Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

April 30, 2013

April 2013 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 2:00 am

April Highlights:

Luke Turns Double Digits

Luke said he felt “fine” after turning 10 last month. Of course he said “fine” in the same understated, monosyllabic way he always does when asked silly questions by his dad. I think he’d agree he had a great month though. He was overjoyed by the green and black Minecraft gear (a t-shirt and cap) he received from his aunt Christine, as well as the matching green Stereo skateboard and sun glasses he received from us (here he is wearing and using all the items mentioned at once). I believe it was two years ago that Luke lost his love of skateboarding after a big wipe  out he took rounding a turn at high speed. The new, smaller, slower, yet more maneuverable skateboard we purchased for him seems to have rekindled his fondness for skateboarding. I really debated whether to get this skateboard for him or not, but when I saw him taking it out on the street on his own (and sharing it with his sister), I knew we had made the right decision. Welcome back to boarding Luke.

And speaking of boarding, Luke and I took a second trip to Mammoth this month and had a blast. We even stepped it up by going up to the halfway mark of the Main Lodge (on the Gondola) and coming down the St Moritz run, which was a bit more advanced than previous runs we had traversed. Luke did very well and really had no problem cruising down the mountain and merging into traffic with all the hot doggers screaming down the last descent and into the tight turn that finishes at the bottom of the lodge. I, on the other hand, did not have the same results. I didn’t have any issues following Luke on most of St Moritz, but the last 50 yards or so you have do deal with the guys that come off the big jumps at a high rate of speed and then zoom through the sharp turn at the bottom of the mountain before coming to a screeching halt in front of a crowd of 300 or more people at the base of the mountain. For me it was kind of nerve wracking to see so many people moving so fast. My tendency was to slow down and try to wait for all the traffic to subside, but it was really no use as the flow was constant and eventually you just had to make your way in and finish the run. A couple of times I fell right at the end, which meant other boarders had to quickly negotiate their turns around me — some of them even sprayed me with snow as a “come on, get out of my way” sort of move. Oh well, it’s something I’ll have to overcome at some point.

Later on, however it was Luke’s turn to experience some discomfort after we tried to step it up one more level to a blue run (called Stump Alley). Stump Alley is a nice wide run but it was a lot steeper than any of the other runs we had descended. The unfortunate part is that you don’t really know this until you get over the ledge that leads to the last descent. When Luke made it over that edge he came to an immediate stop and sat down. I asked him what was wrong and in a quivering voice he responded, “I am never doing this again.” Apparently, Stump Alley was Luke’s breaking point. I told Luke that we didn’t have to go on it again, but that we could brake the entire way down since he wasn’t comfortable with the descent. This led to about 10 minutes of Luke starting and stopping his way down the mountain, after which he refused to talk for quite some time. Knowing him as well as I do however, I know that at times like this it’s best not to talk and to let him initiate a conversation when he’s ready. This came shortly after lunch when he insisted on doing St Moritz again — I think he probably enjoyed seeing me struggle a bit on the final turn again (kind of like, “I got ya back dad.”). Things progressively got better for the both of us though as he discovered the family park fun zone which is an area of the mountain that has little jumps, boxes and rails for learning tricks. The two of us had a great time in this zone as we both attempted mini jumps (and landed them), and skated off the boxes. By the end of the day we were both in good spirits, which were made even better when we joined a friend from Camarillo (who also happened to be in Mammoth) at a nice little Mexican food restaurant named Roberto’s Cafe

Lilah Starts Volleyball

I offered Lilah the opportunity to take a day off school and come with Luke and me to Mammoth, but she said that it was too hard for her to get away from middle school because they saddled her with too many projects and homework. Lilah never ceases to amaze me with how responsible she is. At times, she insists that school is boring and she hates it, but try to entice her to take a day off school with a fun trip and you will more than likely fail. That’s okay though, she is a diligent student and takes pride in her work, something she showed us again last month by making it onto the Gold Honor Roll for her 4.0 GPA. I will say it again, I had nowhere near the level of dedication to school Lilah has at such a young age ;-).

Lilah started volleyball again this month. She was also put into the team of 13-year olds, but is okay with that especially since her best friend Tory is on the same team. I can tell she really likes volleyball because she is now to the point where she asks either Cathy or me if we can throw the ball to her in the backyard so that she can bump it, set it or spike it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to catch any of her games this season because I’m with Luke at his track meets. I think Luke will be finishing track soon and that will give me a chance to attend some of Lilah’s matches and hopefully take her picture when she isn’t looking. I tried taking some shots of her while she was at practice but she gets upset when I do this because she insists it messes up her concentration. Hmm, does this mean I’m going to have to get one of those super long telephoto lenses so I can photograph her 1/4 mile away without her noticing me?

It’s definitely getting harder for me to take candid snapshots of her as she’s becoming more self conscious. I totally get it as teenager-hood is less than two months away. She did allow me to take this picture with her friend Tory right before they got into the car to leave for their school’s Hawaiian themed dance. Still no boy talk yet that I know of — well, that’s not entirely true, she does say boys are stupid, something to which I agree with her wholeheartedly while encouraging her to continue to do well in school and surround herself with smart girl friends.

Grandmy Retires

My mom officially retired from her Santa Barbara county job this month. Last month, she shared with us the inaugural award she received from the county for her many years of service. We could tell by the award that my mom was really loved by all her co-workers. I also know this because during her last week of work my mom did very little work. I mean, how could she work when she had fellow employees and friends taking her out on extended lunches every day of the week. One of the big bosses even took my mom out on a spa day where she received a massage and all the other special treatments you get when you visit a great spa. Even though my mom was really looking forward to leaving work, I believe that the last week was a really emotional one for her as the people whose lives that she touched all showed her their appreciation with dozens of acts of love and kindness, including giving her a sympathy card (signed by everyone) for the loss of her beloved dog Koki. It’s hard not to get choked up when so much love is thrown at you at once, but mom, that was well deserved!

To celebrate the occasion, we all got together for a BBQ at my parents’ house. My mom said that the biggest thing she enjoys about retired life is leading her life at her own place — there are no morning buses to catch, schedules to meet at work, or laundry/shopping to get done before the workweek begins. Life for my mom now has a new pace. I can only equate this pace to being akin to taking it slow on a leisurely vacation, but even that is not the same because in the back of your mind, you know the vacation always comes to an end. In my mom’s case, she now has time to plan an extended trip or two. She’s even talked about possibly going to Chile with my dad for three months. Three months! Man, I haven’t had three consecutive months off — with no work whatsoever — since high school. But no worries, I will get there one day. And when that day comes, if I succeed in getting simply a quarter of the blessings my mom received for all her years of service, I know I will be a very happy man indeed.

More next month…

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