Friday, April 13, 2018
ALPACA SHOW AT THE PEORIA CIVIC CENTER.
Chris (one of my seven daughters) drove down from Chicago to go to the Alpaca show here in Peoria, Illinois.Her daughter, Tashia owns Butterfield Alpaca Ranch in Nebraska and has 33 Alpacas, gorgeous creatures :-) We sure enjoyed it even though we just about froze, seems like the animals get to warm in their luscious warm fur and have to be kept cool. Even hosed down at times- check out Tashia's Spraying Down Alpacas on YouTube.
As we meandered through the vendors booths, I had a fun encounter with a Alpaca owner from Maryland. After learning that my accent was from being an Icelander he told me a friend of his was going there this summer. He was so excited and asked many questions so he could share with his friend...Do you really believe in the people that live in the rocks?...That kind of question always gets a non-committal smile from me!
Later, a lady vendor asked the same question - about the accent that is - I really was stunned to hear her say she had never heard of a country named Iceland! Had no idea where it was at.
I thought about that, when couple of days later someone asked me what it was like for me to come here by myself - my American husband was in the Navy, and had to stay behind - not knowing anyone, and speaking just a handful of broken English. But I was thinking what was it like for my mother-in-law? She, who had never been to New York had to take a train and meet a young woman from a country she knew nothing about - was she thinking her son must be crazy ? Had her daughter-in-law lived in an Igloo? Was she wondering :How do I talk to her, I don't know her language!
I quickly found out that living among English speaking folks, having zero opportunities to speak Icelandic, I picked up the language fairly well, although it took a few years to get pronunciation of certain words; it took a long time for my husband to understand my "cattastrop" but when I said some thing was a "terrible cattastrop!" He very gently explained "that is pronounced catastrophe." I had a time accepting that since there was no "fee" in the word.
It's been many years now, Iceland is getting to be one of the hottest tourist-must-see destinations and I run into more people that tell me that "it's on my bucket list" rather than the blank look I used to get when I first got here in June, 1945, and the above-mentioned lady that had never heard of a country called Iceland.
Hmm...Erik "The Red" an Icelander, discovered America 500 years before Columbus, just saying!
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
"There's coming a day...What a day, glorious day that will be!" But this is today. And today I say - "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it"
After four, very enjoyable and fairly warm, winter months in Texas, I am back in windy-cold Illinois. But thankful...NO SNOW!...
We were in a nice lake house near lake Texoma where I could daily take beautiful walk in the "wilderness" :-) I had a nice path right down to the water that started just steps away from my back door. Being surrounded with nature and such beauty was invigorating. Although there was no internet connection in the house it was available only a short drive - about 20 miles - to the library, where I could surf to my heart's content. Although, I didn't use the resources there as much as I could or should have. I was constantly getting side-tracked, my curious nature getting the best of me. There were walks to take, trails to explore, and curious roads that beckoned to me.
I often started out going to the library, the store, or even the gas station and saw an interesting road. I would start to wonder where it went, but wouldn't wonder for long. ...I would already be on my way to find out! But this isn't old age or a new hobby. I've always wondered what's "on the other side of the hill" or "around the curve". My husband of 70 years - he went ahead of me to heaven 2015 - used to shake his head at my curiosity, and say, "woman sometimes you just drive me nuts with all your questions!"
I may have driven him nuts sometimes but we wouldn't have traded those times for anything. He didn't always admit it, but he got a big kick out of my "mangled" English, which by the way I still have a tendency to do. While on one of my recent jaunts I saw this beautiful pasture and stopped my car just to enjoy the view. I saw the cows grazing and their babies meandering, overhead these huge, ugly birds - turkey vultures - soared and swooped. I had to watch for a while. When I got home I told my daughter, "You should have seen this huge flock of beef ...hundreds of them I had to stop and look!"
She said, "wait, what? Flock of beef?" Needless to say I had to back up and rephrase like I did numerous times with Del, my husband. The memory of those silly times, when I misspoke or even made up words accidentally brought a smile to my face. I have had so many good times, many adventures, and so much shared laughter. I cherish those memories and all the good times I shared with Del.
Shortly after, I read something on line that struck me deeply. It was sentiment on how losing a spouse affects the widow. Following are some of the quotes:
You lose self esteem.
You lose confidence.
You lose self-worth.
EVERY. SINGLE. THING. CHANGES.
It's the hardest, most gut-wrenching, horrific, life altering of things to live with....End of quotes.
It stayed with me, but not because I could relate, quite the opposite. I have so many fun memories with my husband and am trying to remember them all and writing it all down to share with my kids :-) Yes he is gone, yet so here, I find myself smiling. I have none of the above quotes to deal with. Yes, at first it was hard, but
because "There's coming a day, when no heartaches shall come...What a day, glorious day that will be..."
It is my choice to dance, rain or shine... and dance I shall.
Friday, January 19, 2018
In growing up in Iceland I was not known to be one to "play it safe", frankly I think the more scary or daring the adventure was the more I was for doing it - that could perhaps explain why, after meeting Del in 1944 and on a second meeting - it really was not a date, just a dance - a total of eight hours max - when he proposed I said "yes".
If I was to try to explain it would do no good - some things are just meant to be.
That I - a nineteen-year-old naive girl living on an island called ICELAND, a tiny country in the Atlantic just below the Arctic circle - a country virtually unknown to many Americans until WWII happened - would meet a nineteen year old sailor who was brought up in middle of the United States, in a small town called Bloomington, in Illinois.
His brothers enlisted also; one in the marines, one in the army and one in the navy and were sent to the Pacific - Del expected to be there also, instead he found himself sent across "torpedo Junction" to a "God-forsaken place" called Iceland.
When we met at the first dance he had been stationed in the country just a few months and had not learned to speak Icelandic - I spoke very few words in English - I was a waitress at a restaurant in downtown Reykjavik called Hressingaskalinn so I knew words like coca-cola, cigarette, hey you...
Even after 70 years of marriage I am not able to explain---I have no idea what caused me to give up family - country - yes and even language and accept a proposal that I barely understood.
I had no idea who he really was - his family - were they rich? - Were they poor? - Nice? - Mean? Never entered my mind to ask these questions.
What has love got to do with it? Everything! Hmm, possibly also my first sentence at the start of this partly explains ...I'm still not known to "play it safe." As my grandson Andrew, put it "Wonder what daredevil thing (or was it "crazy thing"?) Grandma will do next?"
So far I have enjoyed River-Rafting in Colorado, Paragliding in Utah and Iceland, Zip-Lining in Minnesota, Air Balloon Ride in Texas, indoor Rock-Wall climbing in Illinois. Last year I traveled all the States between the East coast (Vermont, Maine) to the west coast, Seattle Washington, plus a side trip into Canada. Fantastic drive through some of the most beautiful scenery.
At almost 93 I'm a firm believer in "keep it moving!" Stretch - dance - exercise...Oh, by the way talking about exercise here is a Dilly that family members, Dale and Melinda) sent me at Christmas time:
Start by standing on a comfortable surface with plenty of room on each side. Now, with a five-pound potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day you will find you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After couple of weeks move up to 10-pound potato bags. Then eventually get to where you can lift 50-pound potato bag in each hand, hold your arms straight out for more than full minute. (Don't get discouraged. This may take some time.) After you feel confident in that level, put a potato in each bag.
Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she has dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.
Fall of 1945.
So I was now an American housewife (a few months anyway) and I should know how to make an apple pie. Didn't look to difficult...:-)
My mother-in-law was a whiz...she just threw stuff together, flour-milk-eggs-butter, beat it well with a wooden spoon. Then she divided the dough into two balls and rolled them out into beautiful circles, deftly placed one into a pie -pan. Heaped in all the pealed apple-slices, just a dash of flour, handful of brown sugar, sprinkles of Cinnamon.. Then she cut fancy leafs into the other circle and placed on top. Sealed the edges by fluting the dough with her fingers all around...Beautiful yummy apple-pie!
So, I had made notes on approximate amounts of ingredients, and kind of threw the stuff into the bowl and stirred briskly. Divided my dough in half, didn't look to bad - so far so good. Started rolling out the dough, it didn't want to stay put!!! Every time I had this nice circle the size of a dinner plate and started lifting it up it shrunk to a dessert-plate size :-(
I called my husband - who was now out of the Navy and was outside working on his car - for help. I was sure he'd watched his mother roll out the dough numerous time, maybe even helped! Sure enough, he said put in more liquid...Okay, so now when I rolled the dough out it stuck to the table and the rolling pin!
At this point I used my own devise, I scraped the dough off the table and patted the thing into the pie-pan. Got all my filling in only to see that we had no Cinnamon...Had to walk to the store, that fortunately was nearby...Had to walk back home and ask my dear husband what the word was for Cinnamon as I had forgotten, or, more likely I had not even learned the English word for Kanill. He didn't know what I was asking so I got the empty glass container, he sniffed..Ahh, Cinnamon... Then back to the store I went.
Now to get the top on and make it pretty, easier said than done, this ball of dough stuck just as much as the first batch. I contemplated my dilemma for a moment - then small piece by small piece I picked the dough by my fingers and placed on top just here and there...then did the same for the edges and pinched all around...and put it into the oven. I was on pins and needles, waiting...
Hey it wasn't pretty, a little heavy and doughy, but came out okay, by first American Apple Pie :-)
Sunday, December 31, 2017
"You're going to do what? You're still driving!?" My two sisters exclaimed.
"You're ninety-two, you can't be doing that!" Some in my family were quite concerned.
"Let someone else drive your car." Suggested another.
But I was going to drive my car around while in Texas, so why would I not drive it
south? Besides I had passed my driver's test with compliments from the examiner!
Couple of weeks later we headed south.
Heidi, my youngest child had her car loaded and also my Honda. We were leaving Central Illinois and heading for north Texas where she had rented a house by a huge lake, Texoma, that separates Oklahoma and Texas.We would not be back until March and had to think of all the clothing we would be needing; some for church, some for warm weather and some for a little chilly days, it gets down into the thirties but warms up splendidly during the days.
I had Dusty with me, she is a very well behaved Snoodle and good company. Heidi had Dusty's boy, Thor, who is as cute as can be and knows it, but also rambunctious, and would it be harder for me to him still.
Heidi led the way and I followed. It was a good drive, the weather was nice and folks were driving sensibly.
Dusty snoozed on her comfy pillow on the passenger seat. We stopped at rest-stops for the two dogs, and ourselves, to stretch and walk around.
After a few hours of very pleasant drive through the rolling hills of Missouri we stopped in Springfield, MO. for the night. I have to admit to certain sense of satisfaction when next morning I saw the weather report for Illinois; Snow and sub-zero weather on the way... I was getting out just in time :-)
Next morning we got up and after breakfast started driving the last few hours of the - just under 800 miles - to the lake property.
Here I was; looking at the 76 Christmas stockings we had hung on the tree-limbs outside...Sitting in a huge glider "just a swinging away" in 71 degrees and sunshine! I know it will dip down but not minus zero!
I am enjoying this...:-)
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Today I'd like to share with you couple of up-beat quotes from my "Happiness In Living Color" inspirational coloring book for adults:
My Doctor told me I needed more greens in my diet. On the way home I stopped and bought my favorite candy-coated chocolate. Thank goodness there were green ones in there!
Another Doctor told me Muscatine grapes were good for me. So I bought the convenient liquid form.
Who am I to question the doctors?
"We can't live like chicken in a coop and expect to be able to soar like the Seagulls"!
When I was ten-years old and growing up in Iceland I tried to fly like a Seagull by tying a flour-sack on my neck and climbing on top of a shed. An earthquake spoiled that attempt, but when I was 88 I went paragliding in the mountains of Utah and again when 90, I got to paraglide in Iceland...
Dreams do come true!
The thoughts and motivational ideas in my "Happiness in Living Color" are my foundation for a happy life. May they inspire you as well.
I aspire to inspire, before I expire.