Author Archive for Nettie Page 2 of 4



Traveling to Erongaricuaro

Last Saturday, my eighth grade class took a midnight flight to Guadalajara, Mexico. After an hour in customs, we boarded a tour bus to take us on a four-hour trip to Erongaricuaro. This small Mexican pueblo is the home of El Molino, a camp for American and Mexican kids. Every year the eighth graders from my school stay here for a week, improving their Spanish, going on field trips, and attending workshops.

We stayed in a colorful building surrounded by trees, cacti, flowers, and places to play four square, volleyball, and soccer. We ate outside. Our largest and tastiest meal was lunch, served at 3 o’ clock. We ate tamales, rice, spaghetti, enchiladas, and these small tortillas with refried beans served with the cheese and meat made by the Quesos y Embutidos group.

Sadly, the class of kids from Chihuahua did not come. However, we did have fun with the counselors, who we taught to play Egyptian War and TOUNGEs. Later this week, I’ll post more of my adventures in Mexico.

Off to Mexico

Today my eigth grade class and I set off for El Molino, a camp in Erongaricuraro, Mexico. There we will attend workshops, such as weaving and animal care, and go on field trips with a school from Chihuahua. We’ll be back in one week and I’ll write about my adventure then!

Largest Crayfish of the Year Award!

On Saturday, our family went to Cal Day, when the University of California at Berkeley has its open house. Most of the campus buildings are open for people to look inside and see special displays and do activities. You can also go to the Phoebe Hearst museum for free, as we did, but unfortunately it was a little messy, since they were getting ready for a new Egypt exhibit. We also took our annual trip to the Life Sciences building, where we visited the live kelp forest and the floor of stuffed animals. Cal also has several music concerts, and Mother decided that we should go to the one where they play Baroque(n) instruments, which was quite, um, Baroque(n). Finally, we ended the day with a Strawberry Creek bug hunt. Peabody and I caught many water striders, and Father caught the “largest crayfish found this year!” according to the student who led the expedition.

Rifle Training

This morning I got up early and went with a friend and her dad to the Richmond Rod and Gun Club to take part in the Smallbore Junior Rifle Training Program. After a gun safety program, we learned how to shoot a .22 rimfire rifle at targets 25 yards away. This was my first time shooting a gun, and the instructor said I did well. Even though it was freezing cold and extremely windy, I had lots of fun, and I learned a lot!

Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse

Recently I have been reading the Cherry Ames mystery series, about a young nurse in the 1940s. The pink hardcover on the far left of the photo is “Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse”, the last in the series, the first one I read, and the funniest so far (the department store Santa frequently visits her for aspirin). In the book I just finished, “Cherry Ames, Army Nurse”, Cherry is in the army, making new friends (and enemies) and saving lives. “Cherry did not know what new life she would find [in the Pacific], what new challenges she would face. But whatever it was, she was ready for it!”

Mini Pretzel Charm

This mini pretzel is the newest addition to my charm bracelet. Father likes Snyder’s Sourdough Pretzels, and on a recent box I saw an ad for a “FREE Pretzel Charm!”. One more box of pretzels and three dollars later the envelope went in the mail and was forgotten. The day of our school Halloween parade I came home and found an envelope waiting for me. (Poughkeepsie? Who do I know who lives in Poughkeepsie?) My pretzel charm had arrived! It now hangs between a passport and the St. Louis World’s Fair ferris wheel.

Winston Derringdo

On October first the Derringdos found a pet budgie at Your Basic Bird, our neighborhood pet shop. A budgie (or budgerigar, as it is formally called) is a type of parakeet originally from Australia. They can be taught to talk and sing, but Winston has yet to learn, though he does chirp along with some songs by Great Big Sea and The Who. When we first brought him home he stayed in the corner of the cage shivering, but now he seems to be a little more comfortabe with us. We hope that soon he will think of us as his family.

I Drink Tea with Cats

One of my favorite parts of Japan was going to JaLaLa, a Neko Cafe, with my aunt. Neko means cat in Japanese. However, a Neko Cafe is not a cafe FOR cats, but rather a place to drink tea while playing with cats. After you take off your shoes, place your bag in a cubby (one not occupied by a snoozing cat), and read the rules (Do not wake a cat that is sleeping, Treat the cats nicely, etc…) you are sent to a little room with a sink to wash your hands with both soap and hand sanitizer. (They were very particular about this part). Then you are given a drinks menu. We chose our tea, picked it up at the little window connected to the kitchen, and drank it at a tiny little table (with a cat sleeping underneath it). The only cat that was awake was Anne, so I played with her a little bit with one of the many cat toys strewn around the place. It was so cozy and nice, and I was sad that we had to leave after a half hour to go to our baseball game. I would LOVE to go back there again.

We examine a Pangolin

Last week we were eating lunch and we kept seeing the Cal shuttle buses go by. We remembered it was Cal Day when the University has an open house. Since Cal didn’t do very much advertising this year, it was much quieter. We walked around and went to the Life Sciences Building, where we looked at the stuffed animals, got California Poppy seeds, saw a life timeline that wrapped around the whole courtyard, and looked at a few paintings from Darwin’s trips. In the Life Sciences building students chose an animal and wrote a fact or two about it. We learned that sloths grow algae on their fur as camouflage, and moths live with them and “farm” the algae so it doesn’t grow too much. We checked out the East Asian Library, and went to the room that is usually filled with bug exhibits, but this time was empty except for one exhibit on Bombardier Beetles. We learned how they are used by some groups to argue against evolution. It was very fun and interesting. You can see some more pictures here.

Pipe-Cleaner Valentines

The night before the last day of school before President’s Day Break I was hunting through the art drawer looking for something to make valentines out of. Of course, no one else in Middle School makes valentines, but I always will. So, in the art drawer I found three bags of pipe-cleaners, (glow in the dark, pastel, and fluffy) some shrinky dink paper, and heart-shaped doilies. I experimented with the doilies and pipe-cleaners, baked the shrinky dinks, and came up with this (See above). The writing on the shrinky dink got blurred, but besides that, everything turned out fine. Happy Valentine’s Day!