George & 2 Oldest Daughters

George & 2 Oldest Daughters
George, Oldest Daughter, and Me, 2nd Daughter 1968.

Caroline and Oldest Daughter

Caroline and Oldest Daughter
Caroline and Oldest Daughter in Photo Booth 1964

Boy George

Boy George
George and younger sister in 1940's

George and his Oldest Daughter

George and his Oldest Daughter
George and His Oldest Daughter 1964 in Photo Booth

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blessings in the Unexpected

Today, I was required to go and visit the doctor for finalization of my physical for my university. Travelling abroad requires a doctor to sign off that you are fit to go and do not require any further medical care, and are a sane candidate. So, I waited in the office lobby for an hour to see the good doctor, observing things to pass the time and overhearing conversations.

One woman stated to her mother (both were over 60) that a woman they know "is wasting her life away by complaining all the time". That made me stop and think. The gentleman next to me had a box full of bottles of medications and supplements that he takes daily. He has survived FOUR tumors since 1962, one in the throat, kidney, brain, and eye. The Kidney was the only cancerous one. He has a family, two masters, and his bachelors, and is 80 years old. For longer than I have been alive, he has battled this condition and is one of the most positive people I have ever encountered. I was blessed today by our brief but wonderful exchange.

I finally was called into the doctor's office and we went over the form and what its purpose was. I left ready to go, and with my heart full of the knowledge at how blessed I am with every breath I take in life. No complaining folks...onward and upward!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday Blowout

Oh yes, Black Friday Blowout Sales! Let's all line up now, in the cold and inclement weather for those items we cannot go without. Black Friday is a nightmare, to say the least, if you are attending a mall or outlet store that is popular for their product. WalMart....I don't even want to think about it.

Black Friday was never anything I was raised participating in, and when I was married, my former mother-in-law and her daughter would go out around three in the morning to go shopping. I never saw the appeal. I must admit, I have gone twice, but never to really any great "must have it now" type of sale.

This year, I may go online and search for books I need in my Spring Semester at school since Amazon sent me a coupon, but that will be the extent of any shopping I do tomorrow. The holidays used to be a great deal more fun when I was growing up in the Seattle area. We focused on each other, not a consumer driven season.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holidays Around the Corner

Well, here we go again. In the United States, we have Thanksgiving in November,and in December,this following list of holidays:


5 - Ashura (Islamic, Muslim)

6 - St. Nicholas Day (International)

8 - Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist)

8-16 - Hanukkah* (Jewish)

12 - Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico)

13 - Santa Lucia Day (Sweden)

16-25 - Las Posadas (Mexico)

25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)

26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom)

26 - Kwanzaa (African-American)

Gathering with friends and family is traditional, yet I enjoy the silent contemplation that comes along with the lull in the holiday time. I looked around me today and saw how many people were walking in the cold rain with little or no covering, and it made me think at how fortunate I am personally, and remember that I need to give beyond my own family, reaching out to others if they accept the help offered. Also, the help one offers does not need to be what they think is necessary, but what the receiver needs. Being mindful of the circumstance, and the needs within the circumstance are tantamount to offering and disbursing appropriate help and resources.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Letting Go of Your Child

Yes, I am still a student, and now, all three of my children are college students. One by one they have spread their wings after graduating high school, and gone through the growing pains. My oldest is ready to transfer to University next fall, and my son is still knocking out the basics. The youngest, she with the car, is pursuing business related courses and history, along with the general requirements. Each one of us has a different path, personality, and goal in life. Learning to let them make their own errors and not rescue them can be particularly difficult as a parent.

This coming year will bring me closer to graduating with my bachelor's degree, and also close to finishing my Project Management certification. For the first time since my graduation from high school, I will truly have no responsibilities to anyone in school, or under my guardianship, other than myself. I will be there to encourage and listen, yet I fully expect to be applauding a fair amount from the sidelines as my children find their feet, and follow their path in life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Norwegian and Icelandic Sweaters

I have a love of textiles and intricate design laced with cultural meaning. Every year at my school, we have a "sweater exchange" and people turn out with their sweaters and all things Scandinavian to barter, trade, or sell. Some of the sweaters are simply masterpieces in knitting and craftsmanship. The pewter, the designs, and waterproofing are simply incredible!

I have Helga, Dale of Norway, Norwool, Nordstrikk, and others in my assembled sweaters. I have seen them sold online as "ugly Christmas sweaters" in order to market them to a wider audience. However, in my humble opinion, the word "ugly" does not belong anywhere near one of these sweaters.

When you see ravens or crows, it puts one in mind of Odin's two pet ravens that kept him apprised of the doings of men. Reindeer bring to mind the Saami, as well as Santa. Viking ships, well, I may have to give that some serious thought...not really :) THe snowflakes and other geometrical designs are simply vivid, well executed, and a delight to look at when an entire room of people is wearing their personal favorite, with a candle in front of them. Sweater, or genser, in Norwegian. Christmas and snow just go hand in hand with one, ya know?

Orvis Men's Dale of Norway Anniversary Quarter-Zip Sweater - Red - Medium (Google Affiliate Ad)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Writing Objectives

Well, I am taking an two anthropology courses, one public relations, and one project management. All of them require reading and executing projects, disseminating information, and writing papers. Project management and public relations, coincidentally this week, both required writing objectives. However, both sets objectives are very different.

In project management I am writing objectives based on what is within scope, outside of scope, and deliverables. In public relations, I am writing objectives for a campaign that are relating to promoting an idea or product to the public sphere. Although the SWOT analysis is utilized, and many theories coincide between the two classes...I have to really remember which hat I am wearing when I sit down to write. Quiet and focus have become my two necessities this semester. Now, for my anthropology PowerPoint tomorrow, 2nd mid-term next week, and 10 page rough draft of my paper...nah, I'm not busy...:)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh Lutefisk! Oh Lutefisk! Reprinted information for Lutefisk Dinners in the Seattle Area!

List compiled for the Pacific Northwest Lutefisk Lovers since 2007 by Christine Anderson, member of Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001, Sons of Norway, in Seattle and Embla Lodge No. 2, Daughters of Norway, in Tacoma.

Information is subject to change, send additions and corrections to If you would like to add someone or be taken off the list, please reply to this email. Please send other dinners you find out about into me. Updates will be published again around October 10!

A song for you to cry, if you don’t get your lut-e-fis-key this year! Based on Rye Whiskey by Tex Ritter, Pete Seeger, and Dave Matthews adapted for the season by lutefisk list compiler!
Lute-fiskey, lute-fiskey, lute-fiskey I cry,
If I don’t get lute-fiskey, I surely will die!
If I don’t get lute-fiskey, I surely will die!

Standard lutefisk cheer:
Lutefisk, lutefisk, lefse, lefse
We are Norskies, ya sure u bet cha! or (We’re from Ballard or Petersburg or Poulsbo, etc. ya sure u bet cha!

Here is a website for the song O Lutefisk, O lutefisk: I know some people consider lutefisk a religious experience, but really? On a hymn website? / Hymns_and_Carols / o_lutefisk_o_lutefisk.htm

O Lutefisk, O lutefisk (Sung to the tune of O Tannebaum by Ernst Gebhard Anschutz, 1824, Adaptation by Red Stangeland
1. O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma,
O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma.
You smell so strong, you look like glue,
You taste just like an overshoe,
But lutefisk, come Saturday,
I tink I eat you anyvay

2. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, I put you in the doorvay.
I wanted you to ripen up just like they do in Norvay.
A dog came by and sprinkled you.
I hit him with my overshoe.
O lutefisk, now I suppose
I'll eat you while I hold my nose.

3. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, how well I do remember.
On Christmas Eve how we'd receive our big treat of December.
It wasn't turkey or fried ham.
It wasn't even pickled Spam.
My mother knew there was no risk
In serving buttered lutefisk.

4. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, now everyone discovers
That lutefisk and lefse make Norvegians better lovers.
Now all the world can have a ball.
You're better than that Geritol.
O lutefisk, with brennevin [Norwegian brandy]
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

5. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, you have a special flavor.
O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, all good Norvegians savor.
That slimy slab we know so well
Identified by ghastly smell.
O Lutefisk, O lutefisk,
Our loyalty won't waver.

Here is some info on stockfish and lutefisk. Just copy the address and put it into your search field!
Lutefisk -Lutefisk Facts -Fun Lutefisk Jokes -and the Lutefisk Song can be found at:

Lutefisk and festivals 2012
TODAY Sunday, October 7, 3PM Social Hour/4PM dinner: Torsk Dinner hosted by Bothell Lodge 2-106 followed by short program on Trollhaugen. Dinner tickets $20. Proceeds support Trollhaugen For advanced tickets call Chris Hicks (425) 672-0194 or at Sons of Norway Hall, 23904 Bothell-Everett Highway, Bothell WA 98021

Saturday, October 13, 2012. 10 AM to 4 PM: Nordic Festival by Embla Lodge No. 2, Daughters of Norway, at our new location Edgemont Junior High School, 2300 110th Avenue East, Puyallup, WA. The only Nordic/Scandinavian Festival this fall in the South Puget Sound. Many vendors of traditional Nordic arts, crafts, baked goods, music, antiques and artifacts. Meatballs, potatoes, gravy, lingonberries, pea soup and rolls, coffee, water, will be available for purchase in the cafeteria. $1 admission includes 1 (one) drawing ticket for items donated by vendors. For more info contact 253.677.7700 or

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10AM-4PM: 16th Annual Scandinavian Bazaar at Bernt Balchen Lodge 2-046, Viking Hall, 8141 Briarwood St, Anchorage, AK 99518. Please join us for a cultural experience! There will be demonstrations for rosemaling and amazing food including the popular lefse, krumkake and waffles for sale. The kitchen will be serving the best lunch in town. Delicious traditional soups and open faced sandwiches. The bake sale table features lefse and a huge variety of homemade cookies, cakes and breads. The silent auction will have many Scandinavian/Nordic items and more. Vendor tables will feature: Jewelry, knives, artwork, blankets, woodcarvings, rosemaling, table linens, knitted hats, scarves, clothing, sweaters, Christmas decorations, books, silk florals, jams, soaps, tie dyes, beadwork, Children's furniture, and much more! Call the Viking Hall at 907.349.1613 for more info.

Saturday-Sunday, October 20-21, 10AM-6PM/11AM-5PM: Our 106th bazaar at Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001, Sons of Norway, 2245 NW 57th Street, Ballard/Seattle WA 98107. Have some family fun while enjoying Nordic food from our tastefully designed sandwiches to the delicate krumkake cone and the hearty ertesuppe/peasoup, lapskaus/lamb stew, and rommegraut, a silky sour cream porridge; Norwegian desserts in our Bakeri/Bakery; handicrafts from our Norna ladies; kids games and Karnival Korner from 10AM-2PM (Saturday) and 11AM-2PM (Sunday); lots of raffles; gently loved previously owned items at our Ditt og Datt booth; find a good book at our Book Nook; good strong Norwegian coffee; and try out our new beer loft open from 3PM to closing! Learn about the Sons of Norway, too. Win a $1000 travel voucher for a flight aboard IcelandAir, $600 cash, or $200 gift certificate for Scandinavian Specialties in Ballard plus $100 cash. Our vendors include: Desiree of Sweden, with her gifts from Scandinavia; Judy’s Painted Treasures with Norwegian rose painting called rosemaling; Runecraft with silver, pewter, bronze, brass, stainless steel rings, earrings, clasps, pendants, chains, bracelets, and buttons; Emerald Medusa modern custom handwoven beaded jewelry made in an ancient technique in stone, silver, and gold with aScandinavian twist; and others! Velkommen! For more info: or 206.783-1274

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 11:40AM to 5:00 PM with seatings every 20 minutes: 100th Annual lutefisk dinner at the Christian Center (corner of 4th and Hostmark), First Lutheran Church of Poulsbo, 18920 4th Avenue NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Price: Adults are $23, Children under 12 are $5. Family Style, all you can eat. Lutefisk, meatballs, potatoes, lefse, salad, krumkake & sherbet. Live entertainment throughout the day. Lefse & pickled herring for sale. Order tickets by mail using order form until October 10. Parking available for seniors & handicapped. Order form can also be downloaded off website: or send to Lutefisk Dinner Tickets: c/o First Lutheran Church, 18920 4th Ave. NE, P.O. Box 825, Poulsbo, WA 98370. For information call: (360) 779-2622 . Info provided by Margene Smaaladen.

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 11AM-2PM: Grays Harbor Lodge 2-004 annual Scandinavian Bazaar and Luncheon. Craft vendors and a bake sale. Lunch will be served cafeteria style: smorbrod, hot soup and dessert. Priced individually so you can have as many items you want. Thank you, Kim Worsham, editor. For more info call 360-533-2827

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 10AM -4PM: "Taste of Scandinavia" festival hosted by Sol-Land Lodge 2-086 at Kennewick First Lutheran Church. The day will be full of demonstrators such as weaving, dancing, carving, viking sword fighting and knitting. We will also have vendors with Scandinavian crafts and books and novelties for sale. Although there won't be any lutefisk, we will have wide a selection of open-faced sandwiches, pea soup, Scandinavian cookies and baked goods and lots of coffee. Admission is free. For more info

Sunday, October 21, 2012, 11AM-4PM: Lutefisk Dinner and Bazaar at Norden 2-002 in Tacoma at Normanna Hall, 1106 S. 15th St, Tacoma, WA. Dinner includes lutefisk, meatballs, potatoes, lefse and all the trimmings. Open seating with tickets at the door, reservations not required. Adults: $20.00, Ages 7-12: $10.00, 6 & under: Free. Also visit our bazaar with lefse making demonstration and sales, Scandinavian cookies, pastry, and gifts. Submitted by Cliff Magnussen,

Sunday, October 21, 2012, 12 Noon-5PM: Normanna Lodge 2-003 Annual Lutefisk and Meatball Dinner in Everett with boiled potatoes, lefse, peas & carrots, coleslaw, and dessert. Normanna Hall, 2725 Oakes, Everett, WA 98201. Adults are $20; children ages 6-12 are $5, and children 5 and younger are free! For more info call the lodge number at 425.252.0291

Saturday, October 27, 2012, 1PM-5PM: Vesterdalen Lodge 2-131 annual Lutefisk and Meatball
Dinner in Auburn. Dinner will be served at Messiah Lutheran Church, 4th and H Streets NE, Auburn, WA. Tickets are $20 each for 12 and over, $8 for 5-11 years of age, and those under 5 are free. Lutefisk, meatballs, potatoes, coleslaw and dessert. Send a check made out to Vesterdalen Lodge 2-131 for the number of tickets you need along with a stamped, self addressed envelope to Dotty Erickson, 24322-117th Avenue SE, Kent WA 98030-5096. All tickets must be purchased in advance, tickets are NOT sold at the door.

CANCELLED! Sunday, October 28, 2012, 11AM-4PM: 60th Stanwood Lions Club Lutefisk Dinner at the Stanwood High School, 7400 272nd St NW, Stanwood, WA 98292. Lutefisk and accompanying dishes. $20 per person, $7 for 7-12 years old, Free for children under 7. All you can eat -family style. For additional information contact chairman Jim Lund, 360-629-3604 . For more information:

Saturday, November 3, 2012, TIME TBD (last year 5PM-7PM): Odin Lodge 2-041 in Yakima, WA, is having its 32nd annual Lutefisk Dinner. It will be at Holy Family Church, 5315 Tieton Drive, Yakima, WA. Prices are: $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for kids under the age of 12. Menu includes lutefisk, meatballs, boiled potatoes, coleslaw, lefse, and traditional desserts such as fruit soup, rommegraut, and cookies. Tickets available at the Deep Sea Deli or head of time from members. Questions? Call 509-452-9790 , 509-966-1583 or 509-965-3947 . Info submitted by Donna Gilbery.

Saturday, November 3, 2012, 9AM-3PM: Bothell Lodge 2-106 Annual Bazaar, Bake Sale and Luncheon. Free parking. Sons of Norway Hall, 23905 Bothell-Everett Highway, Bothell, WA 98021. For more info call the lodge number at 425.485.9085 or check out Bothell’s website

Saturday-Sunday, November 3-4, 2012, (Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 8 an to 4pm): Swedish Cultural Center’s Annual Scandinavian Holiday Bazaar. Lots of vendors including "great finds" and antiques, plus traditional vendors and crafts. Delicious Swedish food: meatballs on Saturday, pancakes on Sunday. Donation admission $1. 1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA. Info 206-283-1090

Saturday, November 3, 2012, 10AM-4PM: Thirteenth Annual Scandinavian Fair Scandinavian Bakery, Caf?' with lunch available all day, Nordic Gifts and Crafts, Entertainment, Hourly Prize Drawing at Hampton Inn's Fox Hall, 3985 Bennett Drive, Bellingham, WA. Take I-5 Exit 258 then west on Bakerview. Admission $1.00, age 12 and under free. Sponsored by Daughters of Norway , Nellie Gerdrum Lodge No. 41. It is recommended that guests arrive early to get the best selection of bakery goods, that includes lefse, Scandinavian holiday breads, cookies, cakes, and kransekake. Some people come the day before the Fair, and stay at the Hampton Inn in order to be there early! For more info contact: 360-592-4065 . Submitted by Ellen Hinds, Fair chair

Sunday, November 4, 2012, 11:30AM-4PM: Bremerton’s Oslo Lodge 2-035 Authentic all-you-can-eat-Norwegian Lutefisk with white sauce and butter, meatballs with gravy, potatoes, carrots, coleslaw, lefse, beverages and dessert. Adults $22.00; ages 6-12, $6.00. Cash & Checks only. Reservations not required. Oslo Ladies Club Bazaar, specializing in Scandinavian Cookies & Baked Goods, held in our Fireside Room. Handicapped access & lots of parking at Olympic College Lot. Just north of Olympic College is Oslo Lodge 2-035 at 1018 18th St.,Bremerton, WA 98337. Turn off of Warren Avenue at the 17th St. traffic light. Info phone is 360-373-1503 .

Sunday, November 4, 2012, 1PM-4PM: Lutefisk and lefse at Tordenskjold Lodge 2-005, Sons of Norway, 6710 N Country Homes. Blvd, Spokane, WA 99208. Menu is lutefisk, Norwegian meatballs, potatoes, gravy, peas & carrots, risengrynsgr?t, lefse, Norwegian cream cake, Norwegian cookies (fattigmann, krumkake, sandbakkels, rosettes) Cost is $15. For reservations call 509-326-9211 . Let us know so we can order enough fish! For more info call: 509-326-9211 or

Saturday, November 10, 2012, 9:30AM-3:30PM: Nordic Fest hosted by Ester Moe Lodge No. 39, Daughters of Norway, at South Whidbey High School, 5675 Maxwelton Rd. Langley WA. Join Ester Moe Lodge No. 39 on beautiful Whidbey Island for the 13th Annual Nordic Fest with a whole new look! Everyone is invited to this great festival of Nordic culture with fun for the whole family. Discover mouth-watering food in the Norsk Kafe, tantalizing baked goods in the Bakeri, exciting shopping among wonderful vendors, creative demonstrations, lively music & more! Drawings held all day long for wonderful prizes. You won't want to miss this very special event! The lodge's fundraising profits are used to help students learn more about their Nordic background through Encouragement Scholarships to Camp Trollhaugen and to support the Young Scandia Dancers. Local food banks also benefit from the lodge's efforts. Donation cost is $1/person, 12 & under free. For additional questions contact Marcia at 425-308-7860 .

Saturday, November 10, 2012, Noon-5PM: Lutefisk Dinner with lefse, meatballs and all the trimmings at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Sumner at 245 Valley Avenue in Sumner, WA 98390. Call for more info: 253-863-1142 . Adults are $20.00 (Meatball with no fish dinner is $15); children (10 & under), $10.00. Also having their holiday bazaar from 10AM-5PM.

Sunday, November 11, 2012, TIME TBD: Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle lutefisk dinner with a mini concert by the chorus, too! Tickets are $TBD, children under 12 TBD. Leif Erikson Hall, 2245 NW 57th Street, Seattle WA 98107. Buy your tickets from chorus members. More info later.

Sunday, November 11, 2012, reserved seatings at 12 Noon, 2PM, 4PM, and 6 PM: Annual Lutefisk and Meatball Dinner at Grieg Lodge 2-015, Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th Avenue, Portland OR 97232. Seating is limited and last year’s dinner sold out early. Price is $22 for adults, $10 children 5-12, and under 5 free. Lutefisk, meatballs, boiled potatoes with cream gravy, coleslaw, homemade lefse, cranberry relish, prune pudding, coffee/tea. Ignore the risk – try lutefisk! Tickets on sale now and advance reservations REQUIRED. Call Edna Koroch for tickets 503.771.2689 . Don’t miss the Grieg Lodge scholarship sale & bucket raffle! Shop in the Ballroom on Lutefisk Sunday. Choose from a variety of new & gently used items with a Nordic twist, also creations made by the artists of the lodge and other wonderful raffle prizes. All proceeds from the sale & bucket raffle benefit the Grieg Lodge Scholarship Fund. Also available: ready-to-cook 4-pound bags of lutefisk for $28; lefse (package of 5) for $7; "take out" lutefisk dinners for $22 (must call ahead to make prior arrangements).

Friday-Saturday, November 16-17, 2012, 11AM-3PM?: Normanna Lodge 2-003s Scandinavian Bazaar and Bake sale at Normanna Hall, 2725 Oakes, Everett, WA 98201. Scandinavian gifts and crafts, linens, books, decorative items, sweaters, jewelry and dishes, bake sale, and our own pickled herring and lefse for sale. A luncheon is served each day, featuring the goodies we all love. For more info call the lodge number at 425.252.0291 . Info submitted by Barb Brevik

Saturday, November 17, 2012, 2 seatings -4PM and 7PM: Anchorage’s Lutefisk and Lefse Dinner (and those tasty meatballs too!) at Bernt Balchen Lodge 2-046, Viking Hall, 8141 Briarwood St, Anchorage, AK 99518. Dancing at 7 PM. Adults, $25 (non-members $30); ages 12-16, $12; ages 5-11, $5; ages 4 and under free. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Viking Hall at 907.349.1613 . For further info, contact Tom Falskow at

Sunday, November 18, 2012, seatings at 2PM, 4PM, 6PM: Grays Harbor Lodge 2-004 annual Lutefisk and Meatball Dinner in Aberdeen WA. Menu includes lutefisk, meatballs and gravy, coleslaw, potatoes, carrots, white sauce and melted butter, lefse, beverages, and Scandinavian cookies for dessert. $20 per person, children under 6, free. Reservations needed by calling Dixie at 360-533-2827 or Leif at 360-533-1027 . Sons of Norway Hall, 717 Randall, Aberdeen, WA. Submitted by Dixie Thompson.

December 2012: Lutefisk at Anthony’s HomePort at Shilshole Bay, 6135 Seaview Ave, Seattle W A 98107. Call 206-783-0780 to verify dates they are serving.

Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, 6 pm or 7:30 pm seating: Swedish Cultural Center serves lutfisk and meatball dinner during Happy Hour. Choose to be served either Swedish or Norwegian style accompaniments. RSVP for either the 6 pm or 7:30 pm seating. Cost: $TBD. 1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle. Info 206-283-1090 . Submitted by Kristine Leander, Executive Director, Swedish Cultural Center

Saturday, December 1, 2012, 12 Noon-6PM: Bothell Lodge 2-106 annual lutefisk and meatball dinner with boiled potatoes, lefse, coleslaw, ice cream for dessert, and a beverage. Sons of Norway Hall, 23905 Bothell-Everett Highway, Bothell, WA 98021. No reservations required and you can buy your tickets at the door! Tickets for adults are $20; children ages 6-12 are $5, and children 5 and younger are free! Free parking. For more info call the lodge number at 425.485.9085 or check out Bothell’s website

Forgot to catch the cod or ran out of time to dry the fish and make the ashes? You can buy lutefisk any time:
ScanSelect, Inc. dba Scandinavian Specialties
6719 -15th Avenue NW
Seattle, W ashington 98117-5508
TOLL-FREE: 1.877.784.7020
STORE: 206.784.7020
FAX: 206.783.6218
If your lodge has other lutefisk providers to recommend, please send them in to the compiler!

Lutefisk in 2013!
Sunday, January 13, 2013, Seatings at 12:00, 12:30, 1:00PM, 1:30, 3:00, 3:30, 4:00 and 4:30: Breidablik Lodge 2-027 located at 224 Catlin St, Kelso, WA 98626, will hold their annual family-style Lutefisk & Meatball Dinner. The meal includes Lutefisk (of course) meatballs and gravy, boiled potatoes, green beans, home-made cole slaw, lefse, rye bread and Scandinavian cookies for dessert. Purchase your tickets for a specific seating time by calling Larry at 360-575-1385 or via email Adult tickets are $22 and children 12 and under is $8 for our all-you-can eat Norwegian Lutefisk meal. Tickets sell out quickly so call early to reserve your meal time. Mange tusen takk skal du ha! Submitted by Regards, Kay Koski, Editor/Publicity

Saturday, January 26, 2013: (TBD but in 2010 it was 12 Noon-5PM): Poulsbo Lodge 2-044 Lutefisk dinner with lefse, Swedish meatballs w/gravy, potatoes, carrots, cole slaw, ice cream, and coffee and/or water for beverage. Tickets are $TBD for adults, children under 10 are $TBD. Grieg Hall, 18891 Front St. NE, Poulsbo WA. For more info call the lodge manager Vicky Spray at 360-779-5209 . Submitted by Barb Mitchusson, Lodge Secretary

February 2013: Harald Haarfager Lodge 2-011 lutefisk dinner in Post Falls Idaho details will be determined later. Barbara

Saturday, February 2, 2013: Sol-Land Lodge 2-086 of Kennewick, WA will be having their lutefisk dinner at Kennewick First Lutheran Church. Ticket prices TBA.

Sunday, February 10, 2013: Petersburg’s Take your Valentine to Fedrelandet's Lutefisk and Lefse dinner, prepared and served by the men of the lodge. It is free to members and guests. Come to the island for the best Red Snapper Lute in the world! Dinner includes warm, just off the grill potato lefse for one and all, too. Sons of Norway Hall 23 S Sing Lee Alley, Petersburg AK. Submitted by Sally Norheim Dwyer Petersburg, AK. Contact info: 907-772-4453 (Always the week after the Super Bowl)

Saturday, March 2, 2013, 5PM or 7:30PM: Frida Hansen Lodge No. 37, Daughters of Norway, 24rd annual TORSK DINNER at Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th @ Couch, Portland, Oregon 97232. Tickets are $25. To make your reservations, fill out and attach your check to the form below. Make checks payable to Frida Hansen Lodge No. 37. You will be contacted for confirmation of your reservation. Mary Knutson Sullivan -Reservations, 6089 NW Jackson School Rd, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124, or call 503-260-5127
-------------------------------clip here-----------------------------------
Torsk Dinner 2013
Your Name:_____________________________________________
Number of reservations you are requesting_____________
Seating Preference:________5:00pm or__________7:30pm

Saturday, March 9, 2013: Roald Lodge 2-039 in Klamath Falls Oregon lutefisk dinner. Still waiting for details. IOOF Hall, 2209 Gary St., Klamath Falls, Oregon. Submitted by Marilyn - Roald Lodge 2-039.
Lutefisk eating contests to be published later, but plan on one in Poulsbo in May of 2013 and in Seattle in July of 2013!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Online Dating and Social Networking

Have you ever posted an ad to an online dating site? I have a couple of times since 1998, and it was rather interesting each time. I have met some very nice people out of it, however, never sustained a permanent romantic relationship. While every relationship has boundaries and its own dynamic, online dating is like instant gratification when looking for a dating partner. The lure of the "free profile" is a great fishhook to get you to sign up for the site. Then, you may find your photo being sent to email addresses as a "new match" for men or women that have listed your profile stats as criteria they are looking for.

Funnily enough, the profile I canceled well over five years ago, still exists. All you need to do is log in under that identity on some sites, and your old profile is resurrected and you become active in the market again. Or, better yet, there is the Zoosk application on Facebook that used to tell me when friends of mine were logged in. Yes, you can log into web sites with your Facebook account; just remember, Facebook tracks what you do when you utilize their sign-in application, and may be broadcasting your latest move to all of your Facebook community. Oh the fun I had asking the person how Zoosk was for them, and hearing them stammer about it, wondering how I knew. I showed them how I was being notified whenever they signed in, and that put a stop to the Facebook sign-in activity.

Oh, eharmony...right, the free psychological profile, free dating weekends, free communication....I had listed I was spiritual and not religious. Everyone I was "matched" with at that time were heavily religious. I even had a few ministers and missionaries writing me. Again, once you are in a database, you will receive email from the site asking why you left, and offering you special offers to come back. is one of the sites that is embedded in advertising everywhere, and has the profile preserved. Plentyoffish, on the other hand, deletes your profile entirely from their database, it genuinely is free, and seems to have plenty of variety.

Am I on a site now? NO. Do I want to be again? I do not believe so, as I have found that a busy life needs commitment to activity in the public sector, not camping out on the internet waiting for Mr. Right. I do belong to a site called which is a great way to meet other people with your same interest. No, it is NOT a dating site. I belong to a couple of foreign language groups to help me study and practice for my classes, and other things like dancing, movies, etc. Families, singles, couples married or not can all find something on, that has hosted events, ratings for people that attend the events, message boards, and gets people out in public to mingle. I highly recommend it for someone looking for an activity partner or group, for an interest that your circle of friends may not share with you.

Just remember:

Be safe
Tell others where you will be
Do not meet people in a remote locality
Have someone telephone you at a prescribed time to offer you an out
Do not have expectations that are unrealistic
If it feels wrong, listen to yourself. Go home.

Life is too short to live unhappily and without finding your purpose. Remember, when you are happy with yourself, you will attract the same type of individuals into your life. I would rather attract the happy people with a positive outlook, than someone that is a pessimist without my same goals and aspirations.

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Fuzzy Slippers

Years ago, I found a pair of slippers on sale by Emu. They are constructed with the soft sheepskin inside, and a waterproof sole. I would always wear socks or wander about barefoot in the house, but was never a slipper fiend until I found these. It was as though comfort was waiting to envelop me when I slid my foot in and the warmth made me visibly relax. It is a physical and mental experience at the same time.

I used to think that all of those corny television shows showing the dogs fetching slippers, or a man in his smoking jacket with slippers on his feet were simply ridiculous. Well, just try getting my slippers now. I know where to find them when they go of my daughters' rooms.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halupki, Kapusta, Piroshky and More...

October 22 is my son's birthday, and this year, he turned 20. George stopped by to wish his only grandson happy birthday, and we celebrated with food from the Slovakian side...Borscht, Piroshky, Kapusta, Halupki, and Poppyseed bread. Every time I have food like this, I feel as though the souls of my grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all in the room with me, and we are laughing together, sharing good times, and rejoicing in the celebration of my son's birthday. My grandparents would have adored my children, and they, my grandparents. Mno Hya Lita my son...many happy years, and blessings to come...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

American Girl, European Roots

My family has come to America at different stages of the country's development. Some of the earliest colonizers were my ancestors, then, the Swedish and Norwegian side came in the 1800s, and the Slovakian grandparents, 1919 through Ellis Island. I was raised with Slovakian and English spoken around me, and Russian as the language in our small Orthodox church, until I was 12. We always celebrated Christmas on January 7th, and our Easter was called Pascha. Yes, I was different from your "typical" American Girl of the 1970s and 1980s. I even skipped my Senior Prom in order to attend our Pascha services. I was not told to, I did it by choice, as that is what I felt to be right.

Now, we are having another election. Today I cast my ballot, and no matter who wins in the election, I am hoping for the best outcome. My ancestors came here to pursue a better life for themselves and future generations, and I am thankful to them for that. However, I look at the rest of the world now, and almost mourn for what I feel we are losing in America; a culture of community, not selfish commercialism. Selling products and gaining a good income from honest work and integrity I totally embrace. Still, some of what I am seeing now makes my blood go cold. In my opinion, America is made great when we come together and work as a unit, not when we are divisive and conquer ourselves with infighting and quarrelsome behavior. I look forward to the elections ending so we can settle back down to business and figure out a solid path to our future. I am an American Girl, George's Daughter, and mother to a future generation. We will make it work, by doing what we know is right, not convenient.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Whose Homework Comes First?

Yes, I and my three children are all in college, all living in the same home, and share ideas and our course highs and lows with each other. When the parent (me)is still looked to for help with an assignment, yet I have an assignment as well....whose homework comes first? The mom in me sits and wants to assist; the student in me wants to be left alone to knuckle down to my own work. Our solution tonight? Sharing the study space, and getting her off to a solid understanding so I can have the rest of the weekend to dive in to my studies....

Parenting is an adventure, that never really ends until you draw you last breath.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Scandinavian Area Studies-Not Just About Vikings...

I am majoring in Anthropology and Scandinavian Area Studies at university. People generally seem to envision that all of my studies relate to the Vikings and the Viking Era; when nothing could be further from the truth.

What countries does Scandinavia comprise of? Well, the answer to that would be Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. I have indeed studied Viking History, read some of the Icelandic Sagas, compared and contrasted Ibsen and Strindberg, and taken one year of Norwegian to date. So, what else is there to possibly learn, that should cover it, right?

I have taken a very enlightening class with the focus on the Saami. The Saami are the indigenous people of the North, and have settled in Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Traditionally, people think of them as Reindeer herders, but not all Saami herd Reindeer. Many, in fact, fish, work in the fields of science, engineering, university studies, and other typical undertakings in western society. The Saami are some of the most ethnographically documented people in the world.

Religions amongst the Saami also vary, since there are traditinal Saami beliefs, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians as well. The Saami were forbidden to Yoik for years, and the resurgence was made within the last 30 years. There are records of Saami trading with the Romans, and the Saami actually brought us skiing, since that was a way they traditionally moved about in the snow.

There is so much to learn in this world, and so much more than meets the eye on the surface of things. The movie link below is the first part of The Last Yoik in Saami Forests. I hope you enjoy the film! The music you will hear, is various Yoik. Should you wish to watch the rest of the movie, follow the youtube links to the other postings in order.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Only Water....

I have been attending university now since 2010, and have been made increasingly aware how fortunate my family has been in where they have lived over the centuries I can trace. Regardless of peasant or noble status, the lands they have inhabited had renewable resources and fresh water available.

Where I was brought up, we had 40 artesian springs on one hillside alone, and I never once gave thought to the availability of fresh water. I knew that running water from the kitchen and bathroom tap were relatively new technology since my grandmother had to fetch water until the plumbing was brought in the house in the 1940s. However, the clean and fresh water was never an issue.

Now, in the new century, we are painfully aware of the worldwide water shortage, the waste of water, and growing concern regarding our ancient water reserves that will simply disappear, if not replenished. When you see the dried and compacted soil in other areas of the world, you wonder how you ever thought "it's only water".

Conservation has to begin somewhere, and right now, it is beginning with me. Liquid gold is what water has become, yet the waste and excessive use of the precious resource by so many, when so few have it, boggles the mind.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

The title of Mesothelioma and Asbestos has to do with a very serious condition that is a result of exposure to asbestos. My research shows 2,000-3,000 cases of Mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States every year. "Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in the majority of cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos"(

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer that shows no mercy; its victims generally succumb to the disease and die within 18 months of diagnosis. If the fibers of asbestos are ingested and lodge within a person's body, they can sit for years until the cancer forms, and then, ultimately shortens the individual's life with the resulting Mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma from

"Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma. Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms of Mesothelioma may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face."

I worked in the mortgage industry for 8 years, and prior to that, purchased my own home. There was a disclosure that I had to sign based on my house being built prior to 1977. The MSN Real Estate page has asbestos defined as "A mineral substance that insulates and resists fire. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and can cause severe lung damage". The precautions and warnings given there are that asbestos is contained in:

Wall insulation (mostly in homes built between 1930 and 1950)
Vinyl floor tiles
Pipe insulation in older homes
Textured paint and wall-patching materials manufactured before 1977

The seller and purchaser are also warned "Disclose any known asbestos. If asbestos is contained, disclose it and leave it (removal can increase the health risk). If asbestos is loose or crumbling, it constitutes a health hazard and you may be required to remove the material before you can sell. Hire an expert to remove asbestos".

So, needless to say, that as a young home buyer in 1998, I was concerned about my 1969 house, with popcorn ceilings and textured walls. Many people that I know have told me to simply squirt or mist the popcorn ceiling with water, and then follow with a scraper to easily remove it. I chose to seal it with paint, and wear the appropriate mask and body coverings while I did so. Take the advice of professionals, and use the proper tools and products. Ask questions if you don't know the answers, as knowledge provides the path to sound decision making, and your life is nothing to gamble with.

Asbestos must be rendered as friable to become hazardous. Friable asbestos, are those damaged or aged asbestos fibers that can be released into the air. Friable asbestos fibers must be properly disposed of or encased, and there are many governmental regulations that provide the guidelines to be followed for this.

How Is It Removed?
The asbestos removal process differs depending on the asbestos-containing material, but all removal methods aim to keep asbestos dust out of the air where it can be inhaled or ingested. Certified professionals must be utilized for any asbestos removal projects. Here are some common steps and considerations normally taken to ensure this material is removed properly:

1. Typically, asbestos removal utilizes moisture to weigh down the fibers so they fall to the floor where they can be discarded in approved asbestos waste disposal bags.

2. Professionals understand the importance of isolating the removal area from the rest of the house or building, and workers are required to use protective equipment to prevent the dispersion of asbestos dust.

3. During removal, work begins on the opposite side of any air-exhaust system and gradually moves towards the fan to prevent contamination of areas that have already been cleaned.

4. After the removal process is complete, the area where the asbestos formerly existed is thoroughly wiped down with clean rags, which must then be properly discarded in labeled disposal bags.

5. Once these areas are cleaned, every exposed surface will be wiped down, including protective sheeting that may have been used to isolate the area where the asbestos was located. All equipment and tools used are also thoroughly cleaned and left outside for some time.

6. Additionally, the area where the fibers formerly existed will normally be sealed off to complete the removal process, since some asbestos fibers likely remain (

Asbestos was a common material ingredient during the modernization of the United States, its use beginning to become common in the 1930s, when its effects on a person's health were unknown. Mainly, asbestos has a history of being used in insulation products, however, the other building materials listed above are also areas to be watched for asbestos. Remember, retro styles are back in fashion for certain, but do these items contain asbestos? Before you purchase flooring or re-purposed building materials; check for asbestos!

Please, be aware, read the disclosures before you sign them, have your building inspected by a certified inspector, and wear proper protection at all times on projects. You may say that you cannot afford an inspector, and simply sign the waiver, showing you have been apprised of the possibility of the existence of asbestos. Think about it though, can you really afford NOT to take the precaution of verifying the asbestos presence?

From the site comes this information:

Asbestos Exposure in Shipyards
Some occupations are associated with an elevated risk of asbestos exposure. Historically, naval shipyard workers are among the most frequently overexposed. It is likely that workers who served between World War II and the Korean War came in contact with dangerous levels of asbestos, increasing their chances of developing diseases like asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos' ability to resist corrosion and high temperatures made it an ideal material for use in the shipbuilding industry. On ships, it has been used to insulate boilers, incinerators, hot water pipes and steam pipes. However, asbestos dust tended to build up in these locations and other inadequately ventilated areas, which led to human exposure aboard vessels.

As the use of asbestos-containing products increased, occupational health experts began to recognize the toxicity of its fibers. Studies revealing the dangers of asbestos exposure date back as far as the 1940s, but at the time the U.S. government failed to acknowledge that inhaled asbestos fibers could persist inside the body, ultimately creating health hazards.

To file a Veterans Administration Asbestos Claim, copy and paste this web address:

Spouses, children, friends, and other relations desperately miss people that die from Mesothelioma, don't become a victim yourself thinking it cannot happen to you; cancer is not a respecter of persons.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Laughing at Life, and One's Self

Well, I found my articles that I was fretting over, and made certain everything was ready to go. Oh, I was two days early. All that pressure on myself in order to be drawing a questioning look from my fellow classmate as to why I thought it was due today. She sweetly reminded me what a syllabus was, and what our syllabus reflected. Oh, yes, I also have many extra articles to choose from since I went on my research spree. The internet is full of research opportunities, and if you enjoy learning about various subjects, with a click of a button, you too can learn about the evolution of Public Relations in modern Japan. How on earth I discovered some of the articles, I could not tell you.

So, here I sit, in a quiet house with three adult children now in school and work, and me, a student with homework, a midterm this week, and two next week. I have to laugh at how I wanted this moment to come for so long, when the worry and pressure of "drive me here mom" or "hey, do you have any extra money for...?" Well, the money part still happens on occasion, but much less frequently. The children are grown up, and I am learning what it means to play again; as time marches on.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homework Please....

Here I sit, pondering what to hand in for my homework assignment,and I am drawing a blank. I have ordered possible candidates for the scholarly articles via interlibrary loan, and received one back today. I read the abstract before ordering it, and couldn't have been more pleased. It was to do with the ancient textiles of I thought. NO!

Today, this article came back and was made available to me. It is extremely informative and well written by definite experts; about the care of ancient textiles. Okay, back to the drawing board. Two articles, 35-50 words about the two of them, and the bibliography in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). We will be told which article has been assigned to us from the two we submit for consideration, and then must prepare a 13-17 minute PowerPoint presentation on it to present to the class....time to put on my thinking cap! Any suggestions would be appreciated. Published within the last 20 years, peer reviewed, 10 or more pages in length, and interesting, on any topic about East Asia...:)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Challenges of Being An Adult At University

This week, I began a Project Management course based on the PMBOK curriculum from PMI. At the University that I attend, I am the odd student out in the age groupings. Most of the students are untried (for the most part) in life, and between 18-22. At the age of 44, I am sitting with students as contemporaries the ages of my three children. I am the old and wise woman that needs to learn to not jump in all the time with examples they can't comprehend. More than once, I have had a professor heave a deep sigh when I say something that the professor can relate to, but my fellow students cannot. Personally, I would think this an opportunity to expound on the example and bring other students into the conversation from the dark ages of life before the world wide web. However, I am simply learning to take notes and listen mostly.

The Project Management course is at the local community college. It will be for 2 quarters, and meets once a week for 3 hours at a time. The coursework is from books, and we turn in assignments online. We meet to discuss the readings and work on group projects. I was pleasantly surprised as out of the 11 students in the class, only one was from the 18-22 age group. It amazed me to weigh the difference between the chattiness and contribution of the adults as opposed to the students I am in class with. Instead of feeling like everyone is just sitting and waiting for class to end, this class was actively engaged. I don't know if it is the fact that we are all there with the purpose of adding credentials besides required classes for a degree, or the fact that we all come from the working world, not from high school. All I can say, is how wonderful it was to finally have fellow students my age to engage with. Every day holds new experiences and opportunities, I am trying to make the most of every one.

Taking Delight in Life

As frustrating as life can sometimes seem, the daily challenges can be delightful memories as the story unfolds over time. This past week has been involved with my daughter purchasing her first car, transferring the title, and finally getting her license on Friday. She would not let her grandfather, George, drive her Saab unless a fair exchange was made; she would be allowed to drive his Corvette.

George does not allow people to drive his Corvette, as that is his baby. However, his fellow Aquarian, my baby, had yet to stare him down with the same determination and fortitude George possesses. George wanted to see how her car handled, and she said "Grandpa, no one drives my car but me". George was not thrilled, but accepted the answer, since it is one he is fond of issuing himself.

We went to lunch after transferring the saucy minx's title into her name, then on to George's house to look the car over again. He played the video he put together of my brother and his family's visit with us this summer, then, all of a sudden, the two Aquarians were out the door. George came back in for his keys after 10 minutes, and I asked what was transpiring. He said that it was only fair that since she allowed him to drive her Saab, that he followed through with his Corvette. I was floored, to say the least.

On our way home, she admitted that it was fun in George's Corvette, but she disliked the reclining of the seats and the way the steering felt. She loves her Saab, and is happy with her decision; and smug in the fact that she is the only other person George has allowed to drive his Corvette...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sascha the Saab

My youngest daughter just purchased her first car, a 1996 Saab 900s, in beautiful condition, and she has christened it Sascha.

We have all been instructed that there is not to be any food in the car, she will be the only driver at all times, and Sascha is likely the cleanest car you will ever encounter. She is in love with her first car, and enjoying college and having her own job. At 18, she is proving to be quite responsible and cogniscent of where she wants to be in life. Time will tell if Sascha remains clean, and the campaign to push her way through to her goals prevails. My belief is that my youngest cub will persevere and claim victory in her quest. After all, she is George's granddaughter :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dendochronology; How Trees Talk

When I was a kid in rural Washington State, I grew up on the property my father was raised on. I heard the stories from my grandparents about how when my father, the 7th of 8 children, was a toddler, he used to like running off and trying to hide, so they put a red hat on him to be able to spot him on the 100 acres of old growth timber. My grandparents came from Slovakia, and were a team in every aspect of the word. When they cut the firewood or lumber, my grandmother and grandfather worked the crosscut saw together, split, stacked, and hauled the finished product to its designated spot.

My dad bought 20 of the 100 acres and the house from his parents, and we had a routine every year as I was growing up, to venture to the swamp and cull the widow makers and snags for firewood that coming winter. Dad would warm up his Stihl chainsaw after carefully filing the chain to sharpen its teeth, and tell us all to stand back with our safety goggles in place. Sawdust would fly; the buzz of the chainsaw would fill your ears, and then cut out just before the telling crack of the tree falling. We had the joy of calling “Timber!” as the tree was going down, and resting on the stump as dad came back from checking on the fallen tree. It was one of those times that my dad informed me I was sitting on a map of the tree’s life.

I quickly hopped up, and looked around me. He pointed at the tree stump, and at the tree’s freshly cut log end. “Those rings tell you how old a tree is, and what kind of life or environment has happened while it grew.” We counted the rings of the trees after that every year and Dendrochronology was a word I became familiar with at seven years of age.

Now, as an Anthropology major in college, I have learned more about Dendrochronology, and that even the Viking ships that are unearthed, are able to be dated by the tree rings within the slabs or logs on their ships, along with the knowledge of where the tree was likely harvested from and the weather or climate conditions the tree had endured up to the time of its harvest.

People often say “if trees could talk”….well, they do. Every tree is individual and has a story to tell; which is why I enjoy looking at the furniture Robin Wade makes, and deciphering what the tree went through before I was able to enjoy its wood in my table, chair, bench, or countertop. I wonder who sat under its branches many years ago, had their first kiss, shot a bear or deer to feed the family. If only, trees could talk…

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby Learns to Drive

Not too terribly long ago, I had a young girl running around asking "what is that" or "can I try that"? Now, she is asking, "Hey, when are we going? I want to drive." Yes, my youngest is 18, a freshman in college, and a very good driver. Today she took the initiative to scour my truck, and look up insurance quotes. Be still my heart, I may not have to drive her anywhere much longer....that is both exciting and terrifying simultaneously. I am proud of this young lady, my baby, all grown up.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Change is in the Air

My grandfather was Slovakian, and came to America in 1918 on the ship Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic. He worked as a Powder Monkey (Dynamite Setter) in the coal mines of Roslyn. His mother had left him behind as an infant, and come to America and remarried. When his stepfather found out about him, he sent for him, and the rest, is history.

He sent for my grandmother and their son in 1922 after having saved up enough money over three years for their passage. This man, and his wife, had 8 children, purchased a 100 acre farm for cash after saving in the coal mines, and Grandma selling vegetables from her garden. They raised potatoes, cabbage, and ran 40 head of dairy cattle that were milked twice a day, by hand.

This garden with my older sister standing with our grandfather is how he retired from farming. He never took a vacation, as all he knew was that if he didn't work, he wouldn't eat or have a roof over his head, neither would his family. There is much more that I can write about my grandparents, as they were amazing people, but the fact that we never wondered what was in our food or if we were healthy is another testament to how our lives have changed so dramatically in the last 100 years. It is my firm hope, and belief, that we are returning to simpler ways of feeding ourselves and the world, but it will not be without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from people who don't want to change their lifestyle.

Whether we wish to change, or not, we must. Our survival will require cooperation of industry and government with the citizens of those countries, to develop better infrastructure, less pollutants, and a healthier population that is a sustainable reality.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sustainable Gardening

This summer, I took two courses at the local community college in order to meet some requirements for my undergraduate degree at my university. I took a Physical Education course, that also involved some nutrition information, and Environmental Science. The Physical Education course did make me think about movement and what I eat, but my Environmental Science course involved a project that we had to present to our class using PowerPoint.

We chose topics that were of interest to us, and formed groups. The topic my group discussed was Seed Banks and the Future of Our Food. What we uncovered was really quite revealing and changed how I approached my gardening, daily purchases, and awareness. Here in the United States of America, we are fortunate to have the soil and water we need at the moment to grow our food. The forethought of others to stow seeds in a seed vault or seed bank I always believed to be quite interesting. Now, it makes me wonder how imperative it actually is.

I learned more about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and a company called Monsanto than I ever dreamed I would. The Monsanto opponents have been very vocal, and there are postings all over Facebook that "inform" you as to what you are really eating. How to choose a traditionally grown or organic piece of produce over a genetically modified one. So, what makes the genetic modification so frightening? Humans have been modifying crops and domesticating them since the Fertile Crescent c. 10,000 bce.

What is frightening, alarming, chilling, whatever word you choose to use, is the fact that not only plant species are being crossbred. In 1991, a company called DNA Plant Technology submitted a request to the FDA for a new type of tomato it had created. The company claimed it had developed a tomato that produced its own anti-freeze. So, in essence, instead of attempting to freeze a tomato, and have the result be mushy and inedible except for sauce or ketchup, this would keep tomatoes on the firmer side. How did DNA Plant Technology achieve this? They had crossed the genes of a deep sea fish known as the Winter Flounder, with a tomato I do not know the name of. Biodiversity at its best? This tomato never did become commercialized on the open market. However, Monsanto is definitely commercializing their corn and cotton crops.

From the research I have read, Monsanto owns the patents on the seeds they produce, which they mix with their chemical product Round Up, with their Round Up ready seeds. The plants are supposed to be weed resistant, and the farmers that grow them are not allowed to save seed, as a farmer using traditional methods may. They are required to purchase new seeds every year, and, if by chance a plant is seen elsewhere, maybe carried to a location by the wind or a bird, and a Monsanto agent chooses to pursue it, the person owning that land with the plant is very likely to be sued, for growing a patented seed. A seed that grows a plant that is becoming weed resistant, and if a crop is to grow successfully, requires different chemical agents to be used and developed. Corn and BT (Bio Technical) cotton crops have failed in India and South Africa recently that were Monsanto crops. Farmers in India commit suicide sometimes when they have a failed crop, or are forced into bankruptcy. The problems in South America with the Soy Bean crops is also becoming an issue.

It is my understanding that the EU and UK have voted for no GMO produce in their markets. Are GMO feed supplies being used to feed their livestock? Soy Beans from South America, the USA? What is happening as the GMO is ingested up along the food chain is yet to be seen. So, what are our options for farming? Permaculture is something that I have been looking into with a great deal of excitement.

Permaculture is designing and maintaining a sustainable community/ecosystem using self-maintaining ecosystems, mirroring natural ecosystems. So, to put it simply, ecosystems within a community that sustain life, and food, and that the humans and other life living there maintain. Composting everything that you can, recycling, rotating your crops and avoiding soil depletion, taking only what you need and storing the surplus. Really, to me, this is just getting back to basics and the common sense farming of the past.

In Africa, where some of the soil is so badly compacted and rocky with little or no opportunity to grow food, they are making what are called Keyhole Gardens and Bag Gardens. These are examples of vermicompost where grey water is used, food scraps go back into the soil, and families are fed. I found them here and am still amazed by the results. Of course, I am not saying everyone needs a garden in a bag, or anything extreme. However, in a world where we are trying to feed people with monoculture crops like soy beans, corn, wheat, and limit the biodiversity that ecosystems require, this is a simple demonstration that we do have alternatives.

Here in the Seattle area, we are seeing a Food Forest planted by volunteers to allow people to come and harvest for themselves as needed. Ron Finley in Los Angeles has done that on his own .

There are many other examples available if you open your eyes. Once you become aware though, beware, you can never stick your head in the sand again. What is the future of our food? Will we own our food, or will companies like Monsanto lay claim to ownership after patenting seeds? Approximately 10,000 years ago agriculture and domestication of animals and plants came into being as hunters and gatherers settled in the river valleys and grew their food. How can any one group of people, or corporation, lay claim to owning the technology that has fed the human race for as long as we have farmed our land?

Sources used:

Monday, March 26, 2012

17 years....

Seventeen years ago, I began the journey of single parenthood. I filed for divorce, and have been single ever since. This June, the youngest graduates from high school, and my "responsibility" will be at an end for any minor children and their education. Then, all three are in post-secondary; along with me. I feel like my motor is going into neutral waiting to switch gears. Such a strange feeling of reverie and wondering what awaits., here I come!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Research Papers and Such...

Here I am in the second semester of my sophomore year of university. At age 43, it is still very unusual to be in classes with fellow students my own children's age, and professors either younger than myself, or barely older. One professor asked me to call him by his first name since all his other students do, and it would make him feel awkward since we are 3 years apart if I did not too.

Now, to begin my research paper due next week. My chosen topic is "The History of Ink". Yes, it is for my Art of the Book class, where I am learning to typeset, print, create, cut, etc. all types of books and printing arts. I can write, however, this is my first art class in my entire life consisting of crafty bits. I will prevail!

George is getting my first project as part of his Father's Day bundle. Yes, a Baseball theme...It was inspired by him when I see him put on a ball cap. He looks like a young lad again, with the expectant wonder each time the pitcher winds up to deliver the ball to the batter. Love you dad!