Yesterday, I was privileged to meet another online friend, the inimitable Tracey Marshall. She's a talented photographer, and an American expat living north of Gothenburg in Sweden. She and her boyfriend Tobey drove down to visit and brought the camera. Tracey is one of a handful of photographers that I admire greatly, one who also writes passionately and amusingly about her experiences adjusting to life in Sweden. In addition to her engaging online persona, in person she is friendly, talkative and charming. Tobey, while much more the reserved Swede, lived up to Tracey's description of him as "nice, funny and cute." :)
We sat on the deck in the sunshine for awhile after they arrived and chatted, and then we took a walk out to a crackling, cropped hayfield full of stiff-stalked straw remains which was dotted with infrequent, leaning hay-wheels and Tracey shot my kids.
First Karin, then Martin, then the both of them together. Tracey laughed at the way they posed for the camera, since it was pretty obvious they knew the drill. Tobey held the light reflector and Anders talked to him, while I tried and failed to restrain myself from shouting intermittent instructions to the children: "Stop making that goofy face! Smile! Karin, pull your hair out of your eyes!"
After we returned to the house, both Tobey and Tracey took a million-bazillion photos of the kids on the trampoline, because you can never have too many photos of kids jumping in the air, non? and Tracey took even more of them around the backyard. We had a lovely dinner and when they finally left, much later than they probably were planning, it was with promises for a return visit and a CD full of photos.
Release Form: Tracey, herewith I give you permission to do whatever you like with the beautiful photos you took, up to and including posting them on your website, printing them, selling them, framing them and hanging them in galleries worldwide. Except that one of me. And that other one of me. :P
The really weird part of the evening came later. At some point during dinner, I referred to Tracey's mouse stories, which she has posted a few of on her journal. Since they live in an old farmhouse, mice have been a problem, and despite being cat owners, their cat Ozzie apparently doesn't feel the need to bring his work home with him, as he doesn't bother about mice IN the house. Anyway, her anecdotes have been amusing and good reading, and Anders mentioned that he's aware we've had mice in the walls during the winter at one point or another as well, though we've never seen them.
Late in the evening, long after they had gone and the kids were in bed, I was working on the computer and Anders was stretched out on the couch
"WHAA...! Anders! Anders! ANDERS WAKE UP! There's a mouse in the house!" I yelled and leaped to my feet. Then I started laughing, because O! the irony! He zipped straight ahead and disappeared behind the children's art bench in the playroom. We flipped on the light and slowly moved the bench away from the wall and then the giant stuffed-animal-basket and there he was, a quick and quivering tiny form with a flash of jet-black eyes and a grey pelt. We dithered for a moment: What can we catch him with? How can we get him out?! when Zip! Away he went again, back the way he came. Past Karin's door, past the bathroom door, following the straight line of the wall, past the computer room door and under the fish tank. I didn't see him come out from under there, and Anders called for me to shut our bedroom door so he couldn't get lost in the house completely.
We were pretty sure he had come in through the overlapping screens across the dining room door which open to the deck and the cool, evening air. Anders shut the computer room door and we got down on hands and knees and looked under the fish tank stand, and the glass cabinet. No mouse. We crawled into the computer room and looked under everything and Anders poked around with a stick. No mouse. Same thing in our bedroom: still no mouse.
There not being much we could do, even though we were sure he was still inside, we returned to our interrupted activities, until about 30 minutes later, when suddenly there he was again, right by the door at my side! This time, after some eeking on my part and swearing on Anders', he was safely trapped with the handy-dandy fishnet and returned to the great outdoors.
Nice try, Tracey, but you can't fob off your mice on us so easily!
Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Keep Asking