Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Slides

Today was the first day back at work in a meetings-in-the-office-all-day sort of way.  I was sort of dreading it, but am also sort of tired of the endless travel and unstructuredness of the days, and was maybe out of sorts at first.  It ended up being a lovely, easy day, and I was reminded that I very often like my work, and how lucky that makes me.

And I was also struck with some premature nostalgia for the summer, which is almost already all gone:


Universal Studios
Waiting in line for the Despicable Me ride

With Fuffikins

In Sweden
The Bob Marley Room, Delft

The Netherlands
Big tooth lost, on a paddle boat in the middle of Redfish Lake.

The Sawtooths

Payette Lake

Ponderosa Pines, Magic

Tomorrow, I'm off to Logan Canyon for a writing spurt with the Hive.  Last trip for a while; I'm so grateful for everything that made these trips possible this summer, and am also so grateful that soon it will be time to be home, and to give myself over to the rhythms of fall and family as we return to school and routine.

Monday, July 22, 2013

More Signs

This is an actual, serious sign.  But I'm posting it, because by the time you figured out what the hell it means, the giant flood that is going to engulf all of the Netherlands, including you and your family, would have already swallowed you up.
Dogs say different things in different languages, but I'm pretty sure this is the universal dog-word for, "Yay!  I'm pooping on your lawn!"

Because fashion is an adventure sport.

Three Great Things

Jetlag kicked my ASS in the Netherlands (I barely felt it on the trip to Sweden) so the whole trip seems something like a dream.  But I remember taking these three pictures and thinking, these might be the very best things about living in Northern Europe (aside from the subsidized health care and education, and all that):

1.  The Town Square.  There are these areas where the buildings form a square, and in the middle of the square are giant, old-growth trees, and hundreds of tables and chairs with massive umbrellas and heat lamps.  All day long, people gather and congregate and have coffee, or a snack, or a beer or wine if it's the afternoon.  There are places for children to play and people chatter and relax and seem to enjoy life.  I don't think there's anything quite like it in the U.S., and it gives one a sense of community and the social that is totally pleasing.

And yes, I know I'm not noticing anything new here, flaneur, flaneuse, blah blah blah.  But it's still striking after living in isolating American suburbia the past six years.

2.  Bikes!  Everyone, and I mean everyone, rides bikes.  When I was a foreign exchange student in France twenty years ago (!) everyone could tell I was American because of how I dressed, even before I opened my mouth and they heard my accent.  Now, everyone can tell I'm American because I'm walking.  Sure, there are cars here, and some pedestrians, but mostly people are on bikes.  In heels.  In skirts.  As old ladies and men.  As toddlers (they have little scooters).  Dragging grocery carts behind them.  On crappy-shit bikes (most are).  On bikes with kiddy trailers.  With friends balanced on the steering wheel or the back wheel.  No matter how you cut it:  Two wheels are the thing.

I like this a lot.  I think there is a tyranny of the fancy bike in Colorado.  If you're not wearing spandex and a race jersey and on a $5000 bike, you look like a deranged bumpkin.  I much prefer the attitude in Northern Europe, which is that bikes are cheap, easy, and fun to use, and you don't need any special equipment to ride them.  They just get you from A to B, keep you healthy, and make sense.

It also helps that the entire culture is built around accommodating bikes.  There are massive bike parking lots at most public locations, and people rarely lock them.  Because most bikes are crappy, and everyone has one, so why steal one?

3.  Coffee.  The coffee is rich and thick and you stop every two hours to have one, and it's always served with a little shortbread cookie, which totally satisfies the urge for something sweet.


A Bedtime Story

Once, there was this gal, and she had to go to Europe for a week for work.  Back at home, this gal was married with two kids and two dogs, and had a nice house with a dog door in it.  It was a very nice family, and a pretty nice house.

The dogs were cute.

But a little dumb.

About ten feet from the dog door was a compost pile.  This gal liked to try things like composting, because she suffers from eco-guilt regarding everything she and her family consumes and throws away, being modern Americans and all.

Anyway, one night in Europe, this gal gets up early in the morning to find a text from her husband, saying that he is freaking out because he went downstairs in the middle of the night to let the dogs outside, and he found this:

See, the raccoon had come in through the dog door, because it likes eating out of the gal's compost pile, and because it had been raining real hard, and the dog door promised warmth and perhaps more food.  While the gal's husband and dogs were sleeping, the raccoon had come in the house, climbed up the blinds, and was now perched on top of the window, with one of its incredibly creepy little fingers attempting to get the vent open, so that it could live in the gal's vent system and ruin her drywall with its babies, urine, and feces.

Also, the gal needs to dust the top of the lamp.

That is nose drool on the ceiling.

The funny thing is, the dogs didn't wake up because there was a raccoon in their house.  Nope.  They just happened to need to pee.  So the gal's husband got up in the middle of the night to let them out, in the pitch dark, and just happened to hear something panting above him in the dark of the night.  He fumbled with the lamp, the one hanging right by our friend the raccoon, and when he finally got it on, he found our friend.

He almost pooped his pants.  That is a direct quote.

Here is the seemingly rabid, drooling raccoon.  Which is the size of a toddler.

The gal's husband finally shooed the raccoon out of the gal's house, and now the gal and her family make sure to lock the dog door every night.  The gal's husband had a hard time sleeping that night, for sure, and the gal threw up in her mouth a few times, all the way over in Europe, at the thought of this giant raccoon in her house, thousands of miles away.

The end.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Addie Selfies: A Series

Cuteness fix

In case you're feeling low:

Peanut's noggin.  This little guy pretty much gives me permission to laze around in bed every morning because he physically. can't. make. himself. get. up.

Or you could watch these guys,

who went to their first concert at Red Rocks, to see Old Crow Medicine Show and the Avett Brothers (which, my God, who gets to have that be there first concert, these lucky girls?).

You might also ask yourself when is the last time you danced like that.

Strange European Signs

So...pretty much nobody wants to eat a funky burger.  Am I right?  Then again, maybe if it's a pure funky burger, like in a George Clinton sort of way, it might be okay.  But make sure you order it with some picklezzzz!
This is some sort of networking organization for bodybuilding communist apple-pickers.  Or for naked people whose ideas are so good they are on fire.   I'm not sure.
It's in English, but I still need a translation  It's a sign in the restroom at a bar.  Is Crystal Clear encouraging you to do a self-breast exam?  And maybe to make an appointment for a colonoscopy?  Or is it saying, hey, you're drunk from drinking too much Crystal Clear!  Make sure your boobies and your booty are covered up after you pee, because you are a woman in control!  Or is it saying, Crystal Clear only has one calorie, which will keep your boobies and booty small and in control?  Also, why is there an exclamation point after Booby Check but not Booty Check?  Is the Booby Check more exciting?

I bet you are asking yourself right now who would leave for a week-long trip to Europe and forget to pack ANY underwear.



See, here's what happened:

I thought I had my back issues all straightened out, but maybe they're not, because a day or two after I wrote that last post they came RAGING back, especially right around the time E punctured his thumb with a drill bit the morning of 4th of July while drilling the the very last piece of decking on the bottom deck.  And then we spent some hours in the ER and his nail is going to fall off and he probably won't be able to do dishes for a year.  I'm already a little resentful.

I should have a picture of that, but I don't.  I mean, a picture of the punctured thumb.  It was gross.  But also a picture of the deck.  It's beautiful.

E. is fine, by the way.  Pay attention to me.

Back to the back:  my back has really, really been hurting, like more than ever before, like starting in the lower back and going all the way up mid-back, and it's agony, and the morning I had to leave for the Netherlands, which I guess is yesterday morning, I was having some moments where I'd bend over and kind of get stuck there a little bit.  Not where you want to be right before you're leaving for a trip to Europe and having to carry your heavy backpack and suitcase all over the place and network with people and do an ethnography of scientists and engineers.

I had a whimpery wee crying jag on the plane and then knocked myself out with an Ambien for four hours and I feel a little bit better.  So I'll rest the back this week and we'll see what happens.

But my point is:  how can I be expected to remember to pack underwear when my back is hurting so much and I'm freaked out I'll get stuck in some Crouching Tiger posture in the middle of Amsterdam?

So that's how come I was running around a sweaty, humid mess in Delft on a Sunday afternoon five minutes before all the shops closed looking for underwear and my hair is dripping wet because I just got out of the shower and realized I don't have any underwear and have to ask the totally-put-together super-model who works the front desk where I can buy some cheap underwear in, like five minutes, or I'm going to miss the entire group leaving for dinner and I can't really tell them why they should wait around for me because then they'd all know I'm not wearing underwear.

That would be weird because:  It's all dudes.  And I work with them and/or am going to be their professor, and who wants to think about professors' underwear.  Plus, I'm married.  Duh.

The worst thing is it cost me 60 Euros to buy new underwear, and I'm still going to have to handwash some to make it through the week.  And I didn't have time to try on the bra but the woman in the store was appalled that I was buying it based on the tag and made me try it on over my shirt while the entire city strolled by the picture window.  It fit fine, by the way.  Over my shirt and other bra.

The indignities.

Moral of story:  Basically, I exist so that you can remember how great your life is.  You're welcome.