Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 8.324: An episode of ER

We've survived for a long time in the US without a visit to the Emergency Room, but our record ended today - fortunately in a rather undramatic fashion.

The big surprise is that Exile #4 was the patient - didn't see that coming!

She woke up feeling nauseous* and we soon found out she had a fever (101 °F or so) - not enough for any real concern, but enough to keep her home from school. When I got home from work she complained of a headache so we gave her some medication and took her temperature again 104.7 °F - really? check the other ear - 104.9 °F. So, we gave the doctor a call who asked a load of questions almost all were negative for supporting symptoms, but they still said we should go to the ER to get her checked out.

I stalled to eat a quick bite while she got dressed, hoping to find an excuse not to go, but her fever was still high, so we set out.

After three periods of waiting punctuated by triage and registration, we finally saw the doctor by which time her headache had gone and her fever was hovering around 100 °F and she really just wanted to go to bed.  So yeah - not exactly like the TV series, but that's probably for the best.

* this is a message for anyone who thinks I used the incorrect word there

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 8.323: Exile #2's Sunday Column #83

Exile #2 writes...

Thanksgiving break is over. A small amount of turkey lingers but the traditional pies have all been gobbled up. The children are steeling themselves to go back to school but fortunately, they only have to make it through a few weeks to the Christmas break. I am also steeling myself, as Christmas usually means all kinds of strange and wonderful additional things. This week, for example, Exile #4 is taking part in a cultural fair. For some reason, she is representing Norway, so I will be helping her to make Fattigman (Poor Man's Cookies those not fluent in Norwegian). We thought it was preferable to Lutefisk.

Over the weekend, the neighborhood has been transformed. There are inflatables and icicle lights, projectors throwing sparkles onto house fronts and wreaths galore (we counted 21 on one house around the corner). Our own decorations are a little more modest, a sprinkling of lights and the return of the wreath that E5N1 won last year.

Judging by E5N1's craft efforts so far, however, we'll have a pretty extensive display inside the house by Christmas.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 8.322: Another year, another...

...set of school photos - I updated these before I left work on Wednesday:

and another set of songs recorded - you can hear them at this link over the next few days.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 8.321: Big spenders

As usual, we were not amongst the big buyers on Black Friday (nor on Thanksgiving evening) - indeed we met the requirements of the counter-culture movement by spending nothing on either day.

We did, however, spend a lot of time together today. Including a walk in Ogunquit on the Marginal Way coastal path (pictured), another game of Catan and, after dusk, another walk - this time around the neighborhood which is starting to light up with Christmas decorations.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 8.320: Happy Thanksgiving

It was a fairly quiet Thanksgiving for us this year with several of us less than 100% healthy after a series of minor illnesses.  Still we had a great time - with turkey and pie and a game of Catan - it looked something like this:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 8.319: Difficult questions

Sometimes people ask me difficult questions like, "Why is there no blog post for last Wednesday" or "How did you like your Thigh-Highs Socks Stockings Sexy and Elegant?" and/or "How did the size fit?"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 8.318: Judge this book by its cover

Well, I've been feeling like I'm coming down with something which is not OK. So lets just imagine that I will be fine tomorrow and this is just an aberration. Meanwhile - what the internet does best - cute cats (E5N1 style):

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 8.317: Dance dad, dance!

Having dropped Exile #3 at the theater for her pre-performance rehearsal on Saturday, I found myself in Brunswick on my own with two hours to kill. So, I spent some time in a music/DVD/games/book shop (the rather lovely Bull Moose) and then, having selected a small novel, made my way to the other end of Main Street ahem, Maine Street where I sat in a coffee shop, read a chunk of my book, drank coffee and ate a cookie.

The rest of my evening is accounted for, and as Exile #2 said yesterday, in a big change from my normal record of nursing a book for months, I finished reading it about 24 hours after I bought it.

This evening after dinner there was a moment when all five of us were enthusiastically dancing around the kitchen to The Smiths' This Charming Man. Much to my delighted astonishment.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 8.316: Exile #2's Sunday Column #82

Exile #2 writes...

This Thursday will be thanksgiving and preparations are afoot. One thing we have to be thankful for is the fact that Exile #3 is largely back to normal, and only coughing occasionally. I am also beginning to feel more human, having spent the last few days sniffling and sleeping. Aside from Exile #3's dance outing last night (which I was disappointed to miss), we have had a weekend of quiet, home-based pursuits: reading (Exile #1 just tore through the the latest David Mitchell novel), snoozing, random acts of knitting on my part and, oh, more snoozing.

Exile #1 did come out to the supermarket with me at one point, to provide moral support and muscle power on this pre-Thanksgiving weekend. It wasn't too crazy, thankfully, which was just as well, as I seemed to be having trouble with the simplest of decisions. I might still be standing in front of the display of aluminu(i)m foil if it wasn't for Exile #1. Maybe I was just dizzied by the sight of so much luridly dyed festive food (red and green holiday tortilla chips, anyone?).

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to you from the Exiles!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Day 8.315: Dancer

I drove Exile #3 to her first dance performance with the dance company this evening. She had a great time and the performance - as guests of another non-competitive dance company in Brunswick was great too.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Day 8.314: The Shadow

I'm happy to report that Exile #3 and I are both nearly recovered from our ailments. For her, it was a day with nearly no coughing, for me it was the feeling of having nearly normal energy levels after nearly two weeks of dragging on tiredness.

I'm less happy to report that Exile #2 has come down with a stinking cold. Hopefully hers will blow over rather quicker.

In other news, here is a page about "The Shadow" from E5N1:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 8.313: Secret on display

It's possible that - if you want to keep something secret - leaving it on display* in the kitchen isn't the best tactic.

 * I don't know that E5N1 whose secret diary (DO noT TOUtCh) this is had anything to do with this mode of display, but I'm pretty sure that at the least he left it lying around.

I didn't touch it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 8.312: Frosty morning

I had an early outing to get some blood taken for some routine tests.

Even a mundane occasion such as that can sometimes have a little magic in it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 8.311: Fuller Farm (November edition)

We first visited Fuller Farm back in late August. When four of us visited again on Sunday, it looked the same, and very different...

We had a nice walk although we were a little surprised to find ice in the puddle in the ditch.

Also, the plants and animal sightings were a bit different this time. No butterflies or flowers to be seen, but some nice seed heads were a compensation.

I'm happy to report that Exile #3 made it through a whole day of school for the first time in over a week today and was tired but still functional at the end of it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 8.310: Top five guilty pleasure foods?

When his sisters go to bed early anticipating their early start for school (or suffering the consequences of it), E5N1 sometimes has a bit of bonus TV time in the evening and usually it is watching an episode of How It's Made. We have the DVR set to record it whenever it is on and keep the last three episodes, so he has the choice of three from their short descriptions.

Last night he chose a special show entitled "Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Foods". As usual it showed how the listed items were made. As for "guilty pleasures", we might have different opinions about what would make the list, but it's hard to see anyone coming up with these:

  • At five: Sardines (canned, some with tomato sauce)
  • At four: Stilton (the famous mouldy English cheese)
  • At three: Poultry Deli Meat (anyone's guilty pleasure?)
  • In second place: Hot Dogs (OK - I might give you that one...)
And finally, the number one guilty pleasure food is...

...drum roll...


Incidentally, if by some chance haggis is your guilty pleasure, watching how it's made probably isn't a good idea.

The program was actually very interesting, but we did laugh very loudly in several places. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 8.309: Exile #2's Sunday Column #81

Exile #2 writes...

This week has been accompanied by the regular barking cough of Exile #3. Having arrived home feeling unwell last Friday, she took to her bed and stayed there through much of the week. On Thursday, I took her to see the doctor, who said her chest sounded clear. She was given cough medicine and an inhaler to manage suspected bronchitis, and was cleared for a return to school.

She didn't sound too bad Friday morning and so, off she went. However, in the afternoon, the dreaded school number came up on the caller ID, and the school nurse informed me that Exile #3 had a fever and please could I come and get her now, thank you. I got a frosty reception (to say the least) in the school office when I went to collect her, and found her coughing relentlessly.

We returned to the doctor Saturday morning. Although her chest still apparently sounds clear, we now have a belt and braces prescription of steroids to assist the inhaler and antibiotics to treat possible walking pneumonia (which I fear she will have spread around the school on Friday). I just hope that she soon gets some relief from the constant coughing, and regains some energy and appetite. E5N1, who is quite concerned about Exile #3 made this rag doll skirt to cheer her up.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Day 8.308: Shorts or a winter coat?

Exile #2 took Exile #3 back to the doctor where she once again was told her lungs are clear, only to come home and spend a reasonable part of the rest of day doubled up in pain from coughing so much. We all hope she gets much better soon.

Meanwhile, with help from Exile #4 and E5N1, I raked the leaves from the whole yard and supplemented the already impressive leaf pile.

Later, Exile #2, E5N1 and I went for a short walk.

Exile #2 has finally accepted that it is time to wear her winter coat, whereas E5N1 is still thinking that it is shorts weather.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 8.307: Red belt

Having been to the doctor's yesterday who found that she has no sign of infection but a nasty case of bronchitis, Exile #3 took some of her new medicine and - as advised - went back to school today. Unfortunately, she went down-hill after she got there and was then sent home with a renewed fever.

Meanwhile, I went from work to the dojo to see Exile #4 gain her promotion to red belt. She wears it well. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 8.306: Crow, crow, squirrel!

Just before I took these photos, the two crows were actually pulling up some (admittedly not too healthy) grass in the yard and rooting around under the (admittedly shallow) roots for something.

They stopped as soon as I started recording the moment. It turned out that it wasn't because of me - but because of the new arrival.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 8.305: Star Wars: The Next Generation

As hoped, I made it back to work and fared reasonably well. Exile #3 has continued to suffer and would not have made it to school if it had been a school day. We're all hoping she has a good night's sleep and a much better day tomorrow.

E5N1 had his annual physical this morning and then went to spend some money. His purchase was an impressive sticker book with images from the upcoming Star Wars film. He made (amongst other things) this large poster.

It reminds me of something another small boy might have done in the run up to the release of a Star Wars film several decades ago.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Day 8.304: To the rescue?

Exile #3 and I did not return to school and work today. I am certainly doing much better at the end of the day than I was at the end of yesterday and will be at work tomorrow barring a significant relapse.. The kids have the day off for Veterans Day tomorrow, so hopefully that will allow Exile #3 to get back to normal by Thursday.

This was on the kitchen counter earlier thanks to E5N1:

Very cute and - judging by the cape - possibly a super hero (Super Pup?) to the rescue!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 8.303: Sick creativity

There was never any question of Exile #3 going to school today after her fever yesterday, but in fact she was too sick to be there anyway. What was less easily predicted was that I would be home sick too.

I had hoped that I was being overly cautious on behalf of my colleagues and that I would get some work done at home, but - apart from answering a few emails  - I was not in sufficient health to concentrate on anything.

Exile #3 and I did manage a few minutes of fairly mindless creativity when we made these:

She made the house - "Look it has a  door and windows, no real walls though." and I made the vehicle - although the impressive looking front of the motorbike was in one piece in the box.

Confidence is not high that today will be better, but hopefully a good night's sleep will surprise us all with its healing power.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 8.302: Exile #2's Sunday Column #80

Exile #2 writes...

It's been a best laid plans sort of day. Only four of the five of us made it to church this morning, and the planned middle school lunch that three of us were supposed to attend had to be cancelled, owing to a lack of middle schoolers (including our absent Exile #3, who is not well).

Exile #1 and I are just thankful that we made it through our gig on Friday night, despite our slightly croaky voices. It was "First Friday" in Portland, when all sorts of venues and galleries stay open late, and the place was generally lively. We had some lovely feedback from the diners, and got to enjoy a delicious meal at b.good too. Yay!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Day 8.301: Leaves and not leaving

Exile #3 is sick and Exile #2 and I are not in the best of health and reeling a little from our evening yesterday so it was a quiet day.

We didn't go out at all (Exile #3 stayed in her pajamas all day) but we did get out of the house to rake some leaves.

Exile #4 and E5N1 were very helpful and reaped the reward of a leaf-fight in the huge leaf pile in the wood behind the house - they are in both pictures above if you look closely.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Day 8.300: Gigged

We're just back from playing a little gig in Portland. 

I'd spent the day resting my almost-gone voice and Exile #2 was starting to feel a bit hoarse too by the time we set out, but we muddled though and our songs were well received by the first Friday revelers. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 8.299: Snail pictures in the sand

I don't know why they do it, but marine gastropods sometimes draw quite intricate patterns in the sand.