Category Archives: Family

Ingredients for a Scarylicious Halloween

Today is Halloween.  All the pancreases the country over, in particular those encased inside younger bodies, are cowering in fear.  All that sugar, aiiieeeeee.  If they could run away screaming, they would.  As it is they are hiding behind the stomachs, clutching their blankies and whimpering.

But Halloween is so much more than candy.  Here I have listed a few of the wonderful ingredients we have included in our Halloween this year, to make it extra special.

1.  Obsessive sewing of spooky Halloween dolls.
I bought the book Zombie Felties and have been having fun sewing patterns from that book and making some of my own.

I bought the book Zombie Felties and have been having fun sewing patterns from that book and making some of my own.  I modified their zombies into a zombie doctor, librarian, and bride and groom.

2.  A visit to Legoland, even though the kids are little old for Brick or Treat.

Legoland.Halloween

3.  Creepy yard decorations.
Our front yard was invaded by crabgrass, and I dug it all up. Just in time to put up a spooky graveyard. Always be careful to leave a plate out for the zombies, so they don't eat you. Or any stray kids.

Our front yard was invaded by crabgrass, so I dug it all up. Just in time to put up a spooky graveyard. Always be careful to leave a plate out for the zombies, so they don’t eat you. Or any stray kids.

4.  A mini graveyard.
You can't have too many graveyards on your property for Halloween.

You can’t have too many graveyards on your property for Halloween.

5.  An amazing mini haunted house.
I made this tiny haunted house out of two fruit boxes, a little wooden house that I spray painted, small figurines, coffins, and pumpkins, and votive candles. Yes, more mini stuff.  I like little things. See two of my other posts for more little things! (https://shibumo.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/turning-an-antique-printers-drawer-into-a-shelf-of-tiny-wonders/ and https://shibumo.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/microworlds/)

I made this tiny haunted house out of two fruit boxes, a little wooden house that I spray painted, small figurines, coffins, and pumpkins, and votive candles. Yes, more mini stuff. I like little things. See two of my other posts for more little things! Turning an Antique Printer’s Drawer into a Tiny Shelf of Wonders and Microworlds.

6.  Costumed kids.
The kids are older this year, so no more pirates or fairies. The kids went anime this year. Sam is Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist and Emma is Road Kamelot from D. Gray Man. I also got to dress Trevor as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. He is covered in giant germs, including, of course, ebola. Down in the bottom corner we have Sam again, J.D. as Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist, and I am wearing a tee shirt I made with Izuma Curtis, the housewife.

The kids are older this year, so no more pirates or fairies. The kids went anime this year. Sam is Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist and Emma is Road Kamelot from D. Gray Man. I also got to dress Trevor as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. He is covered in giant germs, including, of course, ebola. Down in the bottom corner we have Sam again, J.D. as Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist, and I am wearing a tee shirt I made with Izumi Curtis on it.

7.  Finally, of course, Pumpkins, the orange heart of Halloween.
Pumpkin fun

Kids are never too old for a pumpkin patch, or for carving pumpkins. Emma paints one of hers every year, it was particularly evil looking this year!

In a few hours we will be heading out for the annual ritual of trading the candy I bought for the candy that our neighbors bought.  We will check out the Kalal’s haunted house down the street, and will go around the corner to see how insane the crazy people who rent out a storage unit to store all of their decorations have gotten this year in doing up their house and yard.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL!!!

p.s.  Be kind to your pancreas.  Put down the Tootsie roll.  10 is enough.

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Making Like Tortoises, With Our Houses On Our Backs

Blog header.PCT

This past spring Sam’s Boy Scout troop went on a few backpacking trips.  This post chronicles our May trip to Caliente Creek, along part of the southern leg of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Fifteen scouts and 9 adults backpacked a total of 7.2 miles on our 2 day, 1 night trip.  This was a backpacking training event for the troop, and for 5 of the scouts it was their first backpacking trip, and for several others it was their second trip.  We were all treated to a lovely hike through the back country, to our campsite near the burbling Caliente Creek.  The oaks were big and green, the creek was full of frogs, and most important of all, the Starbuck’s Via coffee was flowing on Sunday morning.  Pictures of our excellent hike are below.  There is also short video of the creek, complete with water striders and a little waterfall.

Caliente Springs map

Our Scouts

Now that we see where we are going, and who is going, let’s head off…

(click on the photos for a closer view)

We assembled on Saturday morning at the Von's parking lot, and the younger scouts have their packs checked to be sure they have all they need, and to be sure they haven't packed half the house!

We assembled on Saturday morning at the Von’s parking lot, and the younger scouts have their packs checked to be sure they have all they need, and to be sure they haven’t packed half the house!

More pics from the hike in.  As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.

We pulled off on Route 79, shouldered our packs, crossed the highway (step lively!), and entered the back country. Some views of the hike in.

More pics from the hike in. As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.country.  Some views of the hike in.

More pics from the hike in. As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.

After hiking a little more than 3 miles, we camped at a little clearing by Caliente Creek.

After hiking 3.6 miles, we camped at a little clearing by Caliente Creek.  Here are 3 views at different parts of the creek.

Speaking of the creek, here is the troop filtering water.  It is really nice to have water at your destination, so you don't have to pack as much in with you.

Speaking of the creek, here is the troop filtering water. It is really nice to have water at your destination, so you don’t have to pack as much in with you.

Camp cooking.  We all made excellent use of our Jetboils and other lightweight stoves.

Camp cooking. We all made excellent use of our Jetboils and other lightweight stoves.

Me and my guy.

Me and my guy.

Camp life.  Adults hanging out, boys playing cards, surrounded by big oaks.  This is the life!

Camp life. Adults hanging out, boys playing cards, surrounded by big oaks. This is the life!

I love to check out the plants, so here is a nice selection.  From the top left: sycamore, oak down the middle, sage flower, thistle flower, a yucca I think, and California fucshia.

I love to check out the plants, so here is a nice selection. From the top left: Sycamore, Oak down the middle, Sage flower, Thistle flower, a Yucca I think, and Indian Paintbrush.

More cool things I took pictures of.  A boulder encased by a branch, and a manzanita tree up on a cliff.

More cool things I took pictures of.  A boulder encased by a branch, and a Manzanita tree up on a cliff.

I mostly made up this panel so I could throw in some gratuitous photos of my Sam!  He's awesome.

I mostly made up this panel so I could throw in some gratuitous photos of Sam. He’s awesome.

The scouts and the adults, just before we set out for home.

The scouts and the adults, just before we set out for home.

Heading back to civilization.  Another great adventure with Troop 985.

Heading back to civilization. Another great adventure with Troop 985.

As promised, here is a link to a short video I took of Caliente Creek.

As you can see from the screen shot below, it only has 13 views.  Sigh.  Not exactly Nyan Cat. If you go to our YouTube channel (click on my name to get there when you are in YouTube) you can also check out the Lego Land Shark video Sam made for his Cinematography merit badge.  That one has 1,822 views.  Now that’s more like it!

Caliente video

 

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Tadpoles in the Water, Animal Tracks in the Mud

Mission Trails header(Click on photos to get a better look)

On a hot July day I took my son Sam and his friend JD out to Mission Trails Regional Park.  The Visitor’s Center (on the right in picture above), is a 10 minute drive from our house.  We stopped in to ask about the recent fire (you can see the burn area midway between the Visitor’s Center and the break in the hills), that began here and went up over the hills to the right, and to look around.  The canyon behind where we live is on the western edge of the park, and living so near such a beautiful natural resource is one of the things we love best about our house.

It was a bit hot for hiking, but we did see some great stuff as we poked around the park. We saw live animals like tadpoles, and evidence of many animals like raccoons in tracks in the mud.  We also saw the effect of the drought on the park, as the large pond and running stream near the dam has dried up into a few small ponds.  Check out our photos and read about our adventures below…

Sam and JD on the deck at the Visitor's Center, the beautiful view behind them.

Sam and JD on the deck at the Visitor’s Center, the beautiful view behind them.  On the upper left you can see the area that burned in the recent fire.

Sam and JD in the amphitheater by the Visitor's Center, hanging out with a mountain lion and a wood rat.

The boys in the amphitheater next to the Visitor’s Center.  They are making friends with a mountain lion and a cute little wood rat.

Sam and JD in the amphitheater by the Visitor's Center, hanging out with a mountain lion and a wood rat.

A close up of the area of the burn. We happened to see the arson investigation team working at the site when we arrived.

We are in the middle of a drought in San Diego, the effects of which were very apparent.  I found pictures from 2010, when Sam was on a school field trip.  Back then the dam actually had water flowing over it.  Sam is standing in that area in the middle photo.  There were several small ponds, one a very attractive orange color.

We are in the middle of a drought in San Diego, the effects of which were very apparent. I found pictures from 2010, when Sam was on a school field trip. Back then the dam actually had water flowing over it. Sam is standing in that area in the middle photo. There were only several small pools of water left, one a very attractive orange color.

xxx

One really fascinating thing about the receding water is that there were loads of tracks in the mud.  The upper tracks are raccoon hands.  They look like little fairy hand prints.

xx

I think the print on the upper left is a big cat.  Cats keep their claws retracted, so you don’t see claw prints in their tracks.  Or else it just a dog with fat paw pads and small claws!  Lots of bird prints too…

ss

The little pools were full of life.  You can see snail and fish in the green pond, and the little black blobs in the orange pond are tadpoles.  They will probably turn out out to be radioactive, flesh-eating killer frogs, after having grown up in that orange water, so take care in a few months if you are down by the dam!  On the lower left is a wood rat nest, and a lizard on a rock is on the lower right.

fff

The big pond on the other side of the dam wall.  It looked almost like a planned Zen garden.  A nice note to end on.  If you get a chance, take a trip to Mission Trails and check it out.  Just maybe not at noon on a hot July day.  We had to head to Dairy Queen afterward for ice cream cones to recover!

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A Day Spent at Chanticleer Gardens

Chanticleer blog header

Five years ago when we were visiting relatives in Philadelphia, we visited Chanticleer Gardens, which are about 30 minutes outside the city (www.chanticleergarden.org).  The gardens were originally the Rosengarten estate, which was built 100 years ago, and were turned into public gardens 20 years ago.

To say that Chanticleer Gardens are stunning is an understatement.  We went in the spring, and though it was an overcast day, everything was bursting with color and spring vigor.  The trees, flowers, and plants were all pulsing with life.  The gardens are also sprinkled with sculpture and other whimsical art, which made exploring them with three kids terrifically fun.  So let’s head in, but first, meet our cast.

Sam, Emma, and Max

Sam, Emma, and Max.

And now, off we go…

Flowering trees.

Flowering trees.

Purple flowers

Grape Hyacinth.  What an amazing color.

The big head with a little girl.

The big head with a little girl.

Running down the green carpet.

Running down the green carpet.

Let's explore the fountain!

Let’s explore the fountain!

Exploring the fountain

Yellow trillum

Yellow trillum

Fun around the stream.

Fun around the stream.

Emma in the ferns.

Emma in the ferns.

Finding treasure.

Finding treasure.

Low red tulip (I think!).

Low red tulip (I think!).

On the couch with Dad.  There's even a stone remote!

On the couch with Dad. There’s even a stone remote!

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom.  A little more comfy.

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom. A little more comfy.

That was our day in Chanticleer gardens.  If you are in Philly and have some time, they are well worth a visit.

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The Babysitter’s Party – A Star Wars Action Figure Play

 

Title picture

My daughter Emma has created “Action Figure Plays” for years.  She uses dolls, Lego mini figures, or her Star War action figures to create plays that are based on movies, books, comic books, TV shows, and her own ideas.  She purees them all in the blender of her mind into a magnificent mash up.  Below is one of her favorite plays, ‘The Babysitter’s Party.”  She uses Star Wars characters to act out a drama that has elements from Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Calvin and Hobbes.  Even though you would think otherwise, Obi Wan Kenobi is not a very responsible babysitter for young Luke and Leia…

(Double click on the images to get a better look, there are lots of fun details)

Annakin and Padme have hired Obi Wan Kenobi to babysit while they go out for the night.

Obi Wan Kenobi comes over to babysit Luke and Leia while their parents go out for a date night.

Padme and Annikin head off to dinner, secure in the knowledge that their good friend Obi Wan will take good care of the kids.

Padme and Anakin head off to dinner, secure in the knowledge that their good friend Obi Wan will watch over the kids.

Instead of taking care of Luke and Leia, he calls all of his friends to come over for a party.

Obi Wan has plans for this evening, and they don’t include hanging out with a couple of kids.  He sets up a table full of party food and drinks and gets out the radio.  Then he calls all of his friends on his giant green phone to come over for a party.

He puts Luke and Leia to bed at 6:00 to get them out of the way.  NO FAIR!

He puts Luke and Leia to bed at 6:00 to get them out of the way. NO FAIR!

He calls all his Jedi friends of course.

He calls all his Jedi friends of course.  General Grievous gives them a ride over in his lemon yellow Playmobil sedan.  Ashoka looks a little squished!

Grandma Shmee and Tim the Sandperson are also invited.

Grandma Shmi and Tim the Sandperson are also invited.

Mace Windu is giving Jango Fett a ride, which is kind of ironic since Jango hates Mace and wants to kill him.

Mace Windu is giving Jango Fett a ride, which is kind of ironic since in the movies Mace beheaded Jango.  But Mace has one rockin’ purple Polly Pocket convertible.  Maybe he will let Jango drive it on the way home?!?

While we are the subject of awkward pairings, what about these two?  Are they going to make small talk, or sit in silence?  These two teams just don't like each other...

While we are the subject of awkward pairings, what about Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul sharing a ride? Are they going to make small talk, or sit in silence? These two teams just don’t like each other…

Finally, here come the bad guys, complete with flowers for the host.

Finally, here come the bad guys, complete with flowers for the host.  The emperor has a purple zebra stripped car…who would have thought?

They form a convoy, heading to Annakin and Padme's house for a PARTY!

They form a convoy, heading to Annakin and Padme’s house for a PARTY!

What a crowd!  When they get there they have to line up to get in the door.

What a crowd! When they get there they have to line up outside to wait their turn to get in the door.

Here they all are, hanging out at the party.  Boy, I hope Obi Wan doesn't get caught...

Finally everyone arrives and gets inside.  But they are all just sitting around, and Obi Wan is getting nervous that his party won’t be AWESOME.  What to do?

Meanwhile, Padme and Annakin are having a lovely dinner in the courtyard of their favorite fancy restaurant.

Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin are having a lovely dinner in the courtyard of their favorite fancy restaurant.

And Luke and Leia sneak out of their room and head down to the basement playroom.  They call up Han and he comes over for a night of binging on TV watching and sugar eating.  They let all of their pets out of their cages for good measure.

And Luke and Leia have snuck out of their bedroom and gone down to the basement playroom. They call up Han and he comes over for a night of TV watching and sugar eating. They let all of their pets out of their cages for good measure.

Obi Wan figures out the best way to break the ice is a game of Twister. It certainly gets the crowd going! This is shaping up to be an EPIC evening...

Obi Wan figures out the best way to break the ice is a game of Twister. It certainly gets the crowd going! This is shaping up to be an EPIC evening…

After Twister they all head out into the yard to TP the tree.

After Twister they all head out into the yard to TP the tree.

Next they head down the street to paint graffiti.

Next they paint graffiti on the side of the house.

Next they see how many people they can fit in General Grievous' car.  Don't scratch the paint!

Then they see how many people they can fit in General Grievous’ car. Don’t scratch the paint!

What a relaxing and special evening.  But after dessert the parents decide to call Obi Wan to let him know they will be home in a half an hour or so.

What a relaxing and special evening. After dessert they call Obi Wan to let him know they will be home in a half an hour or so.

Oh #$%^&**&@!!!

Oh #$%^&**&@!!!

Everybody, CLEAN UP!  Count Dooku, get that ice cream tub off of your head.  Stop spoon fighting Qui gon!  They're coming back!!!

Everybody, CLEAN UP! NOOWWWWW!!! Count Dooku, get that ice cream tub off of your head. Stop spoon fighting Kit! They’re coming back!!!  We have to get this place cleaned up and you all have to go home.

The force must have been with them, because by the time Annikin and Padme arrive Obi Wan is sitting quietly in the living room, reading a magazine.

The force must have been with them, because by the time Anakin and Padme arrive Obi Wan is sitting quietly in the living room, reading a magazine.

They check on Luke and Leia, and they are tucked in bed, fast asleep.

They check on Luke and Leia, and they are tucked in bed, fast asleep.

The only one not safely home yet is Han Solo.  He got trampled by everyone as they rushed from the house, trying to get away before the parents got home.  Hopefully he wakes up soon and gets home to bed.  It was a WILD night!

The only one not safely home yet is Han Solo. He got trampled by everyone as they rushed from the house, trying to get away before the parents got home. Hopefully he wakes up soon and makes his way home.  What a WILD night!

Postscript

Emma at Legoland with giant Darth made out of legos.  And she is holding two of her current favorite books, which create silly scenarios with Darth and Luke and Leia as they grow up.  They reminded me so much of the type of things Emma has done for years with her action figures I had to buy them for her.

Emma at Legoland with a giant Darth Vader made out of legos.  She is holding two of her current favorite books, that create silly scenarios with Darth and his kids Luke and Leia as they grow up. They reminded me so much of the type of things Emma has done for years with her action figures I had to buy them for her.  Adult or kid, if you are a Star Wars fan these books are a giggle fest.

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Burning Rubber … And a Few Hot Dogs

1.Race Legal header

One of the fundraisers my son’s Boy Scout troop participates in is running a concession stand at Race Legal events in San Diego.  Race Legal is a safe alternative to street racing that is held a couple times a month in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium.  The program was developed in 1998, in response to a high number of deaths and injuries from illegal street racing.  As recently as 2002 San Diego recorded 16 deaths and 31 serious injuries as a direct result of illegal street racing; as of 201o, there were 0 deaths and 4 injuries.  Law enforcement uses these drag racing events as an alternative outlet for illegal racing, which saves the lives of both racers and bystanders.  Check out their website for more info (http://racelegal.com/).

The troop is using the money the boys earn to help pay for summer camp (they are off to Camp Chawanakee in the Sierra’s), so Sam and I headed to Qualcomm at 5:30 on a Friday night to do our part.  We met up with other scouts and their parents, ready to serve up hot dogs and burgers to the hungry racing masses.

2.The gang B4

It is quite an operation getting the stand set up.  It was all hauled in by Mr Ship in the Code 4 trailer and his big red pickup.  Our Grillmaster, Mr. Steaktz, brought in the food.  We had to set up a big grill to cook on, tables and coolers for the stand, and tables and chairs for our guests.  Here is Mr. Ship getting the hot water set up, as the flags fly overhead.

3.2.Flags

After a good 45 minutes we were ready.  The grill was going, the drinks were in the coolers, the front table was replete with condiments, chips and candy, and the crockpot full of nacho cheese was burbling!

5.The gang.during

While we were busy at the stand, the racing started.  Cars, trucks and motorcycles faced off against each other on the straight track.  They waited for the green light and then hit the gas.  Their speed was tracked, as well as their wins and losses.  As day turned to night the crowds increased, as did the atmospheric impact of the smoke from the burning tire rubber.

6.2.Day 2 Night

Some panoramic shots of the race course, spectators, and our concession stand.

7.Panoramas.race.legal

The Grillmaster in action.  Many dogs and burgers would pass over the big grill’s red hot surface before the night was finished.

8.Grillmaster

I was the nacho lady for the evening.  We ran out of nacho chips while we still had half a pot of melted cheesy goodness in our crockpot.  We came up the great idea of using Doritos Nacho Chips and Doritos Cool Ranch Chips as the chip substrate for our nachos, thus inventing…Nachos Nachos.  I will have to do a web search, but I’m pretty sure this culinary creation is illegal in a couple of states.  New York for sure.

9.Nacho.nachos

The San Diego police department has a couple of cars that they bring to race.  They also use them for community outreach.  The cars have small screens and game controllers in the back seat and trunk for kids to play games on, blue underglow lights, and fuzzy dice, of course.  Mr. Ship took Sam and I over to get our picture in one of the cars.  Notice we are NOT in the back seat.  If there was a merit badge for photo bombing, Chris just earned it.

11.Mo+Sam.cop car

More photos of the blinged out cop cars.  Can you still call it “Pimp my ride” if it’s a police car?

10.Cop car

On the left, one of the racers taking a break.  The racers have to wear helmets, and each car is inspected before racing to make sure it is good to go.  On the right, the boys are working the stand.

12.Night racing

I tried to get some photos of the racers with my little camera.  The bottom two are using the “Fireworks” setting.  On the lower left are the police cars, the lower right two motorcycles.  At the end of the post are some videos of races also, that will give you a better feeling for what they were like.

13.Racing montage

As there can never be enough pictures of cute puppies on the internet, I chased this little guy’s owner down to snap his pic.

14.Cute puppy

At about 10:30 we broke down the concession stand.  The races were still going.  After it was all packed up, Sam was shown how to lock up the Race Legal trailer by a police office and a financial officer.  He and the trailer were in good hands.

15.Locking up

On our way out we stopped to check out the trophies.  We had to leave before they were handed out unfortunately, as it was nearly 11:00 and they were STILL racing.  Nice hardware!  Check out the Race Legal website to see the winners from our night (http://racelegal.com/recent-winners/).

16.The Bling

That was it for our night of racing and entrepreneurship.  Time to head home and put our feet up!

17.See you

Check out these videos I took at Race Legal.

2 Police Cars Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/H2BtbBxjil4

2 Cars Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/aB7XeF29sZI

3 Pickups Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/bSrO16oyFOA

 

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You Had Me At Free Cake

My son Sam and our friend Trevor had a day off from school last Monday.  It was a “staff development day”, or something like that.  They go to a charter school, which can do what it wants.  Their school didn’t want to have school that day, so they didn’t.

Anyway, when the boys have random days off, we try to find something to do.  Besides them sitting on their backsides all day in front of a computer.  I happened across an article in the paper (yes, I am one of 10 people in the United States who still get a paper) on USCD’s annual celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) lived in San Diego, and his widow Audrey has donated thousands of his materials as well as money to the UCSD Library, which bears their name.  She recently donated 1,500 new materials, which are display at the library through the end of March (http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/donated_dr._seuss_works_may_lead_to_new_books).

That all sounds lovely, but what really made me decide to go was the part about free cake.  Also, the fact that in the 6 years I worked on my PhD and the two years I was a postdoc at UCSD, I never managed to go to this celebration.  This was my chance to make up for a lifetime of regret.  And a chance to get some free cake.

So off we went to UCSD to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 110th birthday.  We headed to the library, and something told us we were probably in the right place.  The giant blow up Cat in the Hat maybe?

One Big Cat

There was a rocking band…and lots and lots of CAKE!

Cake + band

Besides eating the delicious cake and cupcakes and drinking lemonade (one of Dr. Seuss’ favorite drinks), Sam and Trevor got to hobnob with important people, like Pradeep K. Khosla, the Chancellor of UCSD, and Brian E. C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UCSD.  Heady times boys!

Chancellor+Librarian

Though you might not think it, there was a point in the celebration when a drone would have come in handy.  The Chancellor stepped in make the first cut in the cake, and all we got was a nice view of the photographers.  The camera guys got out of the way soon enough, as the crowd rushed the table, desperate for cake.  Frosting flew everywhere, small children were crushed underfoot!  Just kidding, this is UCSD.  People politely waited their turn for some cake.  Just trying to spice up the old blog a bit, New York Post style.

Need a drone

After we had some refreshments, we headed into the library to check out the special collections.  They had the new Dr. Seuss materials on display, including line drawings, paintings, and color illustrations.

Line Drawings

Paintings+Illustrations

There was also a case displaying ideas that Dr. Seuss described as failures, including a card game he designed.  It was a nice teaching moment, as I told the boys sometimes failing can be as important as succeeding, if you use it as an opportunity to learn something about yourself.  I wish I could say they lap up this and the other pearls of wisdom that continuously drop from my venerable lips, but they just shrugged and wandered away.  Tweens, sigh.

Card game

Also in the special collections section was this fantastic wall covered with “The Alphabet of Bones,” a font of 26 characters inspired by the hollow bones of birds by San Diego artist Joyce Cutler-Shaw.  Trevor is doing the Chicken Dance in front of it.  Glad to see all those acting and dancing lessons are paying off.  In my opinion, the library totally missed the boat on the signage for the campus phone.  How hard would it be to add the spelling of “campus phone” in the bone alphabet?  Brian E. C. Schottlaender, Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UCSD, is this something you could make happen???

Chicken dance

Next we decided to head up to the top floors of the library, to get a look at the view.  The person at the information desk reminded us that the top floor was a SUPREME QUIET ZONE!   This made my worry wart son Sam not even want to go up.  Trevor helpfully points out the “BE QUIET ON THE TOP FLOOR” notice in the elevator.

Inside UCSD library

On the top floor I found this incredible book, which I spent a few minutes looking at while the boys quietly ran amok.  They came back in time to help me get some pics from the book, as there were some large fold out pages.  Trevor is pointing out the rat’s teats, in case you missed them.

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

A few more fun pics from around the library.  Trevor is confusing Dr. Seuss with Santa Claus, and is asking for presents.  The library has some pretty cool architecture, you can get an idea of this from the bottom picture.  The building looks like a space ship that has landed.  On the lower right you can see our reflections in the mirrored walls of the walkway leading to the front doors.  Sam is making bunny ears on his mommy.

Library shots

Finally, the art piece below (Fallen Star) isn’t at the library, it is on one of the engineering buildings, but we saw it as we walked down the hill and decided to try to get a closer look from the top floor of the building.  We did get to see the garden and the front of the house that is perched on the edge of the roof, but only through the locked doors.  It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I guess we will have to try to come back over spring break.

Fallen Star

Fallen Star is part the Stuart Collection at UCSD, a collection of site-specific public art pieces around the campus.  If you haven’t ever wandered the campus visiting the art pieces, I would recommend it.  Parking is free on campus on the weekends, just like the cake on Dr. Seuss’ birthday!

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