After years of searching for a new home and headquarters for the Derringdos, we finally discovered it this winter in the Berkeley Hills. Peabody and Nettie now have their own rooms. Annabelle has studio with a swing chair. And I have an office with a display case for relics and mementos from our adventures. Our neighborhood’s “sidewalks” are paths that take us by waterfalls and deer. From our home, we have an incredible view of Berkeley and the Bay. Flying outside our windows are turkey vultures, falcons, and the America’s only working zeppelin. Even though we’ve only been here a couple months, it already feels like home.
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We wrapped our summer up with a visit to the Mar Vista cabins near Point Arena. As usual, we spent time at the beach, reading, playing games and visiting the goats, chickens and bunnies living near the cabins. There was also a nest of baby swallows living on our porch. Their mom fed them from morning until dusk. We watched them as they took their first few steps out of their nest only to scooch back in at night. On the day we headed back home, the little birds had vacated…off for new adventures in the fall. And here we go too!
This weekend, my friend and I decorated cupcakes to look like our favorite characters from the webcomic Girl Genius (which recently won the Hugo award for best graphic novel). On this plate are six of the twelve cupcakes we made (clockwise from top left: Gil, Violetta, Klaus, Tarvek, Oggie, and Agatha). We had so much fun! To see the whole cast in cupcake form, go here. If you want to see more of my people cupcakes, go here.
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.
We’ve started repairing some of the walls in our 120 year old cottage. The bedroom has some nasty bulges where the plaster has separated from the wooden lathe. Annabelle started stripping the walls this week. Peabody and I joined her for a full day of work on Saturday while Nettie organized her room. We had to break through two layers of paint and five layers of wallpaper to find the plaster beneath. Here is some of Peabody’s handiwork. We still have a bit more stripping to do before we begin repairing the walls later this week.
Last weekend I was in a production of Pippin, put on by the Berkeley Playhouse Youth/Teen company. For the past two and a half months we’ve had rehearsals three times a week, so it’s been a big part of my life lately. Pippin is a very ensemble-based show, so the whole cast was in most of the songs, which was really fun! I was also a Newscaster and I did hula hoop tricks in our first number. The costumes and makeup were really fun too! Glitter, green mascara and orange eyeshadow was liberally applied to everyone’s face. Our set and cast actually came on stage on a moving “cart” which was set on a part of the stage that can move back and forth. I had so much fun doing this musical, and I’ll miss everything about it: the amazing cast, the fun singing and dancing, hanging out backstage, and finally performing!
The Berkeley Playhouse Conservatory for Teens is presenting the 70’s rock musical Pippin May 14 and 15 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley. Tickets are on sale at berkeleyplayhouse.org. Nettie has been coming home from the theatre late, exhausted, but enthusiastic! Look for her as the Newscaster, Kind of Woman Woman, and a hoolahooping Circus Performer. We can’t wait to see the results of the their hard work!
Back in the 80s, before the age of HD, virtual dogfighting, my brother and I would take to the sky in Ace of Aces. The game plays a bit like a cooperative choose your own adventure novel. Each page shows your position from a first person cockpit view. The players choose their maneuver and a quick calculation sends them to a new page with a new view (ideally behind your opponent’s plane). I pulled my old copy out this week to play with Peabody. He picked it up rather quickly and seemed to like it. The game is out of print, but if you come a cross it at a used book sale, pick it up and take to the sky!
During a whirlwind European business trip, I found myself with some spare time in London after a day of meetings. My first priority was finding some gifts for the Derringdos at home. VV Rouleaux, a ribbon and trimmings shop in Sloane Square, was my first stop. Annabelle took me to their Marylebone location ten years ago. She could spend hours. I found her some ribbon and for Nettie, some big pink hoop earnings and a butterfly hair clip. Nearby is one of the most beautiful buildings in London, Michelin House (pictured above). I had a great meal here years ago at Bibendum, a French resteraunt named after the rotund tire mascot. Not forgetting Peabody, I stopped into Foyles and picked up Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air. It’s a new cross section book following fourteen historic journeys. My brief journey came to an end with a walk around some of the city’s parks and a Tube ride back to my hotel. I feel like we might need to return this summer!