Friday, September 30, 2016

Water Temple

Love this beautiful spot, literally a monument to the wonderful Hetch Hetchy water system.  It is part of our new Fall series, "Adventures with Aurore."  :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Computer Building Class

A challenging class in which the kids learn how to build computers, using blueprint designs.  Lots of group work and consensus building. All groups but one worked well together... and that group was incorrigible, defying multiple adult interventions. Finally, I asked for help from the other kids and got G to come over.  Magic!  She sat down, asked, "what's the problem?" divided the work, and then monitored their progress, giving suggestions as she went.  She returned to her own group, but then checked back in.  The transition from incorrigible to functional was miraculous and the adults all looked at G in awe.  A natural leader!

Nice that when they have a choice of 16 kids, they opt to work in a group together (with three others).

Fun in the park after a day of classes

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Art at the Dump

Aurore recommended that we go to this exhibit at Recology, literally titled, "Art at the Dump."  Interesting to see what artists do with others' garbage.

Monday, September 26, 2016

An Artist in Residence

We are lucky to be blessed with a new friend staying with us this fall.  Aurore is from Luxembourg on her gap year between high school and college and a delightful presence in our home.  She's volunteering, taking classes, and taking time for her art, including this beautiful sketch of our home!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Middle School Religious Ed

I agreed to teach the middle school religious ed program!  Nearly 30 kids enrolled in the sixth seventh, and eighth grades.  This is such a hard age group for me, with most of the kids looking at me in class with blank expressions no matter how hard I try to be nice, silly, whatever.  But after the first day, Katherine said that I did "pretty well" and that it was much better than any other grade she'd attended, which (in her words), made me "the best, but it isn't as though there is any competition."  Huh!  I took that as a compliment. 

 I exhausted my cleverness the first week, when we talked about Mother Teresa becoming a Saint and I had them design a FB page for her.  Oh did they have fun!  "Single and Ready to Mingle" was one status I loved and my favorite post was, "Hey Agnes, get off FB and start helping the poor!  Love, Jesus."  Hee, hee.  

The next week, the text discussed "creation stories" from different cultures and, coincidentally, I just got a series of posters from our Big History Project that had different origin stories portrayed.  I asked the kids to get into groups and then present each, then compare them to the biblical story... before we could quite finish, one kid said, "one thing that these have in common is that they are all lies!  None of this happened - science explains what really happened."  I was so thrilled I almost started jumping up and down.   That opened the door to discussing metaphor and the power of stories, looking for God in various ways, and the relationship between science and faith... you know, the heart of the good stuff. 

I ask the kids to write any questions they'd like answered but don't want to say out loud on 3x5 cards and found one after that lesson that said, "why do we believe in God?"  Again, critical thinking... asking these questions shows that they are thinking and that's everything, a way to build intelligent faith, thoughtful faith, practiced faith (I hope).  

Our third class was all about stewardship and lovely Aurore facilitated, keeping the kids involved in a series of brainstorming sessions that ended with calls to action.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Marin Shakespeare's Othello

Our seventh year of visiting the Marin Shakespeare's September production!  This one moved me like no production I've ever seen before.  By the final scene, the young teenage girl who had moved next to me to get out of the sun was gasping at me and not only were tears streaming down my cheeks, but I had the urge to burst into sobs.  The agony of love destroyed through mistrust born of devious betrayal was so well done and with such heart-wrenchingly violent consequences.

Aurore came with us and we met lots of friends there, which was lovely.  The girls liked it too, though perhaps without the same level of emotional reaction.  We stayed for the Questions and Answers with the director and many of the actors afterward and learned a lot.

The girls with friends
K and Aurore

Aurore as The Bard

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cantaloupe Crop

Our melons never got huge, but they grew and that was exciting!  It became clear this week that they weren't getting any bigger and they smelled great, so we did some harvesting.  Not enough to stave off starvation, but a worthy effort and one that gives up hope for more exotic crops next year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Shakespeare for Teens

K is in a new Shakespeare class for teens, working throughout the fall on a production of Henry V.  The teens don't love a parental presence, so I had to snap this and run.  We have learned that she's the youngest (by two years) and the tallest (even compared to the 17 year olds).  Unfortunately, she's not loving the "teeneybopper" energy of some of her classmates and that's distracting from her love of the Bard...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy 50th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

They renewed their vows at this second party. Mom wore her wedding dress. Dad cried. Everything was perfect. And someone made them a pretty cake (with the spy dude from the Playmobil set disguised as Grandpa).  Hee, hee.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thinkering Drama Class

The girls started their fall drama class, through San Francisco Shakespeare. They are working on a musical based in Asian mythology titled, "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon." They've complained that it is overly simplified and they've given detailed literary critiques about the way it has been edited for their production (similar to their complaints about how Pericles was shortened two years ago), but they are having a lot of fun. And the music is catchy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016


Her first season and she's having fun, working hard and enjoying being part of a team.  Love her smiles, love her hard work, love her spirit, love her!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Soccer Opening Day

Love watching this kid play; she works hard and is such a great teammate, encouraging and upbeat.