Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Vietnam Traveling Memorial

My birthplace of Ely, MN (the little town trying to win the MRI machine last year) has been chosen to host the traveling memorial. They're raising money for the project. The voice on the video is my Uncle Jack, former Navy pilot and veteran of over 20 years. Last year he found himself getting involved in local politics on the city council and apparently they're pressing him into service as the voice of the Ely Vietnam Wall Project.

Nice job, Uncle Jack!

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Win an MRI

About a month ago, I posted about the efforts of my birthplace of Ely, Minnesota to win an MRI. Siemans, makers of the machines, are giving away one MRI to one deserving community. At the time I posted, tiny little Ely had all of 197 votes.

A friend of mine just wrote to say she's been voting every day that she remembers to and noticed that Ely has really risen in the standings! I wanted to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone who has been going by and helping Ely out in the voting. They're in the top FIVE as of this writing, with over 33,000 votes.

The contest runs until December 31st so we've got another 43 days to go. If you have a minute during the day, please pop over and give them your vote. While it's a pretty sad state when communities need to essentially win a lottery to get lifesaving medical technology, I have to admit that I'm glad they at least have this chance. Thanks to everyone who is helping out the Ely-area residents in their quest for an MRI for their hospital!



ELy, MN Needs Your Help

Modest little Ely, MN (the birthplace of yours truly) is trying to win an MRI for their hospital. Siemans is running a contest and will give away one machine to one hospital.

In order for Ely to win, they have to get people to watch their video and vote for them at this site:

Ely does a dramatic take-off on Extreme Home Makeover for their video. Just type in "Ely" in the search function and the video will come up.

Reasons Ely deserves to win:
Ely currently only has access to a "mobile MRI" which means that they don't have 24/7 access to an MRI when it's needed.

Patients needing have to travel over 100 miles to the nearest hospital with an MRI machine. As a child I had to make that trip to Duluth to have medical procedures done myself... it's a long trip to make when you're sick.

Patients accessing the mobile MRI in the winter have to be taken outside in the freezing temperatures (Ely being in extreme northern Minnesota has pretty cold winters, where the average temperature in January is 5 degrees above zero... not factoring in any wind chill.)

You can vote once a day through the end of the year. Right now poor little Ely has just 197 votes. If you have a minute, click on over and help them out!



Grandpa's Fish Story

I love this story of my grandpa's. I begged him to tell it again at his birthday party even though I didn't have the voice recorder ready. Here's the story:

Grandpa was fishing on White Iron Lake where his best friend had a resort. My dad was along, just a boy. Grandpa was using 10-pound test but hooked a big fish. He fought the fish for a long time but couldn't get it in the boat (my dad says it was too big for the net). Grandpa slowly worked his way back to the dock, where he tells my dad to run up to the lodge and "Get the .22."

That's right, they were going to shoot the damn thing so they could land it.

Unable to find the .22, dad runs back with a ball peen hammer.

Wouldn't you know, they landed that fish. With a frickin' ball peen hammer.

I love that story.

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Back from Ely

Grandpa and Grandma
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
I didn't blog much about my plans for Minnesota on the off chance that my grandpa might hear about them somehow. Unlikely as that was, I knew that if I didn't say anything I couldn't screw things up. You see, several months ago my aunt and uncle began planning a surprise party for my grandpa's 90th birthday and I dropped everything and arranged to be there as soon as I learned about it.

Immediately after GenCon I grabbed up Kate from her dad's and headed back to the midwest for a week. My family really pulled together for this one and we had an excellent showing. We were only missing one grandchild (my brother, who is deep in the middle of his surgical rotation and just couldn't get away at all) and two great-grandkids (teenagers who are already in school or who just started college and also couldn't get away). My aunt JoAnn's daughters (Kim and Connie) came, along with Kim's husband Larry and Connie's five-year-old daughter. My Uncle Jack's kids (Johnny, Josh, and Jen) came, along with Jen's husband Chris and their young daughter. Kate and I represented for my dad's branch of the family and all three of my stepbrothers (Jon, Mick and Erik) along with Mick's wife Jenny, whose wedding I attended last spring. There were also any number of close friends of my grandpa and extended relatives that I didn't remember at all who came out for the event.

Grandpa was completely surprised. My uncle had told him they were going golfing ("I'm the caddy," my grandpa chuckles. He accompanies Jack around in the golf cart but doesn't golf himself) and pretended that he'd grabbed "the wrong clubs" and had to go back to the house. Up they drove on the golf cart into an applauding crowd, to my grandpa's astonishment. He's not the sort of guy to cry but he did seem pretty choked up for a bit and he looked me in the eye and thanked me for "making the trip" more than once over the weekend. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

We had a lovely time. Kate got to spend time with her uncles canoing, swimming, paddle boating, playing games and just generally goofing around. She got to meet second cousins, first cousins once removed, and even more distant relatives (some of whom are honorary aunts and uncles who are lifelong family friends). I got to spend time with my grandpa and also with my cousins (and their cousins), walk around town and see just how much things have changed since I lived there as a kid, and generally enjoy the place.

Kate and I came home toting souvenirs of the trip. I stocked up on wild rice, made a couple of trips to Zup's for potica, pasties, and all manner of brats and sausages (which they kindly packed up for me and I checked as baggage because the box was so big!), and pigged out on walleye, Nut Goodies and "hot air" candy. I took many photos and even got a couple of voice recordings of my grandpa talking about how he learned to drive at age 10 because his dad had gotten the family a car but no one could drive it (nor could they speak English!) so it fell to Grandpa to learn, and my dad talking about the time he and his friends (all of 13 or 14 years old) drove their snowmobile through the ice on a lake and the "hilarity" that ensued. I didn't get as many stories recorded as I'd hoped but apparently my Uncle Jack has a couple hours of tapes that he made a few years ago so I'm hoping I can get my hands on some of that eventually.

Doubly exhausted and twice as far behind as I was before GenCon but it was worth it. So worth it.

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