Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

March 31, 2018

February & March – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 1:46 am

Feb/March Highlights:

Touring Universities with Lilah

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
The reality of Lilah soon leaving the house to pursue university studies got a little more real this month with a visit to two of the universities she was accepted into – UC Santa Cruz and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I managed to get us an official campus tour for San Luis Obispo and our hosts did a great job of showing us around, complete with intermissions in which they mixed in some corny jokes to keep things light and fun. The tour was an 1.5 hours and we learned a lot about the university, including the fact they have the largest recreation west of the Mississippi, a very robust agricultural studies program where you can raise chickens and other animals, and a direct connection to NASA for students in the aerospace/engineering program (thanks to a professor who started teaching there in the 50s or 60s).  
After the official tour of the university, we met up with my old friends Ryan and Christi, both Cal Poly graduates, to eat in the downtown area. We ate at the Firestone Grill and filled our bellies with trip tip sandwiches on this garlic baguette bread that was absolutely delicious. It was a chance for Lilah to get the low down on the town and see what the downtown scene is like in San Luis Obispo, which we learned was very busy after circling the block 3 times looking for parking ;). It was cool having this crew as our guests, as Christi was able to give Lilah some insight on what it’s like to be a student athlete if she chooses to go that route with swimming (a thought that Lilah is contemplating, but not too seriously), while Ryan was able to share some tips of places to see in Santa Cruz since he was originally from that area. We wrapped up our visit with a quick pitstop at Scout Coffee (very good), said our good byes and got back on the road for the next stop on our journey three hours away.  

UC Santa Cruz
We arrived in Santa Cruz right at rush hour, where all Lilah wanted to do was chill. Knowing that we would not really get an opportunity to visit the town the next day, since we’d be visiting the university, I coaxed her into skipping the chill time for a quick visit to the Boardwalk and a stop on Pacific street. She was initially not too happy about it (and not afraid to show her displeasure), but slowly she warmed up to my dumb idea ;). It was an absolutely gorgeous pre-dusk evening with temperatures close to 70 and very little wind. We strolled along the boardwalk, and made it all the way to the pier before heading back to our car. Pushing my luck a little, I told Lilah we should drive through Pacific street (recommended by Ryan) before getting dinner. She reluctantly agreed and was rewarded for her “sacrifice” when I spotted a vinyl record store called Streetlamp Records. Next thing you know, a big smile appeared on Lilah’s face and we spent the next 45+ minutes marveling at all the records we found. Lilah added 5 albums to her collection and then commented about how nice Pacific street was as we drove through it. Mission accomplished.

I was not able to secure an official UCSC tour because they were all sold out. What I did instead, however, was peruse the astronomy section of the UCSC website where I found the e-mail addresses of several graduate students in the astronomy department. It occurred to me that maybe one of them might be up to showing us around, and, as luck would have it, we actually got two students to join us, Eric and Erica. And what a score that was. Instead of being one of 40+ students on a group tour given by students that were not in her major, Lilah got the individual attention of two students pursuing graduate studies in her area of interest. This meant that Lilah was able to get all her questions answered and get an in-depth look at all the places that would one day become important to her if she chose to come to UCSC. Well, I should change the “if she chose” to “she has chosen” as she was fell for the university big time, and not just because of their nationally recognized astronomy program, but because the university itself is inside a beautiful redwood forest. As we were walking along the various wooden bridges between different sections of the campus, it felt more like walking through a national park than a campus.

In addition to the 2+ hour tour with the students we met up with the UCSC swim coach who showed Lilah that her breaststroke skills would definitely be a valuable addition to the team if she decides to join in the fall. He spent a solid 45 minutes with us and was a really cool guy. Lilah later confessed to me that she doesn’t think she’ll be doing swimming her freshman year because she wants to focus on her studies. I, of course, think she can do both, but I kept that to myself because I know that if I tell her that, it will definitely make her not want to do it. In the end, it will be her decision if she wants to continue with swim or not, but I figured I’d at least make the introduction to the coach. 

Now comes the fun part, turning in the acceptance letter and figuring out all the myriad of details we need to get done to get Lilah ready for college this fall – or possibly earlier as Lilah has hinted at wanting to do the summer session in July so that she gets acclimated to the campus and also gets one college class under her belt. That means our time with her in the house will be ending even sooner than we had anticipated. Oh well, one step at a time. For the time being she is still here with us and we’ll just have to take advantage of that as much as we can. 

Wrapping up the Snowboard Season and Transitioning to Volleyball

Luke’s snowboard team finally wrapped up March 24, but not before another 6-7 (easy to lose count) trips to the mountains in the months of Feb/Mar, including 3 trips to Mammoth where they had a miracle March that dumped 11-17 feet of snow on the mountain thanks to three different storms — and we were there for all three! Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time, but at the same time, I’m happy to get back to two weekend days in my schedule where we can do things locally and not spend 6-12 hours on the road. On the last day of snowboard team, I managed to get a few good shots of Luke on his jumps. But he wasn’t that impressed. He kept directing me to position myself in different locations so that I could accurately depict the height and drama of his jumps. I understood what he was getting at, but I had to balance that with the fact that there are other people on the mountain who could easily crash into me if I positioned myself in the ways that Luke requested (here’s a short clip of him hitting a rail and some jumps).

The good news is that Luke feels he made some improvements this year. Maybe the progress wasn’t as fast as he would have liked, but he also made it through the season without breaking anything, something his good friend Sean was not so fortunate with after breaking his arm and basically missing almost the entire season. If Luke did that, he would have had a double whammy — not only would he have missed the snowboard season, he would’ve also missed his freshman volleyball season.

I managed to get out and see one of his games in March where his team got absolutely throttled — not one of their better performances but they were playing one of the best teams in the area. Luke also let me know that they played this match shortly after going through physical assessments, which included running the mile, doing as many pushups/situps as you can, etc.. Not the greatest planning on that, but oh well, at least I got to see him play and get a few pictures of him as I bounced between being Mr. photographer and being a volunteer worker in the snack bar. The team has at least had better matches and won some of them. I just happened to show up for the disaster match, which happens. Overall, it looks like Luke is enjoying his foray into volleyball. He plays close to the net in the middle and is used as one of blockers. Never knew just how high he could jump until I watched him play. Hope to get more of those opportunities in the upcoming weeks.

That’s all for now. More next month!


  1. Wall look amazing ,.. the start Is Lilah ??

    Comment by Grandma and grandpa ?? — April 2, 2018 @ 2:03 pm

  2. Wall look amazing ,.. the start Is Lilah ??

    Comment by Grandma and grandpa ?? — April 2, 2018 @ 2:04 pm

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