Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 6.294: Jumping someone else's train

We drove around the corner so the kids could trick or treat with sisters who are Exile #4 and E5N1's friends and their little sister and one of their neighboring families around their neighborhood. You can see their costumes properly here.

We had a great time despite the light rain (at least it was mild tonight) and there were certainly no complaints about the candy-haul - which was overflowing our biggest serving bowl when we got home.








P.S. If you pick up on it quick, you can say you were there:


The Cure - Jumping Someone Else's Train (Original Video) from martindebaser on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 6.293: Did we over-order?

When I left work (for the third-from-last time), I picked up Exile #4 from her karate class and took her out for Indian food.

After we'd eaten, this was the scene:


After which I paid and the two of us left with a few leftovers from the four dishes, three rice, two naans that we'd ordered to drive home.

It's possible that three other family members arrived and left separately and in between helped us to eat all the food - but that's just a detail.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 6.292: TV star #3

Look who appeared on our TV today:


Ready for your close up?


Add, "pretending to do something on a MacBook" to the list of things she's learning at middle school.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 6.291: Exhausted

After the viewings yesterday, when we finally got back in the house, we were all quite tired:


For all I know the girls were also asleep in their rooms, I know I came pretty close to dropping off too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 6.290: A surprise sculpture walk

We were forced to be out of the house for a while for a couple of viewings today. We decided to have a walk around the Beaver Tree Trail at Five Rivers. It was cold, but as lovely as usual:


Familiar though we are with the trail, we were surprised to find a piece of nature-art part way around:


and then another:


Later we spotted a less natural, but equally unexpected (and frankly baffling) piece:


We also got quite excited about this construction:


- the beavers have built their best pond-level-raising dam ever.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 6.289: A karateka and many parties

The day started early - with a trip to the dojo for Exile #4's promotional test. She has attained her first kyu and will soon be wearing a white belt with a stripe. It was pretty cool to watch her.


The rest of the day was a crazy whirl of preparing the house for viewings tomorrow interspersed with taxi driving (Exile #4 had two birthday parties to attend and Exile #3 had one) and ended with a great party at Albaniana's house. We arrived in two groups (fresh from gathering the kids) and left in a different two groups - I think we're all home now!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 6.288: Fancy dress rehearsal

In the UK, "costume" is replaced by "fancy-dress" in phrases such as "costume party" and "don't forget to come in costume!", thus setting up the title pun!

It was both the elementary and middle school Halloween parties this evening. I photographed King Julien and the Empty Child on the doorstep before taking the latter and one of her friends to their middle school event (drop-off only) and then continued on to catch up with the former and Exile #2 at the other party. Exile #4 was at a post-school pre-party play-date (try saying that three times fast!), so I caught up with Artemis later in the evening.


All this is basically a dry-run for Thursday of course, when we will venture out to scare the neighbours out of their candy - or just say how nice it is to see each other (especially the kids) and then...please help yourself!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 6.287: All new levels of tidiness!

I took this over a week ago:


Pretty amazing right?  It was actually even tidier today when the photos were taken for the listing.

This is real!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 6.285: E5N1's map of his life right now

Here's another page from E5N1's mind-dump.

On one side was a pretty good freehand map of the USA. On the other, the details that matter:


New York, with our town called out, and - with an arrow (perhaps beckoning us there?): Maine (if you don't get the relevance, you'll want to read this).  Why Utah features there, I have no idea.  Also, I have no idea why the top of the page is labelled as follows:

This Book Has Wild Animals!

No - really - I have no idea.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 6.284: Facts by E5N1

E5N1 is often busily working at the table when we come downstairs in the morning. Recently he's been working on "Non-fiction comics".

Here is one page - of things he knows and you should too (transcribed below):


Lightning can hit trees so be careful!
Gravel can hurt
There are more than 10 states
Not all berries are edible!
Not all dogs are nice
Not all people like Minecraft
Not all kids have parents that are 2
! ? .  These are the marks
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWYX and Z - letters!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 6.283: Quiet and ... peace?

We had a quiet day today - in the sense that we did very little.

The kids don't generally do well with quiet days - and they were anything but quiet for most of it.

Finally, just before dinner we managed to go out - just for a walk around the local streets, but it was glorious and for a few moments - genuinely peaceful!


Tomorrow, it's back to work and back to finding out what jobs should be on our relocation list!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 6.282: Pump Station and Olde English

Some revisionist history...

This evening some past- and soon-to-be past-colleagues came out to congratulate me on my new job.  I still have two weeks to go - but that will fly by.

The Pump Station was very busy because (although it had passed me by) it was Restaurant Week.  We enjoyed the special set menu a lot.  I had some excellent corn & crab fritters, a NY strip with goat cheese and a piece of caramel apple pie.


It is perhaps surprising that our second stop was the first time that I made to the English pub in Albany.  It was strange to be in a British-style pub but tipping the bar tender.  We enjoyed the beer (although most English pubs do not serve beer in pint jugs these days!) and the British music selection in the jukebox.

A good (and late) night was had by me - and I hope everyone else too!

Due to popular demand: here's the original entry - written at 2:30 am or something that night...

It is perhaps surprising that this is the first time that I made to the English pub in Albany. It was for my farewell from the job that I still have two weeks to work at.
The beer selection and the decor are pretty much English pub - but I had to remember to tip the bar tender!  Their shot of choice - the pickleback - was a new experience too. 
Jameson whisky with a pickle-juice chaser - surprisingly palletable!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 6.281: Leaf fort

This is what Exile #4 and E5N1 got up to today.


They told me about the leaf fort at dinner (Exile #2 had taken the photo.) I joked, "Did you have a leaf-ball fight afterwards?"

They both answered, "Yes." That was the end of that.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 6.280: Exiled ME?

A while ago I learned that the job that had brought us to this area from the UK 6 years and - quick check of the post title - 280 days ago was coming to an end. After casting a job-seeking net - at times close to home and at times as distant as California - I have now accepted a new job offer. The trip to the service area selling lobsters was a clue.

The job is in southern Maine, near Portland and not far from where I took one of my all-time favourite photographs while we were visiting with my parents in July 2012:



Most people when they've heard the news have made favourable comments about how beautiful Maine is, some about what a cool little city Portland is. A few have talked about Maine as if it is the frozen tundra - and they may have some of that in the state, but the Portland area has very similar climate to Albany - similar amounts of snow, similar high and low temperatures, so I don't think it will be too much of a shock.

Leaving our friends, neighbours, the area, the schools and this house will be hard but we will cross those bridges when they come.  The agonising over the decision is behind us, and ahead - a whole lot of work!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 6.279: Like nature's stop/go board

Life has felt a bit like this of late too - red=stop/green=go/stop/go/...


...but it seems that is coming to an end, to be replaced by aaaaaarrrrgghhhhhh!

More later.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 6.278: Sore

I'm sore today - not particularly my legs, but my core (stomach muscles and lower back). Ouchie!

On our way from the finish line to the car on Sunday we passed this:


The replica of Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon. We weren't in a position to visit, but it was nice to see it - especially on such a beautiful day.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 6.277: Mohawk Hudson River Marathon


After spending the night tossing and turning - convinced I was going to wake up sick on marathon morning, my alarm went off at 5 am - and I was fine.  I had a small breakfast at about 5:30, did my last minute checks and was out of the house around 6:15. I arrived in downtown Albany and parked the car in good time to get to the buses that were leaving at 6:45.  Once again - like last year I found myself at the start line at about 7:30 - with an hour to go before the race. I sat down to compose myself and rest. It was warmer than expected - in the low 50's. I started to feel hungry - so ate the only real food I had with me - a Clif Builder Bar. Didn't really plan on eating the whole thing but I needed it. Then I spent the next hour worrying if it would be OK. Marathon running messes with your head - as I have observed before.

One of the mistakes I made last year was to over-dress.  This year, the higher than expected temperatures removed any risk of doing that - it was shorts, tee-shirt and some throw-away gloves at the start-line. Conditions were perfect - there would be no excuses there!

I kept my pace down to the more conservative end of what I and my marathon-training forum friends thought I could do for the first half.  It was pretty uneventful apart from a gorgeous view of the Mohawk from the top of the steep descent onto the Mohawk Hudson Hike/Bike Trail.

In the second half, I allowed my pace to increase a little.  At around 18 or 19 miles where I had started to fall off the pace last year - I was still feeling strong and passing a lot of people.

The pain started to increase and it became much more an act of will to keep my pace up as miles 22-25 went by.  Then I caught sight of the pacer for the more aggressive finish  time I'd allowed myself to hope for - my only thought was to finish ahead of him and hope he was still on course for his scheduled time.  With just under a mile to go, I managed to go past.

After that, it was just holding on - through the last section - determined to keep the pacer behind me and make it to the line ahead of my secret target time.  I did!  I was conscious that the crowds were denser at the end, but I was pretty single-minded by then and didn't spare them much thought.

As last year, Exile #2 and the kids had come down to the finish and were behind the barriers just after the finish line where yesterday's picture was taken.  This was a few minutes later:


It was getting quite warm by then, but fortunately I didn't need any excuses!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 6.276: Marathoned

A new PR by a big margin, I achieved my goals (even my super-secret one) and I even managed a smile at the end.

More later, unless I find something more interesting to write about (who am I trying to kid?).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 6.275: Stanton's revisited

It was almost exactly a year-ago that we discovered the local pumpkin-patch fun of Stanton's Feura Farm. Judging by the photos, it was a lot colder that day than it was today when we made our follow-up visit.

We enjoyed the same fun - pumpkin picking, corn-box playing, a corn maze, a hay maze, racing tricycles, a hay ride and the straw slides in the barn:


We also sampled again their donuts - which were on back order and coming out fresh and warm from the fryer into waiting hands.

Once again, we didn't make time for apple-picking - but we did come away with all of this:


- enough to get us our $15 entry fees back and make us feel we were leaving having scored a bargain afternoon out.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 6.274: Cloud - silver lining

At the end of my work day I couldn't find my car keys.

I can't think of anything else publishable to say about that except that I spent nearly an hour looking for them and calling everywhere I could think of but didn't find them.

One of my kind colleagues drove me home - and on the way I was able to photograph the sunset over downtown Albany.


This evening I was tired, I'd had it with today and then the computer wouldn't cooperate with me writing even this much of a blog post.  Blaaah!  Now I'm done.

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