24 February 2020

Odyssey of the Mind

It's time for me to brag about Quinn and his awesome teammates.

These kids have been working so hard every weekend to create their Odyssey performance.  Once again they chose the VEHICLE problem. 

A group of “Longshots” believe a disastrous event that threatens the world is about to occur and must stop it. Because no one takes them seriously, it is up to the Longshots to solve the problem. To succeed they must send materials from all corners of the world using vehicles that overcome obstacles and travel simultaneously into and out of a Reaction Area. As time counts down the Longshots will use the components, including baking soda, to create a reaction that produces a very special effect and saves the day!

They had to create a story line and 3 separate vehicles that were powered in 3 different (secret) ways that had to travel at least 5 feet through at least 2 barriers to deliver the ingredients to create a chemical reaction using baking soda.   Phew!

Each team member generally takes a portion of the project and this year Quinn worked on the vehicles and they were awesome.  Sorry, but I can't share pictures or tell you more about them until later.

But man these kids are so awesome.    They had a pretty major glitch in their performance but they had the most amazing teamwork and pounded through their performance and finished so strong. 


Here they are on the elevator to the Spontaneous problem.  It's the 2nd part of the competition and hard to explain.  It's called Sponts for short. 


Picnic lunch.  Of course it was the first rainy day in California in ages.  But we are grizzled veterans at setting up for Odyssey (and it rained last year) so we were very well prepared. 


The team did their long term performance around 10 am and Sponts at 11 am so we spent the rest of the day having fun and watching some of the other teams perform.  Also alot of playing video games with each other on their phones. 



Then it was on to the awards ceremony at 5:30 pm.  The head judge told Coach Juli that she was most impressed in general with the Middle School (Division II) group and their inventiveness with their vehicles.  After the major glitch in their performance and competing against 7th and 8th graders we had no idea how they would place. 


They placed 3rd!!!  We were so excited and proud of them.  Top 3 teams move on to States so off to Riverside we go in March. 



Funny story.   In the morning, we watched 2 other teams before Quinn's team.   The team before Quinn's team left a mess of baking soda and other stuff on the floor.  Don and I were concerned that it could cause issues for their vehicles so I asked the judges if we were allowed to sweep the floors.  Because of course we brought a Swiffer!  So Don and other parents swiffed the floors clean. 

And the team got awarded the "Omer Award" for good teamsmanship because of that.  And the swiffer is the new team mascot. 






And of course we always finish the night with some Baskin Robbins.  Exhausted Coach Juli!


19 February 2020

Project Life Family Yearbooks

You may recall that I create Project Life annual yearbooks.  I started doing them in 2011 and was pretty diligent about them through 2016.  I also did one for Quinn's first year spanning October 2007 - December 2008.  So I'm missing a couple years here and there.  

Here's my collection of colorful books.  I used to need 2 books per year as I did a picture and wrote a quick journal every day.   I loved printing out the pictures and physically putting them together.  The memories that I've captured in these books are priceless.  

I do these books for me but one day I hope that Quinn will want them but they are so big and bulky.  


So I decided to switch to a printed book with pages that I create in Photoshop.  I've been doing a little bit of catch up and recently finished 2017 and 2018.   It's nice to fit a full year in one book of about 60 pages.  I print these in a 10x10 format so they are so much less bulky than the 12x12 physical books.  


The page format is essentially the same and I try to do one week per page. 




18 February 2020

Weekend Happenings

Quinn had a nice 4-day weekend and although 3 of those days were filled with Odyssey we were able to have a little bit of fun.

On Saturday afternoon we took Quinn and Elias to The Void for a Star Wars virtual reality experience.   It was pretty good and the Herman Miller spinning chairs were a bonus.  


These two love being weird and I love their weirdness. 


But they are also pretty cute. 


Sunday night we went out to dinner with friends and then hosted a Rum Club Meeting back at our house.   The rum collection is growing. 


On Monday afternoon I took Sonic out to Sapwi park right down the street for a sunset hike.  The park is alive with the sounds of birds and frogs, especially at this time of day. 



Lake Watson Arizona

Back in January I went to a Photography Workshop in Lake Watson Arizona which is in Prescott and about 2 hours north of Phoenix.  My favorite mentor, Me Ra Koh, is taking a break from travel and workshops so I went with a new group.  But I was lucky that my friend Karen, who I met in Thailand, joined in on the fun.

Karen and I flew in to Phoenix around the same time and drove up to Prescott.  After all that travel we were ready to stretch our legs and check out Lake Watson.  I did not disaapoint. 


Later that afternoon we met up with the group in the hotel conference room and ran through the plans for the weekend along with some specific shooting goals.  Then it was out to dinner.  It was a great group of ladies of mixed ages, experience, and from all over the country. 


The next morning we were out the door at 7 am for a sunrise shoot at Lake Watson.  It was only about 3 miles from our hotel in Prescott.  Although we were in Arizona it was really cold, especially waiting for the sun to rise.



Karen much prefers to shoot people over landscapes so I got a bunch of non-selfie pictures courtesy of Karen.  


As the sun crosses the horizon you can capture the starburst.  It was the ooh and aah moment.


We had a break after the sunrise and then met up at 2 pm and hiked out to this spot and spent about 4 hours that afternoon shooting and waiting for the sunset.

Here's Karen and I.  We had such a great time together and it was nice to have a friend along.


As soon as I saw this scene with the reflections I thought Rorschach in black and white.



We were getting a little bit bored of shooting the landscape so it was time for some people photos.  




 This reminds me a little bit of an old dutch painting.  The camera (or I) didn't capture how spectacular this scene really was.  That tree in the middle was so beautifully lit by the setting sun.


Sunset wasn't spectacular but no complaints.


That night we went to the oldest bar in Arizona.  Our instructor Colleen was quirky and fun and after seeing a bridal party do this shot she knew we could do it better!  I think we did.


Karen and I with Colleen.  I really enjoyed Colleen's technical expertise and would definitely do another workshop with her.


Sunday morning we were out the door at 7 am to catch the sunrise in a different spot.   It wasn't quite as cold this morning.




Me shooting Karen who's shooting people.


We had one last get together that afternoon before heading back to Phoenix.  Karen had a 6 pm flight and I spent one night in Phoenix so I could see Ross' new house and have dinner with Tamara and Ty.  A pretty great weekend.

15 February 2020

Attack of the Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds have become so accustomed to us that they feel free to feed while we are close by.  They zoom around us buzzing their wings.  


Quinn's working on a special Odyssey project.  I can't wait to show you the result but not until after the competitions. 


14 February 2020

Principals Club

This surprise arrived in the mail.  The philosophy of the Principals 200 Club is to encourage school wide positive behavior.  



The teacher that awarded this to Quinn is quite a tough teacher so it's nice to see this pat on the back. 

13 February 2020

Our February

My first post of 2020!  What's been happening around here?  I will skip January and jump start to February!

It's Odyssey season and Quinn had a small project to work on at home.  This year the team is doing the vehicle problem again (same as last year) and they have to build 3 vehicles.  I'm still a bit in the dark but we will see soon enough.


Sonic post hike!  Wear that guy out.


Don and I were both going to get each other a portable ping pong set for Christmas so a great gift.  We finally set it up on our outdoor table (with one leaf added).  This should be fun!


We left the kids at home and went out with the Conrath's. 


Back at the Conrath's after dinner for a meeting of the Guys Rum Club.  They are constantly trying to find the best one. 


We finally made it out to the M*A*S*H filming site in Malibu Creek State Park on a beautiful day. 



It was about a 2.5 mile hike to get here and it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere.  So beautiful!


This area was burned in the Woosley fire but they replaced some of the things like this familiar sign from the show. 


6.18 miles in about 2 1/2 hours.  That was quite a hike. 


After school I usually pull out the laptop to check all of Quinn's homework assignments.  But usually he knows exactly what needs to be done. 


It's Shark-nado!


I met a friend for lunch at this new place called Tabu Shabu.  So yummy and healthy!


Sonic lives for the moment when the peanut butter jar is just about empty. 


Quinn's middle school is right across the street from a new park so I frequently take Sonic to school pick up and we walk 1.5 - 2 miles before the bell rings.  It's great exercise for both of us.  And then Quinn gets to lift Sonic back into the car.  He's heavy!


A weekend visit to the Hammer Museum.  Love these spinning chairs. 


Quinn was group chatting with his Odyssey team and texted "Harry Potter put an apple in the crockpot".  He thought it was so hilarious!


Ladies night out celebrating a 50th birthday.


Oh that look!  Not so happy about homework today.