Pretty humdrum day when the blog features a photo of my doctor’s office. I was in for my 52,000 mile check up. Engine looked strong, air intake was good, tail pipe inspection was satisfactory, on board computer checked out OK but oil pressure was very high and 3 out of 4 suspensions joints are shot. The mechanic implied that the junk yard was the next stop if I didn’t take better care of the machine. On a brighter note my earlier visit to the dentist revealed no needed work on the grill.

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Nicolai spent the weekend in tryouts for his high school junior varsity soccer team. There are many kids vying for a small number of remaining openings. For the first time, Nico’s skill and determination may not be enough to compensate for his inability to run as fast as others. Of two things I am sure, however. First, Nico is putting every ounce of his strength into these tryouts, evidenced by another stress induced crutch failure shown in the photo. Second, that the decision of his coach will look past his disability and only consider his effectiveness on the field. For many years we struggled to work past small minded officials who could not imagine that Nicolai would be able to play or contribute to the beautiful game. He has since proven to the entire local soccer community that he has game and the question now is no longer one of discrimination or exclusion. Our fingers will remain crossed for him.

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Maya and friend Lydia laid her deceased pet hamster Twitch to rest this afternoon. We froze him (double bagged) until Maya returned from camp knowing she would want to do this. My soccer team won our season opener by a 4-1 margin against a team that beat us last year. I took enough ibuprofen to neutralize my knee pain but struggled with poor conditioning in the 90 degree weather. I played a good 60 minutes and earned a penalty kick which we converted for one of our goals.

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I have little doubt that before long Kyle will apply his marketing savvy to his new acquisition.

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Kyle has invested some of the profits from his landscaping business into an 8×14 foot trailer. This will allow him to transport larger equipment to his work sites and store his tools somewhere other than our garage. He now has 35 clients and his business continues to grow based on word of mouth referrals. We have told Kyle he is not permitted to store this Goliath on our property and he is working to secure a parking location on a friends farm.

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Maya received three tickets to the Revolution soccer game this evening and invited Sarinnagh to join her. Maya prepared roast beef sandwiches and we had a mini tail gate party before the game. The Revs scored the first goal but shortly thereafter lost a man to a highly questionable red card. They played one man down for more than half the game and held their lead until the final minutes when they gave up two goals to lose the game. The girls and I had a great time despite the disappointing outcome.

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A quick tour through the backyard turned up some very interesting shots this morning. Best viewed at full size.

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Kyle has hired Nicolai to develop a website for his Yard Dogs Landscaping business and he shot this portrait of the crew for the project. Kyle now has 35 clients and is gearing up for the fall season. We worked together this evening on sides for his truck bed so that he will be able to haul leaves more efficiently.

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After picking up Jeanine from the airport yesterday, we went directly to the dealer to pick up her new Jetta Sportswagen TDI. It is platinum gray with a black interior. Although not the dream car she will pick after the kids are all off to college it can hold the family and our gear while getting 42mpg on the highway. Rain all day yesterday and today made getting a nice shot difficult.

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Nicolai waits outside with learner’s driving permit in hand for his first official driving lesson with the Christo Driving School. He has been practicing with us and will probably be able to give his instructor a few pointers. Nico has grown 3 inches over the last year and looks every bit a man these days. Having repaired his SideStix crutches with replacement parts he is back to using them again.

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If you study this soccer ball cake, made by Maya, you may notice that it appears a little odd. Absent are signs of neatly cut pieces. Rather, it appears that the cake has been nibbled away around its entire perimeter. When Nala returned to the scene of the crime looking to make another pass it became apparent what had happened. Later when Maya arrived she demanded to know what I had done to her cake refusing to accept my explanation of the situation. It was not until Nala again returned to the table looking for another snack that she came to accept my innocence.

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I traveled to Rockport, MA late this afternoon to complete a Craig’s List transaction and paused for a moment to capture this image as daylight was rapidly coming to an end. Earlier in the day I played competitive soccer for the first time since the end of last season. I was terribly out of shape but I managed a couple of respectable shots on net. I am hoping the summer hiatus has allowed my knee to recover adequately. Time will tell. The scrimmage ended in a 1-1 tie and we see our first official game of the season next weekend.

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A lot of activity on the automotive front today. After weeks of research and more than a dozen test drives Jeanine selected a 2011 VW Jetta Sportswagen TDI to replace her Honda Odyssey. I secured one for her this morning and we will pick it up together when she returns from Indiana next Tuesday. In the end it was the 30 city and 42 highway gas mileage, large cargo capacity and what Jeanine described as Zippy acceleration that made this the right choice. Many owners are reporting 50 mpg in real world highway driving.

This afternoon I placed my trusty 2006 Audi A3 2.0T (pictured above) up for sale on Craig’s List. I am in no rush to sell it but will if I get my asking price. Top on my list for a replacement will be a 2011 A3 TDI or an Audi Q5 SUV.

We have taken environmental concerns to heart and made vehicle choices that reflect our commitment to reducing fuel consumption and green house gas emissions.

33/41 Smart Car
30/42 Jetta Sportswagen
25/31 Audi A3 (going to 30/42 if I replace with the A3 TDI)

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Jeanine is off to Indianapolis for Erica’s bridal shower and I am charged with keeping tabs on the kids, making sure the dog gets fed and buying a car to replace the Honda Odyssey. Maya completed her week long soccer camp and Nala lounges in the back yard enjoying the fine weather we are having.

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Does anyone remember this little girl? Certainly it cannot be the same child that returned triumphantly from three weeks at wilderness camp.

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