I took Jeanine on a date this afternoon. We enjoyed a nice walk through the Rolling Meadows part of Boxborough Conservation Land followed by lunch at Twin Seafood in Acton. I had planned to watch Maya compete in the Nordic Skiing State Meet being held at Prospect Mountain in Vermont today. Failure to coordinate with Jeanine left me with only the BMW i3 this morning. Its 81 mile range was no match for the 234 mile roundtrip.
I spent the bulk of the day shopping for and installing a new microwave oven. Ours bit the dust last night after a less than impressive service life of ten years. I quickly abandoned my attempt to repair it when I discovered thermal damage to several major internal components. Unable to locate a similar size unit to mount underneath a corner kitchen cabinet, I had to settle for a slightly larger countertop unit. I built a small pedestal to position the microwave in its original position. With this distraction out of the way, I prepared another piece of shop equipment for sale. This bad boy sold in one day and took three of us to move out of my shop.
While Maya was participating in her team project evaluation and interview, I had a few hours of free time. I decided to walk over to the Wellesley College campus where Olin students are encouraged to take liberal arts electives. They also have access to the full curriculum at Babson and Brandeis. The grounds and buildings are quite beautiful and the 6 mile round trip would have been ideal if not for a couple of brief but intense rain showers.
Candidate’s weekend ended with an awards dinner followed by an entertaining performance by the school’s fire arts club.
The admission process to the Olin College of Engineering is unlike any other, as is their approach to teaching. First they screen their total pool of applicants down to 225 finalists which they invite to one of three Candidate’s Weekends. During the 2 day event, they expose potential students to “the Olin Way” and evaluate them during a fun but rigorous team project based assessment and individual interview. Although candidates are vying for one of only 81 available spots, the atmosphere is light and highly collegial. Having worked with a number of Olin graduates, I know the quality of engineers produced by the program. It was fascinating to learn about their revolutionary approach to teaching engineering and I will say without reservation that it is the best (by far) that I have ever seen at any school.
I photographed these swans from a prone position for close to half an hour before getting the symmetrical shot with reflection I was hoping for. These birds really are magnificently graceful and it was relaxing to watch them as they swam about in search of food. Most of Great Meadows remains frozen so the pair were restricted to a small area near the shore that has opened up.
Jeanine and I took advantage of delightful weather to enjoy a 3.5 mile walk starting at French’s Meadow near downtown Concord. We have been exploring new neighborhoods in search of potential land or homes for sale that meet are downsizing criteria. No luck so far. We did come across a cute little pump house owned by the Concord Water Works, however.
When she is not at one of the Open Table facilities or meeting with potential donors or attending operations meetings, Jeanine works from our dining room which serves as her home office. Do not assume that the smile on her face meant that she was happy to see me. Milliseconds after I snapped this image she ordered me to leave the room and chastised me for interrupting her work. I returned to my office where I spent a good portion of the day booking travel and lodging for a father-daughter trip I will take with Maya immediately after she graduates in June. Originally we had planned to go to New Zealand but June is really not the best month for visiting the southern hemisphere. Instead we will be spending 20 days in Ecuador, 8 on board a small catamaran touring the Galapagos Islands.
My mother, whose sense of humor should be apparent from the recent photo above, forwarded me the following quotation. I liked it so much I felt compelled to repost it here.
I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!
– William Golding (British novelist, playwright, poet, Nobel laureate, and author of Lord of the Flies; 1911-1993)
Jeanine and I participated in the Stand Up For Science rally held in Copley Square this afternoon. We have found it increasingly difficult to stand by as evidence based scientific analysis is undermined by those with political or economic motives. How many climate change deniers would be comfortable flying on planes designed using “alternative” science. After the rally we enjoyed an extended walk through downtown Boston along the Freedom Trail.
When you love your daughter and your daughter loves otters and your wife excitedly summons you to observe one rambling across the backyard what do you do? You immediately grab a camera and start tracking it through the snow hoping to return with a decent photo. In my case, I was wearing a bath robe at the time and had to change before launching my pursuit. Despite the head start, I was able to track it over the frozen pond behind our house and spotted it briefly on the far bank. Traversing the pond was easy; not so the foot deep snow on either side which provided an exceptional workout. I missed getting the shot I was hoping for but did return with a couple of photos from our neighborhood. A little research based on the footprints and stride patterns revealed that I was actually chasing a fisher cat and not the river otter I so badly wanted it to be.
For the past week, Jeanine has been suffering from a pinched nerve in her neck. Her shoulder and neck muscles have completely knotted in an attempt to protect her neck. She has seen the chiropractor twice, a masseuse once, and I have been giving her daily massages. Last night the muscle tension translated into an unbearable headache that was so painful she could hardly sleep. Today I took her into the doctor who prescribed a steroid to reduce the inflammation. After the appointment we went on a walk to Warner’s Pond and then checked out a few listings for a possible future downsized home.
As part of our ongoing downsizing effort, I listed my horizontal mortising machine for sale on Craig’s List. This is a partially home built tool that I used extensively when making a pair of bunk beds for the kids many years ago. I obtained a surplus X-Y table with Z lift and married it to a spare router that I had. I then built a wood stand on casters to complete the project. I will be sad to part with this tool but it has been over a decade since I last used it and I should think that is pretty good justification for letting it go.
Conditions could not have been more ideal for the last regular season nordic ski race of the season. Maya was back in action having sat out the last few races due to an injured hamstring muscle. She finished 24th in a field of 101, not too bad considering all the training she has missed. Her team placed second overall and will compete in the state wide meet, tentatively scheduled for this Friday. All my photos of both the men’s and women’s races can be found at this link.
We received another 8 inches of snow last night making for a total accumulation over the past two days of 14 inches. After snow blowing the driveway early this morning I set out to capture some winter snowscapes. I wound up at the Old North Bridge which proved to be the most photogenic of my destinations. The patterns in the ice were unlike those I have ever seen before.
Since the 7th grade, Maya and Jeanine have been participating in the National Charity League. The mission of the NCL is to foster mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Despite the onset of a major snow storm, their “Groovy” themed meeting was not cancelled this evening forcing them to brave the elements in their knee high boots.