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Dinner on the beach over
Labor Day Weekend.
Torrey Pines State Preserve:
sandstone bluffs and rare pine trees.
Fire on the mountain!
(in blue) wins the
exchange of momentum as he stops the ball cold while the attacker,
having kicked something that didn't move, goes flying.
Brad attacking in a Saturday
Dancer and Doug share the
front seat on the way to school.
Doug delivers ice cream to a
customer Friday after school.
Gail explaining the simple
electrical circuit that kids with make in FSEA. Doug is to the
left of the boy in red; PJ is to Doug's left.
Doug, and Keith before their bike ride along the San Dieguito
Doug riding next to Lake
Hodges. Mt Woodson in background.
Great Aunt Betty as a
teenager with her Aunt Stella in the late 1920s.
and Betty at Santa
Monica in 1968. Always arm in arm, and enjoying the feel of sand
between their toes.
|We didn’t do anything special
for Labor Day. Specifically, we didn’t go on the Bigelow Family
Camp Out as we have the last three Labor Day weekends. We decided
one camp out a year was enough, and since we had already gone on the
Bigelow Family Camp Out the previous Memorial Day, we sat this one
out. Without a one-stop occasion, we had ourselves a piecemeal
three day weekend: bike rides down to Penasquitos preserve, dinner out
at friends’, a picnic on the beach, and a hike at Torrey Pines
preserve. On second thought, it did turn out kind of special;
special enough for its own
|Three day weekends are tricky
things; there is really no winning: if you have a trip that takes you
out of the house, you return to work on Tuesday feeling you didn’t get
any major projects done around the house, which is what a three day
weekend is for. And if you stick around the house knocking off
projects, you feel you wasted a three day weekend by not doing
something special, which is what a three day weekend is for.
Luckily, we have Dancer to tip the balance. One of the benefits of
sticking around the house was not having to kennel Dancer. We still
feet guilty about abandoning her for two weeks for our summer
vacation. Does this mean Dancer is running our life? Are we
(shudder) dog people now?
|Labor Day weekend ended on an
alarming note as we returned from the beach to discover the mountain behind our house was
on fire. This was the first urban wildfire since the
disastrous Cedar Fire swept through San Diego nearly two years ago,
and it garnered a lot of attention, fast. We had water dropping
helicopters and fixed wing slurry bombers buzzing our house.
Every TV station was giving
news breaks, and one even stopped its afternoon programming to devote
full time coverage to the fire. Although neighborhoods were
evacuated (not ours), in the end no structures were lost.
|From the Fall Sports Desk: Doug’s
soccer team started playing games this month after spending August
practicing. The age bracket this year is 5th, 6th, and 7th
grades, so Doug is at the youngest end of the spectrum. In fact,
only one other player on the team is in elementary school; the rest are
in middle school. His favorite position of goalie has been taken
by a boy who is 6 inches taller than him (with accompanying longer
wingspan), so he is having to satisfy himself with defender. This
is a new coach and group of kids for Doug, and a whole new group of
parents for Keith and Kristi. Thus far we are very pleased: the
coach is great and the parents very pleasant. It’s going to be a
good year for soccer, regardless of the team’s won/loss record.
|Since Brad quit playing soccer
several years ago, he doesn’t have a fall sport to play any more.
After vacillating a bit, he signed up for off-season baseball (few
practices and games on Sunday so as not to interfere with in-season
sports, notably soccer). But then he went one better.
Following successful spring and summer stints in recreational
basketball leagues, Brad tried out for, and made, the high school
developmental basketball team for 8th
graders (i.e. "club" or "travel ball"). Which means he is on
for the freshman basketball team next year. His parents are very
proud of him, not for making the team, but for trying out at all, since
competing against "the really athletic" kids outside his social circle
(but known by
reputation) was way beyond his comfort zone.
When baseball season was ending for
the boys back in June, it looked as if we might, for the first time
ever, have no sports in the fall: Doug was waffling on whether he
wanted to play another year of soccer, and Brad expressed no interest
in off-season baseball. So we’ve gone
from a possibility of no sports to
3 sports: Doug with two practices a week and a game on Saturday, Brad
with two basketball practices a week, maybe a weekday evening at the
batting cages, then one or two basketball games on Saturday and a
baseball game on Sunday. Whatever happened to the family rules of
only one sport at a time, and no games on Sundays?
With a month of school under our
belts, we have settled into a daily pattern.
I’d love to tell you how Keith gets up at 6:00 am and goes bike riding,
or even at 6:30 and starts his day with push ups, sit ups and prayer
(both routines he has kept in the past), but unfortunately he manages
only to drag himself out of bed by 6:50, his only goal to start the
coffee and let the dog out to pee before the sprinklers go off at 7:00.
The rest of the family gets up at 7:00. Doug gets a ride to school at
7:45. Brad practices trumpet from 7:30 to 8:00 and then gets a ride to
school. Kristi does one boy, and Keith does the other and then goes
straight on to work. The boys dispatched, Kristi takes the dog for a
walk, then goes for a walk herself or goes to the gym.
|The boys used to prefer
being driven to school by Dad in the convertible. Not any more.
The boys would rather be driven by Mom, and in Mom’s Camry, because
then Dancer gets to go along for the ride. She sits in the front
passenger foot space; she's just tall enough to put her chin on the
dashboard. It's a tight squeeze with a boy in the front seat too,
but everyone seems to enjoy it. Dancer is as much used to the
routine now as the boys, regarding it as much her right as a morning
walk. She will go to the garage door and wait in the morning when the
boys put on their shoes and shoulder their backpacks. And Kristi
swears Dancer can tell time, too, because she goes to the garage door
when it is time to pick up the boys from school as well. (Answer
to rhetorical question above: yes, we have become dog people.)
|Doug is involved in a
variety of after school activities. Every Thursday he is on
Safety Patrol, both before school and after school, in charge of
directing car and foot traffic, getting kids safely across the street
at the back gate of the school. Every third or fourth Friday he
is involved in class ice cream sales, and helps sell ice cream to raise
money for class trips and projects. Some Wednesdays he has Future
Scientists and Engineers of America (FSEA), a program brought to the
school by Gail Bigelow, that has the kids working on science fair-type
projects. He's also taking some PowerPoint classes after school,
given by a parent.
As part of a “Get to know me” speech
at school, Doug was asked to bring in five objects that helped explain
who he was. He choose (in no particular order): a volleyball, his
Bible, a book (because he enjoys reading so much currently), a board
game, and a baseball trophy (participation in rec sports
leagues). Something did click back on with him and reading when
school started, because he's back to reading a couple hours a day and
reading more than I can record in these pages. Brad had a family
history project to do on a relative. After initially selecting
Great Aunt Betty, he switched to Kristi's father since Kristi has been
wanting the boys to learn about how different life was growing up on
the farm 60 years ago. By the looks of Brad's project, she
succeeded. Despite learning of all the chores his grandfather
had, Brad still won't mow the front lawn willingly, however.
| We attended one Padre
September, our last of the season. Doug got us in, since it was
Safety Patrol night at the ball park. It was Doug’s first perk
for Safety Patrol. Final Padre Game tally for the season for the
family was 5 games, compared to just 1 last year. Brad went to an
additional three games this year. The game was against the 2nd
place SF Giants in the final week of the season, and when we got the
tickets there was a chance it might be the decisive game where, if the
Padres won, they would clinch the division. But it didn't pan
out, and the Padres lost the game any way. Although the Padres
did go on
to win the division, their record and play is so lackluster as to not
spark much excitement among the general populace, which assumes a quick
exit from the playoffs is forthcoming. (Ed. note from October: Wow, exits don't
come much faster than three game sweeps...)
|Bike Club, the precursor
to the Ride Across California, has started for Doug. Every Friday
afternoon after school he’s been taking
rides with Mr. Bueker and the rest of the kids planning to on the Ride
Across California coming Spring Break of 2006. The
rides are designed to get kids more comfortable with their bikes, and
they get progressively longer. They will happen most Friday
afternoons until daylight savings time ends, and which point there will
be even longer rides on days school isn't in session. Mr. Bueker
has added a new ride since Brad was in bike club 3 years ago. So
on the very last Friday in September Kristi and Keith joined Doug and
the rest of the Bike Club and rode partially around Lake Hodges.
It was a fun ride, and one which we shall have to do again, going
another couple of miles to actually get to the dam.
Susan forwarded a request from a
Alumni reporter from Ohio State University. Betty had left money
in her will towards the Stella Milburn Fund, a fund her aunt Stella
created and endowed in her will in 1986. The writer was putting
together the story of the family of Ohio State alumni and their giving
to the University. I gave the writer some quotes and promised to
find some pictures of Betty and Stella together. So it was time
to dive back into the Betty Boxes, and plow through the hundreds of
unsorted photos I kept to let the family sort through next
reunion. The two they decided to use are reprinted on the left.
As mentioned before, Betty saved
a lot of things. In addition to pictures and letters mailed to
her from far flung relatives, these boxes are filled with newspaper
clippings, recipes, motel postcards, and sewing patterns. These
get a fairly short shrift before being discarded. But I found one
particular clipping, a prayer from a newspaper clipped from a newspaper
20 or 30 or maybe even 50 years ago (whenever they still put prayers in
newspapers), particularly apropos. It was in fact clipped all
those years ago (possibly even before I was born) with me in mind and
the task in which I was engaged. It was entitled "A Prayer for
Loving Hands" and requested that loving hands go tenderly through all
my things when I am gone. It described exactly what I was doing,
and gave me permission to do it. And the burden again became an
They read it
(book bought for the
boys who haven’t read it yet)
Doug: The Westing Game, Raskin; Cold Tom, Prue; When My Name was Keoke,
Park; Seventh Tower series
Brad: Speeding Bullet, Shusterman.
They said it
making conversation on the way to
church on Labor Day weekend: “What would you like to do tomorrow (Labor
Day)?” Brad (morosely):
“I want to go camping.” Keith
(exasperated): “Brad, that ship has sailed!” Brad, again
morosely: “I wish I was on it.” Kristi,
“So do I.” After 20
seconds of Keith giggling in the front seat, Brad brightens and says, “Ha! I get
it. Good one, Mom.”
our hike on the Torrey Pines
bluffs, we turn a corner away from the beach and suddenly the noise of
the surf disappears. Keith:
“Listen! Silence!” Doug:
it must be the dramatic part in the movie.”
after throwing her back out
the day after starting a new class at the gym: “That may be the end of
my kick boxing career.”
Doug, upon seeing a Fidelity
commercial featuring Paul McCartney, “He got really popular after the
You could have clicked it
Links above you may have missed:
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