Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Very Teen New Year's Eve

 Lots of laughing, lots of fun, lots of music, lots of noise.  Not much sleep.

Apple cider at midnight

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

Grand Lake, CO  July 2019

Merry Christmas!  Everyone is a year older and everyone continues in similar activities as last year; we have many thing to be grateful for.  

Charles continues to volunteer at multiple different places each week.  The site that he most enjoyed (Habitat) closed down this year, but he started to get more involved in the Knights of Columbus (take that, Kamala Harris!) and continued his volunteer work at Samaritan House, our local Senior Center, and a local children's reading program.

I received our University's most prestigious award this year, the Keller Teaching Excellence award.  I was then the keynote speaker at convocation and my speech was later published in a journal supporting social mobility through higher education.  I'm also proud of organizing a conference on that topic and facilitating an inspirational panel of students and alumni as they spoke about their experiences with higher ed.

Katherine (14)  continues to love baseball, plays with the high school aged kids (all boys but her again this year) and was selected to the All-Star team this past summer.  Her team came in second in the State championships.  She got a great job in the City working with a group of (mostly) African American teens marketing theater to youth and started taking college classes this fall.  

Gabriana (12) has increased her dancing to eight classes a week and is passionate about science, especially ecology, taking five science classes this fall.  

Puck (dog) and Minerva (cat) are both fine and had an adventure this summer, traveling with us on a road trip to a family reunion in Colorado.  We visited a number of gorgeous National Parks and had a great time.  The photo above was taken not far from Rocky Mountain National Park, where we saw moose and elk and where we crossed the Continental Divide.  We also loved Arches National Park in Utah.

Hope that you and your family are doing well and that we see you soon in 2020!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Bethlehem AD 2019

Redwood City's annual living nativity, recreating Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth with Roman soldiers, teaching rabbis, a marketplace, women dancing, dreidel playing, live animals (a peacock this year, plus camels, a tortoise, calves, a turkey, and of course a spectacular live nativity.)  After three years of being in a "tribe," the girls elected this year to be 'tax collector pages,' which meant running through the crowd of people waiting throughout the night and shouting, "We have an important message from Rome!"  They also worked with the 'tax collectors' just inside the front gate to 'harass' the arriving visitors for their 'taxes.'  They had a blast all three nights, getting very into the role, singing "the 12 Roman Days of Solstice," reading the announcement from Rome, and more.  It was fun to see them having so much fun, loving the independence of working without supervision.  It was also nice that there was no rain on any of the three evenings of the event and kind of a relief to have moderate crowds, enough to keep it festive without being a crush of people.

Having visitors sign in for 'the census'
Annoyed that I am disrupting the spirit of the moment with photos

As usual, the final and most popular element of the event, always moving and beautiful

Saturday, December 21, 2019

African American Shakespeare's Cinderella

African American Shakespeare's production of Cinderella!  Great show, funny and touching.  K worked it, so that's her on stage at intermission below, promoting the youth theater pass with her colleagues.  It was a huge theater, lots of people.  I would have been so nervous at her age... she seemed not bothered at all.  I'm so impressed.

I got to spend the day and experience the show with G, which was fantastic.  She's great company and looked so grown up in a dress she borrowed from my sister for the occasion.  Of course I already KNEW that she was great company (funny, sweet, and interesting), but I appreciate her company so much, it's worth saying so.  We both agreed it was so cute to see the little girls in attendance, all dressed up,  When the plot included searching for a princess who fits the shoe, the "palace staff" come into the audience and let the tiny girls try the shoe on.  Their reactions are so adorable.

Funny, when we arrived at the tea party, K's co-workers immediately said, "you are K's family."  Neither girl thinks that they look like each other and K says that she looks exactly like me, so this immediate recognition perplexes them, which I think is cute.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tea Party Promotion

K's work offered a promotion if she created a video to promote a tea party event between African American Shakespeare's morning and afternoon Cinderella shows.  Tea parties aren't really K's style, but she made it her own, with a top hat and fancy dress for Puck and Minerva.  Honestly, the animals weren't too impressed, as evidenced by the look on Puck's face at having to wear a beaded headband and a tie, but it looked cute and was creative, too.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Monday, December 16, 2019

Book Reading at the Jewish Community Center

One of my colleagues invited us to this unique event.  The novel is about a young girl who aspires to be an actress, against her family's wishes, and joins a prestigious Parisian theater company just before World War II.  Zack Rogow was the first translator and he was there with the other translator, the author (via Skype), and an actor who did a dramatic reading. 

Very unique, interesting event, to experience the book from the author's perspective, to learn about the characters, to hear about the translation process, and to experience a reading done professionally.  K and I got autographs and  we were both very impressed!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Decorating the Christmas Tree

My brain wasn't ready to think about Christmas - every year, I resist, wanting to savor Advent (and focus on finishing the semester).   Not the girls!  They basically dragged me to the car and to the tree lot.  They also did just about all of the decorating, so who can complain!

With handprint ornaments I made when they were four months and 2.5 years old; they've grown!  :-)
Minerva likes the tree...