Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Talking Power, continued, Chapter 6

I woke up thirsty for excitement. Show and tell was today at school, maybe that would end up exciting.
Magic would be coming and I wanted to get there as early as possible to set her up. Seeing that I was already behind schedule, if I wanted to get there early, I must take the forest short cut. I merrily skipped through the forest being careful not to leave the trail.

When I stopped for a swig of water, I noticed something shiny. At once I recognized it as a golden pendent of my grandmother's.
Then, I felt something jump onto my back. Letting out a shrill scream, I dropped Magic's leash and bolted. When at last I noticed the thing was not following me, I stopped to look around. I was way off the trail and were was Magic? I was lost.

I felt two hands on my shoulders and out of the noise I was making, I heard my grandmother say, ''it is OK I've got the goat and I'll drive you to school."

By, Sophia

We Made It!--Day 5

Through the dense fog of a major ascent up Route 1, across marsh and central Marin, through the San Rafael bike tunnel, by our house in San Rafael (pictured), we made it to Milo.  Thanks to Tom, Bette Lee, Bill, Susy, Juliana, Sophia, Grace, Harley, Rosie, Milo director Lynne Tingle, other Milo staff, and the press for the nice welcome!

Watch the Marin IJ for a picture (on Saturday, hopefully) and check out the article below from San Rafael's new online news site, Patch.

* 200 miles
* approaching $2000 raised

Great job, Eli!



With Lynne from Milo

Patch article:

12-year-old Boy Raises Funds with 200-mile Bike Ride

As part of his Bar Mitzvah, 12-year-old Eli Stewart rode with his father from Auburn to San Rafael.
By Nicole Ely

Bret Harte resident Eli Stewart rode in to the Milo Foundation Friday afternoon, completing a five-day bike ride from Auburn to San Rafael in an effort to raise funds for the pet adoption nonprofit.

The 12-year-old Stewart was accompanied by his father, Joe, during the 200 -mile journey. They raised approximately $2,000 for the organization.

“It was difficult,” said Stewart, admitting that before this his longest bike ride was 15 miles. On this ride, they averaged around 40 miles each day.

The father son duo took off from Auburn, where the family has lived for a year, on March 26. It was a sunny day when they left, but that soon changed. From Sacramento to Fairfield, heavy rainfall drenched the roads and the riders. “The rain soaked through my windbreaker,” Stewart said.

Although Stewart and his father tried to stick to bike trails, a few times they had to resort to the highways. A close call happened between Solano and Sonoma counties when the narrow road became dangerous for bikers.

“A truck passed right by me and it was a foot away,” Stewart recalled.

That earned the bikers a short hitchhike.

“I was at first worried about Eli, but he was super strong all the way through,” Joe said.

Stewart decided to take the journey as part of his Bar Mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage where adolescents are presented with five “coming of age” challenges to complete. The idea for the bike ride originally came from Stewart’s mother.

“When she said to do it, I was like ‘no way.’” he said. “But I’m proud I did.”

The Milo Foundation has a special place in the Stewart family’s hearts--they found their dog, Rosie, of three years thanks to the organization. Stewart’s grandparents also adopted a golden retriever mix named Harley last week to celebrate Stewart’s arrival in San Rafael.

“We figured it was good motivation,” joked Bill, Stewart’s grandfather.

Upon their arrival, Stewart and Joe handed several checks and cash donations collected along their ride to Milo Founder Lynne Tingle.

“It’s just great that a kid would want to go through all that physical effort and on top of that want to help raise money for us,” she said.

The Stewarts plan to move back to their Bret Harte house next year.

Article at:


I am super exited to see Harlie again. I hope he still remembers us. If any of you don't know, Harlie is our grandparent's new puppy. He is 11 weeks and cute.  He looks like a Yellow Lab.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bike Ride Almost Done

I have ridden 178 miles so far to Muir Beach. Tomorrow we will ride to San Rafael.
We have raised $1500 and I feel really good about it. We decided to ride to Muir Beach because we didn't want to reschedule the arrival time because no one would be able to come. For this reason, we are riding to San Rafael tomorrow. The ride here was pretty hard but on some of the hills I was able to think about other things and barely noticed.


From Foothills to Frothing Ocean--Day 4

We headed out from Petaluma late this morning planning to arrive one day early in San Rafael.  The ride was gorgeous: stunning solo oaks against beautiful green rolling hills studded with giant boulders.  We stopped at the Cheese Factory and again at Nicasio Reservoir. There, we decided we couldn't arrive today; we needed to make the most of the full 5 days!  Plus, we had received that truck ride for some miles yesterday and needed to make up for it (good choice due to safety concerns, but non-bicycle transportation, nevertheless!).  And the ocean beckoned!  Furthermore, it would feel more climactic to actually ride into San Rafael on the final day, instead of already being there. 

So we rode ourselves out to Route 1, through Pt. Reyes, by Bolinas Lagoon and Stinson, along the Pacific, and into Muir Beach.  Though it was not our longest day of riding by miles, it was certainly the largest elevation gain/loss of the trip--a real bike rider's ride.  I am very impressed with Eli's fortitude.  Though it was a challenge, I think we both enjoyed it. 

Total miles for the Day 4: 41.51.  That brings our total for the trip to 178.86 with Day 5 from Muir Beach to San Rafael remaining.  Come meet us at the Milo office tomorrow at 2pm!  For Eli's extra efforts, I have pledged $5 per mile to Milo beyond the 170 miles of our original plan.

We have good computer access tonight, so I can share some more pics:
 From Placer to Sacramento to Yolo (and Sutter?) to Solano to Sonoma and now Marin County.

 Route 1.

 At the edge of a big rock.

Muir Beach with Harlie and Mamo.


Some pictures from the ride (Days 1-3)


On the road

Cheering squad

Eli and his support

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bike Ride Day 3

Today we rode from Farfeild to Petaluma there were some hills but we rode only 30 miles and it was the easiest day yet. The weather was nice compared to yesterday and it was pretty fun. When we got to our destination we even had enough time and energy to go to the batting cage. We have ridden about 135 miles and plan to arrive in San Rafael tomorrow.


Pedal to Petaluma--Day 3

We have enjoyed much better weather today and made good time over 30 miles to Petaluma.  Add Napa, Sonoma, and Petaluma to our visited-town list.  We considered pushing all the way to San Rafael today, but decided to enjoy our time here instead.  Looks like we are set-up to arrive one day early to Marin, but we will find a place to stay and stick to our "official" arrival time of 2 pm at Milo on Friday.  Hope to see you there!  Eli is doing great--yesterday was full of challenge: long distance, driving rain, cold.  But he rode hard and with a good attitude.

Today we started out from Fairfield.  There are a few routes into Sonoma and none of them are obviously better than another.  I have been using Google Map's bicycle routes to good success, but I double-checked the suggested route last night with a local bike shop.  They approved, promising wide shoulders and nice scenery despite busy traffic along the Jameson Canyon Road.  About 2 miles down that stretch of road, the shoulder narrowed to 2 feet or less.  Meanwhile, this 2-way, 2-lane road was providing the primary access to all I80 traffic into Napa.  When we got passed by an 18-wheeler going 60 mph, I decided to stop and hitchhike the rest of the way until we were off that road.  A nice fellow named Bob stopped and we loaded our bikes into his pick-up.  He took us about 5 miles to the next turn-off.  I'm glad to say, the rest of the route through Sonoma was totally manageable with nice wide shoulders.

We stopped for a nice picnic of leftover Chinese food outside of Sonoma town and as we approached Petaluma, we were surprised buy a CalTrans worker who was trying to hitchhike a ride from us!  Who would of thought?  It turns out it was blog fan and friend, J. Spike Marr! We chatted, took some photos (all photos will be posted at the end of the ride) and headed on our way.  Thanks for stopping Spike :)

We are having fun and feeling good.  I'll see about getting Eli to type a few words as well.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tour de Sacramento Valley--Day 2

Today we made 60 miles over wet country roads, through sterile tract housing developments, and along generous city bikeways. We thought we'd share some of our observations (from yesterday, too):

Beautiful blue birds
Pheasants fighting
Sunning snake
Baby horse
Hovering hawks
Soaring egrets
Storm clouds

Sizzling electric lines
Pouring rain
Passing trucks
Quiet country roads
Cacophony of blackbirds

Aching pain
Wet cold
Warm Subway sandwich

This is the approximate series of towns we have been through:
Auburn. Newcastle. Lincoln. Rocklin. Roseville. Antelople. Rio Linda. Sacramento. Davis. Dixon. Vacaville. Suisun City. Fairfield.

Joey and Eli (via phone)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Auburn to Old Town Sacramento--Day 1

A good day. No rain. Arrived in Sacramento around 5 pm after a 12:30 departure: 46.22 mi. All in good spirits, got a discount at Best Western and get to have dinner with Ju and the girls who are on their way home from San Rafael. Blogging from my phone so will keep it brief.


The Different Moods of Rosie

The last couple days I've realized that Rosie, depending on her mood is an entirely different dog. Often times she is energetic and playful and trying to lick you all over, other times she is dogged and tired and wont let you pet her, and some times she is barking snarling and foaming at the mouth. It is interesting how the same dog can have all these different personalities.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ride of Passage--Day 0

After celebrating Sophia and Grace's birthday this weekend and despite predictions of less-than-ideal weather for the week, Eli and I have made most of our preparations and are ready for "Eli's Bar Mitzvah Bike Ride for the Milo Foundation".

Physical preparations: cross training on the ski slopes last week with Mamo and Baba.

Gear preparations: bikes packed and loaded.

Mental preparations: we saw Hunger Games on Sunday night.  Hopefully our rite of passage won't be quite so intense!

We are planning to get on the road at noon on Monday and hope to make the 40 miles to Sacramento by evening. Perhaps we will meet up with some of you when we arrive in San Rafael later in the week. 

Our goal is to show up at Milo in San Rafael around 2pm on Friday.  We will have donation funds to turn over and hope to give hugs all around.  You can also expect to see a guest appearance from one of Milo's most recent adoptees, 10-week old Harlie the puppy, and his proud new parents, Bill and Susy Stewart. 

Send us safe thoughts and keep an eye on this blog for updates. 



The other night, our family watched Gattaca. For those of you unfamiliar, I wrote a report on it.

The movie is place in the future where parents get to choose their children's DNA. The main character however, his parents did not choose his DNA.

As he grows, he finds that he most wants a job as an astronomer. The only problem is that he is misjudged by the people who have chosen DNA and they think he is not worthy of the job. He decides to save up money working as a janitor at Gattaca (an astronomer job place) where he dreams to work.

One day, he meets a man who has all the right DNA to work in Gattaca but he hates it there. The man agrees to let our main character, Victor, act as him. Arrangements are made and Victor gets the job. Everything goes as planned until his boss is killed and the place goes out of their way to find the murderer. While at work, an eyelash of Victor's drops to the floor and the detectives find it to test whose it is. They find out it is his and set out to find who is disguised as another.

I will not tell more and give it away but, if you want to know more, see the movie.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Polymer Clay

Recently Mama and Papa bought us polymer clay (a kind of "clay" that is hardened in a regular oven). We have decided to make necklaces and earrings out of them. Later we will sell them and maybe keep some.

First we sculpt the beads then stick a wire through them. After that we cook them. Next, we bend the wire around the earring of string. Then, you have made a garment. (Photos in Papa's blog from yesterday).


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


When I imagined homeschooling, I had visions of idyllic quietude, or chillin' at home around a table doing work, or taking a nice walk, or going on vacation.  As it turns out, that stuff happens.  But it can also get really busy.  The busy-ness differs in some ways from the busy-ness I have grown accustomed to with "regular" school and the accompanying after school activities.  Here is a mostly pictorial review of some of what we've fit in while schooling in the last day or so:

Morning, 3/20: Juliana is getting a greenhouse for her birthday.  Eli, our neighbor Caleb, and I collected some large rocks to hold in the gravel base and did some soil critter identification.  I started building, too.  While I did that, the kids did math, music, and reading inside.  Probably not a bad idea to leave me alone while I build.

The kids practice their music pretty much every day.  Take note Mariko!

Afternoon, 3/20: Sophia and Grace are creating earrings, beads and miniatures out of polymer clay.

Evening, 3/20: Rosie ran off to get chewed up by the neighbor's dogs again.  Despite being bitten and caught on barbed wire, it took me, Eli, and 2 neighbor boys to get her to stop.  This time she only lost a claw/nail. 

Morning and afternoon, 3/21: We went skiing with Mamo today.  After an amazing winter weekend, today it was spring skiing.  Pictured is our lunch break.  I've softened my hardcore skier ways some and I let the kids take a break on ski days (sometimes).  They read science magazines, wrote in their journals, and listened to NPR during the drive to and from Sugar Bowl.

Evening, 3/21: We went to Eli's ultimate team practice in Grass Valley.

Evening, 3/21: The girls participated in a reading of a play at the local youth theater.  They are planning to be in a play this spring.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Almost puppy

I'm writing this blog to inform you of status on my grandparent's puppy shopping. They have found a litter of very sweet puppies. They are interestedin 3 of the puppies: Cody, Sheila, and Sam. I want them to get the puppy named Sam. They are puppies from the Milo Foundation. If you go on their website you may be able to see them.
P.S. Note to Mamo and Baba: Please adopt or foster Sam today and bring him to our house tomorrow if you get a pup. Thanks.


Pictures of Sam (golden) and Cody (black) below:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Father Son Ski Weekend

While the Stewart females were in the Bay Area this weekend, Eli and I have been enjoying the late winter weather.  We had two amazing ski days at Sugar Bowl along with four feet of new snow.  What a treat to get to hang out with Eli and ski hard in great conditions! 

Here are some images:

 On the way to Sugar Bowl Saturday morning.

This is on the hill shortly before the birth of the "Son of Powder" (see Eli's blog on the topic).  
Does that make me Powder?
 Spooky pow pow.

Sunday afternoon on the way back on the gondola. 
Did I mention it was a fun, snowy weekend?


Son of Powder

The other day I got a sticker for my helmet that said "son of powder" on it and had a picture of a zombie holding some skis. Today I felt like that zombie at times. A couple times I had a bad fall and ended up almost completely buried in the snow. When I was digging out I almost felt like one of those zombies in the movies, their hand shooting out then rising from the ground. During some points in the day I felt like I was rising from the dead or being born from the powder.


Friday, March 16, 2012

What Dad Has Been Doing

Rigged up my telemark skis with walking skins, hiked to the top of Sugar Bowl last Wednesday night, and skied down under the full moon.

Sent out a press release to the Auburn Journal and Marin IJ about Eli's Bar Mitzvah Bike Ride for the Milo Foundation.  He has raised well over $1000 so far.

Found the leak in our yurt skylight today.  I was hoping to diagnose the problem (found last year) during this winter.  There hasn't been enough rain until this week to get it figured out!  I originally thought it might be condensation, but it is indeed a leak in the actual skylight itself (not my construction).  I was able to create a temporary outlet for the small amount of water that was leaking in by drilling some holes in the skylight frame's gutter.  But I should probably replace the skylight when things dry out in the spring.

Dug out some emerging poison oak growth the other day with only minor personal consequences (so far).

Wrote a couple songs yesterday.  Maybe I'll post one.

Signed Eli up for his first-ever ultimate tournament (in April).  Took him out today and bought some gear for our ride and his Bar Mitzvah suit.  He looks like a mench!

Appreciating the rain.  Two feet of snow expected in Tahoe tonight.  Guess where I will be this weekend :)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Puppy Extravaganza

Oh my gosh! Today Mama got an email from the Milo Foundation, which is a foundation for pets. So anyway, it said that there was going to be a... wait for it...

A Puppy Extravaganza! I called our grandma and grampa to tell them that there was going to be a Puppy Extravaganza soon. This worked out well because the email had a lot of cute photos of the dogs that were going to be there. Soon enough, Mamo (our grandma) was looking at the same page. Soon, with the help of us, she had found a picture of a cute retriever mix named Patrick. I'm so excited.


resisting larger plans

Outside our window, another dark cloud rolls over.

The goats are hiding in their house, complaining loudly out their window. As if the weather were our doing.

I want to stay here, and am feeling an anxiety that comes a full 24 hours before leaving time. Like my time isn't quite my own anymore.

The children have gone, to play piano and trumpet, and I like the time alone.

My parents were here for a visit on their way from Utah back to San Rafael. We read books and ate food and talked. They are easy to be with. My dad drawing plans for an RV park that has become theirs, my mom knitting, and shopping for a copper-roofed beehive online. I may have inherited my crafty project-ness there.

Eli tells me he is nervous about his Bar Mitzvah. He's been encouraged to "reflect" more than may be comfortable lately.

I'm feeling concrete lately as well. Having lots of feelings, but not the focus to examine them. I have little plans: things to plant, things to make. I feel myself resisting larger plans, and introspection in general.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hospility House

Yesterday Grace, Eli, Papa, and I fed some of the homeless at a church. We served food, socialized, and set the tables.  They looked just like the volunteers who were serving, the only difference was in homes.  The organization is called "Hospitality House".  The house provides a place to sleep and 2 meals and then the next day another place provides the same.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Two Lives

There is a rhythm and ease to our homeschooling and our Auburn life that was not here in the Fall.  We are more at home here now, know more people and things to do, we more accustomed to the pace and nature of rural life.  We are more used to the nature of homeschooling, farther removed from our previous lifestyle. Plus, we have been around more lately--we were gone much of November and December. 

This settling-in is in contrast with the fact that our experience will be ending in a few months.  For example, today I began the process of registering the kids back into the San Rafael City Schools.  There was no trepidation in this process; the kids have loved school in San Rafael and have done well.  But it is worth noting that as we are just getting used to this life in Auburn, it is time to turn a corner and begin preparing for our return to San Rafael.

And more important than going from one city/house to another, with our geographical return, we will be going from one life to another.  I will return to work, the kids to school.  We will leave animals, days of choice, and the quiet of space.  How will that be?  What lasting impact will this year have on our "regular" lives?  How much will this year become part of our "regular" lives--after all, we will still be regular visitors to Auburn in the future?

Lately, I've been metaphorically comparing this year with the first "weekend" in a two-week-long life. God willing, I've lived, learned, and worked for about half of my life now.  I've followed a more or less typical path through schooling, family and career--the "first week" of my life, in this metaphor.  This year, I've taken a "weekend".  Like any Saturday and Sunday, there is still lots to do and lots to learn.  But it is a break from the routine.  Now, like looking forward to Monday on a Sunday afternoon, there is some ambivalence about the return to the regular day-to-day--even if so happens that normalcy is worthwhile and full of meaning. 

I am also recognizing and appreciating the rejuvenation and perspective I have received from my "weekend".  For one, I feel fortunate to have found a way to create a two-week metaphor instead of a one-week one!  Often people only have one "weekend": retirement.   Maybe the next step is to find ways to have multiple-week metaphors... or week-long vacations.  Hmmm.  To be considered, but I also understand that that a life full of weekends would probably lack the appropriate level of meaning for me.  In fact, what makes a weekend so special is its contrast with the rest of the week.  Using the viewpoint the metaphor engenders, I am excited and interested to see how this year will grow in significance from the vantage-point of my return to "regular" life.  How will it change me? What will I appreciate differently about my two lifestyles from the perspective of the "weekend" being over? Will I find ways to meld these lifestyles or will they be able to exist side-by-side? How will Juliana and the kids respond to these same changes and alterations of perspective?

It is interesting to get some preview of how our two lifestyles interrelate when we have visitors.  This weekend the Pletcher Hessels visited; they arrived late Friday night after a busy week and we skied, gamed, ate and talked.  They live a "San Rafael life" similar to ours and besides the transition from one place to another, their entry into our "Auburn lifestyle" appeared fairly seamless.   That transition period is an issue though.  In many ways, it took us a number of months in the Fall.  Now that we are more acquainted with it, perhaps it will be quicker and easier to return to our "Auburn" mentality.  Or maybe it will just become a part of us.

As a young person, I did a lot of traveling in Latin America.  When I returned home, I always wanted to hold on to some of what I experienced there: the kindness of the people, the pace of life, the realness of interactions, the richness of another language and culture.  I think at first, there was a tendency to belittle America as something less real or pure.  But what I came to realize is that both places were (and are) incredibly special (and of course full of faults).  Furthermore, America is my home with my people and a part of who I am.  But I gained so much from some understanding and connection to another place and people.  That is what I hope can happen with this transition. 

I suppose there will be some sadness in leaving this place when the time comes.  But that won't be the overwhelming emotion.  Mostly I will feel gratitude for the opportunity and joy in the memories.  I hope to take new perspectives with me that will make me a better teacher, husband, father, son, brother, friend.  I am excited to return to work and our home and community in San Rafael and I look forward to visiting Auburn often. 

I am fortunate in my one life to know two lives that I love.  It will be an adventure to continue living them together.


Friday, March 9, 2012

The Talking Power, continued

Chapter 5: A Call From the Mayor (3/9/12)

Since the “Magic at School” event, Magic was famous to the whole city. Whenever the family took her to the park with them they would hear mothers of young children exclaim: “Look, it’s Magic the talking goat!”

It was a rainy day at the house. The family felt tired as most people do on rainy days. I felt there should be some excitement on this dreary day. I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself when the phone rang. I raced to it hoping that excitement would be on the line. 

“Hello,” I said, “ C.D. here.”
On the other side of the line a man’s voice said, “Hello C.D., this is the Mayor here.”
“Wow, what’s the topic?”, I said.
“I hear you have a talking goat. Look, my son has a birthday coming up. Could you possibly take her to the party? He would absolutely love that.”
“Depends on the date,” I answered.
“The third of May, two weeks from now.”
“Yes,” I said.

Two weeks later, Magic rocked the party.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The tale of a face plant

You're cruising through foot deep powder. Suddenly, one of your skis is buried in the snow and your foot gets wrenched out of your ski's binding. All of a sudden, you're falling face-first into the powder. A rush of cold hits your face. Then you sit up. Snow is covering your goggles. So, you wipe the white snow covering your face and start groping for your disembodied ski.  Finally, your gloved hand fastens around your missing ski.


The Last 2 Weeks

I've done a lot of fun stuff these last two weeks. Last week it snowed a ton and I went skiing 3 days, two of those days with my grandma. Even though the the weather was pretty brutal the skiing was amazing. The wind was blowing snow horizontal but the up side of this is that every run we skied had fresh tracks. Over the weekend we went to Mark and Tracey's house and spent the night which was fun. This week was also pretty good. On Wednesday I went for a fairly bad day of skiing but afterwards played ultimate which was fun. I have also been thinking about my bike ride which is coming up in 2 and a half weeks. I am really worried about it and hope I can survive it.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Eli's Bike Ride for the Milo Foundation

We've been receiving a lot of questions about Eli's upcoming Bar Mitzvah bike ride, so I thought I'd share some logistic details.  He will follow with a more personal post in the next couple of days.  In addition, we hope to give some updates about preparations and from the road.

Where: From the Stewyurt in Auburn to the Milo Foundation office in San Rafael.  Approximately 170 miles, depending on the final route we take.  This is our approximate planned route (the two maps have different scales):

Part 1:

Part 2:

We have not been on many of these roads outside of Placer, Sonoma, and Marin counties, so if you know undesirable roads along this route in Sutter, Yolo, Solano, or Napa counties, let us know! UPDATE, 3/9: Thanks to some good feedback, we are now thinking of riding bike paths through Sacramento instead of the northern Placer/Sutter counties country road route.  UPDATE 3/15: New route pictured above in two parts.

When: Goal is to leave on Monday March 26 or Tuesday the 27, weather permitting, and arrive in San Rafael at the Milo Foundation office by Friday March 30th.  (But Saturday would be ok).

Who: Eli and Joey

How: We are cross-training for this trip by skiing, playing ultimate, running, and doing some bike riding.  Hopefully it will be enough!  We will carry our clothes, water, and some food, but stay at motels and eat out some as well.

Why: Physical challenge, father/son bonding, and community support.  Eli is raising money for the Milo Foundation, a non-profit animal rescue, shelter, and adoption center.  So far he has raised about $1500 (and is working on this thank you letters!).  If you would like to give (either a lump sum or on a per-mile basis), let us know or you can donate directly at: (to do this, click "DONATE" and complete required information.  In the Additional Notes box, please type "Eli's Bar Mitzvah").  Eli will also do some volunteering at Milo in April.


Thursday, March 1, 2012


This week winter finally arrived.  Eli and I skied three days this week (and were joined by intrepid skier, Mamo, for two of them).  It has snowed over 4 feet and we have been almost the only people on the hill.  There is nothing like skiing a fresh powder run, having so much fun you go right back, and when you get there for the second go around, the only tracks there are yours.  Or even better, it has been snowing so hard, your first ones aren't even there anymore.

Rain and hail has been falling in Auburn (not that I have been here much to enjoy it with all the skiing).  Finally it is muddy and I feel like there was a reason I put up an awning in front of the yurt and a new gutter on the garage. 

How beautiful and fresh everything is with its sheen after a good rain. 

All hail the hail!




Robert Frost wrote a poem about making decisions called "The Road Not Taken". There are a couple ways I can relate the poem "The Road Not Taken" to my life. In my life I have to make decisions and live with the consequences if they are good or bad.

I don’t necessarily remember the reason, but in 5th Grade I decided to take a path away from baseball. Now, 2 years later I regret that decision because I really like baseball, but I feel like I am to far behind to catch up with everyone else. In this case I look back on this decision with a sigh of regret.

This dilemma brings me to another decision. The 2 options are: try to play now in a league where I am only old enough to play by a couple days and am playing with people whom some are 16, or to not play baseball and almost definitely never play again. The problem with this particular decision is that what ever path I choose I will regret it. The trick with this decision is to pick the path I will regret less.

A more fun decision to make is what bb gun I should get. A while ago I chose a good one but unfortunately it only shoots pellets. The two bb guns I am choosing between now are a nice, single pump, that has a very unique coking motion that I really like but only shoots a little faster than the bb gun I have now. The other option is a much faster bb gun that is multi-pump and has a less desirable cocking motion. I think I could be happy with either one of these guns and I think it is mostly just about how I react to their strengths and weaknesses.

Life has lots of forks in the road, like in the poem. The way you take can change your life for better or for worse. You can also have a good attitude and make that worse path better.


From the editor, FYI:

            The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Goat Family Watercolors


First day of winter

The last two days have been snow days in Grass Valley. That means we have no school. Yesterday, all we did was read, watch movies, and play with Rosie. It seems a little like winter is just starting.
Any way, I drew some pictures of the goats (shown above).


Bye Ferd ! Bye Josie!

Yesterday Ferdinand and Josie left our family and joined another. We sold the two kids to a very nice family who seemed a perfect match for the babes. Every body was sad to see them go but they have just what we are looking for, two nice children ( J.P and Maya )who treat them as well as we do, a wonderful pen, and lots of their favorite foods. Though we will miss them, we are all grateful they would make them a home at their house. Even better, the Longtins are also making room for their mother and brother, Diego and Frida, in a few months. The family will be together again.