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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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Cut four trapezoidal floorboard pieces to fit around the heat vent piece. Each is a different width; the length of the sides adjacent to the vent unit match its dimensions, and the ones on the outside match the space bounded by the floorboard pattern and a window wall. I also glued in splines so it will grip the adjacent pieces. Eight different angles are mitered to about one third of a degree. I just need to nail down the pieces adjacent to it, and it will all fit together.

I also baked cinnamon cardamom rolls, tasty but not as light as I'd like.
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Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Love
US Distributor: Film Factory

Spain 2014 (99 min.)
Directors: Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga
Cast: Josean Bengoetxea, Nagore Aranburu, Itziar Ituño, Itziar Aizpuru, Egoitz Lasa
Awards: Palm Springs Film Festival 2015 (Cine Latino Award), Goya Awards 2015 (Best Picture Nominee, Best Original Score Nominee), San Sebastian International Film Festival 2014 (Special Jury Mention)

Buried passions and lingering emotional memories are expressed through mysterious flower deliveries in a film that finds poetic resonance between a quiet, unhappily married woman and an older woman who yearns for a grandchild.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 4:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 16 | 6:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - director Jon Garaño scheduled to attend
Wed May 20 | 6:00PM | Lincoln Square

Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Creative Streak

USA 2015 (92 min.)
Director: Mark Helenowski
Cast: Curtis Duffy, Michael Muser, Ruth Snider

With his ambition having cost him his family, Chef Curtis Duffy looks to redeem himself with the opening of his new Chicago restaurant. But will his troubled drive get in the way of success? For Grace is a complex, fascinating, and delectable documentary main course.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 6:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - directors Mark Helenowski & Kevin Pang scheduled to attend
Sat May 17 | 3:45PM | Pacific Place

Press Screening: 2 pm
Mood: Make Me Laugh!
US Distributor: Fox Searchlight

USA 2015 (104 min.)
Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Cast: Thomas Mann, RJ Cycler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton
Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2015 (US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, US Dramatic Audience Award)

Two aspiring filmmakers who excel in goofy Criterion film parodies find there is more to life when they befriend a girl with a potentially fatal disease. This Sundance audience and grand jury prize-winning film will tickle your funny bone and tug at your heart.

Festival Screening:
Sat May 16 | 6:30PM | Pacific Place - director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon scheduled to attend
Sun May 17 | 2:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown


Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Make Me Laugh!

South Korea 2015 (105 min.)
Director: Benson Lee
Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Esteban Ahn

A love letter to the John Hughes high school flicks of the '80s and a rare focus on Asian teen culture, Seoul Searching is a clever comedy about cultural identity at a Korean teen summer camp.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 6:30PM | Pacific Place - director Benson Lee scheduled to attend
Sat May 16 | 3:30PM | Pacific Place
Wed May 20 | 8:30 PM | Lincoln Square

Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Thrill Me!

Poland 2014 (94 min.)
Director: Michal Otlowski
Featuring: Jowita Budnik, Sebastian Fabijanski, Mariusz Bonaszewski, Lukasz Simlat, Michal Zurawski

Policewoman Iza Deren investigates a crime that connects two missing policemen, a young woman's corpse, and a bootlegger. She uncovers a decades-long conspiracy that involves her more intimately than she could imagine. North American Premiere.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 9:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Wed May 20 | 4:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - director Michal Otlowski scheduled to attend
Fri May 22 | 8:30PM | Lincoln Square

Press Screening: 2 pm
Mood: Love
US Distributor: Bleeker Street

USA 2015 (95 min.)
Director: Brett Haley
Cast: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Malin Akerman, June Squibb

After the death of her dog, and prodding by her sassy group of friends, an elderly widow starts dating again and must choose between two very different suitors. This engaging romantic comedy proves you're never too old to fall in love.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 17 | 5:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - director Brett Haley scheduled to attend
Mon May 18 | 4:15PM | Harvard Exit


Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Love

Colombia/Spain 2014 (100 min.)
Director: Chus Gutiérrez
Cast: Carolina Ramírez, Julián Villagrán, Ingrid Rubio, Jorge Herrera, John Alex Castillo

A Spanish doctor falls for a beautiful dancer on a trip to Colombia; when he comes back to stay he has to fend off her aggressive, immature ex-boyfriend and attempt to win her over against a swirling backdrop of exuberant salsa music and dance.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 8:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Mon May 18 | 4:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Make Me Laugh!
US Distributor: IFC Films

USA 2015 (101 min.)
Director: Leslye Headland
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Jason Mantzoukas

This funny, sassy, and bawdy romcom, produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, follows romantic failures Jake and Lainey as they go from strangers to friends, to possibly lovers, throughout the years.

Festival Screenings:
Fri June 5 | 9:30PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian - director Leslye Headland scheduled to attend
Sun Jun 7 | 4:00PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Press Screening: 2 pm
Mood: Love
US Distributor: IFC Films

USA 2014 (97 min.)
Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina, Natalie Wilemon

In this magical romantic portrait, Academy Award® winner Al Pacino plays an eccentric locksmith left heartbroken by the woman he lost forty years ago. Unexpectedly, he tries to start his life over again with the help of a new friend played with charm and grace by fellow Oscar® winner Holly Hunter.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 23 | 11:00AM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sun May 24 | 5:00PM | Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center


Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Creative Streak

USA 2015 (93 min.)
Director: Jason Zeldes
Cast: Donté Clark, D'neise Robinson, Molly Raynor, Deandre Evans

A compelling documentary about a Donté Clark, a young Bay Area poet who is determined to put together an updated version of "Romeo & Juliet" set in Richmond and portraying his city's violent gang wars.

Festival Screenings:
Sun May 17 | 5:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - director Jason Zeldes scheduled to attend
Mon May 18 | 3:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Love
US Distributor: Cohen Media Group

France 2014 (107 min.)
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier, Raphaël Personnaz, Isild Le Besco
Awards: Cesar Awards 2015 (Best Actor Nominee, Best Costume Design Nominee), San Sebastian Film Festival 2014 (Sebastiane Award)

Ever since David's wife died, a mysterious blonde woman has been seen helping around the house in this Hitchcockian psychosexual drama crafted with suspense and emotional intensity by one of France's most esteemed modern directors.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 16 | 9:30PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Sun May 17 | 11:30AM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

Press Screening: 2 pm
Mood: Make Me Laugh!
US Distributor: Strand Releasing

Canada 2014 (81 min.)
Director: Pat Mills
Cast: Pat Mills, Zahra Bentham, Kevin Hanchard, Alex Ozerov, Eleanor Zichy

This unconventional and quirky redemption comedy proves that everyone deserves a second chance-even an aging former child star with a penchant for booze and bad decisions masquerading as a high school guidance counselor.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 9:30PM | Harvard Exit - director Pat Mills scheduled to attend
Sat May 16 | 3:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown

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The Seattle International Film Festival officially begins on May 4, but as the dedicated Festival attendees, we know that it really starts much earlier. The Donor & Member Preview tomorrow night whets our appetite with a selection of trailers and programmers' picks, just in time to lead into the press screenings. At these morning and afternoon engagements, pass holders can catch up to a total of 30 feature-length films before Opening Night even kicks off!

Press screenings begin this Thursday, April 30 at SIFF Cinema Uptown.

As pass holders, we have the privilege of joining members of the press in being some of the first to see films that will be shown at this year's Festival!

April 30 through June 4
Week 1: Thursday through Friday
Weeks 2 to 5: Monday through Thursday
Screenings at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm
No Press Screenings May 25


Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Face the Music

USA/Italy/Russia, 2014 (86 min.)
Director: Christopher Wilkinson
Cast: Alessandro Deljavan, Sean Chen, Fei Fei Dong, Vadym Kholodenko, Beatrice Rana

Held every four years in Fort Worth, The Cliburn is one of the world's most prestigious and grueling piano competitions. This intimate and satisfyingly suspenseful documentary affords a prime seat for all the drama.

Festival Screenings:
Wed May 20 | 6:30PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown - director Christopher Wilkinson scheduled to attend
Thu May 21 | 4:30PM | Harvard Exit
Sun May 24 | 3:30PM | Lincoln Square

Press Screening: Noon
Mood: Face the Music
US Distributor: Roadside Attractions

USA, 2014 (119 min.)
Director: Bill Pohlad
Cast: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel

Love & Mercy presents a mesmerizing portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter, and leader of the Beach Boys. The film examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the icon whose success came at extraordinary personal cost.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 15 | 6:30PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian - composer Atticus Ross scheduled to attend
Sat May 16 | 12:30PM | Pacific Place

Press Screening: 2:15 pm
Mood: Thrill Me!
US Distributor: Sundance Selects

Germany 2014 (98 min.)
Director: Christian Petzold
Cast: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Megan Gay, Valerie Koch, Nina Kunzendorf
Awards: San Sebastián 2014 (FIPRESCI Prize)

In this gripping thriller, Holocaust survivor Nelly Lenz emerges from the war with a reconstructed face and a new appreciation of the forces which may still threaten her survival. A spectacular turn from Nina Hoss (Barbara).

Festival Screening:
Sun May 31 | 7:15 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian


Press Screening: 10 am
Mood: Love
US Distributor: IFC Films

USA 2014 (117 min.)
Director: Oren Moverman
Cast: Richard Gere, Ben Vereen, Jena Malone, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeremy Strong
Awards: Toronto International Film Festival 2014 (FIPRESCI International Critics' Award)

A homeless man (Richard Gere) tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter amidst a cold and unforgiving urban landscape in this gritty and insightful drama from Oren Moverman (The Messenger) with a powerhouse, career-best performance from Gere.

Festival Screenings:
Fri May 22 | 7:00PM | SIFF Cinema Uptown
Sat May 23 |1:30 PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Press Screening: 12:15 pm
Mood: Creative Streak

Spain 2015 (87 min.)
Directors: Luis González, Andrea Gómez
Featuring: Joan Roca, Josep Roca, Jordi Roca

In their quest to innovate, the Roca brothers, co-owners of one of the world's best restaurants, closed their restaurant for five weeks to tour the world with the entire staff, and design 57 new dishes paying tribute to local food traditions and ingredients and the power of global food culture.

Festival Screenings:
Tue June 2 | 7:00PM | Harvard Exit - director Andrea Gómez scheduled to attend
Thu June 4 | 4:15PM | Harvard Exit

Press Screening: 2 pm
Mood: Make Me Laugh!
US Distributor: Music Box Films

France 2014 (99 min.)
Director: Anne Fontaine
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini, Jason Flemyng, Niels Schneider, Elsa Zylberstein

Adapted from Gustave Flaubert's classic tale via Posy Simmonds' popular graphic novel, this sexy, lighthearted take on everyone's favorite housewife gone astray stars a delectable Gemma Arterton and a hilariously hapless Fabrice Luchini.

Festival Screenings:
Sat May 16 | 3:30PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian
Tue May 19 | 7:00PM | SIFF Cinema Egyptian

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Today was anotherday of flooring work. I had planned to lay down some moisture barrier underlayment, then start nailing down a few floorboards, but I ran into a few complications. The wall opposite my starting point has a heat vent opening, and some baseboard trim that was really stubborn to remove.

The baseboard trim wasn't the ususual stuff found along the base of walls, it was at the bottom of a very large sliding glass door assembly with large fixed windows on both sides of the sliding section. It consisted of a flat strip that ran from the base of the windows to the edge of the carpet, with a strip of quarter round on top of it. The quarter round came off easily enough, but the flat trim was wedged under the vertical trim on both sides of the window assembly. It took two crowbars and a lot of trial and error to free the base trim without tearing away the side trim.

Laying the underlayment was the easy part: just measure (and measure again a few times), cut, fold the ends under, and stick it in place.

The heat vent opening was the main complication to the underlayment. The vent cover just lifted out, but the complication was the transition from the flat moisture barrier to the vent hole. I didn't want to just cut the moisture barrier material at the edge of the hole – that might leave a rough edge that would make noise any time the furnace fan would blow air through the vent. I ended up folding the edges of the moisture barrier down into the vent, and gluing it down flat. I did the same with the first vent (in the front hall), and it's nice and quiet. It even looks pretty nice if someone happens to lift the vent cover and peek down the vent.

When all that was done, I was ready to nail down a few floorboards. However, by that point, "T" was asleep, and it was pretty late to start a lot of noisy work anyway. Instead, I called it a night, and "J" and I scrounged up some leftovers for dinner. I thought about watching the rest of a documentary I had started before we went to Maine, but I was so tired that I just took T's example and went to sleep.

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I worked on the flooring project pretty much all day today. After the extensive dry-lay test fitting work yesterday, I was ready to start installing floorboards in our fireplace room. However, there was a lot of carpet and a patch of linoleum* in the way. I wanted to keep the old carpet temporarily, because the flooring is a bit too slippery for the dog, and she'll need some kind of non-slippery surface until we pick out nice rugs for the room. Until the room is closer to finished, I plan to keep the carpet in its current position so I don't leave a lot of bare subfloor around to give us splinters.

The room is rectangular, with two sections removed from the rectangle: fireplace tiles cover the middle of one of the short walls, and the remains of the old kitchen linoleum project into one of the opposite corners. The carpeted portion is vaguely similar to a reversed lower-case "h".

I started the job by cutting through the carpet across the room, which will leave two reasonably useful chunks of carpet. I folded the two sections away from the cut, leaving a patch about half the width of the room on my immediate right (as viewed from the hallway where I started the project), the linoleum section opposite right, and a patch the full width of the room on my left. That exposed a lot of scary-looking carpet padding, with a the ground in grit that settled beyond the reach of the vacuum cleaner over the years, and several pieces of nail strips along the walls and the edge of the linoleum section. I ripped up the padding as far as I could reach, then pulled up the tacks so I wouldn't have to worry about hitting them with floorboard nails later. I also ripped up the nail strips, removing the nails that held them in place. That was a surprising amount of work.

An even bigger task was removing the linoleum, along with the particle board that elevates it from the subfloor to the height of the carpet and pad. The particle board under the linoleum is pretty low-grade stuff, and it breaks up pretty easily, but it took a lot of demolition effort (mostly with a crowbar) to break it up, and it had quite a few nails holding it in place, which I also removed. Fortunately, it was just nailed down; it would have been a real headache remove it if it had been glued down. There was some black tar-paper underneath it, presumably as a moisture barrier, and that came away easily.

Ripping up the carpet padding, linoleum, and particle board generated quite a bit of construction debris. Normally we generate very little trash-trash (but lots of recycle trash, and kitchen-and-garden compost), so we have a very small trash can for pick-up, and even so we rarely come close to filling it. But the carpet padding alone is enough to fill most of the trash bin, so I'll have to dispose of the debris in more than one week's worth of trash-trash. Conveniently, I remembered that I still had my old-fashioned galvanized steel trash can in the cellar, from back before the trash company switched to plastic bins. I retrieved it, and loaded the particle board and black tar-paper into it, to be dumped in a future week's trash.

The fireplace room is between the kitchen and the rest of the house, which interfered with cooking. Around dinner time, "J" and I were both getting pretty hungry. Rather than struggle through the demolition mess, J proposed ordering pizza – and remembered that she had a couple of Pagliacci gift cards. Score! She also ordered salad, which made it a very nice meal. We were pleased to see the cheerful delivery woman when she arrived on our porch.

While we ate dinner, we took a break to watch the second half of An Affair to Remember. J had started watching it before our trip to Maine, and we had both seen it before in the distant past, so it wasn't a problem to start watching in the middle. It's a good film, but it drags at points, particularly in the musical interludes. But good or great, it made nice entertainment to go with the pizza and the break from floor work.

Another step in the floor work was an interim cleaning. There was a lot of sandy grit under the padding, and some mysterious black mud-like stuff here and there. I don't want to leave it under the flooring to make crunching noises, and I don't want to track it around the house while I install the flooring, so I swept it up and added it to the steel trash can. Without the carpet and padding in the way, I could have removed it with the vacuum cleaner easily, but that would have taken up a lot of the vacuum cleaner bag (possibly necessitating a search for a new bag), and sweeping it up was pretty easy anyway.

The final step before pausing the project for the night was to fold back the carpet to hide the subfloor. Most of the linoleum peeled away from the particle board intact, so I even laid that back where it had been. Other than a few cut marks and variations in the thickness of the flooring materials, the room didn't look all that different from the way it had been in the morning. But a lot had been accomplished.

I had one flooring mishap today, not directly related to the demolition. A bit of sand with some sharp corners turned up on one of the nailed down floorboards in the hallway, and when I moved a stack of floorboards meant for the fireplace room, I heard a scraping noise. I removed the stack of floorboards, and there was a deep white scratch about two-thirds of the width of a floorboard. It's in a fairly visible spot too, about halfway down the hall. I hope I'll be able to fill it in with enough clear urethane paint to hide the scratch.

It was a very productive day, and I got a lot of exercise without even going to the gym.

* I am pretty much certain that the flooring stuff is not true linoleum; it's probably vinyl or some other more modern replacement material.

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This morning "J" mixed up another batch of her special waffle recipe, so we had another tasty waffle breakfast, with maple syrup from Maine.

Once we were done with breakfast, J asked me to use up the rest of the waffle batter so we'll have more waffles to freeze for later. Normally, the waffles are done (or at least close enough that it's safe to open the grill to check on them) when a green light on the top switches off. Seeing the light off, I opened up the grill to peek at them – and some half-cooked batter was stuck to both the top and bottom of the grill. The grill itself wasn't even all that hot. I checked the cord; OK. I tested another appliance in the same plug; OK. I mentioned the puzzle when J returned to the room, and she checked for the red-orange light on the grill that indicates power – and it was dark.

It seems our waffle grill is dead. When we got married, J and I had an excess of waffle grills, from combining households, but we donated the excess to Goodwill. Now we don't have a waffle grill at all. That's an excuse to shop for a new one (or maybe a new-to-us grill from a thrift shop).

I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I'm hunting, looking for a come-up
This is f---ing awesome

After breakfast, I did some flooring work, starting to dry lay some more floorboards, but I didn't have a lot of free time before we needed to head out the door.

This afternoon, J had an appointment in Issaquah. I drove her there, and we took "T" along for the ride. J's appointment went quite well. And as usual, T managed to make pretty much everyone smile.

Since we were in Issaquah, it was hard to resist another stop at Krispy Kreme. But since we had dinner plans, we set the donuts (a half-dozen) aside for later.

Thanks to traffic, it was roughly time for dinner when we arrived at my parents' place in Bellevue. They had a tasty dinner prepared: lasagna and one of my father's salads. (He makes the best salads, and also has a talent for picking out the best fruit in grocery stores.) My brother and his wife were also present, and cheerful. There was also a nice dessert: apple crisp, with ice cream.

I had to be careful not to overindulge, because I had a training appointment later in the evening. I was a bit drowsy after the meal, which made gym more difficult than it needed to be, but it would have been pretty uncomfortable if I had been a glutton at dinner too. I arrived with time for a three-quarter mile (1.2 km) warm-up, in a respectable 6:57 minutes:seconds. The trainer had a good full-body work-out for me.

After we got home, I resumed the flooring work. I picked out about 60 more floorboards and laid them out in the fireplace room, trying to pick boards that look decent next to each other. I mostly try to put lighter boards near other lighter boards, darker boards together, with medium boards as transitions. I also try to group boards by texture; in this case the boards nearer the hallway end of the room tended to have more grain visible, while the ones nearer the huge east window (and sliding glass door) opposite tended to show less grain.

That was enough to cover 14 rows of floorboards, with the exception of the outline of a heat vent next to the window. It looked really nice.

When I felt like I had all the planned 14 rows laid out nicely, I asked J for a second opinion. She pointed out two boards that looked good together but didn't match any of their neighbors. It was a good catch; I switched them out for two others, and declared the selection finished.

Because the boards are not nailed down, and resting on carpet, walking on them requires quite a bit of extra care. They were a bit treacherous that way, and besides the tripping hazard there was a risk of damaging boards by breaking off tongues or grooves. Additionally, since I'll need to remove the existing flooring, clean underneath it, and lay down moisture barrier, I didn't want to leave the boards in place after the dry lay.

My final flooring task tonight was putting little bits of tape numbered with the row and board location, then stacking all the floorboards to put them aside until later.

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This afternoon, "J", and I and "T" went to Sunday brunch, as usual. All of theregulars were there.

Later in the afternoon, J did a lot of gardening. I was mostly working on preparations for a dry lay of floorboards in the remainder of our hallway and in what we call the "fireplace room", but I joined in on a little of the gardening too.

After dinner – leftover quiche, still delicious – I got to work on the actual dry lay. Most of the task was picking out boards that looked good next to the boards that are already nailed down; actually placing them where they belong and marking where they go is pretty simple. I also rearranged the stacks of boards for easier access, which only left time for laying out 21 boards, including eight I had already tentatively chosen.

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This morning, "J" and I dug into the deep freeze for waffles we made before the trip to Maine. They were still tasty, particularly with real maple syrup. The syrup was from LL Bean, but although we visited an LL Bean outlet store while we were in Maine, we had bought it by mail order.

In the evening, J treated us to another simple but tasty dinner: salmon burgers on cheese bagels.

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Today "J" and I went on a road trip with the rental car, heading north, deeper into Maine. First stop was in or near a town called Wells. We saw a sign advertising maple syrup, and couldn't resist. As it turned out, the place processed maple syrup on site. The woman on duty said that although they could have collected a bit more maple sap, they needed to shut down the syrup works for the season to make way for spring gardening; they had shut down the maple works just yesterday. We bought a couple of very large jugs of syrup, bottled yesterday.

Next stop was Portland. (Oregon isn't the only state with an important city named Portland.) On the drive into the city, we went past a place where J had once lived. Our main destination there, however, was a shopping district. J got coffee and I got hot water for my tea; a certain green coffee logo is practically unavoidable anywhere one goes. We bought some gifts in a toy store. We got some delicious ice cream. And J bought a new-to-her purse at a designer secondhand store; the quality looked solid, the design looked practical, and the price was reasonable.
Update: J later transferred her purse junk from her old purse to the new one, and discovered that the design was even more practical than she had noticed when buying it.

After Portland, we continued on to Freeport, which is best known as the home of LL Bean. We went to a number of stores, and bought several items at the LL Bean outlet store. We also drove past the huge main office of LL Bean main office and main retail stores, but didn't visit them, because we found what we wanted at the outlet store.

We looked through Yelp for a place for dinner in Freeport, but decided to return to Portland. There we went to Saeng Thai House, which was the first Thai restaurant in Portland, and one of the first in Maine. It was really good, and the service was very pleasant.

The drive back to J's parents' house was uneventful. We got back fairly late.

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I slept late this morning. "J" woke ahead of me, and went out for a walk to get me blueberry muffins for breakfast. That was sweet of her.

Later in the day, J's parents took us to Fort McClary, which is now a state park, but once guarded the entrance to Portsmouth harbor and the Piscataqua River. It never saw conflict in all its years as a fort: 1689 to 1918. The park hadn't officially opened for the season, but a parks department volunteer was there anyway because it was a really nice day. It was nice of J's parents to find a place of historical interest for me.

On the same outing, we went to another park. It was not a place of any special historical interest; instead it was a place where J had played as a kid. The nostalgia of the place went past me, but it was nice to see J smile with memories of the place.

This evening, J and I had a little shopping expedition we wanted to do, but we discovered that it's difficult to find 24 hour stores in small towns. We ended up a few towns over and managed to find what we needed just before the store closed at 10 pm.

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This morning, "J" and I woke up and enjoyed yet another delicious breakfast at the bed-and-breakfast: Finnish pancakes, sausages, fruit cup pineapple, orange mango punch, and maybe something else I forgot about.

We really enjoyed staying at the B&B, but with an open invitation to stay at J's parents' house it was a bit of an extravagance. So, today we checked out of the B&B and hauled our stuff to the in-laws' house. It was close enough that we were able to haul most of the stuff in wheel bags, rather than the extra steps of loading it into the rental car only to unload it again after a very brief drive.

At lunch time, J had a visitor: an old friend who had driven several hours just to drop in for a fairly short visit. J's mother treated us all to a quiche. I've met him before; he's a very nice guy.

In early evening, J and I went to the Oarhouse, a fancy fish restaurant in New Hampshire – the same place where J and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner. It was pretty expensive, but delicious. They had valet parking, and it was OK for us to stay in the parking lot after dinner.

From the restaurant, we walked to a theater for a stage performance titled A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. It was mostly music with a little biography, and some well-delivery jokes by a guy playing a disc jockey who was an early supporter of Cline. I'm mostly not a fan of country music, but I liked quite a lot of Patsy Cline songs, and they were well-performed, except where the band stepped up the tempo a bit more than they should have. The tickets were a gift from one of J's relatives, who has a radio show.

On the return trip, we drove to a nice dark spot close to J's father's land. We got out, waited briefly for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, and looked at the stars. It was as dark there on ordinary night as it is at home on a really exceptional dark night.

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"J" and I attended a performance of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline at the Seacoast Repertory Theater in Portsmouth New Hampshire.

The show had a thin sketch of a biography of Patsy Cline, mostly narrated by a character who plays a disc jockey who was an early supporter of Cline. The DJ character also did a lot of corny old jokes, but he delivered them so well that they were funny anyway. (An additional source of laughs was unintentional: the DJ tried to do a Virginia accent, but although he did pretty well with the southern vowels, his consonants were very strongly New England.) The singer playing Patsy Cline was really good. The costume people did a nice job too, and somehow managed a multitude of really quick costume changes for "Patsy". The band was solid, except that the drummer frequently seemed to be getting ahead of the rest of the band.

Although I'm not a fan of country music in general, I like quite a few Patsy Cline songs, and I enjoyed the performance of this show.

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This morning, "J" and I enjoyed another delicious breakfast at the bed and breakfast: bacon, spiced scrambled eggs, a mini-salad, blueberry oat bran muffins, cranberry juice, and coffee or tea. The owners, Paul and Lee, introduced us to the dog and cat, Phoebe and Barney.

After breakfast, we went to J's parents' house to do family social stuff, interrupted by the occasional nap, since the jet lag isn't going away.

The television was on quite a lot today. I paid partial attention to it, but not enough to write anything more than mini-reviews.

  • We Who Are Young — This film looked like melodrama. The script was written by Dalton Trumbo, but it was one of his lesser works.
  • Calling Dr Kildare — I wasn't familiar with the long-running Dr Kildare series, but this was part of it. The title doctor set up a small clinic, and treated assorted routine problems, then treated a guy with a bullet wound. The wounded guy was worried that he was set up for killing someone else, and didn't want his injury to be reported. In addition to treating the wound, the doctor also had to find evidence that the patient had been framed. I think.
  • Frank Sinatra, parts one and two — This was an HBO documentary, and like a lot of their documentaries it looked very good.

J and her mother went out shopping for a while; I am not sure just what she bought.

When we got back to the place, we saw some drama: a rather large drug bust, with five police vehicle from at least two jurisdictions, five or so handcuffed suspects, and a police dog. I took pictures, but there wasn't quite enough light.

Finally, I had noticed a keyboard instrument in one of the common rooms right as we arrived. It looked like an upright piano. I have sheet music with me, and I wanted to try to play it, so I asked the innkeeper. He said that it wasn't actually a piano – it was a pump organ, and it didn't even work. I was only the second guest to ask to play it in the many years it had been there.

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Very early this morning, "J" and I woke up, in our bed and breakfast in Maine. It's a very cozy place: a house built between 1899 and 1903 for a lawyer who was involved in some notorious criminal cases, including the never-solved Fannie Sprague murder.* His family owned it for a long time, then it became a commercial property – a restaurant in the 1950s, a professional office when J was growing up here, and today the B&B.

We got ourselves ready for a long day, and went downstairs for breakfast. Unlike typical hotel breakfasts, this place provides a full sit-down breakfast. This morning's breakfast was strawberries in cream, blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, sausage patties, orange juice, coffee or tea. Yum!

After breakfast, we went to J's parents' house. It was a busy place, with her parents, her sister "C" brother-in-law "M", and their two kids awaiting us.
Correction: We actually missed seeing M again; he had just left to get back to work in New Jersey. At least we got a chance to see him the night before.

We spent the day in an assortment of family activities, mostly just enjoying time spent together.

In the afternoon, C and the kids had to leave too, also to return to New Jersey. It was too little time spent with them.

J went out shopping with her mother; I stayed at the house talking with her father, and taking a nap because I'm still pretty jet lagged.

In the evening, we all went out to a family style chain restaurant. It was better than I had expected.

After dinner we returned to our B&B. It's good to have a place to stay without a big rush to move us in just as C's family was leaving.

* I'm pretty sure this was the case the innkeepers were talking about. If so, the house was presumably built for George C Yeaton.

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Yesterday's flight to Boston was just fine. Our assigned seats weren't together, but no one minded our request to swap seats so "J" and I could sit together.

Picking up our rental car went smoothly. It was a much better experience than a previous rental, where we felt like second class renters. This time we felt like valued customers. The only annoyance was a couple of overly friendly employees who offered to help carry our bags. They gave us the impression that it would be a really long haul, when it was actually a very easy walk with wheel bags; we could have managed fine on our own even with our heavier-than-usual load. The annoying part wasn't their help, it was the customary expectation of a tip for a service that wasn't necessary.

Rather than driving all the way to our destination in Maine – which would have had us arriving at an unreasonably late hour – we went only as far as Portsmouth NH, where we had a hotel room reserved at a place with a 24-hour desk. The hotel was a classy old place, and the check-in was smooth. The room was small but luxurious.

The one negative feature of the hotel was a malfunction in the hotel's alarm clock (which was a tablet computer attached to a charging station, with an alarm clock app). The alarm went off at 6 am, which was much too early for us after getting to sleep at 2 am.

The unreasonably early wake-up wasn't all bad. The hotel breakfast room had really good stuff, so it was nice to be awake in time for the food.

When we checked out (right after the early breakfast), I observed that we had prepaid for late check-out, since we had anticipated sleeping late. We mentioned the alarm clock mishap, and although they didn't refund the late check-out fee, they did give us a nice souvenir from the hotel's gift shop. We later gave it to J's parents, who either liked it or politely pretended to like it.


The drive to Maine went smoothly. It was good to see J's parents, her sister "C", and C's family. Since C and her family didn't have a lot of overlap between their visit to Maine and ours, it was nice that we arrived in Maine earlier than we had planned.

Part of our time with C's family included a little expedition to a school yard (after school hours, with permission) where J's father and I played basketball with C's 13-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter (both with "T" initials). It was fun to spend some time with the kids; we didn't get to see T(13) at all last time we visited C's family, and T(8) is pleasant company too.

Rather than try to settle into the in-laws' house while C and her family were still there, J and I got a room at a bed-and-breakfast very close to their house.

In the evening, we had a yummy dinner with the in-laws.

Later, we all settled in for an on-demand movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. It was funny and surprisingly good; superhero movie plots can be pretty dumb, but comedy makes it so that doesn't matter. However, of the eight who started watching, only three made it through to the end.

After the film, J and I retired to our B&B. It was a cozy place to settle down for the night.

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This morning "J" and I finished our packing – a lot more stuff than usual. My parents came over to give us a ride to the airport, and as it turned out, we couldn't fit everyone plus our our stuff in their vehicle, so they phoned my brother to drive my mother back to Bellevue while my father drove us to the airport.

The flight was delayed by about 20 minutes, which turned out to be convenient for us, with our abundance of stuff.

A surprise for us is that our flight has free internet, except for large file transfers. Thumbs up for Jet Blue.

Although we left a bit late, we should be able to arrive in Boston on time, thanks to favorable winds. From there we'll drive to Maine to visit J's family.

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This afternoon, "J" and I went to Lacey for some more state government business, with "T" along for the ride. T and I dropped in on the meeting only briefly, but it seemed like it was more productive than usual.

Rather than head directly home, we went to where our friend "N" and her roommate "K" live. We talked briefly with N, and picked up K so he can serve as our house-sitter.

After I took everyone to our house, J and I worked on packing for the travel that necessitates a house-sitter. Additionally, J went over the duties with K.

I had a training appointment at the gym tonight, so I took some time out from the packing. I had a rigorous work-out, concentrating mostly on arms and shoulders.

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This afternoon, "J" and I and "T" went to our usual Sunday brunch. All of the usual people were there.

This evening, we all went to my parents' place in Bellevue for Easter dinner. As usual on such occasions, my parents (mostly my mother) put together a fancy dinner. It was good, and company was nice too.

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Today "J" and I went to my parents' place in Bellevue, where we met up with my brother's wife "M". From there the three of us went to the Seattle Opera House. Rather than conventional opera, the event was something called Shen Yun. It was a music and dance show based in New York, but adapted from Chinese culture. It was entertaining, but pretty expensive.

After the show, J and I took M to a Thai restaurant. She wasn't very familiar with Thai food, but she liked her dinner.

We returned to my parents' place in Bellevue. "T" had been there hanging out with my parents, and had enjoyed their company.

After visiting my parents, M gave us a tour of the new condo she and my brother were about to move into. It's nice and spacious – particularly with all their possessions still in their old place.

J and I returned home, and tonight we finished off the remaining episodes of Orange Is the New Black. Now we will have to wait until the third season is released. It's a good show, but I have to wonder where it will go next season, because two of the main continuing plots were wrapped up so neatly. I've admired most of the writing, but if the writers manage to find a good place to continue the story this summer I'll really be impressed.

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Today I was out shopping, and I saw a rather strange Passover sight: a jogger with a spandex yarmulke!

In the afternoon, our friend "N" visited us. She and "J" spent a bunch of time baking cookies together; they were quite tasty, and there were more than enough to share.

In the evening, I gave J and N a ride to a gathering of J's friends; N was pleased to meet them, and found them quite welcoming.

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