|Click on any of the
images below for a larger picture. Go ahead: you've already
loaded the larger image when you loaded this page.
The family at the start of
the Eldercare 5K Fun Run/Walk in Balboa Park.
Keith throwing the frisbee
to Brad and Doug at La Jolla Shores on July 2.
Brad works on his tan.
His thirteenth summer is the first that he's ever spent any time
The still snowy north side
of San Gorgonio, the tallest mountain in Southern California, from our
drive through the mountains behind Loch Leven.
Uncle Jeff and Brad talk
barbecue on July 4th.
Doug watches his brother
glide by, two miles gone and still running strong.
Keith in Balboa Park,
already well behind Brad.
Doug and Kristi on the home
Kristi and Brad over the
stream flowing through Loch Leven.
Brad in pony tails with
Rachel at Loch Leven. No, I don't know who Rachel is.
Keith and Doug 'pepper' with
volleyball in the
Yes, those are high school girls on the left....
|July started off with a an odd
celebration of sorts. On July 1 Kristi made a cake with 12
candles (one for each month) and the family celebrated the end of
Keith's tenure as church Board Chair and the return of father and
husband to the family. All through
the month at church the standard small talk opening line to Keith was,
"Boy, I bet you're glad you're not Board Chair anymore." Well,
that was certainly true. But it was also true that the health of
the church is not just the board chair's responsibility, but the
congregation's; we should all feel that sense of responsibility,
and urgency, and ownership. But it is just small talk, a
pleasantry to open conversation, so I respond with a "yes" and a smile,
while you get the sermon here
|But fear not, gentle reader, for you
will benefit as well:
next month will not start off with a paragraph or three about church.
|On July 2 the
family decided to
stare down the crowds of Southern California and go
to a popular and picturesque beach, La Jolla Shores. This made the
Saturday in the Fourth of July weekend
the annual day we take enough provisions, toys, and patience to stay at
the beach All Day Long. While the boys end up spending plenty of
time in the water, it is required that we go through the traditional
"Verbal Dance of the Wet suit:" Boys: "The water is so cold!" Parents:
"It's a shame you don't have wet suits." (They do.) Boys: "Aw, they're
too hard to bring/put on/take off/clean afterwards." Parents (on good
that's your choice." Parents (sarcastically, on not so good
days): "How would you know since you never bring them?" Boys:
"I'm bored; there's nothing to do."
Parents: "Why don't you go swimming/boogie boarding/body
boarding." Boys: "The water is too cold!" Repeat ad
|We got our fireworks
the evening of the second. In Penasquitos they have traditionally
done fireworks before July Fourth, presumably to save money. (I imagine
you get a pretty steep discount from a fireworks display company that
gets lots of business on July 4 but nothing the day before.)
Actually, this works out rather well, as the family always gets to
attend together before someone leaves for summer camp. And by
"attend together," I really mean arrive and depart together,
because while Mom, Dad, and Doug sit together, Brad's first order of
business upon arrival is to find friends to wander off and play and
roam with during the show. It's not that he's trying to ditch his
family, it's just that he wants to have fun (he says). It's a
pattern we're getting used to, and that parents of teenagers through
the centuries have had to get used to. We make sure to spot him a
couple times before the lights go out.
|On July 3 the family drove up to
Loch Leven in the San Bernadino mountains (behind Redlands at the east
end of the Los Angeles valley) to drop off
Doug for a week of camp. Camp for fourth, fifth and
sixth graders are invariably scheduled the first week in July, so Doug
missed Fourth of July with
the family last year, too (as did Brad when he was this age before
Doug). Having fireworks early in Penasquitos is actually
beneficial in this case.
|Dropping off Doug at camp takes an
hour. First, Brad
must wax poetic about every experience he's had at camp; every sign,
building or rock evokes a cherished memory of Brad's, and he shares
it. Then Keith must take pictures, since these are likely to be
the only pictures he will get to commemorate the week. Do both Doug and
Keith a favor and visit
Loch Leven page.
|After dropping Doug off, instead of
returning immediately the way we came, we kept on highway 38 and drove
the scenic mountain route up through Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead in the
San Bernadino Mountains. It was a very pretty drive that none of
us had ever
taken before. Keith did go to one of the ski areas in the region
back in the early 80's, but he couldn't remember or recognize which
|Apparently Jeff and Chrysanne were
not satisfied hosting the extended San Diego family for both Easter and
Christmas. So they invited everyone for a Fourth of July barbecue
as well. It was
also a family birthday party for cousin Kelsy Rafferty, who was turning
|On July 5th, it was Kristi's annual
turn to host the church ladies’
bunco game. To make themselves scarce, Brad and Keith went to see
the movie War of the Worlds.
(Doug had obligingly made himself scarce
by being at church camp.) Keith had been threatening Brad for a
month that the family rule would be followed: you cannot see the movie
until you read the book. The irresistible force of parent pushed
and pushed against the immovable object of teen resistance.
Eventually, a compromise was reached: just read the first couple of
chapters and you can stop if you don't like it. Later that night, as
Brad was racing through chapter 9, Lights Out had to be enforced or he
would have read, engrossed, all night. Although not clamoring to
read more HG Wells, Brad did enjoy the 19th century version of science
fiction. Score this one a win-win. And of course Brad had
to comment on everything during the movie, whether a version of this
event had taken place in the book. This was okay with Keith, since he
had never read the book.
|Sunday July 10th (the morning after
picking up Doug from church camp) was the big 5K Fun Run and
Walk. Keith ran
3 miles every morning in July (save the day before) in
preparation. In fact, he over trained, stopped by muscle cramps
on the eighth day. Brad ran once or twice with (or away from)
Keith, but mostly relied on basketball to keep him in the excellent
cross country condition he was in from PE in school. Kristi and
Doug paced off three miles a couple of times.
This was the first time the family had attempted any thing of the
sort. It was a fun family activity, with a purpose: it was a
benefit for San Diego Eldercare, so we did it in memory of Betty.
Turns out these fun runs are just that: fun, with goodie bags and a
pavilion of booths around the theme for before and after the
run. And with participation in the hundreds not thousands, it
wasn't crowded or unpleasant at all.
But the best part was simply running through beautiful Balboa Park at
seven a.m. on a Sunday morning. What a different experience
sharing the park with a bunch of runners as opposed later in the day
when the park is choked with people and cars! After
they ran the first 200 yards together, Brad looked imploringly at
Keith. Keith waved him off, releasing him, and Brad sprinted away
after the lead runners. At least he asked before
abandoning his father. We figured that running a race outside of
school would either stoke his enthusiasm for cross country, or crush
completely any interest, all depending upon the amount of success he
experienced. Well, Brad came in 5th, and can tell you how many
"San Diego Track Club" T-shirts he beat. So suddenly he is
excited about running and interested in running in more races.
|As an aside, the day represented why
we live in
San Diego: morning 5K in Balboa Park, then a spontaneous trip to the
beach for a couple of hours, then an evening neighborhood wiffle ball
dinner, called only on account of darkness.
|What's to be done with the boys
during the week between Doug's return from Loch Leven and Brad's
departure to same? Sports Day Camps, that's what, where the high
coaches and varsity team members put on day camps for their respective
sports. For the week of July 11-15, Doug attended baseball camp
and Brad went to basketball camp. Both camps were in the mornings
at their eventual high school,
|What new can be said about Brad and
church camp at Loch Leven? This is the highlight to Brad's
summer. Every year he says it is his highest priority, and that to
attend he would gladly forego any of the other wonderful adventures his
parents plan for him. In an effort to understand his obsession,
we have a page of
Leven memories from 2005. He will clearly be a camp counselor
here one day.
|The crazy San Diego real estate
market must be at a frothy head. Seems like half the homes in the
neighborhood have turned over in the last 6 months (although it's
probably more like 20%). We changed one next door neighbor, and
both across the street neighbors. One family that moved in down
the street has a boy two years older than Brad and another four months
younger than Doug, so we're very excited. The older boy is a
baseball and basketball player like Brad, and Doug hasn't had anyone
his age in the neighborhood forever. They play together all the
|In fact, the arrival of the new boys
has re-energized the street's youth, and they are once again playing
outside and hanging out together this summer as they haven't for the
last couple of years. Our house has become the central hang out spot
for the neighborhood kids, ages 10 to 15. Whether this is because
Brad and Doug live here, because we have trees that shade our yard, or
because our house is halfway between the cul de sac and the blind
(making it the natural starting spot for all games played in the
street), I don't know. It used to be we would drive home to find kids
in our tree; now they're older and just sitting in the shade underneath
them. Every night this summer there were boys knocking on the
front door after dinner, asking for Brad and Doug to come out to play
basketball or wiffle ball. After the sophomore boys come out to play,
the two junior girls will often join in the games.
|Two more things that history needs
to record about Doug this month: he started trombone lessons in
preparations for beginning fifth grade band in the fall, and Doug loves
to play volleyball with his dad. Instead of "Do you want to go play
catch, Dad?" it's "Let's go pepper!" Doug is getting good fast, and
frequent games of pepper can't be bad for Keith's lunch time games of
volleyball at work.
|Recapping July so far, that was Doug
to church camp for the first full week, both boys in day sports
camps the second week, then Brad to church camp the third week.
So for the fourth week, we went on the family summer vacation to Minnesota. Naturally,
we left the very next morning after Brad
returned from camp. The family vacation included Grandma Camp,
Keith and Kristi spending time alone together in romantic Duluth, and
finally the best reason to go to Minneapolis in July: Keith's brother
Ken getting married. (Kristi enjoyed pointing out that we went
as a family to Hawaii, but for our 15th Anniversary, Keith took her to
Duluth.) Kristi's parents drove up to Minnesota to
meet us and lend us one of their cars; they then returned to Illinois
in another car driven by Kristi's aunt and uncle. After a week in
Minnesota, we drove down to Bloomington Illinois on August 1st for the
second week of our family vacation.
Keith took his work
laptop along on the vacation, a first. He
did use it for work once or twice as he couldn't help but check in at
work (romantic Duluth Best Western had high speed Internet access!),
but he also found other uses for it: for a slide show of various
pictures of the family (since he wasn't keeping up on the web pages),
up of pictures he took while on vacation, and to make a flier
explaining a Persian wedding to distribute to Minoosh and Ken's
Typical Betty, from 1994: not
afraid of getting in a box to play peek-a-boo with Brad.
Keith got it in his head that with
his father, aunt and uncle gathered at Ken's wedding at the end of the
month, this would be a good time to distribute all the Betty
memorabilia. He began to desperately go through the 8 Betty boxes,
trying to reduce the content to something manageable enough to ship or
check through to Minnesota. He got it down to 6 boxes, but
couldn't compress it further, when Kristi pointed out there was the
2006 family reunion. Rather than taking it all upon himself to
sort and distribute, why not make that part of the fun of the next
family reunion? Thus relieved of his burden, he took only a small
sampling back to Minnesota, with promises of more to come for the
This particular trip through the Betty
boxes retrieved the picture to the left. This was not a
previously unknown picture; Keith took it and had the original in the
family album from 1994. But it was a wonderful reminder of the
qualities that made Betty so special.
They read it
With a imperious father-edict similar
to Brad and War of the Worlds
above, Keith told the boys they couldn't
read the new sixth Harry Potter book until they read the previous Harry
Potter book, which they both started two years
ago but neither finished. Doug saw the logic in such an argument,
while Brad refused
to be caught up in the mania surrounding the latest book release:
their favorite is either 3 or 4, which I’ve already read, so I don’t
need to read any more.”
Doug: Harry Potter 5, Harry Potter 6, Rowling
Brad: War of the Worlds, Wells
Keith: Harry Potter 6, Rowling; This Side
of Paradise, Fitzgerald
They said it
The sweetest words a father will ever
hear: Brad (after a walk with
Dancer and Dad): “Thanks for making me come. This was fun.”
You could have clicked it
Links above you may have missed:
All of this month's pictures
All of this months pictures may be
viewed at virtualsherwoods.shutterfly.com.
and condemnations may be forwarded
to VirtualSherwoods.com, preceded by 'Keith@'.
and pictures copyright 2005 by Keith Sherwood. All rights,
writes, and rites reserved.