Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NO END TO ADVENTURES...ONE FINISHED ANOTHER STARTS!



August 27

Out of the house, car loaded, 8:30 A.M. and ready to roll. Beautiful day as we drove north in Illinois, familiar with practically every curve and landmark as we drove toward, and onto a very busy Interstate 80 where we headed east through Indiana. Veering north to Detroit, Michigan we stopped for gas before entering Ontario, Canada
.
At the checkpoint a young man checked our passports, all was in order. He then asked if we had gas, ( I thought how very nice to make sure we didn't run out of gas while driving in his country!). Heidi assured him we had just filled the tank.
"Ah no, ma'm.CASH did you bring CASH, MONEY?" I started to dig in my purse while Heidi said "I think I have 40.00..."
"Did you bring more than $10.000?" He asked politely. We did not so he waved us on...

 After driving many kilometers on Canadian soil with many dire warnings to speeders, all in the French language, we checked into a Holiday Inn for the night.

I had read rave review of the Viking Bakery that had been in Gimli, Manitoba and moved to Toronto, so, with mouths salivating and visions of Vinarterta. Kleinur and all kinds of Icelandic goodies dancing in our head we drove  many  kilometers and hours out of our way...The bakery is not there! Checking the address, driving around the block we find that the bakery is no longer in business...but planning to open up later in another location! We didn't have time to stick around so we headed out of Canada and into the U.S. arriving in New York State.

We passed a sign at a cross road on the four-lane highway we were traveling on, thought maybe we should turn left but couldn't quite make out what the sign said. After looking carefully around Heidi decided the coast looked clear. She backed up on this super highway to read the sign. As she was making a turn to the left a car comes up along side us.

OOPS, FLASHING LIGHTS!

Obediently Heidi pulls over. Officer comes over very courteously asked "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Heidi was not about to say "Because I backed up on a major highway?" instead just kind of looked at him and waited.
Then he asked "Do you know you have a headlight out?" We were both very surprised, we had no idea, it was still quite light out.He inquired where we were headed, where we had been and so on, then quite kindly said.
 "I am not going to give you a ticket, you are only about 50 miles from Vermont, get the light fixed as soon as you can." And then proceeded to give us directions that turned out to be longer than we had planned. Hey, we found out it's quite legal to drive backwards on an interstate highway in New York but it's not okay drive with a headlight out (just for the record we did have lights on the brights), just saying.

We arrived in Vermont without incident but, yikes, a few miles - not kilometers, thank goodness -  down the road almost missed the Vermont Winery!




Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The end or the start of an adventure?




We took a beautiful drive skirting Cape Cod Bay on one side and Nantucket Sound on the other. Narrowly missing folks who were determined to Jay-walk, kids in tow, ignoring the fact that just a few more steps and they could cross legally and safely.

Going past beautiful homes with ocean views for miles and miles. We drove all the way to the very end of land and then walked up to a slightly scenic area that was safety-guarded by a short fence. A warning to keep out was posted as the cliff/ground keeps breaking off by fierce ocean waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It - the ocean -reminded me in some ways of Iceland. Strong breakers in grey-blue waves crashed with white streaks across the bay...

The Lighthouse we went to see had been moved from the original site due to the erosion, it closed when we got there. Looked like many, many steps would have been required to reach the top :-)

Missing a few more dedicated Jays on winding, hilly road we arrived safely back at the Condo another fun day tomorrow.





Monday, August 7, 2017

Chronologically Gifted - Happy and Uplifted


I receive many magazines in the mail. Most are the promotional type from my healthcare provider, retirement organizations, and senior centers, but a few are health and fitness magazines I subscribe to monthly. I find many have great articles that are relevant and helpful on topics of food, exercise, and even travel.
Recently, I have become aware of many articles they contain on how to make our homes safe as we age. There are recommendations to put up safety bars everywhere; remove area rugs, no, do not remove a rug if the floor is slippery (i.e.; ceramic); do not store things where they are hard to reach and so on. We do everything possible to prevent having an accident of some kind in a home that is temporary. Temporary because on average Americans move once every five years.

Interestingly enough, precious little is written about how to prepare ahead of time the only permanent “house” we will ever have - our bodies. This is one house we live in as long as we are alive, and do not get to move out of.
I agree with safety measures. It is good to make our environment and homes safe, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. What do I mean by that? I mean don’t make your life so easy that you eliminate the need for any activity. Movement is good for you. Stretching is healthy and vital for your muscles. All these articles I see about moving everything within easy reach and eliminating the need for all reaching seems excessive. I agree that it’s not a good idea to store things so high that you need a stepstool to reach, but what’s wrong with reaching to the lower shelf rather than storing something on the counter? Leaning down is good too - not bending over and hurting your back, but if your legs and knees are good, bend and the knees and retrieve something from a lower shelf. Many of you may remember the old days in gym class we used to do knee bends. They are still good for you - they work your quads, glutes, hip abductors, hamstrings and calves.

Before considering anything, talk with your doctor to discuss what would be beneficial. My doctor told me to stop jumping rope on a hard surface but working on balance is good. Myself, I have found I can strengthen my leg muscles by standing on one foot for count of twenty, then I switch and do the same on the other foot, some days I might hold onto a chair if I need. I find the perfect time to do this is when I’m using the microwave. It’s anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes when I am just waiting for the beep.  My kitchen is a great place for many little exercise moves, even a little happy dance.

To stretch for something stored somewhat high is good, to bend down and get to an item stored low is also good, remembering there’s a right way – bending the knees is good for the hamstring muscles – and the wrong way - bending from the waist and stressing your back is a bad move. I know the trend is to move everything for easy reach, but that is really defeating the purpose of mobility. You don’t have to accept that when you get old, you will automatically cease to be able to move. I say don’t let that ageism nonsense rule you. If you have an injury or physical limitation, be smart and know your limits, but don’t restrict yourself if there’s nothing wrong. I don’t!

Many times, I meet someone new and shake their hand. You’d be surprised how often I hear “Wow, you’ve got strong grip there.” I guess it’s not expected from a 92+ nonagenarian! But, that hand strength is because I did not want to lose my dexterity and based on what my doctor advised, I added to my routine. To strengthen my arms and hands I squeeze rubber balls, the size of tennis balls. I don’t do this every day, but I keep them on my nightstand and squeeze them now and then as I think of it.  Years ago, I learned to juggle so now, throwing just one ball in the air and catching is great exercise in dexterity. I am always happy if I can add the second juggle a little.
There is so much in life that I can still do - even at my chronologically-gifted age. I intend to keep doing as much as I can, and not give in to the notion that I can’t do something, or I’m not supposed to because I’m “too old”.

I’m reminded of a ditty I heard a least a half a century ago;

              Don’t do this, and don’t do that.
              Don’t you dare tease the cat.
              Don’t sit down and don’t you fall
              Don’t do anything at all.

It seems that the older I get, the more people tell me of all the things I can’t do. I’ve lived in this body a long time, and I already know the things I can’t do. To dwell on those is too negative. I’d rather focus on that I still can do.
Instead of this negative “Don’t” stuff, how about let’s focus on some positive “Do” in our lives. I would like to think it’s never too late to start and no, I am not too old.

As I wrote this article, I researched the ditty that came to mind, so that I could give proper credit to the author. I was surprised and delighted that it was part of a much longer poem and the words were a little different than I had remembered. I couldn’t resist sharing the entire thing:
 
Always Saying "Don't!"
by Edgar Albert Guest
 

Folks are queer as they can be,

Always sayin' " don't" to me;

Don't do this an' don't do that.

Don't annoy or tease the cat,

Don't throw stones, or climb a tree,

Don't play in the road. Oh, Gee!

Seems like when I want to play

"Don't" is all that they can say.


If I start to have some fun,

Someone hollers, " Don't you run! "

If I want to go an' play

Mother says: "Don't go away. "


Seems my life is filled clear through

With the things I mustn't do.

All the time I'm shouted at


"No, no, Sonny, don't do that!"

Don't shout so an' make a noise,

Don't play with those naughty boys,

Don't eat candy, don't eat pie,

Don't you laugh and don't you cry,

Don't stand up and don't you fall,

Don't do anything at all.

Seems to me both night an' day

"Don't" is all that they can say.


When I'm older in my ways

An' have little boys to raise,


Bet I'll let 'em race an' run

An' not always spoil their fun;

I'll not tell 'em all along

Everything they like is wrong;

An' you bet your life I won't

All the time be sayin' "don't. "

 

--------------------------------


Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman, 92, 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 had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

Visit her site for photos, contact, and social media links:
www.vikingamma.com

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

TENACITY: Keeping a Firm Hold on Life


                                                       
I am sitting out on the deck enjoying the beautiful day. Birds are singing, butterflies fluttering, flowers blooming...Wait a minute..No flowers were planted there.

I walk up to this plant: A blooming (I mean literally blooming!) weed growing that no one planted. There it was just as sturdy an healthy as if it had been watered and tended to like a rose instead of pulled up, cut down, stomped on.


The tenacious weed is everywhere in the world; dry desert, up in the mountains, down in the valley, and even blooming in the black volcanic sands in Iceland the tenacious weed just keeps on holding.

I was curious, what made the weeds stronger than well tended flowers like the rose?  This time I did not Google it but went to my good old Complete Wordfinder.

Tenacity - Tenacious...Keeping a firm hold on principles, life.

Holding fast, persistent, resolute, maintaining, keep up, firm, strong, secure, tight, tough, dogged (love this), unfaltering, pertinacious (lovely word!) unswerving, determined (I've made up my mind!) diligent, resolute, staunch, stalwart, steadfast, unshaken, unshakable, obstinate (hmm), intransigent, stubborn (ouch), adamant, obdurate, refractory - you got to love reading a dictionary - immovable, inflexible, firm, and so much more!

Ah, if we could have a fraction of the tenacity of a humble weed to just hang in there, and keep blooming no matter where we happen to be planted.

Personally, when I've come to the end of my rope I pertinaciously (couldn't resist) tie another knot and keep on swinging. Enjoy life, it has an expiration date on it.



--------------------------------


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 had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just Thinking...


Recently I enjoyed watching a video of a 102-year-old gentleman go skydiving, he did not walk well and had to have help. He could have said "I'm to old" and "I can't...I can't..." but he went and DID AND BROKE A RECORD!

I'm 92 so I have a few years to beat that :-) but if I am given those years...Watch out here I come!

It's so easy to stay in our comfort zone, just sitting. Not only not exercising the body but not stretching the mind, not bothering to learn anything new. Not sharpening nor increasing whatever skills we may have.

It has been said that "it is not the years in our lives that matter, but the life in our years"...How true that is.

We should find our passion; always keep it growing, keep it moving forward...

Keep stretching into life.

There is so much to see, so much to experience, so much to enjoy, it is a wonderful world we live in. This photo was taken when I was visiting my daughter in Arizona last year, a cool place I did my stretches one day.  There is an underground  river that flows for over 100 miles under the Arizona desert. Just outside Phoenix, it comes above ground and all these wonderful trees and grass grow up around it, making a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the desert. If you don't know where it is, you will drive right by. But .. stop..  take a look and you will be awed.

Be awed! Be amazed! And always keep growing and learning. This also got me thinking about what I'd read:  People only use 11% of their brain...Really? Hmm...



--------------------------------
Photo: Hassayampa River Preserve

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 had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com




Friday, July 21, 2017

The Fjord




I watched the white-capped waves play tag with the twirling patches of misty grey fog hovering over the formidable northern fjord. I stood on the edge of the lava cliff and felt the grounds tremble and heard the powerful ocean crashing and rumbling up the gorge. Swooshing, sucking sounds came from deep within the cave the ocean waves had carved eons past.  

Scrambling down a gravelly crevasse I dug in my heels, and my fingers gripped the gritty, sharp lava ledges. The racket of rolling stones alarmed the nesting puffins, warily they pointed towards me with their red, yellow and black striped huge beaks, then shook their short wings and waddled off on their fiery-red feet.

I touched a moss-lined seagull's nest, which promptly came alive with stretching and twitching, hungry mouths wide open. I jerked my hand back as the angry mama bird streaked down like a meteorite, yellow beak wide open, fiercely screeching. Carefully avoiding white streaks of yucky bird droppings, I inched my way to the bottom of the cliff and started walking on the narrow strip of volcanic sand. My sheepskin shoes made squishy, slushy sounds as small waves wet my feet. Gross smell arose when I kicked away slimy brown algae and tip-toed around carcass of birds, crabs, brittle fish bones and blue seashells.

I leaned on the half-buried relic of a rowboat and pulled at the coarse brown fishnet that hung over the rotted bulwark, disturbing five napping Harbors seals. They looked at me for a moment,t hey moaned, groaned, grumbled then closed their eyes. Tugging the yellow seaman's rain-hat tight over my hair I tried to avoid "calling" cards (bird droppings). as a gazillion seagulls swept overhead.

The wispy shreds of fog across the water were slowly dissipating in the sun. Brilliant colored rainbow curved over a tall waterfall cascading down the snow-capped craggy mountain sheltering the fjord.

I climbed to my favorite place, the top of a barnacle-crusted lava rock accessible on one side in the out-going tide. Waves caused spray to slosh on my face, and when I licked my lips I tasted brine

A fog-shrouded steamship made its way across the mouth of the fjord, and the warning blast of the ship's horn boomed between the basalt-black towering cliffs. Powerful spouts from Humpback whales dotted the sea, they slapped their long flippers roiling the waters.

Gray seals, also called Horse Head Seals shot up by my rock and grabbed small squirming fish from the beaks of diving gulls. The seals' backs  glistened and shone like well-polished whale bone as they leaped up and then dove back into the waves.

A virtual blizzard of sea gulls and puffins floated below the fluffy clouds in the blue sky above my head as I climbed up the bird-filled lava cliff and headed back home.                    


--------------------------------
Photo: Iceland

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 had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com


Monday, July 10, 2017

Ieda Jonasdottir Herman: The Fire Giant Strikes Again.

Ieda Jonasdottir Herman: The Fire Giant Strikes Again.:                                    January 23rd. 1973. Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. Wave after wave crashed against the blue...

The Fire Giant Strikes Again.



                                   January 23rd. 1973. Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.


Wave after wave crashed against the blue-black towering lava cliffs that formed Heimaey, the largest and only inhabited isle of the Vestmannaeyjar volcanic cluster. White frothy sprays shot up into the air and swirled back into eddies of receding waves, the ocean was still in heaving turmoil after a brutal winter storm the day before.
          Silvery slivers of moonlight peeked out among the dark-grey lingering storm clouds,causing eerie shadows on the strangely distorted formations of lava boulders, scattered about from a long-ago eruption of the ancient volcano, Mount Helgafell. The grounds on the top of the cliffs seemed quite calm.
          But, miles and miles deep in the ground hidden from view, a subterranean furnace boiled, crackled and groaned under incredible growing pressure of magma - molten rock -. But the people on the island didn't hear it. The unharnessed force was furiously building up in the fiery chamber, but the islanders didn't know it. Suddenly an uncontrollable pressure split the earth, as if the Icelandic fire giant, Surtur, had slashed the ground with his mighty sword and split the island from north to south. A powerful belching blast spewed forth a red-hot curtain of fire, but the islanders didn't see it.
          The new fissure opened up a few hundred yards from Mount Helgafell, quiet for over five thousand years. By the time the eruption stopped, the new mountain, Eldfell, was almost as tall as the old volcano. It was 725 feet and the old one reached 741 feet. Two volcanoes lived on this small, rocky and remote island only about three miles wide and four and half miles long.
          A radio communications operator may have been the first person to see the fiery display.  He'd stepped out after a late shift at work and saw what at first seemed to be a burning building, but when towering tongues of fire shot up like several gushing geysers and lit up the dark sky, he realized that this was a volcano eruption. He ran back inside to sound the alarm. Because of the previous days storm most of the fishing vessels were still in the cliff-sheltered harbor, so people were able to flee quickly to the Icelandic mainland.
          The molten lava ran the short distance to the ocean, where it cooled and hardened to increase the size of the island by about a half square mile. It flowed relentlessly towards the small town and threatened to close its harbor. If that happened the large supply ships would no longer be able to bring goods to the village
          Besides the police and firemen, several workers stayed on the island to sweep off roofs that were in danger of caving in under the weight of accumulating ash and cinders. Workers from the mainland brought pumps and hoses to pump ocean water on the oozing lava in frantic attempt to slow the flow. This unheard-of-method worked and the lava was stopped from ruining the harbor.
          The eruption ended on the third of July 1973. Over three hundred homes were buried under rock-hardened lava. Several homes were badly damaged. Before the eruption over five thousand people lived on Heimaey. Many moved right back right after the eruption ended and began to enjoy life again on their beloved island. Some folks had a cook-out using fiery lava bombs, and a group of Girl-Scouts baked bread in the hot ground.
          As the people began to rebuild their village they constructed a district-heating system that heats their homes with piped-in hot water heated by the same volcano that had threatened their very lives.
          The islanders will forever be remembered because of the way they used great Viking determination, heroic efforts and novel idea to save their village.



         Sidebar note.
         When a sub-marine volcano erupted in 1963 and formed a new island, the Icelanders named it SURTSEY, after the fire giant SURTUR. The people of Heimaey had a ringside view of the new island growing higher and higher, day by day, since the new island was only about seven miles west of their own island; they didn't know that just ten years later SURTUR would strike again.

          Just found this among old stuff I had written over the years. Just wanted to share a little what it is like to grow up Viking!



         Referral notes from the Surtsey Research Society; The Surtsey Eruption 1963-1967
Noel Grove, National Geographic, July 1973




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Growing up in the Land Of Fire And Ice.


This land is so moon-like that in 1965 and 1967 American moon-landing astronauts used the Krafla and Askja area - located in north-east corner of Iceland to study the geology for Lunar mission, as this barren lava field is one of the more moon-like places on earth. The Krafla caldera is Viti - the Icelandic word Viti means Hell - folks in the olden days thought that hell was under volcanoes.

Not far from this area is the fjord of Vopnafjörður is where I spent my summers until age ten.Every Spring I traveled on a ship, in and out of the fjord, south  and east. The trip was usually about 5days, in good weather. Going back to Reykjavik, and school every Fall - and again in and out of fjords, this time north and west coast.

Mostly I traveled by myself, but a crew member or a passenger would be aware, and kind of looked after me. Two of my sisters -one a year younger and  one a year older, traveled with me for couple of years...when I think of that I shake my head...To-day I wouldn't think of letting 8 and 9 year old kids of mine travel by themselves like that. And on a ship...in all kinds of weather! But it was different back then and even more so in a country as isolated as Iceland was back in the thirties.

If we traveled inland (no Ring Road then!) we used horses. Grandpa would go to the village of Vopnafjörður
to load up bags of flour, sugar and other supplies.

I remember one summer when my older sister and I were on horseback, going back to the farm and were riding across the inlet as the  tide was coming in. The water was up to our horses' bellies when I looked at my sister and teasingly said; "Sisi, don't look, but there's some kind of gruesome monster-thing at Stjarna's hoof!" I'd been better off if I'd been watching my own horse, I was sliding sideways. Suddenly I found myself with mouthful of salty water, I couldn't yell at Grandpa, but I heard Sisi screaming at the top of her lungs"Grandpa - Grandpa Íeda is drowning!" I felt Grandpa's hand pull me up. Spitting and gagging I felt chastened. I should have known better that to tease about The Monster Worm, it was a sure way to bring their wrath upon us!

Later I tried to butter up my sister by telling her how much I was looking forward to spending the summer together.She said "Oh, it will be fun to go berry-picking, milk Old Red..." She stopped and grinned...Hmm, was my sister being he nice self or was there a wicked gleam in her  eye? I was sure Old Red was the meanest cow in all of Iceland..

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How did you do it? What was it like?



Recently I was asked to speak at a "Freedom Rally" at a church, the topic was "What was it like to come to the U.S. as a WWII War Bride.

I have to say that the language was the most difficult. Del didn't speak Icelandic - oh, he did learn to say "elska min"...that means "my love" - and I was very limited in my English. Of course there were times when I got homesick....what am I saying! I STILL get homesick for Iceland...I've said this before and I'll dare say it again "you can take me out of Iceland, but you cannot take Iceland out of me!"

Yes, I had a few doubts, but I was twenty and in love...New York was a shock...my mother-in-law didn't speak my language...I had never been on/or seen a train before, we had to get on a troop-train for Illinois. I have written of this before, but I got to thinking about how it must have been for my husband...At age nineteen he was sent to a country named ICELAND!!! His three brothers were in the Pacific! How unfair was that! But then he got me :-)

Del came home four months later and smuggled my white baby kitten that promptly ran away. A story in the Daily Pantagraph, in Bloomington, Il. describing the circumstance and the all-white kitten, brought innumerable  cats-kittens-black-orange-multi-colors you  name it, to our door, never did find my kitty.

Back to the language: Walked to a small store to get strawberries and cinnamon...couldn't communicate with the clerk, had go back and get my poor husband...this was repeated several times during our first year.

One day I told Del that something was  a "cattastrope" that was one word that took him a long time to figure out until I said it was a "bad bad cattastrope."

"Ahh, we pronounce that "catastrophe" :-(  

How he put up with me, and this, for 70 years is beyond me. Must have been love.

BTW, In case you haven't guessed, my English is self-taught and mostly through Readers Digest "It Pays To Increase Your Vocabulary" section.





Friday, June 16, 2017

Joy is a choice


Charles R Swindoll, in his "Laugh Again" says joy is choice and paraphrased the poet;

ONE SHIP SAILS EAST
ONE SHIP SAILS WEST
REGARDLESS HOW THE WIND BLOWS
IT IS THE SET OF THE SAIL, AND NOT THE GALE
THAT DETERMINES THE WAY WE GO.


THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE
I WILL...REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT...








Wednesday, June 7, 2017

So, now you're 92, when do you plan to settle down, somebody asked...


My answer was:  "I am to busy!" But it did make me stop and think back a bit...To last November 1st. when I had the stroke.I could have taken it easy and quit gadding around, but decided I wanted to reach the finish line the way my life has been going from the time I remember, one exciting trip after another!

I had researched my Icelandic roots and found it goes straight back to Hrólfur 'Rauðskeggur' (Red-beard)  A.D. 860. It is not hard for me to believe that my line goes even further back, like, all the way back to the Biblical tribe of Gad because of my "Gadding about" :-)...

 Four days after aforementioned  stroke I jumped my rope to make sure I could still get around. In December I flew to Minnesota to visit  a daughter and her family (I have 7 daughters and 3 boys). Flew back to Illinois and changed suitcases and flew to Florida, visited a son, daughter-in-law and my 90-year- chronologically gifted sister (I had visited my 94-year-gifted sister in Nov.). Flew back to Illinois and grabbed another ready-packed suitcase and flew to Reno, Nevada in January for some RnR. After fun-filled days with my youngest daughter, Heidi, we flew back home to Illinois and got the van packed for wintertime in Arizona.

Flew back to Illinois in March for drivers license renewal and re-enactment film of the stroke for St. Francis hospital. Returned to Arizona three days later. In April I headed up to Salt Lake City, Utah, visiting another daughter, family and a grand-daughter's birthday party (there I got to try my hand at shooting a gun, at a gun range, not Maddy's party!). Picked up from there - beginning to know how a UPS package feels! - by Heidi to drive through some of the most gorgeous parts of the U.S. in Wyoming on our way to S. Dakota. Next we were in Grand Forks, N.D. at the Icelandic North America - INLNA - convention. Then onto Minnesota where I had book signings, "GROWING UP VIKING"  in Winona and Minneapolis celebrating my 92nd birthday on May 21st.

Drove back to Illinois to prepare for going to Nebraska in June to an Alpaca farm. There we visited a daughter - she and her husband live in Chicago, they help with the shearing - and a grand-daughter who has the Alpaca ranch there. Check out Butterfield Alpaca Ranch, the yarn she makes from the Alpaca is wonderful.  My son and daughter in-law drove up from Colorado, I had been invited to speak at a Freedom Rally as a WWII War-Bride ..They came to cheer me on with the rest of the family.

Back home now in Illinois working to finish my next book, The Inner Space Aliens.

You agree with me that I am way to busy to settle down?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Live Life To The Fullest



My aim is to live life every day to the best of my 92-year-old ability...to let the finish line be as eventful as the starting line.


                                                     -----

Some years back, my husband and I were driving down to St.Louis Illinois, headed to Lambert Airport. It was a crisp beautiful Autumn day and the sun was shining. We were only about halfway there, when it started to rain. Along with the rain came sleet. The nasty weather stayed with us all the way to the airport. As we parked and got ready to dash inside, the wind picked up. The clouds turned leaden grey. We left the safety of the car and made a dash across the parking lot. Our umbrellas turned inside out as we ran.

We toweled off as best we could an hoped we would dry out quickly. We proceeded through the standard process of checking baggage, going through security, and waiting at the gate for our flight. Still damp and a little cold and clammy, we finally boarded our flight.

We began to taxi and as the plane picked up speed, the rain hit the window with sand-blasting fury.  I had a window seat, but couldn't see anything but rivulets of water streaming down.

As I tried to fluff up my disastrous hair, the plane suddenly lifted and was airborn. That moment of being released from the confines of gravity is one of my favorite feelings. I quit messing with my hair to just enjoy the ride.

Suddenly the plane shot through the billowing black clouds into glorious sunshine! Below us was all black turmoil of threatening clouds but we were above them all!

The sun was there all the time :-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Want a Free Book?


I am very excited about my newest book, Viking Kids Don't Cry.

There are so many ways to get your copy! It is available now in paperback from online retailers Amazon, Kobe, and Barnes & Noble. Autographed copies are available through the publisher. You can pre-order a kindle version for delivery on June 1st or get other free eBook versions for a limited time at Smashwords. And now, you can enter the free give away below from Goodreads. The links to all are at the bottom of this page.

During a recent radio interview, we discussed how unique this book is. As you may know, I published a memoir of growing up in Iceland several years ago. This new book is really a children's version of the original memoir. The new book contains all the stories of my adventures in Iceland around 1935 - from traveling on a fishing trawler, to collecting bird's eggs from the cliff nests, and yes, even my attempt to fly by jumping from the cowshed roof! I have added a few, embellished a bit and made it an easier read for 9-11 year old readers.

I thought it would be fun to have the original memoir, which I have re-titled "Growing Up Viking: Fond Memories of Iceland" and the new book, "Viking Kids Don't Cry". Both books contain the same stories, but are each written from a different perspective. There are historical reference exclusively in the memoir, as well as  WWII memories, like meeting my husband at a USO dance in Iceland and my journey to America, which are not included in the children's version. I hope you enjoy this new version and share it with the next generation of readers.

And may I ask a favor? Reviews help out so much and it would mean a lot to me if you would take a moment to review the book on the site where you purchase - or on Goodreads if you win a free copy there. I would love to hear from you and would so appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this story with other people who might read the book.

I'll be making a lot of appearances this summer so be sure to follow my schedule on my website and sign up for my email list.

Thank you for all the support and warm wishes!


Here are the links:


Order a personalized autographed copy direct from the publisher:
https://squareup.com/store/hekla-publishing-llc


Promotion to win a free paperback copy starts May 30th on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34936172?


To get a free eBook copy now (epub/mobi/pdf/lrf pdb/html) use coupon code ZG45Z at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/722015


Pre-order a kindle copy available June 1st for just $2.99 at:
https://www.amazon.com/Viking-Kids-Dont-Ieda-Herman-ebook/dp/B07193L6FQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495552503&sr=8-1&keywords=viking+kids+dont%27+cry


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

He Just Wanted to Explore!


Stopping at a Mormon museum in Wyoming I was struck by a huge display of how a Mormon family traveled across the nation, going west in the 1800's. Many started in foreign countries and had journeyed far just to reach the United States. Once their ocean voyage was done, they would travel to meet up with the group they would be completing the toughest part of the trip. An entire family's belonging in one pushcart with the entire family walking and pushing the load.  Each family member was allowed only 11 pounds of personal belongings. The rest of the weight was reserved for food and other critical supplies.  Eleven pounds is approximately one change of clothes and a few minimal personal keepsakes. 
 
They had to walk and be at Independence Rock in Wyoming by fourth of July in order to escape the winter snows in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. 

The display shows a family; Father and Mother pushing a cart loaded with the family belongings with three kids pushing behind it. Two girls pushing, and a boy - he looks about twelve - evidently not doing his part, seemed to me he'd rather be exploring the other side of the huge rock. To keep him from wandering off, he has a rope tied around his waist at one end and the other end fastened to the wagon. 

As I contemplated the images I thought the boy perhaps just wants to be free to explore his amazing country. 

I can so relate…Thinking back of my growing up in Iceland and wondered how often my Grandpa was tempted to tie me up like that to keep me working and raking the grass instead of constantly wandering off looking for trolls, elves and Hidden Folks. Just curious, you know? 😊

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Getting away with Bear Bones



Making a decision to “get away from it all” isn’t always easy… Having a bucket list is just the start of “one of these days…” Don’t put off exploring your particular interest, life has an expiration date.


Recently, my daughter, Heidi, and I drove through the not-so-far-away wild and wonderful country of the West…Where miles of prairie meet the endless horizon of mountains…Jaw-dropping, stunning-colored granite cliffs pop up amidst gently rolling pasture with great hordes of cattle grazing…Graceful antelopes leaping in total abandon.

It was magical, I was in awe at the stunning surroundings as I gorged up the scenery. l listened to waterfalls, “somewhere way back there in the canyon,” hearing birds sing and cute prairie dogs chirp and squeal. Heidi and I have memories that will last a lifetime…

We were traveling in Wyoming in April. A ninety-mile stretch took six hours! There was so much to see and experience. We took our time to explore an interesting canyon – are there any not-interesting canyons in that State? 

As we hiked about, Heidi skipping in a gurgling creek, she spotted a huge “foot” print. Yikes, looked like a bear’s! 

In the Spring, they are sometime seen at lower elevations, searching for food, and moving about after a long winter’s sleep. With these mountains, there could be a lot of bears. I didn't give it any thought because we had stopped in an RV campground that had a picnic area. Who would have thought bears would be in there?  


But, by the size of a bear’s fresh footprint that Heidi spotted, that was evidence enough for me not to tangle with him!  The footprint, along with a leg of a deer I found right next, that was enough for us to hightail it out of the canyon away from the
buffet table of the bears!

I don’t have a thing about bears –well, maybe polar bears – but I was impressed carnivorous behemoth!

 I didn’t know about “bear spray” hmm, or to be particularly cautious of a bear with a carcass, as they will be very protective (reminded me of Heidi’s puppy,Thor, with a bone in his mouth!).  

These are quite huge creatures with remarkably small eyes. I was told not to be fooled, they can see quite well to attack in a heartbeat if they are protecting a young, or their catch. Speaking of protecting their young, I can't forget something else I saw along this journey...it needs a blog all of its own but it was something I saw in the pushcart memorial museum. I'll share that story soon - You won't believe it!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Excerpts from the Silver Arrow Illustrated Sequel "The Inner Space Aliens", coming in 2017


EXCERPT FROM "Inner Space Aliens"

 Fjólsvin seethed with rage as he fled into the secret corridor. Wild with anger at what  had happened to his leader, Loki, he frantically rushed from the pandemonium of celebration that occurred after Finna shot her arrow. With amazing accuracy, she had aimed into Loki´s powerful magic stone, shattering it as if it were nothing but a piece of ordinary glass.
         I will kill her, I promise I  will hunt her down and kill her. I will rule planet Earth. Fjólsvin grit his teeth as he viciously kicked a rock. The noise of the clattering that echoed in the corridor brought him temporarily out of his rage.
          Gulping back a shuddering breath he realized that the cheering going outside Baldur´s castle overshadowed any noise caused by his recklessness kicking the rock.He, now, was the only one left that knew of this secret lava tube on Planet Orealis, that knew it was an underground maze leading all the way under the heliport, where the Ruler´s flying machines were parked. This was a perfect corridor to reach without detection. A cunning look swept over Fjólsvin´s hideous face. Quietly now, he made his way to a hidden chamber.
          As he entered, he touched the red stone which hung on a black rope around his huge neck. Instantly, the area lit up with eerie, lime-green light as a huge slab of rock slid back and  revealed a, seemingly endless cavern. An enormous stone-bed was up against one black, glistening basalt rock wall. The opposite wall held a crude, reflective mirror-like silver panel. Alongside the panel was a huge rough-hewn wooden box that resembled a chest.
         Fjólsvin headed for the box. Lifting the lid, he quickly clawed around inside and pulled out a large rubber mask. Looking at himself in the reflective panel he pulled the mask over his head, adjusting it so his round, one-inch middle eye was exposed. Carefully pulling a thick, long strand of black hair he covered his third eye. Now he looked like a sun-tanned Earthling. Shaking his head, he reached again and pulled out a pair of baggy black trousers and held them up from his waist - they were ludicrously short!
         His huge hands groped in a pocket on the inside of the lid and found a burlap-like brown bag half-filled with grey pellets. grabbing a handful he put twelve of them in his mouth, swallowing them in one gulp. He watched in the mirror as his nine-foot frame slowly shrunk down to a man-from-planet-earth size five foot nine. The mask was now to large, so he removed it and threw it back into the chest and groped around for a smaller mask.Finding one, he put it on, adjusting again, carefully making sure his middle eye was uncovered so he would be able to mind-read when that need arose.
         Reaching again into the chest he found a dishdasha, a robe-type garment worn by Arab males and a red-and-black checkered head covering, a keffiyeh, which he laid aside. Putting on the robe over the baggy trousers he saw that the length of it was to his ankles, which was just right. Shaking the long robe, he put on the keffiyeh and finally the black agal, the circlet rope that held the kaffiyeh in place.
         Running his hand inside the lid again he found the rolled-up plan and the list of contacts. The list contained names, locations and how to get in touch with them, as Loki had so carefully planned. The thought of what Finna had done made Fjólsvin ball up his fists in a controlled fury as he spit out I will get even.
         He almost slammed the lid down, but caught himself, no need for unnecessary noise. Stealthily, he moved out of the chamber. Touching again the stone on the cord around his neck, the rock-door to the chamber closed with a slightly grating swoosh. Working his way to a turret-like circular stone steps, he crept quietly upward until he was at a round metal cover. Cautiously, he pushed on the lid with both hands. He found it somewhat difficult as his hands were now very small compared to what they were before he shrunk himself,
         Listening intently, he worked himself out of the clammy turret, hesitated a moment then scurried to an enormous windsock. Crawling inside, he pushed a panel that opened up a small compartment which contained a disc and several buttons.Selecting a blue button with a yellow ring around it that was marked in Arabic...Alladriqlyah  (Laodicea), he pushed firmly with his forefinger. Quick as a thought, he was in that major port city of Syria. He had come here before when Loki had recruited terrorists to join forces with him to conquer the Planet Earth. Fjólsvin pushed the keffiyeh that hid most of his face as he looked around. No one had seen him suddenly appear in the middle of the Temple of Bacchus.
         Now that Finna had destroyed that plan it was to to him to carry out Loki´s dream. The thought of Finna made him choke with rage as his face darkened with hatred. Controlling his sudden surge of anger, he took a shuddering breath then looked in each direction. People were walking leisurely, covered from head to toe. No one paid the least attention to him.
          He saw a dilapidated-looking taxi coming down the street. Quickly he stepped out of the Temple enclosure and waved the taxi down. As he bent down to get into the cab he pushed his hair from his middle eye. He would now be able to mind read and speak Arabic. Checking the addresses, he  gave the driver quick instructions.
  .

.
       


                    

Saturday, February 4, 2017

THE STROKE HASN'T STOPPED ME






                                          

I had the stroke Nov. 1st. Flew to Minnesota mid-December for Christmas with one of my daughters and her family. Flew back to Il.for Christmas and New Years family gathering. Flew to Las Vegas Jan9th through the 12th Unpacked and repacked then flew to Florida on the 22, got to hold an alligator (baby one) and a gorgeous parrot!
 Back home on the 29th in time to have two chipped teeth capped on the 30th.Got in our jam-packed car and headed out of town, out of Illinois into Missouri, then Oklahoma and on into Texas and on into New Mexico and finally Arizona. Found an old lariat at one of our stops, decided to see if I could jump rope with it...Yep, not very gracefully but still jumps :-) Hope to settle down for a few weeks - before heading for Utah in April - and get some writing done 
Adventures in Iceland and sequel to The Silver Arrow - THE INNER SPACE ALIENS!