So long, summer

All week I’ve looked high and low (well, the Google search engine equivalent) for just the right poem, quote, or even song lyric about the end of summer and the advent of autumn.

Yes, I know fall doesn’t ‘officially’ start until September 23rd this year. But c’mon, don’t we all mentally shift seasonal gears when Labor Day rolls around?

It seems like only yesterday, or last week at least, that my younger son and I were sitting around the dinner table talking about the end of school. Actually, it was mid-May, and summer loomed full of promise and possibilities.

After a brutal winter and blustery spring here on the prairie, we were all ready for summer. And our weather was nothing compared to the conditions that socked the mid-Atlantic and Eastern seaboard regions. Those were Mike Tyson-esque punches that kept on pummeling. Like all years, 2010 so far has been rife with highs and lows.

I won’t go into the lows because I’m trying to veer from my usual more maudlin ‘fare’ and write a humorous funny blog about saying ‘so long, summer.’

But one thing I learned all the years my mother and I wrote romantic comedy for Harlequin, is that true humor requires pathos to balance it out...just like life.

Crying over the bad and laughing at the good sometimes morphs into tears of laughter and smiles of sadness.

In bidding adieu to August, I’m reflecting on the highs and lows of the season about to pass…even if not officially.

Saying at least nobody died does a bit of a disservice to June and her sisters, July and August. But after a sad winter, I tend to categorize things that way.

This summer did have Herculean highs, along with several tail-dragging lows. But isn’t every season like that? Isn’t that what life is all about?

We cherish the good times and mourn the bad, and life moves forward.

Just like the calendar.

Brand New Shiny...

In recent years at Sons of Norway International Conventions the headquarters has put together various commemorative items for delegates. In some years it has take the shape of room keys, post cards and hats. This year, however, we did something a little different.

I'm pleased to show you the official 2010 Sons of Norway International Convention commemorative coin!

Norwegian Experience: Day 1

This morning I had the opportunity to check in with this year’s Norwegian Experience winner, Bruce Johnson. Bruce and his wife, Mary, are currently traversing the North Sea on the MS Balmoral, setting out from Invergordon, Scotland to Stavanger, Norway. As we spoke, Bruce described the coastal views from his patio as the ship traveled through the channel to open waters. How cool is that?

We’re catching up with Bruce and Mary a bit later on their journey. They departed last week and spent a bit of time in London prior to the start of their Fred Olsen cruise that began on Saturday. During their time in London they were able to visit Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and of course, the Tower of London.

Upon beginning their cruise in Dover, the Johnson’s say they were warmly welcomed by the ship’s crew and arrived at their cabin to find a fruit basket, flowers and chilled champagne waiting for them. Bruce says they even received a call from the ship’s captain asking if they would like to steer the ship! Not only has the staff been great, but Bruce says the accommodations throughout the trip have been fantastic, from the international flight to their stay in London and now their stay in the captain’s suite on the MS Balmoral.

After enjoying tours of the canals in Amsterdam and partaking in a Loch Ness Mystery Tour in Scotland, Bruce is eagerly awaiting the beginning of the Norwegian portion of his journey in Stavanger.

So what’s on deck for tomorrow?

Glad you asked! Tomorrow, Bruce will be arriving in Stavanger, Norway, enjoying a boat trip and excursions to the Lysefjord and the Hardangerfjord.

Check back in later this week with more updates from Bruce and more trip details. You can also check out the ship’s progress from Scotland to Norway with a nifty ship locator feature located here.


As you may have seen at the end of my blog post from the 28th, I put out a bounty on one of our good-natured members from D3. Well, leave it to one of our FBC's to have the tenacity needed to find him and bring him in crying like a little girl kicking and screaming. Check out the photo we got of the delivery!

International Board Nominations

Ok, we’re off and running for another day of great governance and excitement. As I type this we are kicking off nominations for your next biennial International Board of Directors.

To start, Dan Rude was nominated for a second term as our International President. Mary Bennet from D5 gave a very nice nomination speech, highlighting Dan’s many qualifications.

After that Erlene Stevenson took the podium to nominate Marit Kristiansen for another term as the International Vice President. Erlene chose to focus on Marit’s energy and positivism as our current VP.

Next up was former D6 President, Janie Kelly. When it was her turn, she took the mic and nominated Audun Gythfeldt for a second term as the International Secretary.

Then, in a surprise move, Lynne Rommesmo nominated Roger Espeland for International Treasurer on a platform of 990 IRS compliance. After that, to make is a real horse-race Mickey Andrew nominated current D2 International Director Bill Fosmoe, pointing out his many previous positions of experience.

Looks like so far the race for International Treasurer is going to be the most hotly debated. Keep checking back as others may decide to throw their hat in the ring!

A Very Poignant Day

As I sit here, NFCA CEO, Joe Annotti, is just finishing up his speech to the delegation. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

So far, today has been very full with a number of speakers and presentations. First we had Scott Ginsberg, aka “The Nametag Guy” speaking about the importance of being approachable. This was great information for lodge members and leaders. I hope we’ll be able to make some of his presentation available for other members and lodges to enjoy.

Then, just before lunch, we were treated to a short presentation by Linda McCormick from Borton Overseas, the Official Travel Partner of the 2010 International Convention. She provided delegates with information about all the wonderful discounts available from Borton to Sons of Norway members.

That brings me to now, after lunch, where Joe Annotti is speaking about the importance of Fraternal Benefit Societies and the importance of running them like a business. His whole speech very entertaining but I think there were two key take-away messages.

The first was that the holy trinity of the fraternal world is governance, relevance and solvency. All equally important, I think.

The second key message was that just because we are non-profits, that doesn’t mean that profits are bad. Quite the contrary, in fact because the more profitable we are, the more good we can do in the communities we serve.

I’m a fraternal guy at heart and think that fraternal programming is important, but Joe’s point is right on. If fraternals don’t behave like businesses and focus on profits, our future is very bleak. Very, very bleak.

That’s why Sons of Norway is placing renewed emphasis on our own holy trinity of fraternalism: Fraternal, Financial and Foundation. These are our three key areas of business and we understand their symbiotic relationship with respect to one another. When speaking about these areas of business, International President, Dan Rude, often uses the analogy of a three-legged stool: without one of the legs the whole stool falls (as would our beloved organization).

Something to think about when you wonder why Sons of Norway sells insurance, or why it has a foundation.

In closing it’s been a very poignant day so far. I’m hoping the rest of the convention is the same. If so, this is going to be the Best. Convention. EVAR!

More to come later!

International Convention 2010: Opening Ceremonies/President's Reception

Today was a lot of fun!

I've been to a number of District and International Conventions over the years and the day of opening ceremonies is always my favorite. Not because of the pomp and circumstance, nor because of music and speeches (though they are all very nice and rousing).

The reason this is my favorite day is because for many it is a day of reunions for far flung delegates who have built long-lasting relationships through their time at conventions. Typically Sons of Norway members are not a very "huggy" bunch of folks, but every time I'm at a convention for the first day I'm always surprised and warmed by the site of hundreds of old friends coming together once again. There are smiles, hugs, kind words and the all-encompassing embrace of friendship.

This year, that was especially true at the President's Reception. Just take a look at our Flickr page for the proof.

Ok, that's all for now. Enjoy your day and see you tomorrow!

Ride for their wallets!

UPDATE: Video of rally now at bottom of article!

Looks like Mark Lunsford has cooked up yet another Get Rich Quick Scheme (TM). As a charter member of yet another group, the "Surviving Parents Coalition," Inc., Lunsford is a part of the "Ride For Their Lives," coming to a major city near you. So what is the purpose, exactly? Well it is pretty simple. Read it for yourself:

COMMENT: So let me get this straight. The purpose of "The Ride" is to raise a million bucks or more so Lunsford can have cocktails with Congressmen who already blindly support his legislation? Does it really cost THAT much to hang around in DC for a few days? I only spent $500 for a five day conference in DC back in 1996 when I was in college and that included my airfare and my hotel stay, and a couple of souvenirs. Damn, inflation is something else.

So what are they planning on doing in DC? They were at least kind enough to explain:

The four causes being focused on during this ride are:
1. Mandatory DNA testing upon arrest:

Oh great. They support more Big Brother legislation. I wonder if they'll be the first in line to give their DNA to the beast.

2. Protect our children act of 2008

Ok. First off, why would Lungsfull lobby for a law ALREADY PASSED AND FUNDED? And where do these crazy stats come from? Do you think Lunsford is aware the law passed yet?
3. The Adam Walsh Act

See #2. What the hell has Lunsford been doing all this time? Okay, I'll explain s-l-o-w-l-y in case Lungsfull ever reads this. THE AWA PASSED 4 YEARS AGO, AND BARACK HUSSEIN OSAMA FUNDED THIS STUPID BILL! Again, why waste a million dollars to send someone to lobby a bill already passed and funded? Of course, most states found implementing AWA has been a disaster.

4. Child safety initiative

Now see, I have no problems with education and prevention. However, will this education tell kids not to sext or have relations with each other lest they land on the registry? Of course, there have been such programs in place for years, but people do not utilize them.

If that wasn't enough to get you going, check out the "state report cards:"

Ohio is just one of the states they will ride through. Ohio has DNA testing already. Big whoop. They're also AWA compliant. Again, big whoop. Since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled retroactive application of SB 10 (their version of the AWA), I wonder if Ohio is still technically "compliant."

This is where it gets kooky. Their stat page claims Ohio has "100,624 known sex offenders." Wow. They must have something the NCMEC doesn't because the latest stats from the NCMEC show there are just under 20,000 Registered Sex Offenders in Ohio.

The site suggests the Protect Act stats are from the ICAC though there is no study that suggests anything like they are suggesting. However, even with my limited knowledge of the internet, I'm fully aware of the use of viruses to infect PCs with child porn, sometimes even as a set-up. Lunsford should know since a news article had reported it days after his daughter's death. Considering how we let John McCain, a man who admittedly cannot use a computer, much less understand the internet, pass laws restricting the internet. Well crap, that means I could write and pass laws on combatting Nuclear Proliferation.

One activist for the rights of Former Offenders attended the Chicago event. It seems there were only about 30 people who attended, he being one of them. If you want a play by play, you can listen to the play by play on the August 28 "Open Mic Night" on ARC Radio.

The play by play highlights of the Chicago event:

1. Only 6 riders
2. Event lasted 30 minutes
3. Lunsford arrived late, did not ride during rally, appeared drunk
4. No politicians or legislators

As of this writing there is not much media coverage of the events. It looks like squeezing a million bucks from the poor people of this nation is going to be just a little tougher than he thought.

It's All Happening!

Whew, there's a lot going on right now.

Not only am I spending the next week in Coeur d'Alene, ID providing live coverage of the 2010 International Convention, but the blog will also have some great posts from Viking Editor extraordinaire, Amy Boxrud, AND there will be regular posts covering this year's Norwegian Experience winner's trip to Norway! This blog is going into serious whirling dervish mode and I've been forced to face a very difficult reality.

I am only one person.

Who knew, right?

So, with that, I've asked for some additional help from my colleague, Melissa. She's been gracious enough to pick up the Norwegian Experience blog posts for me in my absence. For those of you who may not remember, Melissa joined the team a while backk and has regretted it ever since been a great member of the team. Be sure to leave her some nice comments!

As you can see, there's a lot going on here at ye olde Sons of Norway blog. I hope everyone is ready for the coming avalanche of Norwegian heritage and culture!

Ok, more later, but for now I'm off to find this guy. I know he's checked in to the hotel, so I may need to stake out the convention registration desk. If anyone reading this can deliver him to me at the HQ office in the Coeur d'Alene hotel and spa, I will gladly repay with a special prize.

Have a great day everyone!

The World is Your Language Lab

Want to brush up on your Norwegian vowels? Check out this video clip that runs through the pronunciation of all nine. (In case you’re wondering, they’re presented in the following order: I, Y, E, Ø, A, Æ, Å, O, U.)

Thanks to all the great resources on the Internet, it’s easier than ever to learn—or dust off—a foreign language. When I was studying Norwegian in college, I remember going to the language lab, putting on the headphones and listening to recordings of folk tales while I read along. Now it’s easy to find resources such as Norwegian radio stations, TV programs, movies and newspapers—all without leaving your desk.

You can also find a mini language lesson, called “Spread the Word,” in Viking magazine each month. It’s in our newly redesigned Nordic Life department. It’s just for fun (there’s no final exam), so enjoy!

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.

Norwegian Experience Highlights

While many of our Sons of Norway members, delegates and headquarters staff are in “2010 International Convention mode,” we at headquarters are also in “Norwegian Experience mode” as we check in with this year’s contest winner, Bruce Johnson.

Bruce is currently enjoying the first parts of his journey, spending time in London prior to setting sail for the Norwegian coast on the MS Balmoral. We’ll be checking in with Bruce next week for updates on his travel, however here’s a bit of 2010 trip highlights.

- As the Norwegian Experience Recruitment contest winner, Bruce will be enjoying an exclusive 7-10 day Fred Olsen cruise for two, courtesy of Borton Overseas.

- Business class international air travel and deluxe accommodations 

- 2 day stay in Oslo, including tours to City Hall, Vigeland Park, Holmenkollen and the Folk Museum.

Don’t forget to check back to the blog next week for regular updates on Bruce’s trip.

Live from the 2010 International Convention!

Hei everyone! As promised, we are bringing the convention experience to everyone in Sons of Norway who wasn't able to join us in beautiful Coeur d'Alene, ID!

Today was a set-up day at the hotel, where a couple colleagues and I began to set up the HQ office, review docs and tour the areas of the hotel we will be using come Saturday. It's been a full day, but it doesn't make for super-exciting blog posts, so I'll keep it short today.

One item of interest is that I've updated the Sons of Norway YouTube channel with a couple of videos. There will be more exciting vids coming over the next few days, though. I promise!

More tomorrow!

Hiawatha Ethnicity

This information was collected from personal interviews, obituaries, newspapers & census records.


AXELSEN- Denmark
BALDWIN- England
BARNETT- Scotland
BAWDEN- England
BEARNSON- Scotland-Iceland
BUDO- Japan
BURGESS -Germany
CHRISTENSEN -Sweden- Denmark
CLAVEL- France
COWAN- Scotland
COX- England
CROMBIE- Ireland
DAVIS- England-Wales
DAY- England
DUGMORE- England
EARDLEY- England
FADEL- Denmark
GAGON- Ireland
HOOPES -England
JARVI- Finland
KOLOVICH- Yugoslavia
LUPO- Italy
MADRID- Spanish
MOFFITT- Ireland
ORTIZ- Spanish
PAPPAS -Greece
REVA- Italy
RONS- Belgium- Switzerland
ROVSEK- Scotland
SACO- Italy
SMODEY- Austria
STORY- Canada
VEA- Italy
WICKMAN- Germany
WILDE- England

Norwegian Experience Preview

This year’s Norwegian Experience winner, Bruce Johnson, says he’s “like a kid in a candy store” as he eagerly awaits his upcoming trip to Norway. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to spend 7-10 days enjoying breathtaking views of Norway from a Fred Olsen cruise ship? But before we cover more of the exciting details of Bruce’s upcoming trip, lets learn a bit more about our winner…

Bruce and his wife, Mary, are members of Maine Nordmenn 3-664 and were recruited by their neighbor 4 years ago. In those short 4 years, a chain of events were set into motion that would lead not only to the discovery of a great family story, but also a new connection with family in Norway, that Bruce says, “was all due to Sons of Norway.”

So what’s the story you ask?

Shortly after joining, Bruce learned through military records that his grandfather had emigrated from Tønsberg, Norway at the age of 16 to join the U.S. Navy. After discovering his grandfather’s Norwegian roots, Bruce soon went in search of his family’s ties to Norway, writing an article for the Olso-based magazine “Familien.” In the months afterward, Bruce was able to connect with his Norwegian second cousin and visit them in Tønsberg.

Today, Bruce and his wife Mary are looking forward to their next adventure in Norway as part of the 2010 Norwegian Experience contest. Here’s some of the highlights of their upcoming trip and of course, how Bruce got to this point.

The contest is open to anyone who recruited at least one new member last year. How many new members did you recruit?

“After the September 2009 issue of Viking our lodge started a number of recruiting initiatives in an effort to gain members. One of our ideas was to offer ½ price 1-year memberships to new members. Our lodge paid for one half of the membership and the new member paid the other half. I was able to sign up 10 new lodge members after that.”

Since you’ve been to Norway before, what are you looking forward to seeing on this trip that you’ve not had the opportunity to see before?

“We’ll be seeing much more of Norway from a cruise ship on this trip than we’ve done before, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of the western coastline… and of course, the fjords! I’ve been to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and Norway is definitely the most beautiful! In Oslo I plan to spend a lot of time at Vigeland Park, I’ve never seen it.”

How has the trip planning been going? Are you having a good experience working with Borton Overseas?

“The people at Borton have been UNBELIEVABLE. They answer all of our questions! Our itinerary is step-by-step…they’ve thought of everything, Linda McCormick, especially, has been fantastic. The first part of our trip will start in Stockholm, but by August 29th we’ll be beginning our cruise on the MS Balmoral. Our accommodations on the ship are amazing; we’re staying in the captain’s suite!”

Any final thoughts before embarking on your trip?

“ This truly is the trip of a LIFETIME! I would strongly encourage members to take part and recruit as many people as possible.”

Check in with us on Friday for an additional post on the Norwegian Experience contest and on Monday as we follow up with Bruce during the first days of his trip.


“The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree” is a common expression around here.

Whenever I mimic my mom’s behavior or one of my sons reaffirms his parentage, I utter that expression. I’m curious about the origins of that saying and should put my friend Holly Jacobs on it. She recently enlightened me on the meaning of ‘getting down to brass tacks.’ Romance writer Holly, an Erie, PA resident, and I ‘talk’ via e-mail every day and have for years. Without her boundless optimism, I’d be lost.

Originally I’d planned to blog about a story I read in this morning’s Omaha World Herald about a storm that felled the ailing chestnut tree Anne Frank gazed upon while hiding in the jam warehouse in Amsterdam.

Three springs ago on a trip across the pond, I gazed at that sickly tree and tried to imagine my sons unable to go outside for two years. When they were little, I couldn’t imagine them going more than two minutes without going outside. Last fall, I wrote about Anne and her father.

My intent was to write about my appreciation of trees, my love for my children, the irony of moving to a state (Nebraska) that is the home of Arbor Day yet lacks trees, my 7th grade science project in Sault Ste. Marie on Dutch Elm disease, and the universality of a parent’s love for a child and the horrors inflicted on all of humanity by evil.

Kind of an overwhelming agenda.

Instead, I will just murmur a quiet thanks my babies are growing into fine young men. And I’ll remind myself the most important part of holding on is letting go.

Like clockwork

AZU has gotten a bit too predictable, as predictable as that guy I play EA's NCAA football with on occassion who picks the "Hail Mary" pass virtually every play. With AZU, it has been the exact same song and dance every year. AZU takes off during the summer, comes back sometime towards the end of summer, and promises they have a "BIG surprise" waiting for me, only to offer up nothing. I'm still waiting for that big surprise from 2008. I have yet to be surprised. Impersonation? Following me around the internet? Anonymous emails and 3 am phone calls? Blogs dedicated to slandering me? They tried that and failed to stop my activism. Ironically, all they've managed to do is increase my desire to offer the truth about sex offender laws.

As an aside, why is it there is never a screenshot from these so-called boy-love/ girl-love blogs from AZU? Do they even exist, or are they sock puppet sites created to give AZU a false air of relevance, much like that fake war with Canada in "Canadian Bacon?" Either way, AZU sure shares a lot of sick material on their blog.
They were selling a Memory Book of Hiawatha at Hiawatha Day this year. It is a real nice bound book and they sell for $15.00. Eldon Miller still has a few left. If anyone wants one or more please contact Eldon at -- or call him at 435-472-8253.
Subject: Anna Louise Pappas Weight
Wally, The family of Anna Loiuse Pappas Weight wanted to let you know of her passing away early this morning August 20th. Funeral details are being determined at this time. Thanks, her niece Karen Kolovich

Ibsen’s Enduring Influence

Did you know that, next to Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world? I knew that Ibsen was an influential playwright, but I was still surprised to learn this fact while editing “10 Artists Who Shaped a Nation,” part two of our Notable Norwegians series for the September issue of Viking.

In the article, Jan Sjåvik, professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington, calls Ibsen “amazingly current…and amazingly interesting.” This is evidenced by the wealth of opportunities to see Ibsen’s work performed around the world.

If you’re in the Oslo area, check out the National Theater’s Ibsen Festival. Every other year at the end of the summer, the theater invites outstanding Ibsen productions from around the world to its celebration of the playwright. This year the festival kicks off on Aug. 26 with Ibsenmachine, a production based on several of Ibsen’s well-known works.

Ibsen fans in New York City have the opportunity to see Hedda Gabler in a unique setting. Running through Sept. 4, the production is staged in a historic townhouse, where the actors mingle with the audience, creating an intimate atmosphere. Tickets are limited. For more information, visit

Photo courtesy of National Library of 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.
Diana Downer TallmonAugust 18, 2010 at 5:34pm
Subject: Have you seen?
My cousin got a photo copy of a history of Hiawatha with plans of the different size cottages the mine built for the miners. Has no date but when I went their about 42 years ago the drawings look like the homes that were there. If I ever find the pictures of that trip I will let you know. My mother Winona Beth Wardell was born in Hiawatha May 10, 1923 and is now 87. She was 3 when her family moved to California. My Great grandmother Lottie (Charlottie Rosettie Borreson Olsen ran the boarding house in the EARLY 1900's. Oh, the person who wrote the history of Hiawtha with the home plans are: Matt Warner, Harold Elliott and/or Dustin CarlsonDiana Tallmon

School Daze

It seems like only yesterday husband, younger son and his grandma and I were sitting around the dinner table talking about how many days til the end of the school year.

But it wasn’t yesterday, it was mid-May. Suddenly mid-August has rolled into town, offering a reprieve from the blistering 90-degree heat just in time for the start of school tomorrow.

My younger son, Andrew, was conveniently born 15 years ago today, his birth allowing his father to miss an all-day faculty retreat. I was glad at the time baby and I could accommodate him.

Tomorrow said son starts his sophomore year of high school. Thirty-five years ago I was a sophomore in high school. Today in the frozen yogurt shop I experienced a moment of sheer horror. It dawned on me I was closer in age to the elderly gray-haired couple at the counter than I was to the two sweet girls who looked like they could be Andrew’s classmates.

As I scrutinize my neck (a la Nora Ephron) for loss of elasticity and peer under my eyes at the fine lines staring to web out (apparently visible only to me, according to my husband, but there nevertheless!), it has occurred to me I’m missing the point.

Especially lately.

Time marches on. We wouldn’t want it not to. I’m think I’ve forgotten my central theme here, that of holding on and letting go.

Not only do we have to let go of our children, we need to let go of our youthful image of ourselves.

That doesn’t mean we have to become stodgy. Some of the most youthful people I’ve ever known have numbered many in years. Conversely, I’ve know those younger than me whose attitudes were ancient.

We have to treasure each moment and turn a myopic eye to the mirror.

The Princess Diaries

What is Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit up to this summer? She was recently in Vienna to attend AIDS 2010, the world’s largest health conference. While she was there, she opened a new Youth Pavilion, a networking space for young people involved in the AIDS effort. Over the past two years, the Crown Princess has paid special attention to empowering youth leadership in the fight against AIDS.

To learn more about the activities of the Crown Princess, and about Norway’s Royal Family in general, visit You also can read more about Norway’s monarchy in the December issue of Viking, where we’ll explore some of Royal Family’s official duties and favorite causes.

Photo courtesy of Jo Michael, the Royal Court

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.

Recruiter’s Reception at the 2010 Convention!

August 30th at 5:30pm – where will you be?

Why, at the 2nd Recruiter’s Reception, of course!

Join the Fraternal Department to celebrate short-term recruiting successes and share stories of what works with other motivated members. For recruiting just one new, dues-paying member,* you’ll also get to take part in a great spread of hors d’oeurves and drinks and have a chance to win prizes.

We’ve teamed up with Ingebretsen’s to present lucky and hard-working recruiters with some fabulous prizes, which may include these awesome items below. There’s still plenty of time to recruit a member and be part of the fun in Coeur d’Alene!

Want more information? Pop over here ( for *full details on qualifications and participation.

Mrs. Burmester's 2nd Grade 1948-49 Hiawatha

I have attached the picture I mentioned to you on Facebook.
As I said this is of Mrs. Burmester’s 2nd grade class in Hiawatha circa ’48 – ’49. I believe the room shown behind the group is our classroom too.
Fortunately my mother had the foresight to write the names of the students (at least those that she knew) on the back of the picture.

They are:
Standing, far back left is Mrs. Burmester
Standing, L - R: Jone Littlejohn, Rhea Gardener, Caroline Velasquez, Janet -----, Alicia Anderson, Sylvia Petrulakis, Geraldine ----,
Marcia -----, Patsy Peretti, Roberta Redford, Eula McFadden, Karen Petty.

Seated, L - R: Johnny Martino, Matt Franich, Garth Heaton, Gary Moffitt, Gene McFerron, Wayne Sorenson, Merle -----,
Luther Jackson, Terry Gagon, Brian Every, Bobby -----,Sanford Crawford.

Seated front row L - R: Tommy Dixon, David Kilcrease, Francis Greenland, Roger Davis.

Francis Greenland

Jack Leamaster obit.

Summer 2010 (part 1)

I got that "memory card full" warning when I was trying to take some pictures the other day, and it made me realize how terrible I've been at updating this blog with our summer adventures!  I don't feel too badly-- hopefully you're so involved in your own summer fun that you haven't noticed my little hiatus.

We're always busy, of course, but we've been having such a great time this summer.  I have been doing my very best to battle the B-word ("bored") and with the help of our fun neighbors, friends and a visit from cousins, we're not doing too bad.  And rather than give you a big long travel log (even though I know some of you like that kind of thing...), I'm just going to post some postcard shots of our Summer 2010 over the next few days and catch up.

Today:  Part 1-- from top left corner:  Sprinklers! (and slip & slides, and little pools); (top middle) relaxing in the hammock at Chris's parents' house; (bottom middle) Thomas LOVED watching all of Gordon's tee ball games;  Gordon and his cousin David are two little peas in a pod-- it's so fun to watch them together (and only a little bit rowdy)
Bottom left:  Thomas and his cute cousin Audrey; Gordon and Mom spelunking at Craters of the Moon; two little buzz-heads and their buddy Nicolas at the sand dunes

Happy Summer!

Shoalanda sews more hate and stupidity

There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is simply not knowing you are wrong, while stupidity is knowing you're wrong and you still don't care. The crew at wannabe crime blog "Shoalanda Speaks" is a pime example of stupidity. The only thing worse than her stupidity, in which she makes no effort to hide her hate, is the fact that Google Blogspot allows it on their blogs:

When last we visited Sheffield, the Alabama Public Safety Registry listed 27 Sexual Offenders/Predators as residents. We've heard the theory that such numbers are skewed by zip codes extending beyond city limits, but that can hardly be the case in this land-locked Colbert County town.

Among those listed are ****, now deceased, and *****, currently incarcerated in the Lauderdale County Detention Center. Joining the exodus as of Wednesday is *****, who on September 20, 2002, forced sexual contact on a 10 year-old female.

*****, who while awaiting trial managed to commit Third Degree Robbery later that year, served five years for Sexual Abuse and was released on April 29, 2007. Since that time, he has been living with his sister ****** on Dover Avenue, just one block north of bustling Second Street.

Now ***** has been arrested in Tuscumbia for a laundry list of crimes, including lying about his identity. If these Colbert County charges aren't enough to put him away for the immediate future, he also faces charges in Bibb County.

Three down and 24 to go...

It is a chilling post from Shoalanda. RSO #1 was murdered last year, the second was arrested for a misdemeanor non-sex offense related charge of B&E of a business, and apparently RSO #3 was arrested for a failure to register instead of a sex crime. Not exactly a sexual abuse epidemic when there is no sexual abuse arrests, huh? Three down and 24 to go, by the way, sounds like a sick statement by someone getting off on another's misfortunes, much like AZU has done over the years.

I may be a bit bit biased about privately-run gossip blogs try to pass themselves off as legitimate journalism. However, they apparently got enough complaints from REAL journalists that Troll-anda has now added the following little disclaimer:

Shoalanda Speaks
This is a we(blog) featuring editorial opinion on Shoals issues--not an exercise in journalism. We do welcome guest blogs.

I'm still not impressed, except when Troll-anda made the following statement:

"Now we have to wonder just how many other sex offenders have been misidentified..."

You KNOW I just have to make a comment here. She IS right in a way. How many people HAVE been misidentified as sex offenders? How many were, say, someone who has consensual relations with someone just under the Age of Concent? Alabama does not make distinctions between a misdemeanor and a felony conviction-- ALL registrants are on for life.

Again, Shoalanda Speaks is a local gossip blog and rumor mill, NOT a news blog. The fact she admits it is proof enough to know not to believe everything she says.


I hate change. Not pennies, nickels and dimes or sweeping move across the country change... just the new shoes/new glasses/ getting used to lovely new computer blues....

Trying to cut down on words of late so won’t belabor the point, but suffice it to say we moved a lot when I growing up. Not excessively but enough. I went to three high schools and two universities. Over the course of my life, I’ve lived in five states.

When my husband and I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona from Iowa more than 20 years ago, the move literally made me sick.

Or so I thought.

True, I was getting used to high altitude living. But what I mistook for abject unhappiness turned out to be stomach flu.

I threw up, felt fine, and loved our five-plus years there.

Later, two-year-old in tow, we moved to a university town in West Virginia. It rained every single day that autumn, a fact I’ve blogged about before. I’d take toddler Erik to the park in the drizzle and wonder how on earth I’d ever meet other moms and make friends.

I just had to have faith.

Big changes I seem to sail through after the initial nausea and need for an umbrella. Moving to Nebraska was a little choppier for me but only in the job department. The prairie grasses of this state differ enormously from the Great Lakes of Michigan, my beloved birthplace. Still I lump these places into the category of ‘Midwest’ and feel like I’ve come home.

It doesn’t hurt that we’re close to western mountain ranges, another love.

But getting used to a new computer or even a new pair of shoes throws me. Is it my discomfort with the unfamiliar or am I that set in my ways?

Isn’t moving across country ‘unfamiliar’? Or changing elementary schools or high schools or jobs or states?

I don’t know the answers. Usually when I commit words to paper--rather screen--for this blog, I have some idea of the outcome, the destination, the denouement.

Maybe big moves are an exciting chance to start anew, and small changes are just annoying.

Or it could be having the soul of a makeover artist and the personality of she of the Princess and the Pea notoriety?

I do know we are who we are. We adapt, we morph, but we never fundamentally change.

Especially when it comes to change.

Message on a Bottle

Most Sons of Norway members have heard of Thor Heyerdahl and his 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, but have you heard of the Plastiki? The catamaran, made from 12,500 recycled plastic drink bottles, made the news lately when its crew successfully completed a 128-day voyage across the Pacific Ocean, leaving San Francisco on March 22 and arriving in Sydney, Australia, on July 26. Its mission? To raise awareness about ocean pollution. Among the vessel’s six-person crew is Norway’s Olav Heyerdahl, grandson of Thor Heyerdahl. I bet his grandfather would be proud.

You can read more about Thor Heyerdahl, plus nine more of Norway’s most influential explorers, scientists and researchers, in the October issue of Viking. It’s part three of our Notable Norwegians series by Sarah Asp Olson.

Creative Commons image by Flickr user mokwai

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.
Down at the right hand corner of EACH posting there is a comment box--- if you would click on it and add a comment I would not feel like I am out here in the world all by myself Ha Ha.

This is the first aircraft I flew when I started flight training in 1961 at Saufley Field in Pensacola, Florida.
The Beechcraft T-34 “Mentor” was the aircraft used by the Navy for primary flight training at Saufley Field in Pensacola, Florida. Powered by a Continental 225 horsepower engine, it’s top speed was about 190 mph and it cruised at 170 mph. It was an excellent aircraft for learning basic flying skills before moving on to more advanced aircraft.