lørdag den 16. juni 2018

Do squirrels swim?

This is a really unusual weekend as Kristian and Luca has gone camping. And they did not bring the dog, who was quite disappointed:
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But off they went, leaving bailey and I behind with the teens. Teresa was supposed to go to a sleepover, but it got cancelled and instead one of her friend came here to stay overnight. Since Luca was not home we decided to step up the movie and watch something in the horror genre. Which ended up being Se7en! I watched it when it came out in theaters back in the day (waaaaaayyyy back in the day.....) and remembered it as being quite surprising at the end. I did not remember how freakin’ creepy it was. The girls were not excited about going to bed after this
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But everyone eventually fell asleep.
However more death was to follow Saturday. I went tot the pool for a quick swim in the heat and just as I was about to enter I spotted something at the bottom. A drowned squirrel. It looked surreal. Like it was standing at the bottom reaching up towards the surface and I guess this answers the question of whether squirrels know how to swim.....

lørdag den 9. juni 2018

Graduation

The school year is coming close to an end. For some of the kids in the Frikke household - but not Ulrik, who has been done for a few weeks. And finally it was time for graduation. I have to admit that it is such a relief to finish off 4 years of a bumpy ride through high school with Ulrik graduating with honors and an excited anticipation for what is to come.It is no surprise that we only know of American graduations from movies and it is quite different from the Danish version. Anyways - it took place in the convention center at EMU (East Michigan University) a few miles away. And with 430 kids graduating it needed to be big! And here they are walking in to “pomp and circumstance”:
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Ulrik on the big screen:
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And then there were speeches (which were short and entertaining!), and music. The high school symphony orchestra played symphony number 4 by Tchaikovsky! And they played well. I was super impressed by it:
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And here they are. All 430 seniors:
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Who all had to walk across the stage one by one:
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By the time it was done, Ulrik had a hefty headache but he still patiently put up with his excited family members:
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mandag den 28. maj 2018

A surreal camping trip

All winter long I have been looking forward to our first camping trip. This year we made it in the Memorial Day weekend and we decided we wanted to try something that was not North West Michigan, which we often choose. Kristian booked a campsite by silver lake. Right here:
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What’s not to like? Lake Michigan sunsets, beautiful dunes, and a large campground with a private beach by the lake. That’s why people come up here, right?
Wrong!Wrong!Wrong!Everybody else up here only have one thing on their mind: dune racing. In giant off road vehicles! Here’s the kind of car people drive to the toilets in:
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We were “lucky” to have our campsite right next this lovely parking. When one of our tents had been inches from being run over by crazy 4 wheel drive cars several times we had to move it. And when we got to our favorite part of camping - cooking on a bonfire - it was right in the prime time of big-ass cars returning from the dunes. We had more engine noise than at home where we live quite close to the freeway. Oh - and the smell of gasoline........ We were not exactly thrilled that first night.But then we went out to the light house to watch the sunset:
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And the mood was instantly restored. Sunday we went back:
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We visited Frode in Pentwater, who has a House right down to the water:
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(Teresa was very keen on going swimming. Until she spotted the 12 pound carps in the water. Then she stayed on the dock. LOL)
And then we finally ventured into the dunes. And if I should rate my top surreal traveling experiences this had to be one of them. Picture this: you climb a hilly forest hill, where sand comes down the stairs. Once you exit the trees you are in a moonlike landscape with dead trees and sand as far as the eye can see. At the end of all this is Lake Michigan with a beautiful sunset.
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But it is not quiet and peaceful. The roar of engines rules the dunes as endless herds of dune buggies, motor cross bikes, and off road vehicles in general race up and down. Completely nutcase crazy! And as much as I hate to admit it I actually think I understand why people come up here for this
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Bailey however did not like these dunes. Our poor chubby badly out of shape retriever mix almost didn’t make it
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He took breaks every few yards. And he refused to get out of the car when we got back.I think he is more than ready to go home today❤️

torsdag den 24. maj 2018

One down. Two to go

Among the things that work differently here in the US is the price and parent involvement it takes to teach teens how to drive. I certainly do not mind that it is significantly cheaper here, but the “driving with clueless teens” part? It scares the crap out of me. Luckily I married a very patient guy who do not freak out or worry about all the “whoopsies” that are bound to happen. Such as switching up the brakes and the speeder. Or not realizing when lanes are merging. And other things 😳But Wednesday was a big day. Ulrik was ready for his drivers test and since he was let out of school early as well it was a perfect day. I left work early and accompanied him to the parking lot where the test would be held. I decided not to stare at him while he did his parallel parking but I did draw a breath of relief when I saw him head out on the real roads with the driving instructor. Here I am waiting for him to come back:
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When he finally did get back the driving instructor stayed in the car for a looooong time talking to him. Not good! Right? Turns out everything was more than fine as Ulrik had driven close to perfect. Phew.
Since he was done early we went straight to Secretary of State to switch the certificate for an actual drivers license. Sigh. That has to be the most boring place on earth. Especially when the wait time was more than two hours:
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But we were very patient and stubbornly refused to leave until he had that license. Well, technically he now has a slightly different slip of paper but the card should arrive in the mail within a few weeks.He even got his new skills tested to the max on the way home with roadwork and impatient rush hour drivers:
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And what is the immediate next thing that happens once Ulrik is done with instructed driving?
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Next kiddo gets behind the wheel!

fredag den 18. maj 2018

what a week

am exhausted. This week has really gotten the best of me. Monday morning after a full weekend of swim meet volunteering was not exactly fun, but then it completely took off with work craziness Tuesday and Wednesday.Doing surgeries in mice? No problem. It is time consuming but I do it regularly now. Setting up a behavioral test I have never run before? Yep. Got it. Took some planning but went OK. Being responsible for lab meeting and planning to give a presentation on a subject I knew next to nothing about? Been there before. Done that before. But........ trying to do all 3 in the same 3 days? Aaaaaaaargh.
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But my enthusiasm went up quite a bit when the professor happily agreed that of course I should go to the conference in Korea in the fall. Yay. I am stupidly excited as I have never been to Asia before. Even better - it is one of those type of conferences where there is a lot of free time in the middle of the day. This has really saved my week.
Besides working I have cooked dinners for obnoxious teens. “Seriously mom. We have nothing worth eating tonight!”. Well well well. That depends entirely upon who is in charge of the stove. The super boring dinner ended up being pineapple salsa, peanut crusted sweet potatoes, and pasta with a sauce of walnuts, breadcrumbs, parsley, and fennel seeds.
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And I have been watching Luca sweating over a “make a book you read into a children’s book” assignment. He chose a Jack London book about dogs with some cruel upbringings. But since his task was to make it into a children’s book he made sure not to make it too inappropriate. So if any of you out there wonder how puppies get made......
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The parent dogs just find them! So convenient, right?
And now I am more than ready for some quality time with a couch, a movie, and a glass of wine. Cheers

onsdag den 16. maj 2018

Licorice smelling hair and dog stories

Well hello. The past weekend has been much anticipated (or dreaded - depending on who you ask!). Synchronized swimming junior olympics regional meet has been here in Ann Arbor. Arranged and run by Teresa’s team = parents being busy with endless volunteer hours and cooking dishes for the judges and the concession stand. I signed up for a total of 10 hours Saturday and 6 hours Sunday. I stayed far away from timing duty (sitting on the pool side with a stop watch). Instead I helped collect scores from the judges on the far side of the pool walking them over to the “headquarters”, a duty called a “runner”. And here comes the smart move: after 5 hours of running I had hospitality room duty where I had plenty of access to all the free food for the judges. Yay me! (BTW there was plenty of food so no judges went hungry because of me. Just sayin’). I even had time to work a little
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But what does this have to do with licorice smelling hair? Quite a lot! Because all the swimmers put gelatin in their hair for these meets. It’s called knoxing and it helps the hair stay in place during the swimming. Teresa’s hair always looks amazing after these meets and we have a theory that gelatin is good for dry hair, so I really wanted to test it too. Teresa was more than happy to help and because she does not like the smell of gelatin we usually put some aroma in there. What aroma did we have in the kitchen? Anise of course...... an old bottle that was a little hard to get going - until it really got going. Et voila. My hair has smelled of licorice for days now. Woop woop. But it looks good!
And now for some dog stories from the never failing stupidest one of them all: Bailey.
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The other night there was a thunder storm brewing and we had moved all of our precious herbs and plants right in front of our patio door so they were protected from the rain. As usual Bailey was let out to pee right before we went to bed. But he flat out refused. First he tried the “I’ll just do a loop under the stairs and no one will notice I did not pee”. I kicked him back out. He tried to run back in. I pushed him out! And he ran over to the patio door in the hope that some nicer family member might let him back in. But......the door was blocked by plants. And the storm was coming. And baileys two brain cells collided! When we actually opened the patio door he was so scared that he jumped right into the mosquito net in front of the door before we had a chance to open that as well. He slammed against it and feel right down in all of our plants. Sigh. Sometimes I seriously wonder what is wrong with that dog. LOL