Monday, September 28, 2015

Imagination Station: October Planning

The kids started with a lot of different ideas, but when they settled on doing a show about Greek mythology, they completely lost themselves in research and planning.  I LOVE seeing them at work when they are lost in a subject: just pure joy, pure learning, pure self-directed appropriation of the material in a way that never feels in the least like work.  These photos capture that joy; I was right in front of them and they were oblivious to me, busy reading a book on Greek mythology and formulating plans for their next show.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lunar Eclipse Viewing

We went with my parents to try to see the eclipse from a ridge in the east bay, but there were low clouds initially obscuring the horizon.  Still, the sunset made for a great photo op with Grandpa and some good friends.  We saw the supermoon eclipse on the way home and sat on the front porch to watch it resolve after getting home; very cool.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Soccer Game

We're rooting for Purple Power! Fun team with a lot of strong personalities...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Imagination Station September Show: Crafts

The kids did a great job preparing for, producing, and filming their September production of "Imagination Station," with this episode focused on crafts.  They did demonstration of duct tape crafts, rubber band guns, bubble juice, cake pops, Harry Potter wands, and knitting.  Really complicated in terms of timing, but everything turned out perfectly.  So impressed with these kids! 

Here's the link:  Imagination Station:  Crafts

We missed Charles A LOT, but he helped from his hospital room, giving me direction and guidance as I stumbled through the needed work of the "Executive Producer," trying to keep things together until he is back.  Hopefully by the next episode filming!

Preparing for proper lighting during set-up

Love this photo through the camera of everyone mugging for the shots!

Learning more about the technical equipment and processes that make TV shows work

After the final craft presentation: eating G's cake pops.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


We think that Puck missed Ike when we were gone; with this kind of attention, we are sure Ike must have missed Puck, too! So sweet to see the puppy grooming his big brother....


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Whale Watching

We felt so lucky to get this experience!  The whales were extraordinary and in addition to seeing about 30 humpback whales, including multiple double breaches, we saw a megapod of several hundred dolphins surrounding us.  Amazing, phenomenal, unforgettable!

Wish I could claim these whale photos as my own, but they were all taken by my mom (mine are good, but not nearly this good!)

Here's one of mine, showing size relative to humans on the boat in the background:

And the megapod (hard to capture), plus one close up (they were all around the boat!)


And, finally, a classic whale's tail shot:


Cool Kids

With Abuela and a very tall fisherperson...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Coral Reefs

Finishing this topic; we have covered:

Week One: A Close Look at Coral Skeletons and Coral Symbiosis. (We built an edible coral polyp with bananas, sprinkles, candy "vines" and crackers - don't worry... it wasn't actually eaten.)

Week Two: Coral Polyp Reproduction - Building a Coral Colony, Coral Polyp Reproduction, and "Where In the World is Coral," a look at continents and oceans, global cold currents, ocean depth and light requirements, and rivers/sedimentation and salinity.

Week Three: The ecosystem of Coral Reefs (animals that live on coral reefs) and the fragility of coral reefs (what threatens them: human, animal, environmental).

Great kids!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Giant's Game

A friend had a friend who was giving two tickets away; I bought a third and the girls and I decided to go after visiting Charles one evening.  Unfortunately, there must have been some miscommunication; our tickets had been sold on stub hub three hours prior to the game!  A bit embarrassing, but not really a problem as we bought "standing room only" tickets and had a great evening.  We even got some sheets of rain in the eighth inning and that is something to celebrate (in addition to a Giant's win, of course).

Monday, September 14, 2015

Imagination Station September Prep

Our prep meeting was derailed by the fact that we didn't quite prep as planned.  Ooops!  But the kids were there and I wanted to make the time productive.  Charles called and asked how it was going.  When I told him, he gave me some ideas and the kids ended up brainstorming what they could do - for this show and beyond - to make the show even better.  Before I knew it, they decided to create their own advertisement for the show, found a computer program that they liked, and began gathering content for it.  Self-driven projects are the best and seeing these minds working together is awesome.  New ideas:  a show about kids' businesses (complete with their self-created ads for their pet-sitting and baking businesses) and more humor for various planned episodes.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


First choir of the new academic year (wow, they sounded great after only one practice!), and a new choir uniform shirt for K (whoops, that's sideways.  Will try to fix... it says, "Junior High Choir."  Wow!)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Soccer Opening Day

And opening game for G.  So fun!  (She isn't supposed to keep score.  But she kicked in two goals and had two assists to boot.  Not bad for a kid who missed the first (and only, so far) practice.)

Oh yes, she cut her hair.  Well, she started it and I helped finish it..  It's easy now and oh-so-stylish!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Club: Shakespeare's Richard III

Our sixth year and a row of visiting the Marin Shakespeare Company for our September book club, this time to see Richard III.  It was phenomenal;  I found myself thinking about it for days.

I gasped out loud in disappointment as soon as Richard came on stage and I saw that the costuming was modern (he was in fatigues most of the play).  But after a while, I began to see it as brilliant, making the psychotic character of Richard all the more relevant and real (whether or not it is historically relevant).  At the end, when the kids got to question the cast, the actor who played the lead said that to play a villain, you have to think like a hero, because no one sees himself as bad.  This resonated as such a contrast to the agony of Macbeth.  This comment sealed the horror of the character for me, realizing that that is exactly what makes some people perpetuate evil - the psychosis that they are right.  We had great conversations analyzing it afterward - historically, as a literary piece, from an acting perspective, and in its portrayal of a damaged human soul 


K and G on right, K with hands raised with questions 
for the actors.

From the program (though he never appeared like this)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

SF Opera: Louisa Miller and Sweeney Todd

We were so lucky that we got to see the dress rehearsal for Louisa Miller!  Here, the girls are pictured with the one child who is a supernumerary in this production (he's a good friend).  Fabulous performance, costumes, set, music...

K got to go to the dress rehearsal for Sweeney Todd the next day.  I wish I could have gone - everyone we know who went was buzzing about it.  A dark comedy about a grieved father and husband bent on revenge, which manifests as a series of bloody murders on stage and the disposal of the bodies.  Sounds distasteful, but everyone who went seems on fire with enthusiasm.  So glad that K got to go!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Day of Classes...

.. and the kids are excited.  Theater in the morning with SF Shakespeare, then writing and art in the afternoon for K and art and science for G.

With SF Shakespeare artists

Mobile art class

G working on her first creation

Science topic:  coral reefs!

Our agenda and some notes

Edible coral polyps!