My brother is a pilot for Endeavor Air, a regional carrier for Delta Airlines. As such, members of his family can fly free in network. This is a tremendous benefit and the reason my nephew Rory decided to hop a flight from Minneapolis to hang out with us for a few days. We are always delighted to have one or more of the cousins drop in. A junior in high school, Rory is beginning to narrow down his college choices. He scarcely dodged a severe beating when he revealed that no Boston schools were on his list, a situation I plan to rectify before he departs.
Nicolai launched a Go Fund Me campaign today to support his run for the 2014 Amputee Soccer World Cup. See his appeal below.
My dream to play World Cup soccer is getting closer. As a member of the USA National Amputee Soccer Team, I am preparing for the 2014 games to be held in Culiacan, Mexico November 30 through December 8, 2014. Members of the US team are scattered across the country. Practicing together requires significant travel expenses and I am looking for your help to offset those costs. Some of you supported my appeal for the all volunteer American Amputee Soccer Association prior to the 2012 games. Regretably, the US was unable to send a team to the 2012 World Cup but the funds have served to help the AASA build momentum for the 2014 games. Thank you for your support.
To say that Nico is hard on his crutches would be the understatement of the year. This evening during an indoor soccer match he managed to fracture the carbon fiber tube just below the grip. The folks at SideStix have refined their design numerous times to “Nico Proof” their product and I imagine they will be studying this failure with an eye to further improvements. When he was born, I would never have guessed that Nico would be so good at breaking things.
In preparation for an upcoming performance, Maya invited her ballet troop for a costume preparation sleep over party. I was summoned to the basement ballerina enclave twice. First to provide a hot-melt glue gun and then to hook up their music to the home theater sound system. Completing these tasks earned me the right to take a picture of the gathered beauties.
The Cafe Escadrille was the venue for a farewell party for our esteemed Human Resources business partner, Christa. Although her departure has been much lamented she is only moving across the street. I have little doubt that our paths will continue to cross and look forward to staying in touch. Christa has been an integral part of my team and we are all going to miss her tremendously.
We are enjoying a temporary addition to our canine family while friends are out of town. Maya insists on carrying Lilly, who revels in the attention, everywhere. Nala is not as enthralled by the new visitor although she has been extremely tolerant. There is something to be said for a dog that acts like one, sparking debate over the merits of a trade for Nala, who for all but physical appearance is really a cat.
NicolaiCalabria.com is now up and running. For some time now, Nico has been interested in establishing a web presence for the purpose of building his personal brand. We have been working together on it for a few weeks and felt it was ready to go live. Future additions will include a fund raising mechanism to help him finance his trip to the Amputee World Cup soccer tournament to be held later this year in Mexico and a more complete photo gallery.
I rarely sit down with a book and read it cover to cover in one sitting. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, had me spell-bound from the first page. She exposes the reader to a world that most cannot imagine. I was left inspired by the power of kindness over ignorance and by the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. If you are a parent… read this book. If you have ever been bullied…. read this book. If you are a bully…. read this book. If you are a teacher…. read this book to your students. If you do not read this book…. try to be “kinder than is necessary.”
The new Concord Carlisle High School is really starting to take shape. I was shocked to see the amount of progress since last fall. The building overlooks the turf fields where I play soccer and this morning we hosted a friendly with a D1 team from the northern division. I was not in peak form, still recovering from an ankle injury I suffered weeks ago. On the one hand, I have full mobility. On the other, every heel strike is accompanied by serious pain which is not a good way to play soccer. I made it through the match without sustaining any new maladies but also failed to contribute much to the team effort. We lost 1-3, a proper outcome given how rusty everyone seemed.
Our dog barely fits in the dog house I improvised for her. Still, Maya seems to feel there is enough space to hang out together. I am sure I have posted a similar scene in the past but took the time today to make a more attractive composition. The balance of my day was spent completing income tax filings for the family and my father’s estate.
While in San Antonio with Nicolai the week before last, I was asked to capture head shots for each member of the US national amputee soccer team. I should have anticipated that I would be asked to do this and brought my portable lighting setup. Regrettably, I did not and had to make due with crappy available light. This evening I did some post processing to make the best of the situation and this is the final image for Nicolai.
I think it is safe to say that Jeanine really needed to get away from the pressures of work and family to unwind for a bit. From all reports she is having a fabulous time in West Palm Beach. Apparently the sun there is extremely intense. On the home front I am pleased to say that all children and one dog remain alive with an increased appreciation for their mother’s fine cooking.
I published another new photo book, this one documenting my 2011 trekking vacation in Peru. I am on something of a roll now and think I will tackle Alaska next.
Jeanine and Maya were guest speakers at the First Parish Sunday Forum where they shared pictures and their accounts of Maya’s Coming of Age adventure in India. Dressed in the clothes they wore while in India, they talked about the school for tribal girls where they volunteered, the people that they met, and the highlights of their visit. Also presenting was Derek Mitchell, Director of the Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program which helped to create and funds the school.
Immediately after the forum, I whisked Jeanine off to the airport. She is bound for West Palm Beach to visit with childhood friend Kris Earle and her mother. I will be holding down the fort until she returns on Thursday. I have promised to keep the children fed but made no representations about nutritional quality. The dog is at the mercy of the kids for her sustenance.