Friday, February 27, 2015

Dad's made his mark

I started the day with a male cardinal out front and this big guy on the deck railing.
I always think of Betty when I see those cardinals and she used to love to see the pileated woodpeckers too, so I'll just say that this was a visit from friend and other mother, Betty.

After lunch, I headed to Balsam Lake, WI to the Veteran's Administration office for Polk County.

I picked up the marker provided to us by the Veteran's Administration. 
It's very nice and I think Dad would have liked it 
and I know Ev would have been very proud.

The VA office for Polk County, Wisconsin have been very helpful and extremely kind in their assistance to me.   
Thumbs up to them!


On my way home, I went through Luck.
The ice castle still looks great!

After taking care of some banking and shopping, I headed back towards Rice Lake.
I decided to try to see a snowy owl on the way home.
I had a hot tip about one South of Cumberland, not far from where Laila and I saw one in December.
I was in Luck...not really I was in Almena, but I was lucky!
I saw the owl on a power pole, but it flew as I drove up, I watched it glide far out into a snow covered corn field before I was pressed to move on by traffic.
So, I whipped a louie and went back, took the West town road and then the South town road and found the owl sitting in an oak tree out in a big field.
It was almost 300 yards from my spot on the road to the owl.
I watched for about 45 minutes.
Twice concerned passers by stopped to see if I needed help.
Very kind of those gentlemen, and they chuckled when I explained I was watching an owl.
So you see it?
The same photo cropped
It was just too far away for my camera lens, so I tried the old cell phone looking through a binocular and it turned out just okay.
You get the idea of a white owl anyway.
It was pure luck to see this owl, I'll assume that it was Dad sending me a greeting.
Who's to say?

As I sat there watching the owl, I noticed an interesting snow drift.
It's an optical illusion for sure.
The dark blue on the left was the edge of the snow and the lighter part where the wind had worn away some waves.
Cool, eh?
I came upon a brook that was running along quite rapidly, 
there is not much open water right now but perhaps this is a little warmer as it is downstream from
the waste treatment plant?

It was good to be out in nature with the camera again.
Now a little warmer weather would make it all the better.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More cats

Just thought I'd post a quick photo of the indoor cats, 
since the outdoor cats have been getting all the attention lately.
Just recently these two have decided to share this cat bed, 
which for the past 2-3 years, has been the sole domain of Hops.
Cats are funny.
Hops & Barley

Friday, February 20, 2015

Looks like they like it

The trail cam photos from yesterday 
show that the kitties have found the water and the food & the shelter.  

Thirsty kitties.
I'm glad I can help them out, and this should keep them away from the bird bath too.
Everybody wins.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Again with the plumber, geesh

Yet another fitting blew on the plumbing in the crawl space.  It happened just as I was about to jump into the shower so I could go play Bridge.  
I knew what it was right away, and turned off the power to the well pump.

I called my usual plumber, Chad, but the bad news was he was in Oshkosh and could not help me until Monday.  
He suggested I call my nephew in law's brother, and so I did.  I got lucky, both my nephew in law and his brother were off work today and were willing to come and help me.
While Ryan worked in the crawl space fixing my leak, Mark and I got caught up on his family of 4 girls and busy wife, my niece, Krista.

I had my trail cam set up to capture the porch kitties but instead I got plumber legs.

The leak is fixed and he did not charge me enough, but I'll make it up to him somehow.

I missed playing cards, but at least I was here when the leak started, otherwise it could have been a big ice sculpture poking out of the end of the house.

Rescue Me

What to do about outside cats...I do not approve of pet owners who let their cats roam the neighborhood.  It is not healthy for the cats and it is not healthy for my birds who frequent my feeders.  Having said that, I have noticed 3 skinny little cats in my yard off and on all winter.  At first I assumed that some owner was letting them roam, but last week, when they were trying to get a drink of water out of the bird bath, I changed my mind.
Here they are trying to lap up a little water out of the bird bath.
Once I saw them up close, I could see that they were skinny and obviously very thirsty.
And so it begins...

I don't want the cats competing with or eating the birds, so I decided to put a dish of food under my front porch to lure the kitties away from the birds.  
The food disappeared nightly, here is one of the orange kitties having a snack.
But what about, then I hopped on and ordered a heated water dish.  Planning to provide food and drink under the porch.   Then Mother Nature sent a wicked cold spell.  When the water dish came the temperature was hovering around zero, I knew I had to do something more.
So, I cut a door into a plastic tote that I had turned upside down, using the lid as the base.  I laid a piece of carpet in the floor of the new cat house.  
Cat rescue house
Inside I added a cardboard box that I lined with those air filled pillows used for package packing.  I added some hand towels for bedding.
Trying to add some insulation.
Then I taped the lid on the tote for stability and now I have a cat house.
Since the food and water needs to be someplace where I can easily do refills, I set up the rescue spot under my front porch steps.
Porch kitty accommodations
So, now I am committed.  The food and water needed to be refilled the next morning.
Today I am setting up my trail cam to monitor the comings and goings under the porch.
Sometimes doing for others helps yourself along the way.

"Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other." 
-- Louis J. Camuti

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Danish Verse

During the coffee following Uncle Thorvald's service, as family friend, Kathy,  was having fun showing off a Danish Verse that Uncle Thorvald had translated for her.  

Normally a heart like this might display the Danish Table Prayer "I Jesu Navn" and from across the room, that is what I thought she was showing the others.  

When she got to me, I saw that it was a verse I was not familiar with and since my Danish is limited only to those prayers and songs which I memorized as kid, she had to explain it to me.

She said she got the heart at an estate sale, wasn't sure if it is Danish or Norwegian so Kathy showed it to Uncle Thorvald.
He did her the favor of a proper translation and it is preserved on the back.

Most of Uncle Thorvald's life was spent in capturing the history of the Danish Lutheran Church in America, his translations were of great historical significance.  It is fun to see he took the time to have a little chuckle along the way.

Sit in Peace
but not too long;
Another's need
may be very strong.

Life is Good.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The other brother and sister and uncle

Seems like I have 'other family' members scattered about.
Dad & Ev were so close with Jim and Janette Swenson, that they are like my 'other brother and sister in law'.
On my way to Iowa for Uncle Thorvald's funeral, I stayed overnight in Clear Lake, Iowa and met Jim and Janette for drinks and dinner.  We had a nice visit.
Wanda, Janette & Jim
Cancun Restaurant
Clear Lake, IA
On my way back from Iowa, I spent two nights in Herold, WI at Kris & Lora's house.  Kris was a way on business but I had a nice visit with Lora and Anders.  More on that later.

Monday, while Anders and Lora were at school, I drove to Winona to see my 'other uncle Dale'.  I always called Betty my 'other mother' and Dale is her brother.  Dale and I had a nice visit.  Dale had a bad cough when I was there, I hope he's better by now.  He wasn't up for the drive to La Crosse, which I suggested to him.

I took a photo of Dale standing in front of a door wreath that has golf tees and golf balls on it.
A friend made that wreath for Dale, he likes it as it reminds him of his golfing days.

Dale really enjoys the books on tape that he gets from the Library of Congress, what a great service for folks with sight limitations!

It sounds like he likes it fine there but that the routine gets a little tedious. He mentioned missing having the independence of a car although he knows he doesn't see well enough to drive.  He was curious about anything I knew of the Rosenow nieces and nephews, especially Paul.  😏

Before I left, the receptionist took our photo. They have added badge access to the building as a result of the robbery last fall.  Dale told me that a student confessed to stealing the large portrait and that the painting has been returned to Watkins.  The security upgrade seems smart to me.
Dale Rothering and Wanda at Watkins Senior Living

I'm hoping to get back to Herold in March or April to see my nephew and family, hopefully I'll have time to visit both Winona and Waumandee next time to see my other family.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Funeral Sermon for Thorvald Hansen 02.07.2015

Funeral Sermon for Thorvald Hansen
Mark Mattes, Grandview University

Every loss is significant but some losses are even more significant than others.  Thorvald was a husband, father, and friend.  We are here today because we were attached to him and he was attached to us.  But far more importantly, in holy baptism Thorvald was attached to our Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ to him.  Today we celebrate the most intimate of relationships—becoming one with our Lord—; this Thorvald has already experienced, and through God’s life-giving, unconditional promise, you too will experience it as well. 

With respect to the Grundtvigian heritage, Thorvald was not just a private figure—like so many of us—but instead a public figure.  More than any Danish-American living today, Thorvald was the connection, the thread, the voice and heart of the Grundtvigian-American tradition.  In a sense, as a scholar he is the last link or thread that we have with that powerful tradition which continues to nourish Grand View University even to this day. 

We have all learned from him and what he has taught us continues to live on through us.  It is not just that he served as archivist for Grand View for so many years, but in a very real sense, he was the “institutional memory” of Grand View, and not only of Grand View but also the Grundtvigian Danes in America as well.  No one living knows the history of those Danes as well as Thorvald did.  He walked with the giants of the past—men like Johannes Knudsen, Enok Mortensen, Harry Jensen, and Ernest Nielsen—but he continued this legacy well into the twenty-first century through his ministry and teaching.

As a young man Thorvald had great regard for giants such as S. D. Rodholm, and so many of his teachers.   But in his own way, Thorvald proved himself to be every bit the giant.  He excelled in publications exploring not just the history of Grand View but also of the Danish American Church.  His passing is quite the loss because not a one of us knows that heritage from the inside out like Thorvald did.  And, none of us have the resources in language, friendships, and history which he had so that we could know it like Thorvald did.  We are honored to have known Thorvald and to have received from his passion and wisdom. 

Everyone has turning points in their lives.  Perhaps the one thing that influenced Thorvald’s life was his appendectomy in 1940.  In the hospital Pastor L. C. Bundgaard, the Danish-American pastor in Troy New York visited him.  Thorvald confided to him that he was interested in becoming a pastor and Bundgaard urged Thorvald to attend Grand View.  By that time, Thorvald was considerably older than 18, but he took up Bundgaard’s lead and moved to Des Moines.  One could look at Thorvald’s entire life as one of gratitude—gratitude for the opportunity which Grand View and the Danish Church gave him for an education—for surely Thorvald understood just how powerful and life-transforming education is.  As a youth he enjoyed the little library in his congregation which gave him access not merely to religious literature but novels and history.  But his instructors at Grand View, men like Rodholm, Nielsen, Knudsen, and Ammentorp, opened his mind to new ideas and helped him spread his wings.  God provides ways for us to grow—and reading stretches our imaginations, teaches our consciences how to walk in others’ shoes, and makes us adept in problem solving.  God works through literature—he did with Thorvald and he does with us as well.
Not only did Thorvald thrive on all the new ideas he encountered as a student but he established lifelong friends, men such as Peter Thomsen, Marvin Jessen, Willard Garred, Clayton Nielson, Theodore Thuesen, Harry Jensen, and Harold Riber—to name a few.  At Grand View, Thorvald learned to become a writer and editor, originally of the Grand View Echo, and then later of the Danish Church’s Lutheran Tidings.

Thorvald was not always so public about his faith, but as I have learned over the years, faith was very important to him.  So important that it should never be trivialized, made cutesy, or aligned with a conservative political agenda.  For some time, I have felt, that like Jacob Thorvald wrestled with an angel, a messenger from God.  Life has its ups and downs and it is not always clear where God is in it all.  One route is to become bitter and hold God in contempt.  Another route is to resign one’s life into God’s hands.  Another route is to lament to God.  Another route is to wrestle with God—and I feel that Thorvald was often on that path.  That path is not to be slighted or seen to be inferior.  It is the path of God’s people: the word Israel means “one who wrestles with God.” 

Jesus himself in the Garden of Gethsemane asked his Father why he had forsaken him.  That too is wrestling with God.  We surely can learn from Thorvald that deep and abiding faith indicates the courage to wrestle with God, to raise hard questions, to resist simplistic solutions, and to be patient with pain.  But wrestling with God is not a winnable option.  Ultimately when we wrestle with God, God wins.  Ultimately God’ message to Thorvald and to you and me is that his mercy is enough for us.  The whole point about wrestling with God is to let go—and to receive God’s mercy and generosity—that God’s grace is enough to carry us through life.  Paul learned this lesson well when he pleaded to God three times for God to take away his “thorn” (as he put it) which was his basis for wrestling with God.  What Paul learned  was that God’s grace is sufficient or enough for him, because God’s power is made perfect in weakness.  Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor 12:9-10).  Thorvald too had many ups and downs in his life, but in all these things, God proved that is mercy and goodness is enough.  And, God will prove the same for you.

 Thorvald is not a man who came as a “single package.”  He was a man quite dependent upon Johanne who he originally met as a student at Grand View but with whom he was reacquainted in West Denmark in 1947.  There is no way that Thorvald could have written as much as he had if he hadn’t had Johanne to assist him.  Johanne is every bit as bright and free-spirited as her husband.  But she is loyal, sympathetic, and powerful, complementing her husband’s work ethic.  I have often thought that Thorvald would not have been as productive as he was apart from the companionship given to him by Johanne.
Amongst his many gifts, as a historian, Thorvald knew in his bones how to step outside the little stories to see the wider framework, the bigger story.  That takes a great deal of objectivity—most people aren’t able to do it.  But Thorvald did and could.  By seeing the bigger picture and finding ways to conveying it to others, we are all made wiser. 
Thorvald’s values of caring for the little person, equality of opportunity for all, and freedom to think for oneself grew out of what he had learned from his mentors.  He always wanted faith to impact life.  He had little patience with Christian fundamentalists.  Any faith worth its salt for Thorvald was one that invited challenge, debate, and questioning that “shakes the foundations.”  More than anything Thorvald was a man of courage who did not flee from life but instead accepted life on its terms and walked bravely into it.  Yes, of course, he was a little on the shy side, but shyness is not the opposite of courage but instead is confidence that one has sufficient skills to cope with life.
As a professional, Thorvald came to his own when he served as Grand View archivist.  The 1980s saw Thorvald offer a fury of publications and international travel (to Denmark, naturally!), which brought him and Johanne as well great joy.

We can be grateful for Thorvald’s life, his contributions, his memory, his passion for equity and freedom.  More than anything we can look to our Savior Christ who claimed Thorvald in his baptism, sustained Thorvald in ministry, inspired Thorvald in his research and writing, and now has brought him to the heavenly home.  God makes his power perfect not in our perfections but in our weaknesses—and for this we can be grateful this day and forever. As Thorvald’s grandson said, “only the good die young—but my grandfather is 98—that means that he wasn’t just good, but great.” 

We can be reminded of the words we sang in “O Day Full of Grace”:

When we on that final journey go That Christ is for us preparing, We’ll gather in song, our hearts aglow, All joy of the heavens sharing, And walk in the light of God’s own place, With angels his name adoring.

Now the great man has met the Great Shepherd!  We can claim the words of Hebrews:

“Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Above you have read the eulogy for my Uncle Thorvald Hansen, I traveled to Iowa for his burial and funeral service.  Thorvald was 98 years old in January.  He was one of most brilliant men I have ever known.  I admired his dedication to the history of the Danish Lutheran Church.   He was a man with dry wit and little to say, but if you listened, you got a chuckle or learned a bit.  He will be missed by all, and especially my Aunt Johanne, his wife.  Aunt Johanne & I shared a few minutes together at coffee after the funeral service.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

He's getting so long & so smart

I had a nice visit in Herold with Anders and Lora.  Kris was away in Kentucky for work trapping elk for relocation to Wisconsin, but that's his story not mine.  Back to my story, I stopped for two nights in Herold on my way home from my Uncle Thorvald's funeral in Iowa.  

Anders is getting to be a big boy, almost 7, and very fun to visit with.
I arrived Sunday afternoon in time for some visit time and supper.  I brought him a kid's Atlas and he was interested in the mazes and other activities on the pages of each state.  He disappeared for a bit and came out of his room with the exact same book that someone else had given him, but that didn't bother him, he had double the fun activities to do that way.  
Eventually he got around to being 'the teacher' and telling me I had homework to do.
He would assign the page I should turn to, and then we would look and see what was there to do, and most of the time, he would do the activity.  It was fun to see how he thinks.

He had a funny balloon/tether ball toy that he was enjoying bouncing.  Lora showed him how it was full of static electricity and you can see he liked this experiment.

The next day, it was school for Anders and Lora.  After I saw Anders get on the bus and wished Lora a good day as she drove off, I got ready to go meet with my 'other uncle Dale'.  I posted the photos from our visit in a separate entry.
That evening, I picked Anders up at day care, where he goes after school, and he and I headed home for fun and play.
Anders loves his little cars and big truck and garage toy.  He lays on the floor and talks to the cars and trucks, putting them to sleep, waking them up, running them around the track and smashing them together.  It was entertaining to watch and I took a short time lapse video of him.
Click here to see the video or go to my YouTube channel.

That evening, after a yummy supper together, we played a game of Yahtzee.
Anders loves this game and goes for the Yahtzee time and time again.
He's still learning about the odds of getting all of the dice to match, but the lure of being able to shout "Yahtzee"!  out weighs the risk of losing the game.
No matter, it was fun and he's learning.
This time Lora won, but the next time, I'm betting it may turn out differently.

Life is Good.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I love that line, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."  
And I really loved it when I finally read it last night at about 3:00 am marking the end of a reading adventure that I started in August right after my ankle surgery.  
I had never read Gone With the Wind and decided it would be a good book to start, knowing that I was going to be spending many hours sitting in a chair.  

What I couldn't know was that I would not have that much time on my hands as I was busy helping with Ev's Memorial and then with Dad's funeral.  So, my reading time was extended as there were several weeks that I just couldn't stay focused enough to read.  

But recently, I got busy reading again and last night I read the last words in the book; although the book uses "My dear, I don't give a damn."  

It was a good feeling to finish a read of this magnitude and I really enjoyed every minute of the book.  I have seen the film version several times, maybe even once a year, but the book takes a different path during most of the story and I enjoyed it very much.  
5 stars for sure!


Related Posts with Thumbnails