November 2002

Out take from Christmas card photo shoot on the beach
Keith and Doug at Camp Fox
Doug and Keith preparing to row or kayak
Row boating in the inlet
Sunrise from Bible Peak
Keith and Doug atop Bible Peak with Camp Fox below
Brad powers up a hill on Deli Ride 1
Brad, Colin, Tony on Deli Ride 2
Trouble with dinner table shots is how many backs you get
Don't call it the kids' table, it's the Cousins' Table: Brad, Kelsy, Doug, Kali, Quinn
Annual Thanksgiving ping pong tournament draws a crowd
Kent proudly hoists his trophy at Turkeyball Champion
Another out take from our Christmas card photo shoot

With the school directory done, Kristi's November school volunteer time is generally just helping Doug's teacher in the classroom and, in the past, helping with Geography team practices two afternoons a week.  Bradley has been a member of the Geography team, which competes in the county schools' Geography Olympiad, since third grade.  It was obvious last year that Kristi was being "groomed" to not just help out but actually be the leader.  Sure enough, no parent or teacher championed the team this year, and its demise was imminent.  So of course Kristi wouldn't let that happen and, along with another 5th grade parent, has accepted the position of the main organizer and leader of the team. So in addition to practices every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, she's now running bake sales, getting corporate sponsers, making sure permission slips are in, etc. etc. etc.  
Bradley was at first luke warm trying out for the team again, rightly recognizing that the mantel of student leadership would fall to him this year.  He didn't think he could take the place of the graduated stars from geography teams past.  But he got enthused when his parents pointed out that there were fourth graders on the team this year that would be thinking next year, "I just don't know if I can be the Brad Sherwood of the team this year."
Doug and Keith again went to YMCA Camp Fox on Catalina Island the second weekend in November.  Unfortunately, the trip coincided with the first rain storm of the season, so we had to fight rain slowed freeways all the way into LA, then brave a very choppy passage to Catalina.  We got a very rocking and rolling two hour ride across the channel that had half the boat throwing up. Keith and Doug were both queasy and miserable, but managed to make it across without incident.
Last year, the weather was cloudy and misty all weekend long, and half the camp was mud.  This year, the weather was rainy on Saturday and sunny on Sunday, and the whole camp was mud.  The water in the camp’s little bay was probably a little warmer, and it was definitely calmer, so we did a lot more boating this year.  They had new rowboats and sea kayaks this year that were really nice.  Like last year, we spent the first night in a wooden cabin away from shore, and spent the next night in a canvas cabin on the rock beach.  Unlike last year, Keith awoke Sunday morning to a glorious sunrise on a clear horizon in front of our cabin.  In fact, he climbed Bible Peak for the sun rise, then got back to the beach soon enough to take part in the early morning polar bear swim.  A full day before 7 am when Douglas woke up.
While Doug and Keith were away, Kristi and Brad got some mother-son time together.  As is often the case when Dad and Brother are away camping, Mom and Brad went out for dinner (Red Lobster) and a movie (Santa Clause 2).
One of the twists of being in the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is never knowing quite what to expect when you go to pick up your food.  Doug has been very pleased by the regular appearance of corn on the cob.  It’s fun to get a grab bag of vegetables, some/most you wouldn’t normally get, and then set about finding ways to prepare them.  We were thrown a curve this month when we got jalapeno peppers. Except for Keith, no one in the family really has a hankering for hot food, and Keith doesn’t care all that much for straight jalapenos.  (He did have a raw one, however, straight from the sack, for fun: yes, it was very hot.)  The only thing Keith knew he liked that had lots of jalapenos in it was the hot pickled carrots and onions that are omnipresent in the taco shops in San Diego.  After he found a recipe on the Internet, what followed was an example of why 1) Dad was banished from the kitchen some years ago, and 2) never trust any thing you find on the Internet.
The recipe called for slicing the jalapenos thin, then boiling in water with the carrots.  Kristi was the first to walk by the stove and cough: “Wow, I caught a big breath of those jalapenos.”  Within minutes everyone was hacking and tearing as the irritants in the jalapeno were borne into the air by the steam.  Manfully going down with the kitchen, the chef put a lid on the pan, turned on the fan, and coughed and swore at the Internet recipe that gave nary a warning, while the rest of the family tried to take refuge far away upstairs behind closed doors (but still continued coughing).
Brad had two big training rides for Ride Across California this month: on "official" Bike Club and one not. The official ride was the first Bike Club ride down the length of Penasquitos Canyon and back, a distance of about 13 miles.  It is known in Bike Club folklore as the "Deli Ride," so named for the deli at the west end of the canyon where the riders eat lunch before returning.  Although he plans on Riding Across California with Brad, Keith hasn't made any of the Friday afternoon bike rides because of work. So he made sure to go on the Deli Ride, along with many other parents, even though it was on Veterans Day, the day after he returned from Catalina. Busy weekend.     
Bradley loves these organized rides, and turns them into competitions like the Walkathon last October , wanting to be in the first pack that finishes.  But Keith can’t get him motivated to go on informal bike rides with just the two of them.  Probably the psychological scars from 4 years ago when he did go out riding with me and I led him bushwhacking through terrain that was difficult for an adult on a mountain bike and impossible for a 7 year old on a spider bike.
The Sherwoods held a second, informal Deli Ride the day after Thanksgiving.  In an effort to compromise between Dad's vision of bike riding (start from the house and go where the spirit takes you, get lots of practice rides in) and Brad's (occasional rides with big organized group and published itinerary), we started from our house and picked up Brad's friends (and fellow Ride Across California aspirants) Tony and Colin at their houses.  The four of us bushwhacked our way to Penasquitos Canyon, then road the now familiar trail to the deli. Unfortunately, it was the day after Thanksgiving and the deli was (not unreasonably, in hindsight) closed.  What could have spiraled into a nasty situation with 3 fifth graders attacking the group leader for leading them on a 8 mile goose chase turned instead into a wonderful adventure as we had to keep going, searching the business parks, until we finally found an open deli in a strip mall another mile and some beyond our original goal.  All tolled, with the extended rides on both ends of the canyon, I think we road a total of 17 or 18 miles that day.
The next house project has been joined: painting the stairwell and replacing the baseboards.  Phase One, painting the walls "plantation brown," had to be completed before hosting the family for Thanksgiving.  Phase Two, painting all the trim, including the banister, had to be completed before hosting Keith's office Christmas party mid-December.  We're trying a new strategy to enforce deadlines and avoid projects that drag on for months. Unfortunately, it also bears mentioning as a sad example of how we go out of our way to add further stress to the holiday season.
Yes, we held the annual Thanksgiving gala at our house again this year.  It was just a bit smaller this year without Roger and Rose, but the rest of Jeff's wife Chrysanne's family showed up, as well as the only other Sherwood in San Diego, Aunt Betty.  Brad again made himself tournament director of the ping pong tournament, but didn't rule with quite such an iron fist as last year.  He did a wonderful job setting up a result sheet for each participant, and making a flip chart score board.  He was still a bit miffed, however, when we didn't play out all the brackets he had set up, but just declared Kent the winner on the strength of his record up to that point.  Sorry, but everyone was more interested in watching Princess Mononoke on the new DVD player at that point.  Brad also took pictures and created his own Thanksgiving web page .

They Read It:
Keith re-read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to Douglas, in preparation for seeing the movie.  Douglas could really read Harry Potter himself, now.
They Said It:
Doug, looking through his baby photo album: "Dad, where you just joking when you dressed up as a doctor when I was born?"  Keith: "No, I had to dress that way to be in the operating room.  Everybody was dressed that way: the doctors, the nurses, even the daddy."  Kristi: "Except the mommy.  I wore a dress."
Brad, upon walking into a restaurant we used to go to regularly but probably haven’t been to in 5 years: “I don’t think I’ll get my regular grilled cheese.”
Doug, commenting on the confusing hairstyle of dreadlocks: “Once I thought a boy was a girl because he had dreadnoughts in his hair.”
Keith , wishing to turn a school arts project of making candles into a science project: “Brad, what state transition does the wax go through?” Brad , “Pennsylvania to California?”
, walking into a store on Nov. 2 and noting immediately that Halloween decorations had been replaced by Christmas, anguished: “What happened to Thanksgiving?”
Brad, on not using his electric toothbrush: "It’s been a long time since I brushed manually."
At dinner, discussing relative amounts of alcohol Mom and Dad could drink before becoming too impaired to drive (Dad was ordering a second beer): “What are the differences between Mom and Dad that might make the same amount of alcohol affect us differently?” Doug : “Mom’s a girl and Dad’s a boy?” (We’re looking for size.) “Yes, maybe, but can you think of any other differences?” Doug , “Mom’s from Illinois?”
Related Web sites:
Keith's Bike Club/Ride Across California pictures .
Brad's Thanksgiving page .

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