Greetings from the west! We know we’ve been out of touch for a while now. Gratefully, Ivy has a few extra days off, so she thought she’d send ya’ll a friendly salutation via the blog. For those teacher friends and family, you know as well as we do that teachers get stuck in this sort of cave of living life constantly thinking and striving to reach those kiddos that are seemingly unreachable. Now, with a few days off, in our home, we are reminded that we have two very reachable children of our own. This was exactly what Ivy was trying to avoid…getting caught up in others’ lives so hastily that she forgets her own life. This is a great time of year to remind ourselves what is important in life. And, if you have never viewed any of Gerry Brooks’ YouTube videos, check him out, as he has a great grasp on life as a teacher. Here’s one to give you a smile.
We plan to send out cards to you soon. Some of you have our new address, while others don’t. Hopefully this will help and you will mail us something back. If you don’t receive a card by mid-December, will you please drop us a line? We feel like we’ve detached from people quite a bit and we’re sorry for that. We adore you and don’t want to lose touch with you!
You’ve read much about the BCS (baby coffee shop – this name stays, because we know babies usually start growing, yet this little shop is still tiny as can be). You also know that Arbor and Larry are doing a homeschool hybrid (and Ivy helps him/her out on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays). That’s going well; much better than last year’s homeschool experience. This time, Arbor can move at a pace suited for her. Many of you have been asking about Calvin and Ivy’s school. While it’s difficult to describe, the best way to say it is that it’s more outside living/working/learning than ever the two of us have experienced.
The school has 3 buildings – one where Calvin and Ivy’s classrooms are housed, but in separate rooms, another where the older students learn, and a third building that includes what Ivy would call “The Arts” building…housing a pottery studio, weaving, music, and other arts studio, plus the Spanish teacher’s storage space. The school is situated on 5 acres with plenty of learning and working spaces outside. The weather is perfectly beautiful 99% of the time (aside from being too hot May-Sept). Since school was in session, there has been only 1 rainy day, but even on that day, students still managed to be outside for a good amount of the time and the rain here rarely (ever?) turns nasty, like some storms do in Michigan. The temperatures in these parts get chilly in the middle of the night, but recover quickly. The temperature shift from day to night is astounding! Sometimes it can be 85 in the daytime and 35 at night…a 50 degree shift is not uncommon! The sun seems to have more power here, fully warming a body even when it’s 45 degrees outside, making it possible to be outside in regular clothes, no matter the temp, as long as the sun is shining. No wonder so many homeless folks reside in California.
While we often wonder if we can stay in California (it’s so expensive to live here), we wonder daily if we could leave this climate. Some people say they get sick of the constant sunshine, but Larry and Ivy both feel that they cannot get enough sun. We have toyed with the idea of moving to San Francisco, as Larry would easily find a job with Tesla, but we are well aware that the sun doesn’t quite shine as frequently there. What will the future bring? Who knows, but we’ll try to keep you posted.
There is definitely a drought situation in this part and many parts of California. In fact, we have noticed that our water bill is outrageously high, whereas in Michigan, we paid close to nothing for water. The reverse is true about electricity. Here, we pay close to nothing (maybe because there are a lot more solar panels everywhere in these parts) in California for electricity, but in Michigan, we were paying upwards of $400 a month in the chilly season to keep our home lit and warm.
We had always heard from others who lived in warmer climates that their leaves would change color and all that, but it was “different.” We really did not know what that “different” meant, but this year we were fortunate to experience it. Our take on it is that just now we’re in the peak of fall colors here. There are many Oaks around and some Maples, though the Maple trees here do not grow nearly as large. Those trees and others are changing right now and it’s beautiful! It’s also amazing how much later that transition occurs in this climate. We hear Michigan has already had some light dustings of snow, but here we’ve barely crept below 70s during the day.
Our family has taken a couple of side trips, though we’ve really been adjusting back to the full-time work and school mode. One day we headed out to Carrizo Plain. When we told people we were headed there, most locals gave us a quizzical look, as if to say, “What and where is that?” As we drove there, we began to understand why. This place was empty! There were two campgrounds within the giant acreage of the place, but we actually only saw 1 truck with what appeared to be 1 live person driving it through our entire journey over this vast place. Camping must occur here much more in the summer?
We were drawn to it because we had read that it was one of the few places where the San Andreas Fault could actually be seen doing its jog close to the top crust of the Earth. Our poor children were sadly disappointed as we drove along this dirt road, then that dirt road, and another dirt road trying to catch a glimpse. We did find a ‘sag pond’ (currently dry area that sags when rain comes because of the fault) with the obvious line from the fault running through it. See a picture of Larry straddling it here. This was exciting to the grownups, but the kids were not impressed. We think they did not realize the magnitude of what we had found. Still, we would agree that the time and effort it took to find was probably not worth the drive. That said, Larry and Ivy found it thrilling to stand right where earthquake action had definitely occurred before.
Other fun we’ve had were Calvin’s 12th birthday, Halloween, and our community’s Harvest Festival. We did drive up through the new road where the giant landslide occurred past Big Sur. It was astounding to see the added land that now juts out into the water, compliments of mother nature moving loads of earth that would cover the trucks that transported tons like a thick, heavy blanket. Calvin was excited to realize there must have been a Porsche rally north of the landslide. We probably passed 30-40 different Porsches that day. He named them all flawlessly, though we’re sure he wishes they were all Lambos.
We do not seem to tire of the beach or the classic cars always around. It is true that cars last decades longer in this climate. Rust? Haven’t heard of it. Rarely see it.
For Halloween, Calvin’s class put on a poetry play. You can see some footage of it here, but it sure was dark! Also found in the photos are both kids’ costumes and some footage from Arbor’s talent show with some friends in our community. So cute!
You may have heard about the fires in the news lately. If you have not, it’s been dry all over this state. About the same time a fire (or more than one?) began near San Francisco, one or more also began near Los Angeles near many mansions in Malibu. Larry had people coming in to the BCS repeatedly saying they had to leave the city due to the smoke and air quality. That’s good news for the coffee shop, but not as good for the people who have lost homes or loved ones. A friend in our community wanted to hold a bake sale to raise money to help pay the firefighters for all their hard work. Arbor offered to bake cookies to add to this bake sale, so we had fun with that. The bake sale raised around $125.
Now we turn to the holidays and begin to think of how grateful we are for our friends and family, most of whom are still far from us in distance but not in heart. We wish you a wonderfully warm, cozy, and loving Thanksgiving.
When reading this over, we realize it might be our least funny blog yet. Sorry about that…especially if you’re reading for the humor. We’ll try to get back into the swing of things and cause some more laughter medicine soon. Ivy is sure t o fall-jump from a surry sooner or later.