Posted Dec 16, 2009
Last Updated Dec 22, 2009
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from the keyboard of

dad, g'pa, john, jerry, casey jones,

& onkel sven



and a fantastical 2010!!! 

(Dec 9)

I'll open with a recipe, to remind us of our good fortune, and God's blessing in our time.  For blessed we are. 

 In recent times, the "smörgåsbord "–– in Finnish "voileipäpöytä" –– has become popular.  In earlier times, however, those were not widely available~

 At that time, the most genuine, truly traditional Scandinavian wintertime main meal was salt fish and potatoes or something similar.  For example:

Scoop 1 large ladle of salt fish fresh  (fresh is a figure of speech here) from the barrel.  If  fish is a cash crop for your family, then fish heads can be substituted for whole fish

 Cube several large potatoes (or turnips or rutebagas); add carrots and cabbage if available 

 Dump fish or fish heads, and the vegetables, into cook pot.  Add water till covered.  Stir 

 Place pot over a good bed of embers

 Simmer till mooshy, stirring occasionally

 Divide into portions according to the number of your household and guests

 Put out plates of hard strong rye bead or hardtack, preferably spread with butter or lard.  This provides the definitive feature –– the smörgås or voileipä

Serve with home brewed beer, from home-grown grain and  home-grown hops.  For the younger children, churn milk can be substituted for beer 

 Father leads the family in reciting "I Jesu namn…" 

 Followed by father saying "Ät Du!", at which everyone pitches in


(Dec 10)

 The Old Guy's Health

 I still live alone and enjoy the independence.

 Somehow or other, old people commonly pay more attention to their health, so I might as well get the subject out of the way, right up front.

 My health ain't bad for an old guy.  I haven't fallen down for more than a year.  My fine motor tremor seems to have eased off a bit, which helps the typing.  My hearing is a bit worse, but not much; I can still function one on one, even in a crowd.  Eyes get tired, but they're not a problem.  I do an exercise for them that also amounts to a one-minute meditation. And of course there is the napping option.

My lungs on the other hand... Can you say emphysema?  Normally I spend my days with an oxygen tube in my nose.  R2D2's little cousin, R2O2, resides in my living room, concentrating O2 from the air and pumping it through a 40-foot tube to my nostrils.  Homely little cuss, but good-hearted.  Also I have a shoulder bag with a light-weight oxygen bottle which I expect to be toting around RadCon in February.  Without an oxygen feed, I kind of slump.  (I should have had it with me today.)

 My pulse is 70 (a dozen years ago, in my power-walking days, it was 52!); my blood pressure is 110 or 115 over 70 or 80; bodyweight 156-160 lb, depending on whether I'm dressed for summer or winter.  It's long underwear time in Ohio.

 Yep, I still work out –– tai-chi warmups for seniors, to hinder arthritis and retain flexibility; balancing work to minimize falling; and resistance work to keep the bones and muscles strong enough that if I do fall, I can get up again.

 (Dec 11)

 Driving at night lately, I've gotten lost a couple of times.  Not a good sign.  Also, it seems that when I'm off my oxyen feed and my blood oxygen gets low, my fingers get very cold –– stiff and wooden.  This evening they did that; I couldn't feel things with them.  Our apartment complex has a single mail station, a long bank of outdoor mail boxes.  I'd been out doing errands, and stopped by son Jack's house to return a refrigerator carton in which, a few days earlier, Jill had sent a delicious stew home with me.

 So I returned it empty and clean.  They invited me to stay for supper.  It was plumb dark when I left, with another container filled with savory Chinese food. The temperature outside was 27°F, headed for 18.  I drove off to finish my errands, first to the pharmacy for a prescription renewal, then to Krogers for groceries. 

 My fingers began to go wooden and numb, and when I went to leave the mail station, I had trouble inserting my car key and starting my car.  The sucker just wouldn't start.  "Well, Stanley," I thought (a line from the 1930s Oliver & Hardy movies), "this is a fine kettle of fish."  In trying to start it, had I flooded the carburetor?  (Do cars today even have carburetors?)

 I let it stand a few minutes, to drain, then tried again.   Nada.  Meanwhile I had groceries in the trunk that would not be helped by freezing, nor would my poor lungs respond well to temps in the mid-20s while I walked home.  So I knocked at a householder's door.  He let me use his phone, and I called Jack.  He'd come right over.  After a few minutes I walked out to my car, so I'd know when he arrived.  Meanwhile my fingers had improved a bit, so I tried starting the car, and –– you guessed it.  It started right up, smoother'n silk.  So when Jack arrived, a couple minutes later, I drove home and he followed me and carried my groceries in for me.

(Dec 12)

 Speaking of developers, Dublin Ohio has its own real-life reply to what's its name –– the Da Vinci Code.  But this time it's a park put up by reincarnations of those old druid priests that built Stonehenge!  (What?  Would I lie to you?)  But after such a long time, and changes of culture, they got confused and lost track of the original plan (huh! Tell me about it!), and instead set up rows of 7-ft-tall concrete ears of husked corn, on a half-acre of nice lawn at the corner of Frantz and Ring's Road.  And named it something like "Corn Park."  I have corrected that to "Corn Henge," to credit the original concept of a monument to the fertility goddess.

A half acre of concrete phallic symbols!  Those Druids didn't much care what they did, seems as if.  Like developers.

 (Dec 16)


 I seem to be coming down with something respiratory, my second such since Brother Emphysema moved in with me. So far that "something respiratory" is very mild (fingers crossed).  Tomorrow I'll see a doctor. 

 Last February I celebrated life with other science fiction folks at three Inland Northwest conventions: in February, RadCon at Pasco WA; on Memorial Day weekend MisCon at Missoula MT; and at the corner of July and August, at SpoCon in Spokane WA.  Some of the world's friendliest, most open and tolerant people.  They flew me up, put me up, fed me, pickled me in ethanol, and made me feel...elevated! Wow! 

This february it'll be back to Pasco.  This time I'll take my oxygen apparatus.  I wonder what airport security will think of that.  But I suppose they deal with it often.

 And with that I'll close.  Love~~

 Dad / G'pa / John Dalmas / Cousin Jerry / Casey Jones / Onkel Sven