SVEA with Cook County High School Choir

The SVEA Singers will do a few songs as part of the spring choir concert on Thursday, May 18th.

7pm at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais, MN.

Yvonne, Erika, Erin, & Rose at WTIP

The choir is directed by SVEA’s own Erika Ternes, the musical genius who can write an arrangement in five minutes or less.

… and who can do stupid human tricks:


Moana for the Win

I know I’m late to this party– I’m late to a lot of them.

I finally watched “Moana” after catering to my 7-year-old son’s repeated soundtrack requests.

I was blown away.

Not so much by the story as by the kind of story: it’s so female-focused. Not only is there no romance, there are some other big notables:


Moana’s mom is not an overprotective bear

I liked elements of “Brave,” but was irritated that the mom was the one who enforced societal oppression. I appreciated that Moana didn’t have to fight her mom in order to find herself.


The ocean is a main character

What’s more feminine than the water that birthed all life… and which ebbs and flows and follows the moon?


Grandmother safeguards Moana’s purpose

The three feminine stages of life are maiden, mother, crone. I loved the symbolism of the crone using her wisdom, experience, patience and irreverence to affirm the maiden.

The mission is to save the Creation Goddess

To restore the heart!! This is exactly what’s next in our culture: restoring the power and honor of the Divine Feminine.

Moana doesn’t set out to fight Maui. She doesn’t go out to slay monsters. She goes out to heal the wound that is birthing the monsters and destruction. Imagine what our world will look like when we make decisions that aren’t about conquering but about healing.


‘You’re a princess, not a wayfinder’

Maui explicitly calls out the elephant in the room: ‘you wear a skirt, you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess, you’re not a wayfinder.’ THANK YOU, Disney, for finally getting past the damsel nonsense.

In “Brave” the heroine is fighting against being a damsel. In “Moana” the heroine (and the ocean) squash the damsel limitations in about two minutes of screen time– and we get to go on with the adventure, not questioning our heroine’s legitimacy.


The dark side of the Divine Feminine

Te Ka spews lava, rage, destruction. You know those hypercritical mothers-in-law in sitcoms? That’s the same thing. That’s the Divine Feminine devalued, powerless. That’s how I feel when I bump up against sexism and division of labor.

This might actually be the most powerful element of the story: the acknowledgement that what seems evil, what we think we must conquer (or at least avoid), is actually wounded and needs our help to become whole again.

She’s not a waif

Wll, at least not by Disney standards. Pretty cool to compare Moana and Ariel dolls:

The Leftovers:

A few irritating old Disney standards were still present.

Male/Female body ratio

I know Maui is a demigod, but he (and the chief) are four times the size of most of the female characters.

This is still drawing pretty hard on the old Atlas Bodybuilding standard:


Doe eyes

Although Moana isn’t quite as doe-eyed as other Disney girls, the cute-baby-animal thing is still going strong.

Why is this a problem? Because babies (animal and human) have extra big eyes for their head-size, which is why we think they’re so cute. But babyish cuteness is one thing that reinforces the attitude that females are small, weak, in need of protection, etc. Not helping the revolution.

Read more about “Baby Schema” here.


Sassy hips

She’s nowhere near as sexualized as Elsa from “Frozen,” but I think we could get rid of the little hip pop without losing any of her spunk.


That said, this is the first time in my life I’ve ever told people that they really should watch a Disney animated movie.

And the best bonus of all is hearing my son sing not only “You’re Welcome,” but walk around the house belting out “I am Moana!”

Moana for the win.


From the “ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygga” cookbook.


I tend to get anxious about making yeast breads– What if it won’t rise? what if the milk was too hot and I killed the yeast? What if it was too cold and now nothing is happening?

This is also why planting seeds is hard for me– Is anything happening? How deep is 1/8th inch anyway? I killed everything and will never eat sweet peas again!

Nevertheless, I really love baking. I really love cinnamon and cardamom. And I really love beautiful things. And I had some back-up muffins in the freezer for our B&B guests in case this completely failed.

In spite of my stage-worthy drama, and after extra time in a warm oven, it all turned out fine. I even got to use my off-set spatula. 🙂

Sweden has a holiday for cinnamon buns: Kanelbullans Dag. I was told this came about after VårfrudagenOur Lady’s Day, (Our Lady = Mary), was misheard as Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day. (Yet another reason why Sweden is a great country!)




Give it a try:


Note the notes. My mom always checks off and dates a recipe when she makes it for the first time– maybe that’s the historical society director in her. She also makes a note for if she liked the recipe or not. I didn’t write it here, but I would make another half-recipe of the filling and spread it a bit thicker.



Wooden Giants

Yes! These hidden giants by Thomas Dambo (from Denmark) are delightful!

Have a look at all of them.

p.s. I suggested, half-jokingly, that we should put some of these up on Artist’s Point in Grand Marais. Sounds like I’m not the only person who thinks that would be cool, so, maybe I’ll go have a chat with the mayor

p.p.s. if you write a story about meeting one of these in the woods and it coming to life, let me know.