June   

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The frenzied pace of May continued into June, as usual.  School and baseball both came to an end.  Consumed with jealously over Grandpa’s visit last month to see the kids in the church musical, Grandma came out this month for the end of school and Brad’s graduation – pardon me, promotion – from fifth grade.  We trekked to Oceanside often to visit Betty in the hospital.  And of course there was the little matter of preparing to go on vacation the day after school let out.
Kristi was one of two parents recognized at the final meeting of the Deer Canyon Elementary PTA for their volunteer efforts at school this year.  She was feted for publishing the School Directory (4 years running), running the Geography Team, and running the Book Fair, among other things.  Bradley thinks he nominated her, but can’t quite remember if he ever turned in the nomination form he thought he filled out.  Kristi has already been volunteered to do the Mesa Verde Middle School directory next year.
Baseball did indeed come to an end, not particularly gloriously for either boy's team.  Still, both boys had fun this season, and we didn't have time for any playoffs any way.  Doug's team had a nice swim party in the Bigelow's new back yard pool, and Coach Keith gave his usual speech when giving Douglas his trophy about the hardest position on the team being coach's son.  Doug and Keith had to sacrifice a Y Guide camp out to go to the last game and team party.
Grandma Rafferty did indeed come for a week's stay, encompassing the end of school, Brad's promotion ceremony, and our leaving for vacation (she went and stayed with Jeff after we left).  We had Jeff's family up for the traditional family dinner.  Joann had fun with her grandsons and generally tried to keep Kristi sane during our busy week.  
Brad was indeed promoted from the Fifth Grade Wednesday, June 11.  Kristi was a heavily involved parent, producing the program, providing the music (Canadian Brass doing Sousa), and helping decorate the gymnasium (they double as cafeterias these days and are called "Multi-purpose rooms").  Her reward was being able to reserve chairs, so we got second row aisle seats.  Brad graduated in the top 10%, being one of 6 students recognized (2 from each classroom) for academic honors.  He also claimed to have written the lion's share of the class skit. Overall, it was an enjoyable and memorable 90 minutes.
After the promotion, we spirited the boys out of school (as did every other 5th grade parent) and went to lunch downtown.  After lunch we toured the Star of India, with Brad as our guide, reliving every moment of last month's field trip for the benefit of his mother and grandmother.  Two of the four actors from Brad's trip were on board.  They were so pleased at Brad's obvious enthusiasm for the experience they invited us back into off-limits areas of the ship to continue talking as they prepared for that afternoon's crew of school children.  Kristi, Grandma, and Doug then got to watch what Brad and I had experienced as the new crew is dressed down and whipped into shape on the dock before boarding the ship.  
The last day of school was actually the day after promotion.  The only bit of school business left to complete was the annual Teachers/Staff vs. The Graduating 5th Graders softball game.  Participating in this was extremely important to Brad, who claimed it more important than promotion and refused to consider missing it in order to start our vacation a day sooner.
It must be noted that Doug had fun end of school year activities as well, including a camp out (complete with tent, sleeping bags, and artificial campfire) in his room with scary stories.  Also, Doug signed his dad up for a Parent/Child presentation. We spoke to his class for about a half hour on Indian Guides, describing our meetings and camp outs, and answering their questions.
Great Aunt Betty Sherwood continued to recuperate from her Memorial Day weekend stroke, and we continued to visit her.  Keith made a video tape of her greetings to take to the family reunion.  She was transferred in early June from Intermediate Care to the Rehabilitation Center in the hospital.  The day after Brad’s promotion and the day before our vacation, she was transferred from the hospital Rehabilitation Center to the nursing facility of a local retirement complex .  Keith went charging up north to Oceanside to be with Betty in the hospital when the ambulance drivers arrived to transport her.  He then emptied her hospital room (clothes, pictures, flowers, cards) into his car and charged over to the convalescent home to be there when she arrived. 
Two things were notable about the retirement complex, Carlsbad by the Sea: one, it is the Cadillac of facilities in North County, resembling a Sheraton more than a convalescent home.  And two, it is adjacent to Betty’s Church, St. Michael’s by the Sea.  This was wonderful, as it allowed many parishioners to come visit her, and allowed her to be wheel chaired over to service.
The day after moving Betty and the softball game, the ready-for-a-break Sherwoods started their big vacation by flying across country to Baltimore.  The vacation this year was one weekend at Annapolis, Maryland, attending the Beck-Sherwood family reunion, then a week in Washington DC seeing as much as we could, and then a final day in Baltimore before returning.   More prose and pictures .
The frenzied pace didn't stop after the family vacation, at least for the boys.  On the flight back from Baltimore to San Diego the boys got off the plane in Albuquerque, while Kristi and Keith continued on to San Diego.  Nana whisked Brad and Doug away to Durango for Grandma Camp and Part II of their summer vacation.  While this was Brad's third Grandma Camp, it was Douglas' first, 8 being the minimum age.  Keith and Kristi proceeded on to San Diego for Part II of their summer vacation: a week alone without the boys .
Romantic plans for the week alone without the boys evaporated as Kristi was sick most of the week and Keith was inundated at work, trying to recover from taking 8 days off.  We did get to go to dinner with long time friends John and Michelle Wolf, who were out from Phoenix celebrating their anniversary.
Doug got exactly 20 hours at home between returning from Grandma Camp and leaving for Part III of his summer vacation: Church Camp at Loch Leven.  Like Grandma Camp, this was his first year of experiencing what his older brother had been raving about for years.  He was one of five from our church to go to "mini camp" for 4 days and 3 nights.  Although it was his first Church camp, and he got a little homesick, between his camping experience with Indian Guides and his adventure experiences with this Grandmas, he did just fine and had a very good time.
Doug’s stolen bike found its way back home.  The perpetrator turned out to be a friend of a kid (19 years old) up the street.  The felon, displaying either great stupidity or great chutzpah, rode it back a couple weeks later to the house up the street, where other kids in the neighborhood noticed it and alerted us for positive identification.  The friend rode the bike away before it could be reclaimed, but the parents of the house up the street were able to procure it and return it some days later, in a neighborly attempt to rebuild trust in the community.  We never met the kid up the street nor his felonious friend.  We spend a lot more time with our garage door down now. 
Of course, it wasn't nearly that simple.  The police were called.  There was a good deal of animosity in the neighborhood in the first place to the kid and his friend (which we now share).  There are interesting rumors about the kid's criminal past.  There was a questionable promise of retribution for damages.  But all in all, between the end of school, upcoming vacation, and Aunt Betty in the hospital, the stolen bike really couldn't garner much of our attention.  If any good is to come of the experience, the feeling of violation that Brad and Doug felt will hopefully prevent them from ever making such a poor decision when they are older.
Keith completed a couple of year long executive positions this month.  For the past year, among other things, Keith has been Vice Chair of the Board at church and Chief of the Sioux Tribe for Y guides.  He decided to stay on as Vice Chair, but gladly turned Chief over to somebody else.  Of all of Keith’s numerous responsibilities, Y Guides chief was the only one he clearly wasn’t enjoying. It obviously took more time and effort out of him than he got in return.

Puppy Chronicles :  
Wednesday, June 25 was the day it all clicked for Dancer.  That morning we got a new dog.  She didn't jump up and bite that morning, or day, or any following days.  Something finally clicked inside her head.  Now we have a really great dog.
Dancer has become a good watch dog.  When inside, she’ll go to the back door or window and bark at things in the backyard that we can’t see.  She also noticed a fire and barked feverishly to alert us to the danger.  True, it was just chicken on the barbecue, but she was right: it was on fire.

They Said It:
Kristi, needing to decompress: "I'm really looking forward to being able to relax and decompose."
Kristi, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: "I have a dream: a dream that one day vacations will not be judged by the amount of miles traveled or the number of monuments visited, but by the amount of relaxation enjoyed."


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Text and Pictures Copyright © 2003 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved
Questions or comments? Write keith at virtualsherwoods dot com .