Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Drive.

When I get bored bad things happen. Seriously, if in your head, you think, "maybe this is a bad idea", that's probably because IT IS. I, however, have continually ignored that inner voice for the majority of my life. That's probably how I ended up stuck in the middle of a lake today. That's right- I drove my car out on a lake and I got stuck.

I've been on a frozen lake before, but this was my first time driving myself out on to the water. I got about a half a mile out before I started to realize getting back might be tricky. I was right. It was. A nice man with a shovel and a fish house came and rescued me. When I admitted to being an idiot for driving onto the ice all he said was, "Yep". Awesome.

So we got my car dislodged from the middle of the lake snow bank I drove into. I called my mom and told her about my adventure and then my car started overheating. My poor little Jetta. As it turns out snow can get up inside your vehicle and freeze causing the car to overheat. That makes total sense, right? Right!? No, I didn't think so either.

So, four hours after my Sunday drive began I am writing this blog from inside Chad's toasty vehicle while he and his dad brave the elements to set things right for my poor tortured vehicle. I know...I might actually be retarded.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Minnesota Skiiing

I've heard Minnesota skiing is kind of a joke compared to skiing in the Rockies or the Sierras. Actually, I think it's been Minnesotans that have said so. Anyway, for Kara's birthday she wanted to go skiing, so she and her friend Maija and I attacked the mountain...or the hill?

I don't know...I guess it wasn't a real mountain.

The runs were shorter. It was about 3 degrees for most of the freeze your face off cold. It brings a whole new dimension to your mask freezing to your face. No injuries. No helmets. Well, except for my little run in with the ski lift. That might leave a mark.

BUT black diamonds are still black diamonds even if they are quite a bit shorter. It was amazing to hit the slopes and it was a beautiful day. Doesn't get much better than this.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Robert Allen Nelson.

My Grandpa died tonight. They told him he was going to die two years ago. He's a Swede. His quiet but stubborn fight went on far longer than anyone thought it would. Two years ago Grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. Terminal cancer. They gave him six months to live. He quietly accepted his prognosis and fought what doctors said was would be a futile effort.

My grandpa was one of the greatest men I know. He was stoic. He was hard working. He loved his family. He was a first generation American. He was a soldier. He was brilliant. He was quiet. He was witty. He was tender. He was proud.

The only time I ever remember seeing my Grandpa cry was when my Grandma died last year. Seeing them together in her last days was the perfect ending to an amazing love story. She laid in ICU- intubated, in and out of consciousness (until they tried to cut off her wedding ring...then she became VERY conscious). He sat in his wheel chair holding her face in his weakened arthritic hands, telling her how much he loved her. It was a moment I'll always remember.

After my Grandma died, my brother and I found an album of letters my Grandpa had written her while he was serving in Korea. Three years worth of love letters. Some were funny. Some were kind of dirty (we may have caused some permanent damage for my dad). But mostly, they were beautiful. It's like the beginning of our legacy.

Now I know that I'll always cherish them.

It's surreal to feel loss away from my family. I've never done this alone before. It's a whole new element to walking through life's darker moments. As I get older and experience more loss I find myself doing the same things.

Looking for pictures.

Remembering his voice.
Remembering moments.
Laughing at my own inability to process it.

Being away is hard. Distance never feels as far as it does when closing it is the only thing you want.

I saw my Grandpa while I was home a couple of weeks ago. I knew things were bad because for the first time in my life he asked me to help him with something. He was in a ton of pain, but stoic as ever. And that's how he died. He waited until he was alone and then he quietly slipped away. Such a Swede.

I miss you Papa. Thanks for founding the Nelson family legacy. I hope we make you proud. I love you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back to the Frozen Tundra.

It's weird when you go home and home doesn't feel like home.

What's even more bizarre is coming back to where you live hoping that might feel more like home and it doesn't. It's like all of the sudden you don't have an anchor. Nothing keeps you centered. Panic sets in. Suddenly you don't know who you are or what identifies you. Deep breath. Brown bag, please.

I don't know why I described that in the second person . I guess it's easier to disassociate myself from that reality. Now I'm laughing. What does that even mean? It's fleeting. I'm going to make it. I think it has something to do with the fact that the landscape is draped in frozen clouds and the temperature outside has not reached about zero since the beginning of the New Year. When a forecast in the teens feels like a heat wave you know something is terribly wrong.

I learned what "Arctic Sun" is today. It's a lie. The Sun is out. It looks like it might be pleasant outside, but it's not. It's freezing. I ran to my car yesterday with no shoes on. Bad idea. The good news is I still have nine toes.

So will I make until the ice melts? Probably. Although, I fairly convinced there may be some bets against me. That's fine. They'll lose their money. I'm too competitive to back down now. I will win. Even with the dumb Arctic Sun.