Godspeed, Draken Harald Hårfagre

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre leaving the pier at Mystic Seaport

Monday morning the Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre set out from Mystic Seaport for her next adventure: Expedition America – East Coast Tour 2018! We were there, with many others, to see her off!

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre leaving Mystic Seaport

The world’s largest Viking ship sailing in modern times had arrived at Mystic Seaport in October of 2016 and has spent two winters here. It’s been fun having her so close by to go look at and dream every once in a while. I thought of all my ancestors who have bid ships farewell in the past, never knowing when (or if) they would return. I managed to get myself all worked up emotionally and shed more than a few tears during the day.

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre leaving Mystic Seaport

But, much to my delight, I learned that after visiting 14 ports along the east coast the crew plans to return to Mystic Seaport on October 20! That can only mean she will be spending another winter here! 🙂

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre

We quickly left the Seaport and followed the Mystic River in order to catch sight of her again.

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre coming down the Mystic River
7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre coming down the Mystic River

And then we raced over the Mystic River Bascule Bridge and found a spot just south of it.

7.9.18 ~ Mystic River Bascule Bridge drawn up for the Draken Harald Hårfagre

There was so much excitement and anticipation in the air. Two shop owners standing next to me said they had closed their stores for a few minutes (in tourist season, no less!) to come see the vessel pass by. I got goosebumps when she emerged and someone on the other side of the river sounded a Viking war horn! People were cheering and waving and taking pictures. What a wonderful show of support for the sailors.

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre, through the drawbridge
7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre ~ kayakers enjoy their view

Our next plan was to proceed down to Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, a waterside restaurant in Noank, to see whatever we might be able to see. We almost missed her when Tim spotted her out of the corner of his eye, moving at a good clip through the marina.

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre near Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough

I scrambled up a steep little hill to get a better shot. (My muscles still hurt a bit.)

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre near Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough

And then she was gone.

7.9.18 ~ Draken Harald Hårfagre near Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough

I had hoped to see her set sail but it was not to be. We went down to Costello’s Clam Shack and had lunch on the upper deck. The ship came into view briefly but she didn’t set sail and disappeared again. After lunch we went down to Groton Long Point and saw her on the horizon, but still no sail. Oh well. But there are some amazing pictures of Draken Harald Hårfagre under sail on the website.

By the way, we were delighted to see Katherine three times at the end of June and beginning of July. She is very excited to tell everyone that she will be having a baby brother soon! (End of October.)

6.25.18 ~ Nature’s Playground, Stamford Museum & Nature Center ~ my own little Viking princess, Katherine, in her ship

What a delightful afternoon Svetlana and I had at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford. Our little granddaughter led us on a grand tour of the playground, the nature trails and the animal farm. The otters were especially cute. Many thanks to Vladimir & Svetlana for always welcoming us into their home and sharing with us the never-ending joys of grand-parenthood.

new adventures

10.20.17 ~ Katherine loves reading her books

Katherine and her parents have moved to Cork, Ireland!!! For a year or two. It’s been an exciting summer and autumn as Dima & Larisa have been preparing for this grand adventure. Happily all of Katherine’s living ancestors, four grandparents and two great-grandmothers were on hand in North Carolina to celebrate her 3rd birthday in September. Grandpa Tim has discovered that flights from New England to Ireland are cheaper than flights to North Carolina so we surely will be visiting them soon. 🙂

just like grandpa

3.1.16 ~ Katie sleeping

Larisa & Dima are so thoughtful, sending the four of us grandparents pictures of the little one almost every day. While I treasure them all, this one is especially sweet to me because Katie is sleeping in the same position her Grandpa Tim often does. She looks just like him in this one, how he used to look before he grew a beard. With this picture came a message from Larisa:

This morning she brought me over to the framed picture of you four and pointed excitedly. So come visit soon. 🙂

Counting the days…

not born yet!

9.19.14 ~ Chapel Hill, North Carolina
9.19.14 ~ sculpture at Caffe Driade, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

A quick update: Mother Nature has decided that we must wait still longer for this baby… Mother and baby are doing well, but some things aren’t to be rushed. Perhaps she’s waiting for the first day of autumn? We’ll have to wait and see.

a joyful weekend

6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut
6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

I’m using these photos from the summer solstice at Janet’s to illustrate this post because I didn’t take many usable pictures of the two joyful indoor events we attended this past weekend. It was a welcome change of pace to enjoy the associations and conversations without incessantly taking pictures. (And my indoor pictures never come out very well…)
6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

Larisa & Dima flew up from North Carolina to attend a baby shower I threw for her on Saturday in the clubhouse here at our condo complex. (With a lot of assistance from a few of her very creative friends!) So many of the important women in her life were able to attend, including some who traveled a great distance to get here! Larisa was glowing!
6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

And then on Sunday we drove up to New Hampshire to attend the wedding of Tim’s cousin, Allegra, and her new husband Dan. It was supposed to be outside, but there was a backup plan in case of rain, and it was needed, as thunderstorm after thunderstorm came rumbling through the mountains. We are so happy for the new families being created, and I was thrilled to feel a kick from my new granddaughter as I rested my hand on Larisa’s tummy…
6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

wedding in the woods


15 June 2013, Orange, Connecticut
Camp Cedarcrest, by the Wepawaug River

6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
Dima waiting patiently
Grandma Nina and Vladimir, father of the groom, waiting patiently
Larisa and Tim ~ photo by Susan Kwan
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
Larisa reading her vows
Dima reading his vows
a kiss
matron and maid of honor, Alyssa and Alicia
Larisa & Dima…Tim & Barbara
our dear friends from Macedonia, Bojan and his sister Ana
Larisa made the dress with help from her friend, Brit; Janet and I went to New York City to help Larisa pick out the fabric
Svetlana, mother of the groom
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
tradition is that the person getting the bigger bite “controls” the marriage
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
best man, Dave
Tim, father of the bride
Vlad, father of the groom
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
6.15.13 ~ Orange, Connecticut
Aunt Delorma, who has been a mother to both Tim and me, and a very special grandaunt to Larisa
the lights of my life, Nate, Larisa and Jon
cousins Erica, Larisa and Erin
cousins Nate, Jon, Larisa, David, Erica and Erin
Larisa and me
Tim and Larisa
Nate and Larisa
Nate, Tim, Dima, Larisa, Barbara and Jon
Larisa and Eliza
Toby and Larisa
Drew, Janet and Tim
my favorite picture!

Shea helped me out with a lot of the picture-taking, and Svetlana made all the lovely decorations. Dima & Larisa created an amazing wedding and reception, in a perfect setting, and we could not have asked for better weather. A very special day for all of us to remember forever.

An interesting side note – all of the women in the bridal party and the mothers and grandmothers and grandaunt have names that end with an “a.” Larisa; her attendants, Alyssa, Alicia, Erica and Lisa; the mothers, Barbara and Svetlana; Dima’s grandmothers, Nina and Anna; and Larisa’s grandaunt, Delorma.

merry and bright

Dima & Lara ~ San Francisco, California

Time for me to express a little joy, the sort of elation parents often simply cannot contain when something wonderful is happening with one of their offspring.  In September we received the welcome news that Larisa & Dima got engaged, and in October we had the pleasure of meeting Dima’s parents, Svetlana & Vladimir, when the kids brought them here for lunch and a delightful afternoon of getting to know one another.

Dima’s family emigrated from Russia to settle in the United States when he was seven years old.  Turns out he was a towhead when he was small, same as I was.  It’s funny the things I make note of and file away in my memory.  Dima is short for Dimitri.  Larisa is a Slavic name, too, and when she was little we tried calling her Lara, and even Lara-Kate, using her middle name Katherine, but it never stuck.  It occurred to me how symmetrical the names Dima & Lara would be together.  Kind of like Tim’s brother and his wife, Dan & Fran.

Earlier, as we were preparing for the visit, I was standing on a stool to get some serving platters off the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet.  Apparently I was fumbling due to nervousness because next thing I knew the platters were out of my hands and had crashed onto all the wine glasses I had just washed. Broken glass was all over the countertop and the floor and in the kitchen sink, too.  Somehow we managed to clean up the disaster, run out to Home Goods, buy new wine glasses, and make it back home before our daughter’s future in-laws arrived.  Phew!

Dima & Larisa

Larisa loves the above picture – from one of her many escapades with Dima.  We often wonder from where the thrill-seeking genetic material originated.  (They’ve been skydiving, bungee jumping and scuba diving, too…)  But we’re happy that the kids have found such a good match with each other in their adventuresome spirits.  I’ve had some more mellow fun, co-creating a wedding web page with them – they’ve added all the content and provided me with pictures to play with.  (So of course I borrowed my favorites to share here!)

We did put those new wine glasses to good use.  Svetlana & Vladimir brought gifts of wine imported from Russia and Ukraine, as Larisa had told them beforehand about our Ukrainian ancestry.  Apparently there is a Russian saying that only problem drinkers don’t toast before drinking.  Well, offering toasts is a custom Tim & I were not acquainted with but soon we were learning a bit about the etiquette involved and were imbibing and well-wishing for the days forthcoming, right along with our new extended family.  🙂

Earworm:  “May your days be merry and bright…”  The line from that song has been stuck in my head for days now!  We picked out our tree and brought it home on Saturday and I’ve now finished decorating it.  Our cozy little nest is ready for the winter solstice.  So here’s to Merry & Bright in the days and years to come!  Cheers!

Dimitri & Larisa