Consorting with Hooligans

There are some places you should not go, and some people that you should just avoid. They are like flypaper for trouble. They exude antisocial behavior and stir up strife and chaos in their path – Hooligans – Vagabonds – Ruffians. These kinds of people can be found in seedy places looking for opportunities to strike against the innocent and unsuspecting. Fortunately, we did not encounter any such people at the Festival of Skalds.
We found upstanding citizens who were orderly, organized, and well-groomed … for Vikings.

The Festival of Skalds was more like a business meeting crossed with a dress rehearsal for a play than an actual festival. Set in the northernmost part of Minnesota, it was the precursor of what is to come in a few years. And it was pretty fun too. We are organizing a not-to-be-missed event that will open potentially as early as 2018. And when I say “we,” I really mean someone else is doing the work and I've been invited to participate.

Iron Ranger Arts and Legend

Iron Ranger Arts and Legend

As it happens, the real organizers are the ruffianest-looking people in these pictures. My brother, Micah, is the visionary for this operation. He is the craftsman behind most, if not all, of the wooden and metal items they sell. He is also the custodian of “The Legend of the Iron Ranger.” In this picture, he looks like a raiding Viking with villainous intent. In his real life, he looks more like a raiding Viking with villainous intent, wearing modern clothing.

Despite looking like a Gypsy peddler trying to sell you cool things, my sister-in-law, Jacinda, is the brains behind the whole operation. She does all the leather goods crafting, but also handles the mountains of organizing involved in any event of this proportion. She definitely has her hands full.

And while Micah and Jacinda won at the costume game, there were numerous others who also did well. Their daughter has that “I don't know I'm a princess being raised as a peasant” look. And my dad effortlessly pulled off the monk look.

My wife and I went for a Gypsy look, mostly because I write about Gypsies and other people (and Boathouse Mouse) who wander off on adventures. I'm not sure where I get that stuff. Our costumes were less than outstanding, but this was the practice run, and when we go for round two … look out!

Famous Knitter Sighting! Jennie Hodge, the renouned yarn magician of otherwise good reputation, is spotted consorting with author RV Hodge and other Hooliganish characters!

Famous Knitter Sighting! Jennie Hodge, the renouned yarn magician of otherwise good reputation, is spotted consorting with author RV Hodge and other Hooliganish characters!

Several others with good costumes managed to avoid being photographed. And then there was Rachel. She is married to one of my nephews. I guess that makes her my niece-in-law. She came in a stunning dress that looked to be professionally made to fit her. Her story is she made it herself … when she was twelve! I'm wondering if that was a cover story and she really is royalty. Perhaps she didn't want us to have to defer her as Lady Rachel, or My Lady, or any variation that would keep us peasants from getting locked up in the stocks. Anyway, you be the judge. Is that not striking?

Come to think of it ... she is married to a King! I wonder ...

Come to think of it ... she is married to a King!
I wonder ...

Maybe she will go into the costume-making business and we can get that level of professional look in our own costumes.

In all, Boathouse Mouse had an absolute blast at the first Festival of Skalds. He's looking forward to the next event.

Check out the links for how to get into all this amazing stuff.


Gepetka, Prince of Gypsies

Iron Ranger Arts

Boathouse Mouse Meet Mocha Mouse

Did the planets accidentally align? How is this all possible?

On a recent trip across country, we were traveling through Wisconsin. If you have never been there, Wisconsin is a large, beautiful state. They are also notorious for their dairy products. And naturally I was thinking about food.

It so happened, at nearly 1300 miles from home, that I had a hankering for a really good deli sandwich, and I wanted it made with high quality, locally produced cheese and meats. It didn't seem like too much to ask, because those folks up there are really good at that.

As a matter of confession, we are Baby Boomers. We are the caboose end of our generation, but we are firmly entrenched nonetheless. However, we are learning cool tricks from our kids, and my wife did what all Millennials instinctively know. She pulled out her phone and googled it. In a matter of seconds, she was reading me a list of upcoming possibilities which, naturally, were all unfamiliar. So she did the next thing our generation doesn't do. She began reading reviews … online.
As I have stated, we don't do this kind of stuff on a regular basis, so we tend to miss some of the neat little clues, but one review had a particular detail that jumped out at her. It was written by one of our daughters! And it turned out it was our three-year-old granddaughter who had originally chosen the place! They live over 800 miles from there.

They had liked it. So we plugged it into the GPS, and shortly thereafter found ourselves at the Mocha Mouse.
My cold cut bistro sandwich was too big by at least two times. I ate it all. My wife's sandwich was too big. She ate it all as well. I got coffee as we waddled out the door. But not without looking around first. They have a used bookstore upstairs. They have interesting local crafts, local canned goodies, and more. Plus they were super nice folks.
Naturally, Boathouse Mouse wanted a picture with the people there. He certainly has a way with the ladies. Boathouse really loves #AdventuringWithBoathouseMouse

If you happen to be traveling around in Wisconsin, you might want to stop in to the Mocha Mouse. Tell them Boathouse Mouse sent you. I can't promise you'll get a selfie with a group of pretty ladies, but you will find really good food.

Some of the lovely ladies at Mocha Mouse

Some of the lovely ladies at Mocha Mouse