Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom:

“Who you hang out with determines a lot of what you turn into.” — the urban villager

For the past two weeks we’ve had the thrill of spending our daytime with a two-and-a-half year old—Vaioleti. Now, as I am pouring my first mug of java, I should be wondering about the urban villager’s comment; will these weeks affect her more, or will Marcia and I gain the most?

Growing up – These days have been busy ones. Aside from watching Vaioleti it’s been some writing that has all come together at the same time. Vaioleti is easy to take care of, as long as you do not take your eye off her. After all, a two-and-a-half year old has quite figured out 1001 ways to get into trouble. Trouble such as jamming marbles into the mouth to driving a toy truck over and into Marcia’s pride – some very dainty Italian ceramics; yes it’s quite a list that she’s put together. Actually Marcia and I have coordinated duties in an exceptional way. She is “maintenance” woman. This includes preparing snacks, lunch, and attacking Vai’s nether regions with daintily smelling wipes and clean diapers.

On the other hand, I have become “Mr. Entertainment.” When we had great weather (up until two days ago) any playground park within walking range was fair game. Any puzzle in our house I can now assemble blind folded. Story time is the best and her very favorite book has been read twice a day for this period—just a little scary, a little dangerous, but oh so much fun (no monster with the name of Rosebud can be horrifically scary). If you really must know, this, her current favorite story is (my enhanced rendition/reading of) Berkeley Breathed’s The Last Basselope—one ferocious story.

But, I really want to focus on the two seven/eight year olds in the family. I have previously written on my amazement regarding the level of work these second graders are into. This past week Marin put a visual project, complete with an oral presentation together. The talk he had to give required no reading, just a presentation with visuals. Pretty cool stuff.

Derek had to do a Family Tree genealogy project. One facet required a written up interview with a family member, and I was chosen for this piece. Sunday evening Skype was loaded and the system’s camera was turned on. I was amazed. No longer was it just Derek the little kid, but I was ‘sitting’ across from Derek the ‘on task’ young man. He had a list of ten questions for me – plus two bonus questions.

The ten questions had all the perfunctory stuff, birth date, first and last name, etc, etc. Me giving my name was followed by a dumbfounded; “your name is Dirk and not Opa? Your last name is Pastoor and not Opa?” – OK, so a little of the kid was still there. But, a few of the questions were well beyond the easy stuff. In your lifetime, what was not available when you were a kid? That question I liked and after a little thoughtful reflection I had a couple of nice examples; space exploration being one. It was another question which took more effort. “What is no longer around and which you had when you were young and you wish we did not now have,” whoops, I hadn’t expected such a questions. It took a half minute or so and gave my answer—“loss of civility.”

Derek wrote down my answer. I asked him if he knew what I meant and he said he knew the word. I let it go, rather than ask him if he really knew what I meant by my answer, i.e. more than just a word definition. Later, Marcia mentioned that she felt I went way over his head. I am not so certain, after all, at that moment I was not talking to just a second grader aged eight, but to a young man.

Animal Planet – Blossoms out in full now, daffodils flourishing, and forsythia in bright yellow; everything sparkling because the sun has got his hat on and has come out to play; spring has sprung wonderfully. Into Mount Storm Park Cathy and I took the kids one afternoon. These, much like spring lambs freed from snow and cold, spent a couple of hours gamboling. After being cooped up for months on end in winter they were now glowing in the sun. Then, winter came back as a reminder of the days months past—we’re supposed to have a coating of snow tomorrow.

Special spring only page – A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my birthday gift from brother Pieter and mentioned I’d figure out a way to share. Your wait is over. Over the next number of weeks you’ll find a page (click on: Weekly Nonet by Pieter Pastoor) to enjoy. I have placed his writing and its accompanying photograph on this page. This first one I picked because of its springtime theme, on second thought, it could also be reflecting a mid-summer feeling; you decide. Each week will have a different photograph and it’s Nonet. Be sure to read and view – a great way to begin your morning or evening, your day or your weekend.

Closing – Last evening, as a preparation for my weekend, I had some Mussels. These were glorious. Done in a light tomato and garlic sauce this batch was stunning. With apologies to any vegetarian readers, Mussels were destined for only one purpose, and these fulfilled their role to perfection.

Make it a great week.

Cheers,

Dirk

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