Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 8.141: Exile #2's Sunday Column #59

Exile #2 writes...

Yesterday, we had brilliant sunshine and warm (but not too warm) temperatures, which made it the perfect day for a couple of outings with my parents. In the morning we visited Portland Head Light and after some down time in the afternoon, popped over to Old Orchard Beach to soak up a bit of traditional seaside atmosphere.

I say we had down time in the afternoon but E5N1 was pretty determined to keep his grandparents occupied throughout, mostly with detailed explanations about Pokemon, so it's just as well tomorrow is a school day and they can have some time off!

Today was the first significantly rainy day since the snow melt, which wasn't so great for getting out and about but it was much appreciated by our slowly recovering garden and it also allowed a bit of recovery time for the rest of us. It was a day of jigsaws and games, not to mention the conquering of a small Erector (Meccano) set by Exile #1, who doggedly battled with it long after E5N1 went to bed. He's not a quitter!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 8.140: Group selfie!

Exile #2's parents are here. We've had a very nice first full day together.

This evening at Old Orchard Beach, this happened:

It started when Exile #4 saw me trying to point out a distant lighthouse to Exile #3 and thought it looked like we were taking a selfie.

So we did. Then we took one with her too. Then I wondered if there was room for four more...

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 8.139: Very happy indeed

E5N1 was very happy this evening. I'll tell you why tomorrow, but for now here is a representation of his state of mind:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 8.138: Do the lunge-bot

I walked E5N1 to the bus stop on Tuesday morning. On the way he informed me that while waiting for the bus, Exile #2 usually set him challenges such as "run to the second line" or "do a lunge-bot". He actually said, "lunge-walk", but having misheard him, I had to challenge him to the lunge-bot.

And he did:

For a bit of bonus Throwback Thursday action, this was the last time I walked him to the bus stop before school.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 8.137: Bad joke, from Vermont

While I'm filling in the gaps from the weekend, this is what happened after I made burgers and then we toasted the marshmallows:

But wait, there's s'more...

Sorry - I can hear it now, "You think you're funny Daddy, but you're really not. At all."

Anyway, the beer is a very tasty ale from Vermont (I've allowed myself to branch out from Maine beers to other New England states) which has only just become available in bottles. This was the last bottle in the store when I found it, but I will be getting more if I see it again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 8.136: Clifford Park

After my unexpected doctor's office visit on Saturday, we did manage to get out and enjoy a beautiful day by visiting Clifford Park in Biddeford.

On the map it looks like this:

Not terribly impressive.

From the road, it looks much the same - a small patch of grass, a playground, a parking lot and a couple of tennis courts. Surprisingly, however, behind it, in the trees is an impressive network of rainbow-blazed trails.

We did the main loop (the black trail), but passed (I think) green, pink, red, orange and blue side-trails along the way.

Pictures include some wildflowers and a wolf spider carrying an egg sac:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 8.135: Memory-al Day?

There is nothing like starting to repeat annual events to remind us that we have lived here for more than a year now. Today it was the Memorial Day Parade.

As we were heading to Main Street in Saco in the sunshine, we were recalling how rainy it had been last year. However, a quick glance at last year's blog post shows that it was a sunny day much like today. We must have been conflating it with the rainy Parade of Lights in December.

We also remembered that the parade started at 10 am and went down Main Street towards the river, whereas it appeared at half-past the hour coming the other direction. On that score, we seem to have been correct and can only assume it was a change this year or that the route direction alternates to keep everyone on their toes.

As usual, bands, school sports teams, vehicles and local organizations followed the veterans and a good time was had by all.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day 8.134: Exile #2's Sunday Column #58

Exile #2 writes...

Well, you'll be pleased to know that Exile #1 managed to stay conscious all day today and is feeling a lot better (although getting in and out of the car still elicits a groan).

Today was Pentecost, so we all picked something red to wear. I chose pants (trousers), Exile #3 went for socks, which meant she got to enjoy padding around church without shoes. The room was decked out and it was a good gathering, although our thoughts are with some of our African friends there, who are concerned for the safety of their families at this time.

Our afternoon has been quiet: a board game, some tidying up (well, we do have visitors this week), another outing for the grill and a movie.

Even better, it's not even a school night. We're hoping to get to the parade tomorrow and we'll see if it feels any different, now that we've been here for more than a year.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day 8.133: Not what I was expecting

We hadn't made much in the way of plans for our Memorial Day weekend, but I definitely wasn't expecting to spend the Saturday morning here:

Yes, that is an examination table at the doctor's office.

The thing is yesterday evening I suffered a bout of the wonderfully-named micturition syncope. You can look it up if you want, but let's just say that one moment I was minding my own business and the next E5N1 was knocking on the bathroom door to see if I was OK because he'd heard a big thump. The big thump was me hitting first the bath tub and then the floor.

I was largely OK but we did make a call to the on-call doctor who said I should really attend the Saturday clinic to get checked out. So I did.

Then I broke the EKG machine.

Just by getting wired to it.

This meant that we were there rather longer than expected, but apart from a rather bruised and sore back (the part of me that hit the tub (rather than my head - happily) and a follow-up appointment after the holiday, I appear to be fine.

We did actually manage a significant chunk of yard-work and a short hike, so all was not lost, but - hopefully - the rest of the weekend will be a little less unexpected.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Day 8.132: Silent Greatness

Well, it's the end of the week.

The week at work was eventful in mixed ways, but I made it to the end.

This evening was eventful too, but I'll save any talk of that for another day, and just sit in silence with you for a while...

Unless you'd rather join these two for a lollipop?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 8.131: E5N1 Week continues...

...with this - from a sneak-preview that Exile #4 and I had when we went to collect him from his dance class this evening:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Day 8.130: Peddling his pedaling

E5N1 was very keen for me to take a video of him cycling and post it on the blog so that you can see how much better he is now than a year ago.

For reference - here he was on Day 7.150 (on Day 7.130 it would have been rather less impressive!)

And this was yesterday (including the still above):

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day 8.129: Tires of winter

Here is my helper finishing the job of storing these away...

...for a few months at least.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 8.128: Not the usual suspects

Each week, E5N1 comes home from school with a book he has chosen from the library. Usually these are factual books, sometimes about some form of vehicle, sometimes about nature. Last week, he found a book of robots, but it wasn't about real robots or sci-fi robots, it was about making robots from Lego. Even better, it was all based around improvising.

It led to a surge of creative building (I think everyone except Exile #3 was involved at some point). Here is just one line up of our creations:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 8.127: Exile #2's Sunday Column #57

(or Für Exile #4?)

Exile #2 writes...

Today was Exile #4's piano recital. After church we grabbed a hasty and tasty (if not entirely healthy) lunch at Thurston's Wicked Good Burgers - juicy burgers, crisp fries, super friendly servers and samples of frozen custard to boot. Exile #4 then managed a supergirl-style change of clothing in the car and we headed over to nearby Gorham.

Her teacher has an impressive number of students but thanks to some carefully shortened pieces, 20+ students managed to rip through their performances in about 90 minutes (quite a relief as E5N1 had already kept quiet through church and was ready to explode!)

Exile #4 got slightly discombobulated in the middle but did pretty well, considering she changed her performance piece about a week ago, to avoid playing the same piece as another student. Here she is playing a simplified version of Für Elise.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 8.126: Photo day

It's that time when all the pre-summer end-of-school-year events are happening. Tomorrow is Exile #4's piano recital and although it's a few weeks until Exile #3 and E5N1 have their dance recital, today was the day for the dance studio photo shoot.

I'm sure the real photos will be a lot better than my cell-phone shot in the hallway:

They had photos with their respective hip-hop classes and individual ones.

Later Exile #2 and I also had a photo shoot, but if you're keen to see those, you'll have to find them elsewhere on the internet.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 8.125: End of the week

Here are the kids as they were just a week ago (for contrast with yesterday):

It's been a very busy week at work and combined with post-marathon malaise it's been a bit of a slog, but I've made it to the end and, although we have a busy weekend ahead, I'm hoping it's not the same kind of busy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 8.123: Hey - look, I match your hat!

Proof that spring has arrived in more ways than just freakish running weather...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 8.122: Alphabetical

We had a power-cut this evening, just long enough for me to decide to get the generator out, switch over to it, shut it down to put more fuel in and then start it up again before it came back on again.

After that, I had some other things to catch up on so, here's a picture from a few weeks ago when E5N1 and I spent a happy hour or so organising his 144 Pokemon miniatures into alphabetical order with some help from his handbook.

Happy days!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 8.121: Maine Coast Marathon - take 2

How to sum-up my day yesterday?

I could tell you how the hopes of a cool misty morning:

...evaporated as quickly as the mist before the race started.

I could tell you how my "A" goal was put aside at the beginning of the race and my "B" goal:

...slipped away along with my ability to ignore the heat at about mile 22.

But, I should probably say that in a fantastically organised race with the least possible luck with the weather (the high today was in the 50's rather than the 80's and would have been perfect for running):

... I had a pretty good run (better than many who I passed in the latter stages struggling much worse than I was), loved the scenery and the support and:

...finished with a PR and a BQ and was greeted by my family who love me even though I undertake these crazy activities.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day 8.120: Exile #2's Sunday Column #56

Exile #2 writes...

Today was the conclusion of many months of preparation for Exile #1, as he set out to run the Maine Coast Marathon. He ran the same race last year and did well but less well than he'd hoped because of the high temperatures and full sun. For 10 days or so, we had been watching the forecast, hoping for better conditions but were dismayed to see, as time went by, that the day promised to be an almost exact replica weather wise, high temperatures, humidity and little breeze.

When I dropped him off at 6am, it was cool enough and misty but by the time the race began, that was gone. Nevertheless, we returned at the time he was aiming to come in, hoping that his good preparation would pay off and it did. Once again, he may not have managed his dream time but adjusting for the temperature, he did brilliantly and definitely deserved the beers the race sponsor so kindly provided!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 8.119: Mother's Day (observed)

We celebrated (US) Mother's Day a day early because, with the best will in the world, tomorrow is not going to be a day of pampering for Exile #2. Not that today was exactly that either, but she did have a fuss made of her first thing this morning and I cooked dinner this evening.

In between, we had a nice walk in the sunshine and we played Catan and Game of Life and, in a big change from recent game results, I won them both. Hopefully my success will continue tomorrow.