Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nike Missle Silo, Marin Headlands

This was an unexpected and amazing tour! Another video courtesy of Scott, much better than mine!

Hunting Hawk Video

My brother Scott did this great video of the hawk.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A year of books

I’m allowing myself to depart from my usual blog style, because I LOVE BOOKS. And, so do my kids. The kids weren’t too excited about ancient Olympia, or the Temple of Artemis, or Pompeii, but their books kept them company on our travels! I got to read some of them myself! We had a bit of a “dry spot” in rural Italy with nowhere to buy books in English. That changed in Venice when we stocked up on the next Stephanie Meyer and Christopher Paolini - sheesh, paid big Euros for those books (we didn’t buy a single souvenir—not even a fridge magnet!)

When we got to Cape Town we were delighted with our local Wordsworth Books at Long Beach Mall. They got a lot of my money, as they had lots of good mid-grade and YA stuff from the UK and elsewhere (not to mention some comfy chairs for the kids and Garfield comics the kids devoured while we were grocery shopping). A couple of bargain bookshops filled in the gaps, and later we got some needed sequels at the Simonstown public library. How TERRIFIC to be homeschooling without TV for 8 months, living by the beach.

So, here are photos of the boys’ reading journey, and the booklist is posted also. (The links on each caption point to blog posts of the region).

centralpark QM2

Central Park, NYC                    On the Deck of the Queen Mary 2


provence2 provence3

Train to London                            Provence, France

monaco colletta

Driving Through Nice and Monaco            Colletta, Italy (Liguria Provence)

venice lido

On the Venice Vaparetto (water bus)                         Lido Island, Venice

dubrovnik Corfu cabin

Dubrovnik Croatia        Corfu, Greece                       Cruise Cabin Reading

olympia acropolis

On the train to ancient Olympia         At the Acropolis, Athens Greece



On the tour bus in Turkey. We visited the amazing ruin at Ephesus, The Temple of Artemis ruin, a Turkish carpet factory, and the final home of the Virgin Mary. Not sure if the kids remember any of that! But there are no complaints as look as they have a good book.



Ephesus, Turkey

rhodes santorini

Rhodes, Greece                                 Santorini, Greece

Pompeii catacombs

Waiting for the train, Pompeii                      At the Catacombs, in Rome

pick&pay blueroute

In Cape Town, South Africa            At the Blue Route Mall, Cape Town

paris parismetro

                       On the Paris Metro  (more Paris here)


Our Booklist:

  • William Nicholson:   Seeker; Jango; Noman
  • Terry Pratchett: Johnny and the Bomb
  • Christopher Paolini: Brisinger
  • Anthony Horowitz: Necropolis; Raven’s Gate; Evil Star; Night Rise
  • Terry Deary: Fire Thief
  • Kai Meyer: Waterweaver
  • Mark Robson: Dragon Orb, Firestorm; Longfang; Shadow
  • Katherine Emmons: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (my old Belize visitor’s guide!  Alex read it for Science)
  • China Melville: Un Lun Dun
  • Simon Morden: The Lost Art
  • Rick Riordan: 39 Clues. Maze of Bones
  • Oisin McGann: Small Minded Giants
  • James Patterson: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X;
  • Rafael Abalos: Grimpow, the Invisible Road
  • Geraldine McCaughrean: Tamburlaine’s Elephants
  • Stephanie Meyer: The Host; Twilight; Eclipse; Awakening Dawn
  • Branch et al: Two Oceans: A guide to the Marine Life of South Africa
  • Joan Lennon: The Seventh Tide
  • Will Peterson: Triskellion
  • Lois Lowry: Gossamer; Messenger; Gathering Blue; Giver; The Willoughbys
  • Roald Dahl: Danny and the Champion of the World
  • Douglas Richards: Prometheus Project: Trapped
  • Elizabeth Laird: Crusade
  • Angie Sage: Septimus Heap, Magyk; Physik
  • Garth Nix: Sabriel; Lirael; Abhorsen
  • JRR Tolkien: The Hobbit
  • Joe Craig: Jimmy Coats, Revenge; Sabatoge; Killer; Target
  • Robert Muchamore: Cherub, Recruit; Divine Madness'; The Killing; Maximum Security; Class A
  • Johnathon Stroud: Golem’s Eye; Amulet of Samarkand; Ptolemy’s Gate; Heroes of the Valley; The Leap
  • Peter Dickinson: Ropemaker
  • Michael Grant: Gone
  • Emma Clayton: The Roar
  • Mike Wilks: Mirrorscape
  • Esther Forbes: Johnny Tremain (Alex’s schoolbook)
  • Sharon Creech: Walk Two Moons (Jordan’s school book that we all read!)
  • Yoshiko Uchida: Journey to Topaz
  • Cornelia Funke: Inkdeath
  • Mark Walden: Hive, the Higher Institute of Villainous Education
  • Jeff Stone: Crane (we lost the thread of this series after Crane, which seemed to be only on the US)
  • Phillip Pullman: Northern Lights (Golden Compass) Tried to convince Jordan to finish this one, but he didn’t like it!

Now we are in Palm Desert, with too much TV and too much Internet! But, the book list continues to grow:

  • James Patterson: Maximum Ride, the Angel Experiment
  • Cliff McNish: The Silver Child
  • David Gilman: Blood Sun

A Bad Day (Aug 8)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yes, we are back in the USA

(I’ll post more pictures soon)

Well, we aren’t nearly as excited about Home Depot and Costco as we thought we would be.  We are missing the beach, the clean air, a more relaxed life! But I’m enjoying Mexican food, hearing Spanish, talking to friends. Jordan is happy to have his favorite fast food (but we’re going to limit that, kiddo). Alex is delighted with super-duper speedy and cheaper internet. Tony will sign up for Netflix soon and has been meeting old work buddies. We rediscovered the public library and community college (I want to take a sculpture class for fun). What I didn’t miss were all these ugly tattoos and body-piercing (yes this is pretty much a mostly USA thing) and the consumer choices are just way too overwhelming to enjoy!  (We are still buying fresh fruit, fresh chicken and veggies and COOKING—will see if that lasts). And, we have a slew of landlord blues (but nothing we can’t handle), and we really miss our doggie, Kei, who died on the trip from Wyoming to California.  He’d been sick with something unexplained and the vet couldn’t help. We are happy he waited for us, though.