Friday, July 31, 2015

Day 8.202: Pizza from the grill

Tonight I cooked pizza - on the grill.

Whether you blame the dough (a bag of Portland Pie pizza dough from the supermarket), Exile #2's preparation, my cooking or the whole idea of making pizza on the grill...

...the result was a tasty crispy delicious success.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 8.201: Race time again

I'm really not sure how it's going to go, but on Saturday morning I'll be lining up with 6,400 fellow runners to go from Beach to Beacon. Hopefully I'll be able to travel the 10 km in a little over 40 minutes.

Today was the day to collect my race number and look around the expo:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 8.200: A splash of color

Exile #3's favourite of her 7th Grade artworks is now up and worth reflecting on:

Happily her teeth are doing much better today too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 8.199: Braces

Today, Exile #3 got her teeth wired together:

Exile #2 got the before-and-after shots. Apparently, she "only" needs to have the braces for a year.

She was in some considerable discomfort at the end of the day, hopefully that part of it won't last for too long.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 8.198: Hic sunt dracones

E5N1 has been in very crafty mood this summer. He has spent his own money on several craft sets or packets of supplies and his big ambition is to go to Michaels later this week. Today he made do with a visit to Renys where he happened upon an excellent set for painting dragons. The pictures are prepared with waxy lines and they come with some very nice paints for mixing.

He spent a lot of time mixing colours and painting scales this afternoon. This is how they came out:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day 8.197 Exile #2's Sunday Column #67

With various Exiles still under the weather, it has been a slow week. The young Exiles have continued with some of their usual activities: dance, karate, and swimming and there have been some low-key outings.

As it was a chilly wet day today, we had a long-promised outing to the movies to see Inside Out. Part of the motivation for seeing it in the theater was so that Exile #3 could claim some popcorn. This week she visits the orthodontist to get some ironwork installed, so she will have to undergo a year of abstinence from such treats.

The movie was great although, for the grown-ups, in particular, it hit in a soft spot. There may have been some sniffling but I won't say anymore. Spoilers!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 8.196: Sanford Rail Trail

We walked a section of the Sanford Rail Trail today from Oak Street to Deering Pond. At the pond we walked a small loop - at least some of which was called the Glenn K. Wildes Wildflower Trail. The total distance was maybe 2.5 miles.

The rail trail itself is wide and fairly smooth - we were passed by cyclists, ATVs and a motorbike, the side trail was definitely for walkers only.

The birds on the island were Canada geese, but  I'm not sure what the woodpecker is, it looks like a hairy woodpecker, but has a yellowish crown.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 8.195: Tired

Exile #2 had to wake me up - sleeping on the couch - so I could go to bed, so there's not much to say except that I'm quite glad the weekend is here.

Here are some random photos from a recent beach trip:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 8.194: This interesting thing...

At the Maritime Museum last weekend I had pretty much this conversation with E5N1.

Me: Hey, look at that really interesting looking tool back there - what number is it?

E5N1 (looking at silhouette guide): Number 25.

Me: Oh? Well it looks really interesting - right? I wonder what it's called...

E5N1 goes to look at the key...

Followed by unseemly laughter.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 8.193: Crash and splash

We had a great time in the waves last Friday.

Even though the water was very much Maine-ocean-in-July temperature, I was tempted in twice by the waves - it was fun to stand or sit in the shallows to watch them coming in (and maybe run away from some), exciting to go in to the point where they were breaking and best of all, to go just beyond to swim over them:

At least until I started to shake uncontrollably or lose all feeling in my extremities!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 8.192: Taken with iPhone

I've taken a lot of nice photos with my phone. It's always with me and produces images of decent quality. There are times I don't have my real camera with me and wish I did however.

Early Saturday afternoon was one of those times. We spotted an unusual animal and I whipped my phone out to photograph it - this is the picture I took:

Can you see it? Let's just say probably not - I only knew it was there because I saw it fly into that distant tree.

It was a bald eagle and this is the absolute best my phone could do:

I'd like to think that I could have got a significantly better shot if I'd been better prepared.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 8.191: Maine Maritime Museum

Since we'd had our beach day on Friday and Saturday was a bit overcast and showery, we went to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Getting there was a bit of an adventure as it was family open day at Bath Iron Works and the area was filled with lines of people waiting to go inside (a rare opportunity) and shuttle buses ferrying them in (one of the satellite parking lots was near our campsite we realized later).

Once we arrived at the museum, we had a good visit:

Pictured (along with the obvious) is Exile #4 in a human-sized lobster trap and a life-sized representation of a six-masted wooden sailing ship that was built nearby for transporting coal. Thanks to a steam engine for raising and lowering the sails, it could be operated by a crew of 12.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 8.190: Exile #2's Sunday Column #66

Exile #2 writes...

Well, that was a camping trip we will remember, some of it, for the right reasons! It was hard work for starters, as most of us were nursing colds, but we were undaunted. Not even a last minute change in the weather forecast could put us off.

We brought our beach day forward and later arrived with the lovely people at Chewonki Campground. With all hands on deck, we set up camp pretty quickly and then enjoyed some good fire-cooked food before turning in, as the fireflies began to twinkle.

It rained a little in the night but we woke to a cloudy, dry morning and managed a civilized breakfast before setting off for some wet weather activity at Maine Maritime Museum. By the time we got back to the campground, I was beginning to feel really rough, but everyone rallied round and got dinner together while I crashed out. After dinner, Exile #4 and E5N1 managed a swim in the pool before we safely stowed our belongings (rain was expected again) and all turned in for the night.

At about 2:30, I awoke. A few moments later it became clear why, as there was a rumble of thunder. While Exile #1 scrambled for his keys, I shook the kids awake and while the rain poured torrents through the doorway of the tent, I sent the kids skedaddling barefoot across the grass into the van.

What could have been a low point, actually turned into half an hour of hilarity as a sleepy E5N1 got us all laughing. Finally, as the storm was winding down, we invited iTunes to pick us one last random song. It chose Dido, suitably sleepy-making music. When morning came, we decided to cut our losses and head home. As we sit here listening to thunder, watching rain pour down, I think we made the right call.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 8.189: Night under canvas

I love sleeping in a tent, but it definitely works out quite differently than a normal night when we're camping as a family.

Last night we all went to bed once the bugs got too troublesome at about 8:30 pm. Apart from waking when Exile #3 needed some headache medicine and twice when there was a shower of rain, I slept soundly until 5 am when I got up to run - well before my alarm was due to wake me, but after more sleep than I normally get. 

This was the view as I set out:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 8.188: Reid waves

We're on a mid coast camping adventure. It started with playing in the waves at Reid State Park.

We're now at the friendliest campsite ever and turning in to avoid the mosquitoes. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 8.186: The benefits of living in Vacationland!

It's always nice when old friend drop in as part of their vacations in Maine.

But it's especially nice when it's my friend from college who lives in Scotland and I probably haven't seen for 19 years...

We met C with her husband and three kids in Portland. We had a nice walk along the Eastern Promenade trail, a great meal at Flatbread Pizza and followed it up (thanks to a timely reminder from Exile #4) with a visit to Gelato Fiasco.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 8.185: Fine dining

We seem to have acquired some odd products recently, our coffee says it's "Worm Guts Flavor" and then there are these:

I think I need to have words with whoever is doing the grocery shopping.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 8.184: Empty, fish, castle, far

Our visit to the beach on Saturday morning:

1) Empty - how this first picture of the kids in the sea makes the beach (or at least the water) seem - it was actually fairly busy even when we arrived.

2) Fish - I spotted a large gull drop suddenly into the water, it then seemed to struggle for a long time such that we thought it might be caught on something, but it was just struggling with the weight of a huge fish that it then landed and proceeded to peck at on-and-off for the rest of the time we were there.

3) Castle - the finished work.

4) Far - where the kids ended up towards the end of our visit - the water still wasn't getting any deeper even all the way out there (it was low tide).

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 8.183: Exile #2's Sunday Column #65

Exile #2 writes...

Well, Exile #4 officially had a good time at camp and has been breaking into camp songs on regular occasions, some of which require us to get up out of our seats to do increasingly silly actions. I think we might have a camp counselor in training.

Some of us managed to rack up our second serious beach day of the summer this weekend, with swimming, sandcastles and seagulls wrestling large fish out of the ocean galore!

Editor's note: This picture includes our sandcastle and the kids.

Even better, we got to spend the evening eating delicious Greek food and enjoying Greek music and dancing at the local Greek Orthodox Church. One of Exile #3's friends is the daughter of the priest there and, as she was dancing (in full costume despite the heat), the young Exiles were tempted to join in and get their feet tangled up in the intricate step pattern.

Today has been a little quieter. E5N1 was in the lucky position of having been invited to a pool party, so spent a couple of hours keeping cool in the water with his buddies. The rest of us did a little bit of preparation towards next weekend, when we plan to go camping at last and played a couple of games of Tokaido, one of my birthday presents. Very pleasant indeed.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day 8.182: Saint Demetrios Greek Festival

We decided against the big belated birthday bash we had planned for Exile #2 for today, but it ended up being a busy day anyway and lots of fun. It was a perfect day for the beach - so we spent nearly three hours there this morning.

After heading home for a late lunch we succumbed to some downtime and (in Exile #4 and my case at least) an afternoon nap.

As the afternoon wore on, we were debating which of our plans we would shelve, but decided to visit the Saint Demetrios Greek Festival. We had missed this last year, despite one of Exile #3's best friends being the daughter of the Presbyter there. I'm so glad we didn't miss it this year.

After a look around, we joined the line for some wonderful dinner and then, by chance it was time for a dance show (including Exile #3's friend) - with a chance for audience participation at the end.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 8.181: Reunited

After work I collected Exile #4 from camp.

She had clearly had a great time and was absolutely exhausted. She managed to stay awake in the car but sagged again pretty quickly once we got home and went to bed. I'm sure we'll hear some stories over the next few days.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 8.180: Warning - this post contains...

...a close-up of a small spider that makes it appear quite large.

I took this picture of an interesting-looking spider in our bathroom. I believe it's a male Maevia inclemens (tufted morph) - a jumping spider. I got the photo with my iPhone and the olloclip macro lens.

If you look, don't say I didn't warn you!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 8.179: The dance-class walk

Since Exile #3 had missed out on last week's visit to Saco Heath (because one of the reasons we went was to kill time while she was at her dance class), I took her there on Monday while E5N1 was at his dance class.

We had a little less time, but thanks to some purposeful striding we got a little further - as far as the entry to the loop trail in the woods at the far side of the heath where we found the predecessors of the multicolored boardwalk boards arranged in piles where it would seem from the warning signs they are awaiting one or more "controlled burns":