All posts by Carl

2 x 3mm Stones

Women who have passed kidney stones compare the pain to that of child birth. Early this morning after an entirely sleepless night my pain increased to 11 on a scale of 10 and it was time for a visit to the ER. There I received a very effective pain blocker and underwent a CAT scan to confirm that I was passing two 3mm kidney stones.  I was discharged by noon and felt good enough to walk home from the hospital. During my recovery, I enjoyed watching a video from Maya showing her hopper in action. Note the clever time delayed trigger.  Link to Video

Pumpkin Time

I had hoped to head up to New Hampshire for some fall foliage photography today. My soccer match was cancelled due to forfeit by our opponent leaving me a rare unscheduled autumn Sunday. Unfortunately, skies were overcast and I opted to do some much needed shopping instead.  By late afternoon, the sun was peaking through the clouds occasionally and I managed to get some nice pumpkin photos at one of our local farm stands. Later I took Jeanine out for diner and the latest Kingsman movie. We both agreed that it would have been better if I had taken Kyle instead.  Better yet would have been waiting to catch it on TV.

Hopper Project

During day two of Olin’s Family Weekend Maya had to work on her hopper project and we were all happy to watch as she built mechanisms from parts that were laser cut over night. The project is due on Monday so she needed to work on it while we were visiting.  Later we joined some of her friends and their parents for dinner at a Japanese restaurant before saying goodbye to our baby who we will see next at Thanksgiving.

Family Weekend

Jeanine, Kyle and I had a chance to visit Maya during Family Weekend at Olin College. We are already fairly familiar with the tiny campus and therefore most interested in seeing Maya’s first project, a biologically inspired hoping mechanism (below is one of her initial design drawings). Maya seems very happy and thoroughly engaged in academic life as well as the social scene. We attended her ultimate frisbee practice to cap off the day.

Campaign Photos

Jeanine asked me to take some photographs for Open Table’s next fundraising newsletter which I was happy to help her with. Pictured above is the food pantry at their new Maynard facility. Below is from dinner service in Concord shot from the top of a 12ft ladder.

Stihl the Best

I can’t think of a tool I have owned that has given me more pleasure and care free use than my Stihl chainsaw.  I have owned it for more than 25 years and it has never let me down. It saw most of its use taking down and sectioning huge dead beech trees when we lived on a 5 acre forested lot in Indiana.  It also opened up the magnificent view of the field we enjoy today on our Concord property.  It has seen little use in the last 5 years, however, and therefore will get posted to Craig’s List where I hope it will find a happy new home.

The Esplanade

I had an opportunity to stroll along the Charles River Esplanade this afternoon between consulting gigs in the city. I am trying to walk as much as possible to help stretch out my injured hamstring. With normal strides I am already pain free which bodes well for a quick recovery.

Tool Transition

When DeWALT upgraded their cordless tool line from 18V NiCad to 20V Li-Ion battery technology, I sold off all my old tools and replaced them with their newer equivalents. Today, I completed my second transition to tools with brushless motors, DeWALT’s latest cordless technology by selling off my last two saws that use motors with brushes. I managed to recover 80% of my acquisition cost which makes the transition much more affordable. I have also started to invest in some of DeWALT’s 60V tools including an air compressor and track saw. Generally speaking, I am on a path to replace all my corded and stationary power tools with cordless ones. I am waiting impatiently for the introduction of a cordless router and orbital sander which I can’t believe have not been released yet.

Soccer Fight

I have played soccer in Massachusetts for as long as we have lived here, some 14 years now; first on the over-40 Concord team, then the over-50 Concord team and now on the Lexington over-56 team. In all that time, I have never witnessed a fight between players that resulted in injury.  Most are merely shoving matches with lots of trash talk. When the final whistle blew this morning in our tied game against Peabody, an opponent who felt he had been fouled by one of our players stuck him in the face resulting in a cut that required 10 stitches to close.  Our guy fought back to defend himself and both were issued red cards. I suggested we photograph the injury so that assault charges could be substantiated and to seek to have the offending player permanently banned from the league.  I watched the whole fight transpire from the sidelines where I spent the second half of the game benched with a strained hamstring.

Island Hopping

Scattered clouds and a visible full moon in the morning gave way to overcast skies with little in the way of sunshine. Never the less, we enjoyed exploring the area. We started with a 6 mile bike ride along the Androscoggin River and then a visit to an artisan craft show in Brunswick which yielded a beautiful set of silver earrings for Jeanine. After a wonderful lunch at the Frontier we explored Orr’s Island and Bailey Island where we made a short hike to the Giant Staircase (pictured below).  We decided to cancel reservations for a sunset sailboat cruise when thick fog began to form and it started to rain.


Twenty seven years ago today, Jeanine and I were married on an equally beautiful autumn day.  Jeanine collected me at the airport this morning and we drove to a quaint bed and breakfast at Lookout Point in Harpswell, Maine. We spent the day touring the area by car and on foot winding up on the tip of Basin Point, at the water’s edge of Pott’s Harbor for dinner at the Dolphin Marina and Restaurant with an exceptional view of Casco Bay and its many islands.


Stringers are long sawtooth shaped boards used to support stair treads. Mark’s deck required six of them which we fabricated today from 2×12 lumber. Almost half our time was well spent getting the layout and dimensions just right.  Careful execution resulted in a perfectly matched set and made for a nice accomplishment to wind up our construction efforts for the week.

Deck Posts

Favorable weather today allowed Mark and I to make significant progress on his deck project. We installed thirteen 9′ tall 4×4 posts that will support the railing and overhead trellis.  Each post is supported by 3 massive bolts and 2×10 blocking on all sides (about a third of which we completed).


It is hard to photograph 9-year old Rose because she is in a constant state of motion.  I gave her an eye brow massage which slowed her down long enough to get a nice portrait.


I travelled to Minneapolis today where I will be spending the remainder of the week with my brother Mark and his family. Mark spent last week in Boston helping me with the tiny house project and I will be helping him this week with his deck project. The best part of my visit is seeing all my nieces and nephews. This is 11 year old Sophia.

Birthday Crew

My birthday celebration was postponed from Friday until this evening so that Maya could join us. Jeanine prepared Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and broccoli for a wonderful family dinner which also included my nephew, John.

Unfortunately,  I was not treated so well on the soccer pitch this morning. My team suffered a real drubbing in a 0-5 loss to the current first place team in the league. I had the only shot on goal of the entire match and managed to find the cross bar rather than the back of the net.