Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 10.284: Saco Pumpkin Festival

After a fairly slow start to the day, we got down to some jobs around the house, but took a pause in the middle of the day to go down to Main Street for the Pumpkin Festival. Exile #3 and the rest of her dance company were premiering one of this year's dances - a high energy hip-hop dance to an edit of Beyoncé's Run the World (Girls):

We also checked out the rest of the festival - costumes, a game from a new Krispy Kreme that just opened in town involving speed-eating donuts hanging from strings, our last Elementary School pumpkin (from E5N1's class) and the surprising sight of a tortoise walking through the crowds:

We fortified ourselves midway with a drink and a slice of cake at The Rugged Spruce (Exile #2's favourite of the recently opened cafes) and then headed home to get another job done (more on that another time!)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 10.283: Home from the trade show

This morning I said goodbye to Chicago:

It's safe to say that this was a trade show experience unlike any other I've had. In part this was due to my role at the booth, but there were other things too. CeeLo Green was there as were the Monster Energy Girls, the Energizer Bunny and the M&Ms. As I sat at the booth waiting for the show to open, the Budweiser Clydesdales were walked through the show between the working car washes and hot-dog roller grills.

Anyway it was a fun and somewhat bewildering experience, but I'm very happy to be home.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 10.282: Lakefront morning run

Some pictures from yesterday's morning run along the bank of Lake Michigan.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 10.281: Automatic blog post

I'm traveling, so I made this in advance in case I needed it. Another picture from our walk on the beach on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 10.279: Bar Harbor mist

For the last of my catch-up posts from our trip last weekend to Bar Harbor, a little recap of our final morning before we drove home through the rains of post-Tropical Storm Nate.

Once again, we got going as early as we could, knowing that rain was expected. In the end, the weather app on my phone kept counting down to the rain being 5 minutes away and then suddenly jumping up to 2 hours away again. We managed to not rush our walk and stay dry.

The mist in the harbor was quite thick when we arrived - the moored boats, the cruise ship and the tenders bringing in its passengers came in and out of sight according to the mist's whims.

We still managed to see quite a few birds, a chipmunk and a harbor seal as we walked.

and I liked the views along the coastline as the mist created interesting contrasts.

My parents have made it safely home - where they are presumably experiencing some effects from Nate's little sister Ophelia - although far from the main path of it in eastern England.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 10.278: Exile #2's Sunday Column #196

Exile #2 writes...

We have gradually been settling back into the humdrum of daily life after the visit of Exile #1’s parents. It being mid-October, the neighborhood has transformed into a wonderland of pumpkins, chrysanthemums, and Halloween decorations. It’s been slightly difficult to accept, given that much of the week has felt like summer, but the trees seem to know what’s coming and have been dropping leaves and acorns all over the place. Exile #1 picked a load up with the mower yesterday, but you’d never know it today.

E5N1 and Exile #3 had a fairly long dance rehearsal this afternoon, so Exile #1 and I went for a beach walk (Exile #4 opted out this time).

Various families were enjoying the ocean, and although I may not have wanted to join in, it was probably warmer than many of the times I splashed around in the sea on holiday in the UK. Many seem to be predicting a tough winter, so we’ll enjoy it while it lasts! Hopefully it will last until the end of the month, however, as someone round these parts is planning to spend Halloween in little more than a pillowcase. More on that soon...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 10.277: Windy at Eagle Lake

Although the rain had passed by the time we'd finished eating lunch, we'd had a weather warning about strong winds and now we felt why. We tried - in vain - to find the parking at the southern end of Eagle Lake that we'd used a couple of years ago - at the Bubble Pond carriage road trailhead, but we could not find an entrance to it, so we ended up (after a navigational blunder) finding our way to the opposite end of the lake, where we found a very angry looking lake:

We also experienced the strong winds, and how effective a few rows of trees can be at blocking them.

and that was the end (well, give or take dinner) of last Sunday - our last full day in Bar Harbor.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 10.276: Asticou and Jordan Pond Path (twice)

With rain and strong winds expected later in the day, we got out as early as we reasonably could on Sunday morning to walk a trail before the weather hit.

We chose the wonderfully named "Asticou and Jordan Pond Path" which starts at the Asticou Map House (mid-left) and ends with at the Jordan Pond House with its lawn overlooking Jordan Pond (bottom right). The trail was entertaining - with steps and streams breaking up the woodland trail with its apparently seaweed-covered trees.

When we arrived at the far end, we decided that it would be best for me to go back along the trail and bring the car around to meet the rest of the party. I had my trail running shoes on so I left everything except my phone and the car keys and set off to run back along the trail in jeans and t-shirt. I passed a couple of surprised groups, then decided I was getting too sweaty in the pre-storm humidity and took my shirt off. I really surprised the next group.

It didn't take me long to get back to the car or to bring the car around the island to the Jordan Pond House. Meeting up with everyone was made harder by there being no parking spaces, no cell phone signal and lots of other people cruising for any spaces that might open up. Astonishingly, the girls spotted me and then Exile #2 found me on one of my passes through the parking lots and we were able to get everyone into the car as the heavens opened and head into Bar Harbor for some well-deserved lunch.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 10.275: Thurston's and Wonderland

After our Ship Harbor hike, we were ready for lunch so we drove a little further around the coast to Bernard where we visited Thurston's Lobster Pound where we enjoyed some good food with a beautiful view of the harbor.

We followed that with another short walk to the waterfront at the Wonderland trail - which despite being right next to the Ship Harbor trail has a quite different feel - until it opens onto the rocky shore at least.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day 10.274: Ship Harbor Trail

We had pretty much perfect weather on Saturday - although for some reason we all had difficulty dressing appropriately. We started the day with a morning walk on the Ship Harbor Trail where we were astonished at the number of red squirrels - which we heard and saw almost continuously while in the woods.

We also watched this lobster boat pull up a trap, empty it in no time sorting the lobsters into a tank. Then I watched as they measured a last lobster, presumably found it to be too small, and...can you see what happened next?

Maybe next time!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 10.273: Cadillac Mountain at sunset

After our stop at the observatory and our drive to Mount Desert Island, we had time to visit the top of Cadillac Mountain just as the sun was beginning to set. The views were stunning.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Day 10.272: Penobscot Narrows Observatory

We're home after a misty walk along the waterfront in Bar Harbor and a rainy drive through the remnants of Tropical Depression Nate.

Time to post some photos.

Our trip started on Friday with a late-morning visit to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory and Fort Knox followed by lunch in Bucksport and a walk along the waterfront there.

The fort was decorated for a Halloween event and the views were stunning as the clouds cleared out from a rain shower earlier in the morning. Once again we discovered that a small group of British invaders can breach the fort without challenge (even when one is wearing a union flag sweatshirt).

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day 10.271: Jordan, Jordan's, wind and Side Street

We started the day by walking the Asticou trail to Jordan Pond. After admiring the cloudy view from the lawn of Jordan Pond House, I left the rest of the party planning a coffee break to run back along the trail to get the car. All went well until I got back to the Pond House to find the lunchtime rush in full swing and no parking spaces or cell phone service to be found. It took a while, but eventually we were all reunited just as the rain was getting heavy and set off to have a quieter lunch at Jordan's in Bar Harbor.

As the rain was coming to an end but the wind was getting going, we had a walk at Eagle Lake where the wild wind was whipping up waves that were breaking on the rocks - not a normal sight at such a small lake.

After a short break, we went back into Bar Harbor for dinner where we were incredibly lucky to get seated immediately at Side Street Cafe which was great and we once again missed a rain shower.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Day 10.270: Squirrels and Lobster

We walked two short trails in Acadia National Park today - the Ship Harbor and Wonderland trails. In between we had an excellent lunch at Thurstons Lobster Pound. We saw red squirrels on both walks - but the woodland at the first trail seemed absolutely full of them

We had a few hours of downtime - with a short swim and a game and afterwards walked down the hill to have dinner at a restaurant we visited a couple of times with my sister and family two years ago.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 10.269: Vacation in Vacationland

We are away with my parents to enjoy Mount Desert Island in the fall. Our first day included a stop at the Penobscot Narrows Observatory and Fort Knox and a drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day 10.268: Throwback Thursday: too cute!

Here's another one from the Google Photos archives - from nine years ago yesterday:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Day 10.267: Early brass affinity?

This photo - from seven years ago - showed up in my on-this-day-in-history feed in Google Photos and I thought it was E5N1 showing early promise as a trumpet player:

Then, on a closer look, I realised he probably thought he was swigging from a small oddly-shaped goblet!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day 10.266: Back Cove

My parents were back in Portland for a trip on the mail boat around Casco Bay today. These photos are from our visit on Saturday when I picked up my packet for the marathon and we took the opportunity for a short walk along the edge of Back Cove.

Some of these (especially the second one) probably deserve a caption!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day 10.265: Maine Marathon - take 2

A few things went better than last year.

I was there earlier - so had no stress due to parking and other start-line essentials.

The weather was probably even closer to perfect - cooler and drier at the start - although the sun probably made it warmer by the end.

I did a better job of starting the tracking app at the right time.

Yeah - that's probably it.

The first 13 or 14 miles were OK, but as I discovered after that, I was going faster than my training had prepared me for.I was about three and a half minutes slower than last year at the half way point, but 35 minutes slower by the end.

To be fair, I probably didn't give it everything after mile 19 when I texted the rest of the Exiles to let them know I was fine but going to be arriving later than planned. I was thinking about still feeling human for the rest of the day and able to enjoy the rest of my parents visit as much as finishing in a reasonable time, but still it was a humbling experience.

Overall it was a satisfying milestone in my comeback - taking an extended period off running (or any kind of meaningful exercise) and putting on 20 or 25 pounds is not something I plan to repeat any time soon. Nor for that matter is running a marathon. Hopefully I'll stick to the first one long enough that if I break the second one I'll be better prepared.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Day 10.264: Exile #2's Sunday Column #195

Exile #2 writes...

It's been a whirlwind of a weekend. Exile #4 had a school dance on Friday. Then yesterday, it was Exile #3's turn, it being Homecoming weekend at her school (the weekend of the first home football game of the season). For her, that involved heading over to a friend's house at 4 pm to begin preparations for the evening. I brought her home some time after 11 pm.

Early this morning, Exile #1 laced up his running shoes because he'd decided it would be fun to run 26.2 miles before lunch (what was he thinking?!). The rest of the Exiles and Exile #1's parents went into Portland to cheer him on! He did well, and although he didn't quite have the run he'd hoped for, he remained cheerful, and slept it off this afternoon, while Exile #3 and E5N1 had dance rehearsals. We rounded things off with a tasty dinner this evening.

I think it's safe to say all the Exiles (and hopefully our guests) will sleep well tonight.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Day 10.263: Getting ready to run

I'm afraid that today was rather overshadowed by my plans for tomorrow morning which include going out in public dressed in this attractive outfit:

...and then running 26.2 miles. Considering I'm still at least 10 pounds over a reasonable race weight and have had a short and incomplete training cycle, my confidence that I will have a good race is not high. Not long to wait to find out if I'm right!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 10.262: Another visitor

Our human visitors had what sounds like a good outing today. I was at work, but while I was home for lunch we had another visitor:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day 10.261: Three generations

After work today, I dropped in to join my Dad watching his grandson play soccer (football).

It's great to have my parents with us for a couple of weeks - and they seem to have arrived at the same time as some perfect autumnal weather.