Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 5.111: Taller than the others...

Apparently, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site became the tallest building in NYC today.

Yesterday, we noticed that the new building at CNSE in western Albany also now towers over its surroundings when viewed from Thacher Park:


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 5.110: A bit of a blur

With work and kitchen stuff, the last few weeks have gone by in a bit of a blur.


Yeah - like that (from yesterday's visit to Washington Park) but not quite so much fun.

The kitchen is now usable again (pictures soon) and so hopefully things will start to get back to normal soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 5.109: Tulips #7!

It was nearly six years ago - in May 2006 - that we first saw the tulips in Washington Park in Albany. The kids looked like this:


However, as we set out to see them today - two weeks before the Tulip Festival, we wondered if we might already be too late to see them at their best.  The spring has arrived so early this year and you have to feel for Jessica Morgan, who took over as the Albany city gardener during the last year.

We did see a little of this:


and some (presumably hastily) planted bedding plants in places, but there were also many many beautiful tulips in some spectacular arrangements.

Pictures here.

How many will survive another two weeks I certainly couldn't tell you, but it's very attractive right now.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 5.108: Dinosaur - family-style

Dino BBQ Troy 2
I have eaten Dinosaur Bar-B-Que food before and enjoyed it, but today I actually ate at their restaurant in Troy for the first time. I'm not one to jump on the hype train apparently.

My Korean business guests were once again an excuse for a meal out and this time it was 'our' turn to show them a piece of American culture.  The association of 'Korean' and 'barbecue' is certainly nothing new, but I was far from sure how they would respond to big chucks of smoked meat.

All eleven of us had a rather good meal.

We had thirteen of their hottest wings, two of their family-style meals, each with a whole chicken and a rack of ribs, and one with a pound of pork, one with pound of brisket, two links of the hot sausage (to give everyone a taste) and one portobello sandwich for the vegetarian.  At the end, there was a bit of each of the family-style sides left (we had beans, coleslaw and fries) and a cornbread muffin.  We successfully and happily ate everything else.

It was a really good way to experience the place - everyone was able to eat more of what they liked and, after a few days of eating out twice a day, no-one needed to eat more than they wanted.  The service and food were both excellent and despite my mixed expectations, I was impressed and will, I dare say, be back.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 5.107: One day to go


As we recover from our time of no-kitchen displacement, Exile #2 instituted "Tidy by Friday week".  She pronounces it so that it rhymes (tidy bee fry dee).  This kids are still British-enough to know that pudding really means dessert - something we (the adults at least) rarely have space for when we've eaten out.

So it is no great surprise that the kids have embraced this special occasion by tidying and keeping their rooms tidy.  Exile #2 and I are putting the kitchen (back) together and then it's just tackling my floordrobe. - otherwise there will be big trouble if I cause the target to be missed!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 5.106: The chihuahua song

No, not this one.

This evening was Exile #4's end-of-session piano recital.  


Her first piece was song called Chihuahua on a Skateboard which she first played as a duet with her teacher and then sang.

Here's the piano playing version.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 5.105: Mingle (with Koreans)

We had Korean visitors at work today and they suggested that we go out for Korean food this evening. So it was that I finally got to visit Mingle.

We had a very nice evening.  My choice of location caused some doubt when we arrived, but seemed to meet with everyone's satisfaction - including the Korean visitors who pointed out that the kimchi was slightly unusual because it was made of 무 (radish) rather than 배추 (cabbage).  All agreed that it was good.

I had the bibimbap - which was almost good enough to cause me to finish it without taking a picture, but I remembered before all the tasty spicy rice-y goodness was gone.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 5.103: Party (at the airport)

They revamped the airport completely
Now it looks just like a nightclub
Everyone's excited and confused.
They Might Be Giants - Man, it's so loud in here

Today I found myself at the second (un-revamped) airport in two days - with no tickets or plans to fly.


Meanwhile, the rest of the family were at what seems to have been a fairly spectacular party for two of Exile #3's friends.  She was very excited to show off her airbrushed 'tattoo' (photographed at church by Tammy) and her cartoon portrait (photographed badly by me at home):


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 5.102: Sunshine and showers

It's been a mixed day - and I don't just mean the weather.

I started the day with a run that, despite being short and relatively slow, completely wiped me out.  It became clear that I was not altogether healthy.  We spent an hour or so working on the kitchen (somewhat slowly in my case) before an outing (in the sunshine) to pick up a rental car at the airport (for me to drive some business visitors around in) and for the girls to spend some money at the mall.

At lunchtime I skipped food in favour of sleep.

This afternoon and evening, with the rain falling, we made some good progress on the dwindling number of jobs that we need to do before the plumber and the electrician come to get the kitchen up and running again.

The kids entertained themselves - Exile #4 was the only one to brave the rain, but she did look very much the part in her matching coat and boots, as Exile #2 noticed (and snapped this).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 5.101: That sinking feeling

Our sink arrived today (actually it was the second time it had arrived, but it was dent-free this time).

We're definitely approaching the end of the project now, but with the end of the project come a lot of out-of-comfort-zone jobs.  For example, this evening I had to cut a big hole in the wood countertop that Exile #2 has been lovingly finishing over the last week or two.

I also had to cut a rebate or rabbet.  Apparently, both British and American versions of the word come from the French rabbat, so I suppose we'll put this on the list of things we agree on, "One of those 'a's has to go!"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 5.100: Learning...mandarin

Exile #3 has inherited my sensitivity to acidic citrus fruits. Here she is exhibiting a classic reaction this evening - fresh from day three of three of week one of two (for now) of her state tests:


I think she's doing fine and so they, at least, are not leaving a bad taste in her mouth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 5.099: End in sight?

I had the day off work today.  Surprisingly, it was not primarily related to the kitchen project - although we did put these shelves up and talk to a plumber.

The main task was to complete (i.e. start and finish) my page for this year's yearbook.  I had a ten minute visit to Exile #4's class to take a couple of extra pictures and then settled down to do the page design.  I don't feel that it's my greatest strength by any means, but the result was OK I hope.

So now, it's back to concentrating on the kitchen for a few days and then I have a reverse business-trip to occupy me for a week or so (but more on that later I suspect).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 5.098: Driving cross-country

I am home.

The journey back from the Washington D.C. area can hardly be referred to as cross-country, but our drive to the airport seemed to be according to the rental car GPS unit, which, along with a fair proportion of drivers - judging by the emptiness, was unaware of the existence of the road we were on.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 5.097: Swans and dragons

I'm away on business - watching the local wildlife from my hotel window.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 5.096: Dash it!

Today I ran my first race since the New Year's Day half-marathon. It was in Delmar and the race is called the Delmar Dash - a five mile race starting and finishing at the Bethlehem Central Middle School. The race was through a suburban residential area and there were plenty of people sitting and standing outside their houses on a warm Sunday morning to cheer the runners on.

I had a time I wanted to achieve based on both my training and my target marathon time (I'm signed up to run one in October) converted thanks to McMillan Running.  I managed to get in under both target times - so I'm pretty happy about that.

Here I am finishing (thanks to Exile #2's camera-work) with the girls cheering me on:


I was flying to the line!


The kids all ran in the associated fun-runs this time.  Exile #3 ran the mile - here she is finishing:


And both Exile #4 and E5N1 ran the half-mile.  Here is their race going by:



I ended up running the rest of the way with E5N1 who valiantly completed it in the end and all three got their prizes for completing the races.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 5.095: E5N1 dines: Wendy's

The title is a joke - a play on the popular feature at renowned local blog derryX and the general popularity of E5N1's adventures with the readers of this blog.

Most of the day was spent on kitchen work - hanging wall cabinets and waterproofing butcher's block countertops.

At lunchtime we fled the scene to grab some fast food.  At Wendy's E5N1 surprised us by shunning all the kid's meal options and all the fries, nuggets and burgers in favour of an apple and pecan salad.  Yes really.  He washed it down with some all-natural lemonade.  The only nod to his preschool taste was that instead of using the salad dressing, he had some barbecue sauce on the side to dip the pieces of chicken in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 5.094: It's not a "Yayak"!

All seemed very peaceful when I arrived home from work today:


Of course, the way Exile #4 was perched on the end of the hammock might have warned me that she wasn't feeling quite as laid back as the others.

After Exile #2 went inside, I wandered back out and discovered this (don't miss the soundtrack!):



Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day 5.093: Goof-ball, arithmetic


Both the girls are doing pretty well in 'math' at school at the moment.  I'm often looking for ways to give them something to calculate.  The other day we estimated the speed of light using the fact that light takes about 8 minutes to get here from the sun (which I remembered) and that the distance is 93 million miles (which we know thanks to TMBG).

Today, however, it was Exile #4 who started things by saying at dinner time how easy it was to add 1+2+3, "if you know your math facts!"

Exile #2 asked, "What about 1+2+3+4?", the girls both started thinking...

"10" said E5N1, matter-of-factly.

Yep.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 5.092: Kitchen progress

So, we successfully destroyed this (actually, as you can see we'd already started on the top cabinets at this point):


Discovered and dealt with the water damage:


And had the electricians and the flooring guy in:


And now, we've got the ceiling painted, the light fittings replaced, walls flat and most of the baseboard cut (including the tricky octagonal pantry walls) it looks like this:



It's not a kitchen by any means, but it's starting to look like a nice room.

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