søndag den 18. februar 2018

Synchromom strikes again

As I have mentioned before, February is prime time synchronized swim season. And this whole week has really had me involved as well, as the YMCA team had not been sufficiently proactive to get the nice swimsuits snatched this year. For one of Teresa’s routines we were left with the option of some hideous blue and orange cowboy themed suits (but why......) or to purchase regular bathing suits and decorate them ourselves. And guess who immediately thought “yay, that could be fun ......”🙄
The music for the routine was somewhat mambo inspired , so Teresa and I came up with the idea of putting a black mamba on the suit.
The swimsuits finally arrived a week before they were to be used, and they were tight! As in one-size-too-small-but-we-don’t-have-time-to-return-them-tight. And working with stretchy fabric stretched to the max is not really my expertise, so I decided to make the snakes and attached them only when they were all done. Here are the heads:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Wonderful green snake eyes (on sale at JoAnns....) and glittery black tongues. Every zoologist would know that this is exactly how you identify a black mamba in the wild!
And here are the girls in their suits (I am quite certain that not all of these young ladies would like to be recognized on this picture. A few of them looked incredibly dorky as I took the photo, so you will have to do with this):
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Unfortunately the glue for the tongue did not survive in the chlorinated water and all the poor little snakes will need a new one - with better glue - before the next meet.
The meet yesterday was a so-called “Midwest invitational” for kids aged 12 and under. Teresa does obviously not belong in this group but the whole team went and all the older girls showed their routines anyway. I was assigned timing duty:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Which is making sure the the girls get in the water within 10 seconds after the music starts, and that the length of the routine lives up to the assigned standards. We were 3 people watching with stopwatches. And that might seem like overkill, but do you have any idea how easy it is to screw up the buttons on these things? Just sayin’!
On a positive note the other Mom and I got along really well. To the point where we made plans to get all the moms together to set up a synchro routine to show the girls. We had plenty of ideas, like doing our deck work to the theme of Jaws for instance. Let’s see how it goes, but I can only imagine that doing this will be anything by boring.
Dam dam dam dam dam dam dam dam
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

lørdag den 10. februar 2018

Snow days

Yes that is plural! Two snow days this week. First time was Wednesday with 2 inches of snow that was cleared from the road that same afternoon. The kids loved it (duh) but it kind of made me roll my eyes that it took that small an amount of snow to close the schools. This weekend we are having the pleasure of aquatinting ourselves with “Mateo”, who decided to roll in and cover our part of the states in a thick white blanket:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
And this time it is bit more serious. It is not too windy but there is a lot of snow and it keeps coming! Here’s the view from our bedroom window this Saturday morning:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
And as I walked the dog last night (who had some issues doing his dog business with snow all the way up to his stomach) I had the pleasure to watch the Dominos pizza car struggle to go down the street without getting completely stuck in the snow.
Kristian and I both decided to work from home Friday. I did a marathon “brain stain and microscope imaging” session Thursday so I did not have to come in at all Friday (right now I do not have any animals that require daily attention - phew). And in the afternoon Luca and I made our way through the snow to go visit Fabiana and Nina with strawberries and chocolate. Not bad at all. Here is a “snowfie” from the return walk:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Unfortunately Kristian was supposed to go to a Men’s Retreat with our church, but they had to cancel all of Friday and some of Saturday, and he has just decided not to go at all. Teresa’s big swim meet Friday night was also cancelled, so it does feel a bit like we are snowed in without much to do. I’ll probably put on my sturdiest boots and my biggest coat and walk over to JoAnns (nope - I am NOT driving in this weather!) to buy supplies for decorating those sparkly swim suits for Teresa’s group routine, that I somehow got into signing myself up for😳.

lørdag den 3. februar 2018

February is.......

- by far the coldest month. But somehow January went by so fast this year with the remnants of our North Carolina visit, extra long Christmas break, and my conference trip to Colorado. And I am getting just a little bit better at handling the cold as the years go by. And as long as the temperature does not dip unbearably low (below -20C in the night and -10C in the day) I can live with it.


- college application time. Ulrik is a senior in high school and this summer he will be moving on to the next stage of life - college. As I write he has already been accepted to Alma. A small liberal arts school up north that is private and thus rather expensive. They sent him an acceptance letter filled with confetti. Thank you Alma........ But since he has a high GPA (overall high school score) they already offered a scholarship of 20.000$ reduction per year. And they might throw more money at him, so I guess we’ll wait and see what happens. Today he is getting ready to visit MSU (yes that MSU with the creepy athletics doctor.......😕) for the annual portfolio day. Since he is applying to art and design school he needs to display his work, and in 20 minutes he will leave with his dad and some ceramics in the trunk.

- super bowl! The stores are overflowing with beer and dip and more beer and more dip. And then some dip. Because that’s what you eat during the show. I have to admit that that I love the dip and the halftime show and the commercials. My professor hosts a party every year (with plenty of dip and a very large TV), so of course we are going. Justin Timberlake will be performing this year and I am curious to see if he is going to brand himself as a new person with his new super weird single.

- synchronized swimming prime time with meets here and there and everywhere. Teresa currently swims in two teams (the high school team and the YMCA team) and she is steadily moving up trough the ranks with more advanced routines, super serious level testing, and new sparkly bathing suits. I have somehow gotten myself into decorating suits for one of the routines. It is only 4 girls for that particular suit so I think I can manage.

- time for me to set up new techniques in the lab. With all the chaos that comes with it and endless visits to other lab to learn how to do things right and order in the right equipment. Including a gazillion weird equipment photos on my phone
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Well. I guess it is time for me to get out of bed. “Someone” needs his morning walk and even though he does not complain loudly I can tell that he is more than ready. Here’s a picture from last weekend where we had sunshine and mild temperatures and you could be outside without gloves. Just one day - but what a day
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

fredag den 26. januar 2018

Time to go home

The conference is over and it has not been sleep that has been on the agenda. Some of it due to dry air = waking up in the middle of a night feeling like a mummy buried in a desert for 200 years, some of it due to waking EST time, and - well - some of it due to staying up way too late in a hotel bar (without having to pay because those with more fancy careers than mine happily left their credit cards in the bar).
Despite my hate of skiing I actually didspend time outside. On a snow shoe tour. Where it took 3 retired ski bum ladies about 1 1/2 hours to equip 40 people. Sigh. We took the gondola up the mountain right on the rim where any water will either go to the pacific or the Atlantic Ocean depending on what side you are on. And since everyone else took selfies I though I’d better take one too. So I grabbed my phone, pulled my glove off with my teeth, forgot that I was still having a glove in my mouth and ended up with this:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Yay!
But I guess it does reflect my relationship with snow quite accurately.........

søndag den 21. januar 2018

In a van full of nerds climbing up the Rockies

Greetings from Colorado, where I just arrived for a scientific conference to take place over the next 5 days with the sexy title of “organ crosstalk in obesity and NAFLD / Bioenergetics and metabolic disease”. I am currently in van a full of nerds (why oh why are we scientists always SO easy to spot when we are en clusters in an airport - LOL). We have filled up the back of the van with poster tubes and not a single set of skis or snowboards are to be found. The chauffeur was quite puzzled.....
I can honestly say that sending me to Colorado in prime ski season is to throw pearls for swine. I have never liked skiing, but since I broke my arm two years ago from slipping on the ice I have a hard time imagining that I would ever put skis on my feet. I do have a plan to go snowshoeing with my Korean colleague though. And I want to convince him to tell me all the crazy stories from when he was in the Koran military.
Otherwise I look forward to hang out with a bunch of former Danish colleagues from Novo Nordisk, to network over cocktails, and to see how intensive it gets this year with the highly competitive project I work on currently. There several pharma companies working on the same protein as me, and it is a race against time for all of them to get a compound developed before everyone else. As I spoiler alert I can add that I was only allowed to bring the least interesting of my data to this conference. Uuuuuuuuuuh

søndag den 14. januar 2018

47 hours

...... without any kids in the Frikke household! For the first time in what interestingly enough comes close to 47 months. Last time Kristian and I had more than a few hours without any of our offspring was back in July 2014, where we went to Berlin. And when you have been married for close to 20 years and usually have the longest conversations over practicalities, it almost felt scary to imagine several days with no interruptions. But we are still a good team who enjoys many of the same things and we ended up having an awesome weekend without going out of town.
We have gone on long walks with the dog:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
We have found good deals on dessert plates - something we really needed after having used somewhat broken secondhand ones for more than 3 years. We went to Anthropologie to have a look and check this out! They had llama plates on sale for only 3.50$ each. #llamalove
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
I love having things that makes me happy, when I use them and these plates are most definitely in this category.
We have been going out for breakfast and dinners. I dragged Kristian along to hopcat where they had more than 100 beers to choose from. And even better, they sell them in small tasting samples so you don’t have to confine yourself to just one one. I had salted caramel porter and Belgian beer tasting like “althea bolcher” (a Danish hard candy with an orangy flavor that I used to hate as a child but kind of like now).
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
And after that we only had to skip across the street to be right at Michigan Theater. Here it is from the top of the parking garage:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
It is an old theater with those movies that usually don’t make it to the big cinema complexes full of teens. We had tickets for “The shape of water” and I was blown away by everything in there. The golden ceilings, the red velvet chairs, and the live organ music during the commercials. Seriously a guy walked in and starting playing in the little organ up front:
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.
The film was one of the best I have seen in a long time. Please go see for yourself if you have the chance!
We were sitting next to a couple of college kids and they were audibly gasping when one of the main characters - a power tripping psychopath - gave racists comments to one of his employees, or when there was that kind of beautiful artistic nudity involving non-surgery-modified and quite real human bodies .in some scenes. They have obviously not watched non-Hollywood movies before🙄
And now it is Sunday afternoon. The kids will be home in a few hours and Kristian and I are not quite ready for it yet. We have learned though that we cannot keep blaming the kids for always being late for church Sunday morning..... ahem......

fredag den 12. januar 2018

Are you cold?

If any of you ever wake up in the morning and wonder: have I ever felt real cold? Not just cold, but bonechilling painful cold!Well, this blogpost is for you.
If you can answer yes to every single question you are a true cold trooper. If not.... well then you have not lived life to the fullest!
1) have your nose ever filled up with ice crystals within 10 steps of being outside?
2) did your lungs hurt when you tried to breathe?
3) have you stopped noticing how stupid ear flap hats look because you wear one every day?
4) have you ever walked your dog and had to remove icicles from under his eyes upon returning home?
5) did it sound like styrofoam last time you kicked a piece of ice?
6) have you ever been surprised that it was not warm enough for shorts when it sure felt like it? (Aka when temperatures suddenly heats up to just a few degrees below freezing).
Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.