor their significance, with the exception of a few.”
“Earlier than ten in the morning, there is no possibility of waking anyone, and women not earlier than 12. Men work irregularly. Unemployment. Men do not use their energy for working, but rather to not go to the dogs. Everything, which for us is unimportant, becomes a goal for them (swimming, table tennis). All Germans, that have stayed here long, are not all there, or are apathetic and dumb.”
“Films are almost exclusively American spy films of the lowest sort. The theatre company performs Sherlock Holmes for a whole month. Here, the dramatic subjects from the sagas lie untouched in the gutter.”
“The theatre company performs a German farce by the Jewish pornographers Arnold and Bach. The police banned the play because of its corrupting influence. Then they stage another premiere in front a full house, where a committee of experts and members of parliament are given access and it’s sold out. The press goes mad. Overwhelming enthusiasm and applause.”
“Musical life is of a very low standard here. There are one or two quite good painters, but there is a lot of pretence and junk. Sculpture – Einar Jónsson is half-mad but very Icelandic. Then there’s Ásmundur Jónsson, who is called a cosmopolitan. Clearly Jewish degenerate art. A book has been published on him.”
“Views on Jews – completely uncomprehending. An Icelandic student was asked by his fellows, when discussing the Jewish matters: “Would you marry a Jewish woman?” And he answered: “Yes, why not?” Even the director of the national museum will hand an ashtray to a negro in a red coat.”
“The Icelandic press is more British than the Times. When the Times confesses that the English have been forced to retreat, Vísir publishes the tall tales of the United Press about Allied victories. And then there is the foreign minister’s english-minded rag. You cannot point out enough that the Icelandic newspapers are fifth-rate English country rags.”
“Constant inconvenience day and night from crazy or drunk men – or both. All night, eleven o’clock, twelve, two, drunken Icelanders call and demand to talk with me. Awful alcohol abuse. Black death. Spirits. Alcohol and taxis. Drunken men out in the street. Smuggling.”
“No car tires to be found. Most cars are old, purchased from abroad. Fewer visitors to the swimming pool. No external stimulation. Men lose all standards. No fruits. We were going to buy a bed, in Reykjavík there were only two available. We were going to buy a sink, sinks have been unavailable for three weeks.”
“One thing is certain and must be clearly stated – there is nothing left of the noble nation and its pride, but servility, lack of decency, toadying and humiliation.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My New Icelandic Cookbook

I am happy to share the news my new cookbook of Icelandic recipes is now available!  Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens can be purchased on  A joint effort between my daughter, Heidi, and myself, we have put together this great group of Icelandic recipes with easy-to-follow instructions.
Whether you’re looking to connect with your roots, try something new or already love Icelandic cooking, this book is a must.  This is a collection of traditional everyday Icelandic recipes, translated with step-by-step instructions.  We have gathered all the simple classic favorites that truly reflect the home-style Icelandic flavors and heritage.

Terta (Vínarterta), Kleinur, Black Bread (Rúgbrauð), Fishballs (Fiska Bollur), Browned Potatoes (Brúnar Kartöflur), Pastries (Vínarbrauð), Icelandic Pancakes (Pönnukökur), and much more!

Click here to buy one now: Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens

 We even included the recipe for the curry sauce!