Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 10.021: I see water!

Here are some more photos from our icy walk at the heath on Saturday (including some icy water):

For some reason, all the ice seems to have made Exile #2 turn into a giant:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 10.020: Venus and waxing

The crescent moon and Venus were so bright in the early evening sky as I was leaving work that I even managed to get a half-decent photograph of them with my phone.

Not a bad way to end the first work-day of the week.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 10.019: Exile #2's Sunday Column #161

Exile #2 writes...

It was a slightly subdued morning at HopeGateWay, with everyone a little shaken by the past week. As usual, many present were from the immigrant community. We were aware that at least one friend would have been affected by the travel ban, had he not recently become a citizen. We heard from a government worker, who reminded us of the difficult position in which her some of her co-workers now find themselves, having to enact policies that they consider unjust.

Picture of a special event at our church today from the public Facebook page.

E5N1 did his own bit of wrestling with the week's current events for a piece of homework. In the morning he interviewed a church member who moved to Maine from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Then, in the afternoon he pulled it all together into a piece of writing about the policy and its effects. E5N1 is a citizen. But he reflected that, even though the rest of us have permanent resident status, had we been born in one of the listed countries, we could now find ourselves unable to re-enter the country. It is a sobering reminder of what is happening right now.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Day 10.018: Where the place?

Upon the heath!

Yes, we managed to spend some outside time as a family in what seems like the first time in a while. We went to Saco Heath and this is what we looked like:

Thanks to the group of ladies who asked us to take their picture and then offered to take ours.

Also, in case any title-watchers were wondering.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Day 10.017: In the end it was four out of five

We traveled through Poland and Oxford and Norway this evening on our way to South Paris this evening - living in Maine is a surprisingly global experience! In fact, it was the intersection of global and local that was the reason for our trip - for a show called Globalocal - a dance show including Exile #3's company who danced beautifully:

Exile #2 and I sang a few songs in the interval (as a global act of course!) and E5N1 could not resist an invitation onto the stage to join the dancing:

Only Exile #4 stayed in her seat, but I think she was quite happy with that!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 10.016: A musical moment

There has been a partial re-invasion of the basement with musical equipment:

Tomorrow, if things go according to plan, we will be using these and sharing a stage with one of our children.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 10.015: Tidal advertising

Businesses occasionally include small gifts with their mailings to encourage you to engage with their offerings - or at least put their name somewhere you will see it from time to time.

Here a local insurance agent sends out tide charts. One arrived today:

and although we have our beautiful tide clock and an app on my phone, you can never have too many tidal reference sources.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 10.014: No snow day

The call came at around 5:30 am - no school today due to the weather. A snow day? Well, not really. It had snowed overnight and we got a little more during the morning, but this was a messy winter mix.  Snow followed by freezing rain followed by sleet (ice pellets) followed by a bit more snow and eventually plain non-freezing rain.

All of which added up to not very much (but note the icicles):

Not much - that is - until I tried to clear the driveway. It was basically an inch and a half of heavy wet ice by then (no I don't know how that's possible either). The roads remained pretty treacherous all day and it was definitely the right decision to keep the school buses off them (and for me to work from home), but I can't bring myself to call it a "snow day".

Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 10.013: Magnatiles' return

Back in the first few years of the Exile, we had a lot of Magnatiles posts. Like this one for example. Recently, the Magnatiles have been in a plastic box with various wooden blocks and - although they have come out from time to time - they have been mostly neglected in the basement.

On the night of the party, the box with the 'tiles and the blocks was brought upstairs as potential young-child distractions. After the party, our youngest child (not quite the demographic we were thinking of) was inspired to give them a go and created this arrangement.

He did explain the various buildings to me, but I'm sorry to say that I've forgotten. I like them a lot though!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Day 10.012: Exile #2's Sunday Column #160

Exile #2 writes... 

Due to a prior commitment, we were unable to take part in the local Women's March yesterday, but were thrilled later on to see news reports and photos from marches all over the world. This morning we met up with many local friends who had participated in Portland, Kennebunk, the state capital, Augusta, and Boston. Many of our New York friends had headed into Albany, whilst others went to New York City. In our Facebook feeds we saw friends taking part in Florida, Colorado, and California, and a selection had made it to Washington DC. Even tiny Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine, with a winter population of about 70 people, held an event. Everywhere the numbers exceeded expectation, and the marches were peaceful. The Boston Police Department even issued a statement thanking participants for their respectful behavior.

Photo via Flickr user mobili - licensed under Creative Commons (thanks!)
Although it is uncertain what the long term impact of the march will be, there is a renewed sense of courage and determination to stand with those who are feeling vulnerable in the current political climate.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day 10.011: And so to bed

Exile #2 knitted herself a special hat with the intention of heading out to a march today, but in the end that wasn't possible. We're thankful for all the people who marched peacefully today all over the country and the world to stand for civil rights and to hit the new POTUS in the only place he seems to care much about - his ratings.

Meanwhile, E5N1 has gone to bed tonight - actually in his bed unlike several days after our party last weekend. A spilled drink forced him to vacate his bed for one night, and then he chose to continue for several more until he actually lay down on his bed and remembered just how comfortable it is.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 10.010: This accumulated poison

I'm sad today for this country that we have called home for the last ten years. Not because a Republican has won the presidency, or because of who he is, or because they have control over Congress or even because of what they will do with that power (although much of that scares me especially for my friends who are black or gay or immigrants or poor or sick or several of those).

No, I am sad because we have come to this because of lies. So many lies. Lies told by candidate Trump to people to get them to vote for him, lies told by his supporters about his opponent(s), lies told by his opponents that gave openings for partially truthful attacks on them...

Each acid drop sours the sweetness
A little goes a long way
How much will be needed to dilute this accumulated poison?

And if what is broken can't be mended
What is left of us?
Every piece is broken further until it turns to dust

I am also hopeful.

We could keep each other bright
Pass the glow to one another
As the breath keeps us alive
I will warm you when you grow cold
If you'll warm me when I'm tired

Incidentally, Exile #2 wrote those words in italics, but they capture my feelings perfectly today. You can download the whole album here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 10.009: Sticking around

The snow stuck around - for the first part of today at least.

By the end of the day, there was still plenty on the ground, but some warmer temperatures and sunshine had relieved most of the branches of their snow burden.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Day 10.008: Fifty words for snow?

Sure enough, by the time I went to bed last night we had a coating of snow. By the time I was ready to leave for work and the snow was due to be ending, we had about four inches.

Then it kept snowing.

All day.

It turned out that instead of the expected morning "coastal plain change-over to rain will limit accumulations" we ended up with (in the middle of the afternoon) "an ocean enhanced band continues to occasionally produce moderate snowfall and some accumulation"

early morning:

slightly later:

end of the work day:

As you can see in that last picture it was very sticky snow today - it coated everything with a thick white layer by the end of the day. We can add this type of snow to the others we have encountered in the last ten years:

  • The snow that hangs around just like the polystyrene balls used in old Hollywood movies.
  • The snow that blows in your face like needles when it's 0°F.
  • The snow that falls a foot at a time every three days until you worry your roof will collapse.
  • The snow that blows across the road where there's a break in the buildings meaning that that patch of road never gets clear whatever the plows do.
  • The snow that nearly falls on unsuspecting runners underneath a bridge as the plow goes by above.
  • The snow that melts on the floor after the kids come in however thoroughly they tried to avoid it.
  • The snow that amasses in the wheel arches until it scrapes on the front wheels as you turn a corner.
  • The snow that falls out of trees while you're shoveling making you think your kids are throwing snowballs at you.
If you'd like to add to the list or suggest some names for these - feel free to do so in the comments!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Day 10.007: No snow, snow - now!

As of this morning, almost all our snow was gone:

As of this evening, more is expected overnight.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 10.005: Exile #2's Sunday Column #159

Exile #2 writes...

I think it's fair to say that we didn't leap out of bed this morning, after our party yesterday, but it was worth it. Thanks to some determined tidy up efforts last night, the house was in fairly good shape. We even managed to be in Portland by 9:00 am, although we were a little sleepy.

We were back in Portland again this afternoon for a gathering to sing songs on the theme of protest and the struggle for justice. It felt like an appropriate way to spend the afternoon before Martin Luther King Day, and a good way to frame the coming year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 10.004: Party of the decade!

We had quite a few people round for a party this afternoon and evening to celebrate our 10 years in the USA. We had some comedy gems from Very British Problems, some place name pronunciations and some English English quiz questions, a slideshow of our last 10 years and a selection of UK and US music from the last decade as well as a lot of food and drink and lively conversations.

Our guests were from church and work and dance and karate as well as British locals we've met due to hearing each others' accents. I think everyone had a good time!

I was so busy that I took no photographs until everyone had left and we'd started the tidying up - at which point it looked like this:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 10.003: Straight to the dance

I took Exile #4 to the school dance tonight - with straightened hair and some makeup on, meanwhile, this is what Exile #4 looked like:

In other news: I've no idea why certain people don't think my jokes are funny.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 10.002: What not to do - and what to do?

For those not sure what to do with the urinal, here is the sign to explain both what not to do and what to do:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 10.001: Ten years!

Ten years ago, two thirty-somethings and their four and two year-old daughters woke up in a hotel room on the outskirts of Albany, New York having arrived the previous evening on one-way tickets from London.

We've all changed quite a bit since then - especially (I hope you'd agree) these two:

This picture is actually from Day 3.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 9.366: Conversations with my kids...

...and the resulting pictures.

E5N1: Dad, the sky looks amazing...can I take a picture?
E5N1: ...it's not very good, you should take one too:

Exile #4: You suck!
me: I'll tell you when I suck...when I'm drinking through a straw.
Exile #4: ...

Exile #4: You suck!
me: I'll tell you when I suck...
Exile #4: Nooo!

Exile #4: You...you're the worst!
me: I'll tell you when I'm the wurst, when I'm disguised as a German sausage.
Exile #4: ...

Exile #4: Happy birthday - here's your "card":

...and now you know how that picture came to be

...and with that ends the 10th year of the Exile.