Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Circe by Madeline Miller

My book for March was Circe by Madeline Miller. Carmen gave me the book for Christmas.

The book won a number of awards. It was winner of the 2019 Indie Choice Award and shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction. The book was named one of the 'Best Books of 2018' by NPR and Amazon.

The story is the reimagining of Greek mythology through the experiences of one goddess's experiences. Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and Perse, a lowly naiad.

In surviving Greek myths, she appears in a number of stories. In the Odyssey, she is the witch who turns the sailors into pigs and invites Odysseus to be her lover and stay with her for a year. Circe cleansed Medea and Jason of their crimes as they fled Colchis with the Golden Fleece. She also features in the story of the Minotaur. Pasiphae, wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur is Circe’s sister.

This book is the life story of the Greek goddess Circe. Over her long life, she interacts with a number of gods, heros and mortals famous in Greek Mythology. Like the two other books that Carmen has given me [Station Eleven and Piranesi], this is not a book that I would have picked up on my own. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Circe spent some time at the Palace of Knossos; Sharon and I visited Crete and the Palace of Knossos last September!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Spencer Earl Abbott

My mother's older brother passed away this month.

5/22/1931 - 03/10/2023 Spencer Earl Abbott of San Dimas, CA died peacefully at home on March 10, 2023. He moved to the Covina area as a child with his family and graduated from Covina High. He graduated UC Davis with a Bachelor in Agriculture and met his wife there. He served in the Army from 1953-1955 during the Korean War. After the war he settled in the Covina/San Dimas area and started a family and business at the Texaco/Arco station in Glendora. He spent decades hunting and fishing in Mexico and Wyoming and cultivating his small orchard/garden in San Dimas. He will be remembered as a master handyman and for taking care of family and friends. Spencer is survived by his girlfriend, Aggie Pauro. His brother, Roderick Abbott. His three children; Kathleen Hulet, Raymond Abbott, and Jill Abbott. He is also survived by three grandchildren; Bryce Hulet, Danielle Serna, Kevin Serna and one great-granddaughter Trinity Hulet. He was preceded by his wife, Sally Abbott who died in 2009. A celebration of life will be held at 10am on Thursday, March 23rd at Todd's memorial Chapel in Pomona at 570 North Garey Avenue Todd's Memorial Chapel.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

2023 Kings verus Jazz

Saturday night after our Hadrian's Wall training hike, Sharon and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Utah Jazz NBA game. I bought the tickets for a date night; Sharon and I haven't been to a Kings game just the two of us since the 2018-2019 season. We went early and had dinner at the Arena [chicken rice bowls from Ginger Star].

I was disappointed that the Kings were sitting Fox with right hamstring soreness, but it turned out that the Jazz were without their leading scorer, Lauri Markkanen (left hand contusion). Trailing 61 to 55 at half-time, Kings outscored the Jazz 35 to 17 in the third quarter and held on to win by the score of 123 to 113.

Kevin Huerter was the leading scorer for the Kings. He had 27 points on 10 for 21 from the field, 2 for 9 from three and 5 for 6 from the free throw line.

The leading scorer for the Jazz was Walker Kessler. He had 31 points on 14 for 16 from the field and 3 for 6 from the free throw line. I have heard Bill Simmons talk about how well Kessler is doing after being a throw in for the Rudy Gobert trade.

The Kings have four wins and no losses in games that I have seen in person during the 2022-2023 NBA season.

A footnote. This is the first time that I have parked at the Wells Fargo Garage and didn't get an EV parking spot. Parking on the three floor, it took a while to get moving and out of the lot...

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Twelve Mile Hadrian's Wall Training Hike

Continuing to training for Hadrian's Wall, Sharon and I hiked a loop around Lake Natoma with the Larkins. Parking at the Nimbus Dam Boat ramp, we hiked across the Hazel Avenue Bridge and up the north side of the lake. Crossing to the south side of the lake at the Folsom Truss Bridge, we stopped for lunch at Karen's. We covered 12.1 miles in four hours and fifty minutes of moving time. A Relive of the hike is here.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Shane Q & Mona V Live At The Hoff

It's the Sensational Shane Q with Special Guest, Mona V.

With a performance that caused 4 judges to turn their chairs on THE VOICE, Shane Q proved himself to be an exceptional talent. Joined by the sensational guitarist and singer, Mona V this concert promises to be out-of-this world good!

If you love live music, you going to love this duo.

Friday evening, Sharon and I wandered over to the Main Event Bar & Grill at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course. We joined a large group from the Deterding Ranch neighborhood.

We sat with Greg and Michele, Ed and Mary Lou, Brad and Clark. Mike and Jill, Tom and Judy, John and Jan were at a different table.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Back from Windsor

After the George Thorogood and the Destroyers concert on Wedneday night, Drew and I spent the night at the Hampton Inn. After breakfast in lobby, I spend the morning in a series of virtual meetings. Drew took off in the late morning to play golf with Dan in Novato. I headed back to Carmichael just before lunch [127 miles in 2:04].

I was very nice to spend some time with Drew. I always enjoy Tomasin's company.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Wednesday afternoon, I headed to Windsor from Roseville [125 miles in 2:15 with one stop for gas] and checked into the Hampton Inn. Sharon and I stayed here last year after Ricky's Celebration of Life. After getting settled in the room, I headed to the fitness center. I did a Peloton strength workout and then 30 minutes on the Peloton bike. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Peloton bike!

Drew rolled up just as I was finishing work-out. After getting settled in the room, we headed to the Tomasins' house. Tomasin, David, Drew and I eventually headed for dinner. We ended up having dinner at KIN Windsor. I had LASAGNA [Beef and pork ragu, bechamel, ricotta, mozzarella cheese].

From there, we headed to the Lurther Burbank Center for the Arts. Several months ago, Drew saw that George Thorogood and the Destroyers were playing there, bought tickets for the four of us and organized the trip. I saw George Thorogood in concert more than thirty years with Snipes and Joy!

Hamish Anderson was the opening act. I really enjoyed getting a chance to see George Thorogood. It is a little hard to believe that he is 73 years old!

After the concert, we headed back to the Tomasins' house. We got a chance to visit with Julie. By the time that Drew and I got back to the hotel and crashed, it was after midnight.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Party Down - Season 1

Sunday night, Sharon and I finished watching season one of Party Down. Sharon saw an article in the New York Times about how the show is going to be revived for a third season.

Party Down is a half-hour sitcom created and primarily written by John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd. Season one premiered on the Starz network in the United States on March 20, 2009. It stars Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen, Martin Starr, Lizzy Caplan and Jennifer Coolidge.

The series follows a group of caterers in Los Angeles as they hope to make it in Hollywood. The sextet of aspiring Hollywood actors and writers work small-time catering gigs while hoping for their break.

The show has a unique angle. Each episode revolves around a different catering event. You only see the characters at the catering event. It is entertaining; I recommend it.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Facetime with Lee, Morgan and Daniel

Sunday afternoon, Sharon and I facetimed with Lee, Morgan and Daniel.

It was really nice to have a chance to catch up. I miss having them close.

We have to find a time to get back to Paso Robles to see them!

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Deterding Ranch Neighborhood Dinner

After our Hadrian's Wall training hike, Sharon and I got cleaned up and wandered down to Greg and Michele's house. They threw a dinner for Rod and Kathy. Rod and Kathy moved to Arizona about two years ago and were back in town for the weekend.

The group included: Mike and Jill; Jim and Debi; Brad and Clark; Rod and Kathy, and; Greg and Michele. Continuing the St Patrick's Day theme, Greg made a nice dinner of corn beef and cabbage.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Hadrian's Wall Training Hike

Continuing to training for Hadrian's Wall, Sharon and I hiked along Lake Natoma. Parking at the Nimbus Dam Boat ramp, we hiked towards Folsom on the South side of the lake. We covered 8.1 miles in about three hours and eight minutes.

Friday, March 17, 2023

St. Patrick's Day Party

At the end of the day, Sharon and I headed to Sharon's brother Tom's house for a St. Patrick's Day dinner. It was a fairly large group, including: Tom, Kevin, Leah, Lydia, Amelia, Terry and Steve, Tim and Kathy, Erin and Cormac, Eileen and Will; the Ryans, their son Chris and granddaughter, Jim, Mary, Beth?, Larry, Sharon and I.

The night ended aburptly...

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Not 28 Anymore

For a long time, whenever I was in a conversation about how everyone was feeling, I would say that "I feel 28." My health has been good and my body has held up very well over the years. Frankly, my measuring stick has been the ability to go out and run a 10K with a couple of miles in the 8 minute mile range.

About eighteen months ago, I started to struggle to carry as much speed as I have in the past. My left heel started to brother me after the 2021 Run to Feed the Hungry and I twisted my knee playing golf in December of 2021. Working to get myself back into shape after our three week Greece and Turkey trip, my shin and ankle on my right leg started to have issues.

While I still logged more than 1,300 miles last year, it is a little deceiving. I am being more liberal than I was fifteen years ago about how I count my miles. For example, in 2008, I logged more than 1,900 miles. I averaged 36 miles a week; I was running 6 miles a day on 6 days a week.

I realize that I just can't do what I used to be able to do; it has been sobering. I have had to rethink and recalibrate my running workouts. Instead of topping 25 miles a week, I am reaching for 20 miles a week. I have started to feel stronger and recover a little speed on the treadmill over the last three months. One of my goals for this spring is to get off the treadmill and run more outside.

While I can't say I feel 28 anymore, I still feel pretty good!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, we shut down the Roseville building. Starting on the afternoon of March 11, 2020, we moved 1,300 employees to a work from home strategy in about 36 hours.

After a couple of false starts, we officially reopened the building on February 6, 2022. Starting in October, I have been working a hybrid schedule with at least three days a week in the office. The building still feels very empty. Although it has picked up a little recently, there are probably only 150 people in the building on an average day.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

95th Academy Awards

Over the last ten years, Sharon and I have enjoyed working our way through the Oscar nominated films. Sunday night, we watched the 95th Academy Awards.

In the past, I have typically made Oscar predictions. This year, I texted Clan Heringa "No Oscar predictions this year. Everything I read and listened to says that Everything Everywhere All Once is going to clean up. I have very mixed feelings about that…" My notes on Everything Everywhere All At Once are here.

Everything Everywhere All At Once won seven Oscars, including: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actress; Best Supporting Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Original Screenplay, and; Film Editing. Three films have won 11 Academy Awards: Ben-Hur (1959), nominated in 12 of the 15 possible categories; Titanic (1997); nominated in 14 of the 17 possible categories, and; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), nominated in 11 of the 17 possible categories.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Training for Hadrian's Wall plus Magpie

Continuing to training for Hadrian's Wall, Sharon and I hiked from Bannister Park to the Sunflower Drive-in in Old Fair Oaks. We covered 6.6 miles in about two hours and forty-five minutes. We had nutburgers [nutmeat patty served on a whole wheat bun with sauce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, romaine, and sprouts] for lunch. Afterwards, we got rained on pretty hard a couple of times on our way back to the car.

We finished the day with dinner at Magpie. We spent most of the dinner doing some planning for the England/Scotland trip in June. We split SCALLOP CRUDO [Citrus cured scallops, blood orange, grapefruit, herbs]. For entrees, Sharon had PAPPARDELLE WITH BRAISED BEEF, while I had SWORDFISH [Rapini, red pepper sauce]. Sharon wasn't impressed with the food or the ambience; she said that it is a better lunch than dinner spot...

Friday, March 10, 2023


Friday night, Sharon and I watched Living. This is part of our annual odyssey to watch the films with Oscar nominations.

Living is a 2022 British drama film directed by Oliver Hermanus from a screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is adapted from the 1952 Japanese film Ikiru directed by Akira Kurosawa which was inspired by the 1886 Russian novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy.

Set in 1953 London, it depicts a bureaucrat in the county Public Works department (played by Bill Nighy) facing a fatal illness. He searches for meaning until a simple revelation gives him a purpose to create a legacy for the next generation.

The film has received positive reviews with Nighy's performance receiving particular acclaim. It is nominated for Best Actor (Nighy) and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 95th Academy Awards.

When the movie ended, Sharon said "that wasn't bad." Nighy's performance is very good; it deserves an Oscar nomination. Nevertheless, I don't believe that the film will win any Oscars...

Thursday, March 09, 2023

2023 Sea Ranch - Day 1 NOT!

In January, we planned to go to Sea Ranch to celebrate my birthday. We had rented a house that we stayed at in January of 2020. The rental company called and cancelled. The power was off for a week and they weren't sure when it will be restored.

We decided to go to Sea Ranch this weekend and rented Crestview. We have stayed at Crestview several times over the years. With the atmospheric river posed to hit Northern California this weekend, we decided to punt. Sharon called and got the reservation shifted to May.