Saturday, April 30, 2016

Yosemite Day Two: Falls

We went a little nuts with the falls, 'cause they were everywhere and so beautiful, especially after so many years of drought.  Different perspectives, different falls, different hikes... all fun and gorgeous!

Yosemite Falls


Vernal in rear (hikers in front)

Bridalveil morning view from across the Merced

Horsetail (very seasonal)

This one is so seasonal that it doesn't have a name (that I know of), so we named it:  "Disappearing Falls"

Staircase falls (and the infamous ledge trail behind it)

Wet!  At the foot of Bridalveil

Also at the foot of Bridalveil

In this photo, Bridalveil definitely better resembles its original name:  Pohono, or "Spirit of the Puffing Winds."

A final view of Ilillouette's run-off as we took a quiet path down from the Mist Trail, avoiding the crowds and enjoying little-seen views

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yosemite Day One: Valley Views

Yosemite Day One: Hetch Hetchy

I love our water system... some of my earliest memories are visiting this dam when I was no more than about four and of course I worked for them for about eight years before the girls were born.  We left the Bay Area early to avoid traffic and so had time for a side trip to see Hetchy Hetchy, including the lovely and full waterfalls that are starting to fill the reservoir with our drinking water.  Lovely day with awesome kids who are such great travel companions.  I love that they love Yosemite so much too...

A nearby hive attracted our attention; gorgeous!

K spotted this just off the road on the way out and took a lot more pictures, some very graphic!  It is what is left of a large deer carcass, pretty gory, but part of nature...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mythology Class

The kids have become experts in Greek and Roman mythology, often matching the teacher's questions with elaborate and accurate explanations.  Fortunately, our lovely teacher matched their knowledge with games, projects, and more information that brought the stories to life.  Their final project was a really awesome shadow puppet show that followed a script they composed together; well done, all!

I love the script reading from beneath the table!

Taking their bows...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Romeo and Juliet

K was Benvolio, causing trouble as Romeo's friend (played by one of her best friends, which was fun).  G was Friar Lawrence, truly causing trouble (though with good intentions) by marrying the silly lovers.  We've now seen the production at least five times (my count) and maybe more (K counts eight) and definitely dislike it... the three of us are convinced that Shakespeare intended it as a comedy making fun of teen love, its fickleness and its overly drawn-out drama.  That said, the girls have appreciated other performances of it (SF ballet!  Carl from SF Shakes as Romeo and Phil as Friar Lawrence!) and they definitely had fun with this production.

G's pre-play drawing

Benvolio fighting

As a guest at the ball

So animated in her speeches!
Reassuring Romeo

With a dying Mercutio

All of the kids enjoyed the fight scenes so much, it was hard to find a photo where they weren't smiling

So nice to have Abuela there!

And... the full video below (thank you, Cheryl!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baby Care

The girls are entrepreneurs, with multiple business endeavors.  They sell perfume, cookies, and jewelry and have a pet care business.  Baby sitting was a next obvious step, though in this case I stepped in and suggested that we do it for free because... well, taking care of a baby because his mom needs to get back to work just seems like the right thing to do.  (In the end, the girls traded baby care for knitting lessons).

Plus, taking care of Miguel was a happy experience - what a great baby, so happy and good!  I felt so relaxed just getting to hold him and the girls... well, pictures show their reactions.  We love Miguel.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Club: Flowers for Algernon

In the story, written in the late 1950s, Charlie is a severely mentally disabled young adult who participates in a medical experiment to raise his IQ.  The experiment works and his intelligence increases to beyond anyone around him, easily studying and becoming fluent in multiple difficult languages in a matter of weeks, for example.  He discovers a flaw in the research methodology, though, and accurately predicts the ultimate return of his intelligence to original levels.  It is both agonizing and heart-wrenching, a classic for obvious reasons, for his journey affects him individually, changes those around him, and encourages the reader to reflect on the very nature of identity. We felt particular agony over Charlie's journey, recognizing in it some elements of our own experience with brain injury and the sadness and unexpected questions about identity that arise from the severe changes that occur.

We noted that despite Charlie's IQ ascent/descent, in the end and throughout he seemed to have greater EQ than those around him, which was both his strength (recognizing the value of friends) and his agony (loneliness in both stages).  His determination was also consistent and we remarked on the importance of this quality.  We also talked about human weaknesses and the pain that we cause others, often through fear (Charlie's mother and his doctors).  Great book, great discussions, agonizing read, but very worthwhile.

Our get-together included lunch!  What fun:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Track and Baseball

A busy week for sports, as usual.  The track meet was long and hot; K did well in the shot put despite close competition and she tolerated the running events.  In baseball her fielding and batting are consistent and good; her pitching is more erratic, but she's gotten some help from my cousin Kevin online and a baseball clinic in the City that we attended one afternoon, both of which led to no hitters! 

Whatever she does, she's determined and works hard; I love that about her!  Great to have Abuela at her field event and Grandpa there for her game....