Wrestling practice for Nicolai started this week and I thought I would humor him with this photo of one of my first matches. The head and arm throw was my signature move and you can see that I began practicing it at a very early age on my marginally cooperative brother.

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A buff is a stretchy light weight fabric in the shape of a cylinder which can be converted into a hat, neck warmer, bandanna, sun shade, balaclava or Bennie cap. It is part of my adventure travel kit and his been to the tops of mountains, the bottom of caves, inside slot canyons, free falling through the atmosphere, white water rafting, sea kayaking, rappelling down waterfalls, and chasing wildlife through the back country. Of all the places this buff has been, however, it has never looked as good as it does on Miss Maya’s noggin where she placed it this morning after fashioning a cap out of it.

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Kyle’s friend Adam spent part of the afternoon here. He is an exceptionally talented pianist and treated us to a brief recital. Nicolai in recent months has been spending close to an hour a day on the piano working on a few songs and compositions. It has been nice to have the house full of music at this time of the year.

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Before leaving for home we made a brief visit to the waterfront and the Salem Maritime National Historical Site just in time to catch golden light at the Derby Wharf. Docked here is the Friendship of Salem, a replica of a 1797 East Indiaman which made 15 voyages during her career to Batvia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranian, and Russia before she was captured as a prize of war by the British in September 1812.

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Photography of the Forbidden City exhibit was not permitted but this restriction did not apply to the permanent collections which include a very eclectic combination of maritime and oceanic art, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, American, African, and native American art. Pictured here is a scale model of the Queen Elizabeth, a wedding gown sculpture created from sea shells, and three wooden figureheads from 18th and 19th century seagoing vessels.

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Jeanine and I visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem this afternoon for a rare cultural enrichment date without the kids. The museum is featuring The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City. On public display for the first time ever are the contents of the Qianlong Emperor’s (r.1736-1796) private retreat, the Qianlong Garden (also known as the Tranquility and Longevity Palace Garden) which lies deep within the immense imperial complex. In his time, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. A connoisseur, scholar and devout Buddhist, he created a luxurious garden compound to serve throughout his retirement as a secluded place of contemplation, repose and entertainment.

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At 4:30AM Jeanine and I were jolted from sleep by the sounds of tires screeching under heavy acceleration. The driver of this vehicle had swerved off the road and run over a large rock which became lodged underneath his right rear wheel. We watched for several minutes as he tried to extricate his car and then called police when it became apparent he was drunk. A total of three Concord Police cruisers arrived on the scene within minutes. The driver was taken away in one car, a second gave pursuit to a car which passed the scene without slowing down, and the third waited until a wrecker arrived to lift the vehicle off the rock and then tow it away. Quite a bit of commotion for our otherwise very sleepy neighborhood.

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Kyle creates the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner sandwich. Construction details (from the bottom up): 1 slice sourdough bread, layer of mashed potatoes spread evenly and covered in gravy, 6 slices of turkey breast covered in gravy, 1 layer of stuffing topped with cranberry sauce and gravy, 1 slice of sourdough bread. The two minutes is took to grab my camera and snap this photo placed me in grave jeopardy as I was standing between Kyle and his first bite into his masterpiece.

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With much to be thankful for this year the immediate family gathered for a casual celebration of the holiday. My mother had planned to join us but was not feeling up to the travel. Jeanine prepared a spectacular meal which we will enjoy in the form of leftovers many times over. Maya made her first cheese cake from scratch which was simply wonderful.

I extended an invitation to Thanksgiving orphans (those spending the holiday alone) at iRobot to join our family this year but did not get any takers.  I hope this was because they were all spending the day surrounded by loved ones.

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Gold and maroon spirit day at the Peabody Middle School has Maya all made up for the occasion.

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While Nico and I were in Telluride for the Mountainfilm Festival last Memorial Day, we were interviewed by Outside Television prior to the screening of Nico’s Challenge.  Today I discovered that interview for the first time and have embedded here. For those with incompatible browsers the direct link can be found at Outside Television.

I am experimenting today with a new feature which allows me to embed a photo book I published from my first visit to Wyoming. By clicking on the book you will be able to flip through its pages. If you click on the Full Screen icon (towards the right hand side of the menu bar in the book window) you will be able to get a much better view.

On Friday, Jeanine and the other members of a book group to which she belongs were guests of the Oprah Winfrey show. Although none were called on for questions during the show the group had a grand old time in the Windy City. I believe this shot was taking during a shopping excursion. Jeanine also met up with her sister Lauren and they enjoyed a visit with their aunt Karen.

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Jeanine is still in Chicago with her book group as guests of the Oprah Winfrey show. The show was taped yesterday and she then connected with her sister Lauren who drove up from Indianapolis. Kyle spent the day working and then took Hannah out to the Cheesecake Factory for a birthday celebration. Nico and Holly spent the day together, first watching the CCHS Men’s Varsity Soccer team capture their second straight state title, and then painting her bedroom. Maya went to see the new Harry Potter film with her friend Lydia after spending the better part of the day together. I was left entirely free to enjoy my new Audi Q5 which I picked up this morning. I had planned to get another A3 but in the end decided I needed a change of pace and a little more room for kids.

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Chief Operation Officer of Avid, Kirk Arnold, was gracious enough to allow me to borrow the Emmy Award I accepted years ago to share with students during my presentation yesterday. In addition to actors and directors, Emmy awards are given to companies for technical achievement. I was honored to accept this one for pioneering work in computer video on behalf of Pinnacle Systems (which was subsequently acquired by Avid). I took advantage of the 16 hour loan to make this self portrait which is far better than the snapshot taken on the night of the award ceremony.

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