Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 4.141: Uninteresting numbers?

There is a kind of mathematical joke by way of a proof that there are no uninteresting numbers. The logic goes, "Imagine that there are indeed some uninteresting numbers. Now, one of those numbers would be the smallest uninteresting number - which would mean that it was interesting - therefore there cannot be any uninteresting numbers.

Now since, the one thing I always have as I sit down to write my daily blog post is a number, I have, on more than one occasion, used the number as a launching point for a slow-news-day post. Saturday was no exception - but I was making a serious point. If you start off with numbers and look for ways to make them interesting without defining a set of rules in advance, you can get pretty much any answer you want.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 4.140: Our little patriots

As we were standing in the rapidly building heat in the sunshine watching the Memorial Day parade, I remarked to an American acquaintance about the girls deciding to watch the royal wedding a few weeks ago. At that moment, as I was reflecting on their Britishness, Exile #4 and her classmate launched into a stirring rendition of "God Bless America" accompanied by earnest flag waving.

Well, she has lived here for nearly two thirds of her life and I'm glad that it is the land that she loves. In fact her singing has more to do with an upcoming performance at a Flag Day assembly at school than patriotic zeal for our host country, but I'm sure she feels more American than British at this point.

Our little US citizen also managed a little flag waving.


Oh that.

Yeah sorry about that - I'll probably talk about it tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 4.139: Blog's end

We had a nice day - enjoying the heat and sunshine.  Exile #2 was feeling much better, we had a cook-out at one of Exile #4's school friend's houses and had  a good gathering at church.

Then I decided that Harold Camping shouldn't have all the fun so I started doing some calculations and discovered a terrible thing - this post represents the end of this blog.

Since 40 is the perfect number and I am 40 years old (and therefore perfect presumably) and this post is the 40 x 40 = 1600th post and it's designation is 41 39 (see how they are one either side of 40?) it's clear that this post will be the last one and then there will be no more.

It's been fun, but all good things...

On no account should you come back tomorrow expecting anything new to be posted here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 4.138: Well read?

We've had a fairly quiet day today, some chores, some preparations for June activities, some time without Exile #4 - she left for an early-afternoon play-date and did not return until after her bedtime!

While we were eating lunch on the deck, we spotted this visitor on the bug screen by the table:

Afterwards I was looking at the pictures and E5N1 was looking over my shoulder, "Pentax!" he declared - I guess he was reading the back of my camera rather than admiring my photography.

The moth is a Lettered Sphinx by the way but I don't know why.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 4.137: Up, up and...up!

As you can see, E5N1 might not be quite ready to take to two wheels yet, but he is working on his balance - and testing his parents' nerves!

Exile #2 is now in the throes of a migraine on the back of her cold. Hoping for an improvement over the weekend...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 4.136: Under the weather

Exile #2 has been a bit off-colour the last few days, but let's focus on the positive ways to be under the weather like this:

and this:

OK - maybe not that last one.  In fact, I'd better post this before that particular line of weather arrives!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 4.135: Two wheels

Thanks to early/late birthday presents from my parents, the kids have a pair of these rather cool pedal-less bicycles - one E5N1 sized and the other for the girls to share.

After some failed attempts to get them to even try riding a two-wheeler in the past we were hoping that these would bridge the gap and help them to get the feel of balancing a bike and develop some confidence.

So, even though the girls birthdays aren't until next week, we decided to make the most of this excellent being-outdoors weather and took them to the town park. It went rather well. Here is Exile #4 attempting a down-hill glide on a slightly bumpy path.

I think it will be even more fun with a slightly greater incline.

E5N1 loves his too although he still has a way to go to develop his technique.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 4.134: Bobolink and the goslings

Around the time the rapture was not happening on Saturday, we headed down to Five Rivers where the girls checked that heaven was not calling*:

Then we continued on a walk where we saw some Canada geese (not so ahhh) with some goslings (ahhh):

and got our first ever view of the bobolinks which we knew frequented the meadow.  They are extraordinary looking birds even at a distance.

It turns out that one of this little bird's claims to fame is a mention in a poem entitled "An Exile's Garden"
Yet, among the gods of the garden,
The roses and gods, I think,
Daylong, of a far-off clover field,
And the song of a bob-o-link.
And no, it has nothing to do with me.  It was written by Sophia Jewett in 1910.

*They were actually practising their cart-wheels and hand-stands.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 4.133: Little cousin

The sign above the horseshoe crab tank at the Berkshire Museum points out that these creatures that are largely unchanged since prehistoric times are not, in fact, crabs. Rather they are related to ticks and spiders.

Which I suppose makes this little critter:

one of their tiny cousins.

It was feeding on Exile #3 when we encountered it. Delightful.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 4.132: ...and the best touch-pool ever!

Here are a few more pictures of Berkshire Museum fun yesterday: pterosaur puppets, fish, a chameleon, two huge snakes and a close encounter with a huge clam (shell).

The main touch-pool seemed to have been emptied of all but a few small sea snails.  But, frankly, who cares when they have real live prehistoric crabs in the next pool along!

Oh yeah!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 4.131: Eschertology (the last days...)

Yes I am writing about the last days today, not about eschatology but the last days of the M.C. Escher exhibition at the Berkshire Museum that is. Tomorrow (Sunday) is actually the last day so for most of you, sorry - you missed it. We nearly did too.

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition for obvious reasons but I managed to sneak this shot of one of his lesser known (and not commercially available) works using his familiar spherical mirror.

The exhibition is really well laid out with several tables with interactive activities related to the surrounding artwork in each gallery which meant the kids could spend some time doing observational drawings or tessellating lizards after a quick look at the prints while we had a more leisurely look around.

After we'd looked around the exhibition we spent some time in the kids favourite parts of the museum - the dinosaur room and the aquarium.  Pictures from there can wait for another day - since it seems there will be one.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 4.130: When life gives you rain...

...put on your rain-boots and splash in the puddles!

It certainly beats feeling sad about it!

I'd never consciously heard the phrase, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" before I came to the US. Maybe it never caught on in the UK because 'lemonade' means a barely lemon-flavoured drink like Sprite rather than something you could make with any lemons that life should have inexplicably gifted you with.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 4.129: Sun, scooters and ice cream

Sure enough today has not been a dry day, but it has been warm and at times sunny and rain free for long periods.

I arrived home to find no-one here. Exile #2 and E5N1 had walked the girls (on their scooters) up to the local Stewarts for after-dinner ice cream.

I managed to get out to the end of the street in time to see them coming back.

A definite improvement on the last few days of wall-to-wall rain.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 4.128: Raining. Again? Seriously?

Yes - as it has every day since Saturday and there's no sign of a dry day in the immediate future either.

Sometimes ancient distant-galaxy evil Sith Lords have the right answer:

And so to bed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 4.127: Leaves?

I was going to write about taxation without representation today since it was school budget day and we are unenfranchised, but you can read this instead.

Rather than focus on that, here are a couple of signs from Day 4.117 - one is a possibly genuine Shaker sign that is almost certainly always up in the barn and the other was on one of the pottery stall displays.  They were almost next to each other.

I guess people find all sorts of things to do with leaves.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 4.126: Going to Jim

Exile #3 was dramatically and inconveniently unwell yesterday evening, so she had to stay home from school today. I left work at lunchtime to come and help with the logistics of having her at home. Part of that was taking both E5N1 and Exile #4 to their gymnastics classes. They both go to the same place although you'd be forgiven for failing to recognize it. When E5N1 goes at 2pm there is no-one else there. Today it was three small boys and their instructor. When the girls go at 6.30pm, the place is packed with kids of all ages and all levels of expertise.

E5N1 had a good class today - he's been surprising us with randomly doing forward rolls on the bed at story time - he's generally quite willing to throw himself around and apparently takes direction at times too!

Exile #4 is also starting to take to it as well - focusing well on what is going on and building up some strength and stamina.  Of course, her enthusiasm has never been in doubt at any point since she joined Exile #3's class. I found this note that has been around for a couple of months when I got back this evening:

Mach 2011
  To Mom,
I love you! how are you?
Thak you ageni for
leting me go
to Jim.  love
     [Exile #4]

I think that was about the gymnastics class, but now I read it again...maybe there's something else going on?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 4.125: Two breakfast-time visitors

Exile #4 saw a hummingbird at breakfast-time today. It flew up to the window where the feeder was last summer and then flew away - almost as if it came looking for it. I saw it out of the corner of my eye - enough to confirm from just the way it moved that she was correct.

I also saw a Magnolia Warbler in our magnolia tree around the same time. It is so named because it was seen so perched by an ornithologist but it actually prefers low conifers which explains why, for most of our breakfast, it was hopping around the low branches of the conifer next to the magnolia. It was probably just passing through on its way to its summer home.

Here are some pictures:

We've also put the hummingbird feeder up now - wouldn't want to disappoint again!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 4.124: Pulled and not pushed

Today was a Saturday spent at home. We had various chores to tend to, but the largest was to turn this (that I prepared last night after E5N1 went to bed and before the girls got back from the theatre):

into this:

via this:

and most importantly this:

It may not be a purists ideal of pulled pork, but it did have three hours of hot smoking with hickory chips and it tastes pretty good to us.  We all* ate too much and are now going to bed still feeling full.

This evening E5N1 created this:

using this:

As a third child we certainly don't push him to achieve very much but he does have plenty of opportunity to stretch himself. His 'drawing on the computer' is one of those things that he is very motivated to experiment with. These fairly convincing figurative pictures are a new development.

* Actually sadly only four out of five of us loved the pulled pork. Exile #3 enjoyed bread and salad though!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 4.123: Wishful thinking?

I had an evening in with E5N1 so that Exile #2 and the girls could all go out to the theatre together to see one of our young friends performing and have (by the sound of it) a lovely time.

In order to compensate, here is a window into E5N1's life right now.  The other day, while Exile #3 was at the circus, the rest of us were in the car and, since it was a nice day,  I opened my window.  E5N1 asked for his window to be opened too, so I opened it.  A little later...

E5N1: Why did you close my window?
Me: Because [Exile #4] was getting blown away.
E5N1: [Exile #4]? Where are you [Exile #4]?
Exile #2: She's behind you!
E5N1: No she isn't!
Exile #4: Yes I am!
E5N1: No she isn't - she's blowed away!

P.S. If you missed yesterday's post due to the Blogger outage - it's there now!