Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve 2016

Like last year, we had a late dinner [8:45 pm] at Paraguay's. The Sanborns joined us.

The four of us had a very nice dinner. The parts of the fixed menu we had included: Duck Confit & Citrus Salad; Maine Lobster & Coconut Milk Soup; Grilled Filet of Beef; Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart; and, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bar. They had some very nice wine pairings, including 2013 Maison L’Envoye ‘Fleurie’ Gamay, Beaujolais, France with the salad; 2014 Pahlmeyer Winery ‘Jayson’ Red Blend Napa Valley with the beef; and, 2013 Paul Jaboulet & Aine Winery ‘Le Chant des Griolles’ Muscat Beams de Venise, France with the tart.

We finished the night on the master bedroom balcony watching some distance fireworks displays to the south. While we heard the turkeys gobbling due to all of the noise, they didn't seem as loud (as close?) as they have been in the past.

Friday, December 30, 2016


Sharon, Jack, Jack's friend Carter and I finished the day with dinner at Mikuni on Hazel. We stopped and picked Carter up on the way there. We had a very nice dinner with the boys!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Carmel Day 2

Given that Sharon had a midday appointment, we were up at 6 am and on the road by 6:45 am. Waze routed us away from the South Bay traffic through Pacheco Pass to I-5. With a long Starbucks stop and a short stop for gas, it took us 3 hours 35 minutes to get back to Carmichael...

Both Sharon and I were very disappointed in the La Playa Hotel. Given what we paid for one night, the room was mediocre. The bathroom on the other hand was horrible. We have traveled all over the world and this was probably the worst bathroom ever. The bathroom door only opened part way before it hit the vanity. The toilet lid hit you on the back when you sat down and the lid wouldn't stay up by itself. The front desk staff was abrupt and very unhelpful. We are not ever going back...

Two hotel that we walked through on Wednesday looked interesting for our next trip: the Cypress Inn and the L'Auberge Carmel. The Cypress looks particularly interesting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Carmel Day 1

David and Morgan

With Morgan in California for the week, we decided to make a quick trip to Carmel. We left Carmichael about 10:05 am. Waze routed us through San Jose (80 to 680 to 101). With one short stop in Milpitas, we rolled into Carmel about 1:45 pm. The traffic was very heavy from Seaside to Carmel. We tried to find a parking spot around the downtown, but gave up and headed to the hotel.

We are spending one night at the La Playa Hotel; more on the hotel tomorrow. We checked in, parked the car and walked back to Grasings for a snack.

The hotel eventually called and said that our room was ready. We walked back to the hotel. After unloading the car, we headed down to the bar to watch the sunset on the ocean.

The plan for the evening was to meet Morgan and her boyfriend David for dinner. The logistics got a little complicated. After some discussion, I ended up deciding that I would send an Uber to pick them up in the Carmel Valley and bring to the restaurant. I didn't even know that you got send a car to somewhere other than where you were...

Sharon and I walked from the hotel to Anton & Michel The Uber got Morgan and David there about 10 minutes later.

We had a nice dinner and visit. Sharon had rack of lamb and I had short ribs. I think that Morgan had the duck.

After dinner, I loaded the kids back in an Uber and sent them back to the Carmel Valley. Although I have used Uber a number of times, I never really thought about this scenario. I am amazed how easy it was to pull off.

Sharon and I walked back to the hotel down Ocean Avenue. Sharon window shopped as we went along. She lamented that we have to head back so early in the morning.

We finished the night watching the CNN coverage of the death of Debbie Reynolds.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Kings versus 76ers

2016 Kings versus 76ers

Sharon, Jack and I went to see the Sacramento Kings play the Philadelphia 76ers NBA Basketball game. With Jack home for Christmas, I got some very nice seats [Section 118, Row CCC, Seats 1 to 3]. In a close game, Cousins hit a three point shot with 20 seconds left in the game and the Kings held on to win by the score of 102 to 100.

It turned out to be a fairly social evening. Before the game, we met the Sanborns and Sharon's nephews Kevin and Eric in the Sierra Nevada bar on the second level. We ran into Hunter and Yuli at half-time. After the game, we ran into Alan and David Laskin. David and Jack were classmate from kindergarten through high school at SEAS and Jesuit.

Kevin, Eric, Sharon and Jack

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 30 points on 10 from 20 from the field, 2 for 4 from three and 8 for 9 from the free throw line. In his first game back after sitting out two weeks with a hip injury, Rudy Gay added 17 points. I was shocked at how big Gay looks; he is listed at 6' 8'' and 230 pounds. While I have seen Gay play lots of times before, I haven't seen him play from this close.

In only 29 minutes, Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 25 points on 8 for 17 from the field, 1 for 4 from three and 8 for 9 from the free throw line. Embiid's playing time continues to be limited as he works his way back into shape after missing two seasons with foot injuries. Embiid looked very good...

The Kings have 2 wins and 2 losses in games that I have seen this season. With the Kings in the Western Conference eighth playoff spot, the next couple of weeks will be interesting.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day 2016

The three of us had a very nice Christmas morning opening presents around the tree. I was very proud of Jack. He went to the Georgetown bookstore and bought some stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts for Sharon and I. Jack wrapped the presents after we got home on Christmas Eve.

After exchanging gifts, I made waffles for breakfast. The three of us took Tiber out for a long walk and ended up going all the way around the golf course.

TiberI spent the rest of the morning putting together Sharon's Christmas present. For years, she has wanted to upgrade the sound system in the house and be able to play records. I bit the bullet and bought some Sonos speakers, including a subwoofer, and a Sonos Connect. I am very pleased with the sound.

Continuing our tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day, Sharon, Jack and I met Tom and Eric at the remodeled Century Arden 14 and XD for the 2:15 pm showing of Rogue One. This is the eighth year in a row that we have seen a movie on Christmas Day. As I told Drew afterwards, I liked it and thought it was a nice addition to the canon. Sharon didn't enjoy it as much as I did. Unlike last year's The Force Awakens, Rogue One is definitely a war movie.

Sharon made individual beef wellingtons, mashed potatoes and white asparagus for dinner. After dinner, Sharon and Jack watched some Seinfeld and then started on a puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle that I got Sharon for Christmas. We visited the castle on our trip to Germany in July.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve 2016

Christmas Eve 2016

Sharon, Jack and I met Tom and Eric at St. Ignatius at about 3:35 pm for the 4:00 pm mass at St. Ignatius. It didn't seem to fill up quite as fast as last year. It was probably the most unique homily that I have ever heard... The priest gathered all of the kids at the front to serve as his counselors to help him tell the story of the birth of Christ.

After Mass, we headed to Tom's house. The Christmas Eve group this year was 16, including, Sharon's brother Tom, Eric, Kevin, Leah, Lydia, Sharon's brother Tim, Kathy, Erin, Eileen, Eileen's boyfriend Will, Leah's parents Steve and Terri, Jack, Sharon and I. Tom served a nice dinner of rigatoni from one of his mom's recipes. Sharon contributed the blood and cara cara orange salad.

We exchanged presents after dinner. I gave Tom and Eric books I had made of Tom's pictures and stories from their pilgrimage on the Camino. It was fun to have an eighteen month as part of the group; it gives a different slant to the festivities. With all of the families, the gift exchange took a while.

We ended up getting home about 9:30 pm. It was a very nice evening!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Jack is back!

Jack is back!Finishing up his first semester at Georgetown University with a final on Tuesday night, Jack caught a very early morning flight (5:10 am) from Reagan to Houston and then Houston to Sacramento. He landed about 11:30 am. I met him at the baggage claim. His Jesuit posse--Gabe, Travis, Carter and Jason--rolled up about 45 minutes later and picked him up at the curb.

Jack has just about three weeks off for Christmas. He will be heading back to start his second semester on January 10.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Kings versus Trail Blazers

2016 Kings versus Trail Blazers

I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball game with Snipes. Trailing by about 10 points for most of the game, the Kings took the lead at the 8:45 mark of the fourth quarter and held on to win by the score of 126 to 121. It was a fun game to watch.

DeMarcus Cousins was the Kings leading scorer. In 41 minutes, Cousins had 55 points on 17 for 28 from the field, 5 for 8 from three and 16 for 17 from the free throw line. He also had 13 rebounds.

The high scorers for the Trail Blazers were C.J. McCollum with 36, Damain Lillard with 24 and Mason Plumlee with a career high 27 points. Lillard added 15 assists.

The officiating was horrible. They were calling a lot of ticky-tacky fouls. At the end of the game, the refs called a second technical foul on Cousins and ejected him from the game. He ran off the court into the locker room. The refs then rescinded the technical foul. I have never seen this happen... Someone had to go get Cousins out of the locker room.

While I love the new arena's location, I haven't been happy with the upper deck seating. We sat in Kurt's seats in the front row of the upper deck. I literally couldn't move legs.

The Kings now have 1 win and 2 losses in games that I have seen in the 2016-2017 season.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Farm Credit Lunch

Sharon and I went to lunch with Randy and Marilyn Patane and Jeana and Larry Hultquist at the Rio City Cafe in Old Sacramento. Paul Lamothe and his wife were supposed to join the group, but canceled at the last minute. Sharon and I worked with Randy, Jeana and Larry at the Farm Credit Banks. I worked at Farm Credit from October of 1980 to July of 1998, while Sharon worked for Farm Credit from December of 1989 to 2002.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

La La Land

Continuing our quest to see all of the 2016 Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to La La Land at the remodeled Century Arden 14 and XD. Over the last couple of years, we have tried to guess in December and early January which films will be nominated. La La Land is on a number of lists as a possible Best Picture nominee.

The film stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and John Legend. It is the third film to feature Gosling and Stone as lovers, following Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad. It was written and directed by Damien Chapelle who wrote and directed Whiplash. The plot follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles.

The movie was filmed in more than 60 Los Angeles locations, including downtown trolley, houses in the Hollywood Hills, Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight, Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena, Grand Central Market and Watts Tower. The opening pre-credits sequence was filmed on a closed-off portion EZ pass ramp of the Los Angeles highway connecting the 105 freeway to the 110 leading to Downtown Los Angeles.

Sharon liked the film more than I did. She gave it an 8 of a scale of 10 and has been talking about going to see it again. Sharon had me download the soundtrack on Apple Music. As romantic musical comedy-drama, the movie is definitely a throwback to a simpler time.

From my perspective, the film does a great job of taking advantage of Los Angeles as a location. I am also fascinated by the fact that Gosling learned tap dancing and piano for his role. La La Land is probably going to be a strong contender for best picture...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The Throwback

ESPN Films has released the fifty-seventh film in their 30 for 30 documentary short series.
30 for 30 Shorts: The The Throwback

When Gordie Lockbaum brought his talents to Division I-AA Holy Cross, his coaches decided to turn back the clock. In this 30 for 30 Short, produced and directed by Erin Leyden, Lockbaum and witnesses look back on the heady days when he might play in 143 of the Crusaders' 170 plays, attracted national attention, and became a finalist for the Heisman Trophy -- twice.

You can find The Throwback on the ESPN web site at

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2016 Kings versus Lakers

Monday night, Sharon and Marlene went to the Sacramento Kings versus Los Angeles Laker NBA basketball game. Trailing 58 to 49 at halftime, the Kings outscored the Lakers in the third quarter by 39 to 13 and won the game by the score of 116 to 92.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 31 points on 12 for 21 from the field, 2 for 3 from three and 5 for 7 from the free throw line. Cousins also had 16 rebounds and five assists.

D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 17 points on 6 for 10 from the field, 3 for 4 from three point range and 2 for 2 from the free throw line.

With 4:13 remaining in the first quarter, Laker Coach Luke Walton got two technical fouls and was ejected from the game.

The Kings are 1 and 1 in games that Sharon has seen during the 2016-2017 season...

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dinner with Drew and Niki

After spending the afternoon working at the Simi Valley Hospital and then stopping at the hotel to change, I headed to Drew's house. I got a tour of the Mirror Wall Studios.

From there, Drew and I headed to Sugar Fish by Sushi Nozawa in Studio City. We met up with Nicki and had a great dinner. It was really nice to see both of the them!

I used Waze to get to Drew's house, to Sugar Fish and then back to the hotel. Driving back to the hotel, the process of following the GPS in the dark in a strange city struck me as odd. I really had no idea spatially where I was or where I was going. I was just blindly following the GPS...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Holiday Dinner

Janie stopped at our house to check out the Christmas decorations. Afterwards, Janie and Sharon headed to Ruth Chris for their traditional holiday dinner and gift exchange. I wandered down and picked Sharon up about 9:30 pm.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Manchester by the Sea

Kicking our drive to see all of the 2016 Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to Manchester by the Sea at the remodeled Century Arden 14 and XD. Over the last couple of years, we have tried to guess in December and early January which films will be nominated. Manchester by the Sea is on a number of lists as a possible Best Film nominee. Additionally, there is a lot of talk about Casey Affleck for Best Actor. The film was tagged by the American Film Institute as one of the ten best films for 2016.

The film stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol and Lucas Hedges. The principal photography on the film was done in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Interestingly, the film is being distributed by Amazon Studios!?!

It is a rare film that I am not sure what to say about the plot. It is probably enough to say that Affleck's character wrestles with a number of demons.

Having dinner at Taro's, Sharon said that it can only go up from here! The film was a little long and had a somewhat unconventional abrupt ending. I felt hamstringed by the fact that I don't ever remember seeing Casey Affeck in anything else. As a result, it was kind of hard to judge his performance. While I can see this getting nominated for best picture, I don't believe that I can see it winning...

The scenery was beautiful. Sharon and I may try to schedule a trip to New Hampshire and the New England coast next fall.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Anthony Reynoso Santana

The last time that Sharon and I saw Anthony and Anne Marie was at the Milo Greene performance at Harlow's.

Anthony Reynoso Santana, 53, passed away on November 27th after a valiant seven month battle with renal cell carcinoma. His wife, Ann Marie was at his side. Anthony was born on May 16, 1963, in Guadalupe, California to Julio and Juanita Santana. Anthony had a curious nature and a sharp mind and knew that a good education would serve him well. He excelled in academics and after graduating from Righetti High School, he attended Allan Hancock Jr College where he met the love of his life, Ann Marie Valley. From there he transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated in 1987 with a degree in biochemistry. They married in 1987 and sons Connor and Dylan joined the family in 1992 and 1995 respectively. Anthony was an avid tennis player when he wasn't working as a sales representative for Abiomed. A consummate medical professional, Anthony thrived on the challenges of the medical profession and those who dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others. He also never met a stranger he could talk to anyone; and did! Anthony wanted to share his success by encouraging others from his hometown to excel and strive for a better life. He was active with the Bajaras Foundation founded by his childhood friend Jaime Barajas. This nonprofit addresses the social and economic needs of low income students and families in Anthony's home town of Guadalupe. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his name to this cause that was near and dear to Anthony's heart. Anthony is survived by his mother, Juanita and siblings Julio (Lisa), Sylvia and Martha. He was predeceased by his father, Julio in 2012. A rosary will be said on Tuesday, December 6th at 6:00 pm followed immediately by a memorial service at George L. Klumpp Funeral Home, 2691 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento. On Wednesday, December 7th a Mass is planned for 10:00 am at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 3289 South River Road in Clarksburg; followed by a graveside service at Franklin Cemetery in Elk Grove. A reception follows at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Ann Marie and her family wish to thank Dr. Zachary Holt, the UC Davis Cancer Center and Anthony's employer Abiomed for their care and support.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Bad Moms

With Sharon feeling under the weather over the weekend, we looked for a comedy to watch on the AppleTV on Saturday night. We ended up watching Bad Moms.

Released in April of 2016, the film stars an ensemble cast that includes Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Jada Pinkett Smith and Christina Applegate. Although set in Chicago, it was filmed in New Orleans. I am not going to even try to explain the convoluted plot...

I was dumbfounded to learn that the movie grossed almost $180 million against a budget of $20 million. The production company has announced that they have begun production on a spin-off titled Bad Dads with a release date of July 2017.

I was also taken back when I asked Sharon how she would rate the movie. She gave it a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I probably wouldn't have give it even a 5.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Lessons & Carols

Sharon and I went to Lessons & Carols, an evening of prayer and song presented by the Jesuit High School Chamber Singers, the Concert Choir of St. Francis High School and Jesuit Drama at the Chapel of the North American Martyrs. Sharon went by herself last year while I was working in the Napa Valley.

Lessons & Carols

Lessons & Carols

Saturday, December 03, 2016

2016 Farm Credit West Christmas Party

With Sharon feeling under the weather, we missed the F@rm Credit West Christmas Party. We have gone the previous five years [2011, 2102, 2013, 2014, 2015]. This year, the party was held at McCormick & Schmick's in Roseville.

Sharon started working for Farm Credit West in 2010. The first they had a Christmas lunch rather than a dinner.

Friday, December 02, 2016

2016 Neighborhood Progressive Christmas Party

Cake for the Neighbor Progressive Christmas PartySharon and I went to the second annual [2015] progressive Christmas Party in the Deterring Ranch neighborhood. The party started the evening at Jim and Debbie's home for hors d'oeuvre and then moved to Mike and Jill's for a sit-down lasagna dinner. We finished the evening at our house for dessert. Sharon got a cake at the same place that she got one for the fall dinner. Sharon also insisted that we show Dinner for One.

Two observations... First, As I said last year, in almost five years in this neighborhood, we have gotten to know people and built stronger connections than we ever did in twelve years in Marina Point. There was a very nice group of 20 plus people at the party.

Second, Although I lamented the mad dash last weekend to get the Christmas decorations up, it is going to be very nice to enjoy the decorations for the next five weeks...

Thursday, December 01, 2016

NBA Power Rankings with Bill Simmons and Kevin O'Connor

Bill Simmons and Kevin O'Connor talk about the Kings at the 43:18 mark of their NBA Power Rankings podcast. They rank the Kings as 17th out of 30 teams. Bill says "he [Cousins] is not going to stay. The team is a mess. They are going to go in the lottery again. He [Cousins] is going to become increasingly unhappy. Just trade him. Trade him now. You are not resigning him."

They spend part of the time talking about how the Kings could trade Boogie Cousins to the Boston Celtics... Cousins will be a free agent in July of 2018 after the 2017/18 season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol 3: Phi Slama Jama

Running on the treadmill over Thanksgiving holiday, I watched Phi Slama Jama. Led by a Nigerian soccer player named Hakeem Olajuwon and a lightly recruited hometown kid named Clyde Drexler, the University of Houston Cougars, nicknamed Phi Slama Jama, electrified the NCAA Final Four with three straight appearances from 1982 to 1984. This is the twelfth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume 3. An episode guide for Vol 3 is here.

As underclassmen in 1981/82, a young Cougar team lost to the eventual champion North Carolina Tar Heels in the national semifinals by the score of 68 to 63. The North Carolina team included Micheal Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins.

The 1982/83 season marked the high point of Phi Slama Jama. The Cougars posted an Associated Press #1 ranking, a 31–2 record and a 26-game winning streak before losing in the NCAA Final. Considered one of the most unlikely upsets in NCAA tournament history, Phi Slama Jama lost a closely contested championship game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack by a score of 54–52. Ironically, the final margin was decided on a last-second dunk by Wolfpack forward Lorenzo Charles. The story of the Wolfpack's Cinderella championship run is told in the 30 for 30 Volume 2 film Survive and Advance.

Despite the early departure of star forward Clyde Drexler after the 82–83 season, Phi Slama Jama continued their success in 1984. Hakeem Olajuwon became the focal point of the team and was selected as a consensus first team All-American. The Cougars returned to the Final Four once more, this time losing to the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas in the final. Olajuwon, with one year of eligibility remaining, declared for the NBA draft shortly after the loss in the title game.

Woven through the film is the story of enigmatic role player Benny Anders. The documentary follows 1981/82 co-captains Eric Davis and Lynden Rose as they try to find Anders after more than two decades of mystery.

Although not as compelling as some of the other 30 for 30s, this is a solid documentary. Somewhat ironically, Olajuwon and Drexler won two NBA Championships with the Houston Rockets.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jack back to school

We took Jack to the airport early Sunday morning. He caught a 8:35 am United flight from Sacramento direct to Dulles Airport. Jack took an Uber from the airport to Georgetown University. He was back on campus by 5:20 pm (2:20 pm Pacific time).

It was great to have him home for a few days. In just a little over three weeks, Jack will be home for Christmas.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Decorating the house for Christmas

This year's neighborhood dinner party is almost two weeks earlier than last year. It is going to be Friday, December 2. Our house will be the dessert stop. Given that we were hosting Thanksgiving, this left us with a very small window to convert the house from the fall decorations to the Christmas decorations. Thankfully, due to the fact that the fall dinner party was at Sea Ranch this year, we probably had only 10% to 15% of the pumpkins that we normally have!

The small window translated into the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. I staged most of the Christmas boxes from the storage shed into the garage last Sunday, November 20. I picked up the Christmas tree on Friday afternoon, November 25. Except for getting the Christmas Tree decorated [something that we can do at night after work in the coming week], we got everything ready by Sunday night...

Friday, November 25, 2016

2016 Kings versus Rockets

2016 Kings versus Rockets

Sharon and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Houston Rockets NBA basketball game. Hitting an impressive number of 3 point shots, Houston led by as much as 29 in the first half. The Rockets cooled off a little in the second half and the Kings were able to claw back. The Rockets won the game by the score of 117 to 104.

The Houston Rockets set an NBA record with 50 3-point attempts!?1

Playing only 30 minutes due to second half foul trouble, DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 32 points on 12 for 22 from the field, 5 for 9 from three point range and 3 for 5 from the free throw line. He also had 9 rebounds. Cousins made four consecutive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter when the Kings pulled within 112-104.

In 40 minutes, James Harden led the Rockets with 23 points on 6 for 18 from the field, 3 for 11 from three point range and 8 for 8 from the three point line. He had a triple double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. I spent most of the second half watching his line and rooting for him to get the triple double. Harden got a rebound on the last play of the game to notch the triple double.

We ran into Alan and David Laskin before the game. Sharon and I visited with Holly and Van during half-time.

Although she saw Paul McCartney in the new arena in October, this was Sharon's first Kings game in the Golden 1 Center. I parked in the Capitol Garage at 10th and K. We sat in Section 109, Row H, Seats 5 and 6. I bought these tickets for about half price using a promotion that the Kings sent out to my old seasons ticket account.

While I enjoy going to the games, I have no interest in having season tickets. It is a poorly constructed team that is not very fun to watch... The Kings now have 0 wins and 2 losses in games that I saw during the 2016/2017 NBA season.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016


After I got back from running the Run to Feed the Hungry, we spent the rest of the day getting the house cleaned up and dinner prepared.

Celebrating Jim's birthday on ThanksgivingPeople started showing up about 3:00 pm. The year's group was a little smaller. It included Sharon's brother Tim, Kathy, Erin, Eileen, Sharon's brother Tom, Eric, Jim, Sharon, Jack, and I; a total of ten. Kevin, Leah and Lydia went to Leah's grandfather's in Napa.

We served an interesting cranberry cocktail as the pre-dinner drink. To my surprise, everyone actually ended up out on the deck before dinner. With all the rain that we have had, the park is very green.

We served honey-baked ham and turkey for dinner. The turkey was spatchcocked.

After dinner, we celebrated Jim's birthday with chocolate cake and pumpkin pie.

2016 Run to Feed the Hungry

At the start of the 2016 Run to Feed the Hungry #rtfth2016

For the twelfth time in the last thirteen years [2015, 20142013, 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004], Jack and I ran the Run to Feed the Hungry. Sharon was not feeling well and didn't run this year. We entered in 2007, but I was feeling under the weather and we decided not to run before heading to San Francisco for Thanksgiving.

For the fifth year in a row, I parked on University Avenue. This year, I parked closer to the H Street bridge rather than the Guy West Bridge. It was a little shorter walk to and from the car.

I had a lot of trepidation leading up to the race. I have been under the weather the last few weeks. As a result, I am not as strong and fit as I would like to be. I am somewhat embarrassed by results. My time was 1:03:57 for an average pace of 10:18. Based on Runkeeper, my splits were: 1-9:39; 2-9:46; 3-10:03; 4-10:14; 5-10:31, and; 6-10:39. I have got to do better next year!

They announced the crowd at 29,000 at the start of the race. One of the things that has changed over the years is that the crowd never really thins out. It is a pack of runners from the beginning to the end.

Jack ran the 5k with a group of friends. It was weird to go to the race by myself and not meet anyone afterwards. I also miss not getting our traditional picture with Jack after the race.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Getting a Christmas Tree

At the end of day, Jack and I met Sharon at Abel's Christmas Trees on Sunrise. Sharon spotted this lot last year. From 2009 to 2014, we got our tree from Lamb's in Elk Grove. From 2003 to 2008, we got a tree at Cal Expo five out of six years. In 2001 and 2002, we bought trees on Folsom Boulevard from a lot which may have been Abel's. In 2000, our first year in Elk Grove, we got a tree on Laguna and Laguna Springs where the Brewhouse parking lot is now.

We picked out a tree and had them flock it. The lot was not officially open yet!?! I am going to go back on Friday to pick it up. Partly to due to the schedule for the progressive neighborhood Christmas party, we are buying a tree more than two weeks earlier than last year!

Sharon, Jack and I finished the day with a nice dinner of Chinese food at the Mandarin Restaurant. Although I probably shouldn't have been, I was surprised how busy the restaurant was.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jack is back!

Sharon and I picked Jack up at Sacramento International Airport. He is home from college for Thanksgiving. Jack flew Reagan to O'Hare to Sacramento uneventfully...

Jack is back!

Monday, November 21, 2016

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol 3: Believeland

Running on the treadmill over the last couple of days, I re-watched Believeland. At the beginning of the film, it is noted that Cleveland was the only city with three major sports franchises that hadn't won a championship in the last fifty years! This is the ninth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume 3. An episode guide for Vol 3 is here.

The documentary can be roughly divided into five parts. First, it starts by looking at the growth of the city and the success of its sports teams after World War II. In 1948, the Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Braves in the World Series. Behind Jim Brown, the Cleveland Browns upset Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts to win the NFL Championship in 1964. This championship starts fifty years of frustration!

Second, the film looks at the Browns of the late 1980s. Coached by Marty Schottenheimer and Quarterbacked by Bernie Kosar, the Cleveland Browns lost the AFC Championship game to the Denver Bronocs at the end of the 1986 and 1987 seasons. In the 1986 Championship game, John Elway drove the Bronocs the length of the field to tie the game and win in overtime [the drive]. In the 1987 Championship game, Ernst Byner fumbled as the Browns were driving to tie the game [the fumble].

Third, the documentary follows the Indians of the late 1990s. The Cleveland Indians lost the 1995 World Series to the Atlanta Braves in six games. The Cleveland Indians then lost the 1997 World Series to the Florida Marlins in game seven by the score of 3 to 2.

One side note, on October 3, 1997, Tomasin, Hunter, Snipes and I went to game three of the Florida Marlins versus San Francisco Giants playoff game at Candlestick. The Giants lost the game by the score of 6 to 2 and were eliminated from the play-off. I am going to post the box score and a few comments about this game in the near future.

The fourth act looks at Art Model's purchase of the Cleveland Browns in the early 1960s and his history with the team and city. When he couldn't get a new stadium, Model ended up moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1996. The NFL turned around and gave Cleveland a new team in 1999. Model and the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000. The Ravens also won the 2012 Super Bowl.

Fifth, the documentary looks at LeBron and the Cleveland Caveliers. Starting with the drafting of LeBron, the film follows LeBron's initial tour with the Cavs. They made it to the NBA Finals in 2006-2007, but were swept by the Spurs. They lost to the Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008-2009 and then to Boston in the second round in 2009-2010.

At this point, LeBron jumped to Miami. The film closes with LeBron coming back to Cleveland and the Cavs losing the 2015 NBA Finals to Golden State. The film first aired in May of 2016 just a couple of months before Cavs beat Golden State to win the NBA Championship.

After the Cavs won the championship, the end of the documentary was reshoot. I need to find new version. Overall, this is a very good film!

A second footnote, Larkin and I saw LeBron play his first professional game!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

House of Cards - Season Two

Sharon and I finished watching the second season of House of Cards. We finished Season One in October of 2016. Season Two was released in its entirety on February 14, 2014.

Season Two begins at the exact time that season one ended. Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood spends most of the season as the newly appointed Vice President of the United States. As Sharon complained, the plot has a lot going on. By the end of the season, President Walker resigns and Underwood becomes President of the United States.

The season earned thirteen Primetime Emmy Award nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards and three nominations at both the 72nd Golden Globe Awards and the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards. Kevin Spacey won Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama for playing Frank Underwood in season two.

While we enjoyed the season, the second season was much darker and violent than the first season. There were more than a few unexpected plot twists...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bouchaine Wine Club Holiday Pick-up Celebration

On a rainy afternoon, Sharon, Janie and I went to the Bouchaine Vineyards Wine Club Holiday Pick-up Celebration. They served some wood-fired pizzas and desserts.


Bouchaine Wine Club Holiday Pick-up CelebrationBouchaine Wine Club Holiday Pick-up Celebration

Afterwards, we went to Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Oxbow Market in Napa for an early dinner. Sharon and Janie had chowder, while I had the Seafood Stew.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Arden Hills

Thursday, Sharon and I carpooled to work together. On the way home, we went to Arden Hills to work-out. I lifted and then ran on the treadmill, while Sharon did a class.

We finished the night with dinner in the restaurant. It has changed names so many times that I am not sure what they are calling it now. We had a couple of surprisingly good hamburgers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lone Peregrino

The lone Peregrino walking back to Albergue at dawn after obtaining his compostella and certificate de distance.

Couldn't have done it without Eric. Amazing young man whose company opened up different vistas, encounters and perspectives and significantly enriched the experience.

Been Camino, Eric, as you begin the rest of your journey🚶✝

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Joaquin Miller Cabin

Sharon and I stopped briefly at the Joaquin Miller Cabin while we were hiking in Rock Creek Park.

Joaquin Miller Cabin
contributing property to the
Rock Creek Park Historic District

National Register of Historic Places #1991001524

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This building is located on the east bank of Rock Creek one half mile north of Military Road in Washington, DC. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 57' 50.2" N 77° 02' 46.7" W.

Joaquin Miller Cabin

The Joaquin Miller Cabin is an historic structure situated in Washington, DC's Rock Creek Park. Built by the American poet, essayist and fabulist Joaquin Miller, it represents the only known example of late 19th century Rustic-style log cabin in Washington, D.C.

In 1883, Joaquin Miller (1837–1913) moved to Washington, DC to get involved in politics. He built the cabin near the intersection of 16th and Belmont Streets, NW across from present day Meridian Hill Park to find rustic peace and "find his muse". Miller is known to have occupied the cabin from 1883 to late 1885 when he left for California.

In 1911, the area near Meridian Hill Park was being developed and Henry White, the former ambassador to France, was building an estate on land that included the cabin. The state of California and the Columbia Historical Society sought to save the structure from demolition and have it moved to Rock Creek Park. The board of the National Park Service refused the request but Senator John D. Works, and Joseph R. Knowland of California successfully intervened to force the Park Service to move the cabin to its present location near the east bank of Rock Creek one half mile north of Military Road.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 Corgi Faire

For the third year in a row [2014, 2015], Tiber went to the Corgi Faire at the Dixon Fairgrounds. With Sharon and Erin going to a Cabi Party, I took Tiber by myself. Sharon went by herself in 2013 while looking for a Corgi breeder. Tiber had a great time running around on the lawn with the other Corgis!

Tiber at the Corgi Fair

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wildwood Kitchen & Bar

Sharon and I went to dinner at Wildwood Kitchen & Bar. This is a fairly new restaurant in the Pavilions Shopping Center. After a nice hummus small plate, Sharon had a Smoked New York steak, while I had Lamb Pappardelle. The food was not good. Mine was ordinary at best, while Sharon thought hers was horrible. While we might go back for the bar and the small plates, we won't be having dinner here again...

Friday, November 11, 2016

Jesuit Drama - 44 Plays for 44 Presidents

Jesuit Drama - 44 Plays for 44 Presidents
Sharon and I went to the Jesuit Drama production of 44 Plays for 44 President. The production included a couple of minute scene on each of the 44 presidents. While I liked it overall, I didn't feel like that they did justice to Grant, Johnson or Bush Sr. For some of the president's they did a really nice job of providing a concise summary of their administration. For others, it was mostly silly.

I have been working on a long term project to read a biography of all of the presidents. The production remind me that I have a big gap between Harrison and Lincoln. There are six president in this twenty year period that I haven't read anything about. None of these presidents served more than a single term.

It was fun to go back to the Black Box theater. It made both Sharon and I think a lot about Jack appearing in Terror Stories: A Post 9/11 Project and Xanadu!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

HBO Cancels Any Given Wednesday

As I have said before, I found Bill Simmon's Any Given Wednesday HBO show unwatchable. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see that they cancelled it so quickly...
HBO Cancels Bill Simmons's Any Given Wednesday

Any Given Wednesday, the weekly HBO talk show hosted by Bill Simmons, will finish its run on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and will not return to the network next season.

The decision was mutually agreed upon by HBO and Simmons, who joined the network in July of 2015. In the past year, Simmons has created the Bill Simmons Media Group, which is responsible for a wide range of linear and digital initiatives including the debut of The Ringer website, developing new content and assets, and re-launching the leading podcast franchise in the sports industry.

Bill Simmons: “One of the many reasons I joined HBO was to see if we could create a show built around smart conversations for sports fans and pop culture junkies. We loved making that show, but unfortunately it never resonated with audiences like we hoped. And that’s on me. But I love being a part of HBO’s family and look forward to innovating with them on other ambitious programming ideas over these next several years - both for the network and for digital. With that said, I want to thank the dedicated staff that worked so diligently with me behind the scenes to make this show every week - we hired so many great and talented people and I loved having them in my life. It’s difficult for me to imagine not working with them anymore.”

“HBO is committed to Bill Simmons, and we are excited to bring his unique vision to bear on an array of new programming initiatives under the HBO Sports banner in 2017,” said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “Bill is an award-winning executive producer in the documentary arena, and we will work closely with him in developing new and engaging content for our subscribers.”

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Mesa Mercado

For the first time since August, Sharon and I went back to Mesa Mercado in the Milagro Centre. We sat at the bar and had guacamole, ceviche de pescado and al pastor tacos.

Afterwards, Sharon spent some time talking with the owners of Ghiotto Gelato & Wine Bar.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Fort DeRussy

Sharon and I stopped briefly at Fort DeRussy while we were hiking in Rock Creek Park.

Fort DeRussy
See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
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This site is located in Rock Creek Park National Park near the intersection of Military Road NW and Oregon Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 57.781′ N, 77° 3.037′ W.

Fort DeRussy

One of the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Constructed on the site in 1861 Fort DeRussy commanded the deep valley of Rock Creek. Its armament consisted of 11 guns and mortars including a 100-pounder Parrott Rifle.

Fort DeRussy

Fort DeRussy

Built in 1861 to protect the Rock Creek Valley during the Civil War, Fort DeRussy's cannon fired a total of 109 projectiles into the northern countryside as 12,000-15,000 Confederate soldiers attacked the city under the command of Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early on July 11-12, 1864. During this two day battle (known as the Battle of Fort Stevens) Fort DeRussy aided the surrounding forts by providing the main suppressive fire to ensure a Union victory on the battlefield.

The largest piece of armament which Fort DeRussy utilized was the 100-Pound Parrott Rifle. This cannon, shown above at nearby Fort Totten, could hurl 100 pound projectiles several miles into the Maryland countryside. During the Battle of Fort Stevens, Fort DeRussy halted the Confederate advance into the city by firing this deadly and accurate cannon a total of 28 times.

[image Parrott Rifle at Fort Totten] Members of the 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery by 100-Pounder Parrott Rifle inside Fort Totten, 1865.

[photo of Private Samuel Strawser] Private Samuel Strawser, a member of the 151st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was stationed at Fort DeRussy during the Battle of Fort Stevens.

[photo of General Jubal Early] "On the right was Rock Creek, running through a deep ravine which had been rendered impassable... every appliance

You can download a podcast of Fort DeRussy at

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump

My book for September was Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump by Gary Trudeau. When I was working for the farm credit banks in Sacramento in the 1980s, I used to stop every morning and buy a San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle had Doonesbury, while the Sacramento Bee refused to publish it. One of my highlights every morning was reading the comic strip.

Trudeau started using Donald Trump as a character in his comic strip on September 14, 1987. Much to Trump's chagrin, he has been a recurring character ever since. Trump described Trudeau as the “sleaze ball” “third-rate talent” who draws the “overrated” comic strip Doonesbury, which “very few people read.”

The book is organized into four sections covering the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and the 2010s. The comics weave real life events from Trump's life into Trudeau cast of characters and their ongoing story lines.

As I said at the top, I am a huge Doonesbury fan. I enjoyed this collection immensely. It is a must read as part of this unusual election cycle.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Sharon and I went to see Sully at the Palladio 16 Cinemas in Folsom. The film follows Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's January 2009 emergency landing of a passenger jet on the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries. The subsequent publicity and NTSB investigation play a major role in the film.

The movie is based on the autobiography Highest Duty by Captain Sullenberger and Jeffrey Maslow. It stars Tom Hanks as Sullenberger, with Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn in supporting roles.

Every year, Sharon and I try to see all of the movies that are nominated for the best picture Oscar. Sully shows up on a couple of lists as a possible best picture nominee. I enjoyed the movie a lot; it is a very solid film. I think that it could gain a best picture nomination.

One footnote, this was first time Sharon and I have been to a Palladio theater. I like the theater set-up. The seats were very comfortable. We will definitely go back.

After the movie, we had a very good meal at Land Ocean. Sharon had sea bass, while I had ahi tuna.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Girl on the Train

Sharon and Janie went to lunch at Hawks Provisions.

Afterwards, they went to see The Girl on the Train at UA Arden. Janie had read the book, while Sharon had listened to the audio book.

Sharon said that the movie was "OK." It was as bad as some of the reviews that she read said it was...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016 Kings versus Spurs


Larkin and I went to the Sacramento Kings versus San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball game. This was the first regular season game in the new Golden 1 Center. The Kings led most of the game until about 3:00 left in the third quarter. A pair of Kawhi Leonard steals from Ben McLemore on successive plays put the Spurs ahead. The Spurs pulled away in the fourth quarter to win by the score of 102 to 94.

DeMarcus Cousins was the high scorer for the Kings. He had 37 points on 10 for 22 from the field, 3 for 5 from three point range and 14 for 16 from the free throw line. Cousins added 16 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs. He had 30 points on 11 for 21 from the field, 1 for 5 from three point range and 7 for 7 from the free throw line. Leonard added 5 steals. In the first two games of the season, Leonard has averaged 32.5 points and 5 steals a game.

Larkin and I explored the new arena a little bit before the game and at halftime. It is going to take me a while to figure out where everything is. We ran into Dave Sanders and Robby and Danny before the game. At halftime, we talked with Robby, Danny and Snipes.

On a rainy night, I bought a parking spot at the garage at 805 14th street. This is almost 3/4s of a mile from the arena. I am not sure what I am going to do for the next game. I will probably buy a single seat down low before the end of the year.

I couldn't be more pleased that they built the arena downtown. I believe that it is going to have a big impact on revitalizing the downtown. As shown below, there were people everywhere on K Street north of the arena after the game!