Monday, June 24, 2013

Grade 6 Moving Up Ceremony

Where did the time go? Seven years ago Pierce started kindergarten at Wallace School and in what seems like the blink of an eye he's finished Grade 6. He will start Grade 7 at the Junior High in Hoboken High School this Fall. He enjoyed seven great years at Wallace School and it's been exciting watching him grow and develop over the years. The students sang "Hall of Fame" from the Irish band The Script (with ensuring there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. We'll miss our Wallace School family but we're looking forward to the Junior High school and the start of Pierce's next academic adventure. Here's a few pix and a video from today's ceremony and a flashback to Pierce's first day at Wallace School.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dad and the Rockies

My father loved the sea and was never more than a few blocks from it growing up in Dublin, Ireland. I can only imagine his shock when he emigrated with his parents as a young man at the age of 20, to the dusty landlocked prairies of western Canada in 1957. But it took him no time to fall under the spell of the vast Canadian Rocky Mountains which became his new playground. As a child I was convinced that Dad was trying to torture me, with one hike after another. Nevertheless, he persisted and ignored the chorus of complaints and protests (not inconsiderable from four daughters) and inevitably, we came to share his passion for the mountains. Here are a few photos of Dad hiking with his good friend, John Secker, long before the outdoor comforts of Goretex and Moss tents. Who knew that these two young students, on their summer break from university, were on their way to becoming professors of English Literature.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our last Wallace School Field Day

The Wallace School Field Day has been one of our favorite school activities for the last 7 years and today was no exception. The dedicated Wallace PTO organizes the amazing day and this year they even arranged for perfect weather with a sunny, breezy 78 degrees. Pierce starts Grade 7 next year in the new Junior High program at Hoboken High School so we enjoyed the day just a little bit more as we prepare to say goodbye to our Wallace School family.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Roy's Reel: In Memory of Dad, One Year Later

Dad loved music. He wasn't a musician but he didn't simply listen to music. He took guitar lessons and piano lessons and music theory lessons. He was always bringing instruments into the house when we were kids: bongos, a conga drum, a ukelele, a guitar, a piano, a variety of smaller percussion instruments including a cow bell! Mom probably wasn't too happy about that one. In later life he started singing, first with barbershop quartets, then as a tenor singing choral music. My two siblings and I both appear to have inherited Dad's love of music and, while none of us are musicians, we all stay pretty close to it as a hobby. 

Dad conducting a local string orchestra.
Music in the family extends back at least one generation before Dad. Here's a composition by Dad's mom, Isobel Wilkie, a Scot through and through. She presented a transcription of this song, and five others, to Dad on the occasion of his birthday in 1976. I discovered these songs going through his collection of scores last year shortly after his passing. In memory of Dad on this first anniversary of his death, and in memory of my grandmother, here is my arrangement of Roy's Reel, a traditional Scottish reel.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Area of a Triangle

A comic by Pierce explaining how to calculate the area of a triangle.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

World Science Festival Weekend

As in previous years, we attended a couple of events at the this year's World Science Festival. Saturday night, I joined two of my science nerd friends from work to attend a panel session debating the latest developments in multiverse theory. And this afternoon, the family attended a session that looked at answering the question "What is time?" from a number of different perspectives: how we perceive it, how animals may perceive it, and how physics defines it. It was a special treat to have none other than Alan Alda hosting the "What is time?" session. He's a science buff himself with a knack for getting scientists to explain their work in plain language.

The multiverse panel. 
Washington Square Park outside the WSF venue.

Alan Alda introduces "What is time?"

Outside the Skirball Center theater.