Doug and Keith went on a New Year’s Day
hike to explore the next section of freeway they are putting in towards
the coast. Always a good hike when you can climb on idle earth
movers. On the last Sunday of the month Keith explored it again
on his mountain bike, and confirmed his suspicion that the freeway has
been graded far enough west to connect to an east-west bike path that in
turn can be exited to surface streets in Del Mar. He came up a
bike path exit and a couple miles short from realizing his long term dream
of riding from Pipestone to the Pacific. Next bike ride he’s confident
he can make it. Hopefully Brad will come too: it’s a couple miles
further than the deli ride, probably close to 20 miles round trip.
Speaking of the Deli Ride, we had another
on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Another fully organized Deer
Canyon elementary event, not one of Keith’s freelance jobs.
On Friday's in January, the Bike Club went to Miramar Lake. Brad
made it to one lake circumnavigation. Keith has shown him how
few weekends remain before Spring Break in April, and urged Brad to come
on more free-form training rides with him on weekends, thus far to no
The big event in January for both Brad and Kristi
was the San Diego County Schools Tenth Annual Geography Olympiad.
Both had been working hard for two months preparing: Brad as the “brain”
expected to carry the team, and Kristi as one of two parent coordinators
in charge of everything from twice weekly after school practices to day
of logistics like snacks and permission slips. Both felt the heavy burden
of responsibility and expectations as Deer Canyon Elementary is a recognized
power house, finishing first and third the last two years.
did great: the day went off without a hitch. Deer Canyon took third
The Olympiad is held at a local junior college (a location that the
now jaded 5th grade Brad doesn't find as exciting as he did two years
ago). It consists of a dozen different events, with a team of
3 or 4 students in each event. Brad’s teams placed third () and won the
two prestige events, Geobowl (Jeopardy) and Superstars (essentially, a
geography test administered to individuals, then summed over the team).
The Geobowl finals were
between Deer Canyon and their arch rivals, Del Mar Highlands (another
traditional powerhouse, which would take second place over all), so
it was an especially sweet victory.
The most exciting event of the day was the semi finals of Geobowl
which ended in a tie. It would be decided by a single toss up
question: buzz in first and get it right, you win; buzz in first and
get it wrong, you lose. Don't buzz in and let the other team control
your fate. Proctor: “Yellowstone and the Grand Tettens (sic) are-“ BUZZZ.
The proctor stops, not finishing the question. Dead silence around
the room as we look to the indicator lights to see who has buzzed in
before the question finished. Brad’s light is on. “Wyoming,” says
Brad, a statement not a question. The Proctor pauses for effect.
“You are correct.” Wild cheers erupt from the audience, and Keith
forgives Brad for not knowing the Mason-Dixon line earlier in the contest.
As usual, Brad’s birthday party got pushed
from December into January. This isn’t just a convenience for
the parents who have completely booked every waking moment of the Christmas
season between Thanksgiving and New Years, but it’s also a necessity
if you want any other kids to come since they’re just as busy with their
families (or are out of town). For those of you curious (and of
course you are since you’ve read this far), the eleven year old boy who
wants to be cool invites about 8 boys to go for bowling and laser tag.
Doug did a great job of hanging with the big kids, and was well received
by the kids and his brother. In fact, Dad may have been more of a
style cramping nuisance with this camera than Doug. Keith and Kristi
were amazed at how silly they all got, but also what a great group of young
men they were. They bowling alley staff, which does literally a dozen
birthday parties a day each weekend day, even commented and complimented
our group. Only Kristi impressed them more, by showing up with a homemade
cake and her own serving knife.
Because there’s just too much free time
between the end of soccer in mid December and the start of baseball
in early February, Brad is playing Basketball for the first time this
year. He’s playing center and forward, as much for his ball handling
skills (developing) as his height (he’s second tallest on the team).
His confidence builds with every game. When he gets the ball, he’s
beginning to consider alternatives to just passing it quickly to one
of his guards. Keith remembers playing league basketball for 2
or 3 years at just about this same age. He suspects that Brad’s
4 ppg average already makes Brad the better player. Keith is scorekeeper/timekeeper
for the team. The calculus goes something like this: Keith coaches
baseball (a big commitment), so the Sherwoods can duck any commitments
for soccer and call it even. But basketball is new to the mix,
so a minor commitment keeps the karma balanced. It’s a great seat
sitting at half court, but he doesn’t have much of a chance to take pictures
On Super Bowl Sunday we added the newest member
to the Sherwood Pack: Dancer (as in the reindeer-she and her 7 litter mates,
born late November, all received names from "Twas the Night Before Christmas").
She's a 2-month old puppy, a Lab-mix from the animal shelter.
We were going just to look. That was clearly spelled out before
we took the ride in the convertible after church up the coastline to
the animal shelter. Their web site said they didn’t have any puppies,
so it should be relatively safe to go for a visit just to get the
lay of the land, to begin the process, to get our names in process for
the inevitable background check. But the web page wasn’t updated
(they had puppies) and we didn’t keep the kids moving along (they spent
too long in front of one cage and bonded).
The first week of puppy ownership isn’t over, and the bloom is already
off for the kids. Some playful puppy nips have scared them way
from further close contact. Doug in particular seems to be mistaken
often for a giant chew toy. If the first agreement they forgot
was “we’re not getting one today” then the second was, “Dogs are a lot
of work and you boys must agree to do the majority of feeding, walking,
and poop-scooping." It is clear that the boys will need as much training
as the puppy.
They read it:
Doug Read: Captain Underpants and the Wicked
Wedgie Woman; Maximum Boy Super Hero…Super Thief; Mutiny
at Crossbones Bay; Robin Hood; Wizard of Oz; Return
of the Native (I kid you not! It's a sort of comic book, from
They said it:
Doug, describing the latest semantic advances
in automotive technology, “It has punctuation-proof tires.”
Brad's final words to his parents as they leave
for a class at church about Raising your teenager: "Go learn
how to deal with me." (With an attitude like that is there any
doubt as to why we are going when he only just turned 11?)
Also from Brad, contemplating looming teenagedom:
"I'm sorry for the attitude I'm going to have as a teenager."
Related web sites:
(These links will open new browser windows.)
Keith's Pictures of Bike Club rides
Two year old
article on Geography Olympiad
(mentions Deer Canyon and Del Mar Heights schools)
Rancho Penasquitos Basketball
(Brad is on Division E Blazers)