Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Adventure

I want more adventures this year!  We spent the morning making a list - way too long to do in one year, as it turns out, but a great list anyway.  Most have to do with travel, but G wants to start her own brick-and-mortar bakery and K wants to see a World Series game played.  Me... all I could think of were travel adventures, things I've done but want to repeat with the girls and other things I haven't done yet.  After making our list, we took off for a mini-adventure, a hike along an area we hadn't hiked before.  It was beautiful and then dramatically gorgeous, going from a lovely riverbank in the fog to a dark and lusciously quiet and green rain forest.

Beautiful but deadly Amanita Muscaria (but more likely to cause disorientation than death, we learned)

She caught a Thanksgiving turkey!  Or maybe that's just Lola, who is glad in any case that we are vegetarians

Love this stripe of green trail and Puck and K running across it...

Second day in a row we found a California Toad.  Same one?  He looks more peeved than terrorized...

Love the lines in nature, straight up, curving across, and the contrasting colors...

And then an adventure we did NOT want:  the dogs found a small beach and started to play, chasing sticks.  Puck got fixated on a stick that was emerging from the water, part of a larger submerged tree.  It wasn't moving.  He wouldn't let go.  He started to submerge.  K volunteered to save him.  Mom encouraged her to dive in.  G got in too to help.  The water got deep fast and was really cold.  She broke off the stick and got out, but the shock of the cold water and the fear of suddenly being in so deep had really shaken her.  My poor kid who is always so tough started to cry.  She was cold, of course, and we stripped her wet layers off, substituting our outer layers. G was soaked from the knees down and shuffled all the way back in soaking shoes, having donated her sweatshirt to her sister.  Two brave girls saving their silly dog and then helping each other.  As K said later, "I guess I really AM a Griffendor!"  :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Love the rain, love the day after the rain, love relaxing, walking, playing....  We saw a Bald Eagle; wow!  (G took the photo).  And she spotted the tiny toad, too.  Wonderful company, wonderful trip.

Photo by G

Mist over the Mendocino River as it meets the Pacific

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Tempest

Proud of these kids for an excellent show.  K is simultaneously taking an online course through a gifted learners forum on The Tempest, adding to her knowledge about it.  It was Shakespeare's last one and some think that the role of Prospero represented his "magical abilities" as the author to create and control whole worlds, his reflection on that power, and his intention to retire from that role.  Knowing this lent new meaning to the play, to her lines.  G both played Ariel and provided background music in one scene on her guitar, which impressed me... I didn't know she could play so well, nor that she was willing to do so in front of an audience.

We appreciate the really excellent, positive, energetic, bright, patient teaching artists that the kids got to work with this year.  Phil and Will were amazing - patient and flexible and knowledgeable and great at setting examples on stage and in class.


The cast

Scenes together

"I have bedimmed the noontime sun, called forth the mutinous winds...  "

"You are three men of sin, sin, sin!"

Nice to have a consistent fan base.  Thanks for coming, Mom and Dad!  (And Father Ken, not pictured.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Our headlight went out - again.  Thanks to my Dad for noticing!  At least now changing it is easy - I know how to look up the right size light at the auto store, what to unscrew, how to get the old bulb out... it seems simple in fact, compared to the difficulty of figuring it all out the first time.  (It helps that the screws are no longer rusted on!)  My engineer was very helpful, as she always is with all things creative or mechanical.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Job Interview

This is the silliest game!  They pretend to be interviewing for a job, then the interviewee does something extremely bizarre.  I think that the objective is not to laugh, but I'm not sure and it doesn't matter, really.  It was fun to watch!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


On the occasion of a new cousin's baptism, all of the cousins were together:

Their grownups, too

She first held his sister at her baptism (when K was only 17 months old), so she wanted to continue that tradition.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Discovery Kingdom Homeschool Day

Sheer fun all day.

Crazy, crazy ride.  For me?  Never, no way, no thanks, absolutely not!
Excited faces as it begins to get higher

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Two of the Ariels pose in partial costume as they prepare for The Tempest

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


This gorgeous dude stole a ride from a class in Menlo Park all the way home...

Monday, November 6, 2017

Basketball Fans

K's last game (they made it to the championship, then lost by one shot in the final five seconds) and a few of those who came to cheer her.  My sweetie nephew sat on my lap for a long time and seemed to cheer... he definitely did not want me turning him away from the action and would crane to see the court when I did (so nice to hold a baby!)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Saints Fair

K's Religious Ed class did a "Saints Fair" in which each student picked a Saint and designed a Facebook page for that Saint on a poster.  The results were really great!  K did St. Nicholas and of necessity learned a ton about him:  when he lived,  who is friends were, what miracles he accomplished... it got them thinking about the Saints' individual relationships with God, Jesus, and biblical teachings and was a lot of fun.  (Hat tip to Ms. Paula, from our OLMC days, who did a similar project back when sixth graders seemed so old to me.  I was impressed then and happy to model now).

One of the more impressive posters:  Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

A partial view of the class with students and visitors mingling

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Quilt from the Underground Railroad

We went to a wonderful celebration today of our friend, Father Ken Hamilton, who has been a priest for 40 years!  He showed us wonderful quilts sewn by women in his family, lots of different styles.  This one impressed me most - sewn by his great grandmother, he said that it was used by the Underground Railroad to signal that this particular house was a safe house for escaping slaves.  Fascinating and beautiful (and partially restored)!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


From a great party on Sunday evening to a trick-or-treat slumber party, Halloween seems to have been a huge success for this Identity Thief and this Ariel-from-The-Tempest.  Trick-or-treating is always fun as we wander in the crowds and the dark and I hear the kids greeted over and over by other kids whom I either don't know or can't recognize.  Sports, classes, and more... they have quite a community of people they know.  But, in fairness, I ran into at least two students while we were out too, so the community isn't just theirs...
Identity Thief

Ariel, from The Tempest

"Eyeball" treats for the Sunday party

Selfie Shot

Normal shot

Candy Central

Monday, October 30, 2017


K now does two basketball leagues:  one that is co-ed and for kids 12-13 and one that is all girls and for kids 11-12.  Good experience, both!  These were some photos from her co-ed league (co-ed apparently means, "all boys but K.") in which she catches the ball, pivots, and shoots.  The photographer did not do as good a job shooting the photo as the player did shooting the ball so you can't quite tell but it did go in.  Again and again.  After that game she got recruited, again, for another league.  And at the next day's game a local school's baseball commissioner spent part of the game telling me that K should be aiming for college basketball and all the elements of her playing that are "that good."  Unfortunately, her enthusiasm is pretty narrowly focused on baseball; basketball is just something to do until that starts again... sigh!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Herpetology Comic

I guess comics are a way to enforce learning!  Pretty cool.  This is one that G did for her herpetology class:

Saturday, October 28, 2017


We were thrilled to go see 1776!  It is a musical based on the actual letters and memoirs of America's founders.  As the program states, "some of the show's musical numbers illustrate why American independence was such a thorny problem." Included is a narrative that illustrates the economic ties that all of the colonies had to slavery in the forms of a song that "is a powerful indictment of our nation's greatest weakness."

It takes something pretty boring - a bunch of men debating whether to declare independence - and makes the bickering funny, the process poignant, and the personalities both irritating and heart rending. It addresses slavery and shows just how difficult it was to leave that question for an inevitable future conflict.  Knowing the future bloodshed, we were left with a strong sense of just how agonizing this must have been and the historic "what if they had prevailed" question emerged in our post-show conversations.

I was impressed and the girls loved it too.  PLUS, a lot of the male characters were played by women, which was awesome.