Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Growing up in Michigan I would often spend my winters imagining myself in some far off land. As I grew older the imaginings became more sophisticated. I imagined myself in a Paris bistro, African safari even strolling along the great wall of China. However, when I was very little my world of imagination wasn't that grand and I got through winter imagining myself in as far off of a land as I could imagine: Alaska. I had seen a documentary about it on PBS. Growing up PBS was my window to what was "out there."
I know it seems a bit odd to imagine yourself in an even colder and harsher environment than you are already in. I did it because it made me feel tough. Rugged in fact. A real bad ass. There was a ditch at the end of our yard that would freeze and become my entery into my Alaskan Adventures. I would trudge through the snow and by the time I had gotten to that icy ditch I was in Alaska. I had places to explore. Animals to see. Dangers to survive. By the time I reached the end of my icy path I had survived a plane crash, fought of grizzlies, and now found myself desperately trying to find a civilization of some sort to let them know I was alive. The journey normally came to an abrupt end as the short winter sun settled in for the night and I was forced to make a B-Line for home, before any real dangers set in.
Although I eventually stopped pretending I was in Alaska every time I went out in the snow I still couldn't help but imagine myself moving to Alaska and proving that I could be a rugged as the best of them. So, here I am in Alaska. Homer, Alaska-a place that is considerably less rugged than the environment I grew up in in Northern Michigan. Between my wireless Internet, the little coffee shops, brewery, art galleries, winery, all-green library, meadery, Chinese buffet, respect for performing arts, bicycle shops, yarn store and a respected museum it can be difficult to remember that I'm in Alaska. It was very dark when I first arrived but there is more sun everyday and I never had a nicer day(weather wise) on my birthday than I did up here.
I sometimes need a reminder I'm in Alaska, the mountains are great at reminding me. Fisherman in a shabby saloon help, so do the eagles. However, the other day I needed and activity to remind me and to connect with something I often imagined myself doing on those wintry days of my childhood- snowshoe walking.
In town they will rent you snowshoes for free. I rented a pair for myself and the five year old I take care of(I only rented some for her because she was with me and assumed she was getting some too). I decided we should use them to go for a walk along the trail system around Homer. We were warned over and over again to be careful of moose- YES! Dangerous Moose! Look at me being rugged in Alaska- and to have fun.
We didn't seen any moose but we saw some Austrian Skiers-almost as dangerous. We may have been on a trail system and never very far from other people or our car, but I didn't know that. I thought we were no where near our car, until our walk back and I could see it was rarely out of view. Also, I was on the look out for moose-rugged.
While snowshoe walking with a five year old maybe not even make the rugged meter it made me feel like I was that kid again, only this time I actually was in Alaska.

Somethings that help remind me I'm in Alaska:

Something that made me forget surfers on my birthday-February 20th:

I sure know how to waste time

There are so many things I should be doing. Cleaning my cottage, working out, writing my grad school app. Instead I ahve spent a considerable amount of time really trying to memorize all the lyrics to a Dutch song Rosanne. This is why I need a roommate, I'm too weird on my own. I know I know... if you ahve lived with me you probably know I'm not normal either way. I gave that away pretty quick after moving into 318 when Tom caught me arguing with the TV commercials. They are just fool of crap someone needs to tell them off.
Well, if you can't think of an original way to waste time you can do what I did tonight and commit this song to memory:

Rosanne ik weet dat er heel veel mannen zijn
Elke keer weer een ander en mij doet 't pijn
Want jou liefde waarmee jij mij soms verblijdt
Wil ik liever liever liever liever voor altijd

Als ik dacht dat ik je had dan had jij je weer bedacht
Onvoorspelbaar en zo onverwacht
Ik keek maar toe hoe jij mij in verwarring bracht
Ik wil zekerheid dat ik bij jou ben vannacht

Oh oh oh

Rosanne ik weet dat er heel veel mannen zijn
Elke keer weer een ander en mij doet 't pijn
Want jou liefde waarmee jij mij soms verblijdt
Wil ik liever liever liever liever voor altijd

Jij kan je rust niet vinden jou geest is veel te vrij
Jij bent morgen weer anders dan vandaag
Jij wilt je nog niet binden maar dat hoeft ook niet van mij
Ik wil gewoon die zoen het is al dat ik vraag

Oh oh oh

Rosanne ik weet dat er heel veel mannen zijn
Elke keer weer een ander en mij doet 't pijn
Want jou liefde waarmee jij mij soms verblijdt
Wil ik liever liever liever liever voor altijd

Weet wel dat ik hier op je wachten zal
Tot je eindelijk je rust vindt bij mij

Oh oh oh

Rosanne ik weet dat er heel veel mannen zijn
Elke keer weer een ander en mij doet 't pijn
Want jou liefde waarmee jij mij soms verblijdt
Wil ik liever liever liever liever voor altijd

-After the song would end normally Toto's Rosanna would play.... I'm well on my way to ahving that memorized too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sweat Stain

This morning I gave a talk about Kyrgyzstan and Peace Corps and what not. I know, my use of the English language shows how I'm meant to speak in front of people. I didn't realize till half way through how bad I was sweating. My armpits were soaked but I didn't even notice those till later. I had a random sweat patch on my side. I'm always classy. I ended up giving the second half of my speech with my arm pinned next to my side to try and hide the huge sweat stain as best I could.
I always find giving little speeches or talks about yourself so revealing. I enjoyed that after the talk I was able to go to the library to get some reading done and be totally anonymous. However, my anonymity got blown. One of the ladies from my talk happened to be at the library with her grand daughters. She brought them over to meet me and started telling them all about how I had been in Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan and where that is. The girls asked me some questions, I answered, it was all very polite. Afterwards is when it got weird. There had been a real Alaskan type gentleman- long white hair, scraggly white beard, leathery face, big boots and standard issue flannel- sitting across from me for a few hours before this interaction. He hadn't taken any notice of me, because there was nothing to notice I was just some girl reading a book. After, however, I apparently became the most interesting thing in the place. He just stared at me. I made the obligatory stare back, the kind of stare where it says say something or stop looking at me. He did neither. I eventually just got so creeped out that I left. I normally don't let on lookers win the battle of the creepy stare, but I had a a book to finish and some anonymity to reclaim.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Learning Cockney

During my university years I spent a summer working in Uganda. Many of the people working there were British. Including my roommate Kelly. Kelly a lovely girl whom I love has one of the hardest accents for me to understand. She comes from a small village outside of Manchester. Another British Girl Laura would sympathize with my plight at trying to understand my roommate and than would try to teach me another strange British Accent: Cockney, which is chalk full of unusual phrases. There is this whole rhyming scheme which I have read a lot about in the 5 years since I was in Africa. I have used some of it correctly to the great shock of several Brits. Sometimes followed with a, "Are you taking the Piss?" Thankfully, Laura corrected me on that phrase early and made sure I knew that it is "Taking THE Piss" not "Taking A piss".
I was youtubing to see what cockney videos I could find and I found this one. I found it to be delightful. I hope you enjoy learning some Cockney...

And to think Brits think our accents make us sound stupid. At least I can say "THree" unlike David Beckham who says, "Free" as in "Yeah, we had Free goals last night."
"I drank Free cups of coffees this morning."
Oh, Cockney accents how you torment me!
"She has Free kids"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Trying to make Knitting and Leg Warmers cool again.

My old high school buddy Mandy recently said she wanted some knitted leg warmers with skull and cross bones on them. Well, here they are:

The Small Town Parade

Homer's Winter Carnival was this past weekend. Like any other small town the carnival was used as an excuse to have a parade. I have to admit I have a weakness for small town parades. I love that it is used predomiantly as free advertising for local businesses. I guess it isn't totally free, you have to include the cost of whatever candy was extremely discounted at the local grocery store. I would say judging by the candy thrown out this past weekend Dum-Dums and mints were on sale. Yep, mints-the kind you get at Piozza Hut after a meal. The people up here took being cheap on the candy to new levels. I loved it. I did grab a sweet tart packet that was sitting in the snow and none of the children a round me seemed to notice it.
I love the lack of floats, big showy marching bands, and crowds. Give me a small town parade over New York's Thanksgiving Day Parade any day. I've included photos to take you through the parade. Pretty much if you scan through these photos you will ahve seen the entire parade. The last photo is my favorite.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My 240 Minute challege

I recently decided to challenge myself to doing 8 Minute abs every day for 30 days. I used my major math skills to figure out 8 times 30 is 240. Also 240 minutes is 4 hours. So, basically I'm taking 4 hours out of the next month to do some sit-ups. Why should I bother mentioning it here? Because I have made a lot of challenges to myself and unless I tell someone I don't stick with it at all. So, I'm posting it here just to put it out there in the universe. Also, if anyone wants to take up this challenge we could be like some cyberspace sit-up buddies... The coolest of all forms of buddies. I have so far done the 8 minute abs for 4 days now or 2/15s of my total challenge. 32 minutes of my 240 minute challenge.
However, tonight's sit-ups should probably only count for 2 or 3 of the 8 minutes. I do not recommend trying to do 8 minute abs after attending a home brew contest that was a drink as much as you can handle for 2 dollars. I'm not sure but I might have dozed off for a bit through the 8minute abs. I'm not sure but it felt like it went faster than normal and my moves were by no means fluid. Although I can't feel the burn, so that's a plus. :)
I'm including the 8 minute abs that I follow down below. I'm including in case you too decide to except the challenge, but I'm mostly including it because of the sweet, sweet music. I wish I heard this music in my daily life. Like while grocery shopping or eating cereal I wish this music was playing in the background.
I want Stevie Wonder's Superstition for whenever I walk into a room for confidence. But nothing says, "hey man I'm mellow," as much as the music in 8 minute abs does.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My New Arch Nemesis

I seem to be at my best when I have an Arch Nemesis. Not necessarily my funniest period, my funniest periods seem to come when my life is completely falling apart. With the exception of a a couple months before I left Peace Corps my life was in complete shambles and I was not funny which led to a bunch of my friends abandoning me because, "I just wasn't fun anymore." Good to know that when your life completely falls apart, you should just deal with it your self and not expect your friends to help you out in anyway... I mean after all what are friends for? Certainly not being there in a time of crisis. Life Lesson learned... bottle up all emotions and appear happy and funny at all times. Moving on.
No, I can get an arch-nemesis anytime. They actually seem to come along when things are going great. I guess it gives me something to focus any negative energy that is inside of me on something. I haven't had an arch-nemesis in a long time. Mostly because I'm happy and comfortable with who I am. In high school, however, I had many an arch nemesises-nemisi(?) plural for nemesis-anybody?
I would bond with people over a hatred of a third party. I have made many a friend by disliking the same person. Most of the time our hatred for the third party eventually evaporates and we are left with a good friendship. I have on occasion had an arch-nemesis turn into a good friend That mostly comes from them not backing down. They dish it out as good as I can and they can take what I dish out. I eventually love that person and am forced to find little ways to start chipping away at their resolve to hate me and make them my friend. Home-made cookies are a great hatred ice breaker. Because how can you hate someone that made you cookies from scratch?
I thought going a few years without an arch-nemesis meant I had grown up. I thought I was moving on. Doing the whole mature thing. I couldn't be more wrong. I have made an arch-nemesis with the Karaoke man here in town. This involves some back story that I don't feel like re-writing so if you haven't been keeping up feel free to scroll down now to the blog entry from: February 1st 2009 I Know Karaoke .
I took up his challenge and went down to the bar he works at tonight. I waited til a late-ish time in the evening to head down there. I wasn't sure what to expect-pandemonium was one of the many possibilities that went through my head. I packed away some stationary and envelopes to work on letters in case I felt awkward being at a karaoke night alone. I walked in, purchased my one beer I allow myself, and instantly pulled out the stationary. Not out of feeling uncomfortable at the bar, the other 4 people there all seemed to be alone too. I needed something to entertain myself with. There was no music. I wrote letters and stared at my AN. He remembered me but we didn't speak. We didn't need to we both knew this wasn't crazy.
I waited and wrote and sipped and waited and nothing the crowd thinned down and than a few more walked in and would think about it and leave. He wasn't even bothering to have anyone sing.... That's how lame it was. Karaoke Night without the Karaoking. Well, he was right I do find that a bit crazy. Just a different kind of crazy than I was thinking of.
There is a karaoke night on Mondays too. I don't work Tuesdays. I thought Thursday would be a the better of the two nights for some crazy karaoking. Maybe I'm right, maybe Monday is worse. I'm going to have to go and find out for myself. Since I don't have work I plan on observing this craziness or at least intimidatingly staring at AN til the bar closes.
Round one goes to me.

All photos come from google imaging Arch-Nemesis.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random Fact I learned from IMDB today:

Kurtwood Smith who played "Red Foreman" on That 70s Show got the part after the original choice Chuck Norris was unable to do it because of commitments to "Walker, Texas Ranger." I can only imagine how different the show would have been if it hadn't been for that damn scheduling conflict.

Chic Shaper

I enjoy the Chic Shaper ads. They try and dress themselves up as if they are for correcting your posture. Yet, all the women are wearing incredibly low cut tops and the photos aren't showing straightened backs but perkier breasts. I wonder why it felt the need to hide what it really is. I say "it" like the Chic Shaper was making it's own ad.
If you don't know what I'm talking about it's worth checking out their website. ONly if you want to improve your posture.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Prop 8 - The Musical

Everyone has probably seen this already(I know I'm way behind) but this is absolutely Fantastic!
Preach Love, Not Hate.


Since I was snowed in all day today and didn't have to work I took the opportunity to try knitting some new things. I found a pattern on the internet for a wrist band and followed it exactly. The only problem was the girl who designed it gave herself too much credit for how tiny her wrist are. She said her's are super tiny and it took so many sitches for her's so a large wrist must take so many stitches. Well here are the results of how big she feels a big person's wrist is:

Come on! I don't think even the Grady Jackson has that big of a wrist. So, that needs some tweeking.
Oh, and if you are wondering what's wrong with my eyes in the pic my all-day, snowed-in knitting marathon was accompnied by an America's NExt Top Model Marathon. Tara spends so much time taking about the half squint... clearly I don't get what she is talking about.

My First Completes Non-Scarf Knitting project

I had never kintted anything that wasn't a scarf so I thought I would experiment with making something different.So, I tried to make an iphone cozy.... I didn't make it long enough so we are just going to call it a cell phone cozy :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I know Karaoke

I got challenged to come to Karaoke next week. There is Karaoke on Mondays and Thursdays at a local bar named Duggans. The host of the bar was sitting next to me at a one woman show I saw tonight. She mentioned that the Karaoke guy was in the crowd. I responded by yelling,louder than necessary, "There is Karaoke in this TOWN?!"
"Yes, there most certainly is on Mondays and Thursdays."
"Yeah, its the craziest Karaoke, ever."
"Ever? That is a pretty bold statement. I have been to a lot of Karaoke. Much of it Crazy. I mean you have to be crazy to stand up in front of a room of strangers and sing, knowing darn well you can't sing."
He did that laugh, oh god THAT laugh, the one where they are blowing off what you just said.It is just short of being a chuckle, it makes no noise- except for maybe a puff of air.. I hate that laugh. Then he said, "Well, I'm sure you have never seen karaoke as crazy as this. You need to come down for our Karaoke nights. You won't be able to handle how crazy it is."
I did that half chuckle-"blow off what they are saying" laugh.
He doesn't know who he is talking to. I don't know a lot of things but I know how to karaoke. I also know how crazy karaoke can be.
I have done Karaoke from Honduras to Scotland, from Uganda to Kyrgyzstan. Since the Dutch don't seem to have karaoke anywhere in the country I was given a microphone and allowed to sing behind the bar-"Gold Digger". I have done karaoke so many times that I have a signature song- "Build Me Up Buttercup". On my birthday I make random strangers let me sing with them as their forced upon present to me. I also have learned the importance of picking your songs to cater to your audience, which led to me knowing three country songs by heart. I have several rap songs, a plethora of Classic Rock songs, and can do pretty much any girl power song out there for a predominately female of fabulous gay crowd. I have made a room full of men cheating feel uncomfortable by singing "Before He Cheats". I can do "I got you Babe", a duet- by myself. I have had a friend surprise me by signing me up for "I Believe I Can Fly" and brought down the house. I have shouted at the top of my lungs, "SWEET CAROLINE BUHM BUHM BUHM good times never seemed so good, SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO FUCKING GOOD!" and "ALICE, ALICE, ALICE WHO THE FUCK IS ALICE?!" In a bowling alley in Uganda I have linked arms with complete strangers and sang the chorus of "Zombie". A group of Brits was rudely interrupted by me trying to join in, in upstate New York. In a bowling alley in Salt Lake City I sang a perfectly choreographed version of "Freshman"
while a girl was passed out on the floor. I have done a flying leap off a mini-stage in Honduras at the climax of the song. The Disco lights, the highest honor in the karaoke world, have come on more times than I can count. I have carried on singing "It's Raining Men" while my friend Sara yelled at a very, very straight man that it is cool if he was "bi-curious".I spent almost every weekend my last year of university going to the karaoke bar two blocks from my house.
Most importantly I sang karaoke at a kiosk on the streets-of Kyrgyzstan- after drinking at an Ambassador's house-dancing with prostitutes-having friends trying to prostitute me out for good beer-on Christmas-THROUGH AN EARTHQUAKE THAT WAS SO STRONG IT DESTROYED MY FRIENDS HOUSE! SO! DON'T TELL ME, I DON'T KNOW CRAZY KARAOKE!
I'll rise to the occasion I'll go to this karaoke of his. I might even sing my signature song. However, I will not find it the "craziest,ever" unless the volcano that is about to erupt actually does erupt, causing a tsunami, while I'm singing, and a local eagle breaks through a window, and takes my beer right out of my hand. If all that happens than he is right, Karaoke at Duggans is the craziest...ever.