Saturday, February 9, 2019


School is going well for Smarty. This week, she had her award ceremony and took part in AMC10. She was a bit shocked by the difficulty of the problems, but she is kind of fired up to practice more for the next year. She also participated in planting native California plants in the back of her school. Hopefully, those drought-resistant plants will not be drowned by all the rain we are getting this week and expected to still get next week.

After School

Smarty has a "head cold", so she was taking it easy this week and spent most of her free time reading.

What We Are Reading

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, and this post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Smarty found her new favorite non-fiction writer, Sam Kean. She read his Caesar's Last Breath before and this week she raced through The Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons. She was especially excited about this book, because it falls in the range of things she is very interested in - specifically, neuroscience. I have finished Skeptics' Guide to the Universe and started reading by Smarty's request The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. I admit that I am not really that impressed with this book - for once, science in the book that serves as a backdrop for the story seems flaky to me, and, secondly, the characters and the setting just do not feel 3-dimensional to me. In addition, there are several sex scenes in the book that don't contribute anything to the story and seem derived from any average "romance novel". Nevertheless, I decided to finish it, so I can argue the pros and cons of the book with my daughter.

Places We Are Going

Last Sunday, we braved rain and wind to go on a scheduled group tour to Año Nuevo, a State Park that houses a large colony of elephant seals. They come to this shore to mate (and also to molt in summer). It was amazing to see these large animals so close - we were instructed not to approach them closer than 25 feet, but some seals clearly did not get that memo and approached the tour. The rangers told us a lot of interesting facts about elephant seals - Smarty was fascinating to learn that their fertilized egg swims in uterus for months before implanting and triggering a pregnancy. We saw multiple pups of different ages, large alpha bulls busy... well, mating, and even a female giving birth. Smarty was beyond herself with delight and said that it was one of her best life experiences ever so far. She could not wait to show her pictures and videos to her marine biology teacher.

Picture of the Week

"Love" of elephant seals. Smaller females were not amused.

Your Turn

How was your week?


An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

An elephant seal giving birth!?! That's a fantastic field trip!

MaryAnne K. said...

That tour sounds amazing! But those poor smaller females :(

I remember being surprised by the difficulty of the AMC10 math problems the first time I took it.

That's a great photo of you and Smarty!

Min Erva said...

We were going to visit the elephant seals this winter but forgot all about it. We went when K was much younger so a revisit would be good in the future.

Ticia said...

That is pretty amazing!