Monday, October 24, 2016

Walks with Esther

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
     The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
     Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
     Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
     In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be 
     Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
     In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
     And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
     And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
     Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
     Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
     And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
     Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
     In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
     My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
     Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
     In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
     I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
     Though I sang in my chains like the sea.  
               - Dylan Thomas

Snowball - silkie hen

Cole bought three new hens last week and one of them is this fantastic Silkie, named snowball.  We don't normally keep the chickens in the house... but this one is so sweet and friendly.  It is verging on becoming a pet. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy 90th Birthday!!

John Stuart Preece is 90!!

WWII Wounded and Decorated War Veteran, Infantryman RRC
UTP-NMC, University of Toronto, Industrial Enigeering
RCEME Corp, Lt
P. Eng
M. Psych
M. Ed
Brown Belt, Judoka
Husband to An Awesome Lady
Dad to two, almost as awesome, Daughters
Grandpa to six crazy kids

The whole Preece Clan, with some handsome additions...
Mom, Lex, Auntie Barbara and Mimi

Speech by Lex and Kathleen:

"I would like to take a few minutes of your time on behalf of Alexis and myself, to share some of our thoughts on this milestone in Dad's life.

In his late 50's, my dad left a lucrative and diverse career to raise two, willful little girls.  It was a selfless, and many days a thankless, occupation.  It was a position he had absolutely no training for.  He had no role models to lean on and, having grown up with no father or mother of his own to teach him to nurture and love children, it must have seemed like a completely foreign and overwhelming duty.  He went from a life of professional laud and personal freedom, to being tethered to two demanding little girls who were incredibly difficult to reason with. 

In all of our years growing up in Toronto, there was never been a moment that we doubted his commitment to us.  He threatened school bullies for us, taught us to ride the TTC.  He drove across the country to sporting events and forked over countless dollars to help us pursue whatever ridiculous endeavor Alexis or I decided to undertake.  He has driven through all kinds of weather and at all hours to drop us off and pick us up.  He spent an entire life's worth of time enduring recitals, band concerts, piano exams, theatre performances, soccer, rugby, swimming and hockey games, track and field meets, as well as endless parades and thousands of church services on our behalf.

Our dad taught us everything we know about budgeting, frugality and money management and both our husbands have said, on many occasions, that they are grateful to have married prudent wives.  Dad has been generous to Alexis and I, beyond measure, and we are so thankful.

Dad also taught us perseverance.  He was so convinced that we were the smartest and bravest and toughest little girls on the planet, that we believed him.  He gave us confidence and encouragement in everything. 

A few yeas back, Alexis had taken a then very small Miriam on a walk at my folks' cottage to see the fall colours.  The weather took a turn and it started to rain heavily.  Dad drove around for quite a while looking for her, and when he finally found them both, Lex said, “I knew you'd come and get me.”  I retell that story because it a small incident that typifies what he has meant to us.  We have never feared being left out in the rain.   Happy 90th Birthday, Dad.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Autumn - mom post

The question we are most often asked about homeschooling is not the one I would ask.  I would ask what I consider the weightiest question all homeschooling families face: "What math curriculum do you use?"  The next most pressing question being: "What exactly is an adverbial phrase??  Does it go before or after the predicate? When it comes before the subject, does it require a comma???"

The question most earnest inquirers ask is: "Aren't you worried about their socialization?"  Followed quickly by, "Aren't you concerned about how they will adjust to the Real World?"  This week, along with a myriad of activities that involved children their own ages, my kids picked tomatoes with their loving and long-suffering grandparents, had tea with the neighbour's kids aged 6, 9 and 13 (and their mom, aged, never you mind), split wood with their father and our benevolent neighbour who loaned us the splitter, and had piano lessons with the nicest young lady in the world.  

I had a very short career, granted, but I never worked with another 38 year-old-women.  Never.  68 year old chemical lab technicians, yes.  22 year old co-op students, unfortunately, yes.   40 something year-old-bosses, yes.   Come to think of it, I never worked with another lady at all!  

All this is to say, I am not sure the mono-age, mono-gender socialization model is really relevant in this "etherial" real world.... where is this place where everyone is 13 years old? Or 4 years old?  Or 38 years old?

Titus 2 implies a multi-generational existence:

"Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."

So, speaking of teaching the young ladies to do stuff... if anyone has ideas about green tomatoes and what to do with them: send them this way.