Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sons of Norway District IV Convention, Day 2 . . . and Hillary's Birthday!

It was a big day today: the convention (and my work as a delegate, a committee member, and an election teller) came to a close; our daughters enjoyed another full day of adventures without their parents in Missoula; and Hillary celebrated her ninth birthday with gifts in the morning and a painful earache in the evening.

Hillary hasn't really been looking forward to spending her birthday at a Sons of Norway convention ten hours away from her friends and extended family, but she had a pretty good day anyway (and will have birthday cake with her family and a birthday party for her friends sometime after we return to Dickinson), starting with presents when she woke up:

Here she is hugging her new scooter, which she will use to tool around the driveway and the sidewalks of our neighborhood.  She also received a Webkinz stuffed animal (a duck that she named [and spelled] "Aflack"), a Polly Pocket kit, decorative hair clips, and several books, all of which delighted her.

Then Susan and I headed downstairs for the convention, and the girls went off with the same woman who took them around Missoula yesterday for activities as part of the convention's children's programming.  Here is what they did today:

First they hiked to "the M," an enormous concrete letter M (for the University of Montana, which lies below) on the side of Mount Sentinel and accessible via a hike up a zigzag trail cut into the mountain.  Hiking the M trail is a popular thing to do in Missoula, for visitors and for fit Missoulians alike.

Here are the girls posing at the base of the M.  Hillary was at the end of the line of hikers, and when she reached the M, the rest of the group sang her "Happy Birthday"!

This is the view from the M looking down Mount Sentinel toward the University of Montana campus in downtown Missoula below.

After hiking back down the mountain, the kids explored the spectrUM Discovery Area, an interactive science exhibit at the university.  In this photo, they're watching a science student dissect a cow's heart!  It was the perfect thing to do, I'm sure, before eating (dinner was next on their agenda).  Then it was off to an outdoor water park, back to the Big Dipper for more ice cream (which makes three trips there in two days for our daughters), and then out to MacKenzie River Pizza Company for supper.

While the kids were off gallivanting about town, I was in the ballroom to continue serving as a delegate for Hardanger Lodge back in Dickinson.  There were more presentations to watch/listen to, ballots to cast in elections for district officers, and . . . my committee's turn to address the convention!  I wasn't looking forward to the possibility of contention over the resolution to change the name of the Sons of Norway (remember?).  We delivered a well reasoned, point-by-point justification for not supporting a name change, and then the floor was opened for discussion.  Only a few people spoke, and they were not the least bit hostile; but neither had any of them listened to our committee's reasoning, either.  Instead they had merely waited for us to stop talking so that they could address the delegates with their own already rehearsed speeches.  One person offered an amendment to the resolution, still in favor of a name change; that motion failed.  Then the convention voted on our committee's motion (to vote "no" on a name change), and they overwhelmingly supported us.  Whew!

Jane, John (the committee chair, using the microphone to address the convention), and I made up the combined Committee on Laws and Committee on Resolutions.  We were seated at a table facing the delegates just below the dais where the officers sat.  The delegates supported all three of our motions: to vote "no" to the name change, to vote "yes" to the change in how minutes are distributed, and to thank officially all those in charge of organizing the convention.

Our district of the Sons of Norway (District IV = ND, MT, AB, and SK) is divided into six geographic zones, each one with a zone director who sits on the district's governing board.  Yesterday and today, we broke for zone caucuses led by the zone directors (ours = Vicki), discussing matters pertinent to our zones and electing zone delegates to the international convention in Coeur d'Alene, ID in August and, finally, electing new zone directors to replace those whose terms are expiring.  Vicki asked me to serve as an election teller, so I and two others got to collect and count ballots after each election during our zone caucus.  There is just no end to the ways that I am willing to serve the Sons of Norway!  (Ha!)

Cultural skills classes were offered in the afternoon.  Because Susan had just taken rosemaling classes at Camp Trollfjorden last weekend (remember?), she decided to continue with the craft and take another rosemaling class today.  She rosemaled a block of wood that has metal coils coming out of the top to hold a couple photos, recipe cards, etc.  Afterward she told me that it was interesting to compare the teaching styles of her two rosemaling instructors: last week's technical, skill-oriented approach vs. today's laissez-faire, looks-good-to-me approach.  Susan also collected a certificate for having entered one of her Hardanger pieces in the folk arts competition that was held concurrently with the convention.

Because today would have been a Scandinavian Saturday supper were we at home, I signed up for a Norwegian cooking class.  For it, we had to trek a couple blocks to a Methodist church and cram into the too-small-for-the-size-of-our-group kitchen where the two teachers were making . . . two pretty common Norwegian items that our family has already made for Scandinavian Saturday suppers: sandbakkeler and lapskaus.  However, some people there hadn't heard of one or the other of those foods, so they asked for copies of the recipes and took notes and asked questions.  There wasn't enough time for the vegetables in the lapskaus to finish cooking before we sampled it, but the sandbakkeler were pretty tasty.

With the convention's official business and cultural skills classes over, the last event was the culminating "grand banquet and ball" this evening.  The banquet hall was formally appointed, and most of us were dressed formally for the meal.  Before supper, we enjoyed cocktails and perused the offerings for the silent auction.  I mentioned to Susan that I saw a pair of cuff links that I liked: each one looks like a coin bearing the symbol for King Haakon VII (reign: 1905-1957) surrounded by the country's official name: Kongeriket Norge ["The Kingdom of Norway"].  And Susan made the winning bid!  (I haven't seen the cuff links since, but I suspect I'll get them tomorrow for a Father's Day gift.)

After a tasty supper (chicken and vegetables), several awards were presented to various lodges and individuals, and then the dance began.  By that time, the girls had returned from their pizza supper, fixed their hair, and changed into dresses for the ball--they looked so great!  Unfortunately Hillary was in pain due to an earache (too much swimming yesterday and today), so she didn't feel like spending the night dancing.  After a few spins across the dance floor with each of my ladies, we all went up to our room and called it a night.

On each table was a kransekake ["wreath cake"], known commonly as a Norwegian wedding cake but served for many important events.  Each one at the banquet sat atop a pedestal made to resemble a carousel to suit the theme of this year's convention (because of Sleipnir--remember?).  A kransekake is made basically of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites baked into concentric rings that are crunchy on the outside but usually softer on the inside.  The kransekake on our table was made of over-baked, too-dry, too-hard wreaths (the eighth ring from the top appears to be chocolate-flavored but is, in fact, merely burnt).  But overall it's a good-looking centerpiece.

Tripping the light fantastic with my belle of the ball

1 comment:

  1. This whole adventure that you've taken on by being on the committee sounds very involved. I don't know that I would be so patient. Glad you're enjoying it...(aren't you?)
    Happy birthday Hillary! It was fun to see/talk to you!