Saturday, June 30, 2012

shuffle, friend, scissors

this morning i told greg i was going to start running.


"umm... i don't know."

but then i did.  after i hemmed and hawed about putting new songs onto my ancient ipod shuffle.  it didn't work.  for whatever reason.  itunes refuses to acknowledge my shuffle's existence and so i was stuck with the songs i'd listened to repeatedly during my 10 hour's adventure to copenhagen and back.  but, they were peppy enough for my slow jog, and besides, i only had to listen to three of them before i was done.

my sudden inspiration was in talking to katie about running and something she said about needing to do something everyday (...or maybe 5 days a week) for a month for a habit to form.

so i think i can do it... approximately... and then i will be in the habit of running, though i'm nervous i'll be stuck with the same playlist for the rest of my life if itunes continues to treat my shuffle like a second class citizen.

william had a neighbor over today.  a four year old like himself, whom (who?) he tried to speak danish to.  he kept saying something over and over again-- presumably something with danish origins and then finishing the sentence in english.  something our neighbor sarah (and maybe others) refer to as 'danglish.'  it was exciting to hear, though his friend didn't seem to understand a word.

snacking on raisins...

make note of william's hair.  because after he parted ways with his friend he came in and told me he wanted me to cut his hair so he could have a lollipop.  maybe it was all those kicked up endorphins from earlier in the day, or greg getting a letter in the mail today that payroll had screwed up and been giving him too much money-- about a week and a half's worth of our budget-- on accident, and sorry, but it would not happen anymore, but i thought, "okay, i can do this.  i watched a youtube video back in may about how to cut a kid's hair."  so we put a couple of towels out on the back patio, and i got out the hair cutting scissors i'd found in our warehouse of items back in madison, along with the comb i bought at the super best for this very moment.

i did really well wetting down his hair.  it seemed like i was on the right track. and the first cut also may have been a success.  but somewhere around the second or third cut, i realized i'd gotten something wrong, for i'd cut out a big chunk of his hair on one side.  there was no hiding it.  "why isn't henry just a little older so i can blame it on him?" my first curseless thought.  i should have stopped there, but i quickly decided to cut the rest of his hair equally short... what else can you do?  but it's hard to get it all the same length and it was getting shorter and shorter.  greg and henry were out somewhere.  "oh please come home and stop this madness!" i thought.  william was so good.  he just sat there and trusted me.  he didn't question the scissors right up against his scalp.  he just wanted his lollipop.

"is it going to be done soon?"

"i'm... just... trying to... clean it up... a bit. don't move because i'm going to get this little bit by your ear."

eventually i brought his lollipop out to him because it seemed there was no good stopping point.

when greg got home, he asked disbelievingly, "you did that with scissors?"  and when i brought him over to my neighbor, louise, to try to make it look a little less homemade her husband asked, "what did you use?"  louise said, "you should have come to me."

fortunately... or not... and mostly by coincidence, i left much of the top and bangs alone, which gave her a little something to work with.  

here, the final product.    

i hope he can get away with it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

2 potholders, bats, raccoons, and little jack tooter

did i say something yesterday like, 'i'm hardly a shopper"?  if so, it is bad timing that today i bought the following:

2 collapsible bins to store toys
1 baby potty
1 large wooden cutting board
1 small bamboo cutting board
1 set of four metal utensils (soup ladle, mixing spoon, spatula...)
1 rolling pin
3 knives (1 paring, 1 butcher, 1 bread)
1 cheese grater
1 wine/bottle opener
2 potholders
1 glass baking dish
0 mixing bowls unfortunately
5 pillows
4 pillow cases
1 full-ish size down comforter
1 twin-ish size down comforter
1 full-ish size duvet cover
1 twin-ish size duvet cover
2 bath mats
1 toilet bowl brush
1 rug

for 1,782 danish crowns, or $302.  a good deal i think.  of course it will probably all fall apart the first time i wash it.  but it's all thanks to denmark's lovely neighbor, sweden, and its little store, ikea, and, to my lovely neighbor, louise, and her suggestion that she take me there, in a real car.

later, chicken soup with our neighbor sarah and then day two of late bedtimes for the guys, though not quite so late for henry as last night.  he's once again become fond of the three hour nap at school... i suppose it all started with my grand idea to nap with him on his chickenpox day, but it's put him into a sleep-shifting cycle that is beginning to align with nocturnal creatures as so much of his recent nights seem to be wakeful. paired with my own exhausted inability to fall asleep on the nights i do not read right up to the very moment the scales tip from being able to keep my eyes open to not, and it all feels like there is (what's new?) simply too little sleep happening in this house... except for that three hour chickenpox-day nap.

and in related news, william told greg tonight that there is a man in his head who gives him good dreams.

"oh! that's great!" said greg.

"his name is jack tooter and he toots them into my mind and they're really funny."

and then a poop joke involving jack tooter ensued, which i will spare you the details of.

i suppose this all started with me telling him about my imaginary friend, friendy, who lived in my heart and gave me good dreams by means of an early sci-fi version of a computer... and had a hallway of bathrooms, of every color... and was generally, a very messy tenant.

and now, henry is awake again and so our night begins.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

good law, good policy

it's funny how you can have such a relaxed second breakfast after dropping the kids off (finishing up what they didn't eat and drinking now cold tea) and yet still find yourself racing to the train station.  well, i thought surely with only 11 minutes to get there i would not get there, but then i made it in something like 7, with time to catch my breath.  

i wasn't venturing anywhere today, but meeting katie (of juan and katie) to tour around roskilde (though it's slightly less tour-worthy than copenhagen) and get myself a phone, which i did.  my one requirement... that it have a good camera.  

but the problem is... i'm not one to shop around.  i'm hardly one to shop.  so i haggled down to the cheapest plan i could get-- about $15 a month (though i could have gotten it for closer to $6 if he hadn't convinced me that i need "data." ... i don't even know what it means, except that he threatened if i didn't get it, things might suddenly stop working, such as oh, for example, the camera) and took his word on which phone had a good camera and that was that, out of the store, new phone, in box, in hand.  techy consumerism... done.

outside, more high schoolers in army trucks celebrating a newly gained independence or their inevitable hangovers, or their diplomas, or the sunshine... 

those hats are their mortarboards... 

 little guys dancing along to the music blaring out of the trucks...

later juan and katie join us for dinner... a baked chicken, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, salad, and the much anticipated (for me... though we had one last night) cinnamon rolls.  so good.  

late bedtimes for henry and william and only later that i learn of the exciting news from the supreme court and so now i'm distracted... 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


henry went to school today and greg stayed home.  not with the chicken pox.  with a run-you-down sort of cold (but already on the mend).  he did some work from home and then we looked into traveling... and we thought more about our budget... bleh.  life is expensive if you want to think about it from start to finish.  i like to think about it in terms of right now, but that's why i'm not a financial planner.

but, that doesn't stop me from valuing today as a lovely day.  a day that looked and even felt a little bit like summer.  at least in the latter half of it.

i hear it is 100 degrees in madison, and i guess i don't envy that.  you would never have said today was hot.  if you were brave you'd wear a sleeveless shirt.  if you were like me, you would still take along your fleece.  the kind of day that depends upon your disposition to winds and shady spots.

after dinner we took the guys to the pirate ship park for some soccer...

i wonder where he gets those slick soccer moves?

henry taking it easy by the burley...

but preferring the hard way down...

and tonight we planned for a grand feast which will occur tomorrow.  cinnamon rolls and all!

it's my dad's birthday tomorrow, and he would appreciate me eating an extra one for him, so i will, but also we are having friends over for what seems to us like a very american dinner, and one we haven't made since we've been here.

but, back to today.  one last look... at 10:30's pink sky. the view from our backyard and our last perspective of the day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


i just don't know what to think about this chicken pox thing.  he doesn't seem to have it, even as the little bumps on his chest didn't seem to get any better after a night's sleep.  they didn't seem all that worse.  and he was a perfectly contented little boy staying home with his mom today.  but, of course, we can imagine new little bumps everywhere-- see those little bumps on his cheek? are you sure that one isn't a bump on his leg?

i'm giving it one more night.  if he's not worse, we'll bring him to school tomorrow.  there is, apparently, one child in the school who really does have chickenpox and so i'm afraid we're quarantining him from the one place he might just catch the real thing.

but i did enjoy having him home today.  we took a long, as in three hour's long, nap today, which was quite cozy as you know if you've ever snuggled with a little snarfler... one of our many names for the guys.

after dinner, greg walked with henry over to the grocery store to replenish the raisin stock he (henry) is rapidly eating his way through (wondering why he's on the verge of cavities), while i did dishes and william played upstairs.  when i was done with the dishes i called up to william to see if he wanted to come down for a before-bedtime snack.  he said, "not yet." and i said, "okay, come down soon.  i love you!" and he shouted back, "i love you too.  i'm talking to you in my mind!" which i thought was very sweet.

and now everyone is asleep, and i should be too.

here, tell me what you think-- does he seem like a guy on the morning of day 2 with chicken pox?  is it possible to have the mildest of cases?

Monday, June 25, 2012

varicella dreams

so i was taking my domestic responsibilities seriously today and vacuuming every little depository for dust and cobwebs i could reach when greg suddenly burst through the front door.  

"henry has the chickenpox!"  

i'm sorry, i won't be responding.  my brain has just been picked up and dropped into a land where greg walks through the door at noon on a monday unannounced with fundamental medical information completely contradictory to my own, apparently now historical information about the healthy son i just dropped off at school a mere three hours ago.

"we need to go get him."

i missed three phone calls, an email, and an attempt at a facebook chat from a guy who does not do facebook, vacuuming those cobwebs.

when henry got home, he didn't look very chickenpoxey to me.  when he went to bed tonight, he still didn't look like a bumpy, itchy, miserable kid who'd contracted the chicken pox virus.  which is a little disappointing because i really want him to catch it and then pass it on to his brother so they can get the preservative-&-bovine-serum-free version of the illness.

what do you think?  here he is, looking like he played a little joke on everyone...

what is not a joke however, are the cinnamon rolls our neighbor sarah brought over tonight.  don't let the eyes fool you...

mmm!  she took pity on us eating the super best's cinnamon bread and shared her own recipe with us, which is super better.  

i see more of these in our future.

but tonight, may you dream varicella dreams tonight in support of my hope the tiny bumps on henry's chest materialize into the real thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

bread and coffee

i think i can be drawn out of bed by a cup of coffee and some cinnamon bread.  

this i say to greg in the morning after he is up and i am back to sleep.  earlier i was up with henry and he was sleeping.  but my six hours of sleep is not enough, so i shut our door and read a little (a good book... 'teacher man') and try to fall asleep again.  i think i'm successful, but i'm getting hungry for breakfast, which has me thinking of tasty and not so healthy options.  

and then there's cinnamon bread and coffee on the table!  i have a piece and then try to fill myself up with oatmeal so i'm less tempted to eat half the loaf.  i think i'm not successful on that front.  

and then greg goes for a run.  laundry. henry naps.  william and i read a book about rain because it's another rainy day.  one day on, one day off, except tomorrow promises to be an exact repeat of today, and so the pattern predicting a beautifully sunny day tomorrow is broken.  

later the guys get into their rain gear, though william goes with his winter jacket instead of his rain jacket, and greg takes them to play soccer.  they're cold when they come back and we have a pot of warm soup for dinner. 

tomorrow i'll venture beyond getting to our washing machine.  today, i'll enjoy the end to our perfect fall day in june, inside.  maybe with a little more cinnamon bread.   

a midsummer night's dream

today is sankt hans day in denmark.  a midsummer festival held on the eve of john the baptist's saint's day, which, being june 24 each year, is exactly six months before christmas eve.  

the traditions surrounding sankt hans day include bonfires (often on the beach), witches (often in the bonfires), barbecues, and songs.  

we went with our neighbor sarah, and her son, william, to a little town called lejre-- one stop away on the train, to a park called sagnlandet (land of legends).  a park with settings from the iron age, stone age, viking age, and 19th century ("little house" age?).  

as we were getting to the train station, we heard beeping and shouting coming from down the road.  it was a truckload of high school graduates.  sarah explained...  another of denmark's traditions...  they will be all over denmark in trucks, going around to each student's house where they will get champagne or beer to celebrate the end of high school.  by the 25th (or so) house, they will be, as one would expect, completely inebriated.

at the park, william and william (pronounced "veel-iam") seem to run nonstop...

nice surroundings...

we explored around the iron age, the stone age, and the 19th century, where we made grass dolls which we were to whisper our problems to and then throw into the bonfire, sending the doll, and whatever issues we've given it, up in flames.  greg set our dolls down at some point, and when he went back to retrieve them, found they were gone.  probably someone else took them to the bonfire.  i can only hope they had some of the same problems as us. 

iron age boy... 

down at the bog... the eerie setting for a sacrifice to come...

denmark's national tree... the beech tree... this one gnarled and twisted... what they call vrangbøg in danish... translates to something like 'perverted beech.'

more countryside...

more forest...

stone age baby...

the ever changing and unpredictable danish sky...

19th century home... it is not uncommon to see these kinds of houses inhabited today... albeit modernized inside and out.  but a straw roof still exists here in denmark...

19th century pig, living in a modern world...

21st century goat, living in the 19th century...

but now it's time for dinner.  everyone grills outside by a little lake where people are rowing in narrow hand-carved wooden boats.  we grill sausages, pork, corn, potatoes, red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and sarah buys dough for a traditional grilled bread.  typically grilled on a stick, where all of the kids get bored and hand it over to the grownups who then sit with a stick of dough for an endless amount of time.

and then the americans come along and invent marshmallows (which sarah happened to bring along for today... after searching for a store that carried them.  tak skal du have, sarah!).


later we gather around and watch as the oldtimers (i'm not sure which 'age' they were from) try to decide (via a physical argument) if they will burn a witch or burn a fallen warrior in his boat on the bonfire...

they're going to go with the warrior-- see him lying there?  

so we march ahead as they follow behind with the poor guy...

he's laid on the pile, as dolls with human problems are tossed on...

this is maybe a witch... or a large doll with lots of problems... i'm not sure...

the big midsummer hymn is a song called ‘vi elsker vort land’ (‘we love our country’) by a guy named holger drachmann who apparently comes back to a particularly loved beach each sankt hans to make sure people are singing his song correctly, and, according to one article, ogle the women, because he was kind of a ladies man in his day. 

greg, singing along...  

the bonfire...

then everyone gathers and goes around in a circle and sings another song...

after the bonfire, we walked to the forest and gathered around the bog, where they planned to sacrifice a fellow citizen for the gods.  the woman to be sacrificed asked, “have you ever done this before?”  “yeah, yeah, lots of times,” said the man tasked with the deed.  

there she is, second to the left...

but, we had a bus to catch. 

so before the sacrifice could happen, we left.  however, in case you’re worried about her, the gods sense the people’s earnestness, and allow the sacrificed woman to come back to life.

at least that's how it's gone in previous years.

just after nine, the sun is getting lower...

sarah and william...

a last look at the park...

a final stop, so william can wield an ax.  fortunately, everyone left with limbs intact...

we catch the bus and when we arrive at the station find we have a half-hour to wait for the train.  i have a sleeping henry on me so i walk down the road of this small and very quiet town.  soon sarah joins me and asks if I’m up for picking some flowers.  another tradition holds that on this night, if you go to seven different gardens and pick seven different flowers, then put them under your pillow you will dream about your future.  we easily find two gardens on the edge of some lawns down a side street.  then a third on the main road.  we are contemplating whether or not to risk going into the enclosed front yard of someone who doesn't look to be home when we hear the train break up the silence of the town.  we run back to the train station, where we pick a fourth flower, in one of the station's flower beds, before boarding.  

a very sleepy will on the train... 

back in roskilde we hear the drunken yelling and calls of a group of kids—the high schoolers, sitting outside the train station, undoubtedly having hit their 25th house.  as we get on our bikes, one of the girls walks into the city’s fountain, while her laughing friend helps her out. they run across the street and meet up with others, and then all disappear into a bar.  

perhaps only in europe. 

blurry, but you get the idea...  

on the way home we take a detour to the harbor to see what sort of festivities are going on.  one relatively small bonfire by the viking ship museum (there's a larger at a nearby park).   

another across the way.

and many sailboats anchored out in the fjord tonight...

we ride home and after the guys are asleep i go out and take three flower from three of my neighbors’ gardens.  

to make seven flowers from seven gardens on a midsummer’s night, for a dream about my future.