This may be the first Halloween I can remember with snow. As a result, we had less than a dozen trick or treaters and a massive over supply of candy which I was very tempted to personally rectify. Instead I decided to bring all the excess to work and distribute there in a reverse trick or treat scenario. Pictured here is the horse farm across the street. I liked the punctuation of the orange pumpkin within the otherwise gray scale scene.
As predicted, Massachusetts was hit pretty hard overnight by a snow storm which set records for this day in many parts of the state and did considerable damage to trees and in turn power lines. I was working at my computer at 5:30AM when our power went out. I was actually thrilled because I recently installed a standby generator for the house and was eager to see it in action. My computer, cable modem, and routers are all on battery backup so I had no interruption of service. The generator is programmed to wait for 20 seconds after power loss and then to automatically start. Everything worked perfectly and all critical circuits in the house were back on line. (Un)fortunately the power came back on within a few minutes and the system went back into standby. Shown here is a long exposure of the view out our front door. A snow plow drove through the scene during the extended predawn exposure adding some nice color to the otherwise gray scale image. By 6AM I was in my car searching the neighborhood for good photographic opportunities of which I found many. During my 1 hour outing I encountered dozens of downed trees and power lines. My soccer match was cancelled because the field was under several inches of snow and I spent the day relaxing indoors, working in my shop, and doing a little shopping with Nico.
Maya is carried from the field by her coaches during today’s game against Lincoln Sudbury. She was kicked in and then twisted her right knee. The injury does not appear to be too serious but we iced it all day long as a precaution. Her team prevailed with a 3-1 result and all were happy to get out of the freezing cold for our post game detour to Dunkin Donuts. Nicolai spent the morning working as a referee and the afternoon doing community service with his church youth group. I prepared for a forecasted early season snow storm by getting the snow blower ready and installing snow sticks along the driveway contours.
With a co-located engineering organization my work routine is rather constant. In virtually every position I have held over the last 20 years my teams have been distributed and travel has been a requirement of my job. Today I attended the Mass TLC (Technology Leadership Council) Innovation unConference at the Hines convention center making for a nice departure from my routine. I was invited to attend as a so-called “expert (entrepreneur)” and part of my responsibility was to meet with three different aspiring entrepreneurs to provide feedback and guidance. Conference sessions are created in real time and are self organized. Attendees propose topics which are assigned locations. Interested participants join and/or migrate to sessions of interest to them. At the end of the day the conference is primarily a networking and recruiting opportunity. I ran into Colin Angle, our CEO and Kirk Arnold, Avid COO and a former boss as well as several other shakers and movers from the Boston high tech community. Jeanine traveled with her sister Lauren to Chicago yesterday to visit their long ailing aunt Karen who has been struggling with cancer. They visited with her again today before she passed away peacefully this evening. I know it meant a lot to Jeanine to have this chance to say goodbye and I am sure it was of great comfort to her aunt as well. Karen was kind and pure in heart. She believed in God and Heaven and I am sure she is resting there now with her sister. Not to be found in that neighborhood is this she devil who attended her school’s Halloween dance this evening.
I dropped Jeanine at the airport very early this morning for a flight to Indianapolis where she will be attending her 30 year high school reunion on Sunday. I made a second trip downtown later in the day for a pair of meetings in Cambridge at the Field Pub. The first was with a new employee at Sonos who was interested in understanding the company and its founder better. The second was with my new MIT Gordon Engineering Leadership program mentee. Justin is a senior from Nevada who is studying materials science. I am looking forward to getting to know him better as the year unfolds.
With five minutes until sunset I found myself passing the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge and decided to interrupt my evening commute for a quick visit. The last rays of light were captured in this photo. Three minutes later the entire scene was in shadow. Days are growing very short and I will soon be leaving the office in darkness. Not my favorite time of year but a good catalyst for planning my next solo photo adventure to someplace sunny and warm. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow providing further motivation.
As I was walking around the office today I noticed a couple of engineers standing on the desk in a vacant cubical. Curious about this high altitude gathering I was drawn in to investigate. They were testing a new design concept for picking up dust with one of our robots. Dust it turns out is rather difficult to simulate so they went in search of the real McCoy which they found in abundance on the tops of the cubical bookshelves. Earlier in the day I met with a former colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen in 6 years. He is a brilliant individual and would be a great addition to the team at iRobot. The trick now will be finding the right opportunity for him. We announced Q3 earnings after the close of business and reported another stellar quarter.
A tough day for Nico and his team on the soccer pitch. Newton South proved to be a very strong opponent winning a hard fought match 3-1. The two photo sequence above illustrates the price Nico must pay for some of his more dramatic plays. A third photo in the series would have shown him landing hard on his back. Despite the tough going, Nico demonstrated great leadership throughout the game and addressed the team at half time in his capacity as co-captain.
I scored an inconsequential goal in the final minute of my soccer match this morning. It was an easy tap in following an intense sprint to intercept a pass in front of the net. The one sided affair ended in a score of 9-1. A win next week will secure promotion and it is sure to be a close match (we tied in our last meeting with Needham). After the game I took a team photo which will be used to update the league website.
Although the sky was overcast I decided to get out for a little photography taking advantage of an otherwise perfect fall day.
Maya’s team scored in the final minute of the game to beat Framingham 1-0 early this morning. The coach had players experiment with new positions and Maya did a great job as both an attacker and a midfielder (where I see her in the long run). She had two powerful strikes on frame and served several nice passes to the front line for shots on goal. Despite being right-handed, Maya is most definitely left-footed (the photo series above illustrates that she also has a very good right foot). I do not know how common this is but I suspect this unique brain wiring explains why Maya is so good at so many things. The Head of the Charles Regatta is a rowing race held each year on the Charles River in October. I decided to drive into Boston this afternoon to enjoy the spectacle. The race is named the “Head” of the Charles because it is a head race (timed competition, boats released 6 seconds apart). It is the second largest 2-day regatta in the world, with more than 8,900 athletes rowing in around 1,750 boats in 56 events. I took up a position on the Eliot Bridge where I had a good view of the home stretch. Because of the turns in the river and six bridges over the 3.2 mile course the race is known for its many crashes. Watching a faster boat overtake another while making the final turn for the finish line is quite exciting. In one race three boats were running abreast of each other.
Jeanine was in Bedford this morning having her car and hair serviced (not at the same time) affording us an opportunity to meet for a lunch date. We rendezvoused at the Asiana Bistro for a very nice meal and conversation. Unfortunately the day ended on a much less enjoyable note. Nicolai took Nala to a friends house where she escaped from their backyard. When she was returned to the house by a neighbor she was covered in deer ticks. I managed to remove and kill 65 before Jeanine and Nico took over and found another 35. Not my idea of a good way to spend a Friday evening.
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[/pe2-gallery]Today is the one year anniversary of my father’s death. In some ways I am more sad now knowing all that he has missed. He would have taken such pleasure seeing Kyle enter college, listening to Maya as she learns to play the guitar that he loved so much or watching in amazement as Nico dominates opponents on the soccer field. He would have been so impressed by and supportive of Jeanine in her pursuit of a second Master’s degree and would have continued to follow my exploits with great curiosity and pride. The only solace I take is in the belief that he still reads this blog. I often imagine that he is my audience as I write each day.
Despite what he has missed I am sure my father would be happy knowing that my mother continues to live life fully despite her grief. In words only he would appreciate: “She’s Still Dancing.”
This photo of a woodchuck is courtesy of Jeanine who spotted the little fellow in our backyard today. This guy drives Nala out of her mind and she opted to pursue him across her electric containment boundary to ensure he was thoroughly vanquished from her domain. Fortunately her collar was set to the lowest shock level. It is now set to medium and her next yard break is going to be less inconsequential.
Nico’s coach asked me if I would take a photo of the soccer team before today’s match and I was happy to comply. Two teleconference meetings prevented me from enjoying the whole game but I did get to see about half. Nico had an outstanding match serving up perfect passes to his attackers and dominating in the air. Late in the game he unleashed a missile from about 25 yards which struck the far post and rattled the entire goal. His team was able to fend off a late surge to win 3-2.
The highlight of my day was a call at work from Kyle. He was bubbling with excitement after receiving the results of his first mid-term test (in Economics). He scored a 97% which was the highest grade in his class. We are delighted that he is off to a good start and more importantly that he seems to really be enjoying himself at college. This photo is of First Parish and the Wright Tavern in Concord. The light from the setting sun was perfect so I paused to take this photo on my homeward bound commute. Jeanine and I were triple booked with meetings this evening. She attended an orientation meeting with Maya for a middle school trip to China while I attended a mandatory parent meeting for the wrestling team forcing me to miss a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Board meeting.
My sister Alissa and her husband John are in the area attending Parent’s Weekend at Babson College where their son Johnie is attending school. They spent the night with us while their daughter Rachel got to spend it with her big brother on campus. We went to lunch at Verrill Farms after I returned from my soccer match. My team beat Nashoba 4-0 and slipped past Needham to enter first place in our division. So far this season we have scored a total of 26 goals and given up only one. I contributed to that total this morning with one of my prettier goals in recent memory. I ran on to a ball lofted from midfield and head flicked it just over a much taller defender who was looking to clear with a header. I skirted past him, one-touched to a good shooting position and unleashed a perfectly struck low rocket from the top of the box. It found the side netting before the keeper even moved. All goals count for one point but the pretty ones are recounted for years to come. During the late afternoon I took advantage of the perfect fall weather and drove through southern New Hampshire on a 5 hour photography excursion. Although I did not find the peak color landscapes I had set out to find, I did encounter countless great subjects and came home very satisfied with my bounty. The photo below is one of my more artistic.