Nature abhors a
vacuum, and just because the boys aren’t in soccer this fall doesn’t mean
we haven’t found numerous other ways to fill our evenings and weekends.
Brad is in this competitive basketball league, Doug is in Y Guides, Keith
is running back and forth to Carlsbad to visit Betty, Kristi is Room
Mom at school, and we’re all involved in church up to our rosaries.
Keith had a rather rude awakening the first
Sunday in November when he had his digital camera stolen at church.
He was left trying divine the intended message. Possibilities that
came to mind included “Thou art spending too much time on the web page
and not enough with the family,” “Trust not thy neighbor,” and “If a
man taketh your digital camera, give him your camcorder, too.” He
finally settled upon, “Enjoy the moment more and stop separating yourself
from it by trying to capture graven images.” While the camera was
certainly an important part of Keith’s life (witness these web pages),
the perspective of the fire and those who lost everything was not lost on
After one week of denial and another of anger, Keith had gotten to
the point in his grief that he could consider a replacement, and he began
to research new cameras. And then, just like
Doug’s bike in June
, the stolen camera returned home. Not so the camera
bag, the rechargeable batteries, memory cards and tripod. But
as you see, he was equipped to take pictures for Thanksgiving.
While he was glad to have the camera back, Keith did somewhat regret
not having an excuse to splurge on the latest and greatest technology.
The third Saturday in November Brad and Keith
joined the House Building Ministry from church and went to the colonias
of Tijuana to help build a simple house. A dedicated core group
in the church is joined by miscellaneous volunteers to go to Tijuana
4 to 6 trips a year. Brad and Keith have always wanted to do it, but
their Saturdays have always been full with sports and other family events.
When a build was finally scheduled for a Saturday without any commitments,
we took it as a miraculous sign and signed up.
Bradley was of course fascinated by his first trip outside the US.
He drank in all the sights, staring out the window for the hour long
trip snaking from the border through Tijuana until we finally reached
the “suburbs.” The slab had been previously poured next to the burned
out trailer the family currently occupied. Keith was assigned
to the group making the interior wall and loft floor, while Brad painted
the trim before it was installed. We had talked about how hard
the work would be, and Brad did indeed lose steam just before lunch.
He spent the afternoon playing with the young boys that gathered to
“help.” He claimed he was performing a service in keeping them
out of the way, and I suppose there was some truth in that. We
returned home exhausted.
That night it rained. It was comforting to think there was one
less family exposed to the elements because of our work that day.
Douglas' third grade class put
on a big Thanksgiving production for the parents the last Friday before
the week long Thanksgiving break. It was a fun hour filled with songs,
skits, and audience participation performed right there in the friendly
confines (and it was tight!) of their classroom trailer.
Kristi, as room mom, was of course heavily involved in catering the post-production
cast and audience party. Douglas demonstrated the powers of suggestion
by relentlessly telling everyone they had to try his mother's brownies,
the best in all the known world. He pitched so well that by the
end all her brownies were gone and parents were asking Kristi for her
incredible recipe. They were just Betty Crocker brownies.
For at least the sixth straight
year (maybe seventh), the Sherwoods hosted Thanksgiving. The annual
extended family pot luck starts with a minimum of 15: the Sherwood family,
Jeff and Chrysanne and Quinn and Kelsy, Chrysanne's sister's family (3),
and Chrysanne's parents, uncle, and brother. Additions this year were
Aunt Betty, Keith's mom Jane from New Mexico, and Keith's brother Ken and
his girlfriend Minoosh from Minneapolis.
Betty had had a seizure earlier this month, and was a little more frail
than usual. But we all managed just fine.
Thanksgiving day dawned smokier than any day since the fires. Santa
Ana winds had set up over night and spent hours kicking up ash from the fire
and blanketing the skies above San Diego. In fact, the guests that
flew into San Diego that morning remarked on how it looked like the countryside
was on fire again. The ash in the air kept us inside, and turned the
planned ping pong/croquet biathlon event back into just a ping pong tournament.
After the meal there was the traditional Turkeybowl ping pong tournament
and the fast becoming traditional dubbed Asian DVD. The quality of
the DVDs that show up every year is threatening the tournament as it is
hard to get people up off the couch to go play their games. Although
Brad (Tournament Director) handled the reluctance much better this year than
in the past, it must be admitted that there are certain elements within the
extended family who would probably prefer the tournament's demise, and with
it the demise of the trophy. Kristi, for one, who yearly threatens
Keith and Brad not to win it, then plots with other wives whose turn it
is to be stuck with the thing for the next year. To see who got stuck
with the trophy this year, click to see the champ
Jane, Ken and Minoosh stayed through the weekend and left the following
Tuesday. We visited Betty a couple more times, saw the San Diego sights,
and played with the GPS in their rental car.
For full details, visit this link.
According to her adoption papers, Dancer's first birthday
was November 21st.
We're going to have to retire this section's name, although
not so much due to age as to mass. She's 70 pounds now, so we
can't go on using the diminutive without being
accused of being incurably dopey doggie people.
We celebrated Dancer's birthday by giving her a
bed, really a 3 foot diameter pillow. It took her a week to figure
it out, but she knows it's hers now, and she flops down on it for naps
all the time.
One calendar year must be 15 in dog years, because Dancer went all adolescent
on us. She suddenly decided to push the rule about not being
allowed upstairs and went exploring a couple times. (The first
time was in the middle of the night, much to Doug's surprise, who
woke up to find a dog staring him in the eye.) We acted quickly
to reinforce this boundary with Dancer, and she seems to be done sowing
her wild oats.
They Read It:
Keith: Inside Intuit
Brad: Sword of the Rightful King
They Said It:
Doug: (Making an astute observation upon noticing
Uncle Ken was not lavishing the usual amount of attention on his
nephews) Ken must really like Minoosh. He'd rather spend time
with her than with us.
Doug: Some people don't celebrate Christmas, they
November 20th will go down as the day that Kristi looked Bradley in
the eye and realized for the very first time she was looking up.