June 2001

Lunch at the Math Olympiad June saw the end of the Little League Season and the end of school, the beginning of Summer and of start of Vacation Season, and the continuation of just about every thing else.

The first Saturday in June brought the Math Olympiad.  Like the Geography Olympiad in January, this was a competition between participating elementary schools from all over San Diego county.  As before, Brad spent an extra hour after school each week practicing math and his two events (Relay, where they perform acts of athletic prowess before they are asked a math question, and Graphs).  Brad got Relay on the Geography team, too: obviously his combination of brains and athleticism are best utilized in this event :).  Deer Canyon Elementary got fourth place overall, and Brad's teams got 4th in relay and 5th in graphs.  Although the school didn't place as high as the Geography Olympiad, Brad was pleased because his teams for his events did better.

Bonus page of Pentecost pictures from picnic with Suggs and Whetstines.

Brad waits his turn at the Math Relay. Keith brought home fascinating graphs of electronic filing volume numbers from work so Brad could practice his graph interpretation with real life graphs.  ("Notice how traffic spikes on April 15th, son.  I certainly hope you won't be the type of person who waits until the last minute to do your taxes...") Since Brad was excited that the Geography Olympiad was at a college (albeit a junior college), he should have been even more excited that the Math Olympiad was held at San Diego State University.  (I bet the Science Olympiad must be held at UCSD...)  Immediately after his events, Brad was whisked back to Penasquitos, changing in the car, to his baseball game, just in time for the bottom of the first inning.
Doug runs through parent tunnel (and under Keith and Kristi) after last game.
photo by Nanette Millard
Keith's cousin Morgan from Charlottesville, VA, dropped by for a one day visit the second Saturday in June.  He spent Friday with great aunt Betty and George up in San Marcos, then drove his-very-un-Morgan-like red Mustang rental car down to visit us Saturday morning.  He got to watch the family come and go, split and rejoin, as Mom and Dad took Brad and Doug to one baseball game each, one pool party each, and a piano recital (Brad).  Just a typical Saturday, Morgan!  While Brad and Mom were at Brad's pool party, Doug got Morgan to play a game of Stratego.  Morgan and Keith even got a little time to chat and catch up, although we were challenged by Douglas-interuptus.  But after eight fun hours, Morgan saddled up his Mustang and rode North for Santa Barbara.

This second Saturday was the final day of baseball season for Brad and Doug.  Brad pitched the entire game (six innings) of the last game of the season, a tournament game which they lost by two runs scored in the top of the sixth inning.  Brad wasn't willing to stop going to games, however, insisting on going to both the semi-finals and finals for his division  to watch his friends play.

Brad directs trafic from his position of home plate umpired (third from left) In other baseball news, whiffle ball season continues unabated in the back yard.  To prevent that pesky grass from returning, Brad wants to buy tarps to cover the dirt patches representing the pitching mound and batter's box that have been carefully coaxed from the formerly pristine back lawn.  Brad's whiffle ball "league" was exalted to a new level when Brad and his co-conspirator from over the back fence gave a "currently in the news" report on their league in class at school. (Brad reasoned that because it was on last month's web page, it was news.  "The teacher said she was glad for the change of pace, Dad.")  Brad copied and distributed a schedule to the class  ("For more info call 484 8367 <-ask for Brad"). They were apparently quite good salesmen: the afternoon of the "report" there were nearly a dozen boys in the back yard, and parents were calling asking if it would be all right if their boy was 15 minutes late...

The only problems were 1) Bradley failed to ask his parents' permission to invite the class over, and 2) Bradley had piano practice after school, so kids were arriving while he wasn't even home. ("I thought they could go in the back and start to set up.")

Doug on bridge on walk to school Thursday, June 14 was the last day of school.  Daddy had promised Doug back at the beginning of the school year that one day they could walk together to school.  Then without yet fulfilling his promise, Daddy ruptured his achilles. So June 13 was judged to be the day, then or never, to complete the treacherous walk to school.  As is common, the kid delays (ants, hummingbirds, flowers, etc.) coupled with Dad delays ("Stay right there; I want to take your picture.") unfortunately adds up to Dad nagging, "Hurry up, we're late."  Luckily, Doug has learned to ignore his parent's pleadings (or more likely just has one speed regardless).  We arrived with a full minute or two to spare. 

Bradley, who celebrated his 9th birthday by dying his hair, celebrated the start of summer with a super short buzz cut.  Another page of end of school pictures.

Traditional picture of boys on display tractor at the Del Mar Fair. Father's day found us at the Del Mar Fair.  I know this is going to sound old and crabby,  but our county fair seems to get more commercial each year.  Next year they're changing the name, selling naming rights to an as yet undetermined corporate sponsor.  The price of admission demonstrably goes up every year.  Commercial booths seem to squeeze out favorite exhibits like collections, wood work, and model trains.  Maybe it's just that as the kids get older, their interests of food and the midway are becoming more expensive.

The Golden Age of the fair was really about 13 years ago, when Kristi and I first started going.  We would make a point of attending swine showmanship, where 4H kids would attempt to show (and control) their pigs in a ring for a judge.  Kristi and her brother Jeff, having done this very exercise themselves when they were kids in Illinois, would judge from their seats and provide fascinating running commentary. Now, with the kids, its a quick trip through the animals to the rides. 

Petrified log and Douglas The summer's first vacation began Friday morning, June 22nd.  It would be yet another van trip through the Southwest, much to Kristi's consternation.  (She's getting quite tired of seeing the Southwest by car, but it's pretty much a given when you take car trips and start in San Diego.)  This year's destination was Los Alamos for Keith's mother Jane's retirement party and Keith's 20 Year High School Reunion.  Always looking for a new route for this familiar commute, we chose to go diagonally between Yuma and Flagstaff, through Quartzite, Jerome, Preston, and Sedona before motelling in Flagstaff.  Saturday we "did" Petrified Forest National Park and arrived in Los Alamos that night.  Mom's retirement party was Thursday, the reunion Friday and Saturday.  The four intervening days were mostly unscheduled, with ideas about driving to Santa Fe or Taos, or riding the train in Chama, or hiking the burnt trails around Los Alamos all under consideration.  As things turned out, it was a good thing we left those days unscheduled.
Bradley, Uncle Ken, Nana, Keith, Doug, Kristi in Nana's backyard Douglas got sick on Sunday, throwing up in the car on the way to Santa Fe.  We never got past the public rest rooms in the parking garage, so we gave up and returned to Los Alamos.  Doug stayed sick (flu?) on Monday.  Tuesday he was mostly better, but Kristi got ill.  Instead of all four of us going to ride the train in Chama, only Keith and Bradley went.  They made it home from Chama late Tuesday night just in time to be sick all day Wednesday.  Kristi, ever the martyr, was just well enough to take care of them.  The one goal was to not get Jane sick right before her big party.  In this we succeeded.  Keith and Brad recovered by Thursday afternoon, just as Keith's brother Ken and his best friend Cheri arrived from Minneapolis, by way of Durango.

A big ol' page of vacation photos.

Brad and Cheri providing guests with punch at Jane's Party. Jane's retirement party was a big success.  Nearly 200 people showed up at Fuller Lodge. Kristi and Cheri doled out punch.  Brad and Doug ran around exploring the Lodge.  And I had a great time visiting with adults  from my youth whom my mom had invited. I got to visit with my 4th and 6th grade teachers, my 10th grade English teacher, and my scout master from Boy Scouts.  This could well have been the high point of the vacation for me.  With Brad and Doug in school, I spend a lot of time thinking about my youth, elementary school especially. So it was a pleasure to see my old teachers, share some of my memories of their classes, and thank them for giving me experiences that have lasted a lifetime.  My boys aren't in Boy Scouts yet, but that doesn't mean they haven't been exposed to my wilderness ethic.  It was fun having the boys explain what trail cutting is (and why it is to be avoided) to the man who who taught me 25 years ago.
Playing in Frijoles Creek in Bandelier, a rite of passage for all Los Alamos kids Friday and Saturday were given over to the  20 Year Reunion of Los Alamos High School Class of 1981.  Friday lunch was a pre-Reunion picnic at Bandelier, Los Alamos' "private" National Monument (and the folks who brought you the Cerro Grande "controlled burn"). I invited a few high school friends to join my family for a picnic to insure we got enough visiting time.  They invited some of their high school friends, and we ended up with about 20 people.  Luckily a couple other boys showed up for Brad and Doug to play with in Frijoles Creek.  Playing in the creek was always my favorite part of any visit to Bandelier.
Kristi, Keith, Brian Bunker, his fiance' Robin at Fuller Lodge Friday night was a cocktail party at Fuller Lodge (obviously the place in town to thrown a party) to kick things off.  I don't know about high school parties, but it was very reminiscent of college parties I remember where you make small talk with the person in front of you, but your eyes are darting around the room to see if there is anybody you'd rather be talking to. 

Everybody spent the evening outside on the unlit patio.  When it got dark, you could no longer surreptitiously  glance at name tags any more, but had to put your face six inches away from chests to read them, thus giving the lie to the illusion that we really remembered each other's names.

While Kristi and Keith are out, Uncle Ken takes 'sitting' the boys literally. Saturday lunch was the family picnic in White Rock.  Here someone commented on my sartorial style: "Keith, I'm having a real issue trying to reconcile your personality in high school with that tie-dye you have on today." "Well," said I, "One, the shirt was a fund raiser for the kid's elementary school, so it was for a good cause and showed school spirit. Two, the whole family has them and we wear them to crowded events like this so we can pick each other out of the crowd."  I trust that the demonstrated practicality squared better with her impression of me from high school.

That night was dinner and dancing at the ski hill lodge.  Kristi and I both had the best time at this event.  No, it wasn't the dancing (regretably, Keith is still under doctor's orders for the achilles to avoid "ballistics": running, kicking, and any dance but waltzing). 

My only consolation is that most boys looked this hideous in the yearbook. Those who know folks from the LAHS class of 1981(or are gluttons for punishment) may want to look at Reunion pictures

To conclude the story of the vacation, we have to encroach upon July.  On Sunday the first, the morning after we stayed out at the ski hill until, oh, at least 10:00 or 10:30, we got up and hauled out of Los Alamos at 7 am. Brad was due at church camp in San Bernardino that very afternoon.  We knew we could never make it on time, so we had arranged with the camp to deliver him first thing Monday morning.  The plan for today was to drive straight through from Los Alamos to Barstow or San Bernardino, then get a motel within striking distance of the camp. "We" in this case was just Keith, Kristi and Brad; Doug was staying with Nana.  While Brad spent the week at summer camp, Doug would get a week with Nana, who would eventually drive out and deliver him to San Diego.  That day's road trip was long, but successful, and even included a stop and driver change at Kingman, AZ, at the steam engine Keith, Kristi, Brad and Jane had visited back in the summer of 1992.

Overheard lately:
The most common words uttered by Doug on the car trip were not "Are we there yet?" but rather "Brad, can I have my Gameboy back?"
Keith, driving across the Arizona desert on some tiny two lane black top: "You just don't see dust devils like that traveling the Interstates..."
Brad, on the Interstate: "Why do people drive for miles with their turn signal on?"  Keith: "Well the turn signal is controlled by this lever here, and it has a catch that keeps it on until you spin the wheel to turn approximately 60 degrees.  But drivers also use the turn signal to indicate changing lanes, which doesn't require turning the wheel much and won't release the catch if the driver-" Kristi: "Because they don't know it's on."

Reading List:
The Princess Bride (Keith to Doug) 
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (Keith)
Runaway Ralph (Kristi to Doug)

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