Zev Newsletter Ė Sept 2005

Camping at Leo Carrillo

Letís start the September newsletter with a story from August.† We went on a camping trip to Leo Carrillo Beach with Jackieís brother Don and his family.† We took the kidsí bikes and they spent a good deal of the time riding around the campground.† Benjamin had learned to ride a two-wheeler about a year and a half ago, but he still wanted that initial push to start himself. After 2 days of lots of practice, he can now start himself with ease.† The camping trip was a lot of work, but lots of fun too.† The boys really enjoyed climbing on the cliffs near the beach with their cousins.

The Detroit Bat Mitzvah

After the camping trip, Jackie went back to Detroit for a Bat Mitzvah over Labor Day weekend.† It was lots of fun to see all her relatives and get away by herself for a few days, but between the camping and the vacationing, she really felt like a bum!† Time to get some work done!

School Starts

The boys started school and seemed to acclimate to the new year very quickly.† Both boys are being dropped off at school in the morning and take the bus home after school.†

Jonathan, who is in 7th grade, is still going to Portola Middle School.† His nutrition and lunch friends from last year banded together again, his homework load seems to be lighter than last year, and he only has activities after school two days a week, so he is pretty happy.†† He likes all his teachers.† For his elective, he was supposed to have ďConsumer TechnologyĒ which is basically a life-skills class, but Portola had to eliminate a teacher, and that was the one they chose.† So he is TA for his English teacher instead.† Mostly he grades papers, does his own homework or reads.††

Benjamin, who is in 3rd grade, is going to a new school (Balboa Magnet), but the change didnít seem to phase him at all.† We like his teacher, and she seems thrilled to have him in class.† His class has already planned a lot of extra activities.† They have already started a 16-week woodworking series, and they will be doing a series on masks later in the year.

After school activities

Jonathan is in soccer, but after 4 weeks, he has only had one game.† They had a bye for the first game; he missed the second game because we all went to a Bar Mitzvah; he played in the third game (when they won), and the fourth game was cancelled due to poor air quality from the fires.† Hopefully, the ratio will improve in the coming weeks!† Jonathan also joined the Valley Math Circle, a club that meets on Sundays and prepares middle school age kids to participate in Math Counts, a nationwide Math contest.† Jonathanís school typically sends two teams of 4 kids each to the contest. We think he will be good enough to be on one of the teams, even though he is only in 7th grade.

Benjamin chose to do cross country instead of soccer this fall and Jackie has been running with him during practice two days a week.† Practices often involve 3-4 miles of running or more, so itís been a good workout for both of them.† Benjamin has had two meets so far and improved his performance between the first and second meets.


After weeks of looking, we finally acquired a new dog.† After some debate, we named him Pippin (after the Lord of the Rings character, not the apple or the musical.)† Heís a terrier-chihuahua mix, looking just like a wire-haired, black and tan terrier, but having the size of a Chihuahua.† Heís a lot of fun.

Jackieís work

Jackieís work has been challenging lately, because since February, sheís lost 3 people and gained two new people (out of 5 employees!)† Turnover always makes work interesting!† However, the new people are working out well, and her team has been making all their deadlines, so she canít complain too much.† Now that the kids donít need so much close supervision, Jackie has increased her volunteering.† She is on the religious school and family camp committees at our Temple, on the Board for the SFV branch of AAUW, and helps out with the Valley Math Circle.

Marcís work - Foundation for Innovative Learning

In the spring, Marc met a professional fund raiser who has volunteered to help the Foundation for Innovative Learning design and run their capital campaign for the their Challenger Learning Center. FIL has been courting new board members as well. All this takes a lot of Marcís time and a lot of telephone calls. As part of their Build-A-Bug curriculum, Marc collaborated on a reference book on bugs. Last April, he submitted the book to a publisher and in September, he finally heard back. First they told him that they liked it and would like to hold on to it, but made no promises. Then he got a call back from the president, who also made no promises, but was very interested. Back in April, Marc had only sent some excerpts of the book, and now she wanted to see the whole thing. No guarantees, but closer to publication than ever before.

Marcís work - Pensive Products

After a couple of set backs, Math Flaps production started and the first shipment is due to arrive the beginning of October. This, of course, did nothing to change Marcís work load! He is preparing for his first trade show in November (and Jackie will go as well.) †There is a lot to do, including getting the web site e-commerce enabled, getting banners and display stands, designing the booth and about a million other things. Marcís plan is to have everything done by mid-October so that he will have time to work on all the things he hasnít planned on!


In September, the boys decided that they wanted to put their artwork from last year on their websites so that others could see it. You can find Jonathanís artwork at http://jmzconsulting.com/jonathan/grade6/index.html and Benjaminís is at http://jmzconsulting.com/benjamin/grade1/index.html and http://jmzconsulting.com/benjamin/grade2/index.html. The September fires that started in Chatsworth didnít affect us much Ė the biggest impact was that Benjaminís cross country meet was moved from Simi Valley to Ventura, and Jonathanís soccer game was cancelled that week.† We start the Jewish New Year counting our blessings.† Foremost, we are thankful to all be in good health, not only us, but Jackieís and Marcís parents and siblings, et. al. as well.† We wish the same for all of you.

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin