Things I have learned being home alone for the first time in forever:

  1. Do not watch a zillion episodes of Criminal Minds, with an emphasis on home invasions by serial killers like Tim Curry’s creepy stalker, the week before everyone leaves.
  2. Do make a list of everything you want to accomplish when everyone (spouse, mother, both sons) scatters east and west.
  3. Do not expect to get anything done on your list. Mmmm…clean the kitchen cupboards, come up with a brilliant new writing project, bag up clothes for Goodwill, and recycle old magazines or watch dozens of episodes of Bulging Brides and Last Ten Pounds Boot camp dvr’d from the Fine Living Network in anticipation of said alone time? Guess what I chose?
  4. Do not think just because everyone is gone that you can lose the last ten pounds in five days, even eating your own (wretched) cooking. It’s just not possible.
  5. Do know you can lose a couple of pounds by counting the calories of every morsel you put in your mouth and by walking excessively in your lovely flat neighborhood.
  6. Do sit on the couch in the middle of the afternoon and read…and don’t feel guilty.
  7. And these things I knew already: it’s truly a blessing my mother has lived with us for more than a decade; in addition to loving them, I really like my husband and children; friends are invaluable, in-town and out; and I am ready for my vacation!

Darth Vader in a Bunad?

Ever have one of those days where, for one reason or another, it’s difficult to decide what to wear to the office? That was my dilemma yesterday. It was casual Friday at the Sons of Norway Home Office, so my options were more expansive than usual. In the end I picked this shirt. As most any kid who grew up in the late 70’s/80’s can relate, Star Wars is the be-all-end-all of youth culture. I wear my SW gear proudly and have no shame in showing off how nerd-core I am every chance I get.

Now I bet you are wondering what on earth this has to do with Sons of Norway or Norway in general, right?

Simple. This month marks the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back being released.

Still not connecting?

Back in May of 1980, Norway was rocketed into forefront of SW culture upon the release of Empire. You see the small town of Finse and the Hardangerjøkulen glacier played host to most of the SW cast, as the shooting location for the far-flung ice-planet, Hoth. Even 30 years later stories are still told of how nearly 18 feet of snow fell and temps plummeted to -20 F during the filming. Apparently the weather was so sever that the entire cast and crew were trapped in their hotel, at times, because the large amounts of snow falling blocked all doors and exits.

Thanks to Norway I, and many other SW geeks out there, spent many a winter day reenacting all the Hoth scenes. Whether it was pretending to be riding a Tauntaun across a snowfield, hiding from a probe droid or fighting a Wampa with a pretend lightsaber, it was the stunning landscape of Norway that fed my imagination and the imaginations of a million other kids in the 80s!

Thank you, Norway, for being the inspiration for so many great childhood memories! With that, I leave you with one last thought for the day:

What would Darth Vader have looked like in a Bunad?

Norway Is World’s Best Workplace

Today we have another post from Viking Editor Amy Boxrud, this time about the great work environment in Norway. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

In May I wrote about how Norway was named the best place in the world to be a mother. Norway was recognized again recently: as the world’s best place to work!

What makes Norwegians so happily employed? According to the European Employee Index 2010, 78 percent of Norwegians feel secure in their job, as opposed the international average of 67 percent. In addition, 70 percent of Norwegians find satisfaction in their work compared to 62 percent internationally. And 62 percent believe they could find another job if they wanted it. If you want to learn more about the study—and you read Norwegian—check out this article on the Aftenposten website.

Photo: Rasmus Andersson

When it comes to great places to work, a commitment to work/life balance can’t hurt either. Check out the July issue of Viking to learn how much vacation time Norwegians enjoy, compared to citizens of the U.S. and Canada.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minnesota, where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends.

Shoalanda Speaks BS

First of all, I would like to thank T-Sand for proving once and for all how people like "Shoalanda Speaks" and others who allegedly abhor sex offenders but yet compromises those alleged principles when she wishes to attack someone, a la Absolute Zero United.

Meet "Shoalanda Speaks." Probably every town has one of these local personal opinion blogs of area events and politics, along with a local "crime blog." These people, much like a certain Ohio online new rag (*cough*Rusty*Big 3 News*cough*), are not legitimate news reporters, merely someone who has a blog and an opinion. No matter how legit they try to be (like Big 3 News making its site looking like the local news station sites), the simple fact is, they are not. "Shoalanda Speaks" is one of those kind of people. Unlike the REAL news, people like Shoalanda do not rely on stuff like credible sources or ethical reporting.

A few weeks ago, Shoalanda wrote an article attacking me. I'm rather used to it because of my line of work in addition to hosting this fact blog on AZU's tactics, but this time I felt threatened because #1 I felt legitimately threatened by her blog (I'm not too keen on people who feel we should be branded), #2, Shoalanda relied on Wikisposure as a legit reference (a reporter's faux pas), and #3, she posts a picture of someone who has absolutely nothing to do with my case whatsoever and made her a potential targetfor dumb fucks who probably don't realize we've been divorced since the mid-90s, a year and a half BEFORE my arrest (Thanks again to T Sand for showing more examples of his lack of reading comprehension).

Not content with her stupidity, Shoalanda blatantly defended her actions and made the mistake of recruiting TSand in her personal attack, forwarding emails which has landed on his blog.

T-Sand was more than happy to run his mouth and blatantly show his connection in the latest attack by posting it on his Roar for Untruth blog:
I think it is funny because Shoalanda and AZU have the same mentality: any enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine. Below is a disclaimer you'll find on the Shoalanda Speaks blog:

It is more ironic Shoalanda quotes Wikisposure, a site that STILL has a T-Sand page on their site talking about HIS alleged mental instability. You can STILL find this on T Sand's Wikisposure page, yet he defends them, likely in the hopes they will remove them like they did Static a few months ago:Again, Shoalanda Speaks before doing her research.

I honestly hope Shoalanda's readers see this and think long and hard about who she is and represents. Shoalanda tells her readers this:

"we will not accept any blogs that support rapists, pedophiles, etc.--that should be self-explanatory."

Yet, she consorts with T-Sand, a convicted sex criminal and repeat offender. This is what we call in these parts HYPOCRISY!

Norway Ranks Top for Moms

Earlier this month Mothers Day was celebrated all across America. Personally, I think every day should be Mothers Day and, according to Amy Boxrud and some recent research, it is in Norway!

Kudos to Norway—the best place in the world to be a mother! A recent study conducted by the international organization Save the Children compared conditions for mothers in 160 nations, taking into consideration health care, nutrition, education and economic status.

As an American mom, the situation in Norway sounds pretty dreamy: a year’s maternity leave at full-pay, as many as 20 paid days off each year to care for a sick child, universal health care and high-quality child care that is heavily subsidized by the government. Is it any wonder that Norway came out on top? The rest of the Nordic countries fared well, too, with Iceland, Sweden and Denmark ranking third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and Finland in a respectable seventh place. The U.S. ranked twenty-eighth.

According to this study, it would seem that every day is Mothers Day in Norway.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minnesota, where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends.

Writer’s Block

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say…it’s just…I haven’t had anything to say.


I’ve had lots of ‘thoughts’ about things to write about, topics near and dear to my heart and my original intent when I started blogging, but nothing really resonated with me that I hadn’t already touched on before.

Kearney High School’s graduation ceremony was last weekend, and friends launched their children into the world. Having been there and done that without the benefit of pomp and circumstance, I see no reason to rehash the unconventional story of my firstborn, Erik.

He starts his junior year of college in the fall. Andrew, his younger brother, is finishing up his first year of high school even as I type.

Whoa. But covered that ground too.

Thirty-five years ago I was finishing up my first year of high school in Sault Ste. Marie, located along the Michigan/Canada border. My summer job at Dairy Queen was all lined up, for the princely sum of $1.40 an hour. I can still make a mean swirl cone, as I demonstrated at a soft serve ice cream bar graduation party we went to last weekend. It was a lovely reception, as was another one we attended.

The custom here is to display a graduating senior’s memorabilia. I started to panic, being the uptight planner that I am, because I tossed a LOT of stuff when we moved here two years ago. True, I have file folders filled with some mementoes. However, instead of making it into the filing cabinet, most items ended up scattered around my home office. Balancing working fulltime, writing, parenting, volunteering, wife-ing (not very well at times) and daughter-ing (not very well at times) simply did not leave much time for careful organization of all the important keepsakes.

As last weekend waned, I said to Andrew that I wish I’d saved the laminated ‘good job’ monthly certificates his kindergarten teacher passed out if there were no ‘yellow’ or ‘red’ lights. I wistfully reminisced about one heralding an ‘Awesome April’ at North Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia.

So we went down to one of my filing cabinets and rummaged through all the folders dealing with writing-related things. In a faded yellow folder marked ‘Andrew’ I found one laminated certificated presented all those years ago to my now six-foot-tall soon-to-be-15-year-old: “Awesome April.”

Sometimes when you have to let go, you hold onto the most important things of all.

Syttende Mai Memories

Syttende Mai was this week and I've got a great post from Viking Editor Amy Boxrud about one of her favorite Syttende Mai memories!

One of my most memorable Syttende Mai experiences took place about a decade ago, when my husband and I were traveling in Norway. We had planed to take Hurtigruten, the coastal steamer, to visit my husband’s ancestral home just north of the polar circle. At first I was disappointed to learn that we would be “stuck” traveling by ship on the 17th, but it was the best way to stay on schedule for the rest of our trip.

Little did I know this would be a great way to spend the day: not in one location, but in several—with each port community making us feel that they had been waiting for us to show up to begin their celebration. We woke to crisp, clear weather and the sound of a brass band in the port of Måløy. Two hours later, another lively community band entertained us in Torvik. We continued northward, with champagne toasts on the ship’s deck with our captain. We enjoyed a meal of pølse, sild and is on the streets of Ålesund, after marching in the town’s parade. While we were as dressed up as possible, given our limited traveling wardrobe, we were no match for the Norwegians. From the youngest to the oldest, they were decked out in their bunads, as if the whole town had just stepped off a movie set.

I’m grateful for this unique memory and to the many Norwegians who shared this special day with us.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minnesota, where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends.

Alice Roylene Marvel

Tsand and Stitches Can't Read

Geez. Can these two nitwits even read? I expected nothing less from a dumb c.u.n.t. (Can't Understand Normal Thinking) like Stitches 77, who misread "Patty Wetterling's son was kidnapped by a sex offender" into think "Patty Wetterling has a sex offender son."

Here's today's hooked on phonics lesson:

1. My blog, is NOT "RSOL Alabama," it is "ReFORM Alabama," short for Reistered Former Offender Restoration Movement. My state site is an independant site you dumb fucks. That being said,

2. When was the last time you read the RSOL site? There's a pretty bold disclaimer there, asswipes.

Here's a link for AZU:

Trust me, you illiterate cunts need it! But then again, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but at least the old dogs at AZU can be spayed and neutered!

Karen Louise Jameson Hugh Born in Hiawatha, Ut.

Gordon Bingham asked me to post this on the Blogger.
The pleasure of your company is requested at the marriage of Dianna M. Simpson and Gordon R. Bingham on Saturday May 22, 2010. The ceremony will be held at 2:00 PM in the afternoon at Rose Park 9th Ward, 760 North, 1200 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116. Reception to follow. It is requested by the Bride and Groom "Please no gifts", because between the two of us we have more than enough, but if give is a must, money for the honeymoon is enough.

Happy Birthday Gordon!

On Saturday, my little Gordon turned five! It's hard to believe my funny little boy is growing up so quickly. Gordon is a darling little devil and he really does add so much joy and energy to our everyday lives. Here are five favorite things about Gord:

1. Everything Gordon does is done with gusto and enthusiasm! Even his fits are full-blown, which is super fun for his parents. It's fun to be around Gordon because his energy is so contagious.
2. Gordon gives the best, most heartwarming hugs. He is completely in the hugging moment, so you really feel like he means to give you all of his love.
3. Gordon is a clever little thing. He has an uncanny memory, especially when it comes to promises about treats!
4. Gordon loves holidays-- especially Halloween. We probably have a conversation about which holiday is coming up next and what we'll be doing on that day at least once a week.
5. We're starting to see some musical talent emerge from Gord. He loves to play the piano and sing-- my very favorite is to catch him singing when he doesn't realize that I'm listening!

I love my little Snuggle Puppy and I'm so glad he's mine! Happy Birthday, Gordon!

Sons of Norway Welcomes New Fraternal Director

Minneapolis, May 14, 2010—Linda Pederson has been named the new Fraternal Director of Sons of Norway, succeeding Eivind Heiberg who stepped up to the position of Chief Executive Officer late last year.

This is the second time Sons of Norway has welcomed Pederson, a native of Ålesund Norway, to the Home Office staff. She previously worked for the international fraternal benefit society from 1992-95, during which time she was Manager of Fraternal Lodge and Membership Services.

When asked about Sons of Norway membership and her goals for the 115-year-old organization she said, “A Sons of Norway membership offer something for everyone, but for me the highlight is the shared appreciation of Norwegian Heritage and Culture. In the future I want as many people as possible to know about us, which means increasing our visibility and meeting member needs while exceeding their expectations.”

In addition to Pederson’s previous contributions to Sons of Norway, she has a significant background in promoting Norwegian heritage and culture. She spent six years with the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Minneapolis as Vice Consul and is the co-founder of a Norwegian/American Women’s Organization.

CEO Heiberg said, “Linda Pederson is dedicated to the promotion of Norwegian heritage and culture and will be a talented leader for Sons of Norway’s future. She has proven her leadership skills during her years of service with a number of Norwegian-based organizations, helping them reach their goals and live their mission.”

Sons of Norway was organized as a fraternal benefit society by 18 Norwegian immigrants in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 16, 1895. The purposes and goals of the Founding Fathers were to protect members of Sons of Norway and their families from the financial hardships experienced during times of sickness or death in the family. Over time, the mission of Sons of Norway was expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture in our Society.

One, two, three, four... FIVE!

Oh, five. Such a glorious, adventure-filled age. Especially if you're Gordon, for whom everything is just plain awesome. He really is an excited little guy-- always! I barely have enough energy to keep up with him, which is why I'm SUPER excited for kindergarten. I'm also excited to leave the glue supervision to someone else for a little while!

Gordon's actual birthday isn't until tomorrow, but we had his birthday party today. First off, I should note that a long time ago, I vowed not to have anything other than a family party for my children until they reached a certain age (not 5), but when I asked Gordon what he wanted for his birthday, all he could talk about was a party. So, I gave in and got him a teeny little present and a big ol' party. Now that it's over and it appears that everyone had a blast, I'm thinking birthday parties are not such a bad idea. I'm not sure what my problem was to begin with, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the mess.

So, here's a rundown of our fabulous 90 minutes: Pizza! Dinosaur Pinata! (and thank goodness for ages 5 and under who don't hoard the candy but make sure even the little guys get some) Presents! Presents! Presents! Cupcakes with trick candles! Trick candles?! I know, I had no idea! Help us blow the candles out!! Okay, stomp the candles out! Cupcakes! Party horns! Party horns on the trampoline! Sticky, squealing, happy children all over the yard! Hooray!

And that's about it. An hour and a half is just about right-- and I'm feeling pretty safe in betting that most of those kiddos (especially the ones in the younger age group) fell asleep on the way home.

Right now we're dealing with a bit of birthday-boy-bossiness and older-brother-jealousy, but aside from that, I'd say it's been a really fantastic day. Certainly a "best day ever" in Gordon's book-- and it's not even his birthday yet!

I wonder how TSand's victim felt

AZU's personal lackey TSand recently decided to impersonate a victim on his blog [word of advice, TSand, try to at least get the personal info right next time] in addition to impersonating me back at AZU, and on his blog, he offers up this comment:

Seeing as how Clay Keys can be located on the sex offender registry in Florida, seeing as how he's done his share of activism and has his OWN Wikisposure page, I was just wonder what TSand has done to make atonement for HIS victim. I wonder what kind of justice TSand's victim would want, and how he or she feels about a so-called "victim advocate" group like AZU supporting TSand.

Grow up, Clay. You're still holding a grudge simply because you got slighted by someone over a year ago and I wouldn't support your quest for revenge, so you go to the enemy out of spite. The more you protest along with AZU, the more foolish you and AZU are looking. Ids it any wonder that NO ONE EVER takes you clowns seriously? Everyone point and laugh at AZU!

Mesa Falls

Spring is fighting back here in Idaho (although it did snow last week-- boo!) so we took advantage of the balmy weather and spent Saturday out in nature! We followed my parents, sister, and my brother and his cute girlfriend to Mesa Falls in the Targhee National Forest. It was a perfect little outing-- a short hike with stairs, a couple of lovely waterfalls to ooh and ahh over, and of course, a fabulous bunch of people to share the day with!

The boys were thrilled with the water, and with Chris, who threw giant snowballs over the edge of the path into the water below.

M&M cookies at Mesa Falls, then a stop at the "Frostop" for hamburgers and fries made for a perfect little outing! I'm excited to return to Mesa Falls this summer for an overnight campout!

Mother's Day weekend was glorious, if a bit gluttonous, too! We enjoyed family, no extra church meetings, and food, food, food. Food highlights: pizza and treats at Freed's on Friday, the aforementioned Frostop and my dad's famous teriyaki chicken on Saturday, enchiladas and fried ice cream on Sunday with the whole family. Uh. Yeah.

The good news: I've been super disciplined with my eating and exercise this week! Ha!

This week, I'm working on planning our summer adventures. I did this about 5 years ago, when we were in Logan, and we really had such a fun time that year! Since then, I've been a bit of a slacker and with moving, etc, last year, I felt like our days off have been wasted in doing nothing. So, last night I made a list of everything we'd like to do, then poured over maps and the calendar to see what we can squeeze in. I'm excited about the possibilities we have to look forward to!

Integrity and Politics

The Dangers of a Hung Parliament

As I write this (May 11, 2010) Liberal Democrat MP's are meeting with Labour representatives to discuss a possible "Lib-Lab Pact" or, as it has been named by others, a "Progressive Party". Some people (myself included) are a little worried about this possibility, but much more alarming is the possible collapse of political integrity.

The Present Situation

Some partisan commentators and party members have suggested that the people voted for a hung parliament. This is bad logic. To begin with, we cannot get inside every one's head to see what his/her intentions were. Secondly, the outcome itself does not prove that voters wanted this outcome. What we do know is that many people voted for either Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat MPs, and that the majority voted either Labour or Tory. The majority did not vote for a hung parliament or (and even this has been suggested) for some change in the voting system. There is absolutely no evidence for any such conclusion. One Labour MP went so far as to suggest that because voters have created a hung parliament situation and have NOT voted for a majority Tory government, anything is possible, and whatever emerged would be more or less what the people wanted. That some Liberal Democrats are apparently insisting that there be more movement towards a form of Proportional Representation suggests that some of them are not really concerned with what the Electorate wants. The only fair and logical position regarding that proposition is the one already suggested by the Conservatives i.e. a referendum.

Another thing that is clear is that the Electorate has not voted for a Liberal Democrat government, which means that the majority have NOT voted for Liberal Democrat policies. The negotiations now taking place are at least partially taken up with what the Lib-Dem's can wring out of either of the other two main parties. This is dishonourable. They need to be reminded that their negotiating position does not mean that they at liberty to insist on their own policies being adopted. If they insist on some further guarantees regarding PR they will have to explain - perhaps in a future election - why they were apparently ready to push this idea irrespective of the views of the Electorate.

Political Ideology

Presumably those who belong to a particular party accept and support its philosophical outlook. How far will Labour members go in the attempt to remain in power? Some Labour spokesmen and women seem to be saying that there is not much difference between Labour and the Lib-Dem's. Is this really true? If it is, then why have they not joined before? Why have Labour politicians fought elections against them? At the same time, how far will Conservatives go to please the Lib-Dem's? Clearly, as has been said, there are more serious differences between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, but when we listen to Labour MPs there now seems to be almost nothing separating them. Where has the Labour Party gone?

Another Matter

If the Liberal Democrats form an alliance or create a coalition with Labour, the government will have to rely on the support of other parties. In the General Election, English and Welsh voters did NOT have the opportunity to vote for Scottish Nationalists, so how can they now become involved in governing Britain to the extent of shoring up an unstable coalition? How could Welsh or Northern Ireland MPs - who have not been returned through any involvement of the English Electorate - have such a stake in government? This is surely dishonourable. We see how shaky democracy has become. The party with the greatest votes may well be pushed back into opposition and, on top of that, we may have another unelected PM.

A Travesty

The most unbelievable part of all of this - to me, at least - is that we had presidential-style debates involving the three main party leaders where the personalities were clearly important. Mr. Clegg impressed everyone to begin with (though this fell off somewhat later on). it became clear through the opinion polls and the interviews with people on the street that some were drawn towards the Liberal Democrats because of his performance. Add to that the overdone reputation of Vince Cable ("Honest Vince") and we had some formerly undecided voters going over to them. Gordon Brown, on the other hand, began to appear tired and repetitive, and one of the reasons for his resignation is precisely that many Labourites saw him - and his "personality" - as their chief liability (fair or not). His behaviour towards those who disagree with or challenge him has long been a subject of concern for party workers and journalists. His famous Lancashire gaffe into a lapel mike only served to highlight this problem. Some commentators said it was fortunate that he did not use four-letter words (as he has been known to do on some occasions). With all this in the background how is it possible that Labour could make a moral case for another unelected Prime Minister? In my view this is also dishonourable, and a travesty.

We can only hope - and pray, that the call for a "new politics" which we hear from time to time will result in a politics that pays more than lip-service to integrity and honour.

Ellen Petroni obit

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother. No job is more exhausting or more rewarding.

Today I give thanks for my wonderful sons and my own mother, who continues to be my role model, my champion, and my best friend.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Viking’s Editor Meets The Cheese Guy

Here's another interesting post from Viking magazine editor, Amy Boxrud about her meeting with "The Cheese Guy."

Over the past few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed immersing myself in Viking magazine’s food issue, arriving in June. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Moore, also known as “The Cheese Guy.” I first met Patrick went I lived in Minneapolis and did my grocery shopping at Lunds in Uptown (which happens to be right across the street from Sons of Norway headquarters). Whenever I saw Patrick working behind the cheese counter, I always stopped to browse, which inevitably led to samples, recommendations and Patrick’s entertaining commentary. I wasn’t the only person who appreciated Patrick’s advice; he’s now a specialty cheese consultant who also offers classes and tastings.

When I began working on an article about Norway’s cheeses, I knew Patrick would be a great source of information. We sat down over a cup of coffee spent an hour discussing Norwegian cheeses available in the U.S: Jarlsberg, Gjetost, Ridder and Snøfrisk. Now I've got cheese on the brain and I can't wait to hit the grocery store. Look for Patrick’s insights—along with five new ways to eat Jarlsberg cheese—in our upcoming June food issue.

Photo courtesy of Norseland Inc.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. The mother of two grade-schoolers, Amy and her family live in Northfield, Minnesota where she is a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends. She is a founding member of Northfield’s Nordic Roots Session and performs with the groups Scandium and Hütenänny.


My younger son, Andrew, posed an interesting question at brunch yesterday. He wanted to know what seemed stranger, that his older brother, Erik, was going to be a junior in college next year or that he himself was going to be a sophomore in high school in the fall.

After mulling for a minute, I told him what freaks me out most is his going off to college in three years. I vividly remember sending him off to the first day of kindergarten on Bus 209 piloted by Crazy Louie. I still miss Louie.

Yesterday afternoon I went to an honors recital at the university with my neighborhood walking buddy. On the way home she was lamenting the end of the elementary school years. Her son heads to middle school in August and her daughter enters high school.

In 2013, Andrew will graduate from high school… 35 years after I did. Erik, as I may have mentioned before, took the unconventional route: foreign exchange student, ‘dropping out’ senior year, getting accepted to college a year early, earning a GED, going to college a year early…whew.

Andrew is following the conventional route. My two sons are very different from each other, but they do share a common trait. Years ago their Aunt Mette, my husband’s younger-by-seven-years sister, was visiting.

“They certainly are relentless!” she said, exhausted after spending a couple days with her nephews.

They are indeed relentless, and goal-oriented…and the loves of my life.

Me, who is so good at letting go, is having a hard time envisioning the day when they both leave the nest…for good.

This week Erik heads out to spend the summer working and doing an internship in Morgantown, WV…where he ‘grew up.’ He’ll get to spend time with his wonderful girlfriend, Morgan, home from college. And he’ll be back to being on his own, something he excels at. It has been kind of nice to have him home for awhile.

In August, Erik will be home for that junior year of college. Andrew will start his sophomore year of high school the day after he turns 15.

As for me, I’m going to spend the summer writing, sitting on my deck sipping sugar-free lemonade, and wondering if I own a copy of Gail Sheehy’s book.

Scandinavia’s Best in Your Own Backyard

Is a trip to Norway not in your budget this summer? Me neither. But we can still enjoy some Scandinavian culture and learn something new, right?
Here are three upcoming opportunities to learn Nordic folk music and dance in the U.S.

If you live in the East, the Midwest or in the West, there’s an event taking place in your region in June:
• Nordic Fiddles and Feet, June 27-July 4, near Littleton, N.H.

• Nisswa-stämman, June 11-12, in Nisswa, Minn. 

• Scandia Camp Mendocino, June 12-19, near Mendicino, Calif.

All three of these events offer training in folk music and dance from top-notch Scandinavian instructors. As someone who’s attended Nisswa-stämman for the past 7 years, I can attest to what a great opportunity these events are for Nordic music and dance enthusiasts, whether you’re just beginning to explore your musical roots, or you’ve been at it for years.
PS: Look for more ways to experience Norway in your own backyard in the July issue of Viking!
Photo courtesy of Doug Bratland

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. The mother of two grade-schoolers, Amy and her family live in Northfield, Minnesota where she is a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends. She is a founding member of Northfield’s Nordic Roots Session and performs with the groups Scandium and Hütenänny.