Virtual Family

Our new way of connecting with family in Oregon, Washington, and Southern Minnesota: Yahtzee on Google Meet/Hangouts and FaceTime. We learned a few things about cameras and scoresheets and the importance of seeing the dice when we’re playing, and it was so nice to connect in a way we’re used to doing in person. I predict many more creative solutions to come ❤️

leopard seal

[Maggie did some research on leopard seals this morning while studying at home. We’re aiming to include highlights of daily lessons on the blog. – Andrew]

Leopard seals live in freezing polar waters. They have clawed flippers. There are many different types of seals but leopard seals are the strongest hunters and swim very fast. Leopard seals have spotted fur and look like the cat called a leopard.

This is a leopard seal hunting a penguin.
Baby leopard seal with its mama.

Big Fat Cry

I had a big fat cry today. The cracks are starting to show in our kids, who miss their school life, friends, and routines, and despite them being used to me saying, “I don’t know” about all kinds of things, they kind of know this time that I *really* don’t know. Don’t know when we get to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Don’t know when the museums will open again. Don’t know when school will resume. I just don’t know.

We’ve never really been in control of this life, but there’s a special kind of something going on right now with this uncertainty. Crying is good. Loving each other and not doing school is good. Soaking up the sun is good. Leaving secret notes for our friends in the hollows of trees is good. There is a lot of good. AND. This sucks, and it’s scary, and we don’t know what’s coming next. And that’s worth crying about.

“We do not need to create a foot race to the silver lining. We don’t need to be in a hurry to turn these quarantine lemons (or cancer lemons, or any kind of lemon!) into a side hustle or a novel or a newfound fluency in three new languages.”

New Hair

Maggie’s been asking about dying her hair for a long time. Sarah tried dying it at home last summer, but it washed out after the first trip to the pool. So we finally made a professional appointment. The choice of color was suspenseful. Last week she wanted it to be bright red. This morning, she was leaning toward “greenish blue.” The stylist convinced her that purple would work best with her natural color. 

Widjiwagan 2020

For the first time since 2011, I was able to go to Camp Widjiwagan this year as a chaperone for the week-long seventh grade trip. It was glorious to be back up north in the heart of winter.

The overall experience was similar to my first trip (as described in this post). I still enjoy cross-country skiing, but haven’t improved much in nine years; I still have a hard time managing downhill slopes where I pick up too much speed, panic, and crash. The sauna-dip experience involved much less trepidation, since I remembered it fondly from the first trip. It was just as good this time. For bedtime readings, I warmed my cabin up on Monday evening with one of my favorite creepy stories, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Cats of Ulthar. The next night, the students requested more, so we dove into The Call of Cthulhu for the remaining nights, wrapping up on Thursday with a few brave students managing to stay awake for the ending.

A personal highlight, as mentioned in my previous post, was our Wednesday DFRPG game with Sam doing a masterful job in the GM’s chair. It was the closest my beloved character, Zafir Abrashi, has come to dying, being nearly digested by a giant carnivorous plant!

I didn’t take many pictures, but the selection below provides a sense of things. (All of the following are my photos except for the chaperone group which was taken by Molly McMahon.)

Update: My colleague, Cheryl Wilgren, shared some additional shots from the trip:

The latest news from Sarah and Andrew.