Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 1.263: He-er-likes what's underneath him

I didn't catch E5N1's expression of complete relaxation we often get when he lies down on our bed, but I did catch him thrashing about throwing himself down on it. This is a still from it - the video is below. It must be the memory-foam mattress-topper I suppose - then again maybe he just likes the attention he gets when his antics take him close to the edge of the bed.

Today at the park, he apparently toppled off the side of the slide. Everyone was anxious to know if he was OK. He was unharmed if a little shaken and once he had recovered, he went straight back on the slide. He crawled head-first off the bottom successfully then proceeded to 'fall-over' and theatrically rub his head looking around for the same reaction he got last time. He was disappointed and Exile #2 was not the only parent present who could not believe their eyes.

It's pop pun #80 for title watchers - I really want to come kick it with you.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 1.262: Wall flowers

18 x 24" print at Staples - $25
Poster frame from craft store - $10
Wall being no longer bare - $35
Knowing that I took the picture just down the road - priceless!

For great photo opportunities (and unsolved pop puns) there's Five Rivers, for everything else we need a working world economy.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 1.261: Good evening Mrs Hubbard

As you can see, our pantry is completely bare. We spent a good part of the day...well actually it wasn't that good...we spent a significant part of the day doing battle with the Indian Meal Moth. They infest dried food stuffs, doing no real harm except for the freakout factor - which, when you are emptying all the packets out of the cupboard, is considerable.

Anyway, much of our previously-pantry-stored food is now in the freezer where we're told any existing eggs, larvae or moths that escaped our notice will die - hopefully the food will mostly survive. A few things have been in the microwave (for the same reason) and the obviously affected stuff is in the bin ready to be collected in the morning. As long as it works, it will have been time well spent.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 1.260: Haircut strangeness

It all started with a half-baked idea to take before and after pictures before we all went out for four of us to get our hair cut this morning.

Since everyone else had stood against this wall to have their photo taken, I asked E5N1 to do the same, he happily stood against the wall and gave me the whole catalogue of cheeky smiles. His after pictures looked very similar - we're not ready for the rite of passage that is his first haircut yet.

Anyway, the photos weren't great by any means, but I had a play with a freeware morphing program (Sqirlz Morph) and came up with this - I don't think it will give you too much of an idea of our haircuts but I like it in a freakish sort of way:

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 1.259: Basket case

Do people who ride Specialized bikes usually carry things in a basket?

Do people who use a handlebar basket usually own a Specialized bike?

I assume not.

I like to imagine the conversation starting with the deal on the bike and then taking a turn for the worse with the basket request. Maybe something like this.

This evening we had folks round for Rock Band 2 night (yes we've upgraded - very good it is too). Some paused from rocking to watch some of the presidential debate. A couple watched it all. It seemed to me to be a bit more substantial than the debates during the primaries, still it wasn't exactly a Paxman grilling. Maybe that's just as well.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 1.258: Aliens, undressed

It's nice to know that we are not alone in being branded as aliens. Although I think that these alien invaders fit a certain sci-fi mould (it's the one with lots of legs, pincers and eyes on sticks) better than we do. One of my colleagues has bought a costume out of a similar mould (or should I say mold) for Halloween. It's a lobster costume - for her bulldog to wear.

I was at school this evening for 'meet the teachers' night. The best pieces of work on show were the family portraits by all the Kindergarten and First Grade kids. Exile #3's is really good and has E5N1 crawling literally under the rest of the family's feet. At least we were all fully dressed. One of her classmates had drawn a picture which showed what looked like a great party going on with streamers, balloons etc. and the family standing proudly in the middle of it all completely naked. One to cherish for years to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 1.257: Off the rails

I've seen many houses on the roads around here:

But yesterday was the first time I saw a two-storey one.

I hope the new owners are happy with it and that they don't have any tall friends.

For any readers who were intrigued by the hat-quiz and didn't do this (that's probably not a very large demographic), here is the picture in its unaltered glory. An original exclusive hat (slightly faded) modelled by the daughter of a proud former member of Rail Riders: The Happiest Club in the Land!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 1.256: Lost in aforementioned

Here are the girls on Sunday again - completely lost in their watery game.

Tonight we happened upon 'Family Feud' on the TV - it's the same game-show that is known in the UK as Family Fortunes - a rare case where we Brits are more positive-thinking (or perhaps just less combative?) than our American cousins. The format is the same - but the questions are a bit different. Here are two that we saw today - 'Name a brand of car that would make a middle-aged bald man look hot' and 'Name a breed of dog that would require a really big pooper-scooper'. UK readers - watch out for those coming soon to ITV2.

In a break with tradition - or possibly the creation of a new one - here is pop pun 78 for title watchers once again: it's always the same.
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 1.255: New Yeek, New Yeek

...so good they played it twice. Maybe.

During school pick-up:
Exile #4: We played a new game today.
Exile #4: It's called New-Yeek
Exile #2: Oh - really?
Exile #4: Yes - New-Yeek!!
Exile #2: How does it work?
Exile #4: Well, it's like a purple tree...New-Yeek!
Exile #2 (trying to avoid thoughts of Numberwang): Oh..?
Exile #4: Yeah because it's different...new-yeek...
Exile #2: OH! UNIQUE!
Exile #4: Yes! new-yeek.

Here's a puzzle (probably only for UK readers of a certain age). Exile #4 found this hat the other day and decided to wear it when we were playing in the back-yard. I've removed the name, does anyone know what is/was 'The Happiest Club in the Land'? No cheating now!
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 1.254: In the trees - find the girls

My children can transform my experience of a simple walk in the woods. Sometimes they turn it into a complete nightmare of grumbling and arguments, but more often into a magical journey. Today it was a wonderful time of nature exploration (autumnal leaves - still the exception rather than the rule, butterflies, caterpillars, rocks, water and fungi) and some crazy flights of fancy (there are huge shy flat fish living in this stream apparently).

All three of the girls were there (as was E5N1) and we didn't get lost - but still it's pop pun 78 for title watchers (are there any?): come closer and see!
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 1.253: Down, Fall

I spent the morning rebasementing the things of summer (bouncy-bounce, slip-n-slide, hoses) as part of an exercise in tidying the garage. We were still without Exile #3 who spent the morning with her sleep-over hosts.

As you can see, we were reunited at the rather excellent Five Rivers Fall Festival. Exile #4 got stuck into several activities - well seven actually: rock-painting, solar astronomy, making a fish-scale*, a water-cycle-related bead-threading game, touch table (mostly parts of dead wild animals), bug-hunting, food-alike rock examination. Seven was the number of stamps required in the passport for a prize - the book they were reading at the end of the afternoon when I took the picture.

*In fact she didn't get a stamp for this, but got one for chasing bubbles near where another activity was happening. Quid pro quo if you ask me - which is probably why you usually don't bother.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 1.252: Baby: stepping out

When my sister and family were due to arrive in early August, I predicted that E5N1 would be walking - if not during their visit - at least by the end of my parents' visit. A couple of times during their stay he took several steps - thirteen on one occasion - so I suppose I was right.

Here is some photographic evidence.

Still, he has got so good (i.e. fast) at crawling that he still considers that to be the best way to get around in general unless has has something to push (doll's pushchair, brick trolley etc.)

It's appropriate to celebrate this life-event today as he is our second-oldest resident child this evening. Exile #3 is having a sleepover somewhere else in blog-land.

It's pop pun 77 for title watchers: we are young but getting old before our time.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 1.251: Last days of summer

They're not particularly good photos, but the top one was a few days ago and the bottom one is almost the same scene in the winter soon after we arrived in the US. Overnight tonight there's a chance of a frost in the area. In a few months there'll probably be snowmobiles on the rivers again as there were on this day back on Day 24.

But first we have Fall which will bring our last UK visitors of the year (unless anyone wants to brave the snow...?). It will also bring lots of new TV series vying for our attention (we will resist most of them). The first new release to catch me is not a TV show, but Rock Band 2 - it's already looking and sounding good - although I'm not sure I ever want to know any of the songs well enough to be able to play them without the notes appearing on-screen - that's one of the new modes available this time round. Something to think about when the snow has come perhaps.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 1.250: No permitted trucks

Another sign from by the canal. Trucks without permits are fine presumably.

My work week continues - overshadowed by UK tax-return information gathering and US tax-return submission. Sigh. It's one of those times when living and working in our own country would make life so much simpler.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 1.249: Litter, liquor

There were some great signs down by the canal last week. This was just one combination that caught my eye. You might think that these are connected in some way - no open trash containers that might spill litter into the canal. However, it turns out that the 'open container law' is a prohibition against drinking alcohol on the street (or in a vehicle). So now you know.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 1.248: Did we go tufa?

Yes we did! At Saratoga Spa State Park at the weekend. Here are the girls standing at the top of a bank of mineral deposits left by the water coming from a spring.

We tasted the water from another spring. Here are some responses: At least it's cool! Yeurgh! Salty! Metallic - it tastes like blood! IS it blood? I can see why people would think it might be medicine - but although 'taking' the waters might be OK, actually drinking it would be difficult.

This evening we all went to an open day at my company's new facility - Exile #4 enjoyed the food, Exile #3 enjoyed running amok with her friends and E5N1 enjoyed playing with my phone and getting himself passed around most of the people there. Everyone enjoyed seeing all three of them (and us) dressed up in white suits, hairnets, gloves and over-shoes to go in the cleanroom - like a load of bakery jawas.

Ah yes - self indulgent pop pun 76 for title watchers - is that why your nose is bleeding?
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 1.247: Planes, trains and analgesics

My parents left this afternoon after what I think has been a very good visit, to drive to Boston for their flight back to the UK. Before they left we managed a short walk at Five Rivers - amazingly our only trip there with them during this visit. We saw several turtles and a large garter snake as well as several bird species. We also saw some footprints in the wet mud at the side of the pond that look like they may have been the tracks of a fox or coyote.

This afternoon, Exile #3 and I built a train layout and Exile #4 joined us in playing with it for some time. it was based around a fictionalised version of the Twin Bridges that we cross from time to time when we go north of here and have captured Exile #3's imagination.

After we'd built the track, we re-staged the famous race of Thomas and Bertie, although Percy stood in for Thomas on this occasion (because our Thomas isn't motorised).

The track was cunningly designed so that the two of them would travel on the same track in opposite directions, crossing the bridges in parallel in both directions. Bertie had more than an edge in speed though and so, was forced to stop and pay a toll on each lap. The girls invented a house in the forest and a family for the toll attendant. Eventually he decided that he needed to spend time with his family and as a result Bertie failed to stop and the unthinkable occurred (point to where you think contact will occur).

At church Exile #3's slight cold turned into a fairly nasty fever, so we returned home to medicine, vomiting and straight-to-bed. Ready for another week...you bet!
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 1.246: Party on!

We spent the late afternoon and early evening at a very nice party (thanks L&LL). All three generations had a good time. As usual we encouraged the kids to go and find people to entertain while we attempted (generally successfully) to enjoy some adult conversation.

Exile #4 discovered that you could make an excellent game out of a normal air-filled balloon and an air-conditioning fan unit (the balloon is blown up by the fan - but not too high, then falls back down). Later we made a flying saucer out of a disposable bowl (OK it was a flying bowl - do they make disposable saucers?). I think it's hot enough to run our A/C one or two more times - purely for the purpose of scientific experimentation of course.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 1.245: Chair-up - ROCK!

Before the Rock Band night festivities got going tonight, E5N1 did some drumming - he's definitely got the idea, if not the coordination or leg-length required. Soon after this picture was taken he tumbled off the chair - oops. He was crying very hard afterwards, although it turned out that, by the end at least, this was because I'd taken the sticks out of his hands and taken him away from the drums. He was soon back up on the chair for one more song.

Tonight it looks like the news of a bad train crash in California will be eclipsed by the arrival of Hurricane Ike in Texas - not a slow news day by any means - even in the context of the wall-to-wall election coverage season.

One place where you can be fairly sure there will be no world-shaking news for the moment is at the 'Big-Bang experiment' at the LHC in CERN. A fellow blogger sent me a link to some webcams there today. It's surprisingly interesting to see the place - check it out and let me know if anything interesting happens!

It's pop pun 75 for title watchers: stay cool and be somebody's fool this year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 1.244: Flaxed Food

When we were in the Finger Lakes a week or so ago, we had dinner at a very nice organic cafe on the edge of Ithaca, NY. At one point I took E5N1 out the back because he was being fractious and discovered their Drive-Thru - complete with (apparently out-of-use) intercom system and a very smart (if a little faded) menu board. Not your average fast-food offerings though - only the plumpest organic berries in your muffin (and some smart monkeys).
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