Happy Saturday morning all:

A small bit of recollection:

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found” ~ Calvin Trillin

No leftover turkey for us. However, we’re doing very well re-purposing much spiral sliced ham – thank you very much!

I’m starting a little late this morning. The first thing I heard was Marcia yelling up the stairs that our house guest, Blu, needed food and be taken outside for his constitutional. I struggled downstairs, donned a heavy coat, wool cap and gloves, clutched a thermal mug of steaming coffee, and attached Blu to his leash; then, a very happy – tail wagging – Blu and a slightly less happy me, set out into the pitch-dark morning.

Gathering for Thanksgiving – was great. Marcia and I were invited to Gillian’s home, along with ten others. This year was the first where the four best buds (Adrianne, Gillian, Stephanie, and Anna) managed to get together in a long time. For me it was also a bit special; I coached these young women when they played soccer as first, second, and third graders. Our third year as a team we made it into the State finals.

Luckily for Marcia and me, Gillian’s folks were also at the gathering – we formed the “old-fogey’s” sub group. Actually it was a great time. Her dad, Brian, makes his living teaching about Quarks and such, but of even more interest to him is boating and enjoying a pint of un-chilled bitters. You can see why we had such a good time.

Once in a while – in even the most mundane of mediums, television, is it possible to find a program that absolutely grabs you. Yesterday I had such a moment as I watched Charlie Rose interview Nathan Myhrvold, the former CIO of Microsoft.

Still best friends with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Myhrvold founded an “invention” lab. With a mind that just wants to explore everything around him, he set out to do just that. To the question; to what end? His answer was very plain; who knows?

It reminded me of listening to a modern version of a professor at Cambridge in the late nineteenth century, J. J. Thompson, about whom I had read a bit some time ago. Dr. Thomson, pottering in a small laboratory filled with hand written manuscripts, he eventually discovered the electron. No one knew to what end and for what use. It wasn’t until about forty years later that his discovery saw a use in making microscopes more efficient. It was another twenty five or so years later before the electron quickly climbed to the ‘top-of-the-heap’. His ‘little’ discovery has found its way into computers, chips, automobiles, medical devices, even the International Space Station and the little Rovers traipsing about on the surface of Mars.

Who would have known? It’s the process of exploration and the resultant discovery which makes it all worthwhile.

Grandparents Day – was Tuesday morning at North Avondale Montessori School. This is the school that Marin, Dinah, and now, Vaioleti attend. The grandparents were welcomed with coffee and bagels, a few words, and a bit of entertainment. The school cafeteria overflowed with a sea of grey hair – several hundred of us had gathered.

And the kids? The kids just bubbled and burst with pride demonstrating the material they were working on. Marin and three others discussed the reasons and meanings of a story they had read. Their teacher guided them into and through an amazing discussion. DSCF0142

Dinah, our first grader, played a game of throwing a pair dice to then appropriately filling in a grid containing one hundred squares using the resultant outcomes. She invited a little friend to join us; with Marcia and I acting as the friend’s surrogate grandparents (her one grandparent was ill and could not attend).

Vai, our kindergartener, is learning to write script, beginning arithmetic, and spelling. DSCF0137 However, she began by showing us a science lesson. She had six plastic animals. Once she had placed them into the proper sequence they showed the life-cycle of a frog – and each change did need to be labeled. Next, a small mat was placed on the floor. She reached into a container and placed four items on the mat. Then, using plastic letters, spelled/wrote the name of each item. Personally, all I remember from kindergarten is learning colors.

As Maria Montessori once stated; “Children are both a hope and a promise for mankind.”

Animal Planet – By now you know that were having Blu spend a few days with us. Jason and Cathy and the kids are in Detroit for Thanksgiving and a Bat Mitzvah and Blu was not invited.

His visit was just fine. But, we had forgotten what a nervous nanny that dog is. Walk him and a car passing by at thirty miles an hour causes him to jump. The first day here and he insisted being right next to me, in fact, he had to be up against me. DSCF0150

That first night he spent alone downstairs (he’s not great on stairs). Who knows what goes on in the mind of a dog when left alone? All we know is that in the morning Marcia discovered that one of her plants had magically been transformed into a pot full of stems. Thanksgiving morning I took him on several walks since all I heard were his intestines gurgling and I had visions of an impending “explosion.” The explosion never happened. By evening the gurgling had subsided, he was back on his food. And, to Marcia’s dismay, the plant hasn’t made any overture of coming back.

Fini – To everyone, here’s hoping that this was a great weekend. If you still have travel in your future, be careful. Then, as always, make it a great week.
Cheers.
Dirk

From the Archives
Sat, 03 Nov 2007
Morning all:

Quote Of The Week:

“For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” Alice Kahn

Every time there is a short electrical brownout I have to get the coffeemaker’s manual out to, once again, relearn how to set up the machine in automatic mode. This morning I made my coffee manually – load water, load coffee, push ‘on’ button

One of my highlights this week was the opportunity to spend a couple of hours playing around on the field of the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Most of it was spent chatting and eating Hors D’oeuvres. But, we did toss a football. More importantly, I had the opportunity to kick the ball, from the ‘tee’ at 30 yards out, and through the uprights. 30 yards out is a huge distance. I was wearing dress shoes, but nevermind, since, in my mind at least, I am still the athlete. And so I not only tried, but knew I was going to succeed.

I just knew I could succeed because, not many years ago, it was nothing for me to jump on my bicycle and pedal 400 miles on a long weekend. Okay, it was a bunch of years ago, but not too many bunches. Then also, I played soccer for over five years, so placing a good kick was really a natural. I have the legs! 30 yards out is an even longer distance when you stand all puny like on the field and size up what you need to accomplish. Four paces away I started my approach. Placed one mighty kick square on the ball. Then felt major pain throughout my leg and especially my foot. The ball went up in a perfect arc and went straight as an arrow that headed directly for the uprights. It took a perfect bounce and flipped forward.

The ball came to rest just before the 5-yard line.

30 yards out is really a huge distance.

The next day I was sitting in on a meeting taking notes. My foot was still sore. My throwing arm had a dull ache every time I moved it. I could barely hang on to my pen. But, I had played in the RCA Dome and that was all that counted.

Being in Indianapolis made me miss Halloween at home. Actually, what it did was missing seeing the grandkids smiling faces on Halloween.

To the wonders of digital photography and email – thanks.

To parents who feel that work is super important and that missing an ‘event’ due to business is something you can catch up on—you can’t and won’t.

Kids grow up way too fast. Make certain that you’re around to enjoy and witness their thrill during moments such as dressing up for Halloween. This time will pass soon enough.

Make it a great week. I believe it was Milton Berle who once observed that laughter could be an instant vacation—so join in.

Cheers,

Dirk

One Response to “Thanksgiving – afterthoughts”
  1. Pieter Pastoor Says:

    Really nice update – don’t you just love grandparents day – and – thank you for the “turkey” e card

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