Sunday, March 26, 2017

Track Season Begins with a Personal Record (and a win)

27" is a personal best... and enough to secure the meet win.  A good start to the season!

Gosh, she is strong!!!!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fort Funston

G had a party to attend in the city, so K and I took Puck for a hike at Ft. Funston, otherwise known as "doggie heaven."  Sand, space, and lots of dogs off leash on a beautiful day overlooking the southern part of the City.  Puck had never been there, but started whining with excitement as soon as we arrived... he sensed that this was a good place to be.  I had great company, so I was happy too...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Welcome Spring

The continued rain is welcome, as are the Black Phoebes building a nest on our porch, the California Towhees back in the yard, the budding leaves, and gorgeous wildflowers spotted on a hike with my Mom.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Social Justice Expert Panel

Some really awesome presenters, including Father Ken Hamilton, Dr. Kimberley Garth-James, Timothy Gholson, and Margy Wilkinon.  Topics included union organizing as a force for social change (a local historic perspective), healthcare for the homeless, and (my favorite) Social Justice in Public Administration.  A great evening event...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating

My mom invited us to a private workshop with a friend of hers who has taught herself how to decorate really amazingly, impossibly fabulous Ukrainian Easter eggs. She gave us some history as well as a ton of techniques while sharing her specialized tools. We got about four steps into an eight step process and will try to rest on our own. I found the detail to be intimidating, but the actual process to be almost meditative and it reminded me of an exhibit on embroidery that we visited last year in which the docent explained that it is not about the completion of the work, but about the process...

A finished product (not one of ours)
Our host/instructor
Step two... first dye

The crew (missing Elizabeth, Cathy, and I)

Step four done...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Garden Beginnings

I came outside this morning to a reminder of an evening of gardening with G: planted carrots, tomatoes, beans, and mint... and a leftover carrot from last year that she had randomly stuck in a pot with the green peppers and is just now emerging.  Love this, our tiny garden in boxes to protect the plants from the deer!  Dreaming of a bigger garden someday...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Morning Hike

The Ides of March! A beautiful morning, thanks to all the rain.  I was trying to get Puck out of the picture and focus on the flowers, but he wouldn't move so instead I asked him to pose.  He seemed to comply, sweet boy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

History Class: Exploration

Reading parts in a short play about Columbus' voyage.

It's nice that these two consistently volunteer in their classes.  I suppose I was like that through elementary school, but certainly not beyond!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Web Site Design

Their current project: to create a web site for their now-flourishing cookie business.  They seem to be figuring it out together with no input from me... I may have to turn my adult class over to them on the nights when we work on web creation.

Final product soon to be released... they are also working on logos, business cards, and possibly t-shirts.

Go girls, go!  I think we have a new Plan B for funding college...

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Etymology Class

K is taking an online etymology class and there are some fun assignments related both to memorizing new words and to exploring new meanings.  The kids in the class all appear to be passionate word-nerds (and I mean that in a positive way).

She has lots of homework and last week that included creating an illustration that demonstrates the meaning of one of the weekly words.  She chose "pompous" and drew a picture of the president (noting, for the record, that regardless of how a person feels about his politics and policy positions, his speech delivery, like many politicians, can be described as pompous.  Respecting diversity of political views and not creating situations where other students could feel insulted is important).  The teacher loved her drawing and K was thrilled when she shared it with the class.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Baseball Fans

K's cousin, who usually avoids photos, rushed over to get in this one, which I took after her game.  He's an awesome ball player himself and watched her every at bat intently.  He was downright nervous as she pitched, never taking his eye off her, but stepping backwards at one point to lean into his mom.  So awesome to have such a cool dude as a cousin and friend.  They are definitely each other's fans in whatever they do (as are the other two of the KAGA (local) cousins, also present but selling more cookies and so not pictured).  Love!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Entomology: How Insects Hunt

Lots learned about insect habits and the relationship to their physiology.  They held lots of insects, but I thought it was particularly cool that they got to hold bees and another tarantula, this one so active it tried to escape via the instructor's hair!

Thursday, March 9, 2017


The girls' "Three Friends Cookies Cakes and Pies" business is again flourishing, thanks to the girls' idea of selling cookies at baseball games. Keeps G from complaining about going to the games, too!  She's got samples that she offers as her pitch and then displays fresh-baked cookies (that she bakes herself) at a reasonable price.   Who could resist?  Yesterday, she got lucky:  both a baseball game and a softball game at the same location, which meant that she sold out long before the game was over.

It's funny, a lot of people want to know, "what is this for?" as if all cookie sales should be for an organization or charity.  I encouraged her to be proud that she is engaging in commerce, a good product at a fair price, which is an ethical objective in and of itself.. So now, when she is asked, she says, "I am trying to make some money" or "I am running a business."  I want her to be proud of her ideas and her products and to know that she's engaging in a fair exchange of that product with customers who genuinely appreciate and enjoy that which she has created..  

If her success this first week of baseball season is any indication, she'll need to sign up for a class on the stock market and really learn how wealth is created and sustained.  She can do it!  She's got determination, style, great ideas, and charisma and she's a hard worker to boot.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


The girls are hooked on a online civics game in which they have to make strategic and financial decisions when running for president. It's a great civics lesson, similar to an exercise I remember doing in my high school civics class.  Love that they found it and are learning through play.  We are starting a government class next month, so this should help supplement the learning objectives from that course.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Biology and Genetics: Fruit Flies!

The first of many classes focused on genetics with planned experiments on fruit flies; we even brought some home with us, both in winged and maggot form.  They are using the Carolina Drosophilia Manual, which covers life cycle, sorting and selecting, sex markers, mating and counting, genetic notation, experimental crosses, records and analysis, and more.  This perfectly complements their entomology course; hurrah!  Everyone is excited and the girls were bubbling over with information about genetic variances all the way home.

I'm getting K 'stink eye' for taking a photo, but they were just so studious and excited; I couldn't help myself.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Anatomy: Reproductive System

I usually don't sit through this class, but this time my Mom asked me to stay since she was covering the reproductive system.  I was surprised but unconcerned:  as far as I know, I've taught the girls everything about that I know, following my Mom's philosophy of providing lots of information early on.  I remember reports from friends in elementary school who overheard older siblings getting "the birds and the bees" talk and going home myself and asking my Mom, "what are the birds and the bees?"  Since my Mom was active in teaching sex ed and even once gathered all of the neighborhood children to watch a (pretty gruesome) film on childbirth, I had already known the content of the talk, but had never heard it referred to euphemistically.

For K and G, hearing it again from someone other than me and putting it in anatomically detailed perspective was valuable and we all learned details about intricate parts of the body that we hadn't known.  I watched from across the table as she had them point to and name parts of the male and female reproductive systems without hesitation and was again impressed with and appreciative of this course and the knowledge she  shares with the girls in a very hands-on and memorable way.  We talked afterward about some of the questions she's been asked in many years of teaching "health" (i.e. sex ed) in SF schools (public and Catholic), but even that didn't spark additional questions or concerns from the girls. 

They were recently invited to attend a workshop for girls on puberty - basically (as far as I can tell), sex ed for homeschoolers with a lot of coziness and female empowerment thrown in, and I encouraged them to go and seek other perspectives, maybe learn something new, maybe bond with friends.  Neither had the slightest interest in doing so, though.  Both said that they thought it would be weird to learn from someone other than me, though they clearly were nonplussed at learning from Abuela.  While I will always encourage my girls to ask questions and to seek multiple perspectives, I do like the empowering image of wisdom and knowledge passed down from women within a family and am grateful (again and again) for my Mom for her knowledge, wisdom, insights, expertise, care, and love.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

First Baseball Game of the Season

Well, preseason.

Here's the coach's recap, in an email titled, "Nice Effort by Cards in 4-3 Loss to Yankees:"

Cards and Cards' Parents
I learned a lot about our team tonight.  I learned:
  • we don't give up
  • we play better when we are engaged, cheering, and loud
  • we support each other
  • we treat the umpires and our opponents with respect
Once the season starts, I will often call out each kid's unique contribution to the game, but tonight, just want to highlight Katherine.

She's been at darn near every practice, and she has

put. in. the. work.
She's focused hard on keeping her head down on the baseball then tonight she crushed a legit double. That double was a key component in changing momentum for our team.

Katherine, you are why I love coaching.  Well done tonight.

Getting the game ball in honor of a hit that *almost* cleared the fences leading to a double...

High Fives!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Little League Opening Day

Uniform laid out...

Marching in with her team

Honoring the 12s.  If K had been born three weeks later, she'd have another year in Little League, but unfortunately, she's a "baseball 12" this year.  Nice moment honoring all of the kids in their last year of Little League; they even got a t-shirt with "graduating class of 2017" and all of their names on it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Ash Wednesday

The girls didn't have any brilliant ideas for things to do or give up for Lent, so we watched a "Busted Halo" video about the meaning of Lent.  It concluded with the importance of prayer, fasting, and alms giving.  Combined, their lack of inspiration and Busted Halo's energetic approach led me to a new idea - to fill a beautiful envelope that had Aurore left for us with a daily idea - to pray for a certain person or group of people, to do something for a family member or neighbor, to donate something, to learn something more about a Saint...  we will see how it goes!