When in Ballard for SeafoodFest, I was saddened to discover that one of the last remaining Scandinavian businesses in Ballard, the Scandinavian Gift Shop, is closing. They were in their final stages of "everything must go!", and I picked up a small number of Glad Påsk greeting cards, some pretty napkins (including a set that would be illegal if U.S. law applied to the Swedish flag), and a dozen tiny Swedish flag stick-pins. Fortunately, Olsen's Scandinavian Foods is still there, because you never know when you're going to get a hankering for some homemade pickled herring.

I don't get to Ballard very often during business hours, but when I do, I try to make a point of vising Olsen's just to browse around the store, amuse myself at all the Norwegian packaging (most of the stuff comes from Norway), and maybe pick up an item or two. I think the previous time I was there, one of the Endresen sisters was working the register, because she very politely translated the instructions on the back of a package of asparagus soup for me. I would have waved her off and saved her the trouble, except I didn't know what vann was. (I now know that it is vatten = water.)