Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 9.325: Drinking beer with my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss

...and all the direct line of managers in between.

We had a dinner after work this evening for a little celebration and my direct management chain all the way to the CEO of our parent company were here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 9.323: Me and my family by E5N1

This came home just before Thanksgiving from E5N1's classroom. I assume he did it early in the school year.

Apart from the general wonderfulness, a few details caught our eye - in particular Exile #3's height, skin tone and mascara - all very well observed!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 9.322: Exile #2's Sunday Column #153

Exile #2 writes...

The pies have been polished off, and we're down to the last tiniest pickings of turkey. To my relief it all came out very nicely. Funny how preferences change year to year, though, as the Exiles grow up. This year found Exile #3 jostling for extra sausages, Exile #4 cheering that celeriac mash was on the menu, and E5N1 ladling cup loads of cranberry compote onto his plate.

Now it's time to go back to work and school for the few short weeks until Christmas arrives. There are lots of things to squeeze in, including choral concerts at both the girls' schools, walking in our town holiday parade, and a trip to Boston for the girls to see the Black Nativity.

Unlike many of our neighbors, we haven't decorated yet, but it's now open season for Christmas music and the rest will fall into place as we go along, I'm sure.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 9.321: Christmas decorations and where to find them

This morning, E5N1 and I went to help decorate church for the first Sunday in Advent (tomorrow):

Our afternoon's activities were in the Harry Potter universe:

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day 9.320: Shore not stores

As usual, we did not engage in the national day of shopping today, instead we had a bracing walk on the beach.

As well as those pictured above, I spotted a few more loons just off the beach:

and was glad that I thought this bird looked interesting enough to photograph as it departed - it turns out it is a long-tailed duck.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day 9.319: Thanksgiving

We had a quiet but very nice Thanksgiving at home today. As well as this marvelous spread (with a few hours of gap in between):

there was also a scavenger hunt (organised by E5N1), an epic game of Mother May I?, a very hotly contested game of Catan, a snow flurry and a good deal of talking and laughing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 9.318: An unexpected Arrival

While we were eating dinner, I said, "Is it date night?" and about 15 minutes later, Exile #2 and I were heading out to the cinema leaving the kids to watch a film of their own and get themselves to bed. It still surprises us that we can do that now.

We arrived while the theater was empty - but there were quite a few there by the start.

We saw Arrival and loved it. It's cerebral without being heavy and generally is the kind of film I didn't think could get made in the US anymore. No spoilers, but I think it's the best kind of Science Fiction - it takes one leap, asks you to go with it and then lets the story play out in an otherwise entirely realistic way. The characters are complicated enough to seem real (avoiding the stock-character shortcuts) and yet the story moves along at an engaging pace without dwelling on them.

All in all, if you want an antidote to the big-budget all-guns-blazing films but are willing to believe a couple of impossible things before you go to bed, you should definitely give it a try - we're certainly glad we did!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 9.317: Schools and hats

Well, our busy week is now in its 9th day, but really should be over soon.

Today, I saw E5N1 off to school for his half-day "crazy hat day" wearing his King Julien headpiece. It wasn't a good day for Deli to go to school, but at least he joined the hat fun.

Then it was off to work for me - but just for a half day, so that we could spend the afternoon in nine more parent-teacher conferences. eight for Exile #3 who guided us around her high school for a series of lightning 8 minute meetings and then one for E5N1 with his main classroom teacher. All seems to be going well.

Now, one more day of work and then time to recover over the Thanksgiving break - I'll definitely be thankful for a change of pace!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 9.316: It's beginning to look a lot like...

Complete the sentence above by choosing from the following options (consider these photographs from this morning while giving your answer):

  1. ...time to put the winter tires on the cars.
  2. ...the week before Thanksgiving.
  3. ...Christmas.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 9.315: Exile #2's Sunday Column #152

Exile #2 writes...

These days, Exile #3 and Exile #4 are often in the house but tucked away in their rooms, so that we hardly know they are there. Even so, the house felt noticeably quieter without them this weekend.They were away at a lakeside camp on a confirmation retreat. We met up with them this morning at HopeGateWay along with the rest of the party. They had a great time, and even seemed to have had some sleep.

They spent the afternoon catching up with homework but fortunately they only have a day and a half to stagger through before the Thanksgiving break. For this and many, many things, we are thankful.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 9.314: E5N1 - only child for a day

This is what the three of us got up to while the girls are off doing their own thing:

E5N1 and I raked the front yard - and played a quick game of human Pac-Man when he realized that the piles looked like a suitable maze:

After collecting those, we found that Exile #2 was making good progress at the back:

In the afternoon, a game of Catan:

We ended the day with an episode of Outrageous Acts of Science.

Read into all of that what you will, we had a great day!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 9.313: And then there were three

We all went to see Exile #3's dance show this evening. Here are three out of four of us in the auditorium:

After the two hour show (25 dances), I immediately set off with Exile #3 and Exile #4 down an hour's worth of back roads to the location of their weekend activities (confirmation class retreat). I just got back in time to post this before midnight. And so, for the next day and half, there are just the three of us.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 9.312: School visits

After work today I visited all three kids at their places of learning.

The first stop was E5N1's school:

where we spoke to one of his teachers who sounds like she's doing wonderful work with them which is good to hear.

Then I went to collect Exile #4 from the karate dojo and after that, to Exile #3's school where she was a visitor herself - doing the tech rehearsal for a performance her company is doing there tomorrow. Various dance classes from the school will be performing too as well as other visiting companies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 9.311: Is it Thursday yet?

...I guess not, but I can still do a throwback post if I so choose!

Thanks to Google Photos for this reminder from seven years ago yesterday! The girls on good form:

and so was E5N1 (in his own way) who insisted on walking barefoot in November in upstate New York on gravel paths:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Day 9.310: Scooter buddies 2

Exile #3 sent me some more scooter buddies pictures - this time with added bicycle!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 9.309: Bauneg Beg

Our hike on Saturday was at the wonderfully-named Bauneg Beg Mountain Conservation Area.

It took in two small peaks - one of which had excellent views (including across to the snow-capped Mount Washington). It was a beautiful fall day and a fun nearly two-mile hike. Due to the timing of our visit, it was rather difficult to see the trail in places thanks to the carpet of fallen leaves. The leaves also made it rather slippery underfoot (Exile #2 is still recovering from the effects of that).

Here are some more photos:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 9.308: Exile #2's Sunday Column #151

Exile #2 writes...

Because Exile #1 and E5N1 worked hard raking leaves on Friday afternoon, we allowed ourselves the reward of a hike on Saturday. It was a cool but beautifully sunny day, and as most of the leaves are down from the trees now, the views were great. We could see all the way across to Mount Washington, which was snow-capped and quite spectacular.

Of course, as the leaves were off the trees, it was also a little harder to discern the trail and we took took a small detour once or twice. I also opted for a more rapid descent at one point than I would have chosen, and am feeling a little sore for it today!

However, it was nice to spend a moment away from everything as, at the moment, even the best things are colored by the election results. So, we draw breath and get ready for the next uphill stretch.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 9.307: ..and then these two things

We had a nice hike this morning, but I haven't had time to sort through my photos yet, so instead here are the other two things we did today.

We played the print-and-play preview version of the five and six player expansion for Dragoon - the game I received having supported the Kickstarter campaign. We had a good game - and look forward to playing again now we've got the hang of the new rules.

This evening, we left the kids to watch a movie at home and Exile #2 and I went to a charity auction and fundraiser for the immigrant and recovery charity affiliated with our church. There was music, food and even a little dancing and hopefully quite a lot of money was raised.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Day 9.306: In the leaf pile

The kids were off school today for Veterans Day, and I took the afternoon off.

The main activity was some much-needed raking (although far from the last we'll need to do). It was rather windy, so I was pleased of E5N1's help to get the raked leaves quickly collected and safely into the woods where they should stay even in these conditions.

Of course, the leaf pile ended up quite big...

...enough for this:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day 9.305: Scooter buddies

It's not unusual for one of his parents to kick E5N1 out of the house to burn off some energy or get some fresh air. It's not unusual for him to ask someone to come outside with him and it's not unusual for no-one to be both available and willing.

However, recently on a few occasions, he has had company from a slightly surprising place - Exile #3. One of their activities has been riding scooters. I mentioned how much I liked seeing them doing this to Exile #3 - referring to them as "scooter buddies".

Her response was, "I have a picture for that!" and here it is:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Day 9.304: Just what the doctor ordered

Exile #2 and I had decided to have a movie night tonight before last night's events. It turned out to be good medicine for the end of a strange and difficult day.

This is what we saw:

I'm sure the kids will not be pleased that we saw it without them, but we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Day 9.303: Yikes

...and with that I'm calling it a night.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Day 9.302: Big Stripey Sky

Well, it's hard not to be thinking about what will happen tomorrow, but I've had a very busy day so that helps.

Here is another come-and-look-at-this view that E5N1 pointed out to me a few days ago.

He was quite taken with the brightly-lit contrail against the sky.

In case you're wondering, the post title is a play on this.