Fall colors are starting to appear, and this is a sign of many changes: football, preparations for winter and as always Everett’s new interests and preferences.

I hesitate to write too much about football here.  On one hand it is a huge part of living in the Midwest, Wisconsin in particular. On the other hand, it is unlikely that I will provide any new information to those who already follow it, and those who don’t follow it don’t really care about the details.  So I will keep this brief: the big news this week is that Green Bay played the Vikings (or Viqueens as they are known here), and after a career playing for the former, Brett Favre is now playing for their arch nemesis the latter.  One mystery about Wisconsin is why his name is pronounced “Farv” instead of the correct pronunciation “Favré”, but you aren’t going to make any friends here asking questions like that.  Nor will you make friends by saying that it’s too bad Milwaukee doesn’t have a football team, a minor faux pas that Melissa made during one of our interview visits to MCW.  Anyway, we were in Madison a couple weeks ago and saw this t-shirt:


Pretty darn funny.  Other fans were not so kind (the word “Judas” was used quite often).  However, during an informal survey of Green Bay fans in my office, Jan responded “I’m a Green Bay fan but I just love him.  I want him to win for whoever he is playing for”.  Such is Brett’s (or Brent’s) legendary status here.


The animals in our neighborhood are continuing their winter preparations.  Our neighbor Shirley has a raccoon who has lived in her chimney for some time, and no one seems to be able to get rid of him, so we have accepted him as a member of the community.  Our chimney lacks a damper (it probably rusted out years ago) and as winter approaches we are a bit concerned about animals moving in.  The other day Everett was sitting in the living room and started screaming “bird!” over and over.  It turns out that a bird had flown (or fallen) into the chimney and appeared behind the glass doors in our fireplace.  Melissa called me at work to ask my advice, which was to open the doors and windows to the house, then open the fireplace doors and the bird will fly out.  We have two cats who never seem the least bit interested in anything and whose only instinct seems to be sleep, so it did not occur to either of us that they might present a problem.  Everyone was shocked when the bird flew out of the fireplace and Athena immediately pounced on her.  Feathers started flying but the bird somehow got loose and hid under the couch.  Fortunately, after we removed the cats and the couch the bird flew off.


On a related subject, one thing that seems to change every few weeks is Everett’s favorite animal.  For a while it was ducks, then squirrels and chipmunks, and lately he has taken quite an interest in the rabbits that live behind our house.  Strangely, he sees peacocks much more often than rabbits because: 1) the rabbits are somewhat elusive and 2) there are many peacocks who run free at the zoo.

pastedGraphic_1.pdfNonetheless, during many mornings he asks about the rabbits as soon as you enter his room.  And since the bird incident he checks the fireplace quite often and says “birdie?”.  Another thing that changes pretty rapidly is his behavior.  In the last couple days we have watched him begin to pretend play, for example pretending to eat something while saying “num num num”.  He has also started to acknowledge when he is cold and will hand one of us another layer to help him put on.  Lastly, he has begun to formulate multi-step plans to get what he wants.  For example, he will ask me to pick him up and then proceed to grab the phone from my shirt pocket or point at the cookie jar on the counter and ask for one (and another, and another…).


We are finely tuned to short term changes in Everett’s behavior and have begun to speculate about what to expect over the next year.  Will he be a Green Bay fan?  Will he develop a Wisconsin accent?  Will he like cheese curds enough to become nostalgic for them the way that Melissa is for Goetta?  In addition, after thinking about people we have known from childhood through adulthood, we realized that some traits that appeared early on stayed with them the rest of their lives.  And like many parents we watch his behavior and project forward 20 or 30 years.  He seems to like tools; will he be an engineer?  He has quite an arm for chucking food across the dining room; might he be a quarterback?  He loves animals; will he be a veterinarian?  Time will tell which traits will change and which will stay with him.

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