Archive for the 'Berkeley' Category Page 2 of 3



Pumpkin Picking at Monterey Market

Every October we pick out our jack-o-lantern pumpkins at Monterey Market. As part of the Halloween tradition, Nettie and Peabody pose for pictures on top of the pumpkin pile. Here is a picture of the from 2008. We’ll be carving tomorrow night.

Berkeley Adventure Playground

Tucked away in the Berkeley Marina is a boy’s paradise. Adventure Playground is a small village of wooden huts, boats and castles built by visiting kids. The park provides scrap lumber, tools (earned by collecting trash and lost nails) and plenty of work space. The picture above is Peabody sitting on his three legged chair with Zev from the park’s staff. In addition to areas for building and climbing, the park has a popular zip line. We can’t wait to head back this summer!

Game Auction Tomorrow

EndGame is our favorite game store in the East Bay. The mix of family, traditional, European, RPGs and miniature games is superb. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. About once a month we’ll stop for breakfast at the nearby Cafe 817 and then drop in at EndGame. On one such occasion we visited during their annual game auction. Customers bring in their surplus games which are auctioned off for store credit. We came home with some great deals on that trip. This year we provided a few lots of our own, some kids’ games that we’ve grown out of. The auction is on Saturday. More information can be found here. While Nettie is packing for her 8th grade class trip to Mexico, Peabody and I will be bidding away.

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.

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.

Peabody explores a marsh

Last week, Peabody and his fellow kindergarteners dug into the muck and observed wildlife at Marina Bay in Richmond. He returned with some shells and small shards of green sea glass. According to Wikipedia, green glass is one of the more common varieties. We’ll be on the lookout for some of the rarer colors in our trips to the beach this spring and summer.

A bobcat joins us for breakfast

Returning from my morning constitutional I found a bobcat sitting at the head of the breakfast table. She was wearing my glasses and reading the Financial Times. I lured the wildcat away with the inflatable fish in the kitchen sink which also appeared this morning. Why does April always start this way? A few blocks from our house, Joe’s Tires is having a HUGE BLOWOUT sale. It doesn’t appear to be an April Fools joke.

Firecracker Cake

We celebrated Chinese New Year this week with pastries from Masse’s in Berkeley. They made firecracker cakes, bull head chocolate bombes and a green tea opera cakes. In all of our travels we’ve never found a better pâtisserie than in our own neighborhood. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop here.

Saturday Market

Yesterday was the first time in months that it rained and today it rained even harder. Today was also the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Peabody and I usually do not like to go to the market, but since it was raining, and because it is SO much more fun to walk in the rain, we decided to go. Our market does not soud as crazy as Nicholas’ market, from the book Nicholas in Trouble (coming soon). Of course, Nicholas’ market did not have a six foot Chicken Woman shopping.

Picking Perfect Pumpkins

Nettie and Peabody found the perfect Jank-o-Lantern pumpkins at Berkeley’s Monterey Market. They posed for pictures with their choices and picked up some Indian corn for the squirrels. Now we have a week to figure out what we’ll be carving.