* * Gatherings * * *
Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
web site: members.rogers.com/jimlow
18th Annual Message
Spare and Share Your Love
Sparing and sharing time with those you love is the
most valuable time we have. Sometimes, in the hectic pace of life, we
wish we had more spare time. Spare time is not wasted time or something
to put off until later. It’s the most valuable commodity we have and
must make room for plenty of it throughout life. Whenever a child,
grandchild, or a friend asks to spend time with me, I make the time.
Everything else is on hold while I share such valuable time. Throughout
life, my priority is to make time to share and spare.
Carrie completed her year of parental leave (Brian
took some parental leave, too) and arrangements were made for Lily’s
day-care. Of course, parenting is a full time job, even when you have
another full time job. One day, Carrie called me after she picked up
Lily and asked if I could spare time with Lily that evening while she
and Brian went out. It seems they were exhausted and needed a break.
She commented on how much work was involved and recalled both Eleanor
and I worked at full time jobs. Her comment was “I don’t know how you
and Mom ever coped with four!” It was only months later when Cheryl
said exactly the same thing. I asked Cheryl if she recalled what I
would say in frustration when all the kids wanted me to do a number of
things at once. Yes, she did, and repeated what I often said so many
years ago: “I’m sorry, but I only have four hands!”
Speaking of Children...
Arlie Jean Khan, daughter of Cheryl and Jameel was
born July 13. She is my third grandchild, and second child for Cheryl
and Jameel. Everyone is fine now, but it was a harrowing experience,
with Arlie being born a month early after Cheryl spent most of the the
previous three months in hospital. I’m waiting to share my trips to the
park with Arlie, but already get to help feed and change her.
A Day in the Park
I was fortunate to share some wonderful time with
two of my grandchildren on a fine summer weekend. Beside the usual
highjinx around the house, we made a couple of trips to the park each
day. I was pushing Lily in the baby swing and she kept pointing at the
big swing beside her. I thought she wanted on that swing. But she kept
pointing at it and saying "pa-pa" (her way of saying grandpa). I
finally figured it out: she wanted me to sit in the swing. You should
have seen us: swinging side-by-side with her laughing at silly “pa-pa.”
The next day I was with Nolan in the Park. He kept pulling on me and
saying “down, down” and then I realised he wanted me to build a castle
in the sand so he could knock it down. I happily complied, undertaking
this most important activity of life. Of course, on both days, Nolan
and Lily got dirty in the sand and trying scary things to stress me
out! I see in the news that some children were taken from a family,
stating the reason for concern was the grandparent caring for the child
appeared stressed out and the kids were dirty from playing in the sand.
Seems to me that the official who made that call doesn't remember what
it's like to be young or understand what it’s like to be a parent or
As Nolan turned two, he was coming out with
more-and-more words. Sometimes he was lazy and tried to get Cheryl and
Jameel to do something for him, and just whine instead of asking. “Use
your words, Nolan” they would say. One day, Cheryl, Jameel,Nolan, Arlie
and I were in a restaurant where we have to order food at the counter.
Cheryl was ordering the food. I was sitting at a table with Arlie.
Jameel was with Nolan in an aisle. Suddenly, a couple came up behind
them and the fellow was so large, he couldn’t get by without Jameel and
Nolan moving aside. The fellow, who had the physique of a Sumi
Wrestler, gave a rough “excuse me” as he barged by. Nolan pointed at
the man and used Nolan’s Words to say several times in his loud voice
for all to hear: “big man, big man...”
Luxuries of Life
Retirement is great. I could live in retirement
forever and work on all my projects. But an opportunity for a contract
position came knocking at my door— dealing with both computers and
astronomy. An ideal job for me? Well, if I wasn’t so keen on
retirement, it would be. Too bad this didn’t come up years ago. I
thought about it. I looked at my finances: I had enough for the
necessities in life, such as telescopes, camping trips, and running
around the world chasing eclipses. But I found there wasn’t enough
money for a few luxuries in life, such as food, clothing, and shelter.
So I took the opportunity of taking the work. It’s time I got paid for
doing what I enjoy! On top of that, I can work from home several days a
week. Some retirement projects are scaled back— for now. My work? I’m
in software support for the Starry Night programs with Imaginova. They
have an office in downtown Toronto and supply software and support for
the world. The software is developed on the Macintosh and ported to
Windows, and available for both platforms. Most of the questions come
from Windows users. Mac users seem to be a more intelligent lot.
The big astronomical event of the year was the
Transit of Venus (Venus passing in front of the sun). I observed it at
sunrise on June 8 overlooking Lake Ontario, joining a group of fellow
observers from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). My
activities with the RASC continue, observing when I can with my
telescope, and attended the annual General Assembly of the RASC in St.
John’s Newfoundland in July. I was a volunteer, along with others, at
the David Dunlap Observatory and Ontario Science Centre on a few public
nights, setting up my 10-inch telescope for visitors to view celestial
The Shipping News
I had a great visit with Jerry and his birth parents
Ken and Betty Barry in Corner Brook, Newfoundland in June. Jerry
continues to prove all of us wrong whenever he does his own thing
against our advise. Not only did he succeed in finding a job in
Newfoundland, but sometimes he even works at two jobs. While there, I
was surprised to see many help-wanted signs in shop windows. Jerry must
have single-handedly turned around the economy of Newfoundland. He
still has his adventures, but things always seem to turn out okay. He
bought his first car and had his first accident. He’s okay. It seems he
was driving by a fish processing plant where a truck dumped a load of
fish guts on the road, making it slippery. Only a Newfoundlander could
come up with such a fish story. He’s now planning to buy a house in
Corner Brook. fff Jerry visited us in Toronto during August.
Carrie and Brian sold one home and bought another .
They moved during May... and June... and July. It was a lot longer than
expected gutting the home to make it exactly as they wanted. They
stayed with Brian’s parents while major work was done and have finally
moved in. They hope to finish it by Christmas -- I’m not sure what
year, though. After 30 years in my home I still say “it will be a nice
home when it’s finished.” Hmmm... I wonder what’s in that trunk in the
basement that hasn’t been opened since I moved here?
Peter continues to rent a room from me and I try to
keep out of his way, although we do share time together on occasions.
Most of his time is shared with his girlfriend Kate. Peter is looking
into more schooling. Kate is working towards being a veterinarian, but
is taking a year off to work and do volunteer work with large farm
Retirement activities are still ongoing. During much
of 2003 I scanned pictures of my children growing up and last Christmas
gave each of them a photo album from the time they were born until they
were young adults. Special thanks to Eleanor and Meredith for their
help on this project. This year I completed copying old 8mm home moves
to DVD with the expert assistance of my friend Blaise. In fact, Blaise
did most of the work. I am currently scanning earlier family records
for a family history project. I continue activities with a computer
club and the astronomical society. My friends and family seem to enjoy
my barbecues and my 11th annual “A Little Taste of Summer” barbecue
will be held in early February.
Arlie Jean Khan. Born 2004 July 13.
Arlie is so bewitching.
Nolan Khan says:
“Get busy building sandcastles!”
“Bring on the food!”
My first grandchild was born in 2002. Another arrived in 2003. Then the
third in 2004. What will 2005 bring?
Have another Great Christmas
and may the New Year bring to you
richness and love to share and spare.