Signing Ceremony

A year plus ordeal to find Open Table a permanent home reached closure yesterday when Jeanine signed the Purchase and Sale Agreement to acquire their new facility in Maynard. There still remains much work to complete the move and transition the organization but this was a major milestone and marks a new chapter in the Open Table story.

Senior Awards Night

Jeanine and I attended Senior Awards Night this evening with Maya who received awards in English, Science, and Sociology.  She was most excited, however, when presented with a gold sash, to be worn during graduation, signifying her completion of the Engineering Certificate program. Mom and dad were awfully proud.

Sand Mandala

The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. The intention is to focus the mind towards a peaceful aspiration prayer. Once completed, the Sand Mandala is ritualistically dismantled to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. Regrettably, our visit to the  Drikung Meditation Center today overlapped with the lunch break of the the Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam and the Venerable Khenpo Choephel who are creating this work of art. Hopefully we can find time for a second visit to witness the creation process and/or the dissolution ceremony.

Last Meal

For almost a year now we have been treated to exotic Sunday dinners prepared by our nephew John who has been living with us since graduating from Babson last year. Working from Jeanine’s cookbooks and with some initial guidance from her, he has become a very accomplished cook. Sadly, for us, he has located an apartment closer to his job and compatible roommates to share it with. We are certainly going to miss John when he leaves.

The Growing Season

This spring has been unusually rainy and cold. My attempts to regrow grass where it was killed during last year’s drought has been largely unsuccessful.  I took another pass at reseeding today and can only hope that this one will fare better.  Our shrubs, by contrast, are looking magnificent.

Prifti Day of Service

David Prifti taught photography at Concord Carlisle High School for 25 years before losing his battle with pancreatic cancer in November of 2011. He was greatly admired and much beloved by students and colleagues alike. In honor of his memory, the school has created the Prifti Day of Service during which seniors are encouraged to donate a half day of their time in some form of community service. The group pictured here elected to help at Open Table where they assembled industrial shelving to be used at the new facility and processed a large batch of donated food. Maya chose to work with Sandborn/Peabody middle school seniors to help them understand what to expect during their high school years and how best to prepare for success.

Canis Latrans

This coyote is a frequent visitor to the field behind our house.  Such incursions into Nala’s territory provoke a bout of canine hysteria loud enough to wake the entire neighborhood. The coyote seems to understand the boundaries of Nala’s electric containment fence and appears to enjoy taunting her.  When I approached for a closer photo, however, it was quick to depart the area.

Stick Frame

Originally, Maya and I decided that it would be most efficient to simply purchase a set of detailed plans for her tiny house project and build to them. It quickly became apparent, however, that this would ultimately reduce flexibility to incorporate new ideas and personal choice.  For the last few weeks I have been constructing a 3D model to aid in the design process. The view above (a highly simplified version) gives a sense of the overall shape of the house and was essential to working out the details for window size and placement.  At $6K for 9 windows, they are by far the single most expensive component of the house. Because the house is mobile, all glass needs to be tempered and the frames need to be extremely strong (we went with all fiberglass construction) which rules out the inexpensive windows you can pick up at Home Depot.

Oliver & Nico

Nicolai sent this photo of himself with long time friend Oliver Ward who graduated yesterday from Colorado College.  Because of the gap year he took after high school, the pair are now offset in time by one year .  Seems like just the other day that these two were celebrating their graduation from Concord Carlisle High School.

California Corners

In framing parlance, a California Corner is a combination of three 2×4 studs used to make outside corners.  It provides four correctly located nailing surfaces, two for the outside sheathing and two for the inside walls. Normally these are nailed together on site at the time of construction and they are generally as crooked as the lumber from which they are assembled. Today I pre-fabricated four of them in my shop for use in Maya’s tiny house.  By gluing and clamping them with the right technique you can get an extremely straight column which is many times stronger than if it were fastened with nails. Having these fabricated in advance should help speed up build time considerably.

Sweet Victory

A more perfect day to play soccer one could not have wished for. Coming from a two goal deficit at half time to win 3-2 could not have been a sweeter outcome. My hamstring has recovered fully and I was back in action today although my conditioning is far from what it needs to be.  None the less, I made a positive contribution on the field and after the game took the annual team photo.

Brains & Beauty

When I describe Maya to people I invariably start by saying she is extremely bright and hard working. I sometimes forget what a drop dead beauty she is. Tonight was her senior prom and she pulled out all the stops. I have never seen her hair so nicely done and her dress was stunning (she would want me to explain that the lace openings are to a flesh colored fabric).  Her boyfriend Caleb, a rising sophomore at Tufts,  opted not to attend (his younger sister is a senior at CCHS) but did stop by to give Maya a corsage and pose for photos with her.

Maya had been planning to attend solo but was invited on Friday by Ben Caruso to go with him. Apparently, Ben asked his mother yesterday if it was too late to rent a tux and get tickets to the prom. What he lacks in advanced planning skills he makes up for in height and rugged good looks.

I consider Fiona and Sarinnagh to be bonus daughters by virtue of their close and lasting friendship with Maya.  I hope they will all stay in touch and that I will see them often even as their paths begin taking them in new directions.  I took many photos during a pre-prom gathering of which the group shots can be found at the following link.

Tiny Shower

Over the coming months you are going to be bombarded with posts about the tiny house on wheels that Maya and I will be building over the summer.  Today I picked up a one piece 32″ x 32″ shower stall using the Audi as a make shift pickup truck. I am hoping to have most of the building materials delivered before we return from our 3 week trip to Ecuador so that we can start construction the moment we return.

Teenage Bithday

Last week I failed to recognize that my blog has become a teenager, turning 13 years old.  According to my website administration tool, I have made 6,564 posts during that time.  I certainly never imagined I would keep at it for so long but now for that effort I am rewarded with a personal diary and photo journal documenting our lives.

Just for fun I am reposting an entry from this week 13 years ago.

The children insist they have not been using the side of the house as a surrogate soccer goal despite rather compelling evidence to the contrary.

College Pride

Maya and Sarinnagh show off their respective college sweatshirts.  We are thrilled that the two will only be separated by a three hour drive and hope they will remain close friends in the future.  The pair have decided to celebrate their high school graduation in a joint party to be held on June 2nd.

Back in Court

Maya was back in moot court this evening for her final case.  She and her co-counsel Millie Ball argued the case of Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado which was decided by the Supreme Court just a few months ago. Up until now, trials have been officiated by a panel of three teachers. For the finals, the judges include a sitting member of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a current and one former member of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Talk about high pressure! Maya was magnificent both in her opening and closing remarks and responses to questions from the bench.  Her opponents were equally well prepared and just as poised.  The judges deliberated for half an hour and gave what they described as a very close decision to opposing counsel. Even so, Maya received compliments for her compelling closing argument and use of powerful language.  The entire trial was recorded and will air on the radio next week.  I will try to provide a link to the broadcast when it becomes available.