Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 9.021: Exile #2's Sunday Column #92

Exile #2 writes...

The other night, I lay in bed baffled by the sound of dripping. Had somebody left a tap running? Was it unexpectedly raining? No, it was the sound of melting snow. In fact, you'd think spring was here. This week it's forecast to get up to 50 degrees. That's t-shirt weather round these parts. Exile #1 even went out running in his shorts (although he is a bit bonkers, so that's not necessarily a guide).

Anticipating the melt, Exile #1 helped Exile #4 and E5N1 build a snow friend in the back yard, using a kit given to us by friends a while back. He's rather lovely (the snowman, I mean, although Exile #1 is lovely too) but I suspect he might be a whole lot smaller by the end of the week.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 9.020: Surprisingly productive

We woke up to a sick child. Exile #3, despite her triumphant dance night, woke to a sore throat and spent the day feeling pretty miserable.

E5N1 made a "get bet-ter" picture for her:

Meanwhile, Exile #2 and I conquered our US taxes, collected a new compost bin and got a very heavy item down from a very high shelf (always exciting when you are as short as we are!).

We also found time to do the only family activity that Exile #3 was really capable of joining in with and watched the second half of the last Lord of the Rings DVD.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 9.019: Open Marley

We had some culture tonight at the "Open Marley Night" at the dance studio. Marley refers to the flooring put down for dancing and so it's the equivalent of an Open Mic night for dancers. 
Exile #3's student company did two numbers and there were some great performances by local professional dancers. It was a great night. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 9.018: Throwback Thursday - fly a kite

If two posts about a dart not stuck in a wall isn't enough evidence that a busy week at work and a big week of marathon training is taking its toll on blog inspiration, how about another Throwback Thursday post?

Here's a photo of my sisters and me with Mum flying a kite near our home in Yorkshire in 1974.

I love so much about this photo - the view, the clouds, the focused expressions on our faces (I'm sure I was convinced I was flying the kite) and the set of (nearly-)matching woolly jumpers (sweaters).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 9.017: No harm done

Contrary to appearances (possibly), yesterday's photo was not of a dart stuck in the wall, but of a magnetic dark stuck to a hidden screw in the wall. Here is the magnetic dartboard it belongs with (picked up for a bargain price at Goodwill).

Fooled you...or not!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 9.015: A social media moment

There was a time back in the Exiles in New York days when my blog and twitter account resulted in what might be called a "social media presence". Those days are behind me and my Twitter account has been mostly dormant for a while now.

A few days ago, I came across this and it was one of those times I had to get everyone to watch it:

On Saturday morning, in the middle of another Lego building project with E5N1, Exile #2 found a surfboard and suggested creating this scene. When I arrived, I took up the challenge and we ended up with this:

We were particularly happy that we made "Sarah" a little shorter than the others so she had to stand on a "box" and included the overhead cymbal. We were so pleased about it that I posted it to Twitter where it has now been liked and retweeted many times - including by Walk off the Earth themselves. By far the most action my Twitter account has seen in a long time.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 9.014: Exile #2's Sunday Column #91

Exile #2 writes...

While much of the east coast spent this morning digging out from under 2-3 feet of snow, we in the north had not a single flake. We would be disappointed but the kids consider a snowstorm a waste if it happens at the weekend and doesn't result in a surprise day off school.

Instead we enjoyed a morning with our friends at HopeGateWay, sharing a song that had a connection to the current theme of winter. Then, to warm up, we went to the Old Port for pizza, which we watched being baked in a wood-fired pizza oven. It certainly warmed us up after a brief but chilly walk from the car park.

Since then we've been looking at various snow sculptures, sledding trips and time lapse movies of the storm down south. OK maybe we are just a little envious...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 9.013: Snowshoes at Ferry Beach State Park

After lunch, Exile #2, E5N1 and I left the girls to do their homework and went out for a short (about one mile) snowshoe hike at Ferry Beach State Park. We didn't go near the beach, but we did have a magical walk in the woods.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 9.012: My new friend

I've been resisting this blog post because, a picture can't really do justice to the material, but here is my new friend:

It was obtained during a birthday shopping trip (that led to the "What shoes?" text message event).

For those who care about such things it's a Martin 000-RS1. It sounds lovely and I will definitely be looking for an opportunity to demonstrate that!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 9.011: Throwback Thursday - Boogie Pete

Things have been a bit E5N1-heavy around here for a while, so here's a picture from September 2006 - just a few months before the start of the Exile:

The girls who would soon become Exile #4 and Exile #3 with TV's Boogie Pete!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 9.010: The Two Towers

Since we were effectively snowed in on Saturday, we watched the second Lord of the Rings film. It had quite an impression on E5N1 (the only one watching it for the first time) who has been bursting into the musical theme without warning throughout the day.

He and Exile #2 made the eponymous towers, Mount Doom (seen from a distance) and the main cast along with some orcs and supporting characters out of Lego:

We particularly like the expressions on the hobbits' faces:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 9.009: Crafty geologist

How long E5N1's ambitions to become a geologist will last is anybody's guess. For now, it's serious - he spent the remainder of his Christmas money on a book about rocks and asked me the other day, "How do geologists make money?" Which was not a very easy question to answer.

Here he is to tell you about some "rocks" he made:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 9.008: A surprise for everyone

Several of us spent several hours over the Christmas/New Year period trying to solve a puzzle by moving two balls from opposite sides to the same side of the stick. We did not succeed. Then we saw that this puzzle had been rated on a four or five difficulty scale by its manufacturer - as the easiest of all. This did not make us feel any better.

One morning, E5N1 picked it up for the first time and about 30 seconds later he had achieved what had eluded the rest of us - he wasn't sure how, but he was quite happy about it:

I have since worked out how to solve it. Of course, now I know how, I can agree with the difficulty rating it was given!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Day 9.007: Exile #2's Sunday Column #90

Exile #2 writes...

You never know what you'll find when you live with E5N1. These little guys were awaiting me the other night when I went up to bed. However, it wasn't half as surprising as the plastic spider that quietly fell out of my bag onto the post office counter the other day and caused me to jump out of my skin.

Mostly, however, I'll find some piece of drawing or writing that E5N1 has been working on. I found this, for example, that he'd made using some stickers that were a Christmas present.

I love the mischievous-looking sentry, who seems to be trying on the royal crown while no one is looking. Not surprisingly, E5N1 has fallen victim to the US stereotype about British rain but more surprising is his impression that buses and taxis zoom around London like that - he's obviously forgotten our largely stationary experience a few summers back.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day 9.006: And down it came

Having given up on running this morning knowing it was going to be a wintry weather mess, I was actually relieved to discover once I got up from a rare and welcome lie-in that we had a coating of ice that was changing over to sleet (ice pellets). It didn't take too long for that to give way to snow...and down it came:

Once I'd cleared the driveway of snow, Exile #4 and E5N1 went out to have some fun. Would you like to guess what this is about?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 9.005: Winter weather

It's fair to say that winter has arrived - although not quite like it did last year. Daytime highs have been a little one side of the other of freezing and we have snow on the ground and icicles hanging around the house:

We also had a winter weather notice about a storm coming in tonight, but it's one of those storms where no-one seems sure what kind of precipitation it will produce, so we wait to see what tomorrow brings - another few inches of snow, just some rain or - most likely - a mess of snow/sleet/rain/ice.

Whatever it brings, we have no plans so we'll probably snuggle up inside and watch it pass by.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day 9.004: What shoes is mom wearing

When we were out shopping on my birthday and the girls arrived home from school to find no-one there, they both started texting me. Exile #3's was mostly questions like "Do you know where momma is" and "Are u together".

Here is Exile #4's tirade:

Classic stuff - including the substitution of "she" with "her" in the last phrase which is both more grammatically correct and so very wrong.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 9.003: And then there was again

A couple of days ago, after our rainy weekend, the front looked like this first picture. As we were going to bed last night I took the second one.

This morning I skipped my run to clear three or four inches of sticky snow off the driveway. It's the first day of no running since Christmas Day, so I might have been due for one, but now I have some catching up to do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 9.002: We're building London

These photos are from back over the Christmas break.

E5N1 wrote this note before everyone else was up. I think in the end it was only Exile #2 who rose to the challenge of helping him build London. I suspect they may have done some more after this, but here are the first four locations they made:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 9.001: Now in its tenth year!

Happy New Year!

Nine years ago today we woke up in the US for the first time as non-visitors and began this adventure we called the Exile. It's been a varied journey and I'm sure none of us had any idea what we were getting into.

To commemorate this occasion, and placed here without comment, here is one of the first photos of the five of us from the first year (obviously that had to wait for E5N1's arrival) and one of the most recent ones.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 8.365: Exile #2's Sunday Column #89

Exile #2 writes:

Most of the snow has been washed away today, with heavy downpours and blustery winds. There may even have been a rumble of thunder mixed in at one point. No matter. We spent the morning celebrating 10 years of our church, HopeGateWay, with a brunch woven together with grateful stories from representatives of the many individuals and communities that have found a home there.

In the afternoon, we cozied up and finished off watching the first Lord of the Rings movie (we started yesterday as part of the ongoing birthday celebrations of Exile #1). Exile #3 and Exile #4 were keen to start watching it again, having not quite made it to the end of the last movie some years back. E5N1 only knows it through the Lego video game (although that probably means he knows it pretty well, judging by our experience of watching Indiana Jones). I was pleased to discover that I still love it and somehow seemed to spend the whole movie blinking back tears of one kind or another. We did all enjoy that Sean Bean moment though...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Day 8.364: Hip hopping

Apart from birthday-related activities, yesterday was also observation day in E5N1 and Exile #3's Hip Hop dance classes because their classes were canceled during the week at the end of December when the rest of the observations happened.

Here they are busting some moves:

Watching a class is fascinating and definitely very different from seeing a rehearsed performance. They work pretty hard!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Day 8.363: Another year older...

I had a lovely day - helped by spending it with my wife instead of my colleagues (not that work is bad, but a day off is better)!

Lots of things I could tell you or show you, but for now I'll just say that yes I had a happy birthday!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Day 8.362: Shameless self-promotion

Today I am undertaking a cross-platform social media exercise in shameless self-promotion. It's the last day of my 45th year on planet Earth, and during that cycle of the sun Exile #2 and I made some music.

Would you like to hear it? Of course you would! Put some headphones on or crank up the volume and press play!

More info here.

I'd also love to hear what you think of it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Day 8.361: Wheel dozer!

E5N1 spent some of his Christmas money on a Lego Technic set at the weekend. Thanks to a half-day today, he completed the first of the two vehicles you can build with it (by following the supplied instructions).

Apparently it's called a wheel dozer (bulldozer without tracks maybe?). Whatever it's called it's very cool with three separate working mechanisms - steering, a transmission with a piston and a lever lifting mechanism for the front blades.

It was definitely a challenge for him, but apart from some moral support and occasional pointers, he pretty much did it himself.