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The Sherwoods visit the Grinch at the Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park..

Training for the Ride Across California in April has begun in earnest, at least for  Kristi..

Great Aunt Betty was laid to rest in All Saints Cemetary in Oceanside.

Keith, Brad, Kristi, Doug, Rip Harper, Susan, Amberley, and Father Woodridge.

Brad at the 37 yard line (face turned left) waiting to join the band on field.

Brad (playing trumpet) third from the rear on the 38 yard line.

Doug (7) defending on the soccer field.

The family on board the USS Midway.

A Thanksgiving morning walk on the beach.

The family poses with Nana in front of the Mission of San Juan Capistrano.

Doug (back row second from right) singing at Hanging of the Greens.

November, 2005
The Internet may not have invented Fantasy Sports, but it sure makes it easy.  No longer is the fantasy owner burdened with the task of extracting statistics from the box scores of the morning Sports section and figuring out for himself how his team did.  Now some remote computer program does all the real work, and owners just make an occasional trade, rarely even prefaced by a rudimentary negotiation e-mail. Fantasy Sports has become Brad’s second favorite use of the Internet, right in between e-mail (first) and school project research (third). He’ll play just about any thing. He surprised his parents the other day when he lamented his last place hockey team. “Brad, you don’t know any thing about and don’t have any interest in hockey!”  “I know.  That’s why I’m in last place!” When that was followed by a parental accusation that he would play any Fantasy Sport on the Internet, he indignantly replied, “Dad, they have fantasy NASCAR. I don’t play that.”  This month, however, things reached a dangerous new level when other boys from school started calling about their middle school Fantasy NBA league. Brad’s parents were perplexed when he was not eager to return their phone calls. “Oh, they just want to complain to me.  You see, I’m the Commissioner.”
Kristi has been bitten by the “train for the Ride Across California” bug; Douglas, not so much. At the gym, she’s doing more work with the stationery bike. At home, she and Keith go out at least once a week on a 15 mile or better bike ride, and try to get in additional rides as possible. Keith took Veteran’s Day off and they took a bike ride. They rode a couple times during Thanksgiving. Kristi has taken Doug several times, and once or twice all three of them have gone. There are a surprising number of interesting rides available without involving a car and a bike rack, but just starting from, and looping back to, our house.
Doug was supposed to go with Keith and Kristi (and the school Bike Club) on that aforementioned bike ride on Veteran's Day, but then got an invitation to go with the Bigelows to Knott's Berry Farm instead. Guess which one he did?  (Unfortunately, no photographic record exists.) Since Riley and PJ also skipped the bike ride for Knott's Berry Farm, Gail Bigelow, Kristi and the boys took "the Deli Ride" without the rest of bike club later in the month.

Travel Ball

Doug got his second first watch. Part of the official Safety Patrol uniform (along with white pants, red shirt, red cap, and whistle) is a watch, so he became very adamant about getting an appropriate watch right away. Doug takes Safety Patrol very seriously, and now the kid who can still leave the house for school forgetting his lunch (or backpack, or trombone) remembers his watch, whistle, and cap. Doug has even taken to asking the night before if his uniform is washed. While Kristi would appreciate a little more notice, she recognizes that thinking ahead twelve hours is a huge step (and one, in fact, that some adults haven't yet achieved).

Although Great Aunt Betty’s memorial service was held last March, Susan and Keith waited until this month to actually inter her ashes. Besides just good old procrastination, we had hoped to wait until Father Woodridge, a dear friend of Betty’s, was well enough to travel. Father and his wife Clara came and stayed with Betty when she first returned home from the hospital after her stroke in 2003. They stayed with Betty for several weeks, taking care of her, helping get her affairs in order, and assisting Susan and me plan next steps. Father Woodridge was very ill and unable to travel at the time of Betty’s funeral in March. We were delighted to find they were not only available to come down from Oregon in November, but that Father Woodridge was hale and hardy.

We took the first steps this month down what may turn out to be a long path. Keith and Doug went to a Volleyball Club open house, played their first game ever as a two person team (a pick up game against two 14 year old girls), and signed Doug up for lessons. If Doug maintains his enthusiasm and enjoyment, this will inevitably lead to more lessons, club teams by the time he’s Brad’s age, and more competitive games as a father-son team. Keith and Kristi are eager to support Doug in exploring avenues not previously blazed by his brother. Keith hopes this path leads to many more years of playing with Doug as a partner, because the experience of playing as a team with his son (even when they eventually lost to the two girls) was a lot more gratifying than competing against his son and getting trounced at the Fun Run in July.

Band directors at both the Middle School and High School levels are eager for eighth grade band students to continue playing in High School, and so cooperate to create fun opportunities like playing with the High School band.  With two high schools in the community, Brad got to play with two bands at two high school football games this month.  The eighth graders sat with and played with the high school band in the stands at both games, and at Mt Carmel they got to join the band on the field for a song after the high schoolers had finished marching.
Doug’s soccer season wound down. While the team finished first in the division in regular season (playoffs will be the first two weekends in December), the important thing about soccer this season is that all the kids on the team had great attitudes, all the parents were great, and the coaches were really good: an all round positive experience, and probably the one that will cap Doug’s soccer career. Although Doug had a good time, soccer has never been his game. He vacillated a lot before signing up this year, and if he’s involved in any other sports next fall (like volleyball, for example), he will probably hang up his cleats.
Soccer season is speeding up for Kristi, the Team Mom. The End of the Season means she has to collect money, buy coaches’ gifts, order trophies and arrange the team party. It’s all pretty easy for someone as organized as Kristi, especially when you like all the parents.
Brad's first 10 week season of Wolverine basketball completed this month with a tournament. They finished the tournament just as they finished the season: fifth place team out of eight. They have a legitimate shot at the three and four teams, but the top two teams in the division play a game with which Brad (and the rest of his team) is unfamiliar.
Brad's Fall baseball season also ended this month, but without any post season tournament. Although this was recreational ball, it resembled travel ball given all the different venues they played.
At school, Brad’s core humanities class reenacted the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The students played real historical figures present at the convention, represented their constituencies, and crafted a Constitution from scratch. The students got to decide amongst themselves who played who, with two exceptions: the teacher selected who would be the Secretary to record the proceedings, and who could handle Alexander Hamilton, an important role that had to be taken by someone who was opinionated and a little condescending, who could debate any subject, and think fast on his feet. He chose Brad as Alexander Hamilton. (Keith's only piece of advice upon hearing the news was that Brad should find out who was playing Aaron Burr, then stay very far away from him/her.)
Keith’s mom Jane (“Nana” to the boys) came out from Los Alamos for Thanksgiving, staying Tuesday through Saturday. In best host tradition, we did all sorts of things and visited all sorts of places that were on the family “to do and see” list for years, but hadn’t gotten around to doing yet, needing an out of town guest for an excuse to play tourist in and around our own city. We toured the aircraft carrier Midway, walked the beaches, took the train to San Juan Capistrano, and went to the Old Globe for the production of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
And yes, of course we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. With  Jane as the only non-regular, we had an easy 16 for Thanksgiving.
Finally, November concludes with the first Sunday of Advent, and so this month's page concludes with the Hanging of the Greens ceremony at church. Keith and Kristi deaconed, Doug sang and Brad played the bells.

They read it

Brad: Travel Team, Lupica
Keith: Confederacy of Dunces, Toole
Doug: Silent to the Bone, Konigsburg; The Seeing Stone, Crossley-Holland

They said it

Brad: "That commercial was retarded!" Keith: "Try not to use 'retarded' as a pejorative." Doug (sincerely, I think): "Ok. That commercial was special ed-ed."

You could have clicked it

Links above you may have missed:

Winter Baseball Brad's winter baseball league includes traveling to other communities' fields.
Thanksgiving Jane Sherwood came out for Thanksgiving and four days of fun, including touring an aircraft carrier, Thanksgiving dinner, and taking the train to San Juan Capistrano.

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Text and pictures copyright 2005 by Keith Sherwood.  All rights, writes, and rites reserved.