Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December 2011

From the President’s Desk

Iceland is recovering

 ‘Iceland is recovering’ reads the headline of a great article by Jake Halpern in a recent issue in The New York Times magazine.  It’s a must read for everyone interested in what happened and is happening in Iceland after the crash.  Icelanders are slowly shifting their focus from the fall of the banks and more and more folks are rediscovering the nation’s cultural roots, values and rich heritage.  This is good news for all of us who worried about Iceland’s future and our friends and family living on that great island of ours. 

Like Icelanders back home, our little society in the Midwest is thriving.  I’m proud to announce that our scholarship fund is up and running as you can read more about in this newsletter.  I thank everyone involved for their unselfish and relentless work; a true accomplishment. Our goal is to give out the first scholarship at the next Þorrablót.  We had a successful General Meeting and I‘m truly happy to report that every board member agreed to stay on the board for one more year.  This board has done a great job building up the IAC and with fewer expenses and a strong fund for a non profit organization, we decided to lower our annual membership fee. All members will still enjoy access to discounted tickets to Þorrablót and a free 17th of June festival.  It was the right thing to do.  The date for Þorrablót 2012 is Saturday, the 25th of February, see details below in this newsletter.  Lastly, our Christmas Tree is up at the MSI and this year we’re tree number one :).  It‘s the first tree you see as you go up the escalator, and it looks great!     

Have a splendid holiday season and I hope I’ll see all of you at some or all of our events next year.

Einar Steinsson


From the Editor

Hello members! It's that time of the year where we look back at the year that's coming to an end while slowly getting excited about the new one. We make plans, decide to improve things that may not have worked out so well in the past. A clean start. We join a gym, learn a new instrument, change our hair color and buy a juicer to make our own organic health smoothies while deciding to never eat preservatives again. Good luck, I'm sure your life changing plans will make a difference in your life -- but don't forget a sure thing to make 2012 your best year ever: renew your IAC membership so that you don't miss out on all the fun. You'll get a discount when you buy your þorrablót ticket, celebrate the Icelandic Independence Day eating the tastiest hot dogs in the world, get a chance to apply to our new scholarship fund (keep reading for more infomation and how to apply)!

The Icelandic Embassy just sent out its most recent newsletter which is attached for your information.

Sign up for both the membership and þorrablót below where Lena has lovingly put together all of the þorrablót information along with a little treat (Skyrterta recipe).

We will be taking the Christmas tree down on January 15th at 1:00 PM, followed by a brief board meeting which all members are invited to attend.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season and looking forward to seeing everyone in 2012 and make sure to "like" us on facebook to get all of the latest updates.


Þorrablót 2012

The Þorrablót 2012 will be Saturday, February 25, at the Svithiod House (www.svithiod.org), located at 5518 W. Lawrence Avenue, close to the I-90/94 and accessible by public transportation. Parking is plentiful and the building is easily accessible at street level. The ballroom seats 80 guests for dinner, which sold out last year, so buy your tickets early! The format will be similar to past successful years – We’ll open the house at 6 P.M., and start with a welcome punch and gravlax, and for the brave of heart, Brennivin and rotten shark.  We’ll serve a buffet style dinner with delicious Þorrafood, flown in from Iceland, and some traditional and less traditional dishes prepared by members.

We’ll have our famous and ever popular raffle where you can win a ticket from Icelandair to the Old Country plus many more prizes from Iceland. The great musician Sveinbjörn Grétarsson or better known as Bjössi in Greifarnir (a popular band in Iceland) will entertain us throughout the evening and make sure that everyone hits the dance floor or the stage, for a song or two :-)  We’re delighted to have Bjössi back for the third time and are proud to call him a friend of Chicago!  Of course, the Þorra Quire will sing, as will everyone else.

Save the date or, better yet, purchase your tickets now for Þorrablót 2012 on our web site.

Online Membership Form
Pay for Membership Online
Þorrablót Tickets
Donations (specify if it's a general donation or for the scholarship fund)

If you prefer, you can fill out the attached Membership form and send payment by mail to:
Lawrence O. Shaw
147 N. Buckingham Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554

Please note we will not sell tickets at the door.

Price of tickets:
Members: $50
Guests: $60
70 and older: $40
12-18 and Students: $40
11 and younger: Free

Membership is $20 per family or $10 per person/student.

We’re excited about our Þorrablót and look forward to a memorable Icelandic night with all of you good folks.


The Þorra-committee

How about a typical Icelandic treat for the holidays?

Now that we enjoy the luxury of SKYR being sold in the greater Chicago area, let me tell those of you who don’t know, you can use it to make a healthy, nutritious and a very popular dessert in Iceland, SKYRTERTA!  It’s similar to the cheesecake, but oh so much lighter and refreshing.  I recommend using SIGGI’S SKYR as his product is all natural and no sugar added, leaving it up to you to make what you fancy.  In short, you make the crust from your favorite cookies and make sure to mix with ICELANDIC BUTTER.  For the cake itself you mix SKYR, sugar, egg yolks and flavorings, then fold in whipped cream.  Use gelatin to stiffen.  For a topping use gelatin and whatever jam/berries/liquo retc., that fits your cake.  No baking involved and ready after a few hours in the fridge.  You can find plenty of recipes on the web or feel free to email me if you want more details/measurements.  SIGGI’S SKYR is sold at Whole Foods and some other grocery stores.

Bon Appétit

New!! The Icelandic Associationof Chicago Scholarship Program


The Icelandic Associationof Chicago [hereinafter referred toas the IAC] Scholarship Program [i.e., the Program] shallhave a broad mandate to:  encourage,facilitate, and fund formal and informal educational opportunities to promoteknowledge of Iceland,its language, culture, history, and current affairs.  It shall also recognize exceptionalcontributions to same by members of the Icelandic-American Community which theIAC represents and serves.


A.          The elected Chairperson[i.e., the Chair and its Committee [i.e., the Committee]shall:

1.    Recommendthe scope of its current activities consistent with available and anticipatedresources, opportunities, and the needs of the Icelandic-American Communitywhich the IAC represents and serves;

2.    Solicitand review applications for approved scholarship aid;

3.    Recommendgranting of scholarship aid and/or special recognition;

4.    Only the IACBoard of Directors [i.e., the Board] shall have authority to approvethe recommendations of the Chair and Committee regarding actual awarding ofscholarship aid and special recognition(s);

B.           Funding sourcesfor the Program shall include individual and corporate contributions andfund-raising activities approved by the Board;

C.          The Chair shallrecruit a Committee, by the first of January following the Chair’selection/re-election to the Board, to include at least two IAC members, withrelevant input welcome from all interested parties;

D.          Preference in theawarding of scholarship aid shall be given to IAC members and family members ofsame;

E.           Recipients ofscholarship financial aid shall be required to present a suitable reportfollowing their supported activity, preferably at the next Annual GeneralMeeting [i.e., the AGM], and will be encouraged to become and remainactive in the IAC and to assist the Program. Such report(s) will be disseminated via the IAC Newsletter and/or on itswebsite;

F.           Committee orBoard members and their immediate family members are eligible to receivescholarship aid, the only restriction being recusal from voting on one’s ownapplication or that of an immediate family member;

G.          Absent compellingreasons to the contrary, scholarship financial aid on behalf of the awardeeshall be paid directly to the relevant, bona fide academic, cultural, orscientific institution with which the supported activity will beundertaken.  Scholarship aid may be usedfor tuition, travel, living expenses, books, supplies, etc., relevant to theaid approved;

H.          Scholarshipfinancial aid not accepted or not used within two years of the award shallrevert to the Scholarship Fund;

I.            The Program shallbe reviewed annually;

J.            If the Program isever rescinded or the IAC ceases to operate as a not-for-profit organization,all Scholarship Program funds not already committed or disbursed shall betransferred to bona fide, not-for-profit institution(s) whose activities areconsistent with the Program’s above-stated objectives.


The Chair shall give a reportto the AGM and Board Meeting (oftener to the Board if exceptional financialresources and opportunities or challenges warrant).  This report shall be disseminated via the IACNewsletter and/or its website:

A.          Scholarshipawards and special recognition(s) granted in the past year;

B.          Scholarship fundsavailable, significant sponsors and donors, anticipated funds, andrecommendations regarding new fund-raising opportunities;

C.          Recommendationsfor current scholarship funding priorities and relevant deadlines forapplications, award announcements, and preferred venue for final awards orspecial recognition(s), e.g., at the next Þorrablót;

D.         Recommendationsfor special recognition(s).

Last but not least:

UNICEF has asked us to encourage our members to visit their web site and share the following message, which we are more than happy to share:

Visit UNICEFUSA.ORG for news and updates on UNICEF USA's campaigns towards saving the lives of millions of children all over the world. Through the assistance of individuals, organizations and communities, more and more children are being saved from famine, malnutrition, diseases, violence and illiteracy. However, while many children are being given a chance for a more promising future, there are many more who need the help of UNICEF. Please extend your generousity and support UNICEF USA in its efforts to save children's lives. Please visit UNICEFUSA.ORG for information on how you can lend a helping hand to save the world's most vulnerable children.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 2011

Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 13 Issue No. 3 September 2011

From the President’s Desk

The Land of Ice and Fire

Mother Nature keeps reminding us that she is in charge which in Iceland, The Land of Ice and Fire, people are very much aware of lately. The rest of the world has taken notice but once you visit the island you realize that Icelanders are not constantly thinking about eruptions that may happen, rivers that could overflow or snow storms that have the potential to shut down the economy.

Lena and I visited Iceland for two weeks this summer and enjoyed a wonderful time with friends and family. We experienced “Icelandic” weather, 60F and some rain, some windstorms, and some sun, all in the same day.It was a relief from the blistering heat we have had in Chicago this summer. Many of our members and friends visited Iceland and took advantage of the first direct flight from Chicago in decades. By the same token, many of us saw an influx of visitors from Iceland. Hopefully, Iceland Express continues these flights next summer and we can expect even more visitors in 2012.In short, a busy but enjoyable summer, I hope you had the same.

We postponed The Greater Chicago Icelandic Open until next summer.Instead, we had a mini golf outing at the Highlands of Elgin with great success. The following day we participated in the Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park in Elgin where Joni and Larry Shaw have done a great job representing IAC.Many volunteers showed up and helped sell Icelandic water and soda pop. The proceeds will go to the Scholarship Fund.

I am sad to announce that our great ambassador Hjálmar Hannesson is leaving his post for Iceland at the end of this month. I would like to thank him for all his support on our behalf and wish him all the best in the future. We welcome our new ambassador Guðmundur Arni Stefánsson and hope that he will enjoy success as the Icelandic ambassador to the United States.

Have a pleasant fall.

Einar Steinsson


From the Editor

Einar is always a tough act to follow because his message always shows the strong love for his country even when he and Lena have made a home thousands of miles to the west. There are so many Icelanders abroad, but almost everyone has this powerful loyalty to our little island whether we arrived a month or a decade ago or if we are connected through a great-grand-parent.

Ten years ago my family and I went on an outing with some uncles, aunts and cousins to see where my grandfather grew up, about an hour drive outside of Reykjavík. At one point of our journey, I found myself standing next to my aunt, who has lived in Iceland all her life, at one of the black beaches surrounded by the trademark raw lava rock, moss covered hills and the ocean. She simply said: "I always find this country to be so 'furðulegt'." It means "weird" but the way she said it with her eyes open wide facing a strong wind really meant "uniquely fascinating" in that you almost don't feel that it is real. I was glad that she said that because it let me know that we were looking at the surroundings the same way. If you live there all your life or visit once every few years, Iceland never fails to impress.

To segue a little bit, please be sure to 'like' us on facebook so that we can give you live updates on anything that´s going on with the IAC. If you like to post anything on our facebook page wall, feel free to send me an e-mail at siggyosk@gmail.com.

Christmas Tree Decoration and General Meeting

Please join us once again to decorate our Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry on Sunday, November 13th at 1 PM. We will be sending you more information closer to the event and remember to check our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/IcelandicAssociationChicago for updates.

Our General Meeting will be held right after the Tree Decorating at 3 PM, at Medici on 57th street.Some of you may recall that we had a meeting there a few years ago.It’s a no nonsense, something for everyone, budget friendly, BYOB, a ‘where the food came from’ concerned type of place :-) We will head there right after decorating our Christmas Tree.There is plenty of street parking. Please sign up with Lena no later than Friday November 11 – You can send me an e-mail at einarandlena@ameritech.net or call 773-489-4621.

Medici on 57th
1327 E. 57th St.
Chicago, IL60637-1724

Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: seven day
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till midnight, other nights till 11
Always-bustling University of Chicago hangout serving hearty, American-Italian, veggie-friendly cafe fare.

Our Review

The quintessential off-campus hangout, complete with carved wood booths and graffiti-covered walls. The reasonable prices at this long-standing Hyde Park gem make it a favorite among students and locals alike. Pizza toppings come both classic and designer (pesto, spinach, and goat cheese); hamburgers can be topped with jalapenos, bacon, or mushrooms in addition to cheese. There's an ample variety of other nibbles -- hummus, wings, chili, and spaghetti -- but no alcohol; instead there's fresh lemonade, milk shakes, and malts. Late night, it's a nice stop for a cup of tea and one of the luscious homemade desserts, like Gracie's apple pie, carrot layer cake, or warm and gooey pecan pie. Though many customers opt for delivery, the dining room is spacious, with an upstairs loft and an adjacent outdoor patio for warmer weather.

Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park

A big "thanks" to all who helped to make the day a great success. We sold Icelandic water and pop. Thanks to Jon Hofteig, who, once again, secured the water for us and all who manned our beverage booth - Andrew, Susan and family, Pam, Ole and family, Lena and Einar and Larry and Joni. We sold all our pop and most of the water. Many thanks to Icelandic Glacial for their donation of water to benefit our scholarship. We heard many good words about the water and the shape of the bottle.

The day began with a Worship Service. Joni Shaw was the organist and her daughter Dorothy Hall played her violin for the Service. This was followed by the opening ceremonies and procession of the flags. Einar carried the Icelandic flag and Madeleine Hall carried the banner for Iceland in the procession. Joni sang the Icelandic National Anthem, accompanied by daughter Dorothy on the violin while she played the piano. 9/11 was remembered during both the Worship Service and the Opening Ceremonies.

It was a beautiful day and a good time was had by all!


If you find yourself in Winnipeg in October, our L-H friends in Canada have invited us to join them for their Open House to celebrate the 125th anniversary on October 13th. The invitation is attached. The IAC and its members congratulate them on this monumental celebration!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 2011

Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 13 Issue No. 2 May 2011

From the President’s Desk

We continue to flourish.

On the first Saturday in May we had a wellattended and productive board meeting at our house on Rockwell. We looked over official numbers from our 2011 Þorrablót and got aconfirmation of what we already knew; the Þorrablót was a bigsuccess and sold out as it did in previous years. Wemade plans to have the 2012 Þorrablót at the same place with a similar format – why mess with a good thing if not needed. We now have new bylaws approved and filed. We are in the midst of finishing setting upthe scholarship fund and plan to give out the first donations at the GeneralMeeting this fall. Our goal is to get a"Not for Profit" status approved after the first donations. We planned our 17th of June celebration atPromotory Point, and festivities in Vasa Park with our Nordic relatives at MidsummerFestival and Scandinavian Day. You willfind more information on these events in the newsletter. We have yet to set a date for The IcelandicOpen but are looking at September and will keep you updated via email and on facebook. In short, we have a flourishing community,which is more active in the association’s affairs every year. Please spread the word and let everyIcelander, Icelandic-American, or anyone interested in Iceland, know about us, and,better yet, invite them to join us.

Gleðilegt Sumar!

Einar Steinsson

From the Editor

Hello everyone! I hope you are all ready for the summer festivities that are coming up. To keep you even more up-to-date on IAC current events, we invite you (if you haven't already) to "like" our new Icelandic Association of Chicago facebook page. Simply click on the Like button once you're on the page next to the title and you will automatically receive the latest information in your news feed. Building this community also means that we encourage members to post pictures and updates on the wall. We will be posting a facebook fan button on our web site shortly as well.

Iceland's Independence Day '17di Júní'– by the Lake, Saturday June 11th.Icelandic Hot Dogs!

All members are invited to celebrate our Independence Day at the same location as two years ago in Burnham Park around PromontoryPoint, locally known as "The Point." Please join us for a picnic-style festival and a fun afternoon by the Lake.The IAC will offer hot dogs from Iceland, Icelandic style. Last year, despite the cold weather, we still had close to 40 people show up at the alternate location despite the rain. This year we are in for sunshine and hope to see all of you at the lake for a 'pylsa (pulsa) með öllu’!

Please note that other than hot dogs, the event is a BYO, so please bring drinks, sides, salads and other food or plates and cups you'd like to share. Also, make sure to bring other picnic gear: blankets, lawn chairs, sunscreen, umbrellas...

The festivities start at 3 PM, Saturday June 11th and, of course, we'll have a parade with flags and balloons. A beach with a life guard is close by for those who want to bring swim suits and go for a dive. Sign up by e-mailing einarandlena@ameritech.net or call 773-489-4621. If the weather is questionabl ewe will, just as we did last year, move the celebration to Lena and Einar’s house on Rockwell. Thus, it is important you sign up so we can alert you of a different location.

Directions andParking:
The Point is off 55th Street, East of Lake Shore Drive (LSD). Use 5500 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637 for driving directions (mapquest.com; google, etc.). You’ll find a metered parking lot on 55th street, by Bar Loui, or you may find free street parking. The walk to the Point takes about 6 minutes through a tunnel, which passes under Lake Shore Drive at the east end of 55th street. Upon emerging from the tunnel you’ll see a statue and a fountain. Turn right and walk south until you see our flag. We’ll try to find a spot as close to the field house as possible. For more information, photos, and the history of thePromontory Point, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promontory_Point_(Chicago).

Surge - Art Installation by one of our members, Anna Jóelsdóttir, in NY

If you find yourself in New York City this summer, stop by the Clocktower gallery, presenting Surge, by Anna Joelsdottir, a site specific installation that examines the process by which the human mind creates and deconstructs personal narratives.

For more information: http://artonair.org/exhibition/surge

Class on Norse Mythology at Loyala starting May 18th

Dr Seigfried still has two more spots in his class (starting today, the 18th at Loyola University). Register now at https://perseus.luc.edu/continuum/getCourse?classnbr=2509&term=1114 before it's too late!

Sixth Annual Scandinavian Midsommar Celebration on Saturday, June 18th at Vasa Park

Come out to the NW suburbs to enjoy a wonderful day in the park. Bring a picnic basket and your own beverages for this all day fare. There will also be food for sale by various Scandinavian organizations and Icelandic water from 2:00 until 6:00 PM. For directions to Vasa Park, click here.

All upcoming Scandinavian Park events to put in your calendar:

Saturday, June 18, 2011 – The 6th Annual Scandinavian Midsommar Celebration –

Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Adults $5.00, Children 12 & Under FREE

Saturday, August 13, 2011 - Steak Fry with Crayfish Sampling -- 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. -- Vasa Park

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - The 32nd Annual Scandinavian Day Festival at

Vasa Park, South Elgin from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. featuring Traditional Food, Crafts, Games, Gifts & Entertainment * Adults $10.00, Children 12 & Under FREE * FREE PARKING * Rain or Shine * Come celebrate the culture & traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011 – The 10th Annual Fish Boil & Harvest Festival at Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin, IL, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. with Boil at 2 p.m., serving immediately. A great time is planned with music & entertainment. Adults: $15, Children under 12: $5.00. Reservations please by Oct. 10 to 847-695-6720 or vasaparkil@yahoo.com.


Monday, January 31, 2011

February 2011

Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 13 Issue No. 1 February 2011

From the President’s Desk

Gleðilegt Ár – Happy New Year

The IAC is starting the year with a bang! Looks like we’ll sell out our 2011 Þorrablót – We already have 64 attendees confirmed. Our goal is to fill the 70 seats available with IAC members and guests, and and have a fun and intimate event where everyone gets to talk to everyone. If you’ve yet to sign up, don’t procrastinate ...

I want to extend my congratulations to Joni and Larry Shaw on becoming honorary members of our association and thank them for their relentless and unselfish work for IAC, which I hope we’ll enjoy for many more years to come. They’re unable to attend the Þorrablót, therefore I presented them with their certificate at our last meeting before they left for Florida. I hope they’re enjoying the sunny state.

At the beginning of this year’s Þorrablót we’ll have a formal voting on our new bylaws, which, thanks to Larry, are now ready to be put into practice. Once we approve the laws, we’ll distribute them to all members. This is a milestone for the organization – Now we’re offical, and legal in the eyes of the State and other authorites. Good job everyone!

We’re planning to join the Icelandic National League of North America (INL of NA) this year. Membership has many interesting benefits, e.g., access to programs like ‘The Icelandic Movie Night,' and a reading club. I’ll tell you more about the program in the next news letters.

Have a great 2011 and I hope to see most of you at the 2011 Þorrablót.

Einar Steinsson

From the Editor

Hello everyone and welcome to 2011. I wanted to remind you all to send in your travel or Iceland experience story to include in the newsletter. Andrew and Sue Scholberg shared their wonderful travel stories with us last time and we have a few stories coming our way. That said - the more the merrier, so come and share your Iceland story with the rest of the members. We would love to hear from you. You can also write to tell us how much you enjoyed yourself at the Annual þorrablót.

Speaking of ...


Reserve your seat today! Please rsvp on the evite that you received, and click on the following links to purchase tickets and pay membership:

Payment for þorrablót:

Payment for Membership:

If you prefer, you can send payment by mail to:

Lawrence O. Shaw
147 N. Buckingham Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554
(remember to fill out and include the membership form)

If you’re mailing your payment to Larry, we still need you to sign up on the Evite. We use the Evite to keep track of how many are attending.

A Brief Reminder From the Snorri Project

There are a few spots available in the Snorri-2011 Program and the Snorri Foundation would like to encourage you to help us find more candidates.

The deadline has been extended to February 4, 2011. The sooner you send in an application the better.


For further information please contact me ASAP.
On behalf of the Snorri Foundation,
Asta Sol Kristjansdottir
Project Manager

-Snorri - because we have passion for your heritage

92nd Annual INL of NA Convention

Pam Olafson Furstenau ‘Sunna’ who is on the Board of Directors of the INL of NA wishes to extend an invitation to everyone in the Icelandic Association of Chicago to the 92nd Annual INL of NA Convention. The event will be held from Thursday, April 28 – Sunday, May 1, 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Information about Registration is on the website:

You can also find this information on the new INL of Iceland Facebook page where Sunna posts interesting topics, links, videos, and photos of upcoming events, recipes, historical facts, Icelandic Traditions, etc.: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Icelandic-National-League-of-Iceland-pjodraeknisfelag-Islendinga/116320588431614

Sunna also posts information regarding Icelandic culture, heritage and genealogy on the following web sites: www.thingvalla.org and www.august2nd.com and the US GenWeb site for Pembina County, North Dakota.

She also administers the following Facebook pages in regards to Icelandic heritage: August the Deuce, Icelandic Klub of Fargo Moorhead, Family History Workshop, and Cousins Across the Ocean.

All these sites have information regarding our Icelandic ancestors, traditions, stories, history, etc.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact Pam, a.k.a. Sunna at 701-200-1694 or at pam@rootstotrees.com.