A fond farewell to summer

Brrr! Yesterday was COLD! It's not quite so bad today, but there is definitely a new chill in the air and I'm positive that fall has officially arrived. It's also the first day in three months or so that I've worn socks.

Luckily, we were able to squeeze on last perfect weekend in before we have to start bundling up. Can you imagine anything more perfect than a warm September morning in Millcreek Canyon?

Let me back up a little bit, and tell you about our whole wonderful weekend. Chris had been in Pennsylvania for work for two weeks and flew back to Salt Lake City on Saturday, so the boys and I took advantage of the opportunity for a mini-vacation. We drove to SLC on Friday night and spent the night with Grammuh and Grampuh. Gordon has repeatedly asked why we can't just move in there.

The next day, before Chris' flight arrived, we went to This is the Place State Park in Emigration Canyon. We had originally planned to go to the zoo, but after being diverted by the crazily long lines, we were happy to be at a place with a low visitor count but still plenty of great sites. And really, when you're with your grandparents, any place is the right place to be!

Also, if the place happens to have a train... well, it's just perfect.

After we filled a couple of bags with candy from the General Store, we hurried to the airport to meet Chris. Hooray! Homecoming!

There were some LDS missionaries on their way home from their missions and I think seeing the families at the airport made Chris extra emotional. I don't know if you can tell, but his eyes are wet in this picture. So sweet. We're so glad to have him home.

Chris and his dad went to the Utah game (hence all the red) while the boys, Grammuh and I just hung around the house and enjoyed the warm back yard.

On Sunday morning, to celebrate Grampuh Gary's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAMPUH!!), Chris's birthday, and Neil's birthday, which all fall within a few days of each other, we went to Millcreek Canyon for a picnic breakfast. The weather was absolutely perfect, the breakfast was delicious, and we were the only people there. Add that to a bunch of rocks and a stream to throw them in, and we were in heaven.

I'm so glad that we were able to spend such a lovely time with Chris' parents and that we sent summer off in perfect fashion!

This week has been fun and busy as usual. The boys are out of school for the weekend, so I'm making them clean up! Mean!

Gordon learned about the letter C this week-- "Clowns"-- and looked so stinking cute with his hat and little red nose that I have to share.

And last night I got brave and cut off all of my hair. I'm a pixie! Don't worry, it will grow back eventually. :D

Hostfest 2009: Opening Day

The first day of Høstfest is always exciting for me because there's this charge in the air. All the attendees have a spring in their step and all the booth workers are still fresh-faced and full of enthusiasm. In my opinion its the best day of the whole festival. To prove that, I was already out there for a couple hourse this morning, even though I wasn't scheduled until 5 p.m.

I'm glad I went, too, because it gave me a chance to see some of my favorite folks who I only get to see once or twice a year. I think a lot of people who come to Minot every year have the same experience--they get to meet up with friends who live far, far away and spend a week reaffirming their friendships and strengthening connections. This is important, I think, because it helps to reinforce connections with heritage and culture. It also provides a soapbox from which people can yell at the top of their lungs "I'm Norwegian and I love it!"

I think the reason this is such an interesting thing to me is because of my Gen X upbringing. My generation doesn't get worked up about much of anything, so seeing 60,000 people getting all jazzed about their heritage is a real wonder to me. I can't wait to go back this afternoon!

Later today and throughout the week, I'll be posting some photos, video and tweeting from the festival grounds (I got me hooked up with a press pass!). So, keep checking back here and at www.twitter.com/sonsofnorway.

Blog article targets Wikisposure/ Pee-J

It is too long to repost here, but below is a link to an awesome article on the androgeny of the Perverted Justice/ Wikisposure movement:


"The Cunts Versus The MEN." What a fitting title, since you wave to be emasculated to be a member of the Pee-J cult!

3 days and counting

It's a gloomy, rainy day here in Minneapolis and I am finishing up on some office work before the weekend. November Viking page proofs? Check. Publishing contracts? Check. Blog post? Workin' on it. All things I have to get done before I can go home today.

Why's it so important to get it all done today?

Because I'll be busy all next week, basking in the glow of the Norwegian Mecca that is Norsk Høstfest! That's right, come Monday morning I get to shake the overcast city-scape and wing my way to sunny downtown Minot, North Dakota! I'm really excited about going because being at an event with that many people who really into their Norwegian heritage is an awesome thing to see and it really re-charges my batteries. I find it to be very refreshing.

But it's not all fun and games. We put a lot of work into our presence at the event--in fact, we've been prepping for the 2009 event since last November. Rarely is there a time of year when we aren't thinking about Norsk Høstfest. Whether we are planning, executing or holding wrap-up meetings, it's a year-round thing for us. But that, too, makes the event a lot of fun for us because we get to see our plans and efforts come to fruition.

This year is going to be cool because we are going to be blogging from the event, and sending tweets, too, to all of our readers from the event site. If you aren't following us on twitter yet, make sure you start because we will be making a number of announcements there. Also, it's the best place to go to find out about news flashes and announcements of new blog posts.

Ok, I'm off to finish a couple more things before heading out. Come on back this weekend and next week to learn about all the cool things happening at the 2009 Norsk Høstfest! And don't forget--members in attendance can get a 15% discount on the Norwegian Buffet at En To Tre!

Neil's Hair Story

Here's the story about Neil's recent haircut:

First of all, I normally don't make a habit of cutting my children's hair. I do it occasionally out of pure desperation, but I generally trust the trimming duties to someone else. In this case, however, I was getting one too many comments about my baby's long hair (my own mother called him a beatnik baby) and I think it was getting hard for the poor little thing to see.

So, I got Neil's head wet, set him down on the bathroom sink, and took one last picture...

... then proceeded to cut. My idea was that I would keep it sort of long, just trimmed, thereby holding on to those precious locks a little while longer. While I was cutting-- and picture giant tufts of light brown hair falling all around-- I was thinking about how it wasn't really that hard to cut a baby's hair. When I was finished, I thought, this actually looks pretty good!, and I stuck him in the tub.

Very cute.

After his bath, when his hair had completely dried, I realized that I had turned my child from long-haired hippie into a kid who looked like his hair was attacked by his 4-year-old brother. The hair on the left side was still quite long, while the hair on the right side was short and blunt. And the back... oh my. No one even saw and I was embarrassed. Apparently I'm not the next Vidal Sassoon.

So, I got out the trusty clippers and buzz, buzz, buzz... now all of the hair on Neil's little head is the exact same length.

And he looks exactly like my other boys.

Luckily, he's still the same sweet boy with and without his luscious long hair.

An entire month.

That's how long it's been since I've blogged. Amazing, and terrible.

I am sure I don't need to tell you that it's been an extremely busy month, to the point of being overwhelming. I can't really remember a time when I've felt as stretched and overextended as I have in the past few weeks. Still, I find myself accepting more responsibilities, as we silly humans tend to do. I even said, "Of course I can (fill in the blank)! What else would I be doing?" as if I just sit around and paint my toenails all day long. My toenails, by the way, have not been painted in the year since Neil was born, and that time they were blue.

I don't mean to bemoan by busy-ness. We're actually having a lot of fun, and despite the fact that I'm finally packing a month's worth of blog in at 10:45 PM, I think things might be about to settle down. Maybe.

Here's a little overview of my life in the past month:

1. Another picture from our anniversary day. Gord cracks me up! We ate at Chili's-- mmm, romantic-- then came home and finished packing.

2. We moved. Between a huge U-Haul, our van, and the back of my dad's Tundra, we managed to transport all of our stuff to Idaho Falls. Some very generous guys (and one woman) from our new ward came to help us unpack and we divided everything between our new basement "apartment" and my parents' storage shed. Then, I spent the next week going between the two places to get everything in its right spot.

3. Chris started working and Thomas went to school.

That was a stressful day, but don't they look cute?

Actually, it was probably more stressful for me than it was for them. We all woke up early, having not slept altogether well the night before, and got through the day on anxious energy. I think first days are hard, but we made it.

Thomas is loving 3rd grade. I was very nervous about sending him to a new school and all that a new school entails, but he has proved the "children are resilient" maxim very well. He has already had a couple of play dates and is his normal school-loving self. Tom's teacher is delightful and I've been impressed with the school so far.

4. Gordon and I explored the town. We've established a little routine for our week where we do something different every day. On Thursdays, we go to the public library's pre-school story time. It is fabulous! The kids are entertained with a half hour of reading and songs, then a fun little craft. Afterward, Gord and I have been browsing the kid book section for 4 new books, then up to the DVD section for another Thomas the Tank Engine rental (for which I can thank the extremely annoying song running through my head right now), then up to the grown-up section where the selection of new releases makes me a bit giddy, then down to the koi pond, then out the door and across the railroad tracks. I can't think of a better way to spend a Thursday morning.

Our other new favorite thing to do (Fridays), is to go to the greenbelt and feed the ducks and geese and annoying young seagulls that camp out there. We've been saving the heels on all of our bread. Gordon loves this little adventure and it is so pleasant to be outside. I kind of forgot how much I enjoy being by the river.

Sometimes, we'll go on a little walk and cross the street. Gordon makes sure that all of the cars know we're crossing by vigorously waving the orange flag. It's worked-- we haven't been hit!

5. Thomas was baptized.

In our faith, we believe that children are able to understand right from wrong at the age of 8 and at that time, they're given the opportunity to be baptized. A lot of times, people refer to this age as the age of accountability, which I think means that they're old enough to be accountable for their actions. For me, though, Thomas turning 8 suddenly meant my own accountability to him as a mother. I gave a little talk about baptism during the program and looking at Thomas, so sweet and smiling in his little white outfit, I felt very overwhelmed at my responsibility to be a good parent to him and to the other boys. It was a touching moment for me, and I vowed to try harder for them.

I think he looks like a little angel.

It was a really special day for our family and one I hope Thomas will always remember.

6. Gordon went to school. On Mondays and Wednesdays, Gordon attends preschool. He absolutely loves it and I am completely thrilled with the school. One of the kids in the class has already spent a little bit of time in the "time out chair" and Hooray! it wasn't Gordon!! :D

He is having such a great time making new friends and doing lots of projects with glue. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this or not, but I am not a glue kind of gal. I love the fact that he gets to use it at school and that they get to clean it up-- that alone is worth the monthly tuition!

7. We played with friends. This is one of the huge benefits of moving back to IF-- I already have some built-in friends. One of those is my dear friend, Becky, who I've known and adored since elementary school. She has a little boy just a couple of months younger than Gordon, so we've decided to make a weekly play date. It's been wonderful to catch up with her and to let our kids play. Hooray for friends!

8. Allison (my sister) went to homecoming. Cute!

9. We got an offer on our house! YAY!!!!! We are set to close on October 15th.

This picture has nothing to do with that, but I cut Neil's hair this week and I just need to get another shot of my long-haired baby in here before the buzz-cut boy makes his appearance. So sad.

I think that's it. I'm really going to try harder to update this more regularly, especially so it doesn't take an hour to do each time!!


Learning to hate what you have in the past is typically a part of the treatment process. In 12 steps, there is a point where you learn the harm you caused and atone for it. Of course, like any program, it can be taken to the extreme. It is not uncommon for excommunicated members of a group or someone who left a group to form (or join) a rival organization and bash the old organization. But in the case of Static and Metanoid, they are a bit of both.

Static has been a subject here on many occasions, and his self-loathing has been analyzed already. We're already well aware of Static's reasons for kissing AZU's collective asses:

But Metanoid is a different subject. Metanoid, former owner of Sex Offender Alliance, a treatment [sic] site brought down by Absolute Zero United last year, and current ownder of the site www.sorcomm.net, another pseudo-treatment site. Metanoid still believes that we should bow down to AZU and accept their abuse as evidenced by his recent comments at AZU:


So according to Metanoid, if we speak out against laws that are designed to punish sex offenders beyond their sentences and destroy our families, we are somehow "victim bashing" or denying our responsibilities. We should "remain silent," and never fight back. Sound familiar? It sounds just like AZU! Static and Metanoid have a lot in common. Both are Tier 3 offenders who believe somehow the way to atone for their crimes is to bash and belittle others, many of who are NOT Tier 3 sex offenders like they are. If they want to bend over and let society fuck them in the ass that's their perogative, but to focus their angst against others rather than focus on their own shortcomings is unhealthy. It is called "projection." It is a standard cognitive distortion. By focusing on someone else who they perceive is "worse" than them, they minimize their own transgressions. And AZU provides the self-loathers gladly act as enablers. After all, any enemy of their enemies are their friends.

I found it funny Metanoid will go to the one place that advocates rape and murder as an avenue for his own distorted brand of healing, but ironically, Metanerd offers this seemingly contradictory musing:


Here's a little truth for the self loathers. No one gives a damn whether you re-offend or not, nor cares whether you eat, sleep, or even live. AZU certainly wants you dead, though they enjoy the feel of your lips on their asses. But whether you like it or not, the very people you loathe are the ones trying to push for the very reforms you claim to advocate. Wake up and smell what you're shoveling!
Here is a note from Don Reavelry to everyone--------

Esther Snow (age 94) going for a ride on Grandson's (Harley?)

Don Leonard obit

Dale Grange

Parley Anderson sketch

Byron Cook Obit notice

Norwegian Invasion

And today from our resident Membership Coordinator and popular music critic, Nichole Neuman, we have a cool post on some great Norwegian musicians.

How lucky are we to live in a time where we can not only have access to touring musicians and be able to keep up to date with them via the internet, even when on a different continent? In case, you’re waiting for the answer with bated breath, the answer is very.

Two fantastic Norwegian acts are currently touring throughout the United States and Canada and, if you’re lucky, coming to a town near you! Datarock, an electro rock band, claims roots in Bergen and Oslo. You can check their tour dates and listen to their music here.

Then there's Sondre Lerche, a darling within the college music scene, well-known for his singer-songwriter style and very blue eyes, who is also visiting many a city. More information than you might ever need (including touring dates) is available at his website.

Having seen both in the past, I can recommend them heartily. It’s a fun and dynamic experience and just another way to connect to Norwegian culture. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you go!

Norwegianity is Everywhere!

Greetings everyone! Today we have a cool post from our Membership Coordinator, Nichole, about "norwegianity" in the community. Enjoy!

I was at breakfast the other day with friends when I noticed a defacement of the booth that seemed a little familiar. Indeed, I was quite surprised to notice the definitely familiar and Norwegian name: Kjell Barne! Why, I know him…sort of. Some of you may recall the well-received 2001 Norwegian comedy from Petter Næss that centers around Elling, a man with a few quirks and his roommate Kjell Barne and their struggle to live normal lives. This sudden homage to a beloved Norwegian film character brought a smile to my face. What made this even better? Spotting the words “Eg elska Hrafn.” Thanks to the Norwegian national anthem, I was able to spot, recognize and translate these words.

So, what’s the point of this rambling about Norwegian references drawn onto a chair? It was in a Cuban restaurant in South Minneapolis. The idea that amongst all that graffiti, someone had taken a moment to share their Norwegian-ness made me think that there are small ways we can connect with others and share our Norwegian pride on a daily basis. From wearing a Norwegian sweater when it’s chilly to that little flag sticker on your car, sharing your pride in your heritage can be small and connect you to strangers (and potential friends) wherever you go.

And here’s a membership tip: talking about your Norwegianity is a great opening to talk about the benefits of Sons of Norway and to welcome new members to our fantastic organization.

Even better for members? If you haven’t seen Elling, we have it in our Sons of Norway media lending library? Call to reserve your copy today!

Do you have any good examples of random encounters with Norwegianity? Go to Facebook, join our group and add your own photos!

What Does Your Lodge Do for Retention?

Today we have a new post from Nichole, our Membership Coordinator. Enjoy!

We take a little break today from our regular news of Norway (and Sons of Norway) to address an important topic within the organization: member retention. With the recent issue of the September Viking and the Fall Recruitment Blitz campaign, Fall of 2009 is turning into All Things Membership. Of course, as Membership Coordinator, I think a renewed focus and energy on that topic can only encourage and revitalize our organization.

To address the above question, I’ve provided a few ideas on member retention. Please post what does work for your lodge here in the comments section. Even better, take those comments to the members section of the website and check out the message boards. This area will serve as a sounding board for new program ideas and a way to champion your own lodge success directly to other members.

Member Satisfaction
Are your members happy with the direction of the lodge? You only know if you ask them. Consider doing a survey or a separate townhall meeting to address the lodge’s present and future. Adaptable surveys are available at www.sonsofnorway.com.

Welcoming New Members
What is the very first interaction potential and new members have with your lodge? Does someone greet them and make sure they have a buddy throughout the first few meetings? First impressions create lasting ones, so make sure your lodge puts its best foot forward. Consider forming a lodge welcoming committee, or send out new member packets. Do call members as soon as they join to welcome them and inform them about upcoming events.

Keep Members Engaged
It is important that your lodge conveys just how important members are. Make sure they’re engaged, feel comfortable and are up to speed on all the Norwegian-ness for which they’ve just signed up! Extend volunteer opportunities, introduce them to members who may have been absent and make sure they on email and newsletter lists so they can attend all the events. Haven’t heard from a member for awhile? Give ‘em a ring. They’ll be glad to hear from you!

Don’t forget to check the message boards and even this blog for updates on membership ideas.

The Search for Amundsen Continues

Much in the same way that Americans get swept up in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Amelia Erhart, so too do Norwegians when the topic turns to Roald Amundsen.

Amundsen, best known for his polar expeditions, racked up an unprecedented list of firsts as an explorer. He led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first person to reach both the North Pole and is known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage.

Then in June of 1928, while flying a rescue mission, Amundsen and his crew of five disappeared somewhere over the Barents Sea. The rescue mission was for the crew of the airship, Italia, who had crashed on their own polar expedition.

The disappearance was major news at the time, not just in Norway but around the world. Amundsen, the man who braved uncharted territories as a pastime, seemed to have vanished into thin air. For months the Norwegian navy searched and searched for their national hero, but to no avail. In the end, the search was called off in September of 1928, having found nothing more than a wing-float and bottom gasoline tank from Amundesn's plane near the Tromsø coast.

Now, 81 years later, the search is back on and is garnering a lot of attention in Norway. Right now, as I type this, Norwegian naval vessels are searching a new location in the Barents Sea. For the past 10 days two vessels have been scouring 36 square nautical miles of seabed close to the island of Bjørnøya in a bid to locate the remains of Amundsen’s seaplane.

This new expedition has the opportunity to put to rest the various theories and postulations on how the plane crashed and why. Finally, a nation may be able to lay one of its greatest heroes to rest. I'll try and find more info on their search results and post them as I can.

Sons of Norway International President Meets with King Harald V

I don't know if many of you know this, but our esteemed International President Dan Rude is in Norway right now meeting with lodges and, in a little more than a week, helping Eidsvold lodge celebrate its anniversary. As if that weren't cool enough, I just found out that he had an audience with King Harald V!

I caught up with Dan this morning (his afternoon) and asked him a bit about his trip so far. Here's what he had to say:

The visit with the King was amazing! First of all we were picked up at the hotel by Haldor Strand in a Cadillac Fleetwood Limo. This was a very special honor for us, not just because it was a limo, but also because it once belonged to and was driven by King Olav.

We drove up to the palace and were met by one of the secretaries who took us up to the waiting room just outside of King Harald's office. There we were met by another gentleman and at exactly 12:00 noon a chime sounded and the secretary knocked on the King's office door and announced us. We entered and were greeted by the king!!! He asked us to sit down at a table and he settled himself across from us. We talked about a number of things, including:
  • Our travel plans both for Sons of Norway and to meet with friends
  • the royal family's involvement with social issues
  • Princess Marta Louise's book "Why Kings Do Not Wear Crowns"
  • Norway's role on the national scene concerning peace
Because of the importance of education in Norway he even asked about my teaching career.

Then, after meeting with the King we had lunch with Fred Bjerke, who had arranged the audience with the kind in the first place and Haldor Strand.

The next day after getting lost in Oslo we drove down to Kristiansand to visit a family who use to live in Missoula. In the evening we attended a meeting at Bernt Balchen 8-003. The lodge members appreciated our visit and also had two very interesting programs. One was presented by Arnfinn Torjesen who is a retired Seaman's Church pastor. He talked about his live in Texas and New Orleans as a Norwegain Seaman's Church pastor. The other presentation was made by Bjarne Ugland who is a former Deputy Mayor of Kristiansand. He spoke on the Tall Ship Races that are being hosted by the city of Kristiansand in 2010.

After Porgrunn we are going to Voss to meet with two families. The wives in both families were students at the University of Montana and we were like host families for them while they were there. After a few days there we will go to Hamar and then Tønsberg to visit lodges. The weekend will be spent at Eidsvoll 8-009, celebrating their 25 annniversary. As I understand it that there are over 100 people planning to attend the celebration.

Sounds to me like Dan is having a great trip and is playing his role as a Sons of Norway ambassador perfectly! If I get any more info I will be sure to let you know!