søndag den 31. juli 2016

In the past week

- 2 household members turned 14. One as counted in human years and one as counted in dog years. We shipped a card + some sleezy gossip magazines to Teresa on top of the birthday gift of British pounds for shopping in London. I made the mistake of using Fedex instead of the postal office and I am NOT going to embarrass myself revealing how much that cost, but we could have shipped a very big box for the same amount of money at the postal office
Nope. He is not wearing a diaper on his head. Luca worked hard to make a "party hat"

- we have cleaned out kids rooms. Luca's room needs that quite often (sigh) but we also got Teresa's room done including getting a new dresser.
- we are not good friends with the US sprinkler mania (we currently have muddy soggy grass non stop where we live). Here is a sprinkler sprinkling away during a massive down pour. #WhySaveWater?
- Kristian has had his first test launch at GM including getting up at 4AM to restart servers, working during weekends, and working late. I have finally (finally finally) gotten so far in my setting up of surgeries/brain anatomy/floating-sections-for-immuno-histo-chemistry that I got to do my first micro infusion directly into distinct brain areas. It took quite some boot camping for me and the test subjects to relax during these experiments, but we are totally pro's by now
- I have had to say goodbye to the summer intern who's biggest accomplishment has literally saving my a.. with some of the new methods that just would not work no matter how hard we tried. They worked the last day of his 10 week stay! and he got me a little token, that I can hang on my wall to remind me of never quitting:
- last but not last "someone" has a lot of fun with silly putty. Here he disguised himself as a chicken


lørdag den 23. juli 2016

Summer summer summer time

We're almost half way through school summer break and despite Kristian and I both being quite busy at work the days do have a summer feel to them. Luca has been at a gazillion summer camp already, but so far the last one was the best. Blue turtle nature awareness and wilderness skills camp. He has worked with knives, bonfires, water filtering, knobbing, medicinal plants etc etc and now his biggest birthday wish is a life straw and storm matches. Our cool 10 year old has also spent a night in a tent all by himself (because he was the only boy on the camp staying overnight) - a tent which he set up all by himself too! The camp councilors were quite impresses and so were we.
Since we still only have one car Luca and I use bikes to go to and from camps. And sometimes (aka quite often) we take a break to eat some cake or icecream on the way. We have even come up with a hashtag just for that #savingmoneybyeatingcake.

Ulrik is on his way to North Carolina as I write. He is going to camp Lutheridge with our church and they will be white water rafting and volunteering at an animal shelter. He is doing good at macdonalds, but he certainly does not mind a break either.

Teresa is still going strong on her tour de Denmark and flew off to London today with my sister. They have Harry Potter world and a musical on their busy scheme and quite some shopping to do too ;-)

In 10 minutes I'll go and get my nails done and then we'll hang out at the Ann Arbor art fair in the afternoon - which is probably going to be hot with temperatures close to 100F/35C.

søndag den 17. juli 2016

Burrowing wolf spiders, a coughing dog, and wet horses

As one might guess from the title our weekend has been far from boring. We were invited to spend the weekend in Traverse City with some friends that were there for an international horse show. Our original plan was to leave Friday night, but since Ulrik had to work over the weekend (yup, he is at Macdonalds all summer) we decided to leave Saturday morning. This turned out to be a good thing workwise too, as I have a rat that needed some extra TLC (and peanutbutter gel diet) to recover from surgery. So after a quick stop at the University we headed North early ' ish Saturday. Luca's friend Alessio was waiting for us as we got up there and we almost instantly went out to see if we could catch some pokemons. We had hoped to get some of the water ones, but most of the beaches were private, with that kind of retired people that rake the sand multiple times a day so they can immediately spot, if an intruder dared to set foot on their property! But seriously - get a life people!

Instead we went swimming in the bay. It was awesome and I am glad I did not learn about the burrowing wolf spiders, that live in the sand by the beach and come out and bite people, until afterwards. Then I might not have enjoyed the beach quite as much.........

We went for dinner in downtown Traverse City with a stop at the big Cherry Republic Store. They had 16 different kinds of cherry icecream! Does it get any better than that?

When we got back Luca and Alessio did a little glow stick performance and then it was time to find a bed. Unfortunately I shared the room not only with Luca but also with Buddy, the very old dog with extensive coughing. Guess who was woken up about every 45 minutes by a dog coughs? :-(

Sunday we went to the Great Lakes  Equestrian Festival, an international horse show running for 7 weeks, where Soleil was participating. It was pouring down most of the day, so it was a cold and wet experience for the two legged as well as the four legged audience. But a stop for hot lunch at Big Boy helped quite a bit, and now we are eating up the miles to be back in Ann Arbor before it is too late. Hopefully the apartment (and Ulrik) are still standing ;-)

mandag den 4. juli 2016

Ontario Wine Country and Niagara Falls

This year July 4'th fell on a Monday = 3 day weekend. Yay. We had planned to go camping up north but we tried to book a campsite WAY too late. The only available spots we could find were outside Kalamazoo, and that was not really a place where we were dying to spend  a long weekend. I looked around on Google maps and Niagara Falls are actually not THAT far away. I even found a small family owned camp site (Jordan valley campground), right in the heart of Ontario wine country, where we were lucky enough to get a spot due to a recent cancellation (July 1'st was Canada day, so they were busy on that side of the border as well).
Kristian took Friday off and I left work early so we could leave around 2'ish. That was not a minute too early. We just made it to the campground before they closed at 9PM (the trip included getting Luca picked up from camp, a border crossing, and trying desperately to find an open grocery store in Canada).
Here's the view from crossing ambassador bridge to Canada. Not bad, eh?

Most of the trip the landscape looked exactly like what we came from except the highway being creepily empty.....

But as we got more east it turned into a beautiful hilly landscape with vineyards and fruit orchards, wineries everywhere and fresh cherries and strawberries to be bought by the side of the road. Oh, and Lake Ontario!

Saturday we went to Niagara Falls. The town next to it was not really for us. It seriously looked like a mini version of Vegas. But we found a parking lot upstream that was more quiet and then walked down to the falls. Absolutely breath taking:

It was busy and we had the dog with us, so we skipped the tours and "just" enjoyed the scenery.
Then we had a crowded, overpriced lunch, and decided to leave with a stop at a winery on the way back. And a stop at Walmart. Sigh. Guess who waited outside with the dog and got approached by several weird Walmart shoppers including a lady on a scooter who kept going on and on and on how dogs should live in goat milk yogurt, aloe Vera juice, and raw liver.......
Sunday we wanted to walk one of the trails in the area. There should be a gorgeous Bruce Trail, if one could find the entrance that is. We passed some nice scenery before we spent way to much time walking on the side of the winding country road with a lot of cars.

Eventually Bailey got overheated and refused to take one more step. Lucky for us this happened right next to a beautiful winery, where Luca, Bailey and I got to chill while Kristian and Ulrik went to get the car. We also got some ice wine (which not all wineries have).

On the side of the road we had passed a small flea market with live music, more than decent juicy burgers, and a lot of old junk for sale.
In the afternoon we went out to the lake where two of us went in the (cold) water. We tried our best to convince Bailey to join us. We even made him watch another dog happily fetching sticks in the water. Based on Baileys look he must have thought the other dog was a psychopath. Eventually he started rolling himself in the sand instead. I guess that works for birds, but dogs? Not so much. Guess who is going to have bath as soon as we get home!

We stopped for harbor stroll icecream at Port Dalhousie before we headed back for BBQ, badminton and a pool match that Kristian won! Seriously! (Certain members of the family really do not like loosing?)

Overall we were surprised how nice Ontario wine country was. We almost do not dare to say it, but we liked it better than Napa Valley...... And we deeply appreciate that we are now in a more stable financial situation where we can start seeing more of this side of North America. We plan to get Michigan Upper Peninsula under our belt this summer as well, and we also have Toronto on our radar.