Saturday, December 26, 2015

WTF? Euphemisms and TLAs

We rarely say exactly what we mean until we are sure the the other(s) are going to understand us. To test the waters we use euphemisms and TLAs (three letter acronyms).

One of the more modern commonly, or overly, used TLAs is WTF. If I were a proper Brit I might think someone is referring to William The First. I would likely be wrong. Maybe a writer of love poetry would mean Warm Tender Feelings. No? Maybe describing a politician as Way Too Feckless. How about Wafting Tiny Farts, Waiting to Fart, or Way Too Flatulent after eating too many fruits and vegetables? Student pilots Wanting To Fly, refugees Walking To Freedom, fire dancers and the rest of us sometimes Walking Through Fire, Cubans Wading To Florida, silk manufacturers Wildly Torching Flannel, plumbers Wanting To Flush, tugboat drivers Winching The Frigate, trying to find love in the retirement home by Wooing The Fossil.  I am sure there are more so use your imaginations.

Euphemisms can be gentle or more direct, depending on how well you know your conversational partners and how formal is the setting. Pregnancy has always been a personal favorite recipient of round about descriptions. For example, when you are with your more proper and straight laced friends you might refer to someone's pregnancy as "being with child." Among your peers or fellow low lifes you may say "knocked up". Off the top of my head I came up with two lists. The second one is for nice people and the first is for people more like me.

A bun in the oven,
Bat in the cave,
The rabbit died
Pea in the pod
Up the spout (Brit.)
Pillow smuggling
On the nest
Harboring a fugitive
In trouble
On stork watch
Hosting a parasite
Pirate in the brig
Gut full of human
Carrying (insert name here, Joe's, e.g.) spawn

In a family way
In a delicate condition
Eating for two
Baby bump
Far along
Having a baby

Note that we can also use our WTF here, as well. How about "with two fetuses" or "way too fertile" as examples.

All that lives is born to die and while death is sometimes tragic, painful for the survivors, and sometimes a relief for suffering, it is surrounded by euphemisms. Like pregnancy there are some nice ones and a lot of coarse ones. We can count on not getting out of this world alive and at this age we may start to see the end of the road. It is a natural process not to be feared and while it is happening in horrible ways in many parts of the world I am going to look at it in a humorous way in order to keep from crying. I like to look at it like Jimmy Durante does in It's a Mad Mad Mad World.

 Or Vizzini in The Princess Bride.
You have no doubt heard  many of them, so I won't list them here, but remember it is important not to get dragged down by talk of death. And we always have WTF so we can laugh at it. Worm's Tasty Food.

There are terrific euphemisms for sex. Bisecting the triangle, checking the oil, disappointing the wife, the horizontal hokey-pokey, gland to gland combat, oscillating the unmentionables, putting ranch dressing in Hidden Valley, taking ol’ One-Eye to the optometrist, and hundreds of others. Again, we have WTF, Watering The Forest. That also works as a TLA for urinating.

The medical field has needs for both euphemisms and TLAs sometimes used in tandem. Some euphemisms are Cranial-rectal synostosis, Chronic donut toxicity, Transferring patients to the ECU (eternal care unit), Testosterone poisoning for certain trauma cases, faecal encephalopathy (shit for brains), Code Brown, Hazardous spill, harbour tour: rectal exam, BATS Fracture - Broke All To Shit,
Recreational miscalculation, PTT = pillow therapy treatment. Then the familiar TLAs such as MRI, ECG, LVA, ABG, CNS. But wait! There are actual WTFs! Somewhat obscure, but there is wall-thickening fraction and weight transferal frequency. Maybe Whirly Tingly Feelings should be one, too!

I must be getting tired. I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about any more.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Traditions

Christmas means a lot of different things to different people. Some have to do with religion, but many don't. Different religions and cultures celebrate something or other this time of year. Some of that may depend on in which hemisphere you live. Christmas is more of a short sub-season to me during which many things are celebrated. The biggie for me is the return of the light. It doesn't mean I am a sun worshiper, I just like the lengthening daylight so I can see what the hell I am doing outside without needing outdoor lights on or a flashlight. It also is a major vitamin D source when it gets warm enough to expose any parts. Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, traditions.

So, when I was just a wee lad I vaguely remember some Santa Clause stuff and a few things that were relatively unique in our house. Being a fairly recent immigrant, my father had these little flags on a string. They were U.S. and Norwegian flags in about a five foot string. He would bake awesome Norwegian cookies that would test my self control to the limits. Until the year he died, 2006, he would always, without fail, send me at least a coffee can full of them. It was always one of the best gifts I would get and I always looked forward to it weeks in advance.

My cousins, Erik and Giske are on the left, my brother who appears to be filling his pants, and me on the right looking like I could flap my ears and fly. Note the part of an American flag at the top middle. Click to embiggen ( I got the term from Elephant's Child. I remembered!)

One of the best traditions we had was listening to Yogi Yorgesson's Christmas songs. Harry (Skarbo) Stewart was a Norwegian American who had developed a Swedish shtick and the character of Yogi Yorgesson. He sang memorable songs such as, "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" and "Yingle Bells". There were other great tunes on the album like "Who Hid the Halibut on the Poop Deck?"

Seriously! What are the holidays without music? Or what passes for music.


 One I hadn't heard until I moved out here to the Midwest was, " My Little Old Shack In Minneapolis, Minnesota" (sung to the tune of "My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii,")

Now some people might think his Swedish accent is a bit over the top, but not by much. Modern Swedes don't sound like this, but in the old days when they learned English after they got here it was a different story. The Swedish chef on the Muppets has a strong Swedish twang. To me it is a friendly, matter-of-fact, genuine, and honest sound that is almost musical. Most accents from that part of the world have a sing-song quality to them that sounds so much nicer than my own monotone for example. Maybe it is my own upbringing with a father who never entirely lost his Norwegian accent that makes those sounds feel like a warm embrace to me. Funny and lovable all at once.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fact or Fiction?

Sometimes life is so mundane it is not even recognized as "life as we know it."  I know it's difficult to imagine that someone such as myself, someone so dynamic and multi-talented, that my life could be momentarily dull. It may also surprise you that I have come to enjoy those moments of quiet inactivity.  I know, I know. Some of you have imagined my life as being similar to a high speed roller coaster twisting and turning, going upside down and trying to throw me into the stratosphere. It's not that I haven't had actual moments like that, screaming down the highway with total disregard, but for the most part my life is more like someone caught in start and stop traffic in a busy city, frustrated with the inability to get where I am going in a timely manner.

Today, for example, I have to clean the stalls in the barn. I had put the horses in the other night because it had been raining on them all day with temperatures just above freezing. They have shelter, but they still manage to get fairly wet and the wind was picking up. So, with my muck boots and trusty manure fork, I will make the horsey hotel presentable again. Until the next crappy weather event. Beats going to a gym.

Speaking of weather (here comes boring), it has been unusual to say the least. You must understand that talking about the weather in Northern Minnesota is not considered "small talk." It is right up there with religion and politics and is just as controversial. If you have ever spent any time in this state you would understand. Having grown up (allegedly) in Delaware (yes, I did go to high school with George Thorogood) I found it to be an odd thing that people were always talking about the weather as though something should be done about it. Normally we would have a foot or two of snow and be warming up into the 20's (-5C). We only occasionally get below freezing at night this year.

Speaking of speaking in Minnesota, the people here do not believe they have an accent. Some were downright offended when I told them it is not the Queen's English they are speaking. They say the movie Fargo and apparently the TV series of the same name (I haven't seen it yet) exaggerate the sound of Minnesotan. Not by much. If you get into the rural areas of the state it starts to sound more like Sven and Ole. "Ver yew bin to Ole?" "I yust bin loggin in da wuts" No wonder they can't understand anyone from Alabama.

Gone are the days when the CIA would call when they needed to run special ops against the Russians. They erased my memory well enough that I only get bits of what happened in my dreams. The strength and stamina of youth are gone, but at least the older I get the better I was. I remember enough to put some stories together, but Robert Ludlum already did something like that with the Bourne series. I don't want to take away any of his glory. It's just the kind of guy I am.  Even when under surveillance by the FBI back in '74 I never took advantage of the situation to write a best seller. Could have retired long ago.

It's true that I could go outside on the deck, plug in 100 watts of pure Marshall crunch and make the neighbors think they are in a remake of Woodstock. Even with their windows closed. I just don't want them all coming over like the last time when Clapton came for a quick visit. We just play acoustic now so he can get some peace and quiet.  

So, you see, I have been around the block, but I am grounded in reality. Tomorrow's big project is changing out the old water softener and replacing it with a nice new shiny bright one from the modern era. I have talked a neighbor into giving me a hand. Maybe we'll have a beer and talk about the things we may or may not have done in the past. You know, relive the glory days when we were living on the edge, foot free and fancy loose. Was it fact or was it fiction? Does it really matter?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

As the snow falls and the wind blows another Thanksgiving is in the works. I am probably thankful for a lot more things than I realize, besides a warm house and enough food on the table. There are many millions on this planet without those things.

The native inhabitants of this continent were decimated by disease brought over by the Europeans in the 1500's, but in (what was to become) Plymouth, Massachusetts the locals helped and made peace with some refugees. It lasted for about 50 years. It was probably about the longest stretch of peace this "country" would ever know. Maybe welcoming more refugees in at this time would give us another stretch. I can dream, can't I?

Here, myself, Otto, and my brother are sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal in the early 1960's. Things have certainly changed in the last half century, but life is still good. I hope all of you have a happy and stress free Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Family Trip To Norway 1966

From Otto's autobiography:

It was now time to think of a trip for the four of us (my father Otto, my stepmother, Betty, my brother Mike, and I). Sons of Norway, District 3, had charter flights to Norway. That was perhaps the main reason for me joining the Order.

We saved and borrowed some money. Fortunately, in those days, things were very reasonable in Norway. Before we left the States, I had written the family in Bergen to arrange for a trip for us from Trondheim down the fjords to Bergen. It was a four week trip leaving New York on a Friday and returning four weeks later Sunday evening.

It was an exciting time. Bought suitcases, some if not all, on Green Stamps.

The day of departure arrived. Can't remember the date, but it was early July. Pop Linthicum came to the house and drove us to the RR station. 
                                                   Pop Linthicum, my stepmother's father.

Arrived in New York early afternoon. Got a taxi to Kennedy International Airport. Fare $13.00. We got there early, but after a while it was time to board the plane, a DC-8. Members of Sons of Norway District 3 were there to wish us bon voyage.
That's my brother, stepmom, and me(with light khakis) in the center looking at the camera. 

After we were in the air, there there were cocktails and a (late) supper. We had some kids in the seats behind us, kicking and moving. Didn't get much rest. Some things never change. Being a charter flight, there were two bars open all night. No charge. A lot of happy Norwegians.

Landed early Saturday morning at Fornebu (Oslo). It was just great to see Norway and all the red roofs of houses and cottages. At this time I think Mom was happy to be with us.

After landing, we had a few hours before leaving for Bergen. Bought a few postcards and sent one to Pop Linthicum. He got it the next week. Uncle George (Betty's brother in law) said he sat and looked at it for a long time. I don't think he ever expected to see us again (Pop was a skeptic and never believed men landed on the moon).  

Then on to Bergen. A small two prop plane. It was cloudy over the mountains. Couldn't see a thing but clouds against the windows. Some people got sick. After a while the clouds cleared and we saw the skerries and little islands around Flesland airport. 

The whole family was there to greet us: Bestefar (Otto's father), tante (aunt) Ovidia, and Audun (Otto's younger brother) and the kids (Erik, Giske, and Knut). Drove home to Laksevaag. Got a big kick out of the signs at the Esso gas stations: "Put en tiger paa tanken" (Put a tiger in your tank). At Laksevaag the Norwegian flag was flying in the wind. 

Had a big dinner in Andy's (Audun's) kitchen, Giske waiting on the table. After a while we got tired. It had been a long day and night. Karla )(Audun's wife, my tante) had bought new sheets for our bed. By this time it had cleared up and we could see the lights across the bay and Mom said, "Thank you Far for bringing me here."

The next week or so we spent in Bergen: the Fish Market, The cable car to Ulrikken, a tour of the fjords on the "White Lady", and the funicular to Fløyen. Kaare (Otto's youngest brother) was in town and he lent us his car and we drove up to Kvamskogen where Karla was with the kids. Had a nice day there. The boys and their cousins rented a boat and rowed around the lake. Some kids were swimming in the ice water. "It is nice," they said with their blue noses. Karla wanted us to stay, but we went back to town. Fed some goats on the way, they loved American cigarettes (Betty still smoked).  

The next day we went with Kaare to Lonevaag. Drove to Garnes, then the ferry to Haus on Osterøy. Drove up the valley and the church at Gjerstad. Then down to Lonevaag. Bought some rolls and some Coke and had lunch there next to the pier.

This was the place I was conceived during Easter vacation in 1919, up at "Lemmen" in Johan and Thea Kalleklev's house. My grandfather, Mons Andersen, grew up here. The farm was up the hill, it was called Fossen (meaning waterfall). The foundation of the houses were still there when we spent our summers there from about 1925 to 1934. 

We visited Olaf Hatland and family and Asbjørn Natland and his wife Brita. It was at the Natland farm we we stayed the sumers as kids. Asbjørn's mother Emte was turning the hay, Kaare helping her. She was in her eighties at the time. They made us some sandwiches with fenalaar (cured leg of lamb).  Tasted good to an old Norwegian.


From there we drove back to Valestrand (Ole Bull had a house there). Ferry to Breistein and back to Bergen. In those days with little car traffic, Kaare's car was the only one on the ferry. We had a delicious dinner at cafe Ulrikken. Two pork chops, potatoes, and vegetables and gravy for about $1.00 each. Inflation hadn't really started yet.

More to come...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

40 Years Ago

40 years ago I was just  a young guy working as a nursing assistant at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and had just moved in with my girlfriend. National unemployment was at least 8% as the economy was coming off a recession and any job was a good one at that point. While there was a lot going on in my little life I remember hearing about a large ship sinking in a storm on Lake Superior. I knew where it was, but had never seen the lake as of then. I don't think I could have imagined living near it in the future as I was too busy living in the now.

Fast forward two years. I had moved to Minneapolis, got a better job, and the girlfriend was gone. I was living with a bunch of guys I had gone to school with and their good friends. We were single, adventurous guys with a few extra bucks to go and play. We often went backpacking and camping and regularly to the North Shore of Lake Superior which I thought was a rugged and beautiful place. Well it is. However, the seasonal changes bring with them some impressive shows of force from Mother Nature.

Back on November 9th of 1975 the Edmund Fitzgerald left the Port of Superior which is right next to the Port of Duluth at the Westernmost point of Lake Superior. If it had been heading for the Atlantic Ocean it would be a trip of 2340 miles (3770km), but it was only headed to Zug Island in the Detroit River. When built the ship it was the largest on the Great Lakes at 729 feet. I believe there are about 13 "thousand footers" now plying the lakes.

There was a nasty storm brewing up the day the Fitz sank, the 10th of November. They were listing and had both radars broken and while the storm was bad there was an additional squall that kicked up at the wrong time. The record winds on this lake are 81 knots and record wave height is 51 feet. It may have been approaching those numbers during the squall that hit the ship, but no one will ever know. She now lies in 535 feet of water in two pieces. The stern half is lying upside down and the bow half right side up nearby.

The best guess is this from The Great Lakes Shipping Museum:
Conflicting theories about the cause of the tragedy remain active today. GLSHS' three expeditions to the wreck revealed that it is likely she "submarined" bow first into an enormous sea, as damage forward is indicative of a powerful, quick force to the superstructure. But what caused the ship to take on water, enough to lose buoyancy and dive to the bottom so quickly, without a single cry for help, cannot be determined.

The Edmund Fitzgerald sank with all 29 crew. They are added to the known 350 shipwrecks and 1000 lives lost on this lake. Those are just the known and recorded ones from more recent history. And that is just this lake. The losses on all the lakes are estimated in the thousands over the course of history.  
What were YOU doing 40 years ago?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Septober, Octember, Nowonder

After three days of wind, rain, and 40 degrees (5C) there is no doubt that summer is over. A little snow mixed in left no doubt. Then there are the days you can go out and walk around the farm and take in all those big and little changes that happen every year about this time. Sometimes the cooler air is so clear you can see all the way across Lake Superior which from here is about 70 miles. If you look due South and real closely at the horizon you will see the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's not much more than a shadow at this distance and we and they are high enough in elevation to get over the curvature of the planet issue.  Click the pic to embiggen.
   Then there are those frosty mornings coming with some regularity at this point. The roof of my car had the mark of the Frost Giants. Maybe the spirit of Ymir himself survived slaying by Odin and left this to remind me. Coming all the way from Jötunheimr just to say "Hei!" Imagine!

I think I'll take a walk in the woods and see what happens.

After a bear did this to my apple tree a few weeks ago I am tempted to find him and wear his hide as would a Berserker would when going into battle. At least I would have threatened him if I had caught him in the act. Unless he was really big and mean, course.
And I know where the hidden people, dwarves, elves, and trolls all live around here, too. In places like this.
They make it look natural so that no one suspects, but I know different. I know where they get their water.
And I know what they will do if you don't appease them. It's not pretty and I dare not take them into consideration when I do things here at the edge of their realm.
I know the dwarves made Freya's necklace and when the time comes I hope she, the leader of the Valkyries, will carry me to Valhalla in her chariot pulled by some very serious cats.
Then I emerge from the forest to the clear air and my mind settles down to the reality of the modern world. I have to ease out of my forest world gently.

I see that my own house is not made of sod and will keep me warm in the coming months. Built from the bounty of the forest, mostly, it will protect me from the elephants and the elements.
Maybe I will inscribe all of this on my very own runestone which is acting like a weather rock now. I can see that it is not winter. Yet.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Snotty Ole (Snaattole'n)

His name was Ole Magnus Zahlquist. He was number six of ten children. They lived on the first floor in number twenty. He was our leader and took the name of Tom Mix when we played cowboys and Indians. The name Snaatt Ole he got from the fact that he always had a running nose, it stayed with him all his life. Spent one extra year in grade school so we became classmates from about the third grade. Seems he always beat me at sports, perhaps he was more aggressive. His father was mostly out of work, but when he had a job, he would come staggering down the street with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, "Come here Ole, you don't belong with that gang." Ole comes back out, "Han var drita full (He was shitty drunk)".

One year we were all invited to Bjørn Paasche's birthday party. He lived in the fourth floor in number 20. Bjørn told us we were going to get creme, apparently very special. We were all sitting around the table and the creme was served. Ole took one spoonful and said, "Fanden steikke saa daarlig det var (The devil fry, what a horrible taste)." Afterwards we would walk around the Christmas tree singing carols. It was the eighth of January and the tree was pretty dry and decorated with live candles. It caught of fire, scared the living daylights out of me. I ran home and never went back to the party.

It was customary in those days (ca.1933) for the seventh grade to go on a class trip/ Since our teacher had married a lady from Stavanger we thought we should go there. We left Bergen at Wednesday at noon time, returning Friday morning. The whole trip cost ten kroner (modern day about $1.25). That included transportation, two man cabins on the return trip and all meals. In the evening of the day we got there we walked around the neighborhood. Went into a bakery to buy some cookies, etc. Ole stuffed his pockets, saying "You are making money now," to the proprietor.

He played football (soccer) and was quite good at it. We soon thereafter moved to Laksevaag and I lost track of him.

The next time I saw him was at the marketplace in Bergen in 1966. We had just returned from a boat trip on the White Lady with Audun's kids He was selling paintings. We both remembered each other. Audun's kids were surprised, "Er det Snaat Ole'n? (Is that Ole Snot?)"

Otto, 2002

Note: Otto told me many short quirky stories about Ole Snot over the years my brother and I were growing up. I expect some of our trials and tribulations reminded him of his own childhood. My brother, stepmother, and I were with him in Bergen in 1966, staying with my uncle Audun and his family in Laksevaag. At that time Otto hadn't seen Ole for about 30 years, but I don't remember the incident. The rest of us were probably just catching up on some rest. We spent six weeks in Norway that summer and I turned fifteen while we were there. It felt like home to me, but it would be nearly thirty years before I could go back.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Approaching Disaster

As our culture, such as it is, continues to deteriorate into hate-filled, headline grabbing, rants by people who mostly make shit up I bring you some truly awful news. No, this isn't about a call for more guns by ammosexuals across the country. It's about coffee. Yes, the stuff without which this country would not be able to get started in the morning. The same stuff that enables meetings, negotiations, and breakfast to continue on to their logical conclusions. The problem is a continuation of the ongoing issue of SHRINKAGE!

Remember the five pound can of coffee? Some of you may not be old enough to do that, so I ask you to remember the three pound can. In an effort to slowly deprive us of our "morning heroin" the manufacturers have done it once again. They used to just put a little less in the same can and hope you wouldn't notice the weight change and for the most part this has been successful. They don't realize that some of us have very keen observational abilities. Having been raised by wolves, as my stepmother claimed, I can smell a rat a mile away and my skepticism has kept me safe from harm. Except when it hasn't. See if you notice something different in this picture:

The one on the right was the last can I bought before last week when I bought the one on the left. See the difference? Those of you with a sharp eye may have noticed the can on the left is a bit shorter. The price, however, DID NOT CHANGE! That is effectively a 13% increase in price! Did I get a 13% raise at work to make up for this? Of course not! At some point coffee will be so expensive I will not be able to have any before work and, along with the entire U.S. workforce,  be unable to go to work sending this economy into a tailspin!

I have sent letters to Congress warning of the impending economic collapse, but I am not sure many of the Honorable Members can read as I haven't heard back yet. I sent them detailed photos with a well thought out assessment of the situation so they have had fair warning.

A 3.6 ounce (102 grams) decrease in weight means 30 less cups of final product. Although, I really don't believe for a minute that they can get much more than lightly colored water at that grounds/water ratio.

How long can this go on? I can already hear the early morning screams of my neighbors who are being slowly deprived of their morning java. Unless those are screams of passion, as it may be hard for me to tell the difference, I'm sure at least some of those screams are due to being deprived of caffeine.

Please don't get all judgmental (or any other kind of mental) about my morning choice. I am not wealthy enough to afford the likes of Starbuck's or any custom roasted beans to make my own morning brew. I have to economize and now with huge jumps in cost I may be forced into doing what the dirt poor Icelanders did in the old days by making dilutions with chicory, random grains, carrots, or potato peels. Acorns could be used also, but until the climate changes a little more oak trees don't do well this far north. I am not wealthy enough to horde things for the End Times, but for those of you who are I say this. Forget it! There is nothing you can do against millions of desperate people who want to get YOUR STUFF, so don't bait them with expensive rarities such as coffee and cat food (I'll warn you about cat food shortages at another time).

Heed my warning! I have spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff and researching all the relevant articles google has to offer so I know what I am talking about! Also, I am old so it doesn't matter much to me as I've lived a full life, but you younger folks need to be aware of this horrendous situation and do what ever you have to to ensure the survival of the species. It is up to you!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

The War Years continued

 Otto, Klara, and Audun c.1928

Soon after the invasion, the Germans took over the area north of our shipyard. It was called "Nordavaagen" and they razed all the houses there. Started to build a submarine base with a lot of Norwegian forced labor joined later by Russian prisoners of war. The Russian camp was right in front of our yard, the fence being about 20 feet away. We figured about a thousand of them. They were a miserable looking bunch. The Germans had a camp next door.

On a clear October day (the 4th) in 1944 about 150 allied bombers came over. They hit almost everything around, including the base, but didn't hurt the bunker at all. That was solid concrete and thick.

Our small community lost about 200 people that day. Worst of all they hit the school and wiped out two classes of boys and their teachers, one who was also our neighbor. We lost our home. Salvaged a few pieces of clothing and small things, but all furniture was lost.

Bestefar went to live with his sister, tante (aunt) Oline, Audun to Karla's family, Kaare to tante Ovidia and I to Karl and Anna Hertzwig.

After a few weeks, bestefar was able to get us an apartment in Store Parkvei (I believe #6), which we shared with my cousin Aslaug, Birger, and their son Helge. It was on the fifth floor and we had the most beautiful view especially to the southern part of town. We lived there until the fall of 1946 when we moved back to Laksevaag.

The War is Over

We were living at Store Parkvei. Kaare was confirmed at Laksevaag kirke (church).  We had a good party for him. We had gotten a tuxedo for him somewhere. He looked just great.

During the Spring we knew that the war would soon be over. Audun was involved and so was I in the underground. He worked with Birger Aarli (Aslaug's husband) and I mostly with Karl Hertzwig.

On May 6th Kalle Hertzwig's neighbor came to recruit us for the "liberation". He talked to Bestefar, not to us. Bestefar told him no. The war was over and there was not much sense running around with a gun over your shoulder. So we didn't become big heroes, but were not killed accidentally by the so called underground, most of whom hadn't done a thing. They had more accidents after the war than from fighting the Germans. A good friend of ours was killed by one of them. We were sitting in a room at school where they lived. One guy was pointing a rifle at him. "Put that away," He told him. "it is not loaded," he told him, "I'll show you". He pulled the trigger and blew his brains out.  

Bestefar, Audun, Otto, Kaare after the war

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hymers Fall Fair and Seasonal Transitions

It's that time of year again when the plants start to change and the sky looks different. There are still a few warm days, but it's dark when I get up in the morning.
Here is a horizontal look at the world. It took a moment to figure out where the horizon was and the clouds weren't.

Click the pics to embiggen.

We made an excursion across the border, deep into Canadian Territory in Northwest Ontario, a whopping 75 miles from home. It feels a lot like home and once you get used to the Canadian version of the English language,   “Coffee Crisp costs about a Loonie, pretty good deal eh?”  and their different looking money it usually goes pretty well. When you leave Hwy 61 doing about 90 (kph) turning toward the crossroad known as South Gillies, you're getting pretty close, eh? You have entered an area of high basaltic cliffs and beautiful agricultural valleys on your way to Hymers where you cross a one lane bridge to get into this teeming metropolis of about 10 or 15 houses.

We got to the fair just after the rabbit judging and we missed the Western horse competition, but got to watch the jumping with some fine horses and the young women riding them.
Note to self: If I am ever a teenage boy again, I need to get into horses at that age. Teenage girls love horses.

  Even at this small fair, now in its 103rd year, there are a lot of things to see and do. there is a nail driving contest, farm animals being shown, the latest in electric vehicles, old time engines, great vegetables, and Canadian women who are unafraid to beat red hot steel into submission. Don't ever piss off a Canadian country girl.

Nothing beats a quick international excursion. If you get a chance to go remember your passport. Otherwise they won't let you back in at the border. Staying on the other side would not necessarily be a bad thing, though, once you learn the lingo.

I almost forgot to mention one thing. Republican Governor Scott Walker, candidate for his party's nomination for U.S President, thinks we should build a wall along the U.S. Canadian border.  Maybe he thinks it will keep out the extra vowels.

Meanwhile, back here on the farm, we had some rain to green things up a bit. It didn't stop the ladies from going out for a spin. Remember, no bad weather only bad clothing.
There are colors changing in the woods, but one of my favorite cedars is looking pretty stoic about the whole thing.
Just so you don't think I've been slacking I was intrigued by an estate/garage sale of some folks I knew a little had decided to spend most of the rest of their retirement years in Arizona. The Cooker and Stitch made many rounds of the place and left with armloads of goodies as did I. But there was one thing calling my name and drawing me back the next day. Something so unique, functional, and unusual, that I just couldn't help myself. You see, I may not be the sane and stable person you always thought I was. So I present to you...

wait for it...

drum roll...

The Octocycle!

Don't you think everyone should have one? With a little bit of TLC, a few modifications, and something other than Forest Service green for a base color I think it might be a desirable thing. I know, it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies version of this:
But think of the possibilities! A perfect gift for the person who has everything. Well, maybe not, but a darn good way to spend an afternoon! And it's mine, all mine!