Monday, November 30, 2015


just two pictures.  i'm still tired.  every day i'm a little less tired but by 8:00 at night, i'm still ready to be done.  so are most of you, i'm guessing!  we went to our first christmas market of the season yesterday.  it was fun to indulge in a little christmas craft shopping.  

yesterday was a preview of the month ahead.  next weekend we'll plan to buy our christmas tree.  but tomorrow the countdown of the month really begins.  we'll light our christmas candle each day, begin the advent calendar, and go have 'christmas morning-coffee' at henry's school... and danish is so tricky, 'christmas' 'morning' and 'coffee' can all be combined into one new, original, long word (see post title).

Sunday, November 29, 2015


hello again.  sorry for being incommunicado for so many days.  it was combination flu, recovering from flu, and neighborhood christmas party that kept me from blogging until now.  i'm just going to post some pictures from last week because i'm still a little extra tired from all the aforementioned goings-on.  

greg stayed home on the day i was most sick and picked the boys up from school and took them sledding before all the snow melted (which it has done by now).  

when they got home, henry came right over and snuggled with me on the couch.  i couldn't decide which of these next two pictures was cuter of him so i'm posting them both...

there he is the next morning getting ready for preschool...

which was also thanksgiving day.  greg made a pumpkin pie the night before and then a thanksgiving-esque chicken dinner after work (!)

and we took this self-portrait... which many of you already saw on fb...

happy sunday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

salt water

i didn't get any pictures today.  three nights in a row i've woken up from sleep feeling achy and flu-like.  last night i also had a sore throat so bad i had to go down and gargle salt water.  "what was that noise?" greg asked.  in the morning i was at a whisper and though my voice came back as the day went on, at 8:15 my sore throat is getting worse again.

that's my explanation for not leaving the house today and not taking pictures.  i spent most of the day feeling achy on the couch getting the article that i'm writing done.  but we were running dangerously low on groceries, william was still in borrowed boots, so greg came home early, heated up some frozen broth for me, made me lunch, and rode the bus into town to get the groceries and the boots.  then he picked up henry, brought him home and went out again to get william who was at a friend's house.  cool.  thanks greg!

i'm going to be better tomorrow.  i have two appointments outside the house, so i have no choice!

Monday, November 23, 2015

monday in snow

there was a mess of getting to school.  a mess of getting home.  but it was still a nice sight to look upon... 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

november snow

about a month ago i rallied hard for a trip to town to fit william for a new pair of snow boots.  i got outvoted that day and we didn't really think about it until last night when william had to play in the snow using his rain boots.  

so mid-morning we went out today to try to catch a bus for a trip to town to get the boots-- not having expected that the season's first snow would be such a whopper.  around two feet of snow fell yesterday.  

and we waited patiently enough until my phone and a passerby walking his dog told me that the bus was not coming.  it wouldn't be able to get up the hill past the bus stop and the one that tried had to be towed away.  so we went home, looked in the giveaway shed, found a pair that was too small, talked to a neighbor and borrowed a pair that he played in for the rest of the day.  when he came in for the last time, they were soaked.  in fact, anything that was worn outside long enough today came in soaked.  both boys snowsuits are soaked.  i found a pair of snow pants we'd brought from madison with one of our old neighbor's name written on them and put them on henry and later greg brought out a second winter coat for him to wear after the first got too wet.  i started to worry about what they would do tomorrow.  these snowsuits are slow to dry. i found another pair of snow pants for william, but the other winter suit we have for henry is too small and falling apart (might do in a pinch, but not ideal for this kind of weather) and the final pair of snow pants i'd been hoarding is a season too small.  but, by a stroke of luck (or something) when william and i went back out later in the day to stand at the bus stop for the second time without success, i decided to check in the giveaway shed again on our way back home, just in case we'd somehow missed a pair of boots.  no boots, but i found a size 4 snowsuit just waiting for henry.  

william, however, seems to be stuck with his rain boots until i can get to town tomorrow... 

we'll triple sock him tomorrow morning and maybe i can drop off some winter boots during school.  it's a parenting fail, but i don't think he's at risk of losing any toes.  

that's the apparel situation in the house.

you think you're prepared until you realize you forgot about the boots and the buses aren't running.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

saturday treat

it's been snowing since about 2:45 p.m. and hasn't stopped.  big, fluffy snowflakes.  it's nearly 8 hours later.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

10:54 p.m.

tomorrow it will snow.  tonight is cold and dry after what feels like a stretch of rainy weather.  in denmark there are only 10 more days of fall.  but going by the calendar means we will start spring 19 days earlier than waiting for the vernal equinox.

but it's all just technicalities anyway.  we'll judge the seasons by how they feel.  and tomorrow it will snow.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

rain, wind, and cows in your backyard

just before henry and i left for his preschool the skies darkened and it began to rain.  he insisted on taking me through the forest path to get to school so we could get out of the rain.  

here he is, rain coat over his winter coat, rain pants, rain boots, walking his bike up a steep path... 
here henry, here's what you can tell your grandkids you had to do to get to school when you were four.

what's at the top of the hill... sometimes around here, the top of the hill looks edge-of-the-earth-like (in a good way)...

back on the usual path, on my way home later that morning, there's a cow in someone's backyard.

i'll just make note that later in the afternoon it was very, very windy.  blow those mittens that henry didn't want to wear out of your bike basket windy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

fear not

i'm realizing with some embarrassment that i didn't leave the house today except to walk up the little berm (if i'm using that landscaping term correctly) to go do my cooking duties at the common house.  it was mostly about onions today folks.  and apples. and peppers. and cucumbers.  but that was all after three p.m.  earlier, i stayed in and did some research for a second little article i will (pending my research) be writing on an upcoming election in denmark.  it pertains somewhat to family law, and as that was an old favorite of mine, it's kind of fun research.  i also did yoga because i vowed to do it at least twice this week.  i have been feeling extra achy and sore lately which is part of the reason i have been a bad blogger lately.  as someone who's had a rather serious disease, i think of myself as now extra willing to take on the minor colds and flus, not to mention more serious, yet preferably curable illnesses, with little complaint.  the problem is, after you've had a rather serious disease that can come back (or not!), seemingly at random, in a much more deadly form, interpreting those aches and pains, deciphering those minor illnesses from the big dreaded one, becomes a lot harder to do.  give me the flu by all means, but please, let me know it's just the flu.  so it becomes a bit of a mental exercise.  exercise in the sense that i cannot get lazy and let my thoughts go into overdrive.  i have to at least remember to tell myself that just because i'm thinking something, doesn't make it true.  at the same time, i do have to do the work of deciphering my aches and pains, as the manifestation of my fears is a bodily one (i think those were the words of my therapist... who i see about managing my fears while doing the work of deciphering the aches and pains).

a process...

that takes work...

to find and maintain a balance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015


yesterday i walked william over to his fort in the woods so he could keep working on it with his friend.  he posed in front of it for me... 

then i walked home in what feels like a very peaceful little piece of europe feeling somber about what happened on friday.

more and more for me when humanity feels very, very complicated, fresh air and a bit of nature feel healing.

i feel fortunate that my circumstances afford me the opportunity, but circumstances will always change.  life throws so many obstacles at every one of us without taking into account all the things we do to each other.  i guess that is something that probably has remained constant, though peace over terror seems like it should be within humanity's grasp to decide.  well... no answers here.  a planet with seven billion people living on it is a very complicated place.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

my bean pot runneth over

i spent much of the day cleaning out and organizing a couple kitchen cabinets.  in the course of that time, i watched the liquid spill over the pot on some beans i was cooking and i watched our clothes drying rack tip over outside because of the wind.  minor catastrophes.  the clothes still got dried (albeit indoors after that) and the bean soup still got eaten (although henry sneezed in his bowl... i'm pretty sure on purpose).   

and the sky today was blue...  

(so long as the sun was up).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


can you tell from this photo what two new things we own?  

actually it's not really a fair question.  you probably guessed the clock, and that's right.  but you may have been thrown off, not only by the tea pot, which is not new, it just happened to be there when i took a picture of the clock, but also by the fact that you remembered that greg has had a new phone for a week or two now and his takes much better low-light pictures than mine.  but... the answer to the question is:

the clock

and the phone that took the picture-- my phone. my new phone.

i could have lived indefinitely without a new phone, despite the fact that the camera was showing its age, but over the weekend a couple crucial buttons stopped working which made the phone nearly impossible to operate.  so i took it off life support and went to the phone store and got a new phone.  the cheapest they had, which also happened to be the same phone as before, only a couple models evolved.

after getting this phone, i've come to the conclusion that i don't like getting new phones.  i don't want to spend any time at all learning how to use it.  i don't understand why it's not a clean slate.  this phone already had pictures on it going back to 2012.  if those pictures were on my previous phone, i didn't know it.  it also comes with about a thousand 'apps' loaded onto it, 99% of which i will never use or know the point of, but if it's anything like my last phone, when i try to remove them during some long train ride, it will tell me that they are all crucial to the entire system and i better just leave them alone.  it also beeps at me for seemingly no reason and no matter how many notifications i turn off, it keeps beeping.  i wish phones could just be phones... with good cameras attached.

well, the clock's nice though!  i also could have lived indefinitely without one of those (as long as my watch keeps working) but greg really wanted one, so now we have a very large reminder that time is a-ticking.

Monday, November 9, 2015


it's just more about tired.  last year at this time i couldn't do nearly what i do now without running myself into the ground real quick.  this year, i can tell i have a greater capacity, but kind of like a cell phone battery that doesn't hold a charge like it did when it was new, i can be replenished after a night of sleep, but if i'm pushing myself too much i see that i'm replenished a little less each night so that i run out of energy more and more easily as the days go on.  this used to happen continuously last fall until i would have a day where i'd wake up already exhausted (physically, because the tired i'm describing isn't really a yawning, droopy eyes tired), and, in the course of a day i could hit a wall, running out of whatever energy i had.  i could sit and take a rest and that would help replenish me, in the same sense that you charge your cell phone for 15 minutes if that's all the time you've got and it's almost dead.  now i can go for longer stretches, doing more, and rarely run out of energy completely.  but in this past week or so my energy has been draining faster and faster every day, but slowing down is not always an option.  this afternoon i finally called greg to have him pick up the boys, which he very happily did.  and for the next couple days i will try to take it easy and see if i can get back to 'normal.'  
when the boys got home tonight, henry was excited to show me his handmade paintbrush (a stick with a frayed end and some scotch tape on the other end).  here he is painting with it... (and there's me behind him with my book in hand rather than picking them up)... 

okay, go plug in your cell phones everyone.  they're tired!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

sunday science

and suddenly we introduce blue back into the color scheme, and with it, everything brightens up... 

you could say we didn't plan our weekend very well.  these pictures were taken hurriedly as we rode to catch a train to spend the day indoors at a museum.  oof.

here's everyone watching that cat from the first picture...

but the boys were promised a day at the children's science museum in copenhagen and the sun clearly wasn't planning around our schedule so what could we do?

english homework on the train...

waiting for the bus...

walking to the museum...

at the museum, greg had william recreate a picture from the last time we were here.  i think he may have even been wearing the same jacket.
i'm also interested in the signage all around him.

henry rowing to earn himself some juice...

all the guys pedaling to operate the lights, a radio, the tv, a fan, and the disco ball...

one really fun exhibit they had going on were some interactive team challenges.  so with our wristbands we created a team and could 'check in' to about 6 different exhibits where we'd have to do things like run through an obstacle course, bike to the beach and check our heart rates, do some dance moves to clean a bathroom, run on a hamster wheel to burn calories, turn off lit up buttons on a wall while only standing on overturned (and oversized) pots and rolling pins.  we didn't have the camera out during these, so i didn't get any pictures, but they had a special going on where we could convert our day passes into passes that would last until summer 2016 when they move this museum back to its original location (which is in the process of being renovated) so i'm guessing we'll be back.  

other than a little breakfast, lunch, and dinner and possibly hearing one of us screaming in the bike parking lot over not getting a very sweet treat at the grocery store on the way home, that was our day!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

beauty in gray

a saturday morning without direction, but with plenty of good purpose... 

eventually william would go to art class and then over to a friend's to keep building a fort they're working on in the woods.  greg would go for his run.  and the weather was not so cold today (despite the fact the sun failed to make much of an appearance) that by the time he got back, i was itching to go outside for a walk.  and i did.  and took far too many pictures.  it's hardly fair to stick them all up here on the blog, but to me it is like a gift to revisit.  there is so much beauty in the landscape here.  it's easy to label it all 'gray' and call it a day (and i often do), but there are wonderful colors amidst the gray.

so listen to a little nina simone while you follow me on my walk.  this song came up on my shuffled playlist twice as i was walking...

four horses...


i stop at the sea buckthorn berries first.  the same grouping we found two or three weeks ago.  i notice now they come off the branches much easier and that they are much fuller today.  i also notice that my hands are not nearly as cold gathering a few up as they were the last time we were here.

that's the thing about danish weather.  no one's expecting to get a second summer by this point in the season, yet the temperatures don't dip down as quickly as they tend to do in the midwest.  we can be in the 40s and 50s fahrenheit for a good long time.  today, we just happened to be at the high end of that.

i do a large loop and then come back to that first set of berries.  i prefer them to the others i tried along the way, making me think we found the best group.  they are slightly less tart and most come off the branch without turning to a juicy mess in my fingers...

but i'm not gathering them up to take home this time.  just snacking on a few.

after i get home, greg and henry come in right behind me carrying a bag of, what turns out to be, ninety apples (henry wanted us to count).  here he's carefully taking each one out of the bag...  

and he finds this little friend climbing amongst them...

can you see him?  he is a snail.  a very, very, very tiny snail.

henry has pretty little fingers.  this snail is very little indeed...

here he is passing the little guy off to greg...

there was one more little one just like him and both went back outside on their very own very small apple.  

organizing into piles of ten (for counting purposes)...

then they juiced them, boiled the juice, and put most of it away into the freezer for future days...

and then we semi-successfully made tortillas and ate tacos for dinner.

a perfectly good use of a saturday.