Monday, January 27, 2014

Old Hair

"Grandpa, do you have old hair?"
This question was heard at the breakfast table last Saturday. Emma, 4 years old, looked over at her grandfather and his grey hair with a puzzled look on her face. The grandfather was even more surprised at the funny question but kept his calm. I just laughed.

Because, I know that hair that short is not old. It's actually pretty new. But her question was ingenious. Greying streaks of hair are the obvious sign of getting old.

Arnfinn says he has come to the age of repairing. There are hurts here and there and things that need fixing from time to time. But how great it is to be alive and well enough - and able to still learn and do and feel.

The oldest man recorded is Methuselah in the Old Testament. The man died at the ripe age of 969 and I wonder how many children he had, how many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so forth. He must have experienced some aches and pains in his old age, too, like the rest of us. He probably had old hair.

A fish called rougheye and sea urchins can live 200 years, bowhead whales even longer. Several sea creatures are like that. A tortoise can be around for 250 years, while an elephant can be 70 years old. Dogs ages vary with the breed. A Great Dane can be around 6 years old while an Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, like Hector, can be 14. Add that seven times and you will have the actual age of the dog, human way of counting.

I am happy with the age I am right now. Next year I will be happy with being the age I will be then. Life is a learning experience no matter our age. We are never too old to learn, to understand, and to love.That's exciting.
I have no ambition of turning 250 like a tortoise, but I am grateful for the time I have.

Today's water color is a fairy boy. Fairies are depicted as young and lovely. How old are they really?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Family History is Fun!

The study of family history and the tracing of their lineage.

The word has Greek origin and means generation and knowledge. And that's what it is.

My mother has a mother, who has a mother, who has a mother . . .
We are all connected. We all belong to the same family. Some came to earth first, some of us later. Right now it is my turn.

Mothers and fathers have walked the path before me. I admire their hard work, their perseverance, their diligence. I have gotten to know them through entries in Church Records, Census Records, history books, oral tales and more. Through this information I have an idea of what they were like. I collect all the knowledge I can and make a personal story. A short written biography about an ancestor can give me insight into their daily life, their successes and failures, their family relationships, their work, their faith.
Interesting? Very.

I have learned to love them dearly and look forward to meeting them one day. I don't doubt that at all. I would like to speak with them, ask them questions, hug them and just be around them. I hope to be an x-times great-great-granddaughter they can enjoy spending time with.

A popular Norwegian genealogy blogger recently interviewed me. Her blog is called "Hearts of the Children to the Fathers" and you may read the interview here. Please use the language translator button on the top right hand corner if you don't speak Norwegian.

I started collecting information about my ancestors as a young fifteen year-old. I visited my old grandmother numerous times, asked her questions, and wrote down all the stories she told. The information about each person was kept alphabetically in a shoe box. I copied photos found in relatives homes. I wrote to priests, parishes, distant family members, and official offices. I visited state archives and loved flipping pages in the original Parish Records. The pages were large and fragile and smelled of libraries of old.

Like it says in the interview, I believe that if a person does not enjoy genealogy, he or she has not tried enough. I promise you, that if you search for your family, you will learn to love them and be excited about getting to know them. I have.

Today I have outgrown that old shoe box. I still have it, but computer programs are so much easier for gathering all the information about your past families.

I hope you will be excited about finding yours. Good luck!

Today's photo: This is my 2gg father, Elling Pedersen. He was born in 1828 not far from where I live now and walked on ths earth for 99 years.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Boring Snoring

It's dark. The room has a wintry chill as the window is slightly opened. I am in my bed, under the feather down duvet, drowsing, sleeping maybe, maybe awake.
A voice says, "Snoring."
I ignore it, but before long I hear it again, "You're snoring."
"That cannot be. I am awake. I didn't hear anything."
The voice comes again, "Maybe it's the dog."
I turn around and try to sleep again.

This morning as I drive Arnfinn to the train station, he expains that he must have told me ten times. Embarrassing, but true. Sometimes I snore. Especially when I am very tired.

My mother snored. I would gently put my hand on her back, she would turn over and continue sleeping more peacefully. My father used to say he was happy to hear her snore, just to know she was sleeping well. After she passed away he was devastated and sad.

So I am trying to convince the love of my life that my snoring now and then means I am there. Better than not being there; that he would miss my occasional nightly disturbance, were I not there anymore.

Snoring is actually more popular than I had imagined. There is a "Snoring" Facebook page. There are several snoring games, like the one where various animals solve puzzles to wake up a sleeping elephant and thereby stop his noisy snore. There's a fairy tale about a snoring fairy. There are Youtube clips where you can hear examples of snoring.

There are many reasons for snoring and even more ideas for cures.

But Arnfinn is right. Even though he was being funny, the dogs snore. They kick their legs, whimper, and sometimes snore out loud. Just not last night.

Today's photo: Two of the children fast asleep, many moons ago.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Me a Trickster?

When is it OK to trick someone? Is there a time when a lie is necessary and "allowed"?

I am not a liar, but I have often wondered what I would do if I was faced with a dangerous and life-threatening situation. I know that if my children were in danger, I would do anything to save them. I tend to instantly change into a wild lioness when my cubs are concerned.

Yesterday I walked the dogs up the country alley behind the Duck and Cherry. Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, picked up a parcel from the middle of the snowy dirt road. It was flat as a pancake, probably run over by a truck driving to the neighboring greenhouse. My detective talent told me that food was involved since Hector was so eager to bring it home. He carried it stubbornly between his teeth and tried to get me to return home. I understood his plan and just as inflexible made him continue our walk. Knowing how much he loves to hide treasures that suddenly appear on our walks, I talked him into jumping across a stone fence to bury it there, away from the road and any other dogs walking down the alley.

Obedient and clever he leaped across, hid behind the rock wall, and started digging. Respectfully, I waited and gave him space.

I thought he might remember as we passed that same way this morning, but fortunately he did not.

I tricked him. I let him hide his treasure, hoping he would forget about it. I also hoped that the badger who frequents that area would find it instead.

Wikipedia says that a trickster is someone who plays tricks and otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. They can be cunning or foolish. Mythology has their examples. The Bible tells stories of such, for instance Delilah who tricked Samson into cutting his hair to loose his strength and for certain reasons Jacob tricked his twin brother Esau to obtain the birth right. In Norwegian folk tales we have a young fellow called Espen Askeladd, who constantly tricks both trolls and people along his way.

Literature has their fare share of tricksters. Cartoons have many; both villains and clowns. Cheat, swindler, charlatan, fraud, con artist. Yes, an artist I want to be, but not that kind. And the other titles are not the kind I want on my CV.

So what do you think? Was my motive yesterday good or bad? Is it justifiable to trick others now and then?

Today's water color is one I made for a children's song book. Who's tricking whom in this rendition?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sharing is a Good Thing

We have two dogs at the Duck and Cherry right now. Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, has to share his space with Sean's Border Terrier, Bellie, for a couple of months. She is little and cute and loves to cuddle. Only problem is mealtime. She gobbles down her little portion and runs over to Hector's bowl to see if he has anything left. Not a popular move. He can share his home, his family, his time, his space--but not his food.

What is sharing about anyway? What do we share? Why do we share it?
In a sense Bellie is Hector's niece, in a human's sense of thinking; she being Sean's dog. A family shares.

When Tiffany was little I would give her two crackers and say, "One is for you. One is for your pappa."
She would obediently walk into the living room and hand one of the crackers over to her father.
She has become one of the most giving people I know. She would give her life for someone who needed it. Growing up in various countries, she one day received an envelope from her Norwegian grandfather with some money. She wrote back, "Thank you for the money. I will spend it on a gift for you."
That's her in a nutshell.

That same grandfather was the same way. He gave away what he had, never expecting anything in return. An older brother visited him one day. My father drove him to the train station, gave him the money he had in his pocket and waved goodbye. As my father returned to the car park, he had no money left to pay for parking.

In the Scriptures it says that your left hand should not know what the right hand gives. There is a lot of wisdom in that. Giving in a way that you never expect anything back, that it comes natural and without strings attached, is a way of being, a way of serving others, and a way of showing love.

I am grateful for people who have shared with me; be it time, love, food, money, insight, talents, and knowledge. They are heroes in my life.

Photo today: Bellie cuddling with a large teddy bear at the cabin during Christmas.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Procrastination is Valuable

I will not procrastinate!
How is that for a new year's resolution? It would solve many problems, eliminate many worries, and definitely take away pounds of stress . . . if only I procrastinated less.

What makes me do it then?
I can come up with a few good reasons like:

  • cleaning the shower is totally boring
  • getting through to this or that office on the phone is time-consuming
  • cleaning the basement - no one is down there to see it anyway

How can I fight it then? Thoughts creep up like: I don't feel like it. I have so much else I need to do today. I am too tired. I really, really, really don't want to do this right now. I only have 24 hours in a day (and night) and sometimes I need to sleep!

A few pointers might be lists. Long ones, short ones. I love lists - almost as much as I love crossing things off on my list.
Another one is to face the dreaded task head on. Just do it. Then I may need to break the task down into manageable littler tasks.
And why not make it fun. Have a family member or friend join in, if possible.
And pray for strength.

After I have completed enough to cross one of the dreaded procrastination off my to-do list, I am qualified to reward myself.
"Chocolate?" you say. "Why not? Don't mind if I do."

Definitely the first reward that pops up in my mind.

Something tells me that procrastination is only valuable in the sense that it teaches me not to do it, at least not as often It can not be avoided altogether, but I hope to see less of it if I practice some of my own advice.


Art work today is a farm in winter, a water color I gave away as a wedding gift some
years ago.
It is also the cover photo on my Facebook page right now.