Sunday, October 14, 2018


Thank you, Garðar for this info:

Oldest steel vessel in Iceland, Ieda Herman...your dad, Jónas Björnsson  told me be had been captain on this vessel at one time, don´t remember the year or her name then, must of been between WWII and his move to fishing in PEI, Canada.

Garðar BA 64 is thought to be the oldest steel ship in Iceland, built in Norway as a whaling vessel over one hundred years ago. It was launched in Norway in 1912, the year the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was named Globe IV and was equipped with both sails and a steam engine to use when the weather was still. It was specially reinforced to endure the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean where it was used to hunt whales.

Globe IV was sold to the Faroe Islands in 1936 where it got a brand-new name and a somewhat less dignified role in the whale-hunting business. At the end of the second world war the ship was sold once again. This time to Iceland. Once here it was given an Icelandic name, Siglunes SI 89, and the old steam workhorse which has powered it all those years was replaced with a 378 hp Ruston Hornsby diesel engine. The ship traded owners and names for number of years until 1963 it finally acquired the name it has today, Garðar. It was a good ship and served many owners well for a long time.

In December 1981 Garðar BA 64 was deemed unfit for duty. Instead of sinking it at sea as was the custom in those days when ships went out of serice it was rammed ashore at Skápadalur Valley in Patreksfjörður. Today Garðar awaits its inevitable rusty fate in the sand providing tourists with a spectacular scene and just the perfect photo opportunity.

Definitely on my bucket list for a photo op next time I visit my homeland!

Friday, October 5, 2018


Anyone who knows me hears me constantly say "keep moving!"

A few years back my husband and I were traveling from Illinois to Duluth Minnesota. We left quite late as I had to finish installing custom draperies for a customer of mine. My husband drove all the way to just north of Eau Claire, Wisconsin where I took over the driving. About forty minutes later I went to sleep at the wheel and went into the median ditch. We were airborne over a culvert and stopped on the other side, After a stunned moment I opened my door to get out - My husband groaned "don't move, you may have broken bones!" I mumbled back "gotta move, gotta move!." By then people had stopped and told me to stop trying to walk, as I was hunched over the hood of the car trying to move.
Ambulance came shortly and we were taken to the hospital in Eau Claire, then by helicopter to Milwaukee. My husband had a broken back and bruises and I had less serious but painful broken ribs, cracked collar bone and bruised sternum.

 In just a few days  was able to get up and move around, after being taped up, - albeit painful breathing! - I was told that because I was in the habit of moving I had healed faster!

I honestly believe that my determination in always moving has kept me fit even into my nineties. I do my sit-ups before getting out of bed - then planks, cat and dog stretches, hamstring and a little hop. Even when traveling - which I do a lot of -  I like to do my "microwave hop" dance in the kitchen and "shake my body all about"!

It's so tempting to "take it easy" and become a couch potato and frankly get rusty, which reminds me... a  month ago I was in Winona, Minnesota. Driving by a farm and I saw what looked like rusted-out model T-Ford. The weeds had grown up all around it as it sat in the field. I kept driving and arrived into town. As I came to an intersection and slowed for a stop-light a Model T-Ford pulled up on its way to the Antique Car Show I knew was in town. Wow! It's body was impeccably painted shining sea-green, the white-wall tires were spotless white and gleaming chrome!
I am no antique car expert, but Model T-Fords are hard to miss, I couldn't help but to think: One car was at "rest" and rusting in the field, the other was oiled up, kept up and moving!

Lesson here? Don't let your body "rust up" it's the only one you'll have!

Keep dancing, keep moving! Yes I'm chronologically gifted with 93+ years
and still able to jump my rope...

There is an old rule in neuroscience that does not alter with age... use it or lose it...

Thursday, September 20, 2018


                                                            AFI  (Grandpa Bjorn).

Just musing, and thinking back on growing up in Iceland. Of all my family, my grandpa (Afi) in Vopnafjordur was my favorite person. He had the most wonderful attic room full of books, stacked on the floor, on the window sill as all the shelves were full. On the floor were newspapers from Canada called The Heimskringla. In all that chaos his desk had amazing free space where he spread out his papers.

 He didn't mind when I came in and watched him as he was working on intricate  math problems that covered his pages. He didn't say I was to "curious" and "asked to many questions." He hadn't even scolded when I had tinkered with his motorboat, got it started and, un-expectantly, took it for a short spin in the fjord (I'd forgotten all about this when I wrote my memoir!). Fortunately it was just a big curve on a smooth ocean and I was able to bring it back and ease it up to the pier as my uncle Bjossi and Afi came running; Bjossi hollering, waving his arms about and yelling "girl, don't you EVER learn!?" While Grandpa gave me a slow wink as he stroked his graying mustache, hiding a grin.

Afi owned a farm called Hamundarstadir. The house was three-gabled and turf covered the roof, where I had to constantly chase sheep off, although most of them wandered out into the foothills where we had to find them in the Fall for the sheep-roundup (great festive days!)  He also had a few milk-cows, one that was called Red, I was sure she was the meanest cow in all of Iceland. Afi was also a good fisherman and frequently took his motorboat out into the fjord bringing back large cache of fresh fish, our main food.

My Father, Jonas, Afi's first-born, didn't take to farm life and left for Reykjavik where he entered the Marine Navigation school, graduating in 1924, after which he was pretty much on the ocean the rest of his life. As I was growing up, I didn't see much of him. Afi was quite proud of him and told me how tough Jonas was " a true Viking kid that didn't cry" as he, Afi, would tell me if I got to whimpering and missing my siblings he would remind me "Diddamin, Viking kids don't cry..." I learned early on to "tough it out." But I seemed to have this curiosity..."But Afi, I am not a Viking kid, they are long gone,"  besides what exactly WAS a Viking, what kind of word is that anyway...?"

Oh boy, did I get a lesson when he so grandly proclaimed that my ancestors - Starting with Hrolfur Redbeard in 860 - were great navigators and shipbuilders. Brave men and women that followed their hearts for adventures. For years many Icelandic men, women and children were challenged to overcome harsh weather, long winter nights - by grit and determination - "and this shows up even yet in the independent spirit of most of us Icelanders".. Afi twirled the ends of his short, handlebar, mustache."And the word Viking? Well, Diddamin, that is actually an Icelandic word -VIKINGUR - and means he who comes from the fjord. Yes those were cruel days in many ways, but he Vikings were not any meaner than other groups that roamed the world."

I grew up following Afi's words "Don't let fear rule your life, enjoy it!"
Hmm, maybe that is why, when a United States Navy man proposed at a second dance and I said "yes" and came to America in 1945 - by myself. Of course I didn't know his family, I'd never been out of Iceland. I spoke limited English and he spoke no Icelandic...but that is another story...

I want to share my grandfather's tenacity and great outlook on life.

Live while you're alive!


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Just musing....

In June, my youngest daughter, Heidi, and I traveled from central Illinois to St. Louis, Mo to catch a nonstop plane to Keflavik, Iceland. We arrived in plenty of time which was a good thing...

Something about the passport of this elderly woman shut down ALL the computers of the WOW service desk!!! Technicians came running in, back out again, and in again...

In the meantime the travelers kept coming and standing in line! A GLITZ! After almost an hour the problem was solved, not my passport, just bad timing for me for a computer glitz to take place, whew!

Two hours after taking off, at 11 p.m, we flew through the night in constant sunrise! Poor photo through the window of airplane.

Arrived in Keflavik by 11 a.m.and got our rental camper and hit the road! Drove to Vik where we met Gisli and crew for the paragliding event! Flying over the black sands of Vik and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, higher than the seagulls, is an unforgettable experience!

Next morning it was a zip-line event, a new adventure offered by Gisli and his True Adventure company. The landscape of the hike to the "take-off" site is surrealistic and yet gorgeous.
What fun this new sport is, the view from above is phen'awesome! 

Next it was another dream come true for this 93+ chronologically gifted woman...Try ice-cave climbing! Wow! I was not very elegant but I got to try it... At the Katla Glacier Ice-cave!

Thank you Gisli and Birgir at True Adventure for making this 83-year-old dream come true - at the age of ten and growing up in Iceland I tried to fly like the seagulls but an earthquake spoiled the attempt (Full story in my memoir GROWING UP VIKING.) Never to late to realize your dream!

Saturday, August 18, 2018



                                           Bernie King and The Guilty Pleasures, Blues-Grass.

                                          Fun evening in Wabash, Minnesota

Under the bridge of  Wabash, Minnesota/Wisconsin
The traffic zoomed over and the band played on.:-)
                Gorgeous day visiting the Farmers Market in downtown Winona, Minnesota
                                                      Della - Amma - Marian - Al 

Monday, July 23, 2018

I'm a 93 years old chronologically gifted woman who "aspires to inspire before I expire".
At age ten, growing up in Iceland I wanted to fly like the seagulls. I tried one  day by tying a flour sack on my neck and proceeded to jump/fly from one corrugated shed to another, an earthquake happened to spoil that attempt but not my dream. I waited for years and finally realized the dream as you can see in the photo. Paragliding in Vik, Iceland. Higher than the Seagulls we, Gisli, from True Adventures, and I soared, above the black sand, above the Atlantic! Yes dreams do come true.

Keep moving life beckons!

I move at every opportunity; dancing my microwave-hop, stretching, stretching, doing the "stork-pose" as I wait for the coffee to brew. Keep my brain active by writing - I published my memoir at age 88, had time to write after my ten kids were grown. just last May I received International Book Award Finalist...Never give up and keep it moving: Keep your spirit - mind - and body moving, no one will do it for you. Yes you can!

Thursday, June 28, 2018


                                                 Stretch - Stretch - Stretch.

  I am now 93 very active and enjoying life; river rafting - paragliding - zip lining - ice-caving - indoor rock-wall climbing - jumping rope... and constantly asked: What's your secret? If there's one thing I do pretty constantly it is stretching:

Routine: Ten sit-ups while still in bed, roll over and hold a plank position for count of sixty. Then do a dog and cat stretches, after which I swing my legs out of bed to the nearest wall and stretch as high as I can. Then - tightening my abdominal muscles - I slowly lower myself into squat-sitting, bounce up and down a bit and then slowly rise up again. Stand on one leg for a count of ten then switch to the other. Next I do hamstring stretches and shake my body real good to loosen up!

While my coffee is brewing I do my Microwave-hop, jump and dance and stretch, stretch, stretch :-)

I've found that doing this has strengthen my bones, improved my breathing, decreased stress on my joints. Hardly any  fatigue, due to increased more efficient muscle performance.

For hand and eye coordination I like to juggle couple of  balls. I read recently that squeezing those balls is good for lowering blood-pressure!