Sunday, September 30, 2007

That boy is sick

In Denmark, "sick" is like "wicked" or "awesome." I can't stop smiling. I can't work on my paper. He's rocking our drum set like never before. Boy14 is jamming on bass like I've never heard. It took them 4 days, but they finally got together on the music.

Yesterday as I was leaving town to see Boy14 perform in a marching band contest, I noticed some of Boy13's friends at the skateboard park. I called back to tell Boy13 so he could take Toke, our Danish guest over. Later I called and asked how it went. He was all excited, "It was sick. He owns the skateboard park with a capital 'O'." The kid is talented, philosophical (more on that later), nice, outgoing, honest, everything you could hope for in a cultural exchange.

The other night Pat announced, "I'm going to bed. I'm killed." That's Danish for beat. This is so fun.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Once more with feeling

We are going for a three-peat tonight on raccoons.

Our Danish boy, Toke (pronounced Toga, okay that has animal house connotations), is a sponge of learning. He wants to know everything and talk all the time. He can't even eat a meal, he is so verbose. If he doesn't know a word eg. lame,dorky he asks what it means immediately. He wants to know everything about the US. He says we can't imagine what they think about America. They see all the movies so they have a lot of preconceived notions. He's very easy going and easy to get along with. He eats anything, is up for anything, just joins right in.

There is a running joke now about the Danes and Mountain Dew. Apparently there was a kid here last year from Denmark who was hoarding Mountain Dew cause he couldn't get it in Denmark. So, we stock up on a 24 pack, and Toke doesn't even know what it is, but we initiate him quickly. Then today I see a group of four Danes walking near the grocery store, and they are carrying a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.

Dang, I just heard the 'coon trap shut. We got another one! Where does it end?

Oh yeah, our boy came bearing gifts. For Boy14, two Danish music CD's. For Boy19 and 13, real licorice. For Pat, a cookbook, Cooking with the Danes. For me, beautiful, artistic salt 'n pepper shakers, pictured above. True Danish, Toke said. They are very cool to me. Very sweet kid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

24 hours

Our Danish guy is here. He's been up for twenty four hours, and only slept an hour the night before that. He was shivering (we are having a cool spell) and exhausted. But he seems really cool so far. I can tell.

I just have to get a camera for this.

Oh yeah, we caught another 'coon. The big guy this time. Gotta get him outta here before the other one comes back.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My "10 page paper" is over half done, and our coon was sent out to the country. Well, he was dropped off near a subdivision called Meadowbrook, only about a mile and half from home. I'm pretty sure he will find his way back, but I didn't want to dump the darn thing, so I guess I can't complain. A raccoon friend tried to dig his friend out, and also chewed through the leash that was holding the cage to the porch. Boy13 brought his friends over after school to view the caged animal. They fed it some more bread...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rocky Raccoon

Rocky Raccoon stepped into a cage, only to find a peanut butter sandwich.

Well, my friend Glenn (will you believe his last name is Coons) loaned me a live cage this evening to trap our friend and agreed to take him out of town. So, an hour and a half later, I hear scratching out there. That thing came down from the tree or wherever at 8:30 sniffing out the peanut butter. We got him already. I can't believe it's that easy.

I'm going to see if I can get two or three of the little buggers just in case. There could be literally no end to this procedure.

So, I'm doing the happy dance, or the walking man dance Boy13 showed me.

Junior the cat is fascinated and guarding the nearby window.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just Because

Just because I got up at 6:10 a.m. on a Saturday doesn't mean I should be tired at 9:11 p.m. I did take over an hour's nap and was really off in la-la land. I dreamt Boy13 and his friends were tasting a beer in my house and I caught them. I've been trying to write my film critique of Boys Don't Cry and it is much more difficult than I imagined. I am trying to put down anything, no matter if it is disjointed and non-sensical at this point. Perhaps I can arrange it into something better later. I am considering weaving Transamerica (Felicity Huffman plays a male to female transgender person) into the paper to beef it up a little.

I should follow suit of Ragged Around the Edges and spend tomorrow at the University library.

Monday, September 17, 2007


When Boy13 got home from the game around 9 pm. last night he was very disappointed we had missed taping the walk off 500th homer. He said the Jumbotron was showing him and his sign clearly after the hit. He attended with an actual White Sox fan who came in to view the DVR and he was aware enough to know the game is always replayed the next day. Sure enough it was schedule to air at 1:30 am and Pat again set the DVR. This morning we viewed it and sure enough there is Boy13 clear as day, holding up his 500 sign, jumping up and down for quite a long while.

If I had my blasted camera, I at least could have snapped a picture of the TV screen for you to see, but that will be for another day. Right now, I need to get back to work!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Doggone Unbelievable

Boy13 was invited to the White Sox/Angels game today in Chicago and had seats with his buddy directly behind the catcher (reportedly). He's actually a Cubs fan, but he's not going to turn down any MLB game, especially one where Thome has a chance to hit his 500th Homer.

Well, Pat set the DVR and went off to play golf. I watched periodically, not particularly interested in the White Sox either. The boy would call on a cell and ask if we could see him, in his bright yellow LSU shirt, and he was just visible in the upper right hand corner, holding a HI MOM sign and one for THOME. Anyways, I 'm going about my deviled egg business and he calls, "Did you see it? Did you? Thome hit a walk off, his 500th and I was all over TV with my sign!!" I asked when did the game end? 20 minutes ago. Okay, I review the entire 3 hour DVR footage. You'd think 3 hours would be enough for a game, right? No, the Angels are batting in the top of the ninth when the screen silently fades and up comes the message:

Delete recording
Don't delete recording

We missed it, Pat did not set the DVR for long enough. Boy13 is gonna cry (figuratively) next time he calls on the four hour drive home and I tell him we didn't get it. Grrr.

Poetry by Betsy 1978

Our mothers tell us to do this and that,
Their forever telling us to wear a hat.
They worry, they scurry, they yell and scream
But later on they'll be peaches and cream.
They help us through times of trouble and need,
When we do something wrong, they make us heed.
And yet in my mind and in my heart,
I'll love her forever like I loved her from the start.

A little trip down memory lane. Another Mother's Day Card from Chris was store bought and contained all the current soap operas in the message. He thought that was clever because my mom watches so many soap operas. At the end it said "Love, All Your Children." He signed it with the CBS logo and put Chris, Betsy, Susan beneath it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday's Summary

I need to get something up here for Betsy (and anyone else who cares) who is working again on Sunday. I had planned to spend tomorrow preparing for my first paper which is due Oct. 1. The topic is a critical analysis of a film or book with emphasis on the developmental issues facing the individual or family in relation to the societal context as well as personal reaction and emotional response, new awareness, as well as the film's relationship to social work values, mission and ethics. That's part of the assignment anyway. 10 pages or less.

I stopped by our one video store in town to pick up Boys Don't Cry starring Hillary Swank. I really had my heart set on that film since I've wanted to see it for a long time and I think it would fit perfectly into the theme of the paper. I'm also interested in further researching transgender issues and learning more about that. I did very well in film classes my first time through college, so I'm eager to get going on this project. Can you believe they didn't have it? I called the grocery store that has a limited supply of movies and the 16 year old that answered the phone didn't even really check before telling me they didn't have it either. That leaves the small town 20 miles away that has a video store, wait, this town doesn't even allow African Americans to live there, unlikely they will have this film.

So I resorted to ordering it off I love that website. Have gotten several textbooks there cheap. I just wish I had it tomorrow...
Oh good, I didn't throw away that folder of transgender resources my friend gave me when I was writing a paper last summer.

I guess I will instead get out the big box of Stampin' Up crap I brought home from my mother's house today and make some cards.

Last summer, that sounds weird. I have to admit it is fall. Tonight I sat through a college football game where our Division 1 AA (something like that) team blanked a Divsion 3 school 69-0. That was friend Angie invited me as her husband is a graduate assistant/coach and she gets four free tickets per game. Pat went and left after one quarter. I thought the band was really good.

I helped the cleaning lady clean my house today. That's the problem if they come on a weekend. You have to pitch in. We actually got a lot done that way. I did anyway. She was a little more thorough than I.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We are having classic fall weather. In the morning, you put on a sweater and are still freezing, blast the heat in your car, but when you get back in for lunch it's hot as a microwaved potato. In the evening, you are again scrounging for your jacket and resisting the temptation to turn the heat on. I have noticed more spiders, one scampered down my leg the other day, another was clinging to the sideview mirror for dear life this morning. Several people are having fits with the fleas this year. I have ankle bites from I'm not sure what.

Speaking of heat. The gas and electric company in Illinois was pressured to provide rate relief and rebates to us lowly customers after a five year rate freeze expired in January and electricity costs skyrocketed. I have gas heat; for once I was thankful. But they say everyone will at least get a $100 check in the mail very soon. I saw a 7 pixel digital camera with 3x zoom at Aldi's for $99.99. Don't know the brand, probably generic. I'm thinking of using my rebate for that. Even if the other digital is found, it wouldn't be bad to have a back up. Pat encouraged me, saying I need this for my hobby, just like he needs new golf clubs for his hobby.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am a little concerned that computers are taking over way too much of my life. This morning when I got to work, our computers were down. You wouldn't think this would be a big component of social work. But, this completely threw me off, as I had a progress note to write from yesterday, and god forbid I do any work late. Next problem was, I had no schedule to look at, no email, no internet access. The schedule wouldn't be such a problem if I sat in the office all day waiting for clients to show up, but I could be expected at a home visit or an appointment in the community and not know it. I vaguely remembered some of my schedule, but felt totally insecure to not see it in front of me. I knew there were issues that happened yesterday after I left work that were answered in emails I couldn't see, and I had emails to write just to function. I had to actually pick up the phone! How last century ago. I couldn't schedule people for future appointments, look up their phone numbers from my desk, oh, I was just a mess. By 1:00 we were back in business and I was able to complete all my notes, print tomorrow's schedule in case the damn thing is broke again, and generally feel somewhat back in control.

Yesterday, when I got home from work my internet connection wasn't working on either the laptop or desktop which necessitated a call to the provider since I couldn't access my on-line class, update my blog, check on my friend's baby in the intensive care nursery or see what my family was up to. It seems I can't go one day without the computer.

All of this time and energy invested in technology has made me appreciate the low tech aspects of graduate school, like books made out of paper and cardboard, in person class discussion, seeing the faces and hearing the voices of my classmates and teachers (even the most annoying ones), writing a rough draft the old fashioned way with a pencil scraping across lined paper. I could never earn a degree completely on-line. A class here and there allows me to spend more time at home, but adds immeasurably to my stress level when things don't go right.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Personality Cluster

I am:
Multilayered and complex
Inspired and driven to achieve my goals
A visionary with a complete life plan
Intuitive enough to understand difficult problems, ideas, and people.

Apparently, I am also a guy. I liked the description but the picture has to go. You can find your personality cluster at the link below. I found this quiz on Poppy Field's blog.

Here it is

This was what I was going to blog about. Now that I can't sleep I figured out (God's grace) how to change the format of this picture so blogger would upload it. Aha.
We *as in my family* are going to participate in a Danish exchange in about two weeks. The kids pictured above are from a small private school in Niva, outside Copenhagen. They are going to visit for two weeks, followed by our kids having the opportunity to go there for two weeks in March. I may even chaperone if all the stars align properly. My passport badly needs a workout. I have only been traveling vicariously through blogger Ginnie and it's made me hungry.
So, we had an email from our kid, Toke. First off, the name conjures up certain images (my children are thankfully unfamiliar). Is Denmark anything like the Netherlands?? He's 14, turning 15 before arriving. He's heavily into skateboarding- we used to have a couple of skateboards and we live a block from the local skateboard park. Too bad it's completely lame. Then he mentions he plays drums, guitar and music is a huge part of his life. Bam, that's Boy14. We are very excited. We have a drum set, bass and I'm sure we can borrow a guitar. I hear jam session. Two neighbors within a block are having two other boys so if they get bored or homesick, they can get together.
Reportedly, they aren't interested in visiting a big city, like say New York. They've seen big cities. They want to visit Macomb, Illinois!! I'm not sure who brainwashed them on that one. Actually, this exchange has occurred with this school the past three years, so perhaps they really have heard good things about small town American life.
The cool thing to me is my paternal grandfather's heritage is Danish, so maybe we will learn something about our cultural roots. We can always hope anyway.
Now your turn to guess which one is Toke. It's a bit hard to tell the girls from the boys, but I'll give you one clue: it's not the one who looks like Pippen in the front row.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pretty Good Day

First off, for all those so concerned, no sign of raccoon, rabid or otherwise, in the house. Yea. However, I think the big guy came back last night, as the screen was pushed in differently than than the night before. I spent a near sleepless night tossing and turning with thoughts of the plodding animal approaching and climbing into my bed.

I thought earlier today I had something meaningful to say, but it has escaped me. I took mindless breaks today from reading textbooks boring as Al Gore on sedatives to watch DVR'd episodes from Chelsea Lately on E! My brain is just about fried. I just erased a whole paragraph I typed in of one her raunchy, politically incorrect segments that is sure to offend at least one person. Is there one person reading this??

Friday, September 07, 2007

Freaky Friday

Finally, something to write about!

I woke to find the following note on the table this morning from Boy19:A Raccoon broke into the house last night. It tore through the screen in the kitchen. So I closed the window. It tore into the new loaf of bread and buns. I don't know what else it contaminated. I had to scare it out. Really, I don't know if it left. Ask Pearl.

Okay, that shook me up a bit. I cautiously entered the kitchen and witnessed the crumbs and food pieces on the counter, raisins spilled across the floor, the window closed but a torn screen indeed. I peered around all the corners and crannies looking for it to be hiding out. I examined the back hallway part way before going to wake up Pat and read him the letter.

Then I woke up Boy19 and asked how big it was? He said, "Huge." Oh great. Threw out all the food in the vicinity and was about to start sanitizing the cupboards where he thought it might have touched, before Pat said, "Don't get crazy, now."

Luckily, I had a real busy day at work, to keep my mind off the critter, actually worked my ass off moving furniture and helping clean an apartment. No one has checked the back room for the raccoon, but Boy19 and Pat both are reasonably confident it went back out the window. I guess I will have to be satisfied with that.

Apparently, our disobedient cat, Junior, followed the coon out the window because he was at the back door this morning, whining to get in (no signs of a coon fight).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

New Month, Labor Weekend

I haven't really felt like blogging. Too busy living life. Working on my book (haha), working on my studies, working on my work, working on cleaning my house which badly needs it, working on finding a cleaning lady and a drapery maker who charges less than $1300 for curtains in one room! Now, the room has four large windows, but get real.

I was going to get melancholy about Boy14 being half man, half boy and Boy13 getting hormonally irritable, but they are too precious right now to do that. The former is dinking around with his friends in the living room on the bass and piano. Boy13 just returned from an afternoon of swimming at a friend's house, and I am sending him off with his friend for 24 hours to his soccer tournament so Pat and I can indulge in golf and scrapbooking, respectively, all day tomorrow. We were doing our homework together and it is so pleasant to have two boys who are so conscientious about their homework.

Next, I was going to talk about how I was depressed for no reason at all on Sunday and Monday, when I realized it was just before the full moon, thank you, Ginnie for enlightening me on that. Sure enough I woke up Tuesday, just totally back to normal. This is about the third time I have noticed the connection. Madz has some wonderful photographs of the lunar eclipse which I heard happened Tuesday night/Wednesday morning also. I think it was at 4 a.m. around here, and there is no way I would've gotten up for that.

I have misplaced my digital camera, so I'm going to look at the most recent pictures to see where it might have been left. I also realized I misplaced my Ipod, and when I finally sat down to retrace my steps, I realized I had left it in my shorts pocket and at this point it was happily bouncing around in the dryer.

Looking at the picture didn't help at all, but that is Boy13 doing his famous homework, but not looking too cheerful about it.