Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"This Syttende Mai is a special day for all Norwegians!"

This past weekend, May 17th, Norwegians both in Norway and in this country actively celebrated Syttende Mai, which marks Norway's Independence from Sweden which took place nearly two centuries ago.

This day in  Norway is marked by many parades, with school children playing a major role. There, each elementary school community arranges its own parade including marching bands. The   parade takes the children through the community, often making stops at homes of senior citizens, nursing homes and war memorials.

Typically a school’s children parade will consist of some  school children carrying the school’s official banner, followed by a handful of other older children carrying full size Norwegian flags, and the school’s marching band. After the band, the rest of the school children follow with hand sized flags, often with the junior grades first, and often behind self made banners for each grade or even individual class. Nearby kindergartens may also have been invited to join in. As the parade passes, bystanders often join in behind the official parade, and follow the parade back to the school. Depending on the community, the parade may make stops at particular sites along the route, such as a nursing home or war memorial.

In addition to flags, people typically wear red, white and blue ribbons. Although a long-standing tradition, it has lately become more popular for men, women, and children to wear traditional outfits, called bunad. The children also make a lot of noise shouting "Hurra!", singing, blowing whistles and shaking rattles.

In addition to children's parades, there are parades for the public, where every citizen is welcome to join in. These are led by marching bands and often local boy scouts and girl guides, local choirs, etc. This takes place in the early morning or in the afternoon, before or after the school's parade.
All parades begin or end with speeches. Both grown-ups and older children are invited to speak. After the parades, there are games for the children, and often a lot of ice cream, pop, sweets and hotdogs are consumed.


Throughout the Midwest, many communities also have many of these same kinds of celebrations for Syttende Mai including  festive parades On this day,  however, I had the pleasure of visiting a Norwegian Heritage center called Norskedalen near Coon Valley, Wisconsin. There, I  learned much about my heritage, my roots, and the journeys and travels of my forefathers as you might gather from my photos. For more information on this fine Heritage Center, one may go on line to their web site at www.norskedalen.org

During the weekend, I also took time to to enjoy some rhubarb and some leftse.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beautiful Flowers!

Yesterday, I spent an afternoon visiting the Como Conservatory as I do many times during the year. While always beautiful and ever changing with a variety of flowers, this year I became fascinated with the ferns that attach to a wall and needing no nutrients from the soil, but only from the surrounding air. Equally beautiful were the many orchids that were in bloom along with other flowers, particularly mums.

"Hope Chest Barbie"

Fran an Joe, my wonderful salespeople

Just this week, I bought a number of furniture items, lamps and floral displays from Hope Chest here in the Twin Cities.

Hope Chest takes donated items and sells them in their two Twin City Stores. The proceeds help women to undergo breast cancer treatment and who are in financial straits due to chemo and radiation, have children to support, bills to pay and mortgages and rents.

Earlier this month, Hope Chest had a breast cancer awareness evening benefit called 'Barbie B Friends All Star Evening'. At this function, Hope Chest had more than 1000 Barbie dolls collected by a single collector, from the 1980's through the 2000's for sale. The Barbie dolls were in their original packaging and in mint collection. That's right, never removed from their boxes. Photos of some of these Barbies are shown below, plus other items found at Hope Chest.

The Hope Chest Cancer store was founded by Barbara Hensley in 2001. After watching her mother and both of her sisters die of breast cancer, she felt that she needed to do something. She herself had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, and underwent genetic testing to see if she had the breast cancer gene. To her relief, she didn't and won't pass it down in her family. During her family ordeals and her own, Hensley's eyes were opened to the hardships many women undergo in addition to the physical assault fighting cancer wages on their bodies.

So with the 'Barbies' and other items in the store, every $100 raised will help  a family, from paying a bill to serving wholesome meals.

Hope Chest stores are located in the Twin Cities 3850 Shoreline in Navarre, Minnesota (952-471-8700) and on 571 Snelling in St. Paul Minnesota (651-642-2850)

Friday, November 2, 2012

"Halloween with the Grandkids-2012"

What a wonderful evening for trick and treating this past Wednesday evening. My grandkids, Piano Man, Desert Princess, Princess Iris, and Baby Petra were all decked out with wonderful customs. How excited they were, and by the end of the evening, many treats of candy were collected, and guess what, this Grandpa received all packages of "Dots."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Which way?"

This past week while attending a dinner party, I was reminded that Halloween was just around the corner. My hosts had created an elaborate display of witches with the caption "Which Way!". Captured on photos are a few of these witches with one or two pumpkins thrown in. Happy Halloween Everyone!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"2012 Twin City Marathon"

26.2 miles later-Wow what an experience!

Yesterday was the running of the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon. Over 12,000 runners participated in the 26.2 mile marathon and the accompanying 10 K race. Having a family member in the race was especially nice, and as you can see the kids were full support of their dad and close neighbor with signs that they had held up at different logistic spots along the race. Many say that this race through the environs of Minneapolis and St. Paul is the most beautiful marathon within an urban environment stretching through both cities, along the Mississipppi, down historical avenues and finishing at the State Capitol in St. Paul. Brrr! it was cold yesterday.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Can 'Big Bird' be the answer to our deficit?

Very seriously, we now have the answer for handling our deficit and getting our economy back on track. Candidate Mitt or Willard Romney after three weeks of 24/7 evaluation and analysis has concluded that 'Big Bird' and his side kick, 'Elmo' are the reason for our current deficit and if eliminated, our future horizons will be bright. So, 'Big Bird' has to go and once gone regulations on Wall Street are definitely not necessary. So we now have specifics from Romney, and our problems can be solved. Thanks for the memories and here are a few songs that will help us remember the excesses of 'Big Bird' and 'Elmo'.