Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Day 294: Take your pick

It's all a matter of how you look at things.

Day 294(a): One lousy day

What I didn't mention yesterday, was that today Exile #2 and I were supposed to be taking our driving tests in this car. The morning was spent phoning garages ("A diesel sedan? Oh, I wouldn't really be knowing about that sir") then the dealership ("Yes we'll look at if you can get it here") then the towing company ("That'll be $108"). Then waiting for the towing company to turn up, dashing across town to meet them at the dealership, rushing home to get some practice manoeuvring the van (the test includes a parallel park and a 3-point turn).

After that we dashed home to get some food for E5N1 and some costumes for the other kids. While we were there the garage called to say that the car might very well be terminal ("60-70% chance you need a new motor") - he meant engine, but it makes little practical difference. At this point we barely had time to get something to eat before our tests ("There's a ten minute wait for those"). Pulling up the the first junction of the test-route I managed to cut up another vehicle and then hit the curb/kerb. Nice work!

Day 294(b): A pretty good day

The day started with waiting for the school bus. My latest piles of leaves were put to good use. After that I was able to find someone willing to look at the car and someone able to get it to them.

We found an excellent place in the town park to practise our parallel parking in peace. The minivan is quite manoeuverable for its size and Exile #2 is much more used to driving it. After that we got some lunch and arrived at the testing location in plenty of time for Exile #2's test. I was not on best of form following negative news about the car, but at least the mistakes I made as we drove past the queue of cars waiting for tests were not witnessed by the examiner!

Both our tests went absolutely fine - the examiner was much more interested in talking to us than looking for excuses to fail us. I suppose a British couple make a change from local 16 and 17 year olds. So, with our receipt-style temporary licenses in our hands, we returned to see how Exile #4 was getting on. The answer was very well. Thanks to Albaniana who brought her home from school and looked after her in the afternoon. After we had a very welcome cup of tea the rest of both clans arrived and 3 out of 4 of walking age came out for a seven-house trick-or-treat tour. Fairly painless for the adults and lots of fun (and plenty productive enough) for the kids.

The car looks bad, but it seems likely to have been a random event that no amount of pre-inspection or servicing could have prevented, and there's still hope that it will be (reasonably) repairable - there are many worse surprises we could have had.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 293: Bite of passage

Another landmark reached this morning when I went for a dental check-up. Once again culture-shock was looming. I was taken into the surgery at exactly the time it said on my appointment card and was climbing back into my car at exactly the time they said I would be done. In between I had amongst other things 18 X-rays and some normal photos some of which involved me doing the same as Exile #4 in this picture except with some metal brackets instead of fingers.

The rest of the day was uneventful until I left work to come home. The car wouldn't start. We tried persistence and booster cables (jump leads) but that didn't help. Although it was turning over half heartedly to give us hope, it sounds like the engine is getting no fuel. I suppose that I will spend tomorrow morning getting to know another industry's idiosyncrasies.

Exile #2 brought the whole clan to pick me up. On the way home I wondered if the man at the full-service gas station had put 'gas' in my tank rather than diesel. After House I went back to work to look at the receipt in the car - no he got it right by the looks of it. It says "Product: Dies". Spot on.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 292: The Cobalt Season

This evening I left Exile #2 with the unenviable job of getting three children to bed on her own to go out to another gig. It couldn't have been more different from the last one. The band were The Cobalt Season - Ryan (shadow) and Holly (shadowed). The background is a fantastic blend of a film the band projected as their light show and the wallpaper of the house where the gig was. They are halfway through a two month US tour playing concerts in homes and other small venues, staying with friends and strangers and moving on. They also have their one-year-old son with them - quite an undertaking.

The music was great as were the discussions - the event was hosted by our nearly-church and people were curious about it. The band are in a similar spiritual place to me at the moment I think - longing for truth and consistency and for their faith to mean something for themselves and those they meet. Immediate catch was "Careful not to draw your maps in pen and ink" - You are going to change your mind some day... Also, if this is, as iTunes informs me, 'Folk', I may have to redraw some of my musical maps too. It is beautiful and heartfelt and flawed and gritty - I hope that they would like that description because I intend it as high praise.
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 291: He's behind you!

After church and some more leaf raking we got the kids ready for a Halloween Party at the invitation of some of the girls' school friends. Their mother is English - but has been here for some time and she managed to get some of her English colleagues to join her in performing a little pantomime on their porch. All the features were in place:
Dame - check.
Audience participation - check.
Sing-along - check,
Shouting children - check your hearing.

The sing-along was to a popular tune modified to "It's a long way to Widow Twanky's" and the suitably butch Dame doubled as a rather camp fairy - all bases covered. It was fun to see a some Americans encountering UK/US culture-shock for a change.

The rest of the party was inside the rather lovely house. There was lots of food and drink and pretty good conversation as these sorts of events go - improved by the fact that most of the kids spent most of their time in a basement playroom. As the sun went down I took this picture from the deck. Not a bad spot really :-)

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Day 290: Falling down

On our walk last Saturday, we were impressed to find these pink leaves - not one of the classic autumnal colours, but very attractive just the same and Exile #3 liked the fact that they matched her top (sort-of).

This evening, after all three children were in bed (hooray!), Exile #2 remembered that we'd forgotten to give Exile #3 her antibiotics this evening. Since it wasn't the first time, we decided she really should have a dose and so I said I would go and disturb her. She was deeply asleep, but I sat her up explaining that she needed her medicine. She turned over and lay back down. I tried again. The same response. I sat her up on the edge of her bed. She seemed vertical, until I tried to pour the medicine, when she lay back down again. Finally I stood her up, but even then when I let go to pour the medicine she immediately took a step back towards the bed. I was in stitches but she was really completely unaware of what was going on. Finally I managed to get her to take the dose and by the time I had stood up she was lying down fast asleep again.

I spent the latter part of the evening playing Portal. It is mind-blowing in both quality and nature. However, it messes with your head. The central conceit is that you have a 'portal generator' that can open a portal between any two appropriate flat surfaces. Having done this you can walk into one and come out of the other. When it really starts to get confusing is when one of the ends is in a floor and the other in a wall - you fall down into one and end up 'falling' sideways out of the other. If that isn't enough, open one in the floor near your feet and the other in the floor somewhere you can jump down to - do so and end up falling up from the one at your feet (until gravity takes hold again that is). Aaargh. The witty commentary, clever problem-based game-play and weird but self-consistent physics make it a new favourite.
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 289: Woolly Mom mouth

As mentioned some time ago, here is Exile #2's first significant knitting project. The last few days have finally provided the correct atmospheric conditions for it. For some reason she asked me to photograph the knitting without including her - this was the result.

After work I went straight to school for a scheduled meeting with Exile #3's teacher. We had a good conversation and afterwards collected the girls from after-care where Exile #3 had been since school finished (Exile #4 joined her while we had our meeting). In total it was nearly ten hours since we saw her off on the bus - quite a day for a five year old.

While I write this I can hear that Exile #2 has found a channel (one of the 400 or so) showing 'Ab Fab' it's a slightly surreal transatlantic moment.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 288: It's such a...

...cliché. But it really was: blue sky, cool breeze, warm - but not unseasonably so, ...shame to be at work all day really. I did manage a bit of leaf raking when I got home, but it was virtually dusk by then.

So, here's a lovely picture in our yard - I'm glad I shared it with you (and Pop pun #35* for title watchers).

* OK more pop than pun, but having established that a pun is any play on words, consider this a play on the word 'pun'.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 287: Noo-noo time!

On Saturday, Exile #4 helped me with the raking by helping load the wagon up and then towing it to the pile by the road. Early this morning I saw what happens to the piles. The men from the town works department come along with a truck with a giant vacuum cleaner attachment and suck it up. Each season has its own surprises.

This evening was a pot-luck supper at the school for Pre-K thru 3rd Grade. A chance to meet other parents and see our children's work. In reality, a chance to watch our over-tired children get grumpy and wonder if we've reached the dreaded status of parents of the worst behaved children. In actual fact it was mostly fine and it was nice to have Exile #3 and Exile #4 show us around their classrooms and show us their work.

By now there are plenty of leaves on the grass again and still the trees seem to have their full plumage*. I think we will need a few more visits from the Noo-noo.

*I know - it's 'foliage' - if we'd once made pens from leaves, would the_exile be my nom-de-feuille?
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 286: How do I look?

New patient appointment - normally a few questions and a blood-pressure measurement. Well, in the UK it would be. Here it was that followed by a full medical involving the wearing of a gown. The poking, prodding and questioning was followed by blood-letting and injections. Happy days.

Earlier in the day I had a work trip down-state. It was a fairly pleasant two hours each way through the fall foliage. Funny how four hours of driving in a working day seems perfectly reasonable here - even funnier that it actually is OK.
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Monday, October 22, 2007

Day 285: Definitely five

Here is another picture from our walk on Saturday - as you can see even towards the end Exile #3 had plenty of energy. Later Exile #4 just about held her off on a run to the car. They're both too fast for complacency these days, but mostly sensible thankfully.

Today Exile #3 came home early from school for a doctor's appointment because once again a cold has gone to her ears. She is really not hearing very well at all. Neither Exile #2 nor I are inclined to being concerned (except for all our sanity). Each time they clear up, but I always worry that if we don't take her it will be the time we eventually hear the doctor say "Why didn't you bring her a week ago?". Sigh. Anyway, when the doctor saw her today, he asked her, "Are you ready for Halloween?" She said, "Five." which said it all really.
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 284: Razzle-dazzle

We skipped church this morning to play in the sun.

Not really! although we did miss our church meeting. Exile #2 has had a migraine today and the rest of us have varying levels of cold symptoms and so are also somewhere below par (is that why they're called bogeys?).

Anyway, the four of us with working heads did manage an outing to our nearest playground - when we arrived we had the whole place to ourselves. The girls ran around, I had a sit down and E5N1 eventually had a little snooze in the sun. Exile #2 is much better now by the way and we managed a game of Scrabble this evening (399 + 291 = 690 for anyone interested).

Exile #4 has been learning her colours in Spanish. This has been fine - she does a very Spanish sounding verde, rojo, azul etc. Orange week caused us more of a problem. Our pocket Spanish dictionary told us the word was naranja (although we weren't sure exactly how to pronounce it). When she came home, she told us the correct pronunciation was (as well as I can render it) 'rana-taz-tazle' - she was very determined and consistent about it. Since then she has had us in stitches quite often, but remained unswayed. It turns out she was saying anaranjado - which, for the hispanically-challenged (like us) comes out something like 'anaran-hatho' - not so far away after all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 283: Incline and fall

As you can see we found both a break in the weather and some impressively autumnal leaves. The location was one of our local haunts, the local high-ground of Thacher State Park as previously visited during winter, spring, summer and fog. We had a very nice walk on some new-to-us trails, E5N1 seemed to like the backpack carrier, Exile #4 complained about being displaced but (secretly) quite enjoyed the walk I think. We saw some amazing fungi and tried to catch falling leaves (final score myself: 2, Exile #2: 2, Exile #3: 0, Exile #4: 0, E5N1: DNQ).

When we got home, we watched Jungle Book on DVD (well, actually I fell asleep, but was awake as required when the scary bit came round and E5N1 proved himself remarkably mobile using a mixture of rolling and sliding). This evening Exile #2 and I have done a bit of sorting of paperwork which has been building up thanks to the unreasonable busyness of the last few weeks.

I also found time to register with StumbleUpon which seems weird and wonderful, and sort out Cloud of the Exile (somewhere on the right) which has been stuck with 'snow' as the main entry for the whole summer - I wish I could say why.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Day 282: My family (by Exile #4)

Friday has come around very quickly this week. We're tired, despite a better night last night. The weekend ahead looks relatively empty, if the current storms clear and there are still leaves on the trees maybe we'll try to get a view or two.

We had a nice evening - including photo sessions by Exile #3 and Exile #4 and some dancing. The weekend starts here.
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Day 281: Big sis', little bro'

After a certain amount of burning the candle at both ends, last night was an unwelcome bad one. At some point I became aware that Exile #2 was getting out of bed for what seemed like a second visit to talk to Exile #3 in the bathroom. A third (at least) followed. Eventually I got involved after which time E5N1 was wondering if it was time for breakfast and my body was wondering if it was time to be up and about (it was 5.30 am). I did get up for ten minutes or so and then fell asleep again. The next thing I knew was that Exile #2 was telling me I'd had a lie-in and I should really get up. So, I have been feeling OK today. Exile #2 is very tired.

Anyway, here's to a better night - just as well the kids are so lovable, otherwise you could really go off them sometimes!
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 280: No leaves, no glory

And so it is... that I get back to family matters and pop puns after two days of environmental pontificating. This rather spectacular tree is right by our house - the colours of leaves are quite amazing round here - even though we have neither been to any specific leaf-spotting places and it has not apparently been a great year for the leaves.

Of course, they will soon complete the cycle by falling off the trees - the process has started, but there are many many more up than down at the moment. While waiting for the school bus this morning, Exile #3 enjoyed taking a running jump into a small pile that Exile #2 had raked yesterday. I wonder if one of the girls can be persuaded to take a turn doing some raking, if not there are some labour saving power-tool options for moving leaves into piles that don't require so much elbow-grease. I think we'll leave that for this year though.

All of which brings me (not-coincidentally) to the official announcement of pop pun #34 for title watchers: life goes easy on me - most of the time.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Day 279: Don't switch off

First let me reiterate that I am a great believer in the duty of all of us to do what we can to combat energy waste and therefore global warming. Nothing I am about to say goes against that.

This was our first fire on Saturday. Our house is now being heated by our central heating system. We don't have the thermostat very high and it goes off (well, unless the house threatens to get REALLY cold) overnight and is turned down in the middle of the day too. Most people would consider that to be a reasonable use of energy. But what about leaving electronic goods on standby or using incandescent bulbs - that is a wanton waste of energy right? Well actually no it isn't.

A TV on standby is not a TV, so the energy is being wasted. A light bulb is designed to give light, but only 10% of its energy is converted to light so the other 90% is wasted. Except, that energy is going somewhere - where? Well, it is heating our house and saving us from burning more oil to keep it above the thermostat setting.

So, does that make it all OK? No. Firstly, all through the summer we were not heating our home and at times were using energy to cool it. Secondly, if a light is there to give light and we switch it on for that purpose, we are heating our home without deciding how much to heat it and when. So why mention this at all? I was in two minds whether I should - because the last thing I want to do is fuel the arguments of the global warming deniers. But I also can't support the calculations of those who say that you can save money and energy by switching to CFL lighting or whatever based on the heat energy being wasted - this is only true in mild climates and in the summer (when there is more daylight and lights stay switched off anyway). Here in upstate NY, we are expecting a long winter of significant household heating and although an electric bulb may not be the most economical way to heat our home, there is no reason to believe it is significantly worse for the environment that any other way.

So, by all means encourage me to switch off my appliances and incandescent light bulbs (especially in warmer weather) - I hope we will all do all we can - but don't ask me to switch off my brain. We don't need ecology to be a new religion - the science will do very well by itself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 278: Size matters

So, it's Blog Action Day - I have been advertising it over there on the right somewhere for a while. So what does an exiled Brit in the US have to say about the environment on a day of blogging action?

Things are bad here. But not as bad as I might have feared. When it comes to the 3 R's of environmental action: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, two of the three are not far away from our UK experience. Recycling is curbside and fairly comprehensive and reuse is difficult, but I'm not sure the UK is far ahead. Reduction is the problem. This is not a culture of reduction. And why is that? - well just look at this picture (it's a month old and largely pre-fall by the way). This is a big place - and this is crowded New York, parts of the country are nothing but space. After finding out we sometimes use washable nappies/diapers, one of our friends said "We don't really have a problem with finding landfill space, we just use Idaho." He was joking (I think), but - hey why not? - there's plenty of space.

Closer to home, in fact in our home, almost all my good habits have disappeared. Leaving aside the cost of heating (and cooling) a much larger home than the one we lived in in the UK, I find it increasingly difficult to remember to switch off appliances as I walk the mile and a half from the kitchen to the bedroom at the end of the day and our lighting is all incandescent bulbs (I will save my non-environmentally-PC blog about this for some other time). On top of this we drive two cars a total of something like 1800 miles per month compared with pre-Exile when our one car sat largely unused on the drive during the week whilst I cycled and Exile #2 walked most places.

So, I have become part of the problem. Could try harder. Then again, couldn't we all?

As someone once said "Let him who is without energy wastage cast the first stone." And they all slipped away, starting with the frequent flyers until no-one was left. "So, US - has no-one condemned you?" "No-one." "Neither do I condemn you, go and do better." Or something like that anyway.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day 277: Yarrr'd party

After church this morning, I took Exile #3 and Exile #4 to a birthday party for one of Exile #3's classmates. Once again, an outdoor party in October was blessed with a fine sunny day. The party had a pirate theme complete with a plank to walk and treasure chests and less explicably, but more entertainingly a huge inflatable slide - enjoyed by children and adults alike.

I'm happy to say that with the extremely serious celebration of Halloween (with its associated costumery) just around the corner, we were not expected to dress up for the party - although I knew just the place.

Exile #3 corrected Exile #2 on her pronunciation of the word "pearl" today - it's not peu'l it's purrul - apparently. It's a short step to "Mah-mee - you tahk furny!" I'm not sure whether to have more in the way of hopes or fears for what a trip back to the UK will do for her accent. E5N1 is getting very vocal at the moment, although it's too early to say what sort of accent he is developing. He's doing his own version of the infinite monkeys with syllables at the moment - he's said his own name and that of both his sisters in the last few days. He also (maybe not entirely randomly) does a pretty good dada and umma. Now if we had an infinite number of 6 month old babies...
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Day 276: Fall - don't!

A large part of today was spent at the girls' school. It was a beautiful day as you can see. For the last week or so, it has felt autumnal though - before that the weather people were talking daily about possible record-breaking high temperatures. I'm not sure about having a climbing wall at a 'fall festival'.

As well as having fun there, it was a day of firsts (and probable lasts). It was the first time we have ever lit a real fire in our own home. It was the first time we've put the heating on in this house. It was the first time E5N1 had eaten banana (he loved it!). It was the last time (probably) that I will cut the grass in 2007 having managed (unexpectedly) to find sufficient time, daylight and tolerably dry grass.

Now, a couple of you have implied that saying that yesterday's pop pun was one of Isabel's didn't really help. Well it should have - if you'd been paying attention on Day 272. I'm beginning to think that I could link anywhere I like, because you don't really bother to follow them anyway.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 275: Blondes hear: don't jump!

The other day Exile #4 was pretending to climb a hill. "After we climb up, we can jump down - like Mexicans...[like Mexicans?] Mexican jumping beans!"

We have another social whirl this weekend thanks to our daughters. A school event tomorrow and another birthday party on Sunday. I dare say we'll have a nice day anyway.

While you're chewing over the caption competition - you were right? - you can also ponder pop pun #33 for title watchers. Slightly obscure, but it's one of Isabel's. In no time you will feel almost fine. Out of cakes.
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Day 274: Legend, in your own time

Today Exile #4 sent me her first email. I'll reconstruct...

Exile #4: Mummy can you check your email?
Exile #2: Why do you want me to do that?
Exile #4: I want to help you.
Exile #2: OK (opening email)
Exile #4: I want to send one
Exile #2: Who to?
Exile #4: Daddy
Exile #2: OK, what do you want to say?
Exile #4: (answers)
Exile #2: OK, I'll show you which keys to press...

COme home - I want you to tiicckle me.

And I did, and did.

With that in mind I offer you a new feature shamelessly stolen from elsewhere - the caption competition. Anyone care to offer a caption for this picture? Comments prize but glory awaits.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Day 273: Oh dear

It was going so well, I won a bit, then I got excited, the adrenaline was flowing...

I lost it all.

Let me be a lesson to you all - just say no to online poker.

I was only playing with facebook points, before anyone puts a hold on my credit card. It's easy to see how people could get hooked though (on this or the real thing) - there's quite a buzz in winning. Maybe I should get back to Halo 3.

Anyway, today has been a slow day, the hours between getting to bed and getting up having been too few again last night.

Here's a deer in our garden the other day - she looked quite at home don't you think?

Time for an earlier night.
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Day 272: Ours: Tori

Although we met playing in a band in church (albeit the rebellious young-upstart band), the first thing that we really connected over was the music of Tori Amos. It was 1992 and Exile #2 had a CD, but no CD player and I offered to make a copy onto tape for her. I also had some Tori in my music collection and we probably had our first non-band related conversation (well, exchange of words anyway) about Tori's music.

Tonight we left Johnathon and James (thank you, thank you) with the young exiles and went out for a proper evening out to see Tori at the Palace Theatre in Albany. We nearly didn't make it. Having stopped for some slow fast-food on the way, we realised that we didn't have the tickets with us. We had been so concerned with making sure the kids were in bed and the babysitters were equipped that we'd omitted even the most basic of 'got everything?' checks. Anyway, the box office people were able to find our booking and issue some new copies of the tickets and save me a depressing trip home to pick them up.

OK, quick concert review (sorry!) the support act was a guy called Yoav, who does amazing things with an acoustic guitar, a few sampled drum loops and a digital delay or two. Well worth a listen if that appeals to you. As for Tori, she had a small but powerful band with her (three people: drums, bass & guitar mostly) and she played her piano and keyboards and sometimes even sat down for a whole verse at a time. Her own supporting set (in character as one of the American Doll Posse) was as the political one, we had 'Yo George', 'Devils and Gods' and 'Almost Rosey' as well as 'Sweet Dreams'. Sadly no 'Dark Side of the Sun', but you can't have everything. This part of the concert was wonderful, but the place really came alive after a costume-change (accompanied by a live remix of the remix of 'Professional Widow'), Tori as herself was dressed in a sequin-covered catsuit, she blasted into her 'own' set with 'Big Wheel' and 'Sugar'. Other highlights were 'Bouncing Off Clouds', the wonderful 'Virginia', 'Black Dove', the brutal 'Precious Things', and a crowd-pleasing rendition of 'Cornflake Girl'. She also did a small set alone with her piano. It bore the sur-title "T & Bö" (Tori & Bösendorfer) and started with a little love song to her piano - although she did bring it back to earth: "You'll find me walking with my little one (not the wooden one)" by the end.

Now, it must be said that Tori has a thing or so to say about God and religion in her songs, and she's not exactly a fan. Some would say that good Christian folk should steer-clear. As time goes on I have less and less time for that point of view. She is what she is, a wonderfully talented songwriter and performer, and she is (in my opinion) the product of her experiences - perhaps rather than avoiding her because she has no time for religious people (not that I would choose that label for myself), we should be asking ourselves what we have done to deserve her antagonism and that of people like her.
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Monday, October 8, 2007

Day 271: Bean Sean

Although it is Columbus Day, and the girls had the day off school, it was a normal working day for me. I had temporarily forgotten my new haircut when I arrived at work this morning. It is quite dramatic. I think that the last time I had it cut was just before July 4th. So, holiday haircuts in the summer, holiday snowstorms in the winter. A curious summary of the first three quarters (fourths) of 2007.

I made it to the pool this evening - I had two lanes to myself as no-one else was swimming laps. The other two thirds of the pool was being used for synchronised swimming training. Quite surreal. On the plus side I did get to hear the music from above (loud but rubbish) and below (strange and metallic) the water surface. Anyway I did my regular kilometre - in time with the music - and didn't get hair in my eyes (well, on my goggles) for the first time in a while.
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Day 270: Long distance fun

waiting to feel the sound

I can't remember the exact time, I think it was less a sudden event and more a gradual dawning that took hold through the hours of the morning. Perhaps it started before, maybe long before. Now that I think about it the inkling of it was with us for several days, gnawing and nagging at us - today we did not have enough time to do all the things we planned.

remember the dream

This morning we hosted our 'interim gathering' as our normal hosts are away on their first vacation as a couple. They've been married for 21 years. We had a great time. It was sad to see everyone go, except that we were throwing them out because we had 10 minutes to make a 40 minute journey to the next appointment.

letting in the sunshine

We made it out into the countryside to a birthday party for one of Exile #3's friends from last (academic) year at school. They have a beautiful old farmhouse and lots of land. We were late, arriving when our next appointment was starting. Anyway, it was a great party - the kids went on a major scavenger hunt (more of a treasure hunt with clues and goodies at each one - which they put in paper shopping bags as they went) which took them all through the woods on three sides of the house. The sun came out soon after we arrived and it was a beautiful afternoon. E5N1, Exile #4 and the two of us spent most of the time in the yard (pictured) while Exile #3 ran around with the party-goers.

the time you said goodbye

We waited until the festivities were complete (although we could have stayed longer) and left with about 30 minutes before the time we had told our final hosts to expect us. It was an hour drive away. We arrived safely just in time to eat and drink with some old friends and colleagues, let the children run around and wear everyone out and then left to drive home through the evening.

count to one hundred

It's pop pun 32 for title watchers. Plenty of clues above and - as a warning and an extra incentive for the nosey - it comes from an album released in the year of my birth.
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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Day 269: It's curtains

Another child's eye view. I suspect taken by Exile #4. I spent the morning at at Lowes (our local hardware/home improvement/DIY shop/store). My shopping list was: freezer, curtain pole bracket, filter. The filter is for our heating/cooling system, the bracket to support these lovely curtains that Exile #2 is working on, they were both quite easy to pick up. Freezer purchasing is a bit more complicated. There is the chest/upright question and just how many cubic feet or pounds of food do we need to keep frozen? Then there are some 'Energy Star' rated ones but they're all huge so that the amount of energy they use is actually higher than the smaller less efficient ones. It pays to keep your wits about you on these occasions. Hopefully our new box of cold will do a reasonable job.

I am writing this with the lights on for the first time in months as E5N1 is no longer sharing our bedroom/computer room. This afternoon we moved him in with Exile #4. Exile #3 is now in a room of her own. I wonder how the night will work out.

At tea-time we headed into the city for a play-date with a family who have children in both Exile #3 and Exile #4's classes at school. It didn't start out great, as we turned into their driveway a large thunderstorm started up and we sheltered in the car for a while to avoid possible drowning on the 20 yard dash to the front door. Our hosts spotted us and came to our rescue with umbrellas. We had a great visit, a very nice meal and the kids had fun (until they started to get tired anyway). E5N1 ate a whole tub of food - hopefully that will help him to sleep through the night - even in his new room.
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