Good evening all:

My morning ramble got “sucker punched” by my coffee—or lack thereof. Smooth talking my computer did absolutely zilch and my accidentally deleted post stayed in cyber space. I actually got a wonderfully early start this morning. It was pitch black outside and the Christmas lights on the houses appeared as close-in galaxies. By the time most of the post was written I poured my first cup, had a sip, closed a file, answered yes to the dumb “delete?” question, and felt like screaming. The deed was done. I had nothing.

The reason for the early start was that Cathy’s mom and step dad were picking me up for breakfast and then a tour of the brand new General Electric Aircraft Engine Group Learning Center. GE in our town is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of aircraft engines, both military and commercial. The new center is a combination museum and high tech customer reception center. The engine displays are fantastic and it is awesome standing next to the GE90 engine which powers the latest wide body Boeing 777. But, what is stunning is the state of the art visual and audio presentation area configurations used for customer presentations. I was thrilled, what a fine morning (aside from the earlier posting disaster).

Marcia sat for Marin this week. This would not be an issue other than the fact that Marin is in the process of generating 6+ new teeth, and therefore is a miserable little grouch. What this means is that she had to be a complete entertainment center, changing venues every fifteen to twenty minutes, stay inside, go outside, read, play, story tell, rock, and on and on. All this to preoccupy and keep his attention away from his misery. In tern, she did the “collapse” thing every evening.

Adrianne wrote home in one of those, “If I vent than I’ll feel and cope better” moments. The reason for the note is that living in a remote village she is under a microscope and under constant scrutiny. Then, as is common in any small town, there is a wonderful gossip “mill”. Being the understanding father that I am I did the empathy thing and wrote her back, quoting:

“Being under a magnifying glass in the village is in a sense just like living at home—just pretend that you are living at home, only this one is really large and comprised of 40 or so separate buildings. Then remember why you worked your tail off for six years in college; yes you are correct, to gain independence so that you could do amazing things; such as becoming a Peace Corps volunteer in Tonga. Tonga, a place where you are under a magnifying glass. See, life always comes full circle.”

This week was another reminder that life moves on. One of my mother’s heroes passed away, Prins Bernard of the Netherlands. German by birth he married into the Dutch royal family and became consort under Queen Juliana. As Holland was overrun early on during World War II the family escaped. Juliana and their three children went and lived in Canada. Bernard stayed in England to lead the Dutch freedom fighters from that country. After the war ended he set upon the task of striking business deals and setting up commercial opportunities. The net result was that Holland was in the lead in overcoming the devastation of the war and re-establishing itself as a global commercial power.

With that in mind, remember to treat life like the precious gift it is.

Have a great week.

Cheers,

Dirk

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