Monday, December 29, 2008

The Kids are Leaving Two by Two

Hurrah, hurrah?  No, Boo!  Boo!

Alfred and Nathy-Boo left today.  Now who will Munchkinhead and I play games with?  We were very sad when they left.  At first.  Then Alfred started talking and rambling on like she does and we couldn't follow anymore so we let go of her and just said goodbye.  They made it safely to Iowa City today and will continue on to Weeping Water soon.

Friday, it's mine and Munchkinhead's turn to head out.  We still have time for plenty of fun.  And we'll be back here with Alfred in about two weeks for the Metallica concert.  Yay!

In the meantime, we miss you Alfred and Nathy-Boo.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Very Wisconsin Weekend

What a great weekend!  I love being home.  record player croppedLast night, after going out for dinner (I had two glasses of milk), we all sat down at the kitchen table to play games.  With Mommy and Daddy's new record player playing in the background, Mommy, Daddy, Alfred, Nathy-Boo and I sat down to five handed Sheepshead while Munchkinhead played Backgammon with herself. 

First we were playing four handed.  Mommy really doesn't like playing Sheepshead with Daddy because he remembers every card played and days later will complain about how you should have let trump instead of hearts on the third hand or something.   But Daddy promised to be nice because we were teaching Nathy-Boo how to play.  (He's not from Wisconsin.)  Besides, Alfred made enough stupid plays to distract Daddy from getting mad at Mommy.

sheepshead You can see Mommy's concern at Daddy's kibitzing in this picture.  She has the go-first-chapstick and is trying to decide what to lead.  We kept forgetting who was supposed to lead, so we used the chapstick to mark the leader.  (And by "we" I mean I kept trying to lead when it wasn't my turn.)

If you're interested in learning Sheepshead, this is a great book.  My favorite part is the chapter that actually starts, "Did you move away from Wisconsin and now you can't find anybody to play with?"  Nathan's holding the book in the picture.

Today, Munchkinhead, Nathy-Boo and I played board games while the rest of the clan watched the Packer game.  (Yesterday it was us and Mommy while Daddy and Alfred watched football.)  Alfred thinks a Packer game is a good reason to wear pajamas to church!  I think her lack of decorum may be even more infuriating than her lack of fashion sense.  At least the Packers won!
After dinner (homemade pea soup, yummy), the kiddies borrowed Daddy's grandpa car and headed for the epitome of Milwaukee, Leon's. :)

Leon's is an old-fashioned drive-in frozen custard stand.  No indoor seating, just a building with a parking lot.  You drive in, park, walk up to the line, wait for your turn at the window, place your order, plunk down your spare change (Munchkinhead and I each got a 2 scoop cone for a total of $3) and then walk off with the most delicious treat. 

My sorority sisters and I used to drive in from Waukesha (about half an hour) for Leon's, even though we had 3 other custard places out by school.  It is the best frozen custard ever.  You've had Culver's or something and think you've had frozen custard?  Wrong.  You haven't had custard 'til you've had Leon's.  And please, don't call it ice cream.  Leon's is so good that there is always a line, even at 10 pm on a freezing cold night in the middle of December.  (Trust me, I've been in it.)  Or, as you can see below, at 6 pm on a freezing cold night at the end of December.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rainy Day in Milwaukee

It's raining here.  It's also 50.  So warm that I took these pictures outside with out a jacket on and with my sweater sleeves pushed up!  It's the kind of weather that, were it sunny instead of raining, we would be out playing frisbee in shorts in the snow.

I don't mind the warm-up, I guess.  I got my snow.  Snow-trizzle, however, has a very different sentiment.

what's left of snow trizzle 3 days later

Friday, December 26, 2008

Coveted Present of the Year

There's always that one Christmas present that someone gets that everyone else wants.  This year that present was the t-shirt Alfred received from Mommy and Daddy.

front of bubbler shirt

back of bubbler shirt


Munchkinhead and I also got cute t-shirts; ours are about cheese.  (It's the second year in a row I've gotten a t-shirt with cheese on it for Christmas.)  We like our shirts, but we're still a tad bit jealous of Alfred's bubbler shirt.   I suspect Mary Ruth is right there with me and Munchkinhead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus

merry christmas



Photo credits:

Cybil Shepherd: Peter Novak, Wikepedia

Angel (David Boreanaz): RavenU

Joseph Stalin: public domain

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Andrei

Rodney King: New York Post

Don King: Vidiot

Madonna: Alan Light

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Snowman

What do you do when someone can't make it to Christmas Eve? Why, build them out of snow, of course!

Mommys 3 girlsLast year, it was Wendy.

This year, a good friend of mine wanted to come, but he had to work. (He also has like 8 families in Cali that he has to divide the holidays with, but I'll blame it on work and pretend he would be here if it weren't for that, because then I feel more special.)

Here I am, making the base. It took two of us to role it into place by the end.

rolling the base

Alfred, Munchkinhead and Nathy-Boo starting to sculpt. It took all four of us to get the middle up there and the two tallest of us to put the head on.

starting to sculpt

Alfred working on the laptop bag.

making the laptop bag

Munchkinhead sculpting the arm.

scultping an arm

TaDa! Nathy-Boo and the finished Snow-Trizzle.

nathan and dorian

Looking up at hand and bling. :)

hand and bling

The sculptors and our creation.

katrina nathan dorian me and wendy

The original Mr. Trizzle. dorian cropped

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Milwaukee Favorite

Yesterday, I went with Munchkinhead, Alfred and Nathy-Boo to the Milwaukee Public Museum.  We love the museum and have been going regularly since we were little.  Well, not Nathy-Boo, he's from Nebraska, not Milwaukee.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

We saw the traveling Titanic exhibit with real artifacts from the Titanic.  It was kinda freaky in some places, especially where it made it seem like we were under water.  When we entered the exhibit, we each got a card with a real passenger on it and at the end got to see if we survived or not.  I didn't; Nathy-Boo didn't; but Alfred and Munchkinhead did.

three girls at the planitarium We also went to a planetarium show about the Christmas Star.  It was really interesting.  Before the movie, a guy comes out and does a planetarium show with stars on the IMAX dome.  I was super excited because Orion is currently visible late at night.  That's my favorite constellation and he isn't always visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

katrina looking at the Doctor's office in the SoOM We all have our favorite parts of the museum.  I love the Streets of Old Milwaukee, though we got there 15 minutes after the little candy shop closed.  (That's ok though because St. Nick brought us Violets, Necco Waffers katrina through one of the european houses in the villageand popcorn balls!  And Mommy has clove and cinnamon ribbon candy already.)  Wendy loves the European Village,  which is currently decorated for the holidays, including the spinning Polish katrina and howler monkeyChristmas tree hanging high up in the town square.  (It's upside-down.)  Katrina loves seeing the monkeys, sloths and bats in the Rainforest.  Sadly, the Howler Monkey wasn't working. :(   (Those pics are from last year's visit.)

Other favorites include the T-Rex eating the Triceratops, the walk-in igloo and of course the movies: How to Dig a Hole To the Other Side of the World and the Dinosaurs movie. 

Another, recently fun addition to the museum is listening to Alfred tell us what's wrong with exhibits.  She is, as she put it when saying perhaps we shouldn't put our glasses on those skulls, an emerging museum professional.  She'll graduate in May with a masters in Museum-something-or-other.  I know she hates the errors in the 28 year old claymation dinosaur video, but what really irks her is the prehistoric mammal collection.  Apparently,  there isn't much right in that exhibit and it needs to be updated based on some "new" discoveries that were made in 1992.  She gets especially annoyed when they mess up things on the prehistoric rhinos and other creatures she knows a lot about.  Oh well, I still like the museum.  (Although, I'd like it better if the gift store still sold Astronaut ice cream!)

So what do you do at a museum you've gone to so often you notice when something's been moved?  Well, besides visiting all your favorite places, looking for what's changed, and, if your Wendy, pointing out what's wrong, you act out the exhibits!

totem poles

Totem pole at the top of the now down (once up) escalator to the second floor.


nathan and skulls with glasses

Skulls at the entrance to Latin America.


bird and beaver

Big bird catching a beaver in North America.


wendy being the curator

1950s Museum curator.


nathan the mask

Mask, I think in Latin America exhibit.


me as cactus



katrina being baby bear

Poor baby bear is being attacked by bees!

Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Tell if You Live in Wisconsin

Step 1: Look outside.

daddy and marv snowblowing

Step 2: Look in fridge.


dairy fridge  six gallons of milkcheese drawer

Step 3: Check for smiles.

katrina smiling

I Love Wisconsin!

Ok, ok, I've been home nearly a week and I haven't updated.  I've been getting complaints.  I've been busy!  Wisconsin is so wonderful, and my whole family's home :D

Here's a little glimpse at some of the wonderfulness that is home:

Friday we had a BIG snowstorm.  Isn't it beautiful?snow covered street

daddy clearing the driveway

The drifts were really high in some places.  (I'm standing and not bending my knees.)me standing by snow drift

Katrina and I got to play in the snow and help Daddy shovel.katrina lying in the snow 

  helping daddy shovel There's supposed to be another storm tomorrow and on Wednesday and on Friday and on Saturday.  Yay!  I hope we finally get packing snow; Katrina and I want to build a snowman.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thank You

Well, right now I should be somewhere over the Atlantic.  I want to give a special thank you shout out to everyone that made me feel at home and made my stay in Nigeria very memorable.

Thank you to the Apampas, Dr. Y, Mr. Embassy-Man, Kyura, Ashley, Prof. Asein and everyone else at work, and to all the wonderful people on both sides of the ocean who kept me motivated and excited about being in Nigeria.  Also, thank you to Kunle, Professors Helfer, Newton and Hetcher, and the wonderful people in the clinic office who helped me get here.  And to Dr. Ojo in SF, who made sure I had a place to stay and someone to meet me when I arrived.

Monday, December 15, 2008

And I'm Out...

Things I'll Miss

  1. The weather!
  2. Being in Africa
  3. The many friends I have made here, especially Kyura and Mr. Embassy-Man
  4. Being able to (but not having to) walk anywhere I need to go
  5. Not buying gas
  6. No bills
  7. Yam on Sundays
  8. Getting my hair braided for super cheap
  9. The time zone difference that made it so my friends back home were always awake when I wanted to talk to them (they were sleeping when I was at work)
  10. Being able to hang the laundry outside
  11. Plantain chips and drinkable yogurt
  12. Random chickens on the side of the road
  13. Mr. Trizzle being nice because he's forgotten how annoying I am when I'm actually around ;)
  14. Work, most of it, at least sometimes
  15. Being able to be there for my friends when they need to talk in the middle of the night (cuz it's my day time!)
  16. The 9-4, doesn't matter if you're late, workday (even though I was usually there around 8 and stayed 'til nearly 5; it was nice to know I didn't have to be there)
  17. Kim the tailor and his amazing work
  18. Yummy ice cream that comes in a plastic bag and tastes like cake batter
  19. Palm trees
  20. Never having to wear or carry a jacket
  21. The smell of fresh flowers along the roadside and the gentle scent of burnt grass in the air
  22. Moin moin, Milo, roasted maize on the roadside, purple Ibo fruits, and other foods I can't get at home

Things I Won't Miss

  1. Random people I don't know coming up to me and telling me they want to be my friend or that they love me
  2. The tribalism
  3. The driving
  4. The bathrooms at work
  5. The constant condescension
  6. Only having one pair of shoes and enough outfits to get through one week
  7. Power surges and outages (that destroy my computer)
  8. Having to haggle or bargain before buying anything or going anywhere
  9. Having walls and gates and guards around every building
  10. Having to buy an expensive and only so-so meal in order to get an internet connection good enough to download a pdf file
  11. Smashing cockroaches at work and shaking off ants at home
  12. Those creepy lizards that seem to be everywhere
  13. The hypocrisy
  14. Unfitted sheets
  15. Having to iron everything
  16. Having to count in hundreds and thousands
  17. West-African men
  18. Watching people eat goo with their hands
  19. Having a maid (I like her, as a person; I just don't like having a maid as a concept)
  20. Being called "whitey" or "white" as if that's my name
  21. People hissing like snakes

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Move

We spent most of Saturday packing up the house, washing and ironing curtains, and maneuvering around stacks of boxes.  The movers left around 4, while Auntie was out.  She was not pleased when she returned home and found they had left without finishing.  Then the guys removing the air conditioners asked for some money or something.  Auntie, who always sounds like she's yelling whenever she talks, and Dr. Y, who has a short fuse, gave the air conditioning guys a piece of their mind.

I packed up most of my room, tried to help keep the girls out of the movers way and helped the maid iron the curtains.  Luckily, the door to the study (where the wireless router is kept) is blocked by a big pile of boxes.  That gives me a chance to schedule-post some pictures of our move!

air conditioners outside

outdoor parts of air conditioners gathered together


back porch

the back porch


front hall front hall

ironing curtains Maid ironing curtains

girl's bedroom  

the girl's bedroom


kitchen half packed 1



living room packed 2

living room


pantry pantry

sitting room

upstairs sitting room



study (see the internet in the upper right-hand corner?)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Jolly

I saw my first Christmas lights of the season this past week at work.  There are several banks located inside the Federal Secretariat, and one of them had hung garland and lights outside its door and window.  It nearly made me cry.  It really is Christmas time!  Another bank had put a Christmas tree in front of its door, complete with ornaments and lights.  It was very pretty.

I really do love Christmas time, even though Christmas is only my fifth favorite holiday.  There are so many Christmas things to do at home that I can hardly wait to get there.  I have to attempt to hide the sandwich cookies that Mommy better make, so that no one else can eat them.  I said attempt, because it will not work.  Mommy will catch me and make me put them back.  But, I have to try, all the same.

Katrina and I are already conspiring about where to hide the plastic Abominable Snowman, and Wendy's already trying to guess where it'll be so she can get it and put it back where it belongs.  (Where does it belong?)

The plastic canvas snowman and snowlady have to take the plastic canvas choo choo from their plastic canvas gingerbread house to the stable to see baby Jesus.

A few various Santa Clauses, elves, and little musicians need to form a train behind the three wise-men, on their way to visit baby Jesus.

We have to turn on all of Mommy's sound and motion activated fiber optic toys, dancing reindeer and singing what-nots at the same time and then wait for Daddy to enter the room.

I'll hang my pretty silver ballerina ornament on the tree by a blue light.  (Or move it, if Mommy already has the tree decorated before I get home.)

Katrina and I must whine about how the Christmas tree is fake and it's no fun that the tree doesn't rain.  Hopefully Mommy will have that Christmas-tree scented room spray again, so it'll at least smell like Christmas.

Wendy, Katrina and Nathan and I have to build a snowman, if there's snow.  It won't have to look like Wendy this year, because she'll be home!  We also need to go to the Museum and see the Streets of Old Milwaukee and the European Village all decorated for Christmas.  I love the upside-down Christmas tree in the Polish house!

I have to drink off-white egg nog and eat red cake.  And make my Christmas dress!  (Unless I decide to wear my new natives; they're green.)

We have to spend the whole day, every day, listening to wonderful Christmas music!  "And a beer... in a tree."  Mommy has to watch White Christmas with us.

Daddy Bunny will help me open my presents on Christmas morning.

But most important of all, we get to spend time together, the whole family.  The big, big group on Christmas Eve, and the little group on Christmas Day (and the surrounding weekends).  I love Christmas; I love spending time with my family.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's a Miracle, I Can See!

My screen worked all day Friday.  Wow!  I was so excited, I immediately started working on a post for my ip blog - finally, the ability to do research!

I had configured my computer fairly well for working without a screen.  I got so used to it, I forgot I could actually see.  Several times I would think to myself, "Oh, I need to find..., but it'll be difficult because I can't see.  Oh, wait, it's in the bathroom, or it's in my suitcase, not on my computer; I'll be able to see it."  Oops.

Friday was also my last day of work.  Hooray!  All done with my internship.  All done with my paper.  And NO finals.  Yippie skippy dum dippy doo!  Can you tell I'm excited?

Auntie says we're moving Sunday morning.  I'll believe it when we're there.  That's how I handle things in Africa.  Once we move, well, once the internet's packed, I don't know when I'll have internet access again.  This is just a heads up to everyone in case I disappear from the blogosphere for a week. ;)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Every Time a Bell Rings, One of My Shoes Gets Its Wings

Well, it finally happened; my favorite pair of walking shoes broke-broke.  (More than just the insole coming off.)broken walking shoe

I noticed it just before leaving for work Tuesday, but wore them anyway.  I didn't really have any other options, and they still stayed on, just had two little straps flapping in the breeze.  I took cabs to and from work, instead of walking.

I managed to fix them that night.  This shoe repair adventure went much better than my last attempt at playing cobbler in Africa.  This time, the only stitches went in the shoe, not in me.  And, the shoe's fixed.  Not the greatest job, but I did what I could with a regular little (and cheap) sewing kit.  It should hold at least 'til I get back.

Whew! Disaster avoided.  I don't think I could spend two weeks in flat shoes!

the pair of shoes The pair of them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Attempting Blind Post

Blind Post Attempt

Well, this time I am typing without looking.  I came from h - lost my place, starting thought over

I came home from work today and the computer was gone.  Notgone really, packed.  And tomorrow is my last day at work.  So, soon I will have no monitor whatsoever.  At least it will only be for about a week.

I managed to turn on the windows reader, now Stephen Hawkings reads everything to me and recites letters as I hit them.  But I type faster than he talks.  It will read entire Adobe Acrobat documents to me, but not what someone sends me in an aim window.  Oh well, I'll take what I can get.  Here's go nothing....

One Pill

mefloquine bottle cropped and edited One pill left in my Mefloquine bottle.  You know what that means?  It means I need to refill my prescription as soon as I get home.  I have to take the pills for four more weeks after I get back.  Want to make sure all those lil' evil parasites in my blood stream die before they get me!  They can't take me out before I get back to school; I'm took excited about next semester's classes!

One pill in the bottle also means I'll be home soon.  Less than two weeks!  (More excitement, more exclamation points!)  I'm ready for snow and cheese and - Mommy, did St. Nick bring popcorn balls?  I really want a popcorn ball - and all the milk I can drink!

One pill - anticipation...

You thought I was going to say "makes you larger" didn't you?  But I'm not Daddy, and this is not the breakfast table.  Daddy, when I get home, when we're all home, will you sing the family theme song for us? Pretty please, with sugar on top, and a cherry?