Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day 6.355: Party like it's 2009

...or maybe 2006?

We got the Rock Band stuff out this afternoon. E5N1 requested we play Lego Rock Band (release date 2009). The kids are getting quite competent. I took this while the three of them were playing:

And then E5N1 chose to sing "Monster" by "The Automatic" (release date 2006). Here's a clip captured by Exile #2:

And with that, we bid farewell to 2013. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 6.354: Five Rivers - plus 3 minus 1

With E5N1 at a birthday party for a couple of hours, the rest of us decided to show our visitors some upstate hospitality by taking them for a bitterly cold walk in nature.

We actually had a great time - brief (cold) hike at Five Rivers followed by a thaw-out in the visitor center.

Here are a few moments.

We waved them goodbye this evening - for their late-night drive back to the city. Sad to see them go, but so glad they came to visit!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 6.353: Viewing, the 'verse

The day started with a viewing at 9:30 - which considering the amount of "last minute" tidying and cleaning that is required is effectively the crack of dawn.

By mid-morning, we were back in the house and by lunchtime our visitors from NYC had arrived and we spent the afternoon playing lots of games as first the rain, then the snow fell outside.

When the kids went on their way to bed, we embarked on a four and a half hour session learning and playing this excellent Firefly game.  So good to have geeky gamey friends!

Complicated, intense and awesome.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 6.352: Lights, camera, action!

Our other outing yesterday was to drive through the "Holiday Lights in the Park" in Albany.  We all thought they were on rather good form this year - brighter and higher resolution than our memories from previous years - maybe related to the imminent demise of the incandescent bulb.

Here is:
  1. A general shot (lights) including - possibly new this year - Mr Potato Head.
  2. A shot with some (camera) shake - but a nice accidental effect.
  3. Our favourite of the "credits displays with a simple two part (action) animation of the elves dunking the doughnut into the Dunkin' Donuts cup.

There was plenty of action here today as we get the house back from its relatively-relaxed Christmas state ready for a showing in the morning and visitors tomorrow afternoon.  It was pretty much an all-day activity.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 6.351: Schoharie Creek Preserve

We've visited most of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy properties over the last few years, so we were interested to hear of a new one. Today we visited the Schoharie Creek Preserve where there is a recently opened 1.3 mile loop trail.

The kids suggested that we were the only people crazy enough to be out hiking on a day like today, but when we got back to the car, there was another one there and the turkeys had clearly been along the trail too!

The north and east sides of the preserve are bordered by two creeks that couldn't be more different.  Leaving by the back of the parking lot and looping clockwise, the first is Wilsey Creek, a small steep stream with a series of waterfalls - not hard to see, but rather too hidden by the trees for good photographs (the two on the right are from the road after we'd reclaimed the car):

The second is Schoharie Creek itself, which here is a wide open river and the trail descends right beside it.  Today it had impressive lumps of ice on the shoreline and impressive (and apparently slippery) ice on the trail (E5N1 is hamming it up - it's not as bad as it looks!)

The trails down to the creek and back are fairly steep, but were fairly easily passable even today. It's a beautiful spot and we were happy to have taken the drive out to Esperance to take a walk there.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 6.350: Rivers sibyl

On Christmas Eve (unlike yesterday and today) we managed to venture out together for a walk.

It started in the front yard - with a check on Bob. His parsnip nose had been lost (probably to a deer), but he still had his eyes and his mouth was lying on the floor and was restored by Exile #4. He still looks almost exactly the same more than 48 hours later thanks to the drastic cool-down.

Then we headed over to Five Rivers where we had a cold, slippery but beautiful walk:

and even managed to fit in our often-repeated group photo.  You can see some previous versions - summarized last time we took one - in the summer and a list of links in an earlier post.

Incidentally, for any title-watchers, there is no oracular activity listed here, but those "rivers/reverse" puns are getting hard to come by for these posts.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Day 6.349: Cardboard World

I hope you all had a great day whether you were celebrating Christmas or not. Our morning went something like this:




"Cardboard World!"

After which we had a delicious lunch and the kids smiled like this:

There were also Skype/Face Time conversations, a game, lots of jokes from E5N1's joke book and two of us watched Doctor Who - the rest will catch up tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 6.348: Happy Christmas (#7)!

Since we are trying to sell the house, it has reached (and largely maintained) a previously unknown state of tidiness.  One of the consequences was that the Christmas tree was decorated in a conservative fashion with elegant baubles and lights rather than with all the homemade ornaments that usually come out of storage at this time of year.

With at least one day clear of viewings ahead, we decided to restore it to its normal glory today:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Day 6.347: Run-a-wave

I had an OK run in the rapidly melting snow this morning. By the way - Bob had lost his head (although he gained a new one later in the day) but nothing had eaten his face.

Anyway, I saw nothing of interest on my run, not that I had my phone with me anyway, so here's a photo from my last run in Maine - on Saturday morning.

It's a lousy photo, but in person it was striking how much this looked like a breaking wave.  Or maybe the sea-air is getting to me.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Day 6.346: Bob & Fred

At lunchtime we had a discussion about things that we all wanted to fit in during the next week or so. Exile #4 said that she wanted to make a snowman since she'd missed out yesterday. With the temperature expected to get up to something like 60°F today, we thought we'd better make that a priority.

So, Exile #4, E5N1 and I spent the early afternoon doing this...

Bob with his dog Fred and Fred's kennel.

I suspect that Bob's face and Fred's raisin "dog-food" will go the same way as Bob's predecessor's similar face - eaten by wild animals in the night (it was deer yesterday) - but we were pretty happy with our work in the rapidly melting snow.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 6.345: ...actually in New York

I came home to be greeted by these three:

One of them wasn't exactly what I expected - but was rather impressive.

Exile #4 did join us later in case you were wondering.  Now I'm back with the family for a while - hopefully I can bring the blog some New York adventures over the next few days.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 6.344: Less is more

It's been a short spell in Maine this week. I'm heading back home tomorrow. The week has been an eventful one though thanks to the foot of snow that fell just before I got here and the six inches or so since then. Yesterday daytime temperatures just crept above freezing for the first time in well over a week.

My morning runs have given me the opportunity to assess various snow clearance efforts and I've decided that less is more - to a point.

This was the view on one of my runs.  Since we're right at the eastern edge of the Eastern Time Zone, the sun rises relatively early (and sets early of course!).

Most of the trails and sidewalks I run on have been cleared like this:

Which, when packed hard, makes a pretty good running surface (especially with my Yaktrax).  I've encountered  two less-desirable variations.

1) The complete clearance - which, with insufficient salt and very cold overnight temperatures result in what looks like clear ground, but is actually a perfect sheet of ice.

2) The not-bothered-to clearance - which with this much snow is effectively impassable.

Now, with the temperatures rising, the hard packed snow is getting soft and mobile which is much harder going, so maybe the balance will tip in favour of option 1, but probably not as I doubt this 'warm' spell will last too long.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Day 6.343: Destroy the Death Star!

A moment from last weekend - E5N1's X-wing. He flew that for a while and then he started pulling the dining chairs out.

"What are you doing?"

"It's the Death Star!"

Of course it is!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 6.342: Swap it like a yankee!

Had a lovely time at the church Christmas party tonight. A great potluck meal and a yankee gift swap - it doesn't get more American than that.

Pictured: choosing a gift from under the tree and the moment that the person holding #1 got to exercise their right to the final swap of the night!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 6.341: It's that time of the year again!

Wakey wakey! It's a perfect morning for a run!

I actually think it was a little colder than this - by the time I left for work the current temperature was reported on my phone as -6°F (zero is -18°C for the metrically inclined).

If anything I was a little overdressed in four layers on my top, three on my bottom half, three pairs of gloves and two hats.

My cheeks still felt the full impact of the cold air though and made me glad there was no wind!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 6.340: Running in an autumn wonderland

Yes - I managed to run this morning. I think my Yaktrax have had more outings so far this year (with a few days to go before winter's official appearance) than in the previous years put together. They may not have more snow here, but it seems to hang around more.

Not that I'm complaining - the snow-blowers had cleared this trail and some of the sidewalks making them easily passable, if not quite ideal underfoot. The plows had thrown up snow-banks (up to six feet tall) in unexpected places turning the city streets into an early-morning maze - but I found my way around them to have a pretty good run.

And, once the sun started to rise, a glorious view.

Tomorrow, I expect to wake to single-digit temperatures, and it will probably be snowing again by the end of the day.  I wonder what winter will be like when it arrives at the end of the week!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 6.339: Snow from there to here

The final tally was around 10 inches I think.

It wasn't good snow for building (not yet anyway), but Exile #4 managed to find some lumps and had an elaborate explanation for them involving the skull of a dead tyranno-snow-rus rex and a cast of other characters.

She and E5N1 had just come in from playing in the snow when it was time for me to follow the storm out to the New England coast.

When I got here - the scene was fairly similar.

And the tidal bay that I run around most mornings was almost unrecognisable as such.

I'm not quite sure if running out there is going to be possible tomorrow, but I'll probably give it a try!

Day 6.338: Snow night for a party

There were two things in the plan for this weekend - a holiday party this evening, and the kids' performances in their Christmas pageant in church tomorrow morning.

Both were threatened by the snow storm coming in this evening.

But our babysitter arrived through the first few inches of snow - on time - just before 7, so we ventured out and had an excellent evening. The car looked like this when we left the party:

But we made it safely home - and dug out our babysitter who made it safely home.

Now we wait to see what the morning will bring.


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