Good morning all:

Weekly wisdom:

“…..and give thanks to grand parents for taking up the slack…….” ~ Wynton Marsalis (jazz horn player extraordinaire)

Wynton’s Thanksgiving prayer gave me the insight I needed to fully realize that we, as grand parents, are slackers.

Grandparent’s Day – yes, I know that this week was a major holiday, Thanksgiving. But, earlier in the week it was grandparent’s day at Marin and Dinah’s school; what a joy!

It was Maria Montessori who famously stated that; “play is the work of a child.” How true that is. Watching kids absolutely absorbed and thrilled demonstrating what they are learning was akin to watching a world-class athlete performing when “in the zone”. One kindergartner even mentioning that her “very favorite in class was studying the periodic table.” It also meant that none of the attributes resulting from boredom were present, no shenanigans, no pushing, or other out of control behaviors.

Dina, now in kindergarten, was just so proud demonstrating her mastery of numbers, her ability to read, to write in script, and to clean (scrub with soap and water) her desk chair as part of the weekly cleanup.

Meanwhile, Marin showed how this week they were using vegetables and fruits as an entry to social and cultural studies. On a tray was displayed an array of fruits and vegetables. What caught my eye was something orange and bumpy. Marin said that it was a “horned melon”, something I had never seen before. That answer brought on some more questions from me. He asked me to step over to a nearby computer, making a quick entry into the system’s browser and he gave me the answers. These kids were using and are comfortable with materials and technology I couldn’t have dreamt about when I was their age.

The morning also gave rise to the understanding that for a quality education to take place it requires, to a massive degree, parental involvement. And, I realized that ‘parental’ includes us grandparents.

Balluminaria – has become an annual tradition for us. This year with the evening temperature hovering around sixty was just perfect.

Every year it’s the same, a lineup of nine or ten tethered hot air balloons sitting on the edge of the reflecting lake at Eden Park. Every year it is absolutely different. In part, what makes it different are the wide eyes of the little ones as they are absorbing more and more of the color, the size, the straining on the tethers, the squeaking of the wicker baskets, and the roar of the massive flames keeping the balloons filled and upright.

It also means that Opa gets to give rides on my shoulders – although I am not certain how much longer that business will last.

Thanksgiving – this year was an extended, but traditional event. Traditional in that Tevita roasted the turkey over a backyard fire-pit; resulting in an absolutely succulent and smoky-flavored main dish. Meanwhile, Marcia went beyond preparing an array of side dishes including cranberry chutney made from fresh berries.

It was extended in that it, sort of naturally, made it into a two-day event. Traditional in that no one in our family partook of the latest rage where “retail” is busily ruining any holiday by trying to create a shopping frenzy. Having said that, today the ladies will head out to shop at small stores and thrift stores thus supporting the local community, and small business, forsaking anything big-box. Thrift stores as a way to save, not just dollars, but also as a way to recycle resources.

Now, about Thanksgiving; I listened to Pieter’s radio program on Wednesday where he interviewed his brother-in-law, Jack Edwards. The comment I made after the show: …”yesterday’s show put all the rest [of the past shows] on a “side burner.” ….Jack Edward’s insights into social entrepreneurship gave special meaning to what Thanksgiving is all about…” says it all. Really people, do yourself a favor and listen to the recorded version of this superb hour. You’ll agree with me that it will enhance your Thanksgiving.

Animal Planet – Now this is crazy. Mid-week our neighbor stopped to ask if we had seen the buck that lay down in our front yard (we hadn’t). We see deer almost on a daily basis in our street, in our yard, and cutting through the neighbor’s—did not see that buck.

This is my favorite time of the year for the tall grasses we have growing. The multiple hues of greens, yellows, browns, and burgundies, make for an eye catching spectacle. Just wished it stayed longer

Fini – For the remainder of the weekend, make it a good one. Stay safe!

Cheers,

Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Good morning:

Well, how was your Thanksgiving? Even though our family was spread out we talked to all and Marcia, Adrianne, and I had a Norman Rockwell time across the street with the Knoops. Thanks Jeff and Mary Ann.

This year there was no battle, just a massive display of “Tour de Force” by the perfect little family across the street. For those not in the know, Marcia has been consistently outclassed and out maneuvered by them when it comes to Christmas home decorations, especially in the area of icicle lights. I came home from running an errand just as the whole group came outside. Dad carrying a 40 or so foot ladder, as if it were nothing. Eldest son with a simple nod assisted in holding the ladder in place while mom and the younger ones started laying out the lights. By the time Marcia was able to put down the baby blanket-embroidering project that has taken over her whole life, they were done. An hour later I struggled outside trying to maneuver our little stepladder through the front door as Marcia carried the two little bundles of lights.

I too got caught up in the Friday-after-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Yesterday morning 7 AM I was at Staples picking up a Read-Write CDRom drive – on sale for $9.99 after rebate. It was already well after dinner when I gave up for the evening with the simple (according to the 5 page installation manual) installation procedure. Whatever I tried I got a skull-and-crossbones message stating the “API Initialization Failed”. Problem is, there is no reference to an “API” file anywhere. The accompanying software is German and I even got on line to their web site in Germany, probably in a place with a name like “Belsen Bergen”. This proved to be absolutely no help at all – “achtung, you vill read every one of our 350 pages of help, ja!” I have promised Marcia that if it can’t be solved within 2 hours today I’ll drag it to work and beg our power-twin techs to deal with it.

Hey, it’s time for a coffee refill. In place of listening to NPR Echoes I have had a CD by Lila Downs on “Borders”, what a great voice (hit the link and have a look at her great web site). Talking about “best”, go to the bottom of the page and click on the new “Week’s Best” button. Especially for the wordsmith crowd and those with kids, this site is a bit slow to load but once the applet is in place be sure to play around for a bit – if you like words then this is the site for you.

Have a great week.

Cheers,

Dirk

One Response to “Special days, a special weekend”
  1. Pieter pastoor Says:

    First of all thank you for the compliments and awareness of “Listening Lyrics”. It is much appreciated.
    It appears that you have had a fantastic thanksgiving week. What I enjoy is reading about all those absorbing young minds around you. It is fascinating to watch grandkids absorb. As a parent it is tough to sit back and also absorb the wonder of it all, so it’s a real treat for grandparents.