Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

September 30, 2015

September 2015 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 6:50 pm

September Highlights:

September – One of Two, Two-Birthday Months

September always gives us a chance to get the family together twice (something we get to do again in December when we celebrate Cathy and my mom’s birthdays). It starts with me at the beginning of the month and my sister toward the end. This year we celebrated my birthday at my sister’s house and wrapped up the birthday festivities for September at my house by having a party in honor of both my sister and dad (who had just returned from his month-long trip to Chile).

It was good to have everyone back, healthy and in one piece. We had a bit of a scare this month as my dad just happened to be in Chile visiting family when the 8.3 earthquake hit. My dad was on the 12th story of his friend’s apartment building when the quake hit. He said that instead of protecting themselves underneath desks or tables, both he and his friend braced the furniture to prevent a TV from falling over. As they focused on this task, my dad said they were moving so much that he felt like he was doing a Cumbia, a traditional Chilean dance that, from what I remember, involves a lot of hip swaying moves. My dad and his friend both joked about the situation but in between the joking and the shaking his mind wandered and wondered whether the building would be able to survive the quake’s energy which that lasted nearly three minutes and was followed by several strong after shocks immediately after the main event and also in the days that followed. He said the length of the quake gave him a lot of time to think — so much so that he began to make peace with the fact that he might not make it. I can only imagine how scary this must have been, but we were all thankful to have him back which gave the birthday reunion an added aura of “specialness” and poignancy.

Lilah Begins Going to Her New School

Although there were many things Lilah looked forward to in her new school — choosing the school colors, selecting a mascot, attending a brand new campus with modern facilities, using the latest technology — all that fell by the wayside when a heat wave hit during the second week of school and the students learned that the new fan-based cooling system (not AC) was not sufficient to keep the temperatures inside the classrooms from skyrocketing to 90 degrees or more. It didn’t help that the system actually broke which meant it wasn’t cooling the classrooms at all, but Lilah didn’t care what the excuse was. She was just miserable and that led to a torrent of complaints about the school — she was not a fan of group learning, did not care for common core, wasn’t happy about one of her teachers, didn’t know many of the kids — leading her to state that she now missed her old school and seriously thought about going back just as about a dozen or so other kids had already done. Wow, not exactly the type of reaction we had hoped for from Lilah, but we understood her frustration and allowed her to vent.

The good news is that when the cooler weather hit, the complaints also subsided and slowly this elicited some more positive comments about the school — about how she liked her Spanish and English teachers, and that the kids hadn’t left because the school was bad or the classrooms were too hot but simply because they could not adjust to the computer and Internet technologies the school was using in their curriculum. Lilah actually had to help many of her classmates navigate this new world by helping them use the various online tools and computer programs. She complained a little bit about having to help so many kids, but I think in some ways she likes being the knowledge expert. In any case, the complaints about the school are definitely down these days and I think she is at last starting to adjust to her new environment.

Two Triathlons on Back to Back Weekends

Two different races, two different results. I didn’t have the greatest race in Malibu, however, I did experience some good mojo at this race from Endurance Labs. I had set everything up in the transition area and had walked the 1500 some meters to the start of the swim area. I was feeling relaxed. I ventured out into the water to get a little warm up in with Eric, a friend from my P5 racing team, and we were having a good time with that. The ocean was clear and the visibility was awesome allowing us to see several fish. As we were getting ready to head in to shore, Eric let me know there was a wave we could body surf in. Well, the wave was a little more powerful than I anticipated and I ended up rolling around in the white wash a bit, which was fine — I’m used to that from surfing. What wasn’t fine is that I lost my goggles in the process and my wave was about 15 minutes from starting. This led to me running almost all the way back to the transition area (probably a good 1000 meters) in my bare feet hollering at people and asking them if they had an extra set of goggles I could borrow. After several failed attempts, I came across the Endurance Labs van and asked the patrons there – Stacy and Mimi — if they had any goggles. Stacy said, hold on and he brought out a box of brand new goggles for me and said I could keep them. How cool is that? But I still had 1000 meters left to run back to the starting line. Luckily I made it back just in time before my wave began, but since I got there late I was not able to position myself in the front like I usually do. I ended up with a much slower swim time than I’m capable of, but I realized that this race wasn’t about me this time. It was about two cool people helping a stranger out. I could have swam without the goggles but it would not have been fun at all. And the bonus is I now I own the most colorful goggles in the world. The other positive in this race is I managed to shatter my bike PR there by three and a half minutes (averaging 21.5 mph).

Carpinteria was a different story. I had a good race except for a chain drop on the bike leg. Other than that i was pretty solid and managed a top five finish. The top 5 guys were all within 3+ minutes of each other so it was a pretty competitive effort. The highlight was having my dad there again and racing a strong race from start to finish (unlike in Malibu where I faded terribly on the run). I also had “fun” trying to keep up with local legend Jim Avrea on the bike ride. When i saw him pass I let him get far enough ahead to not draft, but accelerated to keep up with him for about 3.5 miles. It was a good push and helped me make up some of the time I lost from dropping my chain. It was good seeing everyone there as usual and now I’m looking forward to some time off until the season resumes again next year.

AC/DC Concert

Cathy’s birthday gift to me this year were tickets to see AC/DC at Dodger Stadium. I joked with Cathy that she got this present for her since I had never even expressed an interest in going to an AC/DC concert. It’s not that I don’t like AC/DC, but I was a bit indifferent about going especially since it was on a Monday evening during the work week and these days my “beauty sleep” is more important to me than doing a late outing on a non-weekend night.

But music is a funny thing in that it can transport you back to earlier days — whether you are a fan of the music you are listening too or not. In the case of AC/DC, so much of their playlist has remained unchanged sine the early 80s that I could not help but be reminded of my childhood friend Tommy, someone I spent so many hours of my youth hanging out with. We played soccer together, road our bikes around the neighborhood, joked around on the playground at recess, and played hundreds of video games on the Intellivision game console in his room. He was the one who introduced me to AC/DC a band he absolutely worshiped, particularly Angus Young’s guitar playing and antics on stage. Tommy was so into Angus that he taught himself to play electric guitar just like him. He did this by ear and also by obsessively watching concert footage of Angus on video tape. He watched so much Angus that he eventually even began to dress like him while he played as well as mimic all his gestures, including how Angus opens and closes his mouth to the riff of the song he is playing. High school is where Tommy and I split ways as we both ended up going to different schools eventually drifting out of touch until recently reconnecting on Facebook a few years ago.

So while I was reluctant to initially go to the concert, the gift from Cathy actually ended up being a good one in that it took me back to a special time in my life that I still reflect upon with fondness. Mind you, the fact that Angus was still playing all the same songs I heard almost 35 years ago in Tommy’s house contributed a lot to that effect. Angus is definitely older now, but he still wears the same school boy uniform, riffs to the song he plays with his mouth constantly moving, performs his famous one-handed guitar solos, runs back and forth on the stage like a madman, and appears to be having just as much fun as Tommy and I did listening to him as kids.

That’s all for now. More next month.

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