Summer Visits & Vistas

In spite of Covid, its been a busy summer. We had three visits and took one quick camping trip. ML, Charlie & Veronica took another trip to SoCal, but I demurred.

First, Steve & Christina brought the wildly adorable lil’ Freya for a visit…

Then, Josh & Adrienne Crockett came to visit and camped in our back yard. More kid fun with Sophie and Isaac…

Then, we took a trip to Eagle Lake and Lassen National Park. Cousin Elayna was going to come with, but she had car problems. So, Veronica invited her friend Paulina. Eagle Lake turned out to be nice, what with a super large campsite and a long relaxing day in the refreshing water. Check it out…

This second batch is of our drive through Mt. Lassen Park which included a hike to Bumpass Hell, a natural hot springs. Couldn’t get the crew to go to the top of Lassen (which I did solo years ago), even tho’ you practically drive to the top…

Who doesn’t love panos? Who doesn’t love having twins?

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Who doesn’t love time lapses? Heading home over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco…

Our last visit (so far) was Elayna! She got her car fixed and come up to camp in our back yard. We were able to turn her on to the natural wonders of our area by hiking, mountain biking, and as you can see here, kayaking (in the San Gregorio slough). I’m throwing in an old picture of a littler Elayna holding baby Veronica (ML looks exactly the same). Cheers…

As mentioned, the rest of my crew adventured to Oceanside & Santa Monica, but I stayed home, bereft with cognitive dissonance. I owe my dear cousin Steve a visit to his hood, and I want to go. However, legit Covid fears (spiking!) and complicated house projects edged out my wanderlust. Further, my Santa Monica homies, lil’ Stevie Whalen, Uncle Jon Amsden, Ol’ Danny Boy, etc. share my Covid concerns. Most significantly, they took the rings off the rings, so a trip to the beach would have lacked a certain swing. Like the Olympics, and notwithstanding my carpe diem sensibilities, I’m putting such a trip off until next summer when I can do it all, including visits to North Hollywood, Riverside, and maybe even a lil’ Newport Beach/Balboa Island action. I only hope my kiddos will come along down that memory lane…

As ever, thanks for you time & attention!

Graduation 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent quarantine put a kibosh on all the activities that students enjoy near the end of every school year. Sports, concerts, plays, proms, and more were all cancelled. However, there was an attempt to put on graduation ceremonies.

Here in La Honda, both Charlie and our friend Phoebe Deacon graduated from HMB High School this year. Some friends, teachers, and community members did a drive by, complete with music, honking, and kind shout outs, first to our house, then to the Deacons near the top of the hill. A very nice, even touching tribute to our kids. Can you find his graduation sign?

At Half Moon Bay High School, there was a kind of walk through, one student at a time, through campus, into the gym, across the stage, and out the door. Charlie was able to be in a cohort with a few of his friends, but the one-at-a-time thing rather mitigated the camaraderie. I think ML and the school have other pix, but here are some…

At Pescadero High School, we did a kind of drive-in graduation. Everyone stayed in their cars parked in front of a stage set up in front of the gym. The kids and their scholarships were announced, they walked the stage, but it was quite efficient. The fun part was all the cars honking for each graduate. They filed out and off campus, then did I kind of parade through the town of Pescadero. A pretty good consolation prize…

In one era and out the other…

Nature Walks! (Actually, it just stays there while we walk through it…)

I should have a post or two about the Coronavirus pandemic, but I’ve got nothing to add to the barrels of ink spilled into the ether.

Instead, here are some pix from adventures with Dr. Alan Burr, my friend and neighbor. His daughter was a student, his wife was our dog’s vet, and he was vet (retired). Anyway, we’ve explored some of the local trails during the quarantine, of course physically distancing and wearing masks. First, up to the Hiker’s Hut and thereabouts…

Some stills in the stillness…

Alan invited me to go tide-pooling with our mutual friend and neighbor Mark Nolan, AKA “Marine Mark” and his son Shea. Here are some pix of a very low tide around the Pigeon Point lighthouse (same spot I brought my Environmental Field Studies class when we did the LiMPETS program)…

Finally, some banana slugs running through the woods…

Hey WordPress, why won’t my video of mating bullfrogs load? It’s only a minute and a half? Kind of exciting the way they hop around and make those alluring bullfrog noises. Here’s a link: https://youtu.be/cvyTrk-M-ek

 

Old Dogs & old photos…

Thinking about our dear Sugar Pie led me to reflect on our old dogs of the past. When I was born, Mom & Dad had a doggie named “Heidi.” She was a boxer (related to my Dad’s summer endeavor “The Boxer Boys Club”), but she passed away when I was seven and I don’t have any pix.

When we moved to 1375 Tareyton Drive, we had three dogs over the course of the rest of my childhood. “Pasha” a Siberian Husky, “Dudinka AKA Dude” a Samoyed, and “Ziggy” a black Lab. Here they were…

Going through those old photos led me to some others of my wonderful family…

In the process, I also found some other fun pix: some student ID cards from my junior year abroad, and travels in Mexico, France, Togo, and Sequoia National Park…

Finally, sometimes I tell folks about an extraordinary experience at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. I took a painting class from Picasso’s former partner Françoise Gilot. During that summer in 1977, she brought along her husband, polio vaccine discoverer Jonas Salk. In the middle of the two week course, Françoise & Jonas flew to Washington DC where Dr. Salk was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award (along with Martin Luther King, Jr.) by then President Jimmy Carter. Here they are showing the award whilst pouring me a glass of champagne at the after-class party. Good times!

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Sugar Pie

Sugar Pie Vail was born on November 22, 2006. Her mother was a yellow lab, and her father a wayward golden retriever. I always said she was half lab, half golden, all retriever, but only if it was a tennis ball, of which she fetching many. Not only fast, but that dog could hunt and eventually found the errant ones.

On March 3rd, Super Tuesday, our precious doggie passed away at age 13. She’d been showing her age and seemed to have a stroke the night before needing a sedative to sleep. ML took her into our vet who agreed it was time, but kindly waited ’til I came in from work and voting.

Here are some pix of Sugar Pie as a puppy in Southern California, before we moved north…

Here are some more pix of the old girl as an adult. With all the hikes and freedom, she had a pretty good life. Tho’ rather shed-worthy she was a sweet and lovable, and a wonderful companion. We knew the inevitable, but I was still surprised by my grief…

Above, tree’s too die. The beautiful oak in the picture with the green grass fell down when we were on our trip, which you can see in the pic with Sugar & Veronica. Speaking of fallen trees, I threw in a cute one of the kids too on a buckeye that had also fallen (doubtless Sugar was there with us).

Sugar’s last day…

Ski Week 2020 and beyond…

Altho’ there was not a ton of snow, they make it at Heavenly Valley, so when “President’s Week” rolled around in February, we went for it. Good thing we didn’t wait for more snow during Spring Break, because by then the Coronavirus pandemic had closed all the ski resorts, etc. In addition to the slopes and of course beautiful Lake Tahoe, there are some pix of a fun restaurant where you fill your bowl of goodies then have it grilled for you. Great weather, good times…

Here’s a batch of clips curated from the many videos. None are too long, enjoy the action…

Thanks for watching!

Fall & Winter 2019-20

Hi Scholars, Be warned, this is a big batch (could be bigger) covering approximately September 2019 to January 2020. I’m saving some video clips, including Veronica’s hoop season, for another post.

First up, the second field trip to the Stanford University library thanks to an Access Grant from the Center for Latin American Studies. The theme was “the historical antecedents to the current immigration crisis.” The previous year, we took 11th & 12th graders, and this year 10th graders. Once again, Adan Griego, the curator of the Latin American collection at the Green Library, did a great job as our tour guide.

I’m thinking it was around September that we realized we’d need a third car, so ML & I went to the Saturday morning auction in Redwood City and brought back a 2007 Prius with only about 25K miles on it. Kinda fun, but it didn’t take long for it to realize life in the mountains can be rough.

There should be more about this in the near future, but because of a grant from MidPen to Groundswell Coastal Ecology our students will have the opportunity to create a native plant nursery on campus and then conduct habitat restoration at Tunitas Creek Beach. Here are some pix from the first of several reconnaissance missions there (and to a natives nursery at Kelly beach in HMB…

The end of October always means the Halloween Carnival at Pescadero Middle & High Schools. This year, as ninth grade sponsor, we served up some donuts and games of chance.

Around the same time is the HMB Pumpkin Festival and of course lots of band action at the football games. I may add some live clips to a later post. This was the last year that Charlie & Veronica got to play together. Enjoy…

Here’s a batch of miscellany: pancakes, petrified wood at Main St. Sushi, a dog watching a turkey leg, ninth graders selling breakfasts, an HMB reporter guest speaking, and another great sunset…

Fall is also about Cross Country. Just a few pix from several meets. (Again, I may add some video clips to another post)…

And along comes Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just a sampling of festivities at our house (including the bookclub) and Nancy & Jered’s.

ML likes to see Cirque du Soleil for her birthday between Christmas and New Year’s and they come to SF around this time of year. Here are some illegal pix of the action, etc.

The following batch features my kayaking foray up Butano Creek as far as possible on the new, dredged section. Almost made it to the bridge going into Pescadero before bottoming out. Also, some pix of our newly finished shed, cabin, or casita. It has been a long process and these pix don’t show the interior which still took a couple more months to complete.

Mary Lynn put on another edition of “Alice in Wonderland” at La Honda Elementary in January of 2020.

Finally, here’s another batch of miscellany: hearts for Valentine’s Day, a car crash on the 84, an event in the gym at PHS, and some rascally rascals in the library…

Thanks for checking it out…

Hiati?

Hello Friends,

I’m not even sure “hiati” is a word, but I’m going for “hiatus” in the plural ’cause randomvail.com has been spotty, more like not happenin’ for the last school year. These “lacunae” (there I go makin’ stuff up again) are attributable to getting back in the classroom for the first year I’d been excited about in awhile. After rich documentation of the fun summer of 2019, now a year ago, I only posted my premature (postmature?) attempt to create a business. (Got a job, don’t need a business. What ’til you retire… Or longer?) A personal glitch I guess…

It was already a busy year taking over Kevin Allen’s job as the PHS Social Studies teacher as he became the Principal. (Busy work = lazy bloggage.) Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and the school gig went online. I had more time to post, but did not. It was weird, and it still is as the quarantine and Covid protocols persist. However, I hope to catch up now that summer 2020 is past the halfway point. Thus, I’m digging back thru my pix to last fall and will document the recent past, hopefully eventually encroaching on the future. Thanks for the encouragement!

 

RandomVail, da biz?

February 2, 2020 is a palindrome: 02022020. (Even the more logical way of putting the date before the month, as in Europe and much of the rest of the world, nets the same palindrome.) Almost binary, one might say?

It is also Ground Hog Day, one of the more serendipitous events fraught with randomness and obscure meaning, not to mention a classic film (clip). So much relevance, but let’s just say it’s about the weather.

It is also the date that Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadéma, former president of Togo, made a triumphant return to the capital Lomé after a meaningful plane crash in 1974. (Also, random & obscure.) I was there on February 2nd 1981, but I forget what happened.

Speaking of Africa, if I had ever seen Bishop Desmond about to also board the 1:58 train for Johannesburg, I would have said, “Are you taking the two to two too Tutu?”

Speaking of going somewhere, I’ve been thinking of starting a business for a long time. After a great run as a practicing socialist (public school teacher), why not take a stab at capitalism? Why not market my mind?

Thus, I’ve conjured up the screwball idea of starting a business – today. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So that step was to send an email to my LegalZoom advisor canceling the LLC I’d signed up for. Too much, too soon. Reboots were made for walking…?

My business plan is kind of a retirement plan, so since I don’t plan to retire right way we’re off to a real slow start. In any case, I did attempt to write one…

“Random Vail monetizes the brain droppings of Randall Frank Vail, artist. These endeavors include art works and other products, sites/apps, writings, consultations, and various remunerative and/or fun activities.”

Family contributions may be included. Philosophy: Nature is our guide. Hybridize everything! Since hybrid vigor can refer to diversification, here are some potential endeavors…

  • Art Sales (Photography, Video, Assemblage, Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, etc.)
  • Second hand repurposing and installations
  • Objets Trouvés/Personal Artifact Therapy Products
  • Writing
  • A Hiking/Philosophy/Heuristic App and/or Tour Guide Experiences
  • Education Consultations & Presentations
  • ML Music Lessons or exploiting my children
  • Partnerships

So, don’t hold your breath, go ahead and buy some green bananas, and thanks in advance for your patience. While you’re waiting, you might want to save up some money. That way, when I finally get rolling, you will be able to purchase fine art works, buy scintillating literature, make some fun deals, or invest in a cool company. Of course, if you have any questions, suggestions, statements, or manifestos, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Appraisals?

Summer 2019, Pt. 2

Thanks to Charlie’s motivation and research, he & I went on an adventure with our neighbors Mike & Julian. In addition to a few days near Mt. Shasta camping at Lake Siskiyou, we also did a river rafting trip. Thanks to Mike’s familiarity with the area, we explored Mt. Shasta, another nearby lake, and a hidden but majestic waterfall outside the town of Dunsmuir. We loaded our van and their trailer with four kayaks, three bikes, and a small sailboat. All were deployed! Not only did Mike sail on Siskiyou, and I circumnavigated the lake by bike, and we all kayaked, but Charlie swam across the lake, and back! This first batch of pix depicts some of those endeavors…

This next batch of pix shows a couple different waterfalls, some campfire goodies, and our river rafting adventure, after which we headed home…

 

Another big event this summer was a visit by Uncle Ron, Julian & Livi, and their new baby Cooper. Cousin Elayna made the trip up from San Diego to hang with the family. This first batch is of the wonderful dinner and Nancy & Jered’s (Lucas & Rosa’s) new house at Pie Ranch. (Peruvian/Bolivian hats from us.) Enjoy…

This set of pix is at our house in La Honda where the family gathered for another meal…

…and of course we had a banquet in the private dining room at the Dominican Oaks…

 

Speaking of visits, Kirstie, our fellow traveler in South America from New Zealand, road her bike the length of California (joining her companion who rode from Canada to Mexico!). And once again, wrapping up the summer, was the Pescadero Art & Fun Festival (PAFF). In addition to the cyclists camping in our yard, this set of pix shows art by Mary Windram (the black & white one), Lynnette Vega (colored pencil on black paper), and some others, including Edgard & Paola painting a bus, etc…

Finally, here’s the work I put in the show. And check out the timelapse below…