The 800 or so students that are attending Andover’s Summer Session arrived on campus today. They come from all over the world to spend five weeks on campus studying a rich range of courses. Most of the students are in high school, but the youngest students are the rising eighth graders enrolled in one of our Lower School Institutes. The great majority of the students do not attend Andover during the academic year, so in the library we have the challenging task of getting to know several hundred new students as quickly as possible.
During the summer, we are privileged to be able to employ two students. Alex graduated from Andover in 2013 and worked for us last year before he went off to college. We are delighted to welcome him back. He has already proven his worth by undertaking a massive shelf-shift resulting from our various weeding projects.
Christine is a rising Senior day student who has been part of our academic year work duty for a couple of years. She is a talented artist, and so on her first day of work we put her to work creating a welcome message for the Summer Session students.
I am still dealing with the effects of my red eye flight combined with a three hour time change, and needed to find a way to productively occupy myself today that would require minimal concentration. I journeyed to the Abbot Community Garden early this morning to weed and give my plants a good soaking, and discovered my first zucchini. I harvested some dill and a truly spectacular head of lettuce.
Next I journeyed to my local Apple Store for my One to One appointment. In my opinion, One to One is the best technology bargain in the universe. For $100/year, I can have private instruction from one of the store’s excellent trainers. Today we worked through a list of issues and problems I’d been saving, and then spent some time exploring Pages, Apple’s word processing software.
For some time I have contemplated a rearrangement of my sewing room, and today I tackled the job. It involved a huge sort of fabric and projects, along with several trips to my storage area in the basement. But I now feel fully ready to tackle Christmas sewing for my seven grandchildren.
This is my main sewing area. It is backed up by a wire basket system and two plastics dressers. They contain fabric sorted by color and type, items awaiting embroidery, stabilizers, notions, etc.
The highlight of the room is my thread collection. Thread makes me happy. What can I say.
Lucky that I finished the reorganization, because during the short time I was away, three colleagues have had babies. Welcome to Charlotte, Bridget, and Cole. The class of 2032 is already filling up.
Robin and I traveled home on Jet Blue’s non-stop flight from San Jose to Boston, which was scheduled to depart at 9:10. In fact, we arrived at the airport quite early, and had time to have a Mexican dinner, including a Margarita. That was supposed to help me sleep on the plane. I have trouble sleeping on planes. I have pretty much never slept on any plane. The Margarita didn’t work, and I didn’t sleep. But, I was listening to a terrific book, Boy, Snow, Bird, and managed to finish is about the time the pilot announced that we were in our final descent into Boston.
I was determined to stay awake all day, thereby resolving my three hour time difference in one fell swoop. It worked pretty well. I can’t remember what I did, exactly, but I am fully unpacked, have clean laundry, and my bike has been reinstalled in the storage area. I will get it back out and assemble it to check and clean it as soon as I have some free time. I can’t face it yet because once again, the TSA has decided that my regulation-size Samsonite suitcase filled with carefully packed bike parts warranted further inspection. The Bike Friday travels really well if I pack it. It isn’t happy when its parts are removed for inspection and repacked by someone who doesn’t know how to do it.
Please, TSA, look up Bike Friday on Google. Learn what the parts look like. Don’t take them out of my suitcase.
Our numbers are dwindling. Patti left yesterday to go watch her daughter compete in a Triathlon. Connie and Ann headed out at the crack of dawn to avoid LA traffic, and Carole headed to San Francisco after dropping Donna and all of our luggage off at Susan’s house. Peggy and I checked out of the hotel and took advantage of the opportunity for one more walk over to Susan’s.
At Susan’s suggestion, we headed to Henry Cowell State Park in Felton. Despite being in a different town, the park is only about 15 minutes from Santa Cruz. This stand of virgin redwoods a seminal role in the creation of the environmentalist movement. We strolled along a self guided nature trail and marveled at trees that might be 300 feel tall and 1,800 years old. Helps to keep things in perspective. At one time part of the area was under the sea, and so the park contains a unique ecosystem–the Ponderosa Sand Hills.
Returning to town, we drove the route of the aptly named Strawberry Fields Bike Ride. Jan participated this year, and so gave us a blow by blow route description. While on the East coast strawberries ripen in June, typically in time for Father’s Day, in California there is a continuous crop. We saw workers harvesting strawberries. This is a delicate and labor-intensive job, which I will now appreciate whenever I eat strawberries out of season.
Even though we are all avid cyclists, we decided to mix it up a bit on this trip. Jan Bee arranged a Kayak adventure with Kayak Connections, and six of us went kayaking in Elkhorn Slough. I didn’t have a dry bag for my phone/camera, so I (wisely) decided to leave it in the car. Hence, no on the water photos. But this is the route we took. It was spectacular. The weather was perfect, the slough is quiet after you traverse the main channel, and it is a veritable wildlife refuge. We saw otters, seals, and sea lions in abundance. From our guide we learned that otters, though cute, are pretty unsavory. That sea lions, especially adolescent males, can be aggressive, and that pelicans are easily disturbed. We saw dozens, maybe hundreds of them. In addition, the slough features heron, seagulls, and cormorants. We toured with a naturalist, which meant that we got to enter the small channel in the middle of the map. It is generally off limits, because it is too small for kayakers to keep the mandatory distance from the animals. The slough is about five miles long, and we rafted up frequently so that Jess could point out various interesting things. The thing that most excited her was a Sea Hare. Basically a giant, blobby slug that squirts purple ink. But sea hare sightings are apparently very rare, so we tried to muster enthusiasm for her sake. The one that we spotted had stranded itself by climbing on a cement sedge at high tide, and then falling asleep. So not only did we see a sea hare, but we (royal we) actually rescued one. Grace, to whom it fell to undertake the rescue, was dyed purple to prove it. In addition, we saw living sand dollars, which was a first for me outside of the aquarium.
After our adventure, we had an excellent lunch at Phil’s, a local favorite.
We walked behind the restaurant to the beach.
Then we visited the Elkhorn Slough Interpretive Center, where we walked along the Boardwalk and looked at the Slough from the other end.
This is a bike vacation, after all, so today we rode our bikes to Monterey.
Carole started off with a flat tire, which she quickly and efficiently changed.
Once we got started, we stopped frequently for photos. We rode through a decommissioned military base which has been turned into a state park. One of the best possible examples of recycling.
We rode past the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but didn’t have time to stop.
We did take time to stop for an excellent outdoor lunch.
Leaving a rest area in the early afternoon, I realized that I had lost a clete. (New shoes, new cletes. Obviously I didn’t tighten them enough. ) Amazingly, Ann had found it (and one of the necessary screws) on the road and put it in her pocket. She helped me reinstall it, and I was back into climbing mode.
Two other notable things happened on the ride back. At the top of a significant hill we were surprised to see a very elderly woman who has ascended using her walker. We all quickly hid the fact that we were breathing hard from the climb.
And we passed a beach that was entirely overrun by sea lions. (They may have been seals,but they definitely weren’t otters.)
Monterey is really beautiful and the bike ride was spectacular. And at the end of the day, we had a delicious dinner made by Donna, complete with a gluten-free birthday cake for Peggy.
Some of our group went whale watching today, and had to get up really early to get to the boat. Peggy and I opted for a more leisurely start to the day, including a walk into town for “real” coffee. Then we walked over to Susan’s to meet the rest of the group for a hike in the redwoods.
The weather was perfect, the company was excellent, and the redwoods are truly staggering. And then at the end of a very satisfying day, we all got back together for dinner.