1 Day 1 World: 4:00 – 5:00 AM

Most nights, actually most early mornings, sometime between 4:00 am and 5:00 am, sometimes earlier, I am awakened by one of our two cats.  Usually the cat is sitting on my head and this is what I see:

20140825-205415.jpgSince Ms. J had the cats before she met me, I think I am still seen as the new guy stealing all the attention away from them, so even after close to ten years, I am convinced that they are actually trying to kill me.  So, they have devised a plan to suffocate me by pretending to sleep on  my face.  I wake up though, thwarting their plan.   Sometimes I wake up to a cat face within an inch or two of my own, sometimes though it is the other end of the cat which is not quite as pleasant.   (Obviously the photo is a re-enactment since I can’t really have a camera at the ready for when one of the cats jumps on my face.  At the time, I’m mostly concerned with trying to breathe.)

I must be a very light sleeper since just about any noise will wake me up, so I almost always will not be able to get back to sleep once the cat has tried to cut off my air supply.  However, I’m also not quite awake enough to try to read a book, and I don’t want to wake anyone else up by doing something that would make any kind of noise, so what do I end up doing usually ?  I reach for  my iPhone and watch mindless videos on Utube.  Typing “funny cats” usually comes up with something good, at least these cats aren’t trying to kill anyone.

This is part of the series on the Northwest Frame of Mind blog.  For more posts in this series click –  Northwest Frame of Mind




1 Day 1 World Project: 11:00pm – 12:00pm



Some time ago, Mr. C asked if he could get a night light.  As usual, we debated the merits of getting him one endlessly.  Does he have nightmares ?  Is he afraid of the dark ? We checked parenting advice sites, where there were all kinds of strange side effects reported for having a night light.  I don’t remember exactly what some of the horrible side effects were, but it was surprising how decisive an issue this apparently is with parents.

So after much wringing of hands we just asked him some follow up questions, like  ‘Why do you want a night light anyway ?’

‘So I don’t fall down in the dark on my way to the bathroom at night.’

Oh, ok.

So we put the night light in the bathroom.  I’m sure that I use it more often than he does.  In the past year, he has probably woken up to go to the bathroom maybe two times.  Being of a much greater age than he is, I will make use of the night light at least twice a night as I stumble down the hallway in the dark.

I’m not sure if I took this photo at exactly the time specified, but it was probably close, as I suddenly remembered this blog series late at night.   The glow of the light shining into the hallway would make a much better photo than this, but my iphone is not as sophisticated as my digital camera.  Unfortunately, I could not attempt to dig out the better camera as I’m sure that would have woken Mr. C up.

This is part of the 1 Day 1 World series on the Northwest State of Mind blog, here’s the other entires:


1 Day 1 World Project: 9:00 – 10:00pm



We were in the middle of getting hit with hurricane Arthur this past weekend, which turned out to be a fairly mild storm, just a  lot of rain and wind. So no outdoor photo for this week’s post.  It is also just starting to get completely dark at about 9:00pm now, so any outdoor photo by me would be pretty dim anyway since my outdoor photography skills at night are not very advanced.  Mr. C was being put to bed by Ms. J by this time, he’s usually either asleep by 9:00pm, or just about asleep, so I’ll use this week’s post to review of the book I was reading at the time.

Something I’ve been doing lately is checking out books from our library that Mr. C might like when he’s a little bit older.  I usually just read a few pages to see if they’re of interest, trying to remember the better ones for him to read on his own in a few years.  However,  ‘The Stolen Lake’ by Joan Aiken, has turned out to be one that I’m planning to finish reading.

I had not heard of Joan Aiken when I picked this up.  She was the daughter of Conrad Aiken, and wrote novels for both children and adults, but seems to be more well known for her children’s books.  This one is the fourth book in the ‘Wolves Chronicle’, first published in 1981.  The first book in the series, ‘The Wolves of Wiloughby Chase’ apparently being the most well known.  The books are not a continuous series, so it is not necessary to have read the first three to read this one.  In fact, I only found out that it was part of a series after I had started it.

This is a rollicking alternate history fantasy adventure story featuring Dido Twite, heroine of the previous three books in the series.  Dido seems to be about twelve years old, on her way back to London aboard the Naval steamer  ‘Thrush’, when the ship’s Captain is summoned to the kingdom of New Cumbria. The ‘alternate history’ part of the story is immediately apparent as it is the year 1830 and New Cumbria is the country that was established by Britain in South America. The Romans had discovered the New World centuries before, and still rule what is mostly the United States.  The ‘Thrush’ is in service to King James III, with James II never having been deposed, and the Hanoverians are always lurking about causing trouble for the current King.  It’s interesting how much actual history can be conveyed in an alternate history story. This could easily also be shelved in the adult section of the library, but I guess back in 1981 books were either in the ‘children’s’ section or the ‘adult’ section, not in both.

Dido is taken along by the Captain to meet the Queen of New Cumbria, whose kingdom seems to have lost a lake.  Which is where the ‘fantasy’ part of the description comes in.  This book seemingly has it all, pirates, evil giant birds, kidnapping, man eating fish, sinister volcanoes, and that missing lake.  There’s quite a bit of violence and death too, so I’m not sure which age group this might be best suited for, maybe preteens, 10 to 12 years old.  Depends on the kid I suppose, and it is definitely worthwhile for an adult to read.  Besides the story itself, the interactions between Dido and the crew of the Thrush are often quite funny. Dido is always curious and fearless, and ready with a quick and witty remark to whatever the gruff but kind hearted Captain can dish out.

I’m not finished with this one yet, so I can’t say if it’s entirely good, but so far it’s one of the better young adult books I’ve come across.  You do have to be open to this kind of fantasy story, but Aiken does a good job with giving just enough exposition regarding the setting to make it enjoyable without getting too bogged down in her own detailed world.  I’ll probably look for the other books in the series at some point, but unfortunately our library does not have any other books in the series!


1 Day 1 World Project: 8:00pm – 9:00pm


We took Mr. C to see his first movie in a theater this weekend, and considering that he loves Legos, that first movie was ‘The Lego Movie’.  I was surprised to find out that it was still playing, considering that it had been released about six months ago, but there is a second-run theater not too far away from us that was still showing it.

We went to an afternoon showing, partly to get away from the heat of the day, but also because it would most likely be a fairly empty theater.  We weren’t sure how he would react to seeing a large screen movie for the first time, would he squirm around, would there be scary parts that he would not want to see, would he get bored, have to go to the bathroom, not be able to see the screen over the seat in front of him, and on and on like that.  So we thought that the 4:10pm showing would be a good choice since we could get seats without having to worry about anyone sitting in front of Mr. C.  It also helped that since it was a second run theater it only cost $3.75 each to get in!

The movie was much better than I thought it would be, it could have been just a long commercial for Legos, but it is actually quite good and very funny at times.  I have no idea how much of it Mr. C understood, but he sat still from start to finish and was  fully immersed in the story.

What does a 4:10 showing of ‘The Lego Movie’ have to do with the 8:00pm – 9:00pm hour ?   Well as soon as we got home, he emptied out his huge Lego bin and began to try to build the sets and characters from the movie, and continued to do so well past his usual bedtime.  So from 8:00pm to 9:00pm, we were all building various Lego creations as directed by Mr. C, until our fingers bled, or until he collapsed from exhaustion, whichever came first.

Anyone who saw the film might recognize ‘Lord Business’, pictured above, the evil nemesis of our Lego hero from the film; Emmet Brickowsi.  He’s a little Lego man, who puts on large stilts and has a large hat that may have shot flames out the top when he wants to intimidate his foes. At least that’s what Mr. C remembered him doing.   Or perhaps the pirate boat of Silverbeard, below.  Both entirely made by Mr. C.


Of course, he eventually did go to sleep, it might have been close to 10:00pm.   I however, was still awake for a several more hours, it may have been the Summer heat and humidity that kept me up, or it may have been the theme song for the Lego movie that has been stuck in my head since we saw the film.  ‘Everything is Awesome!’.  An ingenious song meant to parody catchy pop songs that get stuck in your head, that manages to actually be an awesome pop song that really does get stuck in your head.

This is part of the 1 Day 1 World series on the Northwest Frame of Mind blog.  For other posts in the series click HERE  .



1 Day 1 World Project: 7:00pm – 8:00pm



I’m not sure if  this past Saturday was the solstice or not, it usually is. The good thing about this time of year is that it remains somewhat light out until close to 9:00pm.  The bad thing is that since it is still light out, it can be very difficult to get Mr. C to go to sleep.  How can it be bedtime, it’s still light out ?

Since he rises with the sun, it also means that he is up and ready to go at about 5:00am too. He seems to be perfectly happy with the reduced hours of sleep, but I could use some more sleep myself.

The above photo was taken a little after 8:00pm, Mr. C was still running around, though he had at least taken his bath by then.

This is part of the ‘1 Day 1 World’ series.  To see other entries, click Here .


1 Day 1 World Project: 6:00pm – 7:00pm



Last week I wrote about how we were preparing for Mr. C’s birthday party, which was held this past Saturday.  Ms. J planned a number of activities and games for the kids including a scavenger hunt, a keep the balloon in the air contest, followed of course by a break the balloon contest, make your own pizzas, and then the make your own Lego space ship contest.  There were a number of other things planned which we had to put off for some other party since we ran out of time, but I’m sure all of the kids were pretty much exhausted by the end of the party.

The party was a big success, no one spilled tomato sauce on their clothes, or dropped ice cream on the carpet. The only incident to report is that a 4 year old girl briefly locked herself in our bathroom, but was expertly instructed on how to unlock the door by Ms. J in about ten seconds.  If I had to tell her how to get out, I probably would have just ended up taking the door off the hinges!

By about 7:00pm, Mr. C was running on fumes, yet still was determined to complete the Lego airplane he received as a gift.  It’s interesting to see how quickly he has come with building Legos.  I used to just build the whole thing, now I’m relegated to assistant, looking for the next part in the instructions.

It can be difficult making a Lego model sitting on the floor, with a very tired five year old heavily leaning on my back, and one cat insisting on sitting on my lap, while the other cat trying his best to sit on as many Lego pieces as possible.  Floor cat likes to sit on either the Lego pieces or the instructions and does not appreciate being lured away temporarily to sit on top of the newspaper.  He may think that I’m trying to read the newspaper, but soon he realizes that I’m not reading the paper at all, I’m trying to read the Lego building instructions.  So he gets up off the paper and sits back down on the instructions. Meanwhile, no amount of adjustment will cause lap cat to move from the lap.  I can contort like a gymnast, cover her with unused Lego pieces, short of standing fully upright though and lap cat will remain on the lap.

I did manage to distract one of the cats with the Lego box, knowing that he wants to sit on the newest item in the room, and also the tallest item on the floor.  Ms. J was able to get lap cat to sit on her lap instead, which is who lap cat actually prefers anyway.

But tired five year old can lean on my back while we build the airplane.  It’s his birthday.



1 Day 1 World Project: 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Lisa from Northwest Frame of Mind started a new series on her blog where participants write a post on what they were doing during the specified hour on the Saturday of each week. Kind of like the television program ’24’. It’s an interesting idea, you can check out the other submission form all over the world to see what other people have been doing at that time. Here’s my submission.

We’re planning Mr. C’s 5th birthday party, so at that time we weren’t doing anything that exciting, so no beautiful shot of a hike in the Southern New Hampshire mountains this week!

We had the bright idea of giving the kids at the birthday party a small Lego kit as a party favor, and then having them build it as a fun activity they could do at the party. So we took a trip to a local Lego store to see if they had any small inexpensive sets. (For anyone who doesn’t know the “Lego Store” is a toy store that only sells Legos. My older brother was very much into Disney with his son, I suppose with me it’s Legos!)

After talking to am employee there, I was soon disappointed to find out that buying eight small Lego sets would cost much more than I had expected. Eight of the smallest boxes of Legos would end up costing more than $60.

However, Ms. J had another idea. The store has a wall of bins filled with Lego bricks and other assorted parts. You can fill up a large cup with as many pieces as you can cram in for $17. Maybe we could come up with a small car or plane or something that the kids could make from the parts that we could cram into one of those cups ?

So, we spent most of Saturday afternoon at the Lego store, trying to come up with our own Lego design that did not have too many pieces, that could be easily made by a group of five year old kids, and whose pieces could be crammed into a Lego cup.

After many, many, many, prototypes of a variety of vehicles, which involved us spreading Lego pieces on the store floor and then trying to come up with something, Ms. J won the competition with a very cool looking space ship. So then we had to gather up all of the component parts from the bins on the wall and cram them in. We did have to do some simplifying of the design a few times, and after at least an hour, we managed to cram in all of the pieces! I’m sure the store employees that we were crazy, but they most likely see a lot of that sort of thing. A store employee told me that one customer bought a set that cost more than $100 just to get a few of the very specialized pieces to make something of his own design. Whew, an exciting Saturday evening for us from about 4:00 to 6:00pm!

Here it is. It was so crammed with pieces that the top wouldn’t fit back on for the photo. Yeah, eight little Legos sets for the party for just $17!


On Sunday, we then had to try to remember what that space ship looked like and divide up the pieces into eight piles and put them into small bags to get ready for the party.

Of course we had no recollection at all of what it looked like, and had not taken a photo.

So, Ms. J, Mr. C, and I then spent about two hours on Sunday afternoon trying to come up with something with the pieces we had in the big Lego cup.

And Ms. J wins the design competition again!

Ok Kids, lets make a Lego space ship! You can make it in any color you want as long as it’s black!


Ok, getting a little stressed about this birthday party. Maybe a soothing photo of a previous hike in New Hampshire will be calming.