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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!


Doug (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 basketball game.


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.


Kristi, Doug, and Keith before their bike ride along the San Dieguito River trail.

Doug riding next to Lake Hodges. Mt Woodson in background.


Great Aunt Betty as a teenager with her Aunt Stella in the late 1920s.


Stella and Betty at Santa Monica in 1968. Always arm in arm, and enjoying the feel of sand between their toes.

September, 2005
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 web page.
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 track 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.

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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 game in 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.

Betty Remembrance

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 honor.


They read it

Keith: Airborn, Oppel (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 (reread) Nix
Brad: Speeding Bullet, Shusterman.


They said it

Keith 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.”

On 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: “Yeah, it must be the dramatic part in the movie.”

Kristi, 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 Super Bowl.”


You could have clicked it

Links above you may have missed:

Labor Day Weekend
Festivities enjoyed during the three day weekend.
Fire On The Mountain Pictures of the fire near our house and its aftermath.
Brad's Project
Text of Brad's Family history project.
Cedar Fire
Wildfires that swept San Diego in October of 2003.

All of this month's pictures

All of this months pictures may be viewed at virtualsherwoods.shutterfly.com.


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