Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at www.DuluthDailyPhoto.com.
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This week our reporter Clara Hatcher has a story on the front page about Jean Sumner, a former Duluthian, who thought that she already lived a healthy lifestyle, but after a cancer scare, she made even more changes, especially to her diet. I'm known as the "chicken dinner" journalist by my boss and co-workers.
Members of the Swedish Cultural Society of Duluth and their teens and children got together to practice for a Lucia Day pageant -- the traditional Swedish celebration of light. According to the tradition, both boys and girls dress in white gowns. Girls are known as "maids of light" while boys are known as "star boys." Traditionally, on the winter solstice, the children proceed down the aisle of a church carrying lit candles while singing, but now they often carry battery-powered lights. One teen girl is chosen to be Lucia. She wears a wreath of candles on her head.
November is National Hospice Palliative Care Month. Fortunately or unfortunately, however you choose to look at it, I had a personal experience with hospice this month. The word "hospice" can refer to a place, like an actual building, or a process -- the type of care a person receives when it has been decided that life is coming to an end. The philosophy focuses on keeping terminally ill patients comfortable and tending to their emotional and spiritual needs.
The Duluth Salvation Army held its civic luncheon on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Inn on Lake Superior. According to Lynne Harme, chairwoman of the organization's advisory board, the purpose of the luncheon was to share information about the Salvation Army, thank volunteers, and give support. Standing in for Mayor Ness was Keith Hamre from the City's community development office, who proclaimed the day "Red Kettle Day" in Duluth. About 200 people attended the luncheon. Luann LaValley is the director of customer relations for Minnesota Power.
In the 1960s, children were not allowed into most hospitals to visit their moms and newborn siblings and dads didn't get paternity leave. When I was 5, I stayed with a beloved babysitter for a few days. Her name was Theresa, but I called her TeeSee. I remember talking on the phone to my mother. She told me that she had had my baby brother and that his name was Charles. "Chaa-woos?" I replied into the phone. In early September 1965, I sat on the white plastic seat of a red 1960 Volkswagen Bug which was parked in front of the hospital.
Twenty-seven years ago, my father died on Oct. 13. It was a Monday -- Columbus Day. This year Columbus Day was Oct. 14. Because he was a federal employee, he had the day off. He was flying home after attending an event in Washington, D.C. When he boarded the plane, the person seeing him off said he had a smile on his face. That's a comfort to me because he died on that flight. That happens, and if it does to the person in the seat next to you, it might seem gross. But remember, it's somebody's dad or loved one. The day of my dad's funeral, Oct.
Last month, I attended a book club meeting in a mansion once owned by a famous American novelist. Sinclair Lewis lived in the Congdon Park home at 2601 E. Second Street in the early 1940s. It's where he wrote "Kingsblood Royal," the subject of our meeting. Lewis was a prolific, celebrated author. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930 at age 35. He is probably most famous for his book, "Main Street." "Kingsblood Royal" is about a banker named Neil Kingsblood who searches his ancestry trying to prove that he has royalty in his bloodline.
Humorist John Moe provided insight on the use of technology and also spoke about the concept of reality during the digital age as the closing keynote speaker Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Vital 2013, a regional technology expo at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Hundreds of business and IT professionals attended. The day included a morning keynote address from world cyber security expert David Stelzl, and live hacking demonstrations by industry-leading hacker Scott Erven. Moe is the former host of American Public Media's Future Tense and Marketplace Tech Report.
Three fully-electric cars that need to be plugged in rather than gassed up were at the center of attention on Tuesday. One of the cars included a $100,000 Tesla. Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Holiday Inn employees and those interested in lowering their carbon footprint gathered on the third floor of the Holiday Inn & Suites Duluth Downtown parking ramp to see two charging stations for electric cars on Tuesday morning. The two charging stations have room for four cars.
A couple years ago, when I was the editor of the Hillsider, I worked right through my 50th birthday. The next year, as editor of the Budgeteer, I worked through my birthday again. That night I wondered what the sense of working so hard was if I didn't take time to enjoy life. I've been a stay-at-home-mom, unemployed, and underemployed, so I know what long days with little excitement are like. Of course, my job provides me lots of excitement and I'm privy to events and meeting people that I might not otherwise meet and I thrive on it.