May 2002

Rev. Suggs welcomes Brad to the church
Dining on the patio with Art, Leslie and Yankee

There are busy months, really busy months, and then there are months like this May, when schedules conspire to collide, every weekend is full, and anxiety runs high.  Then relatives come to visit. 
The very first weekend in May was the church musical, "100% Chance of Rain."  It was staged in both services, replacing the sermon.  The boys had been practicing every Wednesday night for a couple of months, and every Saturday for the last several weekends. Whether it was because of his acting ability or the dearth of 4th and 5th grade boys in the children's choir, Brad got the lead: Noah. Brad missed a baseball game and a practice or two, but Noah couldn't very well not show up for a rehearsal.  This reviewer thought that Mrs. Noah stole the show, a conclusion Bradley hotly disputes.  Doug, being one of the youngest of the cast, the had one line, "I think it's going to storm!" while holding an umbrella, sang in the chorus, and was understudy to the giraffe.
The second weekend in May Brad and Keith took the fourth grade field trip, a one day trip to Sacramento.  This is one of those things kids in the lower grades hear about and look forward to years in advance.  Bradley was very clear at the beginning of fourth grade that he really wanted to go, even before he spent the year learning about California history in Social Studies.  We flew out very early Saturday morning and returned that same evening.  The photo journal of the trip is here .  In one breathless day, we toured the Capitol, explored Sutter's Fort, enjoyed the Railroad Museum, and took a bus ride out to Sutter's Mill to pan for gold.  Bradley may have been the only participant whose favorite part of the trip was the Capitol, specifically the Senate chamber: the seat of power really caught Bradley's imagination.
The third weekend in May Doug and Keith went camping with the Y Guides (formerly known as Y Indian Guides in less enlightened times) at Camp Marston, a camp in the mountains in San Diego's back country run by the San Diego YMCA. Like Camp Fox on Catalina, this isn't tent camping and cooking over fires; this is sleeping in cabins and eating in mess halls.  In fact, the old rustic cabins were being retired in favor of what best can be described as dormitories.  And the mess hall didn't even require campers to sacrifice two of their own for KP duty every meal.  In short, they're making summer camps just too easy, or at least easier than they were for Keith when he was a boy scout.  Camp Marston also had the finest archery range ever constructed at a summer camp.  Their lake was small to begin with, and reduced in surface area by over half due to the drought conditions (very dry last couple of winters).   Photo journal of the camping trip is here .
And that was just the weekends.  Wednesday nights had church (with Kristi involved in providing meals), and each boy would have a game or practice during the week.
Into this maelstrom came Grandpa Art and Grandma Leslie for a visit.  Art grew up in San Diego, so he enjoys visiting for an extended period of time.  They got a two week rental in Ocean Beach, a bohemian enclave where the Sixties live on and just down the hill from Pt. Loma where Art grew up. It is home also to the longest pier on the west coast.  They rented a cabana with the twin virtues of allowing dogs and being a short walk from the beach.  
Unfortunately their visit just missed the church musical and coincided with the two weekends already booked for Keith and each individual son.  Making the best of it, they went to Doug's baseball game the Saturday Keith and Brad were in Sacramento, and they went to Brad's the weekend Keith and Doug were camping.  Each boy spent a night with them down in their cabana.  Brad even went running one morning with Grandpa Art! We were able to hook up with Aunt Betty for dinner at her favorite restaurant, a crab shack where they dump the steamed seafood directly on your newsprint covered table.  At the conclusion of their two week rental, Art, Leslie and the dogs Belle and Sierra came up to Penasquitos (which of course didn't exist when Art was growing up) and spent a couple of days with us before driving back to Durango.
Bradley joined the church (went forward and declared his Faith) along with the rest of the Pastor's Class on Mother's Day, an interesting coincidence since Keith was Baptized on Mother's Day in 1996.  Pastor's Class Baptisms were scheduled for Pentecost, the following Sunday.  But Doug and Keith were camping that weekend, so Brad didn't get baptized with his classmates and will have to wait until later this summer, after returning from vacation.  After church we met Art and Leslie for a lovely Mother's Day brunch on La Jolla Cove.   
Both Brad and Doug continued to play and enjoy baseball. And Keith continued to enjoy coaching.  To have a good time as an adult, Keith has found it is essential that the coaches share the same philosophy, whether it's winning or fun.  Keith and the manager (head coach) both put fun and learning way above winning. This is the first manager Keith has dealt with that just puts the kids in a pure rotation through field positions and batting order.  There is no tweaking the rotation due to either worries about attention span required of the pitcher (closest to the batter) or fantasy baseball aspirations of finding the best role for each child to optimize winning chances.  This egalitarian approach has earned rich dividends as the all the kids are enjoying playing and everyone is getting noticeably better.  
With the first three weekends in May over subscribed, we took Memorial Day weekend off.  Recharged the batteries, as it were.  We made plans, however, to go camping over Labor day with a couple of families from Doug's baseball team and classroom.
May finished with the Deer Canyon Elementary Math Olympiad.  The county Math Olympiad (which Brad had participated in last year) fell apart this year, so some dedicated parents organized an event just for the school.  The idea is to make  math fun by having different math-oriented competitions between teams.  Kristi helped with an every Friday afternoon practice session, and Keith took on a particular event: the Math Relay, a combination of answering math questions and quasi-athletic activities.  Keith didn't particularly care for the way Math Relay was run at the county, so he changed the rules: the teams ran against each other, head to head, and not against the clock.  And if you answered your math question wrong you had to do your athletic event twice, not just once (e.g. sink 6 free throws, not just 3; dribble the soccer ball through the cones twice, not just once). A lot of critics (my own son foremost among them) didn't like the changes when introduced, but on the day of the Olympiad the competition was fierce and fun, just as I had envisioned it.  In fact, the whole event was so successful that we'll be in a real quandry next year if the County event resurrects as to which event to attend.  One of the best aspects was that anyone could sign up and participate (as long as you attended the practices); you didn't have to test onto the team.  So plenty of kids participated (and had fun doing math) that never would have had the opportunity in the County Math Olympiad competition.

They Said It:
Douglas, to a parent gently waking him up with whispers in the morning, "If you're going to hug me a lot today, could you brush your teeth?"
Bradley at dinner: "Look at me eat corn on the cob.  I'm like a typewriter." Keith: "Where have you ever seen a typewriter?" Brad: "In a museum."

Text and Pictures Copyright © 2002 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved