New Life

Greetings my far flung friends. Rumors are that the glaciers are finally receding in Ithaca much to the dismay of the polar bears that have relocated to the northern end of the lake. Turns out that the weather patterns many have been blaming on global warming really relate to the shifting of the magnetic poles of the earth. It appears that what was once the North Pole has stabilized over the finger lakes area. Ironically this will be good for the wine industry. Perhaps more ice wine than anyone might desire but there will be many elves looking for seasonal work in the vineyards. Work previously performed by murderers and rapists from south of the border, not that elves won’t come with their own issues. They have a reputation of being mischievous and even malicious, can’t hold their wine, usually travel below the sightline of the average 10 year old and have a natural reluctance to properly apply for citizenship, register with the IRS or clean up after their reindeer. I don’t know what language they speak but then – no one does!

Speaking of creatures that travel rapidly below our sightline, I’ve lately had the luxury of spending time with both my 2 1/2 yr. old grandsons. That might seem dangerous and it would be, but unlike elves you can invariably hear them them coming. Similarities they do share with elves are that they don’t pay taxes, eat on the run and assume a certain sense of entitlement! Again I don’t know what language they speak but they always get what they want!

Basking in the aura of the chaos they generate is akin to a chemistry lesson. Each is like a supercharged electron revolving around a stable nucleus which is of course their mother. They may on occasion stray from their orbit but invariably return with a desperate sense of urgency. On occasion their orbits overlap and briefly share a peaceful moment together. At other times there can be a more violent collision of electrons which can temporarily destabilize all molecular harmony. A phenomenon of note is that the energy generated in these collisions is short lived and their orbits soon return to a steady state – all is forgiven – all damage repaired – best of friends. Gives one pause to ponder over what that magical moment or circumstance is in the establishment of our chemical complexity that allows us to tack on the necessary neutrinos required to bear a grudge? A question, no doubt that will keep a new generation of physicists scratching their heads – while sipping an overabundant supply of ice wine and nibbling on barbecued penguin wings.

This leads us to the titular topic of this correspondence. “New Life.” We are currently in Reno enraptured by the funny little faces made by our beautiful new granddaughter, Margot Lynne Fitzgerald, born on April 20th. The mother and baby are happy and healthy which means the four grandparents are also extremely happy and toasting the new arrival regularly with copious lashings of grape juice crushed and fermented from Sonoma’s finest. We are all here to help and only time will tell how that works out!

On a more atomic level there is one little electron that has markedly tightened his orbit around his nucleus since the arrival of this second electron. His mother estimates that his neediness quotient which was running at historic highs pre little sister has increased approximately 90% since the new molecular arrangement. This too shall pass and there are four grandparents here for distraction, which are not nearly enough. Whoa!! A few refrigerator magnets just went flying across the room – just a side affect of the the shifting of the poles. Some are blaming Tesla’s electromagnetic braking system! We also have an elf here, traveling at warp speed, which may be responsible!

Despite the urge to do so I am resisting the temptation to post pictures of my grandchildren on social media, protecting their privacy until they are old enough to make those decisions for themselves. Also, considering how exceptionally cute they are it just isn’t fair to other grandparents!

OK……………… Just two.

“Which part is fragile Dad?”

While we are here our builders are back in Florida no doubt struggling without my helpful guidance. Susan thinks they’ll do just fine and it might even move up our undetermined move in date. To occupy time when not holding a newborn – a function I am particularly suited for after the long hours I’ve spent watching my toenails grow – I tune in to You Tube clips of the Northern lights drifting toward central New York and the breeding colonies of penguins on the shore of Lake Ontario.

All is well here despite the proximity of snow in the mountains which is now a bit unsettling to us. My very best to you all.

From high on the Grump Stump ————Grumpa.


  1. Tom colbert


    First; congratulations on your newest grandchild ! I believe you will make an excellent grandfather to a granddaughter.

    As for glaciers , Ithaca has entered a mini ice age this weekend with snow in the air so their recession has slowed. And I do not fear an elf driven crime wave, certain that I am that they will soon be caught and interned in separate camps from Mr. and Mrs. Clause.

    Physics and grandchildren ? Remember Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Effect : the faster they go the more uncertain their position.

  2. Phil Pritchard


    Congratulations to you and Susan… and to the parents. I just returned from four days in Chicago, visiting my granddaughter, Presley Grace Casey.
    I too can confirm that the ice age has returned, as it was a blizzard in Chicago all day Saturday. I had to wait until spring to see snow… how about that!

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