Okay, so once a year I have to share a panoramic from atop Black Mountain.
This year it comes early. On days after a rain or wind
storm, I always get a strong desire to climb (usually via mountain bike)
mountain and enjoy the view free of obstructing haze. Black Mountain
is 1551 feet tall, and as close as I can figure from a pre-1985 topo
map (no roads or houses, before the graders leveled the topology), our
house is at 550 ft above sea level. So a ride to the top is 1000
ft elevation gain, not counting the dip on the way.
As you can tell by the setting sun glaring off the Pacific, the view
is looking west. On the horizon at either edge of the photo are islands:
Mexican islands to the south and San Clemente Island to the north (right).
The slight rise of land on the horizon just to the left of the glare is
Mt. Soledad above La Jolla. The northwest portion of Rancho Peñ
asquitos is that mass of suburbia in the center of the picture.
The gym of the new high school that the boys will probably attend
is the white building just right of center, with our house just down
and to the left of it. You can see all the housing construction
(or at least the graded land) to the west and north of us.
From the "Why don't we do this more often?" file, we had both Kristi's
brother's family and Keith's Great Aunt Betty over for dinner simultaneously
the first weekend in March. That gave us an age spread from 1 to 87
years old. Jeff, Chrysanne, Quinn and Kelsey live out east in
La Mesa, while Betty lives north in San Marcos. If there was an
occasion, it must have been to show off our new car. But with or
without a reason, it was great fun for us all to get together. The
boys really like playing with their younger cousins. The Sherwoods
and Raffertys may write a book contrasting raising two boys vs. two girls.
Bradley used birthday money from Nana to purchase some in-line skates.
While skeptical parents may have thought this was another flash
in the pan infatuation, three months later he is still enjoying
them. And enjoying them more now that he is getting better at it.
The eagle-eyed safety mavens among you will have noted that Bradley
is not wearing knee or elbow pads. The previously mentioned skeptical
parents plead guilty. But on a street where the prevailing attitude
(and accompanying peer pressure) is no safety equipment at all, we
are rather pleased that we have made the helmet rule stick for bicycles,
skates, and skateboards. If Brad had to cover his helmet in skate
stickers to make it "cool," more power to him. At least he's wearing
Little League Baseball started for both boys again in March. Or
maybe practices started mid-February and games started mid-March. Certainly,
by March baseball was, pardon the expression, in full swing.
Brad is in Minor League, for 9 and 10 year olds. As a ten year
old, he is one of the better players on his team and gets choice defensive
assignments like catcher and middle infield. They do count wins and
losses and keep standings, so the coaches do try to win games by player
the better players more, rather than rotating all players evenly. And
some of these 10 year old pitchers over power every batter they face, whatever
the age. I have taken Brad to the batting cages a couple of times
to practice on 50 and 60 mph pitches.
For those of you interested in
more of Brad's baseball
exploits go here
Doug is in the 7 year old league, and in contrast to Brad's league, there
are no standings and no official score kept. So the coaches are free
to play every body in every position. This is playing and coaching for pure
enjoyment, and that's why Keith is back coaching again on Doug's team. Keith
was assistant coach for Brad's teams for ages 7 and 8, and he's enjoying
doing it again with Doug. It's a big time commitment, however, with
a 4 o'clock practices during the week and a game on Saturday.
(Ed. note: Ways to impress your new boss
(remember, new job last month): ask if you can leave at 3:30 pm
one or two times a week to go coach your son in little league.)
Kristi and Keith deaconed at church in March. We're serve every third
month. Our 2001-2002 rotation (Sept, December, March, June) was amazing
in that we had 5 Sundays every month. Deacons move along the isles,
collecting the offering and distributing communion from row to row. Keith
is a lead deacon, which means he directs the deacons' movement from the back
of the church. While Keith has the title, it's really Kristi that keeps
the worship service on track. Once during Communion this month Kristi
noticed that the Elders (who serve the Deacons who in turn serve the congregation)
were short one tray. If she approached the Elder as usual, the Elder
would have nothing to give her. Instead, she dashed back to the Communion
room and prepared another tray of bread and wine, then dashed back , delivering
it to the much relieved Elder. Later Kristi quipped, "I even have to
serve myself at church!"
After church on Easter we went down to Mission Bay for the second annual
Extended Family Potluck and Kite Flying Easter Picnic. The extended
family in this case is the Sherwoods, Raffertys (see
), the Lows (Chrysanne's family) and Brisbys (Chrysanne's sister's family).
Brad of course took his roller blades; Doug of course took his clipper
ship kite from last year. Overall, this year was more enjoyable than last
year, when Keith was on crutches recovering from Achilles tendon surgery..
They Said It:
Doug, wearing white shirt and khaki pants, "Are these my tacky pants?"
Brad, as the family was discussing summer vacation
plans to visit Uncle Ken in Minnesota, "Hey, maybe he can get married while
Doug, struggling to free his cupcake from the paper
cup, "Would you help me get this bandage off?"
They Read It:
Brad: books 5 & 6 in Seventh
Brad: Bud, not Buddy
Keith to Doug: Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire (6 months in the reading)