Friday, November 30, 2012

november 30th

woah!  i saw 50,000 words up on the screen today, but didn't realize it until i got to 50,001.  

but i wasn't willing to erase a word just to so i could get a visualization of reaching (but not yet surpassing) my goal.  in the end, officially, it was 50,319 words.  when i hit 'submit' it was like crossing the finish line of a marathon-- which i have never done.  this is probably as close as i will come to doing a marathon-- which is not very close at all, when i consider that i pretty much sat on my couch for the last 30 days.

anyway, i felt jubilant and winner-like, because they told me that i won and perfect strangers clapped for me...

but this day was also important because it snowed for the first time since we've been here. that might not be one hundred percent accurate.  it may have snowed some when we arrived late last winter, but coming from wisconsin, i don't remember any insignificant flurries-- which is all this was today, but still, william was excited, and henry kept calling it rain.

here is william with some snow in the palm of his glove, right before an evening walk on which he fell asleep...

greg told him he could eat snow off the grass, but not the sidewalk.  i told him it had to be falling from the sky and land on his tongue.  our different ideas about parenting.

lastly, i took a math test in danish today, and i think i passed... but you would have too.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

hi. how have things changed?

this morning i went into town after dropping the guys off.  i had a ten o'clock appointment with an office associated with the kommune (the local government), to help and give me advice on starting my little company (remember... english edit... which looks snazzy on the business card, i swear).  they taught me how to send a bill through a mandatory website, and put me in touch with someone from the tax office so i can sit down with him and learn all about danish taxes.  two very nice, free services.

i went into town early because i figured either a) the bank would be open (and i had to stop in there) or b) their office would be open and i could come early and just wait for my meeting to start.  but neither the bank nor the office opened until ten.  nothing was open.  just one small restaurant.  and then, at 9:30, the toy store.  it was so, so cold, so, i went inside to get warm and found something i've been looking for.  (not exactly what i had in mind, but they will do for this year)... two advent calendars.  one for each boy.  for william-- a lego advent calendar, and for henry, a playmobil calendar.  i'm sure you will see plenty of pictures of them during the month of december... which is only a little more than a day away!

it was also a rather significant shopping trip, because, for the first time since i've been here, i listened to and translated the total when the cashier said it, and got it right, without second guessing myself-- that is to say, i handed over exact change before verifying on the little screen that i'd translated it correctly in my head.  or...well, maybe as the money was changing hands i looked over and saw i was giving the right amount.  but i was still pretty proud of myself as the numbers have just been sort of tricky, for me at least!  especially 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90.  i'm finally starting to internalize the number 50 however.

after my meeting i went to the bank and set up a bank account for this little company, because it seemed like it would be easy, and you are not required to put money in it to open it, or keep it open.  but life moves at a different pace here.  you cannot, apparently, open a bank account in one day.  rather, i have to go back in the middle of next week to finalize it.

so then i went to a 'save the children' thrift store in town and bought henry one of the one-piece snowsuits that's all the rave with the little ones around here.  and i went home and got out my own winter coat from the closet, because, again, today was so, so cold (but for you midwesterners, only around freezing).  it's an oversized reversible land's end down coat that i've had for some years now, but which is still in very good condition, save for a finnicky zipper.  but it really does make me look like a bright blue, or, if you have it reversed, black, yeti.  it's just so big, so poofy.  i played around with the sides to see which made me look less comical and i finally decided on neither, but i also decided that i needed to not be so vain and just pick a side and wear it since it makes me warm.  so that's what i did when i went to pick up the guys (i chose blue).  and when i put my hands into the pockets, i pulled a little post-it note out.  on it was a drawing (a bored doodle if you will), which i think i made while sitting at a job i had before law school... so probably nine years ago.

funny, it looks a little bit like a knight.  knights are big here.

on the other side was a note to myself... knowing someday i'd put the coat back on and find it.

'hi regan,' it says. 'how have things changed?'

with my crazy writing project going on, i hadn't really reflected on the fact that it was during thanksgiving last year that greg and i decided we were moving to denmark.  he had his interview here on thanksgiving day.  i try to remember now what denmark felt like to me, a year ago, when this unreal idea was becoming a reality.  it's difficult to conjure up those feelings, and all that comes to mind is the color blue... bright blue, like my coat.  it must be an optimistic color.

surely everything about this country was a lot fuzzier in my brain then...

than it is now...

after all, i know the number fifty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


william and henry get out their toolbox after dinner.  william says, "let's build something! come on dada, let's go get some junk!"  he means recyclables piling up in our laundry room.  they settle on egg cartons and i do a quick internet search of christmas decorations you can make with egg cartons.  turns out to be pretty obvious-- just cut out each little cup and decorate, then stick a pipe cleaner or twist tie in the top and attach it to your tree.  we watched a whole video about this though, and then cut away until henry decided to start trying to play with the scissors.  but we got a couple started anyway... 

henry was starting to get a little tired... here he is in his 'nukas'... his inexplicable word for snowman (pajamas)... 

in other news, i wrote, wrote, wrote today so that i'm a little over 48,600 words in, which is less than one day's worth of writing left to go.  this is good, because i only have two more days to finish, and each day i have at least a little something during my usual writing time that does not involve writing.  i have sort of been limping along, at least mentally, for the past four or five days, as my two main characters engaged in a too-long discussion which i could not figure out how to end.  the older guy just wouldn't stop talking.  finally i had the bartender interrupt and that ended it, so i was able to get going on some resolving and concluding in these final days.  it has been a fun project, but i have to say, i am really looking forward to december first.

ah, and yesterday's book club was a lot of fun.  we ate food and talked, well, mostly not about the book (sorry pearl and winnie), but i would still deem it a success.  our next book will be the kite runner, which i think almost everyone in the world has read, but me.

enjoy wednesday! the last one in november.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

gluing gold noodles on a matchbox

today william brought home a christmas present for us.  something he made at school.  and we had to open it tonight... he was adamant about this... 

the heart-shaped note says... til mor og far... to mom and dad...

he and henry helped open it. and it was beautiful and silly, all at once...

but mostly beautiful...

you know, like them...


Monday, November 26, 2012


somehow i almost forgot the blog.  it's 9:42 and i only now finished my words for the day. i thought i would be a slug and watch something on netflix, but something didn't seem quite right.  so here i am.  not much to report...

i made it past 100 pages today, which feels kind of milestone-ish...

made a cauliflower cheese soup, which william wouldn't even try-- he's becoming very picky these days-- saves his entire appetite for school lunch it seems (leverpostej and such... (liver pâté)...

bought snacks for tomorrow's book club...

 and cleaned up the place.

tomorrow greg goes to sweden, but just for the day.

and now i'm being skyped by my mom, so i think i will post.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

leaves and house calls

i have some good news to report: i finished the kitchen god's wife today.  phew!  oh, and what a good book it is.  my second time reading it.  so there's my recommendation... if you're looking for a good story, there's one in that book.  

i also finished my words for today, and my danish homework.  so i feel quite accomplished.  there were no grand adventures to tell about.  a trip to the bakery and then to the grocery store.  

later henry and greg raked leaves in the backyard.  we don't know what to do with our leaves yet though.  and on our block there does not appear to be a lot of yards with large trees in them losing their leaves... at least not the front yards that i can see.  

then the two of them made bagels... 

while william played with legos...

and showed off his riches... 

but later in the evening his cold was giving him troubles and he's woken up with a fever two nights in a row.  we'll see how tonight goes and then, maybe a doctor's visit.  something i learned-- they will do house calls in denmark if it's past a certain time of day and you request it! apparently in england as well.  and surely many other places in the world.  maybe even in the u.s. and i just don't know it.  hopefully we won't need that though, but nice to think that if any of us were sick enough, we wouldn't have to get on our bikes and ride over to the doctor.

and now goodnight.  enjoy the last of your long weekend if you're living in the u.s. reading this!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


saturday... adventure day, at least for three members of the family, as i work on words once again (i'm at 41,800).  but next friday is the thirtieth, so next weekend, i can share in the adventures once again!  and hopefully having completed 50,000 words... i can just see myself typing 'the end' only to find i'm at 49,999.  but i guess i could just put 'really' after it, or something like that.  

so this afternoon (after a long night for everyone, except henry, and therefore a sluggish morning) the guys went to copenhagen, which i'll show you now.  greg had to make do with my less-than-stellar camera phone, so you get some blurry shots, but i'm sure you won't mind.

here they are at the train station.  doesn't henry's coat and his stance make him look a little tough?  fortunately his face gives him away... 

william by a hot dog stand...

a crowded pedestrian street...

henry at the toy store... greg said henry was really into these moving animals, as though he thought they were real.  we need to get him around the real thing more often apparently...

finally, william on the train ride home, eating a hot dog...

and now i'm going to do it again.  cut the blog post short to go read my book, which i must finish before tuesday.  goodnight! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

purple people

i made one of the three pictures we took today (all essentially of the same scene... me trying to read a book about a troll party, in danish, to william) purple.  he fell asleep in the middle of it. 

and that's about all i can do for a post today.  because i have so much reading to do!  and what time do i allot for reading?  usually 10:30 until i can't keep my eyes open any longer... sometime around 10:45.  oy!  (which is how you pronounce eye in danish... i think... don't tell anyone i told you that.)

okay, i'm getting a head start tonight.  it's only 9:32!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thanks giving

as i write this, no one has posted pictures of their thanksgiving meals on facebook yet.  you are all still getting ready for the big meal, gathering with any number of friends and loved ones.  we here in denmark had a full day of work (greg... real work.  me... writing and reading.) and we already had a wonderful, satisfying thanksgiving meal, thanks (emphasis on thanks) to our new american friends and neighbors-two-doors-down... and emily (the mom, wife, and chef) even added bacon to the stuffing for william!

william wore his tie for the big night...

and henry ate a lot of broccoli... 

even with two corn muffins and a piece of pumpkin pie lying within reach.  (but you might notice in either of the pictures that he has a little whipped cream on his upper lip.)

not to cut a thanksgiving day post short, and i will be a little sentimental and say i am thankful for all of you who read this blog, but i have to go now and read 34.4 pages of my book tonight if i can possibly hope to be ready for the book club next week.

happy thanksgiving!  eat more vegetables than pie (dad)!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving? what's that?

"why are you flying to oakland?" i asked my sister on skype today.

because i cannot seem to keep it in my head that tomorrow is thanksgiving.  

i've very recently come to realize that the collective acknowledgment and acceptance of, and participation in a holiday is what makes it be.  and i guess what i'm trying to say is, if no one gets a day off work because of it... i will forget it's there.  no, not really.  not all the time.  eighty percent of the time though, yes, and it's not about not being grateful or thankful.  i am these things (also eighty percent of the time).  but, we are not completely without celebration tomorrow, though greg will go to work as usual, and the boys will go to school.  our american neighbors have invited us over for thanksgiving dinner and there will be pumpkin pie.  now that is something to be thankful for!  

and because the danes (obviously) do not celebrate thanksgiving, there is nothing stopping them from getting into the christmas spirit beginning at least two weeks ago.

today though, i saw santa standing in the super best for the first time, next to a sign which reads 'freshly slaughtered christmas geese'... 

but there has been other evidence of christmas in the store for awhile now...

my perception of how christmas is playing out here, is that things happen early...

you buy your freshly slaughtered goose (or duck) over a month in advance... or at least you have the ability to do so.

william and henry both have christmas events coming up in their classrooms.  next week i bring some little cookies called brunkager (brown cakes) to henry's class so they can do a little advent thing... starting... and perhaps, finishing... next week... but i am fuzzy on the timeline beyond that i must bring the brunkager in week 48 and next week is week 48.  then, on december 6th, there's a christmas coffee time in henry's classroom... which i hope i'm translating correctly when i read that parents are invited.  william's classroom performs a christmas concert on december 12th.  do these seem early to you?

and the other day i told greg, 'we should plan to go have a traditional danish 'christmas lunch' at a restaurant in town when your parents are here.'  this is because, back in november, i noticed advertisements all over the newspaper about special christmas lunch deals and make your reservation and maybe, just maybe i'm imagining that's what i saw, because it was november and so i didn't pay much attention to them... and also, once again, it's possible i'm doing some poor translating... but when i went to look for these same advertisements the other day, they were nowhere to be found... as if... these lunches had already occurred?  or everyone knew to reserve their spots a month in advance, and now the tables are all full and the advertisements have been pulled... i really don't know... maybe next year i'll know...

also, they celebrate on the 24th.  so that's a day early right there.

now, off to read... i did no reading today... only writing... but i'm now the equivalent of a day ahead, and i need to stay that way, because there is at least one day next week where i will probably not have a chance to write, and next week is the last week for this crazy task.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


(greg here)
 regan left the computer open to the unpublished blog again, so once again it is my turn!  

what can I say about today? well, work was work. it was one of those days that started with high ambitions and ended with an hour of flipping through the old quantum field theory book.  to anyone who's ever resorted to flipping through the old quantum field theory book- you know how productive my day was.  to those who have not, well, there's no better way to think that you are doing something smart while actually doing nothing than pacing a room with an open physics textbook.  

the big news is the discovery of a time reversal (symmetry) violation by some folks at SLAC.  apparently B mesons and anti-B mesons decay to other B mesons, changing ups to downs or charms to stranges, all the while sputtering off leptons and lesser mesons until blah blah blah.

home is much more sane, as can be seen in the pictures below.  henry, while crying about not being allowed to draw on the floor, climbed two drawers and a shelf in order to reach the forbidden markers.  promptly those drawers were removed, and promptly w and h decided to make themselves comfortable within.

the craziness that follows from pretend sleeping is best illustrated by the following blurry photos...

okay, it wasn't all that crazy. but we all had fun, and eventually everybody went to real bed.  I was even asleep (five or six times already) only to be woken up by william in an ironic fashion.  we sing songs to him to help him sleep, and he insists upon this.  he, however, sings songs to me to wake me up.  today I kept falling asleep while singing to him, so he would sing to me so that I would sing to him and... B mesons beget B mesons and other B mesons and leptons and.....ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, November 19, 2012

lus and the usual

greg is doing danish homework as i write this post.  i can't say the last time i've seen him doing it or if he ever has... which was apparently how it was in high school.  not that he's been completely lost in danish class... but he's starting to feel that way lately and today the teacher picked on him enough for not having done his homework, that he actually brought his books home from work and is writing a composition about how we watched 'to catch a thief'... because not much happens around these parts... or because he is supposed to write about a movie.  i'm not sure.

i also just finished my danish homework (and was good about doing my homework in high school).  i did not however finish my words for today, so i've lost some ground, but still have an 890 word buffer.  instead of writing (or doing my homework), i spent my last half hour before picking up the guys, straightening up and vacuuming the house, because our landlord, whom we've never met, was coming by this evening.  he lives in portugal and this was his first time back in denmark since we've lived in his house.  but he didn't show up.  he later called and said he was 'up north' and didn't have our number... so he's coming tomorrow instead.  but i can't say i'm going to vacuum two days in a row, though it will probably need it again by then.

william spent much of the evening on the couch, complaining that his head hurt (the outside of it, not the inside, he said).  a week ago, i asked a teacher at his school, "what does that sign on the door mean? 'lus! lus! lus!"  "lice," she said.  so, with william's clever idea to take apart his bug catcher (it has a magnifying glass on it), and a miniature bike light, i combed through his hair looking for lice or their eggs... fortunately (at least, i think), i didn't find anything.  he went to bed early.   hopefully he will wake up a healthy boy... especially because tomorrow (for a reason unknown to me) the kids have to bring a lunch from home.  i think he will really like this, and, if i read the sign correctly, it only happens (thankfully) two times a year.  we used to pack a lunch for him everyday at his preschool in wisconsin and it was fine... just added to the long list of "things which made it challenging to get out the door in a timely fashion."  now that it's not on our (still in existence) list anymore (save for two times a year), i don't miss it... i would, if they were getting cheap, unhealthy meals, like in a school cafeteria, but they're not.  i do wonder about the times william tells me they had sugar for lunch, but i think... i think... he's just pulling my leg.

and the littlest one, you ask?  full of energy and imagination tonight... i might say, the usual...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

8 minute recap

9:52... by 10 i will be in bed reading 'the kitchen god's wife.' 

eek, already 9:53 so let's get started.  

the morning started out early.  first william called out in his sleep, so greg went in there and then henry woke up and followed greg in and then i woke up and followed henry in, and took henry out, so he would not convince william to wake up.  it was still very dark out.  

breakfast was first oats and then french toast.  here are the three of us, waiting for the french toast to cook... 

then william said, "i am not going on an adventure." but we convinced him he had to brush his teeth and get dressed regardless, and that i would be a very useless playmate if he stayed, so off they went...

here he is, posing and pointing to the boat they made on the fjord...

and his little brother who came home asleep, wearing sandy, wet mittens, coat, and pants...

and when they had gotten home i was 2,002 words ahead of schedule, but not very far along in my danish homework.  however, i finished it up and read some of my book while henry slept in my lap, because when we tried to put him in his bed, he woke up and insisted instead on snuggling.  and william brought me home an arrowhead "to cut things, like bread with... it's clean... we washed it (where?)... in the sea."

so greg made dinner and william took this picture and said, "oh, flash!" like "oh, honestly!"

and henry took a very long time to go to sleep, but william did not, and now it is 10:01, so i'm late!  

Saturday, November 17, 2012


i completed one and a quarter tasks today.  (my words and about a fourth of my homework.) 

when i finish this post, it will be two and a quarter.  it seems like my days are filling up with numbers... 

1,667 words to write

40 pages per day from 'the kitchen god's wife'... that needs to be refigured though, because i couldn't keep my eyes open long enough last night to get to page 40.  

1 blog post

2 children to care for.  fortunately, in that area, and especially on the weekends, greg has found no shortage of adventuring for them.  today he took them to a faraway park in a faraway town that we went to, once upon a time, last spring.  

william's winter hat is very common for danish kids to wear.  so is his suit.

coat with snowpants... not so common... henry may be the only one...

then they rode to a forest and bird sanctuary...

and on their way home, stopped to pick up an amazing amount of cans... which they traded in for 9 kroner... about one and a half dollars.  the danes, though progressive in so many areas, are maybe not so progressive when it comes to litter and recycling...

so now i need to go read or edit or finish homework, so maybe i can say i completed something more than two and a quarter tasks today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

on my plate

this blog post is just going to be a jumble.  mostly because the pictures and the words won't have much to do with one another.  

somehow, where i had enough time yesterday to play around the internet and plan a trip to germany (well, first to the middle of denmark and then to germany, if you'll recall), today i have more projects than i could possibly hope for, to keep me busy, at least until the end of november.  

william's installation art. hand holding pencil with sharpener, included.

of course, one, there is my 50,000 words.  despite this busyness i talked about just one paragraph up, i still managed to procrastinate a little bit after getting home from class.  i like to think of it as my lunch hour.  many times my brain switches into unproductive (i.e. reading things on the internet mode) when i put food into my mouth.  i was worried i wouldn't get my words done... that today would be one of just two other days so far that i couldn't make it happen, but i did, with time to spare.  i don't think i'm getting better at it, i just think it happened to be the conversation two characters were having today.  it was an easy one to get out.  

i was impressed with all the preschooler/kindergarten bikes parked in front of the school, one cold, wet day. william's is in there somewhere.  he doesn't leave home without it anymore.

then there's also danish homework.  we are preparing for our module two test.  (already!  there are only 5... or, if you want to, like, get your danish ph.d., 6 modules.  taking this test will push me into module 3... well, taking this test and passing will.)  but anyway, that means a lot of homework.  test prep plus the regular stuff.  and, i signed up for a danish math class beginning in january.  offered through our school, two days a week, two and half hours a day.  optional, but i know it will be good for me somehow.  

my "lille prinsesse"... he would not keep still for me to get an in-focus picture.  but man was he cute in that dress. 

then, my two new projects...

one: editing a dissertation chapter.  i'm very excited about this!  

"these are golden flowers, mama," said william pulling these out of the bottom of his boots.  "i saved them in there so they wouldn't get wet."
two: reading amy tan's "the kitchen god's wife" in 11 days.  it's for the book club my classmates and i decided to start.  i chose the book... one i'd read many years ago and remember loving (but remember no details of), and didn't have a copy of it until today.  

and finally, a face we may not see for awhile on our oldest guy...

tonight he declared more than once that he was not going to play with his toys tomorrow, not going to go on any adventures, not going to watch his forty-fives, not do anything.  before bed, i told him to stay open to the possibility that he might feel differently tomorrow.  he said he wouldn't.  then greg told him a story of a grumpy squirrel, who, in the end decided he wanted to have fun.  william said, "the squirrel stopped being grumpy, but i'm not going to."  before that, though, at dinner, he said, "you know what i miss about wisconsin?  our home.  with our kitties and our puppy."  oh, that tomorrow is an easier day for this little one who really did have some smiles and fun today.