Canadian ex-pat, "retired" biochemist, now settled in Silicon Valley. Watch her avoid housework by over-booking her kids, and taking on too many knitting projects! The thrills! The spills! The microwaved suppers!
Let's start catching up with what happened in the early days of November.
1. There's a new trampoline place in town. Our youth group descended on it in early November. Sort of a slightly belated Halloween event. You got prizes if you dressed up. Skip reprised his role as a ninja, and got a Starbucks gift card out of the deal. Of course, he nearly melted in the "all black, all the time" costume, so shed the layers pretty quickly.
2. Kelly's school had a week of half-days, Nate's school did not, so Kelly and her friends joined me one afternoon to give a "Vertebrate Biology" lesson to my friend's 2nd grade class. Gotta love kids who aren't afraid of critters.
(oh, did I mention that this is the day after I let my daughter skip school to take the train up to the city to watch the Victory Parade of the SF Giants baseball team? Yeah, I'm just a truancy-encouraging machine!)
Jewel says "I'm a vertebrate, too!"
3. The new trampoline place had a great fundraiser offer. Nate's class used it twice to raise money for their 5th grade promotion party in the spring.
4. Skip was invited to participate in the Santa Clara University High School Mathematics Contest. He spent three grueling hours answering math problems. I spent three grueling hours photographing the rose garden. Heh.
5. I've been participating with a number of photo opportunities through Google +. I went on a photowalk to Mare Island with the local group, and it was a blast. Yeah, we take photos, but we also just hang out and laugh a lot, too.
6. Went out to Natural Bridges State Park to check on the butterflies. Still a little bit early, it seems. Found a caterpillar, though.
7. No trip to Santa Cruz (where Natural Bridges is) is complete without a visit to the waves. Yes. it is November. Yes, those bathing suits NEED TO HAVE MORE FABRIC!
Aw. Sunset Love!
And look. It's me! I do exist.
8. Kelly continues with her riding lessons. Whenever we can get over to the coast. And it's not raining.
She's been involved in lessons with developmentally disabled girls, and I'm very proud of how she's helping them, even though it may mean she's not getting 'her share' of the lesson attention.
One of the reasons that I need to get back here is that this is my external brain. When it came time to write the Christmas Letter (which is still unwritten, I might add. I got the Christmas cards printed, but that's where things stalled. Boo. Happy Chinese New Year, anyone?), I realized that i had NO IDEA what I'd been up to. When was Skip sick, and missed 2 days of school? Um... When did I have my last migraine? Er....
So here we go. Back on the wagon.
And here's what happened in October. Good thing I take too many photos.
1. Early in October, I got a call from my 2nd-grade-teacher friend, Abby. She was taking her class to the California Academy of Sciences, and had had TWO parent-drivers bail on her at the last minute. I was able to move stuff around, and take the day off. It was a grand day in the City.
2. Kelly's friends in high school had a day off, and they wanted to go riding on the beach. I thought that called for a 'mental health day' (because obviously I have no regard for public education - which was almost verbatim said to me two months later, over another episode - but that will show up in the December update) Such a great morning on the beach. And Kelly made it back to school for the afternoon. I'm not a complete cretin, after all!
3. I spent a good deal of time with Abby's class. The kids are a hoot, and I'm tutoring 4 of the kids who are still having trouble coming up to speed with reading skills and focus. I'm bringing pets into the classroom, and Rosie the tarantula is in fine form. The kids love her.
4. I was driving home from tutoring one day at lunch, when I saw an interesting cloud in the blue, blue sky. As I drove closer to home, I realized the cloud was rising. Oddly. Uh oh. It was smoke. Did I stop? No, I drove home like Steve McQueen, and grabbed my camera, and then ran back out to the open space. As I was running through the dry, dry grass, towards the smoke, I realized something: "This is how people win The Darwin Awards!" Just as I was thinking that a shift in the wind could turn me into a statistic, I saw two dark figures emerging from the smoke. Ah, a controlled burn. And then I got scared "Eek! maybe I'm not supposed to be here!" so I turned and fled, crashing through the thistles and manzanita, like some blue-cardiganned deer, trying to flee back to the herd.
5. Big Save the Music festival in town, trying to keep music in the schools. Man, I hate budget cuts. But this festival raises good money, and Stanford and UC Davis come and play, and it's a big hit. Kelly likes working in the musical petting zoo, and I like wandering around and getting shaved ice. Here's one of the Stanford marching tubas, getting ready. I love the reflected street-scape in the bowl of the tuba.
6. Skip's buddy Cole is into Dagorhir. Skip kind of likes the exercise, and the weaponry, but he thinks it's pretty poncey to get all dressed up. So he goes to the odd practice, but doesn't go to any of the meets. I like shooting the battles, because I kind of like the dress-up aspect. But here's a photo of Skip, because they're few and far between.
7. Kelly's been riding at the therapy place, taking lessons with a couple of high school girls. When she's taking a break, there's all sorts of farm-type activities. And great dogs.
8. I think we should call this land "This Land"
9. And I think we shall call it "Your Grave!"
10. Skip dressed up on his Last Halloween in Public School. I wondered if he'd have to modify his costume when he got to school...
I last wrote here in September?
OK, let's catch up in Bullet Time (with photos) (of course). One month at a time
Toward the end of September, I was invited on a San Francisco Photowalk with a start-up company (stipple.com). Great group of people, fantastic photo fun, and at the end of the walk, the CEO sprang for supper at a really posh restaurant in Sausalito.
Ken's barbershop quartet at work made it to the final show of G-Factor (their version of X-factor), and they performed at Shoreline Amphitheater with the other Top 12 acts. They didn't win, but they did great.
We drove straight from the show to the airport, where Ken and Skip caught the red-eye to New York, for Skip to attend a Medalist Open House at Rensellaer Polytech (RPI, because I can NEVER spell that place). He really liked the campus, and ran into the Chairman of the Material Science Department, who spent the better part of an hour trying to convince Skip that RPI was the place for him. Yeah. You wanna give us a quarter million dollars, so he can go there? Skip brought RPI shirts back for the siblings. They were impressed.
The space shuttle Endeavour flew RIGHT OVER MY HOUSE!
I got my first two Honourable Mentions (ok, my ONLY two) in a big Photography Scavenger Hunt on Google Plus.
I photographed the first dance of Kelly's 8th grade year. I brought mustaches on sticks. They were a huge hit.
I introduced a girlfriend to the wonders of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. And we scored two free tickets, so she could take her husband there for his birthday later in the month. We spent a lot of time shooting birds on the beach (she was testing out her new DSLR camera), but Nate and Kelly spent more time on the rides.
We went to Natural Bridges State Park, to see if the butterflies had shown up yet. No butterflies, but we did see a family portrait photographer, who probably won't be invited back in ONE family's life.
Hooray for the beach!
Beach ride. Of course. Afterwards, Kelly and her friend took care of the ponies, and then played in the pumpkin patch.