Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Gold Man of Norway

You may remember my May 25th post entitled, "Grimstad," in which I talked about the time we spent exploring my family's heritage in Norway.  When you consider how much we discovered about Dave's heritage, we didn't find much at all about the Neilson family tree.  That is, until now.  Since returning from Norway, my Dad has been working with a research assistant from Stavanger who filled in a bunch of missing pieces for us.  It turns out the story of my great, great, great, great grandfather, Captain Christian Paulsen is true!  He did strike gold in the California gold rush and when he returned to Norway he was known as "The Gold Man of Norway" or "Guldmannen" in Norwegian.  In addition to building the ship yard (for pictures, see the May 25th post) he built a beautiful waterfront home (pictured above), which recently sold for the equivalent of $5,000,000 USD. The current owner is professional Norwegian bicycle racer, Thor Hushovd, who recently won stage 2 of the 2008 Tour de France (check him out at  We were so surprised when Thor responded to our e-mail inquiry.  He told us he was familiar with the story of Christian Paulsen and the house.  Plus, he was kind enough to send  us photos!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Beautiful Celebration

Yesterday Dave and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary. It just so happened that our big day fell on the last night of Musikfest, which our town commemorates every year with a magnificent fireworks display. Living downtown, we were able to enjoy the show from the comfort of our front porch. We sat in complete darkness, holding hands and exchanging a few kisses, as the fireworks illuminated the night. And in that moment, it felt like the whole world was celebrating with us.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Universe at Work

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." - Buddhist proverb

Have you ever noticed how people appear in our lives just at the right time?  There seems to be a pattern of this in my life and I can't help but feel that it makes our journeys here that much richer.  My favorite example of this was on a trip I took to Australia several years ago.  It was the summer before I graduated from college and, at the time, I was constantly wondering what I should do with my life.  As I boarded the plane to Sydney I got to talking with a woman in the waiting area who revealed that she worked as a new age therapist, helping people find their paths in life.  I thought that was coincidental, but then when she ended up in the seat right next to me for the 18 hour flight, I knew it was the universe at work.  This is how I felt a couple days ago when I met Cathy at my mother in-law's birthday party.  Cathy is my husband's step-father's niece, but we had never met before.  Over the past month or so, I've been trying to fit more creativity into my life - both personally and professionally.  Despite how much I love all things creative, it's easy to melt into the couch after a long day at work and let my creativity sit idle.  Cathy, I learned, is into anything and everything creative...just like me.  We talked for hours about our projects and creative ideas and we both left that evening feeling inspired.  Now I've got a 'creative buddy' who will not only continue to be a source of inspiration, she will hold my feet to the fire to make sure I'm being true to my creative soul.  It's comforting to know that the universe is always at work for you, even when you least expect it.