Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Poetry Sharing - Storytelling with Music and Images

The girls have been playing with a new app that allows them to tell a story with photos and music.  G used the app to showcase put her award-winning (!) poem, "A Monstrous Vacation" (and taught me how to do it; love awesome girls and their tech skills!): 

Check it out here:

 A Monstrous Vacation

(Firefox worked better for me than Explorer in terms of seeing it visually online.  FYI)

Photo courtesy John White photography

Sunday, June 28, 2015

SF Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

We made it for opening weekend, eager to attend because several of the girls' Shakespeare teachers were in starring roles.  So glad we went! They know "Romeo" well but had never seen him act before; Carl was truly amazing, both in the comedic first half and in the tragic second.  Their other favorite teacher played the Friar and the Montague head of household.  They'd seen Phil in other productions (Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew) and he was fantastic in this one as well.  In addition, they recognized a number of the actors from other productions and I appreciated the diversity of the cast, which included both Black actors in major roles and women seamlessly cast in male parts.  Also, the director recognized K, came over and said, "I remember you.  You were great as the Scottish king."  So fun.

Romeo and Juliet isn't a favorite: despite the sword play, the romance takes center stage and it can be so terribly sappy - teen love at first sight - blah.  Last September, we saw Romeo and Juliet at Marin Shakespeare and Juliet was played like a screechy, annoying teenager, lending to the comic elements of the play, but not to its tragic ones.  I had hoped to understand this play's appeal and that production didn't help, though when the SF Ballet did it... well, that was spectacular.  Still, the language is missing in a ballet.  This was different... even knowing the plot and clearly seeing it staged and not real, I was swept away by the story, alternatively laughing at the comic components and gasping at the drama.  The weeping of the actors in the lead roles was so authentic that I admit to crying with them as well, aching with their expressions of their character's pain.

Another night that left us feeling rich for the experience of having been there, we are grateful for SF Shakespeare and the magnificent actors and directors who bring such richness to our lives.  It was a great evening too (except for the dive bombing Jurassic moths that emerged with twilight!) and we had a lovely gourmet picnic, the four of us cuddled together enjoying the show and each other.  Magic!

We could choose and went with Romeo's house, since we root for Carl.

G looking very grown up with actors rehearsing their fight scenes behind her.  It was cool to get there early and see the intense choreography behind the fight scenes and hear the actors' critiques of one another.

They had a fun pre-show educational event; the girls were part of the group of kids who volunteered to help demonstrate how a sonnet is composed.

Lovely cuddle time.  :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fun Hike in the Redwoods

A week of parks, hiking, and swimming (with a little math and US History thrown in).

vertabrae... fox?

Awesome archer

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Go Giants!

A summer baseball game with a best friend; thanks, Tim and Susie for the tickets and the awesome experience!  Fun evening... and always a bonus when the Giants win.  :-)

Friday, June 19, 2015

SF Botanical Gardens

More fun; thanks to our friend Judy for organizing.

If you look closely, there are a lot of kids high in this tree.  It was located OUTSIDE of the gardens; no tree climbing allowed inside.  When friends arrived, they asked, "where are your girls?"  My answer:  Right there, along with three or four more kids!  Great tree....

Beautiful flowers and lovely sections from different parts of the world

Some friends together in a bamboo forest.  I always feel like an ant amongst grass when I am in bamboo!

Lunch break with some of the crew.  Lovely day with great friends...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hiking at Lake Chabot

 Fun!  Warm and relaxing; as our friend Kris said, you know that the kids are with their best friends when they lapse into complete imaginary play.  I love to see those brains at work!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Writing Club

Meeting with part of her summer writing club, facilitated by a friend/homeschooling mom who is also a former professor of Literature from Bowdoin College in Maine. Feeling pretty lucky!

Monday, June 15, 2015

History of Our House

We finally caught the local history museum open.  K practically dragged me into there, bursting with enthusiasm to look at it.  It was indeed exciting.  I had no idea that actual Ohlone artifacts had been found near the creek in our backyard (nor that human remains had been found underneath nearby City Hall).  The docents were brimming with enthusiasm.

Our house is one of the oldest in California,built in the 1880s and older than one that we toured as a museum recently.  There is a move to have it declared a historic site, we learned!  It was the home of the first postmaster of this town, who also ran a general store across the street from the house.

Much more to learn; we plan to return for more.  Exciting local find!

The original, looking much like it does now at its new location.

How it had changed before being relocated and restored!

Here's a link to a video of the house being moved; pretty fascinating! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Art Show Opening

The girls (K in particular) had their art on display along with the work of friends who took a mobile art course with them.  It was a fun afternoon, full of supporters, with the kids demonstrating their art, talking about it, and having fun with one another.

(Thanks so much to our friend Jacki for creating this opportunity and doing so much work to make it happen!)

Showing off her art to a fan

And now showing off her sister's art...

Some of the artists demonstrate their technique

A full gallery; lots of fans

Want to buy some original pieces?  Yes, it really is for sale.  K thought it was under priced, that nothing she made should go for less than $10K.  Not sure I agree....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fun with Shakespeare

Friends are staying with us, so the girls wanted to get our ALL of their Shakespeare scripts to go over them with their friends. The result? Really silly Shakespeare adaptations that the four of them repeat endlessly until they have just the emphasis and the humor that they are seeking.   THEN the repeat themselves just for the general joy of it.  Their enthusiasm is fabulously engaging, if also agonizingly taxing with the repetition. I do love that they are such literature geeks.

This is an adaptation from Julius Caesar:  "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your SMARTPHONES.  I come to text Caesar, not to call him.  But my phone is so old that I can't text him, so if you have a phone that can text please call 1-800-Marc-Anthony."  Oh my gosh did they have fun with that!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Imagination Station: What Kids Can Do June 2015 Episode on Science

The kids were all super-awesome, working through science experiments that didn't go as planned, telling jokes, staying on theme and yet ad libbing when needed.  Their stage presence is growing! 

Here is a link to the show. (Note that for me, at least, the link works better opened in Firefox than in Explorer... FYI!)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SF Opera: The Marriage of Figaro

It was an opera week, unplanned, but great.  I had to work, so Charles took the girls to see The Marraige of Figaro.  G thought it too long (nearly four hours!) but K loved that it was so funny. Getting to see it with friends made it more awesome for both of them; they said when they got home that nearly everyone they know was there.  The place to be! Hee, hee...

Thanks, Min, for the fun photos!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Opera Evening: Two Women

From backpacking gorgeously empty beaches to a World Premiere at the fabulous SF Opera; we were feeling pretty rich this week!  Friends got us free tickets to the dress rehearsal of Two Women and getting to see our friends on stage as supernumeraries was a special bonus. 

The plot in Two Women was really difficult - trying to survive in the desperation that comes from war time civilian life.  The scenes included two rape scenes.  I had been warned and was ready to cover the girls' eyes if necessary, but they didn't seem to pick up on the awfulness.  I think had I not been focused on shielding them, I might have been more upset myself, not at the presentation, which was appropriately done, but at the very idea of not being able to protect your daughter in such a situation.  The anguish of the mother was palpable and the production extremely good in every detail.  We applauded and booed at the end for the villains, then debated later whether that was appropriately respectful of the excellence of their performances.  In the end, we had multiple strong opinions on that bit of etiquette.

Afterwards, as we waited by the cast entrance for our friends, we got to see Sarah Shafer,who played the daughter, Rosetta.  She was lovely about posing for pictures and signing autographs.

A really fabulous evening.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Backpacking at Pt. Reyes

Oh, glorious trip!  Perfect weather, gorgeous terrain, and all of us feeling strong.  We spent one night car camping in Olema so that we were close to the trail, then got our permits and drove to Palomarin, near Bolinas to start.  The trail was six miles, which has felt like a full day before with the kids, elevation, and steep terrain, but today it felt relatively easy.  It helps to have just one day's worth of food and no bear box!

We wandered close to the coast the whole way, with the fog teasing us with views of the Pacific.  We were in and out of eucalyptus forests, past quiet inland lakes, and overgrown marshy sections.

Our campsite was very near the beach, which itself was nearly empty of people as far as we could see in either direction.  We saw deer, elk, birds, carrion, rabbits, snakes, several ticks, and more.  One cool sight was washed up Velella velella, which are apparently little known jellyfish like sea creatures washing up all over California beaches.

When we woke up, we were fogged in completely, but as I got up, I watched the sun break through and shine down through the fog on our lovely little valley.  The effect was of a golden paradise, foggy on the edges and bright with the sunshine on the wild mustard.  Fabulous! 

We camped with friends, but had to get back sooner so that I could teach and so the girls and I walked out alone.  They tend to complain less when their friends are around, so I was a little nervous - especially considering we didn't have much time to spare before I had to get to class.  But they were awesome.  The return trip was great scenically too, with views that were not as fog-obscured as we had been the previous day and we realized how close we had come to steep cliffs overlooking the ocean. 

Marvelous trip, marvelous friends, marvelous girls.  Hey! Marvelous sea creatures and insects, too!

Love these lakes, just inland from the sea.  Peaceful and full of life.

Velella velella

Velella velella (I like saying that) everywhere!

Morning view of the tent

Golden morning paradise

This is always the view I love the most!

Really cool, almost square-shaped green bug on K.  Later identified as a buffalo treehopper.

Tough mountain girls!