Friday, November 30, 2012

November Reflections

Dear George,
One day in June or maybe July I was walking along the edge of Burnet Woods Lake on my way to my office.  The air was perfectly still, and the tall trees produced elegant reflections on the water’s surface.  I didn’t have a camera but decided I should take photos sometime soon. I decided to watch for a day when there wasn’t any wind, but that’s easier said than done.  Probably because of Cincinnati’s hilly topography, there’s a 10 or 15 m.p.h. wind practically every day.  It took me till late November, and even then the lake wasn’t all that calm.  

Along with clouds, lightning, fireflies, etc., reflections on the water are one of the wonders of nature.  For one thing, they instruct us about the important distinction between reality and its image or representation.  Sometimes, when the water is perfectly quiet, image and reality are virtually identical.  How that can happen is astonishing and mysterious.  Then, when the wind begins to stir, reflections start to shimmer and soon take on a magical life all their own.  When it gets too windy, of course, reflections disappear altogether.  Here are some photos from Burnet Woods Lake from earlier this week.  It will probably be months before conditions are right to take some more.

G-mail Comments
-Donna D (12-1):  wow david these are beautiful!  some are simply gorgeous.  so mysterious.  just wonderful!  donna

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving No. 4: The Best Yet?

Our gang at the zoo: L, K, V, J, Katja

Dear George,
This was the fourth Thanksgiving in our grandchildren V and L’s young lives.  I’m sure they don’t remember anything about Nos. 1 and 2, and even No. 3 is doubtful.  So this might be the best Thanksgiving so far for our youngest family members.  It was definitely one of my and Katja’s favorites. This time J and K decided to bring the kiddies north.  Because of the constraints in her work schedule, K flew up and back, while J drove the 800 miles with the children, doing a stopover in Alabama each way.  I was amazed that V and L managed so well on such a long trip, but they are growing up all the time and get along together amicably.  Their verbal skills have developed a lot since we saw them in May, and they’re now capable of playing board games and operating sophisticated technology (well beyond their grandparents’ abilities).  Our holiday days were filled with nonstop adventures and excitement, whether at home or out in the community.  At day’s end the children would go to bed about 7 or 7:30, and we wouldn’t hear a peep till morning.  Here are a few photos which capture some of the highlights of Thanksgiving week.

We did the zoo on our very first outing on Tuesday.  Lulu, the new baby giraffe, was the biggest attraction, but not far behind were the elephants, a baby aardvark, the manatee, the polar bears, and the white lions.

The children loved the petting zoo.  They got to feed the goats by hand, a scary but titillating prospect.

The playground in the Children’s Zoo was lots of fun too. 

One nice thing about coming home at the end of the afternoon was the daily bubble bath.  

On Wednesday we went to the Children's Museum at the Museum Center.  L was impressed that Cincinnati’s Union Terminal had served as the real-life model for Superman's Hall of Justice. 

The holiday train display was in full gear.  

I'd prepared to have the children perform a Thanksgiving play.  They were initially wary, but when they got their Pilgrim and Indian hats they got more enthusiastic.

Much to everyone's surprise, V had a moment of stage fright just before the show, but she pulled it together when her mom joined her on the stage.  Here the two Indians, Growling Bear and Flying Squirrel, are making their on-stage entrance (along with our visiting sheepdog Sophie who has a tennis ball in her mouth).  

When they weren’t busy acting, the children loved going up and down in our elevator.  

They'd also gotten more artistic since we'd last seen them.

K flew back for work on Thanksgiving evening, and J took the kids and grandpa to the bouncy-bounce palace in the suburbs on Friday.

Afterwards we went to the thrift shop.  J told the kids he would buy them some kittens, but, if they couldn't find any kittens, he would buy them some mittens.  They wound up settling for mittens.

After racing about at full throttle, the children were capable of falling asleep in mere seconds in their car seats. 

Katja joined us at Skyline Chili for hot dogs (kids) and four-ways (adults).  

V takes the dogs for a little walk on each of her visits to Cincinnati.  Here she is outside our house with Sophie.

A last day picture on our patio: J holding L, Katja, me holding V, Duffy in the rear.

A car full of kiddies and goodies, headed south on Whitfield Avenue toward New Orleans.  We got a little teary-eyed.

G-mail Comments
-Phyllis S-S (11-28):  Dave,  They are so adorable.  Phyllis
-Donna D (11-26): david, this is awesome!  such great pics...looks like sooo much fun!!
-Linda K-C (11-26):  Sweet photo , sweet memories, will try to share Xmas as wonderfully as you did thanksgiving, it means a lot to me to see these wonderful photos.  I still think we all need a time with Burke and Lundg*** ca vacation.
-Linda K-C (11-26):  Also the older the kids get the more they remember us, they speak with great affection to me about you and Katja.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

V and L's First Thanksgiving Play

L and V, taking a pudding break during rehearsals

Dear George,
We were thrilled when our son J and daughter-in-law K brought our grandkids, V and L, up from New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  To celebrate the occasion, we arranged for the children to put on a homemade Thanksgiving play for family members and friends (Jennifer and Donna).  It was not always easy to direct four-year-olds in their very first dramatic production, but when they got their Indian headdresses and pilgrim hats that sealed the deal.  V has a last minute attack of stage fright, but she decided she could play her roles as long as her mom joined her on the stage.  The audience gave the players great reviews and they received a lengthy ovation.  Here’s the script and a few photo highlights.
Our Thanksgiving Play

Act One.  The Indians

Hundreds of years ago a tribe of Indians lived along the Atlantic Ocean shore in North America.  Here are some of the Indians now (V and L enter with Indian headdresses).

            What is your name, Indian boy?  (L:  Growling Bear.)
            What is your name, Indian girl?  (V:  Flying Squirrel.)

Flying Squirrel and Growling Bear make their entrance

The Indians were excellent farmers.  First they would dig holes in the ground.  (V&L dig)

Then they would put in their seeds – for corn and pumpkins and beans.  (V&L plant seeds)

They would do a rain dance to make the rains come and make the crops grow.  (V&L to their rain dance – the most exciting moment of the whole play)

The Indians do their magical rain dance

When the corn and the vegetables grew high, they would cut them down with their big knives.  (V&L cut corn)

The Indians were also brave hunters.  They would sneak silently through the forest.  (V&L sneak through forest)

The brave hunters sneak through the forest

When they saw a deer, they would shoot at it with their bows and arrows.  (V&L shoot)

Then they would drag their prey back to their village to feed the whole tribe.  (V&L drag prey) 

In this way they lived happy and prosperous lives.  (Actors exit.)

Act Two.  The Pilgrams

In September of 1620 a band of Pilgrams arrived from Europe on a ship called the Mayflower. Here are some of the pilgrims now  (V and L enter with Pilgrim hats).

            What is your name, Pilgrim girl?  (V:  Priscilla Mullins.)
            What is your name, Pilgram boy?  (L:  Miles Standish.)

Priscilla Mullins and Miles Standish make their entrance

The pilgrims went into the forest and chopped down tall trees.  (V&L chop trees)

Then they used their saws to cut the tree trunks into logs.  (V&L saw)

And they used their hammers to build log houses.  (V&L hammer)

But when winter came, the pilgrims were very cold.  (V&L shiver)

And many of them got sick.  (V&L lie down sick and wiggle)

Finally spring arrived, and the pilgrims were very happy once again.  (Actors exit.)

The pilgrims are happy when spring arrives

Act Three.  The Thanksgiving Feast

The Indians came to visit, and they were sad that the Pilgrims had such a terrible winter.

The Indians showed the Pilgrims how to dig a hole.  (V&L dig)

And put in the seeds.  (V&L plant)

Then the Indians and the Pilgrims did a rain dance together.  (V&L dance)

The Indians and the Pilgrams dance together to bring the rain

When the corn grew tall, they harvested it with their big knives.  (V&L cut corn)

The Indians and the Pilgrims cooked a big feast.  (V&L stir their pots)

They prayed and gave thanks for all their blessings.  (V and L pray and say: “Thank you for all our blessings.)

Miles Standish and Flying Squirrel give thanks for all their blessings

And that was the first Thanksgiving.  And everyone lived happily ever after.  (Actors exit)  

The End!

The actors take a bow

G-mail Comments
-Vicki L (11-27):  Hi David…  Leo and Vida's Thxgiving play was thoroughly enjoyed by my clan - so advanced and adorable.  Send my love to Katja ..... I'm scurrying off to work. Hope you're well. Love,Sis
-Linda K-C (11-23):  Thanks for sharing,aren't they such a joy?
-Linda K-C (11-24):  Justin sent me the video , so fun to watch! They are wonderful children.