My efforts to lose some weight are really starting to pay off. I am more than half way to my goal of 20 pounds. Normally Jeanine is the one who has to coax me into taking a walk with her. Today the roles were reversed as I was looking to get in an hour of exercise and she was spent from studying for her upcoming finals. Concord is full of secret paths through the woods and Jeanine knows them all. The weather was perfect and all the trees are beginning to bloom. Just a lovely evening for a stroll.
Jeanine and Maya enjoyed watching the royal wedding of Kate and William this morning. They decided to dress for the occasion and turned the event into a party. I will admit to watching as well. All I can say is that the English really know how to do a royal affair and that their men know nothing of how to kiss a woman.
In an effort to lose 20 pounds I have been exercising for at least an hour a day for the past two weeks. Today on an extended walk near our home I encountered a rafter of wild turkeys including this strutting male. With some patience I was able to approach to within 10 feet for this shot. Low light levels translated to a slow shutter speed and hence it is not quite as sharp as I would have liked.
Yesterday, iRobot stock reached an all time high and the company reached a market capitalization of one billion dollars. The occasion was celebrated with a champagne toast and words from our CEO and co-founder. Closing at over $38 per share the stock price has made quite a run from $14 which is where it was on my first day with the company just over a year ago. Many factors have contributed to this success including the efforts of my team which have steadily worked to improve product quality while introducing a pair of exciting new products.
Jeanine and Maya left early this morning for Burlington, VT where they will celebrate Easter and Jeanine’s sister’s birthday. Nico caught up on homework and posted his photos from the trip to El Salvador. I will be featuring some of them on the blog during the coming week. Kyle also used the day to complete homework and to do a quote for his Yard Dogs business. I had a morning soccer match which resulted in a very satisfying come from behind trouncing of Lexington by a margin of 4-1. We gave up a first half penalty kick but recovered nicely in the second half. I beat a bunch of defenders to score a nice left footer and also set up another goal with a diving header that rebounded off the post to one of my teammates for the tap in. After the game I took a new team photo, featured here. The boys and I enjoyed a very nice Easter dinner at Paparazzi’s.
Maya bagged her first 3000 foot summit today in fine form. We started climbing at 8am using the shortest and steepest White Dot trail reaching the 3165 foot peak by 10am. We enjoyed the views and a small snack for half an hour before starting our descent via the longer White Cross trail. Mount Monadnock is said to the the third most frequently climbed mountain in the world and we were rewarded for our early start by missing the throngs of climbers who we passed on the way down. For lunch we happened upon a local tavern which, according to Maya, make’s the best cheeseburgers in the world.
Timing our departure to take advantage of good weather Maya and I left mid afternoon for New Hampshire’s, Monadnock State Park. Setting up our two person tent took no time. Not so for building a fire. We used a flint and striker which proved a difficult method in light of recent rains and lack of dry tinder. Perseverance paid off and in under an hour we had a roaring fire to warm ourselves by in the sub-freezing temperatures. Our next priority was diner which included a fruit salad appetizer, followed by piping hot chicken noodle soup, with chocolate pudding and roasted marshmallows for dessert. Should Maya read this post in the distant future I will ask her to remember the world’s most perfectly cooked marshmallow that I prepared for her. Night time temperatures dipped into the mid twenties but we both stayed warm and toasty in our down sleeping bags.
We are receiving daily reports and photos from the leader of the church youth group to which Nico belongs describing daily events. Yesterday the group learned about the terrible 12-year civil war that traumatized the nation and took 75,000 lives during the 1990s from a veteran guerrilla fighter. They heard first hand accounts of the human rights atrocities committed by the military government which was funded by the United States. Today the group traveled by horse to the Guazapa region, a guerrilla stronghold during the war, where they saw the trenches and caves used by fighters for protection and housing. The region is essentially a mass cemetery where thousands of souls rest, many of their personal belongings still strewn about. A very sobering experience for everyone and a close up view of the realities of war. Nico was not sure he could ride a horse but apparently it was much harder to convince him to get off than on.
Celebrating Patriot’s Day in Concord is something that is taken quite seriously. Accurate reenactments, punctuated by cannon and rifle fire is just the beginning. Jeanine and I planned on an early walk at Great Meadows but instead followed these Red Coats as they marched from the town center over to the Old North Bridge.
My soccer game this morning produced a very satisfying 2-1 come from behind win over Wayland. I played for 80 minutes and had three shots hit the post. Oddly enough, I will be credited with a goal as I was the closest player to an opponent who scored an own goal (accidentally played the ball into his own net off a cross from one of our strikers).
Although the day started with short periods of rain, by afternoon the weather was just gorgeous. I got out for a few hours of photography and decided to find interesting subjects within a quarter of a mile of our home. This Weeping Willow captured my interest and I photographed a nice series of which this is my favorite.
Nico left yesterday for El Salvador where he will spend a week on a service project with his church youth group. We received word that all arrived without incident and were spending the day participating in Palm Sunday celebrations. I expect to post photos as soon as they become available.
With heavy rain in the forecast, Kyle and I decided to arrive early for Candidates Day at Villanova so that we could see the campus before the deluge arrived. Kyle remembered his way around and gave me the tour of this most beautiful campus.
The Villanova Business School was recently ranked 7th in the nation and after the presentations it became apparent why. The faculty is first rate, they make themselves entirely accessible to the students and the programs are highly experiential with significant ties to the business world. I was extremely impressed.
The formal programs ended by late afternoon and then Kyle connected with three other CCHS students who are considering Villanova to compare notes. Kyle really appreciated the academic excellence but felt that the school might be too conservative for him. Time will tell. The 6 hour drive home was grueling. We essentially followed a massive weather system up the Eastern seaboard and remained centered under its fury the entire way.
After Kyle finished school today, he and I drove to Villanova University, just outside of Philadelphia, so that we could attend their Candidates Day tomorrow. The journey took 6.5 hours with traffic but afforded me a nice opportunity to chat with Kyle about his college options. He has been accepted at several schools but has already narrowed the field to George Washington University, the University of Santa Clara Business School and the Villanova University Business School. He has about two weeks to make his final decision.