Archive for April, 2009

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.

We dine on shawarma

Before heading to Asilomar, Anabel jotted down the date and location of Monterey’s farmers’ markets. Most of these were evening markets and we had dinner at each one. In Pacific Grove we had great chicken shawarma (above) from Mr. Falafel. In Monterey we shared curry wrapped in naan baked fresh at the market. After dinner we would gather snacks (kettle corn, roasted almonds and strawberries) for the next day. We’ll be building market dinners into all of our future trips.

We play table tennis at the lodge

For spring break we stayed at Asilomar, our refuge on the Monterey Peninsula. Designed by Julia Morgan in 1913 as a YWCA conference site, the grounds and beach are now a 107 acre state park. The buildings are a mix of Arts and Crafts beauties and some more recent additions. The rooms are simple with no TV, telephone or wireless Internet connection. Some have fireplaces and ocean views. There is so much to do in the area. We went tidepooling, played ping pong, shot pool, watched Sea Otters, climbed an old locomotive, and went paddle boating. But playing games at the lodge and reading on the beach were the most relaxing parts of the week.

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.