Saturday, November 28, 2015

Charlotte Turns Ten

Charlotte Turns Ten

Charlotte's tenth birthday was yesterday. Since it was a holiday, she had the whole day planned out. It was very fun.

A few weeks ago we replaced our decrepit old waffle iron and we've been a waffle craze since. So we started the day with waffles, but this time some of us topped them with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.


Mom and Dad did some chores, but then we went to Bonkers, a party/play place nearby. It's in a large former grocery store and has a huge Habitrail-like "maze" with cool slides. Like a McDonald's playland but four or five times as big. Plus it has lots of arcade games, and pizza.

We were there for three hours and the girls had a wonderful time with each other.

Since we spent Thanksgiving at our friends' house, we didn't have leftovers. So Carol cooked our own Thanksgiving dinner on Charlotte's birthday. Then we put candles in the pumpkin pie since it is one of Charlotte's favorite desserts.

We can't believe our little girl is 10 years old!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cape Cod 2015

Cape Cod 2015

In mid-September we joined the Latta-Giulianas at their family cottage in Dennis Port on Cape Cod. It's becoming an annual event. It's great to be there after the crowds of summer have departed.

This year the weather and the ocean were still warm enough for swimming and we spent a fair bit of time at the beach a block from the cottage.

The cottage is in a "cottage park" that has a pond and wooded areas. This year, for the first time for our kids at least, the kids disappeared for long periods of time and explored the woods. After they had them mapped out, they took the adults on a tour.

One of the highlights was a dead heron.

We also had our traditional meal at the Dog House.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Crane Beach with Mia

Crane Beach with Mia

Crane Beach is not only awesome in the summer - from October through March it's open to dogs so we also love to go there in the off season. On October 11 it was quite warm and we decided to go. We brought Audrey's best friend Mia with us.

I thought it would be nice for Audrey and Mia to have some good photos of them together, so I focused on capturing them. I managed to get a few candid ones.

Thursday, November 12, 2015



At the beginning of October we went to see the Strandbeests exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum.

The strandbeests ("beach creatures") are fascinating machines made by a Dutch artist named Theo Jansen. They are powered by the wind and walk along the beach.

I first read about the strandbeests several years ago. This is the first time they have travelled for an exhibit. I'm so glad we went because I learned so much more about them.

I didn't realize they are almost entirely made out of PVC, including many small parts that make up the joints and mechanisms - not just the "bones".

It also hadn't occurred to me that to make the larger beests required many copies of the same part so he had to devise "mass production" techniques. There were some great videos in the exhibit that showed that.

The best part was getting to push one and examine up close how it works.

The PEM always has an activity for kids. This time it involved building ecosystems out of colored foam and other bits. Each of us built one.

Outside the museum there was another exhibit called Stickwork by Patrick Doherty. Back when it was installed the artist invited the public to help build the "houses". We missed that, but we sure enjoyed the result.

Also, Salem has become quite the tourist attraction during the month of October, leading up to Halloween. As many as 100,000 people show up on actual Halloween! Outside the museum the streets and alleys were filled with witch and Halloween-themed stuff.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fall 2015 Photos

We've had a pretty fun Fall!

Charlotte went to the Topsfield Fair with her friend Madison and jumped really high on the bungee swing things.

Carol and I finally got to see a favorite musician of ours: Melody Gardot. She's American but lives in Europe and rarely tours here. It was a fantastic show: so much talent on that stage and she shared the spotlight generously. We can't wait to see her again. It was a wonderful date night.

Our Seattle friend Britt came to visit for a few days. That's always a treat!

Back in the spring we bought discount passes to a local amusement park: Canobie Lake Park. At the time we planned to use them with our neighbors during the summer but that never happened. We finally used those passes in mid-October. Only New Englanders would go to an amusement park when it is 45 degrees out! We were underdressed (it had been warmer just before), but we still had fun. We'll go back next year when it's warmer.

At the end of October yet more Seattle friends were in town: Paula and Chris were visiting Paula's parents while on their way back to Seattle from a trip to Ireland. We met them at a beautiful place called World's End and then had a seafood dinner with them.

I met Paula when I was a summer camp counselor in 1982. She and Chris are both artists and we have a large painting by Chris hanging in our kitchen and two large drawings by Paula in our living room. It was great to see them and catch up a little. It was also the first time they had met the girls. We hope to see them in Seattle in the summer of 2016.

Then there was Halloween. I didn't even get a photo of Audrey's costume this year. As a sign of getting older, she went trick-or-treating with a friend in a different neighborhood for hours.

I built my usual Halloween electronics project. This year it was a sidewalk piano. I'll have to make a separate post about that.