Been working, Ben playing

August 19, 2002

Ben visits with the Pear Queen at the Delta Pear Fair on July 28. Photo by Glenn.
Last month we said that it would be difficult to top July for its sheer volume of activities and it appears that we were right, at least as far as August has gone so far. Don't get the wrong idea -- we've been plenty busy, particularly where work is concerned. But our travels have been fewer and closer to home, which we suppose classifies as more like normal around here.

Our big Montana vacation had inspired us to want to do more traveling, perhaps take some day trips to the beach or the big cities for some sightseeing. While we didn't manage any of those things, we did succeed in making our annual excursions to the Delta Pear Fair in Courtland and the California Dry Bean Festival in Tracy. The weather was pleasant in Courtland; warm and muggy in Tracy. We tended to hurry through both of them, but they did provide excellent venues for digital photography practice.

Glenn has been shooting (photos, not guns!) a lot around Oakley and has plans to add more pictures to the various Web sites we do. A recent visit to the Altamont Pass yielded a few dozen shots of the windfarms there, and there should be a page or two of those photos linked to the Gehlke Family Home Page by the time you read this, or shortly thereafter.

Ben is already on his first long break of the new school year, even as most of his schoolmates are just getting ready to start their classes. He is spending part of his vacation taking part in a summer reading program through the Oakley library. His goal is to accumulate enough reading minutes so that he will be eligible for tickets to the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, among other goodies. He has also developed an intense interest in Looney Tunes cartoons and is compiling a collection of sound effects from the various shows. He has an incredible capacity for memorizing dialogue, even after hearing it only once or twice. If Warner Bros. ever wants a replacement for Mel Blanc they might want to give Ben a tryout.

Ben has also been enjoying his vacation because of the extra time he is getting to spend with his dad. With Glenn's night and weekend work schedule they are often like passing ships, but there have recently been opportunities for playing cards together, reading books, and taking a father-son walk on the Marsh Creek Trail during what was, unfortunately, a very warm Monday afternoon.

Roni continues to enjoy Nora Roberts books in her spare hours, which have been steadily decreasing as we get nearer to Almond Festival time. Because she is helping to chair the festival again this year, she has been attending weekly volunteer and organizational meetings, and dealing with the endless questions of vendors and people who need to be involved in producing the two-day event. (In case you're interested, the festival takes place Sept. 14-15 at O'Hara Park in Oakley.)

Glenn, meanwhile, has been juggling hours at the newspaper to help fill in for vacationing and departing coworkers. That has meant some six-day weeks and a three-day weekend that wouldn't be the norm, in addition to a lot of screwy work times. He is currently heavily involved in the production of the paper's November election preview section, which publishes Oct. 20. With 90 races and propositions, crunch time begins now.

Despite the complications of work, Glenn managed to spend Sunday, Aug. 18, helping his brother Sean move from Hayward to San Jose, where he has rented an apartment during his enrollment in grad school at San Jose State. He hopes all that lifting of boxes and heavy furniture will toughen him up for the impending start of the 2002 Gehlke Bros. Football season, which begins Sept. 5. Glenn didn't actually see the coveted Surfy trophy during the big move, but Sean has assured him that he has it tucked safely away.

Perhaps the most entertaining moment this month belongs to Ben's cat, Eevee, who found himself with all he could handle in the form of a baby gopher snake that had come to sun itself on the brick path in our garden. The snake wanted sun, but Eevee wanted to play, and the two of them engaged in a comical standoff with the cat pawing at the snake and the snake responding in kind with quick strikes to the nose. Eevee didn't seem to mind and neither was ther worse for wear after the encounter, but it did result in a newspaper column for Roni and a photo that ran with it in the Brentwood News. Ben was so proud that his cat's picture appeared in the newspaper that he requested extra copies for his scrapbook. Surely a moment that will be treasured for years to come.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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