After more than twenty years of marriage it is not often that you learn something entirely new about your partner. Today as I took stock of our camping equipment and cold weather apparel in preparation for our vacation to Alaska later this month, I made a startling discovery. Jeanine has a massive collection of yoga pants, 24 by my count! I was searching for clothing that could be used as a component in a layering system. I generally have little business or interest in Jeanine’s side of our walk in closet. After finding the tenth pair, I realized that I would need to conduct a thorough investigation. I know women who have had to construct special rooms for their shoe collections but I have never heard of anyone with a yoga pants obsession. With each new discovery, I laid the pants out on the floor in our bedroom until it was covered from end to end. When Jeanine eventually walked in she was humored by the presentation and quickly disabused me of my fetish accusations. Apparently 4 pair actually belonged to me (sweat pants), 3 pair were long underwear, 4 were biking pants, and 2 were running shorts. Two pair were thread bare and really ready for the trash. Later in the day we went shopping at REI to complete our packing list and Jeanine decided to get a rise out of me by asked me what I thought of a pair of yoga pants that were on sale.
My commute home this evening was delayed by a showdown between a car and a tree. There was little doubt who the victor was. Fortunately, it appeared as if the car absorbed the brunt of the impact and the passengers seemed uninjured. A second car was involved in the accident and I can only assume that the impact of the car vs. car collision propelled one of the vehicles into the tree. I was on my best defensive driving behavior for the remainder of my commute.
This evening, Jeanine hosted a beading party with a few friends and was joined by Maya. Jeanine is well known for finding any excuse to throw a party or more accurately for turning any occasion into a party. I believe this event was the female equivalent of a poker party. The only difference was that beads rather than chips changed hands from round to round. Both of my girls were very pleased with their creations and I will be the first to admit that the bracelets they created are really beautiful works of art.
When she was a toddler we all referred to Maya as Brave Maya. It was not uncommon for me to place her on the top of a newel or fence post and watch her balance there or to fashion a balance beam out of a 2×4 propped between kitchen counter tops for her gymnastic amusement. I wouldn’t say she was a risk taker but she certainly showed no signs of trepidation in many situations that would leave most children and many adults paralyzed with fear.
When Pixar announce a movie entitled Brave that featured a willful, round faced teenage girl with hair as beautiful as it was unruly, there was little doubt that I would be taking Maya out on a father-daughter date night. We both enjoyed the movie immensely and it must be said that our Maya is very similar in many ways to the main character in this delightful animated comedy about the developing relationship between a young woman and her mother.
I enjoyed an early morning paddle on the Concord River with my nephew Rory. Despite his very tall frame, he fit comfortably in the kayak that Maya built. We encountered a Blue Heron, several ducks and a bunch of leaping fish as we made our way past the Old North Bridge and down river as far as the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Rory was not sure if he could trust his uncle as I guided him into a tiny tributary, home to a giant crocodile which had been released there decades ago as a foot long pet. Failing to sight the river monster we finished our tour with a quick visit to both the Assabet and Sudbury Rivers. Rory is as friendly and polite a young man as you will ever meet. His favorite subject in school is history and he plays tennis competitively at the state level in Minnesota. I hope to get his brother Mario on the water after work but inclement weather may preclude that outing.
With an undefeated season and the championship trophy on the line, Concord United played for all the marbles this evening against Hudson in the playoff finals. We looked dull in the first half. Defense of our net was adequate but we never really developed a cohesive attack and spectators would not have chosen us to win the match. When one of our strikers was injured, I moved from my normal wing midfielder assignment into the forward position and played there for the remainder of the game without a sub. We entered the second half scoreless and managed to lift our game to a higher level. Jeanine, Kyle, Nicolai, Mario, Rory and John all arrived at half time to cheer for the team and to watch me play. There is little doubt that this helped motivate me to play to the maximum of my potential and with 20 minutes left in the match I scored what would be the decisive goal of the game. I received an awkward pass from midfield which put me one on one with the sweeper who I managed to beat. It was then a foot race to the net with him breathing down my neck (apparently trying to foul me, according to a later report from the linesman). I found myself in a showdown with the advancing keeper who had already made some nice saves in the game and had now cut down my angle on the net substantially. To my credit, I did not panic and I did not rush. I picked the lower left corner and drove the ball low and hard off my left foot. It was a well made goal, in a must have situation, during a championship match, in front of my sons, nephews and wife (who were all on their feet screaming with enthusiasm.) Soccer for an old man does not get any better than this and I will forever cherish the memory of this game and the opportunity to play in front of my family.
Visiting for an extended weekend are my nephews Mario and Rory. We ventured to Watertown this morning for breakfast at The Diner where we met up with my other nephew from my side of the family, John. After a very satisfying meal it took little effort to get this group of athletes to help me create a unique portrait using a technique refereed to as levitation (jumping without appearing to jump). It was difficult to get all five in the perfect position but we had an enormous amount of fun in the effort. Rory in particular had a knack for floating in air.
Maya is visiting with her new friend Matti on Cape Cod. The two developed a friendship while travelling together in China and she was thrilled to accept an invitation to spend the weekend at her family’s summer home. We received the photo shown here via text message. Apparently Maya put her Bayside training to good use as she landed this 34 inch stripped sea bass while fishing with the family. She would later share with the family and her cousins the story of the the ten minute battle to land this monster (which she named Fatso) while we were eating it for Sunday dinner. The smallest member of our family now holds the record for catching the biggest fish. Her Uncle Mark (our family fishing enthusiast and expert) would have been proud.
Our new driveway was finished today although it will be several more days before we can drive on it. The asphalt needs time to cure and the 100 degree heat wave we are experiencing only serves to prolong the process. If the durability of the surface matches the quality of workmanship I will remain very pleased with the company that did this work for us. Time will tell.
When we first moved into our home in Concord we agreed that the driveway needed to be repaved. It is one of those projects which is easily postponed year after year. Doing it right involves removing the old surface, regrading for better water shedding, and addressing a significant depression in the front lawn (caused by a slowly decaying massive underground tree root). Construction on this long overdue project began Monday and I hope to post a picture of our new driveway later this week.
I have discovered an all natural method for creating beautiful eye shadows in the hues of black, blue and purple. The process is really quite simple. Run as fast as you can, leap as high into the air as you can, and ram your eyebrow into another individuals eyebrow as hard as you can. This method is inexpensive, creates vibrant long lasting color from within the skin, is hypoalergenic, and creates stunning shadows that will subtly change in color and size over time. Before seeking patent protection, additional experimentation will be necessary to determine if I can achieve good color and pattern matching on the other eye. Perhaps my soccer match on Sunday will afford that opportunity as my team competes for top divisional honors in the final game of the spring season. To prepare, I was on the pitch at 6am this morning practicing with my teammates. Neither son could be convinced to join me for the early morning work-out.
This evening we celebrated Maya’s 13th birthday as a family (the official day is actually tomorrow). It is hard to believe we now have three teenagers although this will only be true for a few more weeks until Kyle turns 20. Jeanine recreated an award winning cake she had baked when she was 13. Jeanine and I gave her the latest model iPad for a present. Her stellar academic performance this year made it east to justify the bigger than usual birthday gift. Her brothers have offered to take her shopping to find a suitable cover/case. Cousin John Quinn joined us for the celebration.
My children are quick to observe that it is hard to buy presents for me and yet my perfect Father’s Day gift rarely takes the form of an object. My request this year was for a meal prepared by all three kids to be consumed while watching a Euro 2012 soccer match as a family. I requested Caprese salad for an appetizer, Cobb salad for an entree and strawberry shortcake for dessert. The sounds of the children working collaboratively in the kitchen to fashion their master pieces was as enjoyable as the delicious meal. I am not one to watch sports on television but must admit that I have been glued to the the Euro 2012 matches this week. My own game this morning produced a 3-0 win and advances our team to the Divisional finals to be played next weekend. I had a very nice assist on our first goal before suffering a mild concussion late in the first half. I went up for a header and came down with a large knot over my right eye. I felt rather nauseous but continued to play until we scored our second goal. At that point I wisely elected to sit out for the remainder of the game to give my noggin a rest.
During the early afternoon we had a rare visit from both of Jeanine’s sisters as the entire group returned from their week long stay on Martha’s Vineyard where they had celebrated Susan’s 60th birthday in style.
A Father’s Day posting would not be complete without a picture of the father, this one courtesy of Maya was angled to minimize the appearance of the bump over my eye.
Occasionally it is nice to spend the day with no specific plan in mind. I retrieved Maya from a sleep over and she assisted Nicolai as they prepared chocolate chip pancakes from scratch. I posted several items for sale on Craig’s List and generally organized my study, workshop, and camera equipment storage areas. Another several hours went into tagging my photo collection (a process which will take several months to complete but will allow me to find specific photos very quickly). As the day came to a close I found myself in the garden looking for some nice photos for the day.
Kyle has completed his freshman year at Santa Clara University and returned to Concord this morning for the summer. We are extremely pleased with his academic performance and he appears to be very happy with his choice of schools. His studies have proved very useful as he continues to develop his business. Yard Dogs is now a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), duly incorporated in the state of Massachusetts. Pictured here is the raised seal which bears witness to the legal status of his company. He slept for most of the day catching up on sleep lost while studying for finals. Late in the afternoon he enjoying catching up with his siblings and I while watching a very exciting UEFOA Euro 2012 soccer match between England and Sweden. We ended the day with a boys night out at Paparazzi while Maya spent the night at a sleep over. Kyle offered sage advice to his brother about the best approach to picking a college.