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.

Keith and the boys have Father's day breakfast at Keith's restaurant.


The boys watch Karch Kiraly getting served.


Doug and Keith at the mouth of the mine shaft.


Doug practices Safety Patrol with fifth graders, preparing to take over duties next year.


Brad, Cousin Kelsy dressed for dancing, and Doug at the Fair.


Kristi and Keith enjoy a funnel cake at the fair.


Doug enjoys a carmel apple at the Fair.


Keith and Dancer wash each other.


Doug, Michelle, and Kristi wander among the pop culture iconography at Universal Studios.


Brad goes back up strong after the offensive rebound.


Keith moderating the Annual Congregational Meeting.

June, 2005
.June hasn’t necessarily been a wind down month traditionally, but it was this year.  When baseball ended in early June, that opened up 2 to 4 evenings a week and two game spots on Saturday.  Next year we’ll have double graduations, but this year the end of school comes gradually and stress free, with well paced end of school activities like Open House, Family Fun night, and final Band Concert of the year.
One of the few things that seemed to take up more time this month was music.  After two and a half years, Douglas had his last piano lesson this month.  Like Brad, he is quitting piano as he switches to another instrument to begin Fifth Grade Band.  Unlike Brad, Doug didn’t get to go out on a recital.  So, unfortunately it was more a whimper than a bang to end Doug’s piano career. 

Doug has been convinced by the rest of his family that his instrument should be trombone.  No instrument with a reed, vows his mother.  A family from church was kind enough to lend Doug their trombone when they heard he was interested.  Darned if Doug can’t get loads of sound out of the horn already.  He’s a natural.  Even Brad admits that Doug is much advanced compared to where Brad started.  Doug is very excited now, and quite pleased that it has started off easy for him.  He’ll have some lessons this summer before Fifth Grade Band starts next fall.  Perhaps they can tell him (and us) whether he’s holding the instrument right side up or not.
Brad continues to play trumpet in the 7th grade honors band.  The end of school brought the exciting news that he had indeed made 8th grade honor band, which was a goal.  He also began to expand playing music beyond the confines of band class: he did two different pieces of performance art for a “culture of the Sixties” project in Humanities.  He played guitar in a band attempting to cover “Paperback Writer” then played trumpet in a jazz trio interpretation of “Louie, Louie.”  He's still taking guitar lessons, but will take a break for the summer.
The professional beach volleyball tour made its San Diego stop in June, and Keith took the boys.  Pro volleyball is cool for many reasons, not the least of which is the total lack of barriers between athlete and fan.  We watched a game in the stadium court, only to have one of the players from that game sitting in front of us ten minutes later at another court.  Sports aficionado Brad knew more about the top players than Keith. It was also amusing how star struck he became walking in the same sand as Olympians ("That's Dax Holdren!  That's Kerri Walsh!  Dad, that's Kerri Walsh, dude!"). We were only able to stay for some preliminary rounds Saturday morning, but the boys enjoyed it so much we'll make it a priority next year.

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School did end this month.  But before it did Doug had one last fourth grade field trip, and he invited Keith to join him.  To finish off the year's study of California history, the fourth graders go to the mountains of San Diego county to visit one of the local gold mines from the great San Diego gold rush of 1869.  Turns out Julian, that little tourist mecca at 4500 ft located 50 miles east of San Diego, is actually a gold rush town.

The other bit of school news is that Doug was selected to be on Safety Patrol next year as a fifth grader.  Safety Patrol runs the stop signs at the cross walks behind the school.  This is a selection by teachers based on citizenship, not academics, and is an honor for any graduating fourth grader.  This was an honor not afforded Brad after his sometimes contentious fourth grade year.  Brad's comment: "I guess keeping your mouth shut does payoff."
We went to the San Diego Fair (nee Del Mar Fair) much earlier than normal this year, on only the third day it was open.  Keith marveled with Kristi that 15 years ago we used to plan our visits to the Fair around when our favorite local band was playing.  Now we plan our visits around when our nieces are performing.  The Dance school that Quinn and Kelsy attend put on a show at the fair on one of the multiple stages about the fair on Sunday afternoon, so we built an entire day around it.  We used to go to the fair for pigs and the exhibits. Now we go for the Midway rides and the deep fried food.  Well, okay, we’ve always enjoyed the deep fried food.  This year it was battered potatoes that was all the rage.. But while the boys will tolerate a trip through the Fine Arts display to see what amazing things craftsmen have made out of wood, their goal is still ride as many midway rides as time and budget will allow.
The family has decided to participate in a 5K fun run/walk to benefit ElderCare San Diego on the second Sunday in July.  This has been decided for a variety of reasons: a goal to get Keith back in an exercise regimen (he has been sedentary since last year's Badwater to Whitney adventure completed),  an appropriate activity to honor the memory of Aunt Betty, and a reason not to attend church once Keith's term as Board Chair ended on June 30.
Circumstantial evidence indicates that Keith has indeed run for exercise sometime in the distant past: he has a pair of fairly good running shoes (near mint condition) and running shorts of the “dolphin” style that was all the rage in the early 80s.

There had been some thought on Keith's part of trying to beat Brad in July (thus turning the Fun Run into competition).  Keith figured with his goal oriented work ethic against Brad's tendency not to practice, there was a chance he could get into shape and Brad would fall out of shape, thus allowing Keith to establish that he was still Brad's athletic superior.  The couple of training runs they took together this month proved that as far as running was concerned, Brad had athletically eclipsed his father. Brad was compassionate (or was it condescending?) enough to shout encouragement as he made the halfway point and turned, passing Keith still lumbering in the outbound direction, “Good job, Dad!”  (Ed. note:  I’m sure that Brad indeed cheated.  After he made the turn off the main road .6 miles from home, I never saw him again.  I’m sure he must have flagged down a ride from a passing driver.)
After school was out, Kristi and the boys had a spontaneous day trip up to Studio City to see Kristi’s childhood chum (and Matron of Honor) Michelle Wolf.  Spontaneous in this case was planned within 48 hours.  Michelle lives in Phoenix, but was visiting.  Studio City is in the San Fernando Valley, on the far side of LA from us, just north of Hollywood.  Kristi wanted to go, but wouldn’t do it without the boys, so that she could have company on the three hour drive back at night.  Brad was enthusiastic, but Doug was dubious at the prospect.  As with most adventures, everyone was glad they went after it started. Doug enjoyed wandering around the mall area of Universal Studios, and Brad enjoyed the pop culture aspect of being places he’s heard about like Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard.  Brad took pictures of all the freeway signs, mansions on the hills, and downtown LA as the car sped through the land of the lotus eaters.
We do have one sport going on this summer.  Brad is playing summer league basketball.  Doug decided to skip it this summer.  The thing about summer basketball is that it is supposed to be low key and kids are expected to miss games.  It is as much of a joy to watch Brad play basketball now as it was to watch him play baseball 5 years ago: he's enjoying himself, he's got a natural feel for the game, and he's pretty darn good.  It's amazing how gracefully and naturally he has put on six inches of height in the last 8 to 9 months.
Keith’s term as Chair of the Board concluded in June.  He presided over the annual congregational meeting where the new board officers were elected, and gaveled his last board meeting.  While it would have been nice to have a slow last month, it wasn’t, and plenty of issues kept him working 20 hours a week on church business right until the end.  The Sunday of the congregational meeting was also the first Sunday of the new minister, so there was a feeling of closure, and of leaving the office (and congregation) in pretty good shape compared to the last 6 months.  Keith and Kristi plan to retire from as many church responsibilities as possible and re-establish church as a place of worship for us.

The next day Keith got a call at work from the church office (a not unusual occurrence over the last few months).  It was the new minister, on his first official day in the office, calling to talk about my article for the newsletter that summarized the congregational meeting and set soft target dates for the new worship schedule.  "I've talked with the staff this morning and we're going to change the worship schedule on July 17.  Do you mind if I update your newsletter article?"  No, of course not.  As he hung up the phone, a wave of relief rolled over Keith: for the first time in six months, there was somebody in charge at the church on a daily basis, empowered to make decisions and doing so.

They said it

Kristi, smelling, “Brad, you’re kind of smelling a little tonight.”
Brad, “Yes, I’m full of flamboyance tonight.”

Doug, describing why he can’t watch a particular movie rental, “It’s full of talk about, you know, ess-eee-xxx.”


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