Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day 10.252: Fog in the East End

Well, I started the week with two sick days which is not good either for my mental health or my work place, but was probably necessary for my physical health. I probably should have realized when my runs over the weekend were taxing despite the fact that they were scaled back approximately 50% from last weekend.

The second run was 12 miles easy around Portland while Exile #4 was at her youth group. It was foggy as I ran along the trail past East End Beach and when I arrived at the cruise liner port it was hard to tell if there was a ship in dock or not. As I moved along it did emerge, but the view was still quite a good indication of how thick the fog was.

I'm not back to full strength but should be well enough to be at work tomorrow - especially if I can get a decent night's sleep tonight - something that eluded me yesterday.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Day 10.251: Food labeling is getting ridiculous

We all know that "Best Before" dates are often something of a ploy by food manufacturers to persuade us to throw away perfectly good food and replace it with new food, but at least we can choose to ignore it if it is just printed on the label.

When they print it right on the food* - such as this flour tortilla:

That is taking things to a new level.

* Yes this photograph us real. No I do not really think that this is an escalation in a food labeling war. No I have no idea about how such a thing could happen. No we did not eat this one. Yes, we did eat the rest of the packet.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day 10.250: Exile #2's Sunday Column #193

Exile #2 writes...

The young Exiles needed to head in different directions this afternoon. So, Exile #1 teamed up with Exile #4, and I joined Exile #3 and E5N1. Exile #4 was going to her youth group for some pizza and games. While she did that, Exile #1 revisited some of his old running routes (also part of his upcoming marathon route).

Meanwhile, Exile #3 and E5N1 were auditioning for a Christmas show at their dance school. It is somewhat delightfully called The Land of Misfit Toys and I am imagining it as some sort of alternative Nutcracker. We will shortly find out what parts they will be playing but E5N1 seemed fairly confident that he would get the "special boy role". Well, he was the only boy there.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 10.249: Ditto

Something like this will happen in church tomorrow morning (I will probably wear some footwear)...followed by me singing one of my favourite songs.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Day 10.248: Spring/summer running update

In January I found myself having not been out for a run (at all) in 9 weeks. Considering since I took up running five and a half years earlier I hadn't gone more than about 9 days (and that only once or twice), this was quite a serious situation.

The thought that if I stopped running I would get lazy and never start again had haunted me for most of those five years and as it turned out it was really easy to do just that. I got in the habit of staying up later, filling my time with good things like making music and reading books and watching TV with Exile #2, but at some point I realised that I needed to be exercising again.

Getting back into regular running habits was hard - much harder than getting into them in the first place. The fact that I had put on 20 pounds and lost a lot of fitness did not make getting back on the road easy - nor did the fact that it was winter in Maine. It was April before I started to string some decent miles together and feel like a runner again. The table shows my weekly mileage totals since then - hardly a picture of consistency. The final blip was somewhat planned - for our camping trip - but the other orange weeks indicate I did less than I planned.

Finally, I've put a few consistent weeks together - nowhere near enough for long enough to be trained for my marathon on October 1st, but unless I get sick or injured I will run it - and it will be another step towards fully back to what had become normal running fitness.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 10.247: Shoot and toot

I spent most of the evening rushing around town with E5N1 - first I collected him from soccer where he seems to be gaining some skills and some confidence. After that we had a quick slice of pizza and then it was to school for the band information meeting - where he collected his trumpet.

Apart from feeling the weight of it (considerable according to the ten year old), he has not interacted with the instrument yet as he is supposed to leave it in its case until his first class on Monday. It does have a very nice case though!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day 10.246: The great turkey invasion

About a week ago, Exile #2 was surprised to see a family group of at least ten wild turkeys walk through our back yard - she even took some photos!

When you see a group of these birds it's not hard to believe that they are actually dinosaurs. Yes I did say actually dinosaurs.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 10.245: Fun guy in the woods

That would be me - in Horton Woods on Saturday taking photos of these things (mostly fungi):

We particularly liked the way the fungus had formed on the partially fallen tree - looking like ridges of bark on the horizontal section.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 10.244: Horton Woods

It's hard to believe it has taken us so long to visit Horton Woods - my parents went there on their first visit after we moved to Maine but somehow it never made it to the top of our list until Saturday afternoon.

Judging by the cars in the parking lot and the people we saw on the trails it's a popular spot. We saw a lot of variety - gnarly trails in the woods, glimpses of meadow and the creek. We played some entertaining games of Poohsticks at the creek crossing - the first time we all dropped our sticks in, all but one headed slowly upstream away from the bridge for about 20 feet and none made it out the downstream side. There should probably be a prize for that!

At one point I spotted an owl (probably a barred owl) at the top of a tree - but sadly it flew away before I could bring the camera to bear.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Day 10.243: Exile #2's Sunday Column #192

Exile #2 writes...

So, normal service has resumed for us this week, although we're sparing many thoughts for those whose lives will not be normal for the foreseeable future, both in this country and overseas.

All three of the young Exiles have made a successful reentry to school, and although we still have some back-to-school Open Houses to come, we're pretty much back in the swing. E5N1 is the only young Exile to have made major changes to his extra-curricular activities this year, opting for a low-key soccer skills class at the local gym,

and taking up the trumpet. With that in mind, Exile #1 dug out his old French horn mouthpiece, and E5N1 has been wandering around the house making a host of interesting, and sometimes alarming, noises. I'm feeling quite pleased that we have a basement.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Day 10.242: Camera obscura

E5N1 came home with a great project to start the homework season - to turn a room in the house into a camera obscura. Knowing this, I was less surprised than I might have been to come back from my run this morning to find this scene:

It took some experimentation to balance brightness and clarity by varying the hole size and photographing the results was a blind activity (including manual focus) since I could literally see only black through my camera viewfinder, but I was able to get these photos (turned right way up for your convenience) of Exile #2 dancing around the back yard and the shed:

As we were about to pack-up, E5N1 noticed that I had the trees projected on me as I walked to the door, so I got him to pose for a picture in the same position:

It was an excellent project!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Day 10.241: Life with a runner

Exile #2 took these photos yesterday and emailed them to me with the subject line, "Life with a runner".

Then she found a draw with some more running shoes in it.

I don't see a problem here - the ones in the draw are very old, the ones in the pile are old (more than 400 miles each) and the ones in a line are my current ones.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Day 10.240: Throwback Thursday: E5N1 and the tarts

One day a couple of weeks ago E5N1 told Exile #2 that he wanted to do some baking. This is what happened:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Day 10.239: What are they doing?

So, what did I photograph Exile #3 and E5N1 doing at the arboretum on Saturday?

It's possible that they were attempting this:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Day 10.238: Back to school

Here are the kids on the first day of 10th, 8th and 5th grades:

For Exile #4 and E5N1 that was today - for Exile #3 it was last Thursday (although today was her first day of regular classes). Any suggestion that she should pose for another "first day" picture today was met with this response:

As far as I have gathered, the day seems to have gone well for all of them.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 10.237: Viles Arboretum

After a rainy evening curtailed our anniversary outing yesterday, we were pleased to have a dry sunny day to end the holiday weekend. We had a lovely visit to Viles Arboretum in Augusta where we saw trees and other plants and sculpture and even a few animals. It looked something like this:

Some of the other plants we saw included an apple tree called "Canadian Strawberry", some lovely berries and a lot of hostas. We also discovered that most American Chestnuts were wiped out in Maine during the first half of the 20th century by a fungal disease. The arboretum has a small plantation trying to recover the situation a bit. We also found out that the seed pods are known as urchins.

We also saw a monarch (and some other butterflies), a painted turtle, a broad-winged hawk and - spotted by the ever eagle-eyed Exile #4 - a praying mantis (probably a Carolina mantis). The owl was a sculpture - but sneaked into my animal collage!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Day 10.236: Exile #2's Sunday Column #191

Exile #2 writes...

Twenty three years and many adventures ago, on a slightly rainy day in Oxford, Exile #1 and I got married. Appropriately enough, it was raining today too, but it didn't stop us getting out and enjoying some very tasty Chinese food in Portland. We did decide to head home and watch a movie though instead of wandering the soggy streets. But it is Labor Day tomorrow and even Exile #1 has the day off, so we can enjoy the evening, knowing we have one more day before normality (and school resumes). Happy Anniversary, Exile #1!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Day 10.235: New Yorkers from New Hampshire

Our friends H, M & C from our years in New York visited today from their vacation in New Hampshire. We had a lovely day that flew by - the only time I got my camera out was during a tense game of Suspend. Fortunately, we remembered to take some more photos as they were getting ready to leave.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 10.234: End of the summer

It's the beginning of Labor Day weekend - the unofficial and generally practical end of summer. Exile #3 had one day of school this week but all the kids will be in school on Tuesday.

Last weekend, while Exile #3 was dancing for the seagull, E5N1 jumped around the rocks and gathered periwinkle shells, but Exile #4 mostly just sat and looked at the sea. She was quite content and quite photogenic: