Sunday, October 13, 2019

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary - Day 1

At Donum EstatesMoving a little slow after a late night, we dropped Tiber at Best Friends just after 11 am. The plan for the next two days is to head to Napa to celebrate our 23rd Wedding Anniversary.

With the traffic fairly light, it took us just under an hour and a half to get to Donum Estates. There were a lot fewer people than the event in June. I was able to park at one of the two car chargers.

Sitting at a table having a bit to eat while Sharon wandered off to check out some other food, Sharon's old friend Noel came up. He then snuck up on Sharon. We ended up sitting with Noel and his friends (Mike and Laura?) for the rest of the afternoon. Noel is the one that originally turned us on to Donum.

Sharon and I eventually took a trolley up to visit the new wind chimes art installation and the heart. The event was supposed to end at 3:00 pm, but they opened some more wine. They eventually kicked us out just after 4:00 pm. Our group was literally the last to leave!
At Donum Estates
We made a quick stop at the outlet stores in Napa. Sharon wanted to shop at Cabi.

We checked into the Napa Valley Marriott for one night. Having spent almost all of 2015 and 2016 working in the Napa Valley and essentially living at the Napa Valley Marriott, it is always weird to go back there for a night.

We finished the day with a late dinner at Ca' Momi Osteria in downtown Napa. Walking a couple of blocks to the restaurant, we were both surprised how busy the downtown was. We split a Insalata Siciliana [blood oranges, organic fennel, red onion salad with olives & orange vinaigrette]. For entrees, Sharon had Rigatoni con Coda alla Vaccinara [pasta with braised organic bone-in oxtail, san marzano tomatoes, pine nuts, celery, organic raisins & parmigiano reggiano Lazio], while I had Risotto alla Milanese con Ossobuco [veal ossobuco served on arborio risotto with saffron organic bone marrow & parmigiano reggiano lombardia]. I was very disappointed in my meal; at best, I would grade it a "B-."

Saturday, October 12, 2019

2019 Fall Dinner Party

2019 Fall Dinner Party
Sharon and I have made it a tradition to host a fall dinner party [2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 20112010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003]. This year, the group included the Gainsleys, Larkins, Renterias, Sanborns, Janie and Terra. After missing last year, I was very pleased to have the Larkins back at the table.

I am counting this as the twentieth year that we have given this party. The Larkins and Cindy's niece Barbie came to a dinner party in 2000. This was the first year we were in Elk Grove. I feel like that dinner was really the start of this tradition. I got to find some pictures from that dinner party. I have a strong memory of Larkin, Snipes and I wandering up to the bonus room to watch the Yankees in the World Series.

The theme this year was England. Sharon, Jack and I spent ten days in London in March. There was a wide range of costumes from the Spice Girls to Sherlock Holmes to knights of the roundtable.

We had a fantastic dinner including a scotch egg, chestnut soap, a great palate cleanser and prime rib. The menu is here. During dinner, we played the soundtrack from Downton Abbey.

After dinner, Sharon had a Lizzo dance party. Like last year, although I wasn't prepared for it, we ended up watching a version of Dinner for One that I could find on YouTube. [Note to self], I have got to better organize the videos that we have played over the last fifteen years!

With the Sanborns leaving first, the party wound down. Tiber and I walked the Gainsleys to the gate to catch an Uber about 11:30 pm. Janie and Terra helped with the dishes. By the time that they left, it was about 12:45 am.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Neighborhood Homeowners Association Meeting

Thursday night, Sharon and I went to a neighborhood homeowners association meeting at the pool. Sharon was elected to the board in January.

The group reviewed plans for the redoing the landscaping around the community pool. Most of the work will take place in our cul-de-sac.

I love our neighborhood.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Choking Dodgers in the 2010s

After watching last night’s exciting MLB playoff game, I thought that it would be fun to look back at the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last ten years.  The decade of the 2010s includes:

·       Dodgers finished 4th in the NL West
·       Giants win the World Series

·       Dodgers finished 3rd in the NL West

·       Dodgers finished 2nd in the NL West
·       Giants win the World Series

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the NLCS to the Cardinals

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the NLDS to the Cardinals
·       Giants win the World Series

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the NLDS to the Mets

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the NLCS to the Cubs

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the World Series to the Astros

·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the World Series to the Red Sox

·       Dodgers win a franchise record 106 games!
·       Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West
·       Dodgers lost the NLDS to the Nationals

31-year championship drought!

As Bill Simmons likes to say, it has been a disappointing decade for the Dodgers.

Have I mentioned, I hate the Dodgers...

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Jack's 2016 Fall Semester Classes

HIST 007-011 - Intro Early Hist: Europe I
The World I sections examine the history of the human experience from a global perspective. The bulk of the semester concerns societies and states from the time of ancient civilizations to about 1500 AD. The course pays particular attention to political, economic, and social changes, but also considers cultural, technological, and ecological history. The evolving relationship between human identities and their social and material environments forms one of the major points of analytical focus for this course. The overarching goal is to provide a general framework for the history of the world to help students understand the big picture, and to help them to contextualize what they will later study about history, politics, religion--in short, about the human experience. The Europe I sections offer an analysis of the major political, social, economic, diplomatic, religious, intellectual, and scientific developments in European Civilization to 1789.

PHIL 020 - Intro to Philosophy
An introduction to some of the central questions of philosophy through the writings of both traditional and contemporary authors. Questions addressed may include the relationship between mind and matter; between causation and free will; meaning, truth, and reality; knowledge, perception, belief, and thought.

ARTH 101 - Ancient to Medieval Art
Major monuments of western art from the prehistoric birth of representational art through the thirteenth century, with an emphasis on ancient and medieval civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

OPIM 170-06 - Computational Busn Model
The course has the following objectives: 1) Define Business Information Systems. 2) Introduce basic concepts related to Data and Model integration for decision making. 3) Cover the following introductory statistical concepts: a. Measures of Central Tendency (Mean, Median, Mode). b. Measures of Dispersion (Range, Variance, Standard Deviation). c. Measures of Shape (Symmetry, Skewness). d. Presenting Quantitative Data using Frequency Distribution Tables and Histograms. e. Summarizing Qualitative Data. f. Generating a Trend Line using the Method of Least Squares with Solver. 4) Provide a comprehensive Excel foundation for use in future MSB courses, such as: a. Creating, Formatting, Auditing and Managing Worksheets and Workbooks. b. Using Built-in Statistical, Financial, Logical & Date Functions. c. Creating and Formatting Charts. d. Manipulating Data, and using Data Tables & PivotTables/Pivot Charts. e. Tools for managing a complex worksheet, such as Grouping, and Documenting. f. Making Decisions with Goal Seek, Scenario Manager & Solver.

BADM 101-05 - Patterns in Global Commerce
This seminar examines the evolution of commerce between nations from geographical, historical, political, business, and ethical perspectives. It will focus on the dynamics of trade in scarce resources, food, minerals and fuels, armaments, legal and illegal drugs, human beings, intellectual property, and services. Students will explore historical dimensions and different current viewpoints regarding the patterns, benefits, and detriments of global commerce. Why and what do nations trade? How does East meet West and North meet South in international trade and investment? What trade-offs exist between economic and social interests? Can nations be open to trade and still “protect” their domestic economies? Is “free trade” a zero-sum game, or does it allow win-win situations? Can trade be “fair”? The readings and discussions provide students with an understanding of how critical issues in commerce have evolved over time to confront the global business community today.

FREN 101-05 - Advanced French I
A general survey of French civilization is integrated with continued work on mastery of all requisite language skills. Readings and compositions focus on material from the French media.

Fall 2016 Semester
Spring 2017 Semester
Fall 2017 Semester
Spring 2018 Semester
Fall 2018 Semester
Spring 2019 Semester
Fall 2019 Semester

Monday, October 07, 2019

151,934 steps

For the ninth week in a row, I topped more than 140,000 steps last week. With some travel for the work this week, the fall dinner party this weekend and a getaway planned for Sunday, the streak probably stops this week.

151,934 steps

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Fleabag - Season 1

Sunday night, Sharon and I finished watching season one of Fleabag. We decided to watch season one after season two won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in September.

Fleabag is a British comedy-drama television show created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge stars in the title role. It is based on Waller-Bridge's one-woman show first performed in 2013.

The series was originally produced by Two Brothers Pictures for digital channel BBC Three in a co-production agreement with Amazon Studios. It comprises only six twenty-five minute episodes.

Waller-Bridge plays Fleabag, an angry, confused, sexually voracious young woman living in London. Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman also star.

We were both initially lukewarm on the show, but it grew on us over the course of the first season. We will definitely watch season two.

Two side notes. First, Waller-Bridge hosted Saturday Night Live this week. Second, large parts of the last episode of season one were shot in and around the Tate Modern Museum in London. We visited this museum in March.

Saturday, October 05, 2019


Friday night, Sharon and I saw Judy at the Century 14 theater. We are starting our annual quest. From now until January 13 when the actual nominations are announced, we will be guessing which films, actors and actress might be included.

Judy is a biographical drama film about the life of American actress and singer Judy Garland. It takes place in 1969. Most of the film is set in London as she arrives for a run of sell-out concerts at the Talk of the Town.

The film stars Renée Zellweger as Garland. It includes Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon in supporting roles.

Zellweger's performance is very, very good. While I don't think that the film will be nominated for Best Picture, I would be shocked if Renée is not nominated in the Best Actress Category. The early buzz is that she is the odds on favorite to win the award.

Friday, October 04, 2019


Sharon is part of a neighbor book club that meets about every two months. With some controversy over what they should read next, Jill organized a trip to Lynmar for lunch. Sharon and I have been there a couple of times [2014, 2016]

They rented a van from Enterprise and got the person who usually housesits for Jill to chauffeur them. The group included Jill, Sharon, Kathy, Judy and Debi.

Hitting the Friday afternoon traffic on the way back, it took them 4 1/2 hours to wind their way home! I spent almost two years going back and forth from Napa to Carmichael; I grew to despise the Friday afternoon traffic...

Monday, September 30, 2019

154,184 steps

With 9.1 miles on the Peloton One bike and 34.3 miles running, I covered more than 140,000 steps last week. This is the eighth week in a row! Working to offset a horrible March, I am trying to pull my weekly running average close to 25 miles a week by the end of the year.

154,184 steps

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Saturday night, Sharon and I went to dinner at a new restaurant called Shangri-la in old town Fair Oaks. It is still in a soft opening. We split Chioggia Beets [avocado cream, cotija, toasted sun over seeds], Duck Liver Tostadas [pickled plums, bourbon gastrique] and Zucchini Pappardelle [zucchini basil puree, smoked farmers cheese, 63 degree egg]. The food was good; we will definitely go back.

With the power going out briefly in the restaurant, there was thunder, lightning and a downpour. With everyone coming inside from the large patio area, it was extremely loud where we were sitting near the bar.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Davis Ranch

Saturday morning, Sharon and I made a pilgrimage to Davis Ranch to get fall decorations. We have gone there for a car load of stuff 14 of the last 16 years [2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018]. We didn't go to Davis Ranch in 2016 when the fall dinner party was held at Sea Ranch or in 2017 due to our fall trip to New England. One of my favorite pictures from those trips is here.

At Davis Ranch

Friday, September 27, 2019

Winchester Country Club

At Winchester Country ClubFriday morning, Sam Samms, Larkin and I played eighteen holes at the Winchester Country Club. I had never played this course before. The three of us played Del Paso Country Club almost exactly a year ago.

For the first time in several outings, I actually warmed up on the driving range. Partially as a result, I feel like I didn't struggle as much on the first few holes.

I ended up shooting a very liberally scored winter rules 108. I struggled with the greens; I three putted eight holes. Feeling like I was doing pretty well, holes ten, eleven and twelve kicked my butt.

With just the three of us and no one in front of us, we played fast. We were done in before three hours and 45 minutes. Afterwards, we had a leisurely lunch in the clubhouse.

I really enjoyed the day. Although I am not very good, I have been enjoying our golf outings over the last couple of months; this is the fourth time I have played in the last three months.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

My book for September was Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard. Janie mentioned this book when she, Sharon and I were having dinner. I have read two other books by the author, including Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President and River of Doubt. River of Doubt is one of my favorite books.

The book has four interlocking story lines. First, it provides an overview of Winston Churchill's early life. Second, the story looks at the history of the Boers in South Africa. Third, it follows the events of the second Boer war with the English; this war took place between October 1899 and May 1902. Finally, the book tells the story of Churchill's capture, internment as a prisoner of war and escape.

After slogging through a couple of books this year, I really enjoyed this book. It does an excellent job of weaving together all of the different storylines.

Monday, September 23, 2019

143,962 steps

With five miles walking, 14.5 miles on the Peloton One bike and 27.5 miles running, I covered more than 140,000 steps last week. This is the seventh week in a row!
Untitled143,962 steps