Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom:

“Forget about World Peace…Visualize Using Your Turn Signal!” — Bumper Sticker seen on ramp into Ocoee, FL (a subtle reference to Orlando drivers)

When little ones have grown and long since left, being tossed back into the fray becomes a wondrous ‘new’ experience. So, this is my quiet time—my Saturday post, a mug of Paul Newman’s Own java, and then the making of hummus for tomorrow’s party.

It is still dark. Shortly Kirstin will be up to begin getting ready to head out and start her 12 hour stint at school. The one, who is up and has already greeted me, from her cage/run on the patio, is Snickerdoodle-the-Rabbit. Let me begin.

Birthday Boys – The trailing end of every February finds Derek and me celebrating our birthdays – one day apart. Some weeks ago Kirstin asked Derek whether or not he had any wishes for his birthday. And, yes he did, he wanted to celebrate it with his Opa.

I believe he wanted me here in Florida not for any sentimental reason, but out of practicality. See, Derek turned eight and I have a few extra years on him; he understands that, so I am the perfect guide to channel him through all the intricacies of proper celebratory performance.

The morning after my arrival I had lunch with Derek at his school, peanut butter sandwich and all. The other student, when marching single file to the lunchroom, saw us sitting at a well worn school-yard picnic table. They each nodded understandingly to us. Passing teachers all gave a cheery “hello Derek.” Second graders have it good.

Before supper Derek and I were off to the library. It was his mom, dad, or younger brother Kellen, who discovered that it’s the perfect place for Derek to concentrate on his homework. Other than requiring an occasional crack-of-my-whip when he discovered that study went much better when he placed the little library chair on its back and then laid down on it with his legs up in the air, Derek was absolutely focused. I had a half hour of alone time. As luck would have it I happened on a CD by the Avett Brothers. Doing homework doesn’t get any better.

Tomorrow will be Derek’s real birthday party. Theme? “How to Train Your Dragon.” My brother George will drive up from Naples to also join. George, rest assured, your Viking Helmet and shield are waiting.

Massage – It was a brilliant gift I received. Kirstin, our, soon to be, family esthetician and licensed massage therapist scheduled me for a 2-hour massage and facial. Even as the shuttle Discovery crew was packed like sardines into their cockpit listening to the countdown, I was on Kirstin’s heated table. My specific “chakra” had been selected and along with ethereal background music and scents of a deep pine forest my body was being pampered.

“Stiff-as-a-board,” does not begin to describe me. For a fleeting second I felt sorry for Kirstin trying to turn this immovable mass into something pliable. Then the scents, warmth, and sounds all took hold and those ‘fleeting’ thoughts vaporized.

On my way to my appointment with Kirstin George called to wish me a happy birthday. I was driving Kirstin’s car, complete with a huge bumper sticker which reads; “No Phone Zone.” Now, it’s a little awkward to be seen talking on a cell while driving in such a vehicle. “George” I said, “driving right now so I can’t talk. I’ll call you back after my massage, after 5:30.”

Walking back to the car at 5:30 I checked my phone. The one message that stood out was from George; “hey Dirk, are you watching the Discovery lift-off?” George has an uncanny ability to hear what he needs to hear. The Dutch call this ‘Oost-Indies doof.”

Closing – Both little guys have been running low grade fevers all this week. The good news is that they’re still both brilliant and that it hasn’t affected their activity levels. Now I best post before the activities kick in. Thanks much for all the birthday wishes everyone.

Make it a great week



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