Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Baking Creativity

For our sweet and happy nephew's one-year old's birthday celebration, G's imaginative creativity at work:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Puck Loves Professor McGonagall

BFFs?  I hope so.  He follows her around with interest and she gravitates toward him... I thought this photo of them eating/drinking together was so cute.

Of course, she can go places he can't...   trying to get my attention?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer Art Projects

G needs to be busy all the time - she's full of creative ideas and creative energy; I think at the level of her soul, she is a creator, an engineer. 

This summer, she's had some down time, so I've tried to connect her to projects or project ideas to work on.  I just love the results of this one!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Fire Starters

Last time I made these... well, I was in my 20s.  We made 75 more, so I think I'm good until age 75!  Unless we start camping a lot more...  hmmm....  :-)

Burned one and timed it.  16 minutes of flame; excellent way to get a campfire going when snow camping, or camping in the rain, or even in a damp forest...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Surprise! New Pet

An early birthday present for this wonderful girl, who has been campaigning for a pet of her own through long research, developed expertise, single-minded focus, months of diligent advocacy, and even self-directed persuasive essays.  (Yes!)

I'd be worn out if I weren't so impressed.... or maybe I'd be impressed if I weren't so worn out!  Suffice it to say that I AM impressed.  And worn out.  :-)

Seriously, as I tell her often, even when she's driving me crazy, her hard work and single-minded determination are such great attributes.  Combined with her warm heart, she's sure to succeed in absolutely anything she sets her mind to and I really admire and respect her focus, her hard work, her diligence, her persuasive abilities, her ability to demonstrate responsibility, and her affectionate and loving soul.  Just checked in on her (as I write this in the middle of the night) and Minerva (a.k.a. Professor McGonagall) is curled in the crook of her arm, purring happily.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Visiting Friends

What fun!  Two weeks in a row with Mass at St. Dominic's and getting to see old friends.  The girls have known these two since birth and it's really awesome that they can go long periods of time without seeing each other and immediately fall into happy companionship.  I love it!  It helps that they are such genuine, nice people.  Made our week to get to see them!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Disney Family Museum

I've been wanting to visit every since one of my students did her capstone project here and we finally did!  A lot of the museum has to do with the history and technology of early film and since both girls have studied that, they were really interested.  I was more interested in the management and business growth elements of the presentations, especially Walt Disney's resilience in the face of rejection.  Great trip!

Beforehand; fun outdoor chairs were fun for playing on...

Here they are using original techniques to add sound to "Steamboat Willie," which is hard to do!  Behind them is a wall of 348 stills, together representing only 15 seconds of a movie.  Gives a sense for just how labor intensive the early cartoons were to make!

Afterward, view of Golden Gate Bridge behind

More fun!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Surprise Visit

What a fun surprise!  Back to St. Dominic's for Mass with friends and we run into good friends who relocated to New Jersey a few years ago.  Just for fun, I couldn't resist a 'then and now' photo, 'cause they all seem so grown up so fast.   :-)

(The girls wanted to know why so often when I get together with old friends it is to go to Mass together.  They consider this the height of geekiness, but - as our friend Kirsten said - when we are geeking out with the kids is often when we are doing something right.  :-)

Both just about one here... the photo is July 2006.  So adorable!

And at St. Dominic's, just about 12 years later...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Happy Birthday, Charles!

A dinner with all of his favorites:  steak and potatoes, simple salad, and spice cake, decorations by G.

Friday, July 13, 2018


G had a week of dance camp and then her group did a mini-show, showcasing their original composition, ballet, lyrical, tap, and hip hop routines.  I'm so impressed that they could remember so much with so little practice; so glad that she had fun and made friends.  I love to watch her...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

USATF Region 14 Junior Olympic Champsionships

And then, in one day we went from "Purple Mountains Magesty" to "Amber Waves of Grain," the high country to the hot farm country of Fresno.  We left the mountains a day early for another Track and Field meet.

K had competed in the local Association Championships two weeks ago; the top eight competitors at that meet were allowed to move on to these Regional Championships.  Here, only the top five competitors were eligible to compete in the Junior Olympic Championships, each of the five representing one of 16 regions across the United States. 

She did it!  Placed fourth for the entire region, which qualifies her for the national championships.  Not bad for someone who has been without a team or coach and with little-to-no training since the end of her "regular" track season.  One advantage:  without a team, she could wear her Gryffindor shirt.  She looked a little out of place among the serious track athletes, with their fancy high-grip shoes and lycra everything, but she threw like herself and that's what matters.

Love watching these athletes and seeing their strength!  Proud of this athlete, too!  (I saw awesome parent shirts at the meet that said, "Some people wait their whole lives to meet their favorite athlete.  I'm raising mine."  I thought that was cool.  A bit sappy, perhaps, but cool.  :-)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Hike to Glen Aulin

So many of these views reminded me of a guidebook's description of a gorgeous Swiss valley as I was finishing a two-week trek of the Haute Route, above Zermatt, many year ago:  "... what was spread before me was a priceless gem of perfection, an unmatched, unparalleled, vision of glory."  Indeed, I found myself in tears of awe before such gorgeous beauty.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Camping at Tuoumne Meadows

Welcome!  (Unfortunately, we never saw one!)
Cozy with Puck and Ahwahnee
Shooting Stars - a favorite

At Saddlebag Lake with Abuela

With Grandpa

Love mountain flowers; this one on the east side, where there is less water, more reddish coloring in the rocks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day!

A barbecue with my parents, sister, and her family; then, when it got dark, watching all of the illegal fireworks from high above Oakland (the streets were alive with them all over both sides of the bay). 

G came up with her own recipe for a dessert for the day and then, unfortunately, didn't like it herself, which was disappointing.  I thought it was good!  Graham cracker crust, yogurt, and fruit.  Delicious, nutritious, and themed for the celebration!  As always, I appreciate her creativity and industriousness.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Campus Birding Walk

We covered only a small portion of the campus with experts from the Audubon Society and found 24 different species in about 90 minutes. In that time, we saw Stellar Jays mob a Red Shouldered Hawk right above us and - new to me - saw a Brown Headed Cow Bird that was being parented by the much-smaller Dark Eyed Junco. Apparently, the Brown Headed Cow Birds are "predatory nesters," meaning they lay their eggs in other birds' nests and let the other birds parent their offspring. So interesting! Made me re-appreciate our gorgeous campus.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Mass at Mary, Star of the Sea Parish

Love this tiny church with its tall windows overlooking the ocean through pine and eucalyptus forests, often shrouded in changing patterns of fog.  Love the beautiful labyrinth next to the church and the gorgeous Stations of the Cross on a path surrounding the church; love the parish's tiny, ancient graveyard.  Welcoming and enthusiastic congregation, too, which made our visit perfect.