Solar Eclipse 2017

We had fun watching the eclipse today.  Livermore had ~75% occlusion at peak.  It was also Heather's first day of school (separate post coming).  They took the kids outside to watch pinhole cameras and then let them use eclipse glasses one-at-a-time so they could ensure they were being worn properly.

Heather helped me make eclipse cookies yesterday.

My sugar cookie skills could use some work...

Corinne got a kick out of the eclipse proclaiming, "Moon! I see the moon!" (by which she, of course, meant sun).

We used the colander to get pinhole-camera-style shadows.

And I had my camera set up with filters taking pictures.  I just kind of guessed at settings.  Some came out better than others.  Here's the picture from the peak eclipse:

And here's one I got as it was ending where you can see a line of spots.  I don't know if they're technically sunspots, but they weren't just dust on my lens--they stayed with the sun throughout the event.

My weather station noticed the eclipse too:

The variations in the readings are due to varying cloud cover that, thankfully, almost completely cleared out during the eclipse.

The temperature even dropped a hair:

Heard from the Girls

Heather, while camping: "Let's have a conversation.  What's your favorite food, drink, and, ummmmm, dinosaur? No wait, just dinosaur."

Heather, while showering after camping:
"Ummm, Mom?  Dad?  Anybody out there except Corinne?!"
[Corinne's interest is piqued and heads for the bathroom.]
"I need a washcloth!"
[Corinne wanders in, grabs a washcloth off the sink and tosses it into the tub.]
"Thanks Corinne."
[Corinne wanders back to the TV Show she was watching.]

Corinne is confident in her identity if not her language skills:
"What's your name?" -- "I Kin!" [She's missing 'r's]
"Are you a monkey?" -- "No! I Kin!"
"Are you tired?" -- "No! I Kin!"
"Are you my little girl?" -- [Throws hands up in the air] "No! I big gul"
"You're not a little baby?" -- "No! I big!"
"You're my big girl?" -- "Uh huh"

These two are goofballs.

Up Mt. Diablo

Last weekend we had a break in the rain and decided to get out of the house.  So we loaded up in the van and drove up Mt. Diablo (we've never been up before).  And then hiked around the top.

From the observation deck, which appears to be almost brand new.  The view is pretty spectacular, especially when everything is green.

I let Heather use my binoculars and she thought it was pretty great to look at anything and everything through them--even if it was only 3 feet away.

Out hiking the summit-loop trail:

Corinne thought climbing rocks and walking the paths was pretty awesome, but that wasn't going to be feasible once we got on the actual trail around the summit.  She wasn't enthused about the backpack at first, but once we got moving she was fairly pleased.

It was nice to get out and about, even if it took almost an hour to get up the mountain.  There was a line at the entrance gate that was moving incredibly slowly.  And then while we were waiting an ambulance and fire truck came up and passed us.  I'm sure taking the firetruck up the mountain with all the switchbacks and narrow lanes must have been fun.  I'm not sure what the correct protocol would have been if you had met the firetruck while coming down as the firetruck was coming up on the wrong side while passing all of the cars stopped waiting for the gate.  There wasn't room to go anywhere except in reverse.

The firetruck came down shortly thereafter, but we never saw the ambulance again.  So it must have gone down the northern entrance.

Worry, Concern, and Hope

I worry.

I worry the country will be a worse place when my girls grow up.

I worry our nation will blind itself to its faults.

I worry that anger and violence will increase.

 

I recognize that surrounding every atrocity has been a society of good people quietly saying, "That will never happen here.  We're better than that.  Let's just keep our heads down and get through this."

How does one find a balance between wariness, activism, fear, and over-reaction?

I don't know.

Are people in the U.S. currently over-reacting to President-elect Trump's language, decisions, and actions?  I hope so.  For it to be an over-reaction means things aren't really as bad as they might seem.

Four years ago I wrote about the dangers of nationalism.  That post is more relevant now that it was then.  Please go read it.

I am greatly concerned that President-elect Trump regularly, publicly attacks, demeans, and insults any opposition to his actions or opinions.  No one likes being the subject of public ridicule and I am concerned people will keep their mouths shut to avoid this treatment rather than oppose him.

I am concerned that dissent will be suppressed.

I am concerned that President-elect Trump seems to be gathering a body of "loyalists" to surround him in Washington rather than competent and qualified individuals (even if I disagree with their views).

I am concerned that many people no longer feel safe going about their day.

I am concerned that an elected State Representative was harassed and berated for her religion and ethnicity during a cab ride in the nation's capital.

I am concerned that the next few years may be marked by conflict escalation between Trump supporters and opponents.

I am concerned that the next 20 years in the United States may subject us to some type of nationalistic violence within our borders.

 

I hope these concerns are unfounded.

I hope for peaceful dissent and respectful disagreement.

I hope for a nation that can recognize it has faults even if we disagree on how to fix them.

I hope the country is a better place for my girls when they grow up.

I hope.

Heather's First Day of TK

Today was Heather's first day of public school: Transitional Kindergarten.  TK was created when they moved the enrollment cutoff from Dec 31 to Sep 1.  It's billed as helping the kids prepare, but it's only for the kids born during Sep-Dec.  Which makes no sense since those kids will now be the oldest in their classes.  The only logical explanation I can come up with is that it only exists to appease the families that weren't planning on paying for another year of daycare.  Which, to me, means it should have only existed for a couple of years while the school system transitioned.  But it's here to stay even though it makes no sense.

Anyway, Heather falls in that range so she's enrolled.  5 hours every day.

She had a blast.  So hopefully that continues.

In the morning, ready to walk to school:

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I held my off-camera flash arms-length to my left which filled in nicely I think.

Coming out when school was over:

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And Corinne coped by perching herself on the window sill, with a frog (that's the coffee table under her feet):

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