Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tobin gets his license and Rachel has a cello recital

On April 9th, Tobin took his driver's test and passed! He now is a legal driver in Massachusetts.
In MA the earliest you can get your license is 16 1/2. Taking driver's ed classes are hard for an athlete to fit in so he took a one week summer course from 8am-4pm. Even fitting in driving hours is hard. You can only book one driving hour a weekend because the school he was going through will not let you book back-to-back lessons. The weekends fill up quickly and were hard to come by. Finally, between winter and spring track he was able to book multiple driving hours. I don't know the requirements for other states, but we had to log a minimum of 40 hours with parents, 12 hours with instructors, a 40 hour class for the student and a 2 hour parent class. I am well prepared for Sarai getting her permit which she reminds us, on a weekly basis, is coming up in December! Wow, she is going to be 16 in December. Time is flying too quickly.

Here is a brownie we decorated with powder sugar to celebrate his license.

We had two choices for doing the driving test. One, you can supply your own car, which needed a hand break for the driving instructor to use, if you went to the RMV in Worcester and waited in their long lines to take a test. Or option two, you could book a Saturday test time with the school's instructor, use their cars and have a more definitive test time within 30 minutes of arriving. Option B had an additional charge, but with out busy schedule I chose option 2.

Tobin was so relieved once his test was over that he neglected to really pay attention to what the driving instructor said about his permit and license! He couldn't remember if his permit was good as a temporary license or if he had to wait for his license in the mail. We eventually figure out that his permit was his temporary license. Again, I will know so much more when Sarai is going through all of this.

Here is Tobin smiling for me. When he took his permit picture at the RMV, he did not smile. He did not realize that the photo taken then would also be his photo on the driver's license. We could wait in the long lines to retake a photo, but neither of us really want to do that until we have to.

Abram took Rachel to her first cello recital in Natick, MA. I was unable to go because one of us had to take Tobin for his driving test. The first task he had to perform on his test was to parallel park between two cars.  We worked on this skill in the morning.  I too learned a bit from teaching Tobin and now am much better myself at parallel parking.

Here are pictures of her:

Rachel had recently upgraded to using a 1/2 size cello instead of a 1/4 size.  Notice the boot.  She was able to carry the cello by herself on and off the stage. 

I believe Abram said her piece was no more than a minute long, but it gave her a sense of performing in front of an audience. Next year, if she continues with the cello, she will be performing with the High School students and to a much larger audience. 

The following day, she gave a mini concert for Jenna and Isaac in our living room.  She is the only child who will perform willingly for relatives or friends. 
April 9th, was a busy day full of great achievements!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Carmen All Dressed Up

Carmen attended a friend's Barmitzvah.  We had gone dress shopping and found two wonderful strapless dresses.  She is wearing a black one here with blue fish net stockings. 

She is with three soccer friends:  Ava, Skye and Hailey.
I completely forgot to bring my camera so I used my iphone.  Pictures taken on the iphone do not compare in quality to my nice camera, but it did the job.

Here they are ready to leave and dance for four hours.

Carmen attended her second Bat Mitzvah this month.  She wore this dress to the service and luncheon and then changed into her black dress for the party in the evening.  She looks elegant in her dresses. 

I have had this photo for a long time and did not know when to put it into the blog.  This is a mosiac Carmen made in art in the fall.  It is still on display at her middle school.  It is a landscape.  Again, I only had the iphone at the time and took a picture through the glass display case.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flight to Montauk

Leigh and I flew down to Montuak, NY, Sunday morning.  Montuak is on the eastern tip of Long Island.  It makes an ideal plane trip because flying straight there is about an hour, but it would probably end up being a longer than five hour drive to get there.  The air was smooth on the way there with a strong tailwind.

Leigh spotted this interesting park / memorial along the way:

We passed Foxwoods Casino and golf course on the way through Connecticut.  Leigh thought the turquoise roofs looked neat.

This is the Groton, CT airport.  I've made a couple trips here already, so the route to Montauk was pretty familiar.

Fisher's Island, NY, just off the coast of Connecticut near Groton.  I think an accurate forumla is: island + marina + golf course + two runways = Big Boys' Playground.

This is Montauk from a few miles North.  The airport is at the left side of the picture in the foreground.  There are more beaches to the east (left) and a lighthouse.  The main part of town is on the southern coast, on the other side of the golf course.

Montauk Airport has the shortest runway I've landed on so far, though it is not close to the limits of the capabilities of the airplane I fly.  From end to end, the runway is 3481'.  The arrows leading to the vertical lines on either end of the runway mark the "displaced threshold".  The whole length is not available for landing, you need to touchdown beyond the threshold.  In some cases, there is a displaced threshold because the pavement is not strong enough to support a landing airplane near the end.  However, at Montauk, I believe the displacement is for clearing the houses on one end and the sand dunes at the other end.  When Leigh took this picture, we were aligning with the "left downwind" for runway 6.  We are going to travel parallel to the runway at 1000' altitude with the runway on our left.  Then we will make two left turns over the harbor and land on the end marked with the "6".  Runway markings are based on their direction; Runway 6 is on a 60 degree heading (east-north-east).  You chose the runway to land on based on the wind direction.  The wind was from the east, so we landed heading east so we would have a headwind.

Turquoise on one side, blue on the other; looks positively Carribean...

After a successful landing, we waited for a cab to take us into town.  Passed the time playing with the airport pup.  He wanted to get both tennis balls in his mouth at the same time.  Don't be fooled, I am NOT a dog person.  Lots of doggy slobber on those tennis balls.

In the top left corner of the above picture, there is an airplane in a compromising position...

Last fall the pilot ran it off the end of Runway 24, through the fence, and across the street, losing the left wing along the way.  And then, to add insult to injury, it wasn't secured to the ground and got flipped over on recent windy day.  It is awaiting the salvage company.  The airport manager was anxious to get it out of there -- not real good for business.

We went into town and got a bite at "Coffee Tauk".   On the way back to the airport, the taxi driver pointed out "the oldest cattle ranch in America", and Paul Simon's place. We had him drop us off at the beach on the north side, and we walked down the beach and sat a bit.

Favorite Passenger:

As we left, Leigh noticed the parking lot at the point filling up. 
"The ants go marching, two by two, hurrah, hurrah"  errr... not ants, motorcycles.

Taking off from runway 6 is a little disconcerting: as you accelerate down the runway, the 20' sand dune at the end gets closer and closer.  I took the opportunity to practice my "short field take off" technique, which I was required to demonstrate in my checkride for the private pilot certificate.  [25 degrees of flaps for more lift at lower speed, bring engine to full power while standing on the brakes, then go...]

The trip home was on the bumpy side, particularly passing over cleared fields.  The sun heating up the fields creates updrafts and turbulence, even over a mile above them.  The Providence air traffic frequencies were very busy, with lots of VFR traffic.  (VFR = Visual Flight Rules; commercial traffic is generally IFR; there were many recreational flyers out Sunday going on trips and getting advisories for air traffic.)

Happy couple: