Archive for the 'Doings' Category Page 2 of 4



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.

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.

12 and a Half Birthday Party

Since my birthday is in the summer and friends are often on trips then, I decided to have a birthday party for my half birthday. The decorations and party boxes had a Chinese New Year theme, because they were the prettiest decorations at the party store (and because it was around the time of Chinese New Year). The goodie bags, or rather, boxes, were made to look like very pretty Chinese take-out boxes. We made commercials for strange objects from around the house, had a wind up horse race (see above) and had a paper bag fashion show. We also learned a game called Chinese Mimes that is like telephone except doing actions instead of speaking. At the end we had Laura Ingalls Wilder’s wedding cake, to also celebrate her birthday! Yum!

The Inauguration from Barcelona

Being in Spain this week meant having to watch the Inauguration from my hotel room. It was a little sad being out of the country for the big day. The President gave his acceptance speech a couple hours after my own presentation which was somewhat less historic, but did include a game demonstration. That green-faced Wii in the bottom left of the picture is a developer’s system.

The Europeans I’ve met over the last couple months have been so happy for me as an American. Last month when going through security at Moscow’s airport, the border guard looked at my passport, greeting me with a harsh “Ahh…American.” When I said “Yes, American.” he replied with a hearty “Obama!” I said “Yes, Obama.” He looked at me suspiciously and asked “You vote for Obama?” The guard was ecstatic when I said “yes.” I only wish I had brought some campaign buttons to hand out.

Election Day Eve

Before dinner, Annabel and I went through our ballots discussing the pros and cons of candidates and propositions. Nettie let us know where she stood on library expansion and animal protection. Even though I’ll just be dropping off my ballot, she’ll be coming with me to voting station tomorrow. And then we’ll be up late watching results come in.

Six Laps Around the Sun

Peabody celebrated his birthday today with sushi and a chocolate malt cake. It’s a Derringdo tradition that you get to choose your birthday menu. We’ll be spending at least part of tomorrow building his new Port of Lego City.

Olympic TV Dinner

Summer is flying by. We are at home playing games, making trips to the library and watching the Games. We typically don’t watch much TV, but when the Olympics are on, we are glued to the set almost every evening. Nettie and Annabel are knitting their way through the games and Peabody keeps busy with his Legos.

Bavarian Jackalope

Bavarian Jackalope

I saw these critters in a Munich shop window. They look like fairy tale versions of the American Jackalope. My apologies for the grainy pictures. I left the battery for my Nikon D40 back in the states.

The Family of Silly Walks

Peabody has been asking for a new bike.

The wet weather finally broke and we headed out with camera for a walk through the neighborhood. Along the way we stopped to take silly pictures: Peabody riding a bike (above), Nettie holding up the Campanelli on Cal’s campus, and the two of them with Annabel striking an alt rock band pose. The camera gives us a reason to look for funny situations to put ourselves in.