Archive for the 'Doings' Category

Handmade Halloween

We spent the weekend and a few nights assembling our Halloween costumes. Nettie has been going to school in a different costume every day for Spirit Week. For Halloween day she sewed her own Alice in Wonderland dress and apron. For night, Nettie wore a vintage costume she picked up in Temescal Alley. Peabody created the Candy-bot 3000 using cardboard boxes, Styrofoam, dryer vents and LEDs. Slots in the front of the torso allowed for various sizes of candy samples to fall into an internal storage box. Unfortunately no “King size” samples were obtained. Annabelle and my attempts at creating crepe paper giant heads failed in pools of paper mush. Next time we’ll make use of metal armatures and Dap! We ended the night at the Off The Grid food trucks. Just as we got back to the car with our falafel, the night’s drizzle turned into a shower. We sat and ate, having another great Halloween behind us!

The Derringdos Return

Where have we been? Well let me tell you. Back in the spring Nettie moved to Urinetown for a few months while Peabody explored Rock City. We welcomed a new member to the family while mourning the loss of another. And this summer, we saw dragons in St. Louis, drank from the waters of Aquae Sulis, took the helm of the Cutty Sark, and met a master bell founder. Now we are getting ready for fall; back in school and preparing for more projects at home and in the field. Our new house/headquarters is undergoing a major fixing up. Excitement (and quite a bit of dust) is in the air! But we are here! So stay tuned for more on our exploits in the lab, on the road and maybe even in the air!

Maker Faire 2011

Despite the crowds, the trip to Maker Faire was fun and inspirational. Nettie enjoyed the felt and jewelry crafts and Peabody liked the Lego and miniature steam trains. While Annabelle took in a couple lectures, we watched RC warships fight in the battle pool. After we get through the bedroom re-making project, we’ll need to get to some serious making this summer.

Latin Convention

On April 8th, my school’s Latin Club and I went to Miramonte High School in Orinda for the 56th annual CJCL (California Junior Classical League) convention. After dinner, we met for an assembly and then set off to take tests in various categories of Latin (daily life, grammar, etc). The next day we arrived at school early, and, dressed in our mandatory bed-sheet-and-safety-pin togas, began to set up our chariot for the race against the other high schools’ teams. There was some tough competition, but the fantastic College Prep charioteer Nettie saved the day by coming in first place. At first it appeared that Miramonte’s team had won, but alas, unbeknownst to the “horses” pulling the chariot, their charioteer fell off seconds before they crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, the man running the races didn’t believe us and would not mark us down for first place.  After we folded up our chariot, the Latin level I, II, and III teams went to their assigned classrooms to play Certamen, a Jeopardy-like Latin trivia game in which the contestants use buzzers to answer questions to earn points for their teams. My Latin I team lost in the semi-finals, but we still had lots of fun! After a final assembly, we changed into our “snappy casual” clothes for the banquet and dance at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, where, during the award ceremony, we learned that we had won first place overall in the small school category! I also won a ribbon for placing 2nd in my level on the daily life test! I had tons of fun, and can’t wait for next year!

Moving into Fall

Our Fall adventures have begun! Annabel has returned to the pottery wheel, Peabody is navigating a new classroom and Nettie has begun her first year of high school. We celebrated my birthday with Pavlova and the first day of school with Zuckertüte. Our thoughts are turning to Halloween costumes and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. We are getting busy!

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!

Earth Hour is 8:30 pm Saturday

Tomorrow we will be turning off our lights and laptops to take part in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour. Earth Hour asks individuals, businesses, government leaders and others to turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour as a statement of collective concern about climate change. So wherever you are, power-off at 8:30 pm on Saturday March 27. To get a better sense of the magnitude of this global effort, watch the WWF’s video about Earth Hour:

Happy Lunar New Year

There was a giant full moon over the Berkeley hills last night. We set off a sparkler in front of the house to ward off bad luck in the New Year. Peabody didn’t set Nettie on fire, so it looks like it’s working!

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas filled our shoes with chocolates and gifts last night. He usually brings a Lego Advent calendar for Peabody and a Playmobil calendar for Nettie. We keep them with the Christmas decorations and set them up around the tree. St. Nick left a note with Nettie’s boot saying there were only Pirate and Police calendars from Playmobil this year. Imagine Santa being arrested for breaking and entering or shanghaied elves burying his sack of toys! We’re a little sad about it, but we have plenty of marzipan pigs and chocolate sardines to help us get over it.

Totoro and Earth Jack-o’-Lanterns

I was happy to see Nettie employing some sophisticated carving techniques with her Totoro pumpkin. With the same gouge I used on R2-D2 and Daruma-San, Nettie shaved Totoro’s belly, eyes and body. The mouth and nose were cut out to make his smile prominent. My globe pumpkin was carved without a template. To create a solid background for the rear of the pumpkin, I didn’t carve most of Asia and Australia. Peabody’s Jack-o’-lantern was original too, a geometric pattern of lines and large dots.