The Hall Family


Blog #44



2006 Ballet Performance






   Brigitta & Svea performed their ballet routines in front of a large live audience last night.  They both did a great job; Papa, Nana, Mom, Dad and sister Annika enjoyed their performances.  Be sure to check out the clip on our Movie Page.


   We bought our tickets to Alaska a couple of weeks ago.  We will arrive at Anchorage International at 10:15 PM on Tuesday, June 27th.  We will be staying with my parents for nearly a month and will head home on Tuesday, July 25th at 9:40 PM.  Sheryl and family will also be visiting my parents and us for much of our last two weeks in Alaska.  Dad has planned a camping trip to Homer on our last weekend.  Lately we have been talking about camping in Denali National Park.  We will definitely make several day hikes in the Independence Mine - Hatcher's Pass area.  I'd like to climb Flattop for old time sake.  Any sort of fishing would also be fun.  We will make a trip to Matanuska Glacier sometime as well.  Valdez and/or Seward are possibilities.  Family and friends: feel free to chime in if you would like to coordinate a trip; the only one that is set in stone so far is Homer.


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Blog #43


Happy Birthday Owen


   One of Brigitta's best friends from preschool had his birthday party today at a nearby park, we all went.  Britta spent about half of her time rolling down a hill, again and again.  She even convinced Owen and a few others to join in the fun. 






   I went for a paddle today in the red boat.  I made it to the dam and back in 57 minutes which is about four knots.  I'm happy with that since there were fierce gusts on the outbound leg that seemed to almost hold me in place at times.  I didn't have as much of a tailwind on the return leg that I expected and paid for, but I had a fun paddle.


 Brigitta graduated from her three year old preschool class on Tuesday. 

Here she is with her her teachers Mrs. Lucas and Mrs. Kester.


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Blog #42



Happy Mother's Day


   Today we went to Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens to visit their butterfly conservatory.  We had a great time and saw many very cool butterflies.  There also was a neat large scale train display with three tracks and trains. 






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Blog #41






   About seven weeks ago a handmade Inuit replica baidarka was up for auction on Ebay.  I've been wanting a baidarka and have seriously considered building one myself.  I watched the auction closely and contacted the seller when the auction closed without the reasonable minimum bid being met.  The builder/seller lives in Upper Peninsula Michigan.  He was due to visit Southern Michigan in the first week of May; I agreed to meet him in Saginaw.  Bill and I drove nearly 300 miles last Saturday, met the baidarka's builder, purchased the boat and drove nearly another 300 miles home.  We had a nice drive and a bonding eleven hour conversation.  The boat is just beautiful and a peek inside reveals hand lashed joints.  Traditionally a seventeen and one half foot baidarka would have required the skin of two walrus and two seals.  As much as I would love to have an authentic skin covered kayak; I'm satisfied with treated canvas.  I have even read accounts of Eskimos covering kayaks with canvas in the early and mid 1900s so canvas covering has a taint of tradition and could almost pass as animal skin.


   On Sunday we had a very busy schedule; the only time that I could take take it out for a maiden voyage was in the morning.  I drove to Mogadore Reservoir and set the 70 pound boat in the water next to the boat launch dock.  I expected it to be tipsy since it has a vee bottom so I gingerly stepped into the boat.  I'm not used to dock launching; I usually enter my old plastic kayak from on the shore and scoot into the water.  To exit I sprint towards the beach with enough speed to drive the boat ashore.  With an additional shove or two against the beach I can always get the cockpit area onto dry land.  I was afraid that technique would quickly ruin fabric covered boat however.  Immediately I had trouble getting my feet and legs into the front of the boat.  Seated on the back edge of the hole with my lower knee was pressed against the framework under the front of the hole my heals were pressed against the floor: I didn't quite fit.  A bit of wiggling and I dropped in but my feet were somewhat wedged.  I was in, but it was very snug; something that I had never experienced in 20 years of kayaking. 


Brigitta in the Baidarka


   I shoved off and started to paddle; the boat felt like it was just itching to capsize.  I immediately gave up hope of making a five mile loop to the dam and back; I decided to hug the shore and just see if I could make it to Congress Road and back without going in.  With concentration I could keep it upright at a comfortable cruising speed.  As soon as I paddled hard however, the boat would tip with each stroke.  After about half a mile my left foot was numb and felt asleep.  When I turned around at Congress Road my left leg from the knee down was tingling and my right foot felt asleep.  I couldn't figure out if I had pinched nerves or if my circulation was cut off but I certainly couldn't move; my cramped position was a huge problem.  I was getting very uncomfortable and contemplated going ashore and stretching out a bit.  The overgrown shore, a cloth covered boat and my numb legs did not make it look like a great option though. 


   I was surprised and relieved when I made it back to the dock still dry; I was also in a panic.    Both legs were numb and I felt like I had little or no control over them.  I couldn't get myself out and onto the dock.  With my hands I ended up dragging the kayak perpendicular to the shore and onto the beach a bit.  I rolled onto my side and managed to unwedge myself.  I couldn't stand for a couple of minutes and it took a good five minutes to get any feeling back into my left foot.  In hindsight it was very stupid to paddle without being sure I could get out.  I always wear a life jacket, but I'm not sure how I would have been able to get out had I tipped over or capsized.  When I got home I put the kayak on the lawn and tried entering and exiting a couple more times.  I had an awful time and hyper-extended my knee while trying to exit.  Thinking back I believe I could have drowned, stuck in my boat, even with a life jacket on.


   The hole is smaller than the distance from my knee to my back by and inch or two.  I might rebuild the cockpit for my body someday, but for now the baidarka is a full scale bit of Alaskana that graces the ceiling of our living room.  I plan on carving a traditional Inuit style paddle as well as a harpoon to accompany the boat.



It was spirit week this week at IHM. 

Monday was "Decades Day" and Svea made a great 1920's flapper.


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Blog #40


Blooming Dogwood


Joan took this picture of our front yard dogwood tree in full bloom.


   Bill helped me get the wiper motor back in the van.  It was a nightmare to get it out and even harder to get back in; everything is very tight and crammed with stuff. I had to unbolt the oil dipstick tube and flex it out of the way; other hoses and junk also had to be pushed around. In the process I pulled out the brake power assist hose; the “other” end that is.  The van ran rough and the power brakes were not working.  Bill and I looked everywhere.  I crawled underneath and even used a mirror.  I was stumped, frustrated and took a break, then I recalled that the van had a little engine cover on the inside between the front foot-wells.  I’ve never taken it off before. Well, I did and I found it.  Before the engine cover can come off, however, the computer and cup holder console must be removed; that’s a fun little touch.  Below is a picture of Ford's engineering at its finest:



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Blog #39



Happy Svea

I took this picture at German class today; it's already one of my favorite pictures ever.


Svea fell asleep in my chair at school while we were working/waiting for ballet class.


   Whatever I can't fix on my Volvo I take to a great Sicilian Volvo & European car mechanic on the other side of town.  He has a cheesy looking messy shop and a strong Italian accent highlighted by colorful language, but he knows his stuff extremely well, is 100% honest and for some reason charges much less than the going rate.  So I can't explain why I strayed from him and had the old Volvo's catalytic converter replaced at Monroe chain store.  They ended up installing the wrong catalytic converter; one that didn't have an oxygen sensor input, so they just left that part off.  Joan and Bill picked the car up on Thursday and Friday I immediately noticed the "Check Engine" light.  I worked late on Friday because I was chaperoning a school dance so I didn't have a chance to do anything about it.  I knew that they messed something up but I was too busy with the garage sale all weekend.  On Monday I took the car to my mechanic, Santino, and he immediately explained what they did.  I went back to Monroe furious and made a big scene.  They offered to fix it but I insisted on a full refund as I wanted it fixed by a knowledgeable mechanic.  The manager was off so I ended up talking to the corporate office; they promise to give me a full refund when I bring back their part and after our check clears.  Santino fixed the car today for 60% of what Monroe charged; I gave him a $30 tip and have vowed to never take my car anywhere else.  If you are in the Akron area and own a European car, take it to Santino's at 1266 E. Archwood Ave in Akron.


   On our Lake Erie trip the windshield wipers on our Ford Areostar stopped working.  While Svea was at ballet yesterday I tore the motor cover off and discovered the windshield wiper motor mounts were broken.  The auto parts store has a motor in stock, but it doesn't come with mounts.  I had to order them through the dealer and they cost as much as a new motor.  Bill's Lincoln is leaking oil noticeably and Harriette's Toyota also has a "Check Engine" light issue.  What would we do without four cars?


  I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but Annika is really walking all over now.  She still crawls at times, but seems to prefer walking now.  When I came home today she walked across the kitchen, opened the mini pantry door and helped herself to a box of Cheerios.  I took some movie clips today at German class; look for a new movie soon.  Our baby is becoming a toddler.  Her diction is not all that sharp but her vocabulary is becoming relatively broad.  Some of her most regular words are "curl" = squirrel, "ba" = bath, "baw" = ball,  and of course Mama, Dada and Papa.


   In February Brigitta asked why she couldn't see things far away; we scheduled an appointment with an ophthalmologist.  The one that our doctor recommended was booked for three months; she finally got to see him yesterday.  I half expected her to come home with glasses since her mother has them.  It turns out that she can't see things far away, because... they are far away.  That's just how it works; you get too far away from something and it just becomes too small to see well.  Brigitta has 20-20 vision.  Her parents now have 20-20 hindsight.


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