Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Catching Up.

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the long absence. I've been up to my ears for the last couple months. Matt's family had a reunion at the end of July up at the Russian River. Then, I finished up summer school at the beginning of August and had about a week before I went to visit my relatives on the east coast for ten days. But now I'm back with the rest of the summer off. Woo-hoo!

The reunion was a lot of fun. My Mother-in-law's cousin owns vacation rental properties up at the Russian River (northeast of San Francisco) and let us all stay there for a few days. Andrew, my brother-in-law, has some pics up on his blog here.

Summer school was great. As always it was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. The kids made some really excellent projects but of course I forgot to bring my camera to school to take pics before they all got taken home. But I do have a few pics of my sample projects for y'all.

Here's my fishy bank.

I had the 4-6th graders make animal banks this year. They're a great project and not too difficult. You start by making the basic shape of the body and/or head out of wadded up newspaper. Then you cover it with clay slabs and shape it a bit until you have the general form. Then you add the other parts (ie. arms, legs or in this case, fins). Finally you add the details (eyes, mouth, etc.) and coin slot on top. When you fire it, the newspaper burns down to ash and you can just shake it right out of the coin slot. The kids made some fabulous ones, such as dogs, clams and even a toucan.

My younger kids made wind chimes. They made the base and all the leaves and I strung them together. I'm really happy with the way that theirs' turned out.

On July fourth, a fire was started over near Zaca Lake (northwest and on the other side of the mountains from Santa Barbara). It's been burning ever since. When I last checked, it had burned over 220,000 acres and it's still going. It's been a concern to all of us, especially as evacuation warnings and orders have been made for areas to the north of Santa Barbara, but it seems as though they'll be able to have it contained and extinguished without loosing any lives or (I think) structures. (Yay, firefighters!) The most noticeable effects here, have been the days of smoke covered skies and ash raining all over the city.

Matt had his very first conference presentation a couple weeks ago in Boston. He and his advisor and another researcher published a paper on computer security and worm detection. It was a crazy whirlwind for him because he left here on Sunday, presented Monday, flew out of Boston that same evening, missed his connecting flight in Vegas and flew back Tuesday morning. Don't you just love the airlines?

Later that week, on Friday, my family and I left for Rhode Island for about ten days. It was really great to see everyone. I met a cousin whom I had never met before and we spent a good deal of time chatting with my Grandma and Aunt Robin. We also saw almost all of my mother's brothers, whom I almost never get to see.

We also went to the beach/park, the RISD art museum and the zoo. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip:

On the downside, Friday night (2 days before we came back to SB) I got a message on my cell phone from Matt's dad saying that he got hit by a car riding his Vespa home from work. He seemed ok, but the paramedics wanted to take him to the hospital for tests anyways. So a few hours later I finally got a call from my rather shaky husband. He was sore and scraped up but otherwise fine, thank God. So at this point we're just trying to figure out all the insurance stuff and what to do since the other guy has no license or insurance and doesn't speak english. :-\

So that's been the last couple months of my life. Now I'm settling in to my last month in SB before heading back up to Davis. I'm hoping to spend a lot more time drawing and crafting and possibly reading some art theory.