Archival Pix, Part 5

As mentioned in Part 4, life changes when you have children. One’s perspective on one’s job, work, money, and rent-controlled apartment at the beach shifts, and then so do you. Remember China in the last post, well, thanks to Dr. Shipkowitz and the miracles of medical science, we didn’t go back to China.

Then, there was the startling discovery in the sonograph. Then, after perhaps too much Thanksgiving dinner in Riverside, Charles Evan Vail decided to start three weeks early – and apparently wanted the rest of the family there for the experience.

Of course, work did continue. The Naturalist Academy which I had started with a grant from the CDE thrived in the early 2000’s with our first graduating class in 2003. In 2004, we matched valedictorians with the HGM and the program grew. While the HGM gig might have been my best teaching job, the Naturalist Academy (and then the creation of the Home Engineering Academy) may have been my career peak (tho’ at this writing, I’m not quite done).

So this batch starts off with some pix of that first group (many who you saw in previous posts), including our work with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon. After going to several Shakespeare plays, we redid their Shakespeare garden, which is how I became a Service Learning Model Practitioner.

That hawk took down that poor other bird and then just ate right there on the lawn of the Ag Area (amazing nature in the middle of the city).

Then there are some pix of the art thing in Ferndale, followed by some of the Home Engineering Academy. We were featured on the Discovery Channel show Monster House in which our woodshop was completely renovated. Different from the academic environmentalism of the Naturalists, the Homies were about construction and many connections with that industry and the trades…

So, back to the kid pix and a few road trips. Foreshadowing the future, there’s one of the Galaviz family from whom we bought our nesting site in North Hollywood. We only lived there for four years, but it was great for babies and for the next transition (and as an investment!). Also, please note ML got pregnant again…!

…as mentioned above, when ML got pregnant for the second time it was evident that the beach pad days were over. And, unlike Charlie who came unexpectedly early, Veronica arrived as planned ahead of time on March 25th 2004. Dr. Shipkowitz, who made it all possible, was there to deliver the goods and suddenly ML & I had doubled our number…

This next batch starts off with some reality that photo albums don’t always depict. Then, the rest of it is just lots of good family times…

Our little family was not the only one going through changes!

Ron & Heather (with Lalayna & Julian) had moved to New Zealand, and Nancy & Jered were in the process of creating Pie Ranch – and some kids. Lucas came along the same year as Veronica, and Rosa followed in 2006. It is noteworthy, that each of we three siblings have had the blessing of a girl and a boy (albeit not always in that order).

Nancy & Jered bravely homesteaded for their first decade or so in a yurt. As depicted previously on this blog, they’ve since build their own house (in the spot where you see Jered walking with Lucas!). Tragically, the beautiful old house (build in the 1860s) shown near the end of this collection burned in the fires of 2020.

But their work in creating Pie Ranch has been amazing and much more will rise from those ashes. Incidentally, Veronica is modeling the sweater that ML knit for Rosa, who has now long outgrown it. Ahhh, what we outgrow…

This last batch is just more family fun, the kids growing up, and some trips to Mississippi and Florida. In 2006, for Mary Lynn’s birthday – and for our family – we got Sugar Pie (building immune systems requires doggies). Sadly, she’s gone and the kids are about to be.

Just about enough of this looking back; let’s think about looking forward! First, speaking of last (pix at the end of this collection), please note the exquisite table set by ML featuring some now broken or packed away wedding presents, etc., and the bitchin’ playhouse I built behind the garage at our little house in North Hollywood. [BTW, that was a great garage with an awesome mancave office (sorry, no pix).]

Thanks for looking! Thus concludes my nostalgia tour, altho’ there are many more pix in the albums in the crates in the garage. That last photo album marks the end of an era in visual technology. No longer would I take rolls of film to be printed, no longer would I sift through arrange those photos in albums. Digital cameras changed all that, and not just for me.

The next phase of life for Mary Lynn & I happened in the summer of 2007 when we moved north. Jered had turned me on to the existence of Pescadero High School, and we happenstancedly found our home in La Honda. A lot of luck & serendipity, along with some purpose & intentionality. Between the end of film photos and the beginning of this weblog was almost a decade! Many changes for us, the deaths of loved ones, and kind of a rough stretch in my teaching career, balanced fortunately by living in nice place. In another year or so, I’ll have been at PHS as long as I was at NHHS. And I’m hoping the 2021-22 school year will be the best yet…!

RandomVail needs to evolve, as do I, so while I’ll keep taking photos (and in fact will be teaching photography as part of my new Art classes), it’s time to post some writing. Stay tuned…

Archival Pix, Part 4

I spent 15 years teaching at North Hollywood High School, and 12 of those in room A162 in the Agriculture Area, so it makes sense that I have a bunch of pix. I used to make displays in front of the main office about the Ag Area, the Naturalist Academy, and other stuff. Lots of harvesting, various events (food, firings, etc.), and many guest speakers are herein depicted. More than one Rustic Canyon hike happened with many repeat customers. This batch also has colleague Billy Sheets’s band, Mary Lynn’s choir, and the homeless shelter we would donate to…

Random family pix (all five at 1375), camping, and ML’s delicious cooking up of our Ag Area produce…

Thanks to Zoo Magnet science teacher Barry Shapiro, in early 2000 I had the opportunity to go on an Earthwatch expedition to Brazil. The Fazenda Rio Negro, formerly a cattle ranch, had been turned into an ecotourism destination to research and learn about the ecology of the Pantanal.

Not all the water that drains off the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains goes into the Amazon River basin. Some of it drains into the south central of South America – the Pantanal (related: the novel, the TV series).

With a group of fellow teachers from around the USA, we assisted in the research interests of a couple of professors, Donald Eaton & Alexine Keuroghlianhe: fresh water invertebrates & fish, she: peccaries! (both from the University of Nevada at Reno).

In addition to amazing sunsets and deep jungles, you just saw swimming in pirhana infested waters, building an observation staton, bushwhackin’ with the Pantañeros, and researching critters. Some included here: many type of fish and aquatic creepycrawlies, jacari, tapir, tooyouyou, capyberrae, emus, and a toad. (Lurking nearby: jaguar, ocelot, anaconda, and the elusive peccary…

If you don’t already know, ask Mary Lynn why we went to China – and why we have not returned. In any case, we did in November 2001, right after the events of 9/11. We went for three weeks with a tour company, China Focus, and saw quite a bit of the country (at least in terms of tourist destinations).

Generally speaking: Beijing & the Forbidden City, a fraction of the Great Wall, the Farewell to the Three Gorges cruise up the Yangtze (now flooded by the world’s biggest dam), the terracotta warriors of Xian, silk, pearls, pagodas, calligraphy, pearls, the Li River Valley, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shanghai, buddhas & babies…

For this last batch: some random foolery, a mélange of miscellany: Nancy & Jered’s wedding extravaganza, a trip to Canada with my pregnant wife (to test out our new VW Eurovan, Dad’s second heart surgery (25 years after the first), some school stuff (including a visit to hear and meet Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, and Marya’s baby shower at the Villa Maria for Mary Lynn, and some other items…

So, Mom, dear family, loyal friends, and curious strangers (!?), this concludes the first half of my life, I hope (presuming I can make it at least into the mid-80’s). The last episode of Archival Pix (Part 5) will feature the kids and a change in technology.

Around the time they were in elementary school, smartphones changed my relationship with cameras and photography). I’d also point out for archivists that there was a phase where I shot more video than stills. I have collections of various generations of videotape attesting to this (many were eventually burned on to DVDs [if you can find that collection]). {Still looking for video cameras to play stuff back on…!}

Charlie & Veronica (and perhaps our dog Sugar Pie) will feature prominently in Part 5, but once that batch is over I stopped making collections of pix in photo albums (which is good ’cause schleppin’ & storin’ those crates is, nyuk. {There’s a curious gap between the time RandomVail.com begins in 2015 and 6-7 years earlier…?}

Archival Pix, Part 3

While parts 1 & 2 featured the ’70’s & ’80’s, this post is mostly ’90’s. Again, random selections from many albums. So, this first batch might seem like a lot of photos, but it represents six albums in one crate, and spans years. In fact, you can kinda tell by how much Laleyna grows.

Harry Perry was my paternal grandmother’s dad, who in fact was a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature – the picture was taken when Nancy & I drove across the country to a family reunion. Steven Whalen snorkeling in Hawaii, and Dan & I lurking to the farmers’ market in Santa Monica. Then, two trips to Tahoe to see Anthony growing up. Swinging in Rustic Canyon. Europe trips with students. And a whole bunch of Laleyna – the first of her generation – and various family members, even including Uncle Byrns. (More fishin’.) So, Montana, North Hollywood High, and my Global Exchange Reality Tour to Cuba, summer 1996. A stunning Miss Walters, and some graduates…

In fact, that previous batch only alludes, with only a couple of pix, to the four educational summer trips with students to Europe I took in the early ’90’s, thanks to Phyllis Spadafora. Lots of pix, great times, very educational for me (made a bunch of videos in a box somewhere).

Related, this next batch starts off with a Yosemite trip (I took five in the last ’90’s, all Highly Gifted Magnet Senior Trips, after the Advanced Placement exams. Then, it looks like one or two of several road trips up to Oregon where Ron did his residency this resided for a bit. One time we climbed Mt. McLoughlin.