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.