Friday, March 31, 2017

Day 10.080: Last morning of March, first snow of April

A picture of this morning's sunrise, and another from the end of the day just as the snow started to fall. Looks like we'll have a few inches by the morning and a few more during the day tomorrow - no foolin'!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 10.079: Targeted advertising

Exile #2 logged into Amazon the other day and was greeted by this:


She accused me (quite correctly) of being to blame. I had a perfectly reasonable excuse, but I'll keep it to myself.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 10.078: A little visit

We had a little visitor today (along with her parents). Such a treat to spend some time with them over dinner!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 10.077: ELN15

It was throwback day at the dance studio today. Exile #3 refused to play (although she did dance), but E5N1 dug out my old Elvis wig...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 10.075: Exile #2's Sunday Column #169

Exile #2 writes...

On Friday, Exile #4 and E5N1 had to make up a day of school. The school district had allowed for five cancellations due to snow but, this year, we had seven. The state of Maine specifies a required number of school days, and so, one way or another, the extra snow days have to be made up.

The rules are a little different for Exile #3, however. Despite the fact that all the kids from town go the high school, it is technically a private school. For this reason, Exile #3 still had the day off. Having such an opportunity, during the course of the day she decided to go from this:


via this:


to this:


Now she's having endless fun swinging it around.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 10.074: Making movies

I helped E5N1 out with making a movie (slideshow with voice-over) for a school project today. He did a nice job - starting with some great illustrations. This is one example:



Other than that, a wild-goose-chase trip to the post office to attempt to apply for a passport renewal (we were too late) and packing Exile #4 off for a birthday sleepover, it was a pretty quiet day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Day 10.073: More people should dance

This came home from school with E5N1 the other day. It's a piece of persuasive writing (with a snazzy cover):

After watching snow fall all afternoon, Exile #2 and I went out - not to dance - but to watch some dance from the amazing ladies of Art Moves, who had ventured down to Portland from their home base in Norway Maine to perform a fantastic hour long work to the music of Nina Simone called "Outlast the Backlash/Freedom is...". We loved it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Day 10.072: Coordinated

On Sunday, Exile #2 and Exile #4 noticed that they were unexpectedly coordinated:


and then E5N1 arrived!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day 10.071: Dancer: 1, Cameraman: 0

Exile #3 danced at the student choreography show at her school this evening. She did great. Me - not so much!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Day 10.070: A sign of spring

There were several cedar waxwings outside our office building this morning. It may not feel much like spring - but there are a few signs that it is!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 10.069: First day of spring

As I got home from my run this morning, I spotted this tiny snowman perched on top of a snow pile by the fire hydrant outside our house:


No-one in the house admits to making it, so I guess it must have been a neighbor or passer-by.

Later, when the sun came out, it began to look a lot like the first day of spring, as long as your mental image of a spring day is this:


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Day 10.068: Exile #2's Sunday Column #168

Exile #2 writes...

No sooner had Exile #3 arrived home from her weekend away, than she was heading off again, this time to the dance studio, to help run a party for the dance students. E5N1 qualified as one of those, so he went too. There were games and dancing, and, for some reason, E5N1 arrived home with a Union Jack painted on his face. We'd been busy preparing his US passport renewal request while they were out, but decided that maybe we'd better delay taking his passport photo. Not sure if they'd appreciate the face art.


I spent much of the weekend in a wrestling match with a migraine but did enjoy strolling through Portland yesterday. There is still a lot of snow - including an impressive amount that had been blown inside the multi-storey car park - but the sky was blue, and the temperature was quite pleasant if, like me, you were wearing a knee-length down coat.

The week ahead is a full one, made fuller by the need to catch up on events postponed by snow, including a whole extra day of school. Won't the young Exiles be delighted!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 10.067: Dinosaur!

The girls are away at a retreat this weekend - so it was just three of us today - something that does not happen very often. After he did a concerted effort to get his homework done this morning, we ventured out to visit the Portland Science Center where the current exhibit is Dinosaurs Unearthed - a mixture of interesting recent scientific discoveries, hands-on exhibits, video features and animatronic dinosaurs:


This was a lot of fun - and more affordable for three than for five - and we followed up with some wandering in the Old Port and some early dinner before heading home.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 10.066: Lepre-conned

I helped E5N1 build a leprechaun trap last night:


It was a bit of a rush-job and so it is perhaps not too surprising that it failed to catch one of the little folk. It was, however, visited by one who left some gold-wrapped chocolates and a handy leprechaun name generator. We therefore discovered the following:

I am Musical McCheesy,
Exile #2 is Cheerful McNoodles,
Exile #3 is Grouchy O'Lucky*,
Exile #4 is Bubbly O'Lucky,
and E5N1 is Eager O'Really.




* I used my nickname for her because I liked the result!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Day 10.065: Bracing


Exile #4 is - as of this morning - following in her sister's orthodontic footsteps.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 10.064: Chip off the old rock

E5N1 has been learning guitar at school. Since he missed music class yesterday, he spent some time practising on Exile #4's small acoustic guitar. Given the tune that he's learning, I thought it might sound better on one of mine:


In a nod to the spiritual that we sometimes sing in church, he also found himself at some point in the day singing a mash-up of Smoke on the Water and Wade in the Water.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 10.063: Pi Day pie (and snow)

In honor of Pi Day (3/14) and assisted by a snow day, these three made a pie:


which we all enjoyed.

We also enjoyed watching the snow fall. I went for a run as the first flakes fell and then went to work for half the day. A little later, I was happy to be safely home:


We didn't enjoy trying to clear the driveway quite so much - especially because of the blizzard-like conditions in progress at the time. I hear we've had about 16 inches, which feels about right. There will be more snow-moving to do in the morning. The kids' schools will be in session after a two-hour delay.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day 10.062: Do not travel

This is what it looked like today:


mild, sunny and increasingly snow-free.

And here is a section of our weather warning for tomorrow:

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions...making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel...have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded...stay with your vehicle.

They are predicting 18 to 24 inches of snow starting tomorrow morning and finishing around midnight. Yikes!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 10.061: Exile #2's Sunday Column #167

Exile #2 writes...

It was the kind of week that involved quite a bit of admin, so how better to reward ourselves than going to hear some great live music? We bumped into friends outside the venue (who, unlike us, had brought their kids - definite loss of parent points for us there!). When we saw them heading confidently upstairs after entering the theater, we decided to follow, figuring that they might have some local knowledge. Turns out they did. We ended up in a fantastic spot at the front of the balcony, in seats rather than standing up downstairs. Our friends jokingly referred to them as old people seats. We wouldn't always choose to sit down at a concert but we were seeing Regina Spektor, so it seemed more in keeping somehow.

We enjoyed watching the theater fill up, as we had no idea what kind of audience she would attract. I don't think I could sum it up even now. It was all age - there were both teeny tots and seniors near us - and eclectic, but it turned out to be one of the noisiest audiences I've ever been in, and not always in a good way (and not because of the children!). Still, it was incredible to hear her sing live. She has an extraordinary voice. I have no idea how she does half of what she does. It was even more fabulous to be sitting somewhere where we could watch her hands on the piano.


In other news we are trying to ignore a late season storm that is considering making a visit this week. I'm just happy that it was polite enough to hold off until after the concert.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Day 10.060: Sing, under water

The snow amounted to a little more than an inch but it has been blowing around today since it has been frigid.

After lunch, we took Exile #3 to a dance performance and the rest of us took the opportunity to see the school art show at the museum. Exile #4 has not done art yet this year, but we found E5N1's piece - rather a nice under water scene with block printed fish:


Our visit did not end well after a disagreement about a gift shop purchase, but when we arrived as it was wrapping-up it seemed that Exile #3's performance had gone well.

We ended the day with a family movie - Sing - which was a fun diversion. Now I need to get to bed before the start of Daylight Saving Time arrives!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Day 10.059: Pileated and piling

There are two things I'd like you to notice in this photo:


Did you see them?

Yes - the woodpecker - good work! And...

The mostly bare ground right?

Yes - but as of this evening...no sign of either one. Hopefully the woodpecker found a good place to go while the snow falls.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 10.058: Regina Spektor

Exile #2 and I went to the State Theatre in Portland this evening:


I won't attempt a review, except to say that it was great!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 10.057: Political action

I'm home! One of the first things that happened after I stepped through the door was that E5N1 showed me this:


It's a personal letter from our state senator in response to a letter that E5N1 had written to him at school about immigration recently. Since the voting-age members of the household are non-citizens and sometimes reluctant to get involved in directly political activity, it's nice to see our US citizen playing his part, and great to see the encouragement of this from this local legislator.