Zev News January 2009


This year, we invited niece and nephew Samantha and Michael join us in what is becoming our annual ski trip. Michael and Samantha slept over Monday night so that we could leave at the crack of dawn Tuesday morning. We arrived around 8:30 and got our equipment and lift tickets. We put Michael and Samantha in ski school, since they had never skied before. We also put Benjamin in ski school, because he's not quite comfortable on intermediate slopes yet. Jackie and Jonathan took off to ski the intermediate and even a few expert slopes and Marc just hung out. We met up at lunch and found that we had two new converts to the world of skiing. After lunch, everyone discarded a couple layers of clothing, which sherpa Marc took back to the car. We all (except Marc who decided to pass on skiing) went off to do some beginning runs. Benjamin realized he didn't have his lift ticket, which was in the pocket of his coat, which Marc had taken to the car, so Jackie gave him her lift ticket and went to the car to get Benjamin's. She was amused to discover that she can ski on a child's ticket as easily as on an adult ticket. She is able to join up with Michael, Samantha, Jonathan and Benjamin and ski a couple of runs with them. Then she went off alone to try an expert slope. She had fun on that and met up with everyone else again. She and Jonathan took Benjamin on an intermediate slope. He did well. Jackie is pleased because now she Jonathan Benjamin can ski together. One of Jonathan or Jackie will go down with Benjamin and the other will take a harder route down. Jackie, Jonathan and Benjamin met up with Michael and Samantha, and Jackie and Jonathan took Samantha on an intermediate slope. This proved problematic, not because Samantha was not yet ready for intermediate but because one of her ski bindings was tweaked just enough to make putting on the ski on a slope extremely difficult. At one point, we almost gave up. Her ability is right on the border between beginning and intermediate. So we are hoping this run doesn't dissuade her from moving up to the intermediate slopes. Everyone finished the day tired and happy. We got dinner on the way home, dropped Michael and Samantha off at their home and piled into bed.


The next day had a Robodox fundraiser at laser tag. We all went and had a blast. Jonathan and Benjamin were both consistently among the top players. That weekend, the square dancing group from which Jonathan is taking lessons had a used clothing sale, so Jackie picked up a petticoat for herself and a square dancing shirt for Jonathan. Then that night was the January TLC Sharim. Attendance has been lighter than Jackie would like but enough to continue. The following Monday school resumed, although Jonathan had gone to Granada three days the previous week for robotics.


Saturdays were now busy days for Jonathan, as his robotics class kicked into high gear, designing and building a robot for the March competitions. There are multiple local competitions on different dates before the national competition in Atlanta. To prevent the teams that compete in the early competitions from having an advantage over those who wait for later competitions, all robots have to be shipped on the same date, which falls in mid-February, slightly more than six weeks after the game is announced. So things get crazy, but only for six weeks.


Now that Scrooge was over, Benjamin was able to rejoin the Mathcounts training he started in the fall. Although the Mathcounts competition is open to all middle school grades, it includes material that is not covered until eighth grade, putting the sixth graders at a disadvantage. Benjamin doesn't care. He does what he can and he doesn't sweat the rest.


At the end of the month Jackie's friend Jeff came into town for the Cal-UCLA and Cal-USC basketball games.