Saturday, March 25, 2017

Everyone Knows it's Windy

A week or two ago we had a bit of wind. Gale force wind, actually, with gusts up to 66mph (106kph) and sustained winds that put us at a full gale. I did not go out in the worst of it because I have responsibilities, but I still like a good show and minimal risk.

As I recall it started on an otherwise pretty nice day with temperatures slightly above freezing. The temperature dropped below freezing overnight and stayed there for over a week. There was a little ice buildup around the shore that stayed for most of that week.

It started off easy with the lake starting to get riled up.

Even the harbor couldn't hold back all of it and our downtown area got a little wet. That was on the way to work in the morning. Later, after work, I went to the Rec Park to see how things were progressing.

 A few more shots around the harbor.

  Aftermath. There was English 101. Sorry.

Around the harbor nearly a week later.

 That is a cropped shot of the one above it.
It was really difficult to attempt to walk on that ice and I'm not as graceful when falling down as I used to be. I used to be able to say, "I did that on purpose," and folks would believe me. Now when that happens I moan and groan as soon as I regain consciousness and folks ask if they should call an ambulance. It depends on the size of the pool of blood, I guess.

Stopping on the way home from work to look at the remnants of the wind and spray was worthwhile, too.

Just another week along the shores of Gitchigumi.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ada Marie

Ada Marie died on March 2nd, just a couple of weeks ago. She was 92. I never got to meet her. In fact this was the first time I had heard her name and was never sure of her existence. Frankly, I never thought about it much. If it ever came up in a conversation, it was only with my brother on rare occasions.

She was born on the 9th of November in 1925 to Hanna Maria Olsen, an unmarried 26 year old factory worker.  The father was listed as a married electrician named Adalsten who was my grandfather and already the father of two sons.  I have no idea how this was looked upon in Norway at that time or how it was looked on by Klara, his wife and my grandmother. Maybe it was a big deal and maybe it wasn’t and it doesn’t matter now. 

This means I had an aunt that I never got to know which makes me sad.  She apparently had some siblings, not by my grandfather, and three children who I now get to add as cousins. To me this is a very cool thing. I believe they live in the Trondheim area in Norway, a beautiful place that I have only been to on one occasion for a few days a long time ago. I found one on Facebook and sent her a message, but it doesn’t appear that she is very active on Facebook, so I won’t hold my breath. Her name is Elin. She has two brothers, Johnny and Øystein.

I will try to find them and try gently to get a hold of them. I don’t know how much they know about the past and it has only been a couple of weeks since the death of their mother, so I need to be sensitive I think. 

How did I find out about all this? A guy named Tom sent me a note through telling me of the passing of the daughter of his wife’s grandaunt, Hanna Maria. He apparently does some genealogy as a hobby and also gave me some links from farther back in the Norwegian archives which got me back at least another generation. 

I recognized Tom’s last name from something, but couldn’t remember what. I asked the mighty Google and realized that Tom’s granduncle mushed the final leg of the serum run to Nome back in 1925 which is the basis for the Iditarod sled dog race of today. One of my former neighbors is the Race Director/Race Marshall of the Iditarod. Tom also has some relatives that live about 90 miles farther down the coast of Lake Superior from me. Degrees of separation? Not many.

I need to figure out how to tell my Norwegian cousins, assuming they don’t know any of this, and attempt contact with my new cousins. Maybe this will make one bigger happy family or just fizzle out, I don’t know, but I will do my part and see what happens. Coincidentally (or was it?), I just renewed my passport last week and I just found out about all this two days ago, the day before St. Patrick’s Day. I still can’t figure out where my 11% Irish DNA comes from.

What do you think of that? 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ask The Bones

For a long time I wanted a crystal ball. When I started to research buying one I found that good quality, i.e. one that is large and really works, was going to cost a lot of money. Even on EBay. Of the many things I have, money is not one of them. I thought about Tarot Cards and even a Ouija Board, but they don’t connect me to the spirit world in a meaningful way. I needed a more effective way to contact the other side for assistance on occasion.

I finally got a chance to consult our local Oracle, who has third eye capabilities, about my dilemma.  She knew of my Viking background (I had never told her anything, she just knew!) and asked me if I understood the Runes. With great embarrassment I said that I did not. She explained to me that I am a man in touch with the earthly in a very good way and suggested that I look for something in the forest or on the ground that would put me in touch with the other realm.

A few weeks later, while out walking in my pastures to inspect the fences, I saw something on top of a knoll where the horses often grazed or slept in the sun. It was something kind of white and I got down looking closer at the small object. It was a bone. As I took a better look I found many small bones or bone remnants. I picked up a pocketful and went back to the barn where I laid them out on top of a box. They were fairly clean and distinct, but I didn’t know what type of animal they could have come from. They had been found hundreds of yards from any building or any old building site that I knew about in the neighborhood.  There isn’t much to know as the neighborhood has only been settled by white people for less than one hundred and fifty years and there is no evidence of permanent structures much before 1900.

I kept these bones in a coffee mug and forgot about them for the most part. Once in a while, however, I would need to know the answer to a question. Remembering the advice of the Oracle I was told that I would have much better luck asking questions and seeking answers for others rather than myself. This was especially useful in finding lost objects. A few times a year I would try to do this. I would gently shake the bones and pour them out gently on a flat surface.

Flash forward about fifteen years. 

I kept the bones at work in order to answer customer’s questions. “When will my left-handed smoke shifter arrive?” I know about how long it takes, but when things travel by common carrier to an area that isn’t well-serviced it is a guess as to exactly when. I usually tell them, “I’ll ask the bones,” and they realize that there is no way within reason to find out and it is not usually necessary to know the exact date and time of arrival. 

A few weeks ago my friend Jim, along with his seven year old grandson, came in to the store with the intent of buying a few boards for a small project. We usually check with each other to see how things are going in our lives as well as taking care of the task at hand. It seems the grandson had lost a jacket the previous day and they had been out on Artist’s Point and a few other places looking for it. Apparently, it was a favorite piece of clothing so I told Jim and his grandson that I would ask the bones. I went into my office, got the bone cup and shook it gently. I carefully threw the contents to a spot on the floor and took a look at the pattern. The grandson was intrigued. I asked him, “Were you playing near a shed at your grandparent’s home yesterday?” He nodded yes and I said, “Hmmm… Is there and old well near there?” He nodded yes again and said, “Uh-huh.”  I said, “The bones are telling me that is where you left your jacket.” His eyes got big and he looked hopefully at his grandfather who then looked at me and said, “Susan (his wife) called, didn’t she?” I replied, “About fifteen minutes before you arrived and told me the story and where she found the jacket.” He chuckled, but the grandson was still looking at us in awe and amazement. He was still excited as they left to get their lumber and go home to retrieve the jacket. 

Isn’t it amazing how an old bearded guy with a cup of bones and working in a lumber yard can be a convincing wizard to a seven year old boy?