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Gail helps Brad don Curious George. Brad as Curious George, getting children excited (or scared?) about the Book Fair.

Kristi had her third and final major volunteer activity at Deer Canyon Elementary (the first two being the School Directory in October and the Geography Olympiad in January ) in early March: the Book Fair. The school library is transformed through decorations and portable book displays into a book store.  The week long Book Fair is a major fund raiser for the school PTA, which splits the profits with Scholastic Books.  Deer Canyon is very popular with Scholastic Books, as we have one of the highest grossing fairs in the district: last year, the fair grossed $14,000.
Obviously something that big is a major logistical challenge too: setting up and tearing down, making arrangements with librarians and teachers, setting up special events like “Breakfast with Books” (opens at 7 am) and a Friday night family event (closes late), and reordering every night.  But it is a task to which Kristi is uniquely suited given her back ground in Academic Press booths at conventions.  Although she had helped out in the past, this was her first time running the show.  Like the Geography Team, she split leadership duties, this time with her friend Gail (of Labor Day camping fame ).  The Fair was another huge success, grossing $16,000.
Because we are such a big fair for Scholastic Books, they send over walk around character costumes.  The Book Fair coordinator then gets to assign shifts to volunteer fifth graders to walk around as Clifford the Big Red Dog or Curious George before and after school.  Guess which fifth grader got his pick of slots? (Hey, there should be some benefit to being the coordinator's son.) It's just this type of favoritism towards the fifth grader that will keep Kristi committed for three more years until Doug makes fifth grade.  
During the Book Fair, Kristi came face to face with the looming California state budget crisis and its impact on schools: she had to take her own supplies like copy paper.
To reward themselves for a job well done, Kristi and Gail took the Mustang up to Riverside and spent a Sunday at a spa, lounging around in mud and getting messaged, and generally not worrying about kids, books, or school.  It was Kristi’s first time ever to a resort spa.
Opening day of Little League baseball season was March 6th. Doug’s baseball team is very similar in make up to last year’s team: same manager, same assistant coach (Keith), and a lot of the same players as the manager drafts everyone from the same school, preferring familiarity over skill.  This paid off last year and it seems to be paying off again this year.  Doug’s bat speed is way up this year; he can knock it into the out field.
Brad was a little nervous about his first game in the Majors, playing against 12 year olds, and batting against a pitcher he believed to be one of the hardest throwing 11 year olds in the majors.  He had a great game, going 2 for 2, including a 2 RBI single his very first at bat.  He also scored a run, meaning he was involved in 3 of his teams 5 points in their 5-3 victory.  Brad is now as convinced as his parents that he belongs in the majors.
Report cards came out in March, so we should brag about how well Brad and Doug are doing in school.  Very well, thank you.  Doug continues to excell at math, but is beginning to show his verbal and written skills. Here's a sample. Brad's class is short on science but very strong on discussing current events.  And Brad never met a discussion he couldn't contribute to, either by breadth of knowledge or bald-faced fabrication.
Keith and Brad got serious about the upcoming Ride Across California in April.  Throughout March, they took training rides every weekend.  This usually took some doing, since Saturdays were already full of baseball (Brad, Doug, and Coach Keith) and basketball (Brad and scorekeeper Keith).  But the 5 Cities Bike Ride in February helped focus Brad, and together Brad and Keith made the training rides occur.  On March 9th, Keith realized a goal he had had since moving to Penasquitos in 1994 (or maybe just since Kristi gave him the mountain bike in 1998): he rode to the Ocean from the house.  Keith and Brad completed the Pipestone to the Pacific, then turned it into a 20 mile, 4 hour circle tour by returning via the Penasquitos Canyon preserve, the locale for Brad’s Deli Runs.  Over 10 of the total 20 miles were off pavement, on dirt roads and trails gouged by the February rains. The organized Bike Club rides for the month deserve their own page .  
Brad had to make some tough decisions this month.  He chose a basketball game over baseball pictures, bicycle rides over baseball, and most painfully of all, a baseball game over the semi finals of basketball.  Like his parents, he must be feeling the pressure of so many commitments, because he decided to skip trying out for the school team for the County Math Olympiad this year.
Keith and Doug went camping the last weekend in March in the desert in eastern San Diego county with the YMCA Indian Guides.  It was our first tent camp out since the family went camping last Labor Day.  The tribe sent 9 father-son pairs.  We went on a couple of hikes, went swimming in the hot spring-fed pool, and played games like tug of war and water balloon toss.  We also had a campfire with a storyteller and skits. And S’mores!  When the dads gave the boys a break from the nature stuff, the boys played very well together, playing Yu gi oh! Cards, RC cars, Gameboy, and football.  As host tribe, we arranged the games and made the water balloons.  As chief of the host tribe, Keith made all the reservations, campsite assignments, and nice-talked the rangers, who just remembered Y-Indian Guides as the group that lost a boy a couple of years ago. (Not us.)
The last weekend in March must go down as a truly great one in Brad’s memory.  What follows is all dutifully reported by Kristi: Keith missed it all, as he was camping with Doug.  Wasn't I just pontificating about tough decisions?  
Friday night Brad MC’d the Deer Canyon Elementary talent show.  The theme was “Deer Canyon Idol” and Brad played Simon.  Much as Keith hates to admit it, it seems that watching garbage television such as “American Idol” has really paid off for Brad as his Simon imitation (pretty good, say those familiar with the show and Simon) landed him the job.
Saturday morning was the 5th Grade Boys Basketball championship.  Brad's guess that his team would win the semi-finals without him while he played baseball proved correct.  In an exciting, back and forth game (Kristi video taped portions for Keith), Brad's Trailblazers won.
Saturday afternoon Brad pitched for the first time in the Majors.  Both his coach and his dad told him to go up and pitch strikes.  This he did, walking just one while striking out two in three innings.  Oh, he got shelled for 11 hits and 6 runs, but he accomplished his job of getting it over the plate.  Now that he’s demonstrated control, we can work on finer points like speed, movement and placement if he wishes to pitch some more.   
To top it all off, on Sunday afternoon, Aunt Betty called to offer Brad a ticket and a ride to the Padres Opening Game the next day.  Of course, he would have to get out of school early, but he didn’t seem to mind. (Nor was he the only child to leave early for the afternoon game, judging from the sign out sheet in the office, and the number of kids wearing the give away cap at school the following day.)  As Kristi said, if Brad doesn’t remember his childhood very, very fondly, there’s something wrong.  (Maybe he forgot the URL, quipped webmaster Keith).
Puppy Chronicles:  
Dancer is getting so big!  She weighed 35 lbs when she went into the Vet this month.  (By the way, did I mention that our vet is Matt, Gail's husband?  We already had a vetenarian before we had a dog.)
Dancer is still biting.  No one hasn't lost clothes to her.  T-shirts and pants have holes, sweaters have runs, etc.  When Keith goes to work with mere dog druel and paw prints on his clothes he counts himself lucky.
Doug has made his peace with her, and no longer seems to be her favorite target.  I think she is clear that she is below Doug on the pack totem pole. Brad, on the other hand, means rough-housing to Dancer, whether Brad wants to or not.  Everything he does from hand motions to verbal "No!" is promptly interpreted as playing, and she just keeps her nipping play going.

Related web sites:
Keith's Pictures of Bike Club rides


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