Copyright by Brianne Sieberg. Powered by Blogger.

Featured Slider

Synchronicities: Scandinavia, the Vikings and Bluetooth Technology

Dear Diary,
Today I want to talk about synchronicities.

The proper definition of synchronicities is, “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible casual connection,” I feel compelled to comment on the long line of coincidences I feel I cannot ignore.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about my Ancestry DNA results.

At the time, my focus was on my strong Eastern European heritage that aligned with the research a distant, maternal relative did. Since then, I began to delve into the other ethnicities highlighted on my pie chart, specifically – my ties to Scandinavia.

The map that was enclosed with my results pinpointed Norway.

Norway, as history tells us, was home base for the Vikings.

This was the first coincidence I made note of, especially since research on the property we purchased last June was very likely settled by Scandinavian immigrants to farm. Minnesota attracted many immigrants from the Nordic countries because the climates and landscapes were reminiscent of their homelands.

This heritage inspired the name of our NFL franchise, the Minnesota Vikings. That was the second coincidence.

(Us at a 2017 pre-season game ...)

The third, brings in our ties to Sweden now.

In 1994, the Swedish company Ericsson invented the wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances known simply as, Bluetooth.

Named for Viking king Harold Bluetooth, who was known as The Great Communicator because he united dissonant Danish tribes into one kingdom, the technology allows for cell phones to “speak” to computers, play lists to “speak” to sound bars, headphones and ear buds to make calls hands-free, and …

My daughter’s diabetes management equipment to “talk” to each other.
Her Continuous Glucose Monitor sends her blood sugar readings to my phone and her receiver via Bluetooth.
Her meter sends her test results to her insulin pump so it may issue corrections, via Bluetooth.

This technology is part of our arsenal to keep her healthy, which comes from the lands I’ve traced a portion of my ancestry to, lands with a strong Viking legacy and whose emigrants resettled where we now call home, and whose traditions are now a part of our adoptive state’s identity.

Deconstructed, each piece doesn’t mean much but when put together to create a larger picture, I cannot help but feel like we are meant to be here. The synchronicities connect us to something beyond ourselves, and I find it fascinating how it all seems to simultaneously relate. It's also said that people with a Nordic ancestry have a higher incidence of Type 1 Diabetes diagnoses (WHICH SUCKS).

I don’t know why, but somehow I find a sense of purpose and meaning in all of this.

The Controversial WWII V-J Day Kiss Statue - Sarasota, FL

Dear Diary,
It's one of the most iconic images to ever come out of WWII V-J Day.

This image, which captures the jubilance felt by all upon the War's end, was immortalized with a statue in Sarasota, FL.

Called 'Unconditional Surrender,' the statue was met with one of two extreme reactions - people either loved it or hated it. Those who loved it felt it captured the celebratory joy and loss of inhibition that came with the end of WWII, while others deem it to be a case sexual assault since it's clear the kiss took the woman by complete surprise.

Located downtown, the 28-foot tall, 15,000-lb. Seward Johnson-sculpted statue stands at an intersection in front of the marina. It's centralized location helps make it one of the most photographed spots in Florida.

We passed the statue en route to Siesta Beach, so my photograph was taken in haste. The artisan's skill was apparent even in quick passing, and I marveled at the fact that it seems this 3D image was simply plucked from the photograph itself. 

The photo was taken on August 14, 1945 in Times Square, on the day of the Japanese surrender. People filled the streets upon hearing the news, feeling a sense of pride the country has arguably not experienced since that day. 

The sailor and the dental assistant (not a nurse) have both been identified - George Mendonsa and Greta Friedman - but since passed away, with Friedman's obituary even commenting on the opinion of the spontaneous kiss being an assault. But Friedman's son expressed that his mother did not perceive it that way.

It was a moment of great relief for all those who served, but even more than 70 years later, the statue continues to stir debate. Is this art? Is it history? Is it evidence of assault, and should it stand on the waterfront of a major city? 

So what's your take - is it a moment of euphoria on one of the most historic days in America, or does it depict something that should not be celebrated at all?

The future of 'Brianne, Herself'

Dear Diary,
I consider writing my blog to be a testament to my perspective of the world.

What gets cataloged here ought to pass only my judgment, and unfortunately, I’ve let that get clouded by the opinions of others.

I started this blog to fill a void left behind when I entered a new career field.

I graduated college in 2005 with a degree in print journalism and attempted to pursue it just as online media came about to fuck shit up. It was a challenging and disappointing plot twist to my resume and my life. I don’t have any regrets, but I do miss chasing and collecting stories.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that passion.

I’ve deactivated some social media accounts to focus more of my time here. I’m considering the creation of a YouTube Channel so I can make a return to creating movies, like I did in college. My frequency on Instagram ebbs and flows, with a final decision pending on whether I’ll continue to post there.

I look forward to traveling, and exploring, and chasing more Minnesota-focused stories.
I enjoy researching such topics, and learning the area history.
I miss putting pen to paper, taking pictures and collecting accounts for reflection.

I am not considering a return to journalism, just a return to my passion.
And in order to free up time for it, I had to stop spending time on other things.

I harbor the romantic fantasy of publishing these posts into a book for my future generations to read, especially since the dynamics of my life are not the typical "norm," not that there is a such thing as "normal" anyway.

But for now, this little space serves as a place to inspire my curiosity, where it can roam free.

A 24-Hour Beach Escape

Dear Diary,
I wish to live an abundant life, filled with choice.
One where, when presented with an opportunity, we’re able to take full advantage of without consequence.
No permission needed, no justification warranted; simply follow its pull and see where it leads.

We departed the snowy landscapes of Minnesota to thaw in the warmer temperatures of Florida. Nick had a long layover, we had a long weekend and the flights were accommodating to standby passengers.

It was settled then.

The kids’ priorities were simple.


They packed light to save room for their swimsuits and goggles, and our first stop was Siesta Beach. Rated the best beach in the country, the crystal white sand was soft beneath our bare feet. We collected shells along the shoreline to mark our time here.

We then found a private spot on one of the outlying islands. We had the beach mostly to ourselves, and we giggled at the prospect of a suntan in March when our home was still covered in snow!

We do not have a conventional lifestyle, but it's one that I am eternally grateful for. Being married to and loving a pilot means long stretches apart, but it also means the sky is limit and we can meet up in new cities to explore.

Landen, who has been flying since he was 10 months old, and Madelyn, since she was 1, have logged over a combined million flight hours to various destinations like Houston, Honolulu, Denver, Colorado Springs, San Diego, Atlanta and now this weekend, the areas surrounding Ft. Myers and Sarasota. They've grown into wonderful travel companions, and it's our goal to take them to Europe this summer.

Our lifestyle taught them how to be spontaneous, as these weekend jaunts often present a mere 24 hours prior to departure. And Madelyn has learned how to manage her diabetes far from home, without it hindering on her experiences. Even with its challenges, I feel I've achieved the kind of life I dreamed of when I was still in high school. I've longed to see the world beyond the view outside my bedroom window, and now, I'm able to cash a cultural paycheck of sorts for my children's benefit.

Some may say my children are spoiled, but I believe it's these experiences that are teaching them how to conduct themselves in public. How are they supposed to learn manners and etiquette if they are not put in situations where they must use it? How else will they be exposed to how other people live, or other dialects, or new cuisines if we remain at home all the time? Both Landen and Madelyn are very open and up front with their opinions, desires, and wishes, and I try to balance their upbringing by making them earn it (i.e., experiences, things, allowances, etc. - it's okay to tell your kids 'no' after all) and by indulging them.

This weekend was surely an indulgence.

The Kitchen Products That Help Me Fake It

Dear Diary,
I have a confession to make.

Everything - my schedule, my life, my hair - it's all a mess.

I don't have it all together. In fact, most days make me feel like I'm rushing from one task to another.

I'm still trying to pinpoint a routine that works for us, one that streamlines our to-do list and works to calm the chaos. They say balance is a beautiful illusion, and it couldn't be more true.

Thanks to gift cards I've received for Christmas, I made a number of Amazon purchases to inspire my lofty goal of, at the very least, appearing like I'm on top of things. (Spoiler alert: I'm not.)

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I'll make a small commission that I'll use to buy more products to help me fake it 'till I make it.

First, I purchased a pair of inexpensive bins that house a week's worth of the kids' school lunches. I pre-prepare their sandwiches, add them to the bins and then each morning, the kids pack them. At 10 and almost-7, they're fully capable of completing that task for themselves.

This soda can dispenser is a necessary space saver in our fridge.

I received a set of these OXO storage containers for Christmas too. I purchased the chalkboard stickers and pen and additional OXO cookie jars with the gift card I mentioned earlier, and include carb counts for easy snacking.

I do believe these cereal containers keep the kids' favorites fresh for longer.

Finally, and probably one of the best purchases I've made, were two of these expandable drawer organizers. The wood tone almost matches that of my cabinetry so it looks like it's meant to be in there. I utilize one for our cutlery, and the other for our miscellaneous cooking utensils.

Now, I know none of this is going to revolutionize the known concepts of organizing, but it did help automate our routine. Everything is in its place, it's easy to find, and it allows our children take ownership of their lunches. Our food stays fresher longer, and all of our precious shelf space is used to its full capability.

What kitchen organization tricks do you employ?

Super Bowl 52 Fun - Minneapolis, MN

Dear Diary,
It's not everyday the Super Bowl comes to town.

And though I was so hoping for this to be considered a "home game," I cast aside my lingering disappointment over the Vikings' loss to the Eagles to enjoy what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In the days leading up to the game, the Twin Cities was festooned in related themes, interactive exhibits, live music and delicious regional food favorites.

One Sunday, we boarded the Light Rail and found ourselves at the Super Bowl Live! event at Nicollet Mall.

And thanks to the Mobile Fan Pass app I had previously downloaded, the kids were able to collect "badges" with each completed experience. We discovered Madelyn has a pretty good aim, having successfully thrown footballs through a wall of tires.


They made leaping catches into foam pits.

(The "official" photos paired with my blurred action shots - they both made the catch!)

We took part in a VR quarterback competition, which of course, Landen won.

We also donned ice skates and circled a rink in the middle of the Mall.

And thankfully, the weather cooperated until the sun went down and the wind picked up. We were able to cram in quite a few of the activities set up to celebrate.

Radio and TV stations from across the country and around the world took up residence at the Mall of America. Called "Radio Row," there were many a news segment and interview recorded, and sightings of celebrities were abundant. We saw Doug Flutie, who unfortunately I recognize more from his Dr. Pepper commercials than his football career. He is very frail and petite.

On Friday, February 2, the family met me at my office at the end of the day to check out the event co-sponsored by my employer. There were interactive, illuminated art displays, live performances, bonfires and of course, food and drinks.

The day before the Super Bowl, we found ourselves at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Fan Experience. I had to purchase tickets (which were very reasonable), and scored passes to get the kids access to the autograph bays. Landen made it his mission to collect as many signatures and meet as many of his heroes as possible.

We waited for autographs. A very kind group of people gave the kids and I wristbands that allowed us to skip ahead in line to be first to meet and collect signatures from famous athletes.

Apparently David Johnson, who plays for the Arizona Cardinals, grew up just across the Mississippi River from Nick's home town.

(Brett Hundley) 

The kids met Vikings great, Kyle Rudolph.

Landen caught a pass thrown by a New Orleans Saints player ...

... and Madelyn learned to tackle.

One thing's for certain - the greatest takeaway from our experiences are the memories we will be talking about for years to come.