Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thorláksmessa is celebrated in the memory of Thorlákur “the Holy” Thórhallsson, who was Bishop at Skálholt in Iceland in the 12th century. He died December 23, 1193, which became a holiday in 1199. In 1985 Pope John Paul II appointed Thorlákur “the Holy” as the patron saint of Iceland.
The Catholic Church in Iceland is the third largest religious community in Iceland and nine Catholic churches offer services in various parts of the country.
The tradition of eating putrefied skate originates in the West Fjords, but is now common in all parts of the country. The fish delicacy is usually served boiled with potatoes, turnips and hamsatólg, melted sheep fat.
People who want to avoid bringing the stench of skate to their homes—it smells strongly of ammonia—order the fish at restaurants instead. (avoid all restaurants this time of year or you won't be able to eat anyway)
But skata is just like any strong smelling cheese or even some fruit, like Durian which is considered a delicacy in Thailand. Skata has a wonderful, sweet taste and those Icelanders who still eat it will stuff themselves on Thorláksmessa (Mass of St. Thorlák, patron saint of Iceland, celebrated on December 23) because most feast on it only once a year.
In the West Fjords people like to have their skata very strong. It is so putrefied that when you take the first bite it will numb your nose and throat – so strong is the smell. The habitual way of cooking it is to boil it for about ten minutes. Then the fish is taken from the bones, some lamb fat mör is added, and then this sort of stew is served with boiled potatoes and brown rye bread. When the skötustappa or “skate stew” has cooled down it becomes hard and can be sliced like paté and is usually eaten with butter and dark rye bread. It is a heavenly meal. But the smell is terrible and clothes reek of what they have been downing. The smell is persistent and the only way to get it out of the clothes is to wash them.
The strange smell of skata is everywhere in the air and some can’t stand it. Some try to lessen the odor in their houses by cooking their skata outside on the barbecue. Those well schooled in the tradition simply cook their Christmas smoked lamb hangikjöt after the skate and the odor disappears entirely as the wonderful aroma of the smoked lamb fills the apartment.
My father-in-law is as avid lover of putrefied skata. He is a former fisherman and processed his own skata for many years. In the South the skate is processed in a somewhat milder manner than in the West Fjords and salted. This is fantastic food, a wonderful gourmet meal for those who acquire the taste..........
The processing is similar. Shark, though, can be poisonous if it is cooked fresh out of the sea. It needs the processing of being kept for weeks under stones and turf and then being hung out for drying in the cold climate. Skata is similarly processed but this kind of food is by no means rotten or damaged. It is only fermented like cheese, and is very healthy. The oil from putrefied shark is considered very good for the system. Some even believe it can prevent cancer.
I also learned many things about skata which I did not know: one guy whose entry I read claims skata takes his migraine away. My grandmother, who had stomach problems, always said skata was one of the best things she could eat. It made her cramps go away just like good putrefied shark did. (It probably burned the lining out of her stomach so what's left to hurt?)
I once had the opportunity to go to the West Fjords by ship at this time of the year. There had been no flights to the West Fjords for more than a week due to constant storms and blizzards. All roads were filled with snow, so the authorities decided to assign one of the Coast Guard vessels to take some of the unfortunate people who were locked in Reykjavík home for Christmas.
The weather was extremely bad: high seas and storm. We left Reykjavík at 5.30 in the morning of 23 December. The voyage over Faxaflói bay was rough and I could see that many of the fifty passengers were getting seasick. People’s faces were white and green and there was puke everywhere. Then at 11:30 the “wonderful” aroma of skata sneaked upon the other poor passengers who were only on the brink of sea sickness. That did it, puke multiplied for most of them, not me though.
I was beginning to feel quite groggy when I snuck into the mess to have a plate of skötustappa like I had done all of my life on Thorláksmessa. It was good for me and I felt much better in my stomach afterwards. The voyage was a wonderful adventure, although quite rough.
Now for my observations: Last night we were called and invited to partake of Skata at a local restaurant and then go Christmas Caroling and also, as an aside, could we possibly drive everyone around. This was from the SYAs of the branch in Reykjavik. We refused the Skata or even going to where they were eating it so we arranged to pick them up to sing and when they opened the door the odor that came in with them was a cross between old dog pee on your shoe and opening a bottle Ammonia to clean with. It had been two hours and a shower since they had eaten the Skata but they still carried the smell. The Elders told us that in the restaurant with them were a family introducing their young children to Skata. The one little boy took a big bite, gagged, spit it back out and would not eat anymore. Their parents pointed at the Elders and said to their children, "see those are Americans and they ate all of their Skata, do you want American's to eat it and not you." No problem, I am with the little boy, no way am I eating something that smells like I should be washing it away with a hose to clean up the back yard.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
After the last posting we headed to Reykjavik to take care of the work there since the other couple had to go home suddenly. When we arrived I had more snow to shovel there and their shovel was worse than what I was using in Selfoss. We went out to buy groceries and traffic was bumper to bumper on the main highway so I decided to take the city streets (first of all I have no knowledge of the street system but it was a better idea than bumper to bumper traffic in the snow). I came to a 3 way intersection and took the middle lane which meant I had to go up a hill. Sitting at the light I said to Eileen I think this was a mistake as the road doesn't appear to go anywhere at the top of the hill. I was committed though and so we went. The road went right into the parking lot of Byko - a Home Depot type store. I decided as long as were are here let's see if they have snow shovels even though the store in Selfoss did not. Sure enough they had them ranging in price from $50 to $100. I bought the $10 variety in the US - the $50 one here and went back to the apartment and cleared the sidewalks again and several more times before we left. Now we are back in Selfoss and if it wasn't for the weather forecast which says it is going to warm up and rain next week I think I have the way to bring about a White Christmas. Every time I clear the sidewalks it starts snowing just as I am finishing.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Boy did I have a shock yesterday. We had a small paper back book and puppet to send home. It was very light and in an envelope. I figured it would cost a few dollars to send but not too much as the dress we sent to Heidi only cost $10 for postage and $10 for tracking. The package yesterday was lighter than the dress and we did not ask for tracking or any other services and it cost over $25. Inflation is high here but I didn't expect that at all.
For those who wonder about the picture - Eileen has been after me to take it ever since she saw it which was probably the first few days. As everyone knows all of our grandchildren are special and so she wanted to share this one.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Friday we left Reykjavík early for a 6 hour drive to Akureyri to visit the members who have been very isolated from the Church for many years. We visited with several members and had meals with a couple having traditional soups and breads. Sunday as we were getting ready to go to Church, Elder Wohlgemuth suddenly got ill. We gave him a blessing and he and Sister Wohlgemuth decided to stay at the hotel. (That is another story. We arrived Friday and the owner gave us keys, his bank account number and told us how much the bill would be and said he and all staff were leaving town until after we left so just make ourselves at home, get breakfast in the kitchen and pay our bill by bank transfer to his bank account.) We had Church with the four missionaries, 3 non members and 5 members. After Church I called the Wohlgemuth´s as we were going an hours north to visit another family. They said they would just stay in the hotel. It was dark as we headed north along the fjord on snow and ice covered roads and then a single lane tunnel that went at least a mile with pull outs so if you saw someone coming you could get out of their way. We had a great visit with Thiago and his wife who is taking the missionary lessons and their daughter Maindrah. We got back to the hotel about 9 PM to find that the Wohlgemuth´s were leaving to go home to Utah. He had called the Church doctors and his home doctor and it was decided based on his symptoms to go home to his doctor. Since they only had two months left on their mission and the condition was serious enough to warrant specialized medical care the Church felt it was best to fly them home immediately. Monday we took them to the airport and then started our drive back to Reykjavík on snow packed and icy roads that had developed even worse over the night. When we got to the Wohlgemuth´s we helped Sister Wohlgemuth pack (Elder Wohlgemuth was to do nothing) and then this morning we drove them to the airport and sent them on their way home to Utah. We will miss them very much and even more when I have to register the new missionaries arriving early in January. This was Elder Wohlgemuth´s job and he was going to train the new couple arriving mid January to take their place. So I will be busy learning the bureaucracy of Iceland as we were half asleep when we spent the day going from one location to another establishing our residency permit.
The photos are: the main highway #1 in Iceland Monday afternoon in northern Iceland, the fjord at Akureyri, the Thiago family, and those at Church in Akureyri.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The Wohlgemuth's who live in Reykjavík go swimming everyday for their exercise but their pool is closed this week so they asked us if we would like to go to the Blue Lagoon today. After teaching a lesson this morning we drove to Reykjavík and picked them us. We had a nice surprise when we went to pay. The cashier asked if we live in Iceland (which he could tell as we used our Icelandic bankcard to pay). He then said it is 2 for the price of 1 today. We later learned they are sending coupons to Icelanders for the 2 for 1 price. With the current exchange rate the cost was $19 for the two of us. We spent about 3 hours soaking in a variety of temperatures of water from cool to extremely hot. I tried the sauna but it was too hot for me and I went back to the hottest water where my head was freezing. The temperature was minus 2 with winds strong enough to keep the flag flying straight out so you can imagine the need to keep dunking my head under the water. Now for the miracle. With the low air temperature and the high water temperature my glasses kept fogging and then after many times of dunking them they got a film on them that I could not see through. I ended up pushing them up over my forehead. We had moved from one area where we had been sitting with our heads just above the water to where we were walking in about 4 inches of white silica mud on the bottom and just keeping our heads just above the water. To get my head warm I was floating around on my back. I reached up on my head and my glasses were gone. Now think about this scene. We have been moving around in water up to our necks, the bottom is 4 inches deep silica mud and the water is a milky blue white and salty. You can´t go under to look and you can´t see an inch into the water. We started feeling with our feet and I thought this is a waste of time. I have no idea where they came off and look how much area we have to look blindly through with our feet. Eileen quickly came to the rescue and said let's say a pray and ask Heavenly Father to help us find the glasses. About 5 minutes later Elder Wohlgemuth pulled my glasses out of the water. I said how did you find them and he said I just felt them with my feet. A miracle - yes, I don´t believe there is any other way we could have found them.
About the pictures, if we had tried to take pictures you would just see steam blowing. You could not see more than 20 feet at the most and most of the time much less as the steam was blowing across the water blocking sight of the facility.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Another great quote was on page 19 by a recent convert Norman Kamosi referring to an expression used in Africa. "When you see people throwing stones at the mango tree, you know they are doing so because the tree is bearing good fruit. So I said to myself, 'Since people are criticizing the Church, it must have something special, something good.' I said, 'We have to investigate the Church. Something good is in there.'"
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The pictures do not relate to my post heading - just thought I would share them. When we arrived in Iceland all was black between here in Selfoss and Reykjavík as we later found out the moss that grows on the lava was dead from lack of water. After the snow and rain the moss began to grow and it was really beautiful in the sun (sorry forgot the camera the one day it was sunny). The other is another sunrise from our apartment which we enjoy when it isn´t completely clouded in. The sun rises about 10:30 AM now. As for watch your wallet it is just a warning to watch that our government in the US doesn't mess up the financial system like has happened here. All payments (like rent, loans, ect) are pegged to an index of some category. This means that our rent goes up based on a particular index or if you have a house or car loan your payments will increase based on an index. Our rent was established on the September index of 310 and by December it had increased to 322.3. What that meant to our rent was an increase from 85,000 ISK to 88,000 ISK. The landlord rounded down from 88,373 ISK. The January index has already been set at 327.9 so you can see there is no slowing of the increases. Last night I walked across the river to get a head of lettuce that cost $3.88. The walk over wasn't too bad as the wind was behind me but coming home in the -8 C temperature with a wind in my face that kept the flags flying straight out was a bit chilling - all to save on the gas to pay for the lettuce (it was from Spain but even the local lettuce was just as expensive and it is not the same). Just remember the mess this country is in is the result to lots of greed and terrible financial policies and practices. Let's keep an eye on our legislators and financial gurus.
Friday, November 28, 2008
We woke up this morning to clear sky even though you don´t find out until later when it starts getting light. The sunrise was at 10:30 AM and the sunset was at 3:30 PM today. We had a beautiful clear day but with that comes cold temperatures. It isn't all that cold at 20 F but the winds are still high with the flags flying straight out so our walk across the river to the library was a cold walk. When we left yesterday to go to Reykjavík there was a little ice on the river but this morning it was a whole different story as you can tell by the pictures. It is a little hard to tell but in the center of the top picture the ice is piling up high in the middle of the river.
Much of Wednesday was spent preparing food for Thanksgiving except for the great teaching we had with Eyþor, Dagmar and Jón - great family. I made a berry cheesecake and peeled all the apples and potatoes for the apple pie and mashed potatoes, but then I blew it as I was heating up the berries for pouring over the cheesecake. Instead I burned the bottom of the apple pie (remember these kitchens are small and no where to put things to cool while continuing to make other things), so I had to run to the store and buy more apples for another pie. Maybe there was madness to my plan as I got a whole apple pie to leave home. Thursday we drove to Reykjavík for Thanksgiving dinner with all the missionaries and a young couple from the US going to the University of Iceland. The drive was treacherous with 45 MPH winds and gusts even greater but since the roads were dry and free of ice I managed to keep the car on the road if not always straight. Way too much good food with turkey (at about $5 per pound), dressing, jams, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, bread, cheesecake, and apple and pumpkin pie along with whipped cream. Wow makes me hungry even though I ate too much yesterday. We have so much to be thankful for and then we over eat!
This has been a very good week. Monday we had three lessons all out of town. One was NE of town about 30 minutes out and the other two were SE of town about 15 minutes and another 15 minutes further SE. Tuesday we went east 2 1/2 hours to teach a man who had been taught several months ago by a different set of Elders. It took us much longer to get there as we stopped along the way to see two waterfalls and a glacier that you can see from the road but we stopped to walk up closer. The weather was cold and windy but Finnur was so open to the gospel message it didn't seem all that cold when we got to him. We had a great lesson with him and when we got up to leave he gave us two fish he had caught - one was a salmon but the other we are not sure. Then Wednesday evening we taught a great family about 15 minutes SE of town. They were very open to learning the Gospel and asked us to come back even before we could ask if we could.
Friday, November 21, 2008
On November 19, 2008 we attended one of those highlights of your mission. This was the full day mission conference session. It began with the testimony of a Danish convert of 1962 who was taught by Elder Larson one on our current senior couple missionaries. He told how the missionaries and particularly Elder Larson had taught his family the gospel and how it had blessed their family over the last 46 years. Then Brother and Sister Karlson of Sweden told how our current Mission President had taught and baptized them in 1966 on his mission in Sweden and the blessings their family - children and grandchildren have received because of President Olauson bringing them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brother and Sister Karlson are both ordinance workers in the Copenhagen Temple and were with us on Tuesday too. What an inspiration for all these missionaries to learn first hand from people who were taught and baptized over 40 years ago my men they are now serving with. We have four Elders in our couples who served in Denmark who have been able to reestablish contact with members they taught and baptized in the 60's. Probably the only part of the mission conference that was not appreciated by some was lunch time when we got our flu shots. There were several missionaries that did not want the shot. After lunch Eileen and Sister Larson sang a beautiful version of "Prayer of Thanksgiving". They both have beautiful voices and they sounded wonderful together. After more speakers and training by great Elders and Sister we concluded the conference with a testimony meeting and then Thomas Kofod who portrayed Jesus in The Testaments (small picture) sang the closing song "I Heard Him Come". He was amazing to hear and I don't think there was a dry eye in the building. President Olauson said he has been trying to get him to sing at a Zone Conference for over 15 months but schedules have not worked. He as well as everyone in attendance were glad they didn't so we all had this special experience.
After arriving in Copenhagen Monday all of the Icelandic missionaries went to see the Christus in The Church of Our Lady. Outside the church is a statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments and inside is Jesus Christ at the front of the church with the 12 Apostles at each of the columns lining both side of the church. The statues are all quite impressive and it was great to see the original Christus as well as the statue of Peter holding the keys of the Priesthood that President Kimball talked about when visiting the church.
It has been awhile since we have posted as we have been very busy with the great mission work going on in Iceland and because Monday November 17 we went to Copenhagen Denmark for a Mission Conference. On Tuesday the entire mission went to the Temple and because of the large number of missionaries we had to split into two groups. I was in the 2nd group and again because of the numbers we had to find space for all the missionaries to wait for the second session. They ended up sitting on the stairs which were slightly curved within white walls so you could see all the way to the top. The treads were light blue with light glowing beneath each tread. With Elders sitting on each side of the stairs for almost 2 stories it created a most impressive sight. The Temple President when seeing it said it was a sight he would treasure in his mind and in his heart as it touched him so. It was quite the sight to behold - all that power and authority held by those great young men.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Those of you who know me, know I am always turning off lights, shutting doors and windows and whatever else to conserve our natural resources as well as our money. So when we moved into our apartment and found the toilet ran constantly, I asked the landlord to fix it (I couldn't figure our how to get the top off to see if I could fix it). He could not figure out how to get the top off either and said we don't worry about the water usage so it is OK. Then this week the toilet wouldn't flush so I figured out how to get the top off and discovered the entire underside was covered with mold as well as the wall behind. I cleaned up the mold which probably accounts for our sore throats but I could not stop the flow of water so asked the landlord to again fix it as the constant flow also caused a constant flow of water on the floor from the sweating tank. He came last night and proceeded to break the insides and said he will have to get another and for now we are using a bucket to flush the toilet. He then said he noticed moisture on our windows and in Iceland that means we have to open the windows and turn up the heat. Again my conservation kicks in and he said OH it' OK that is what we do in Iceland to get rid of the moisture so it doesn't ruin the windows. So in our living room, kitchen and bedroom we have one each one foot square windows that are now open. It is nice though because we can hear the river better with them open especially in the bedroom. I am not sure how long this process will work though as we have the heat (hot water radiators) turned as high as they will go and it is in the 30's with no wind. When the winds pick back up which is most of the time and the temperatures drop again, I think the windows will have to go closed again. The picture was taken from our living room at 9:30 AM this morning.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
We found her commentary on Icelandic funny but seriously it is very difficult for those of us who don´t even remember what an adverb is or a participle for that matter. We are learning though!
Monday, November 3, 2008
This weekend we had Zone Conference with all the missionaries and the Mission President - President Olauson. We also had an Iceland Conference for both branches in Iceland. It was a great two days to spend with all the missionaries, President Olauson and the great members in the two branches. Zone Conference was Saturday morning and afternoon followed by a Priesthood Session and an adult session in the evening. Systir Bremner spoke on service at the adult session and many of the members were very touched by her comments which included stories from our family. I think the sisters were touched the most as they related to their families. The conference theme was Trusting in the Lord. Many of the members have been greatly affected by the financial mess in Iceland and the theme was most appropriate. Sunday morning a sister originally from Uganda and now married to an American bore her testimony on Trusting the Lord and it was the most beautiful testimony and the Spirit filled the chapel. I was assigned to speak too but we had not been told when we would speak. As this sister spoke I thought I hope I don't follow her, but sure enough I was called on to speak next. I was prepared to give my talk in Icelandic and I wanted to say something about her talk but all I could think of in my limited Icelandic was to thank her. I guess I surprised everyone as the response from the members and President Olauson was more than I wanted. Of course now I have to work harder to try and learn the language as it is one thing to give a talk in a foreign language and entirely another to be able to carry on a conversation in a foreign language. A new twist to this language I learned this weekend makes it even harder to understand - people's names change just like the nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, etc. What does that mean - well an example: the name Anna in the nominative case becomes Önnu in the accusative, dative and genitive cases. Other names may change in all four cases. Anyway it makes learning Icelandic even more difficult than I already thought it was. Oh well we have beautiful scenery to look at. The picture of the geyser is right as it is getting ready to blow - I have never seen one so up close before. The other picture is just one of the many beautiful sunrises we enjoy most mornings.
Friday, October 31, 2008
The pictures in this post are from Þingvellir National Park which is about 30 minutes from where we live. We left home wondering if it would be a nice day and it was beautiful as you can tell by the pictures. Þingvellir is very significant historically and symbolically to the Icelanders. It was long the site of the original Alþingi or national parliament of the settlers and the setting for many of the most important events in the history of Iceland.
The top picture is taken near what they called the Law Rock where the law was read and the assembly of parliment was below them. The valley served as the living area for all the attendees.
The next picture shows the geological significance of the area. We are standing next to the American continent (high rock wall to the left). The continent of Europe is to our right and we are standing on a section of land that has been left between the two continents.
The next picture shows the American continent on the right and the valley below is the area between the two continents and the national park.
This last picture is just another fissure in the ground - there are many of them.
Just to show you the geysirs that are a famous part of Iceland since they go off every few minutes. They are unpredictable and one went off behind us that the Elders had never seen go off on their many trips. This is only 45 minutes from where we live. Note the blue bubble just before it blows.
We have been told we aren't keeping our blog up so I will try to do more. For all the horse lovers here are some pictures of the famous Icelandic horses. Eileen loves them and is always telling me to stop and take pictures. I'm not much for stopping on a highway to take pictures so these are actually from one of our Elders. I think I need to find another way to put my pictures on our blog since you have to click on them to see them.
Monday, October 20, 2008
We went to the Westmann Islands with the Elders on Friday and Saturday to meet with the members (one family) and with investigators. We returned home Saturday night as we have responsibilities with the Selfoss Branch. The Elders stayed until Sunday night as they held Sacrament Meeting with the member family and one non-member. The trip over was rough and one Elder spent most of the three hours over the toilet. Eileen was the only one who did not seem affected by the rough trip. Friday it was wet and windy but still provided some beautiful pictures. Saturday Eileen and I got up early and did a quick tour of the island - less than an hour. The day was beautiful and we enjoyed time with the member family and an investigator before we had to get back on the boat.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Yesterday we visited a family that lives about a half hour north of Selfoss in the high country. Coming home we we were getting the snow that was up higher coming down on us in the form of slushy rain. By the time we got down to Selfoss it was just rain. This morning we woke up to a beautiful day about 40 F. These pictures are from our walk which at times was a little slippery from the ice on the walks. The roads had been salted but the walks were very icy. The top picture is the state church in Selfoss. In the next you can just see the mountains in the far distance covered with snow. The next show where we live - the basement (daylighted) apartment on the left side of the center house. It is a very small apartment but very nice and what a beautiful location on the river. Our view is of the city of Selfoss across the river. The last two pictures are the same - one just close up. Those are the mountains in the distance we have to go over to get to Reykjavik and last night the trip was through the snow. The puffs of what looks like smoke are the hot pots blowing off steam. We see that every day the mountains are clear as we walk into Selfoss.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We were grocery shopping today and one of the clerks is a member of the Church. He was redoing pricing on the shelves and I asked if the price of everything was going up and he said yes. To give you a concept of high – toilet paper was approximately a dollar a roll.
Our first night in Iceland was Thursday October 2, 2008 and what a greeting we got the next morning. We woke to a complete blanket of snow – about 2 inches. We had to go to Reykjavik which includes a climb over a mountain where the winds can be brutal and the temperature drops. We waited until about 10 AM hoping the roads would get better. The trip was uneventful because our car has traction control and electronic stability control which kept kicking in as we drove through the ice and snow going up the mountain. I don’t mind the going up but coming down is a whole other story. Anyway by Monday night the roads were finally clear of all the ice and snow.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Since we know for sure that Heidi is having a baby girl and Heather is also having a baby, Eileen started making two blessing dresses just in case Heather has a girl too. While we were at the beach Eileen completed more than half the dress. But when Eileen showed it to Gonnie, the light was better and you could see two different shades of yarn were used. So Eileen took that one out and went on a search for the right shade of yarn. At the time she couldn't find any so she started this dress and just finished it. She has the yarn to finish the second but I doubt there is enough time to finish it before we leave for Iceland.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Today was Gunnar's birthday. Hard to believe it was 15 years ago we were in Provo UT waiting at the hospital for him to come. He has been a delight to watch grow in to a great young man. We are going to miss watching him in all his activities these next 18 months.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Lisa, David, Gunnar, Zek, Amanda, Eileen and I all went to the Minnesota State Fair Friday for Zek to play Memories in the state wide talent competition. He won the preteen division for our county giving him the opportunity to perform at the State Fair. While our county only allows you to win once in a division most of the competition last night had performed many times at the state level. The talent was amazing yet Zek held his own and he has only had two years of training and is only 9 years of age. He played his piece absolutely beautifully and even without my prejudice better than the 12 year old that won 2nd place. The picture was taken by a recycle group that was promoting reusable grocery bags which they gave to everyone who would have their picture taken. So we have a picture of all of us at the fair. The crowds were horrendous and the cost of everything was too. Now I know why this was our first time at the Minnesota State Fair. The only thing that will induce us back is another performance of one of our many talented grandchildren - that makes it worth it.
Friday, August 22, 2008
We are finishing up a great week on the beach at Otter Rock Oregon. We joked about the first several days being just for us to get us ready for Iceland - cool and rainy. The real benefit though has been the time spent working on our Icelandic skills. I didn't say learning because I am not sure how much we are learning but we have definitely been working on our skills. At home Eileen is always so busy doing other things so this has been a great time for her. She has really improved this week and with the extra understanding I am sure she will continue to learn and improve at a much greater pace.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Today we went to Church in the Newport Oregon Ward and the speakers were from another ward reporting on their mission. As soon as they started talking we knew they served with our good friends now President and Sister Boggess of the Nigeria Enugu Mission. When we talked to them we also found our their daughter and son-in-law just finished 3 years in Iceland with the US government. They said Iceland has a great need for senior couples so that must be why we are going there.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
We left home August 7 to say good bye to our family in Arizona, California and Oregon. We had a great visit with Heidi, Doug and Martin along with Doug's family. While there Heidi had a 3D ultrasound and there is no question she is having a girl - of course while we are in Iceland just like Martin while we were in Romania. We flew to California August 11 for a nice visit with Eileen's folks and sister and family in Gilroy. Next we are going to Oregon to see my Mom and brother and spend our first summer week at our beach time share. This wasn't expected as we thought we would be on our next mission before this week so we are looking forward to a summer week on the beach.
Great picture of Eileen and Martin
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday night many members of our family and friends went to opening night to watch Steven and Gunnar perform. When Steven came on stage there was no mistaking the roll he was playing. He was the star and it showed! He brings such life, excitement and fun to the stage. Even though I have never heard any of the music before I loved listening to Steven sing on stage again. It brought back the memories of his days as Huck Finn in Big River at the Jackson Hole Playhouse. Gunnar was not only fun to watch but we could also hear his beautiful base voice in the chorus. Wednesday night Micah went again and we watched the kids. Then tonight Micah took all the kids except Peter so they could see their Dad and we watched Peter. Saturday night we are going to the show as we want to enjoy our son and grandson in the show again.
Steven's kids excited after seeing their Dad play the lead roll of Starbuck.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sunday was a special day for Cenneidigh and our family as we gathered for her baptism after Church. Cenneidigh asked Uncle Steven to preside, Grandpa to conduct, cousin Eric and Aunt Bonnie to speak, Grandma to sing a special song, Aunt Amanda to do a slide show of her, Uncle Steven and her Mother to say prayers and her Dad to baptize and confirm her. She also invited two neighborhood families. Later in the day everyone who came to the baptism enjoyed dinner at her house.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I receive so many creative items from my talented family including sons and daughters in-laws that I need to start sharing them with others. The most recent is a box of candy with each piece of candy wrapped with a special picture or saying which Kristi made. The other is a unique card Heather made for Randy to insert a special message which he did. It is fun being a father and a grandfather.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
We also got a call from President Olauson our Mission President. He said we will fly to Copenhagen to meet with him for two days before going to Iceland. We will also go to the Temple in Copenhagen. We had a great visit with him and look forward to meeting and working with him.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
We were out walking this afternoon to get some errands done when it started raining just as we got to the bank. It quit when we were ready to leave. We went to Lisa's to pick up Cenneidigh to spend time with us. It started raining again and we visited for a little while until it quit. Just as we got home it started raining again but we might as well been in the rain as we were soaked from the humidity. We turned on the air-conditioning and I sat down to read the paper. Just then the sirens started wailing and I turned on the local channel and we were under a tornado warning as a tornado had been spotted just south and east. We spent the next 1/2 hour in the basement until they cleared the warning. In about 15 minuted they put us under a warning because the storm is continuing across us again. The image to the left shows the progress of the storms as they move northeast over us - one storm after another. 30 minutes have passed since the last warning was canceled and the sirens are wailing again.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tonight we enjoyed a piano recital including 5 of our grandsons. The piano teacher made a point of acknowledging us and our grandsons. Gunnar, Qatar and Ezekiel Peters and Connett and Benjamin Bremner all did great - how fun to see our grandchildren excelling at one of my favorite accomplishments - I love piano music. Sorry for the poor photos.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
"Iceland offers wide varieties of traditional cuisine. Þorramatur (food of the þorri) is the Icelandic national food. Nowadays þorramatur is mostly eaten during the ancient Nordic month of þorri, in January and February, as a tribute to old culture. Þorramatur consists of many different types of food. These are mostly offal dishes like pickled ram's testicles, putrefied shark, singed sheep heads, singed sheep head jam, blood pudding, liver sausage (similar to Scottish haggis) and dried fish (often cod or haddock) with butter.
Much of the cuisine centres around Iceland's fishing industry. Traditional dishes include Hákarl (putrefied shark), graflax (salmon marinated in salt and dill), hangikjöt (smoked lamb), hrútspungar (pickled ram's testicles), and slátur (sausages made from sheep entrails). A popular food is skyr made of cultured skim milk, in the summer time it may be served with bilberries as a dessert."
We had a hard time with the food in Romania - this is going to be even more interesting.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Aunt Lisa sent Tyler a Halloween costume which Tyler has decided is fun to wear right now. She also sent him snow boots which he was wearing for the first pictures I took but then I decided to take more and he had them off. Aunt Lisa is always sending clothes for Tyler which he loves to get but I don't think it will happen much more as Tyler is catching up height wise with his cousin JT. Jacob also wanted to be in the pictures.
Friday, May 2, 2008
We left Austin May 1 at 9 AM and we arrived in Sidney NE about 7:30 PM. I would like to have continued on but the winds were 50 to 70 MPH from the right making it difficult to handle the car. We got up this morning thinking we would continue on even though the winds never stopped during the night. We looked out the window and found it was nasty out but worse yet we found out I 80 was closed from Cheyenne to Laramie. Then we found out I 80 from Sidney to the Wyoming boarder was closed. The picture is of Cabella's well it would be if the snow and wind didn't hide it. We have been on the phone and checking all websites for weather and road conditions all day and the storm seems to have settled on top of us and we don't appear to be going anywhere. I have been in the lobby many times today and there has been a steady flow of people coming from the east having to get off here at Sidney to spend the night. The first one I talked to was at 11 this morning. He left North Platte and 6 AM and said the roads were bad mainly because of all the trucks that had jackknifed. The trip should have only taken 2 hours not 5 that it took him. He is on his way to Boise. The family moved and he was in the process to trying to sell the car and was going to fly with the cat to Boise but ended up driving instead and was not too happy about it. We are supposed to be in Tooele today to take care of Tyler and Jacob but we won't make it today. We are now praying we can make it tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Studying for Sunday School I liked the following from the Institute Manual - "King Benjamin's comment about service to fellowmen (Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.) suggests in beautiful simplicity the doctrine taught by the Savior: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) The manual then goes on to quote Elder Ivins "The great value, I believe, that the Church has for us is the opportunity it gives us to serve, for, after all, the great benefits of life come from service. Generous, open-hearted, full service to our fellows, I believe, it the thing which brings us the greatest happiness. We can serve our families and gain happiness by it; we can serve our friends and gain happiness by it; but if we would be happy we must serve and serve generously, and I believe myself that the greatest happiness that comes to me from observing the standards of the Church and meeting my obligations to it is the spiritual values that I get out of that service." (CR Oct 1948 pp 47-48).
We had our final interview last night with President Spackman and he submitted our missionary recommendation to the Brethren. That event together with the blessings we received serving in Romania and the name of this blog made these thoughts have even greater significants to me. The photo is from when we entered the MTC July 4, 2005 but since we haven't changed that much we thought it appropriate to use for the required photo for the missionary recommendation.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008