Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Neighborhood Homeowners Association Meeting

Sharon and I went to the neighborhood homeowners association meeting at Rod and Kathy's house. Although we have lived in the neighbor for five years and Sharon has gone to the meeting a couple of times, this was the first time that I have gone.

There was more extended discussion about a number of issues than I expected. I joked as the meeting was breaking up that it was the first time that I had come to the meeting in five years and I wouldn't be back for five years.

Personally, I am extremely happy with our house, the neighborhood and our neighbors...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hamilton by Ron Chernow

My book for January was Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Until this fall, I had finished a book every month for the last twenty five years. This streak was broken in October. There were just too many things going on; more on this in a future post... Although Alexander Hamilton was not a president, this book fits nicely into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents. Hamilton played a major role in Washington and Adams' administration.

Born on a Caribbean island, Hamilton had an amazing life. During the revolutionary war, he served for four years as Washington's chief of staff. After the war, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was chosen as a delegate for the Constitutional Convention. Hamilton recruited John Jay and James Madison to write a series of essays defending the proposed Constitution, now known as The Federalist Papers.

President George Washington appointed Hamilton as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. As the treasury secretary Hamilton was a whirlwind. He created the National Bank, established the mint, and built the infrastructure to collect import tariffs. The establishment of the National Bank is often blamed for creating two political parties.

While John Adams was president, Hamilton served as inspector general of the United States Army, second in command to George Washington. Hamilton aided in all areas of the army's development, and after Washington's death he was by default the Senior Officer of the United States Army.

I was surprised at the largely negative picture painted of the Adams' presidency. While I read a Adams' biography years ago, I am going to have to go back and read another one.

Hamilton was also a little crazy. He got involved in a number of feuds and affairs, including a noteworthy sexual scandal. It is somewhat hard to believe that he was killed in a duel with the the sitting Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr!

Although it is a load at 760 pages, this is a very good book. I recommend it. The Broadway musical Hamilton is inspired by the biography. I would love to have a chance to see Hamilton on Broadway!

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Sunday afternoon, Sharon and I went to the Palladio theaters in Folsom to see Lion. When we first went to the Palladio theater in October, I was very impressed. At this point, I prefer the Century 14 and the Palladio Luxe.

This is part of our effort to see all of the Oscar nominated films. Lion received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Kidman) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film is based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose. It stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman.

The movie tells the true story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives a number of challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

So far, we have seen five of the nine films nominated for Best Picture. This is my second favorite. I rank it behind La La Land, but ahead of Manchester by the Sea, Fences and Moonlight. I enjoyed the film and recommend it!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Florence Foster Jenkins

With the Oscar nominations announced on Tuesday, Sharon and I are doubling our efforts to see the films in the major categories. It seems like we are actually behind where we were last year at this time...

Saturday night, we watched Florence Foster Jenkins as a HD rental on the AppleTV. Meryl Streep is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for this film. The film is also nominated for Best Costume Design.

The movie stars Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who became an opera singer known for her painful lack of singing skill. Hugh Grant plays her husband and manager, English Shakespearean actor, St. Clair Bayfield. Simon Helberg, best known for his role as Howard Wolfowitz in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, played pianist Cosmé McMoon. Helberg's performance was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.

I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. While I don't believe that Steep will win an Oscar for her performance, the film exceeded my expectations. An awards show podcast that we follow was very complimentary of Grant's performance. They thought that he might get a Supporting Actor nomination. I was pleasantly surprised by Grant's performance.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Another Birthday Dinner

Janie took Sharon to dinner at Biba's to celebrate Sharon's birthday. Sharon raved about the meal. Sharon and I haven't been to Biba's in more than the ten years. After dinner, I picked Sharon up.

Walking out of the restaurant, Sharon ran into Ken Graff. Ken was at the Federal Intermediate Credit of Sacramento when I started working for Farm Credit in 1980. He was CEO of Farm Credit West for the first couple of years that Sharon worked there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Steven Karl Nebel

My new boss passed away unexpectedly.

Steven Karl Nebel, husband, father and friend, passed away suddenly on Monday, January 9th, 2017 at the age of 57. He was born on May 12, 1959 in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Martha and Rudolf Nebel. Growing up in a busy military family, he developed great confidence and the ability to befriend anyone. Karl received his Bachelor's from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. Karl held a number of leadership positions in the greater Orlando area before entering the business consulting field, where he worked for nearly 20 years. As a well-respected consultant, his vast experiences across multiple industries allowed him to drive change and transform every project he touched. Karl had recently accepted a position at Adventist Health in California as their new Chief Strategy and Information Officer. Karl made networking into an art form and couldn't go anywhere without recognizing a friend or colleague. Karl was a pillar of the Orlando business community, serving on boards for the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Hospital's Children's Hospital and recently as board chair at A Gift For Teaching. He led in-kind and pro-bono efforts at many other non-profits in Orlando as well. Karl was the perfect family man, a fantastic cook and was at his happiest in the kitchen or out at his Big Green Egg. He would always go all-out for Florida Gator football games and loved to see his friends and family enjoy his masterful cooking. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sonia Nebel and two children, Alex Nebel and Mallory Nebel. He is also survived by his mother, Martha Nebel, Chipley, FL, brothers Michael Nebel, Tacoma, WA, Tamas Nebel, Windermere, FL and sister Erika Arnold, Lewes, DE. A celebration of Karl's life will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park at 1:30pm on Monday, January 23rd. The Nebel Family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to A Gift For Teaching in Karl's name. Karl was a wonderful husband, a loving father, a tireless mentor and a true friend to many. He will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Oscar Nominations

My predictions are shown in red.

In 2014, I got five out of five in these categories. In 2015, I got three out of five. In 2016, I got four out of five.

   Hacksaw Ridge
   Hell or High Water
   Hidden Figures
   La La Land
   Manchester by the Sea
   Moonlight - [ACTUAL WINNER!]

   Isabelle Huppert, Elle
   Ruth Negga, Loving
   Natalie Portman, Jackie
   Emma Stone, La La Land
   Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

   Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
   Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
   Ryan Gosling, La La Land
   Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
   Denzel Washington, Fences

   Viola Davis, Fences
   Naomie Harris, Moonlight
   Nicole Kidman, Lion
   Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
   Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

   Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
   Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
   Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
   Dev Patel, Lion
   Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

More Oscar Nominations

Monday, January 23, 2017

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday!

UntitledSharon took the day off for her birthday. She and her brother Tom went to lunch at Wildwood; Sharon said the food was better than when we had dinner there... They then went to the Century 14 to watch La La Land. Sharon and Tom finished the afternoon hitting the jacuzzi at Tom's house.

I took Sharon to dinner at Kru, contemporary Japanese cuisine. I liked the food more than she did.

We finished the night with cake and presents at Tom's house. Tom made a cake from one of their mom's recipes. In addition to Tom, the group included Eric and Erin. Presents included some new trekking poles.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle

I got Sharon a Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle for Christmas. We toured the castle last summer. It was a pretty big hit. [Note to self], I should get her another puzzle next Christmas.

Puzzle - Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Continuing our quest to see films that might be 2016 Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to Moonlight at the Palladio Luxe in Folsom. Over the last couple of years, we have tried to guess in December and early January which films will be nominated.

I was very impressed with the theater. It opened in November and has full bar, plush cocktail lounge, a full menu and service available to the theater seats. We are definitely going back. Kevin Johnson and his wife Michelle Rhee were in the theater...

I was less impressed with the film. The film is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The play draws from McCraney's memories of his own search for identity as a queer youth in Miami's poor and tough Liberty City neighborhood. The first third of the movie is actually filmed in Liberty City. The director, Barry Jenkins, also grew up in Liberty City.

Mahershala Ali has a major role in the first third of the film. He appears as Remy Danton in House of Cards which we have been watching.

Evaluating the movie for the best picture Oscar, I rank Moonlight behind the other three films that we have seen [La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Fences]. The last twenty minutes are very slow.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Frame Sibling Dinner

Sharon and her two brothers, Tom and Tim, went to dinner at the Empress Tavern to celebrate their birthdays. While Sharon raved about the restaurant in October, she was not happy with the meal. She and Tom had prime rib. After dinner, they wandered across the street to the Dive Bar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Kings versus Pacers

2017 Kings versus Pacers

I went to the Sacramento Kings versus Indiana Pacers NBA Basketball game with Phil. Trailing for almost the whole game, the Pacers took the lead with 1:55 to go and beat the Kings by the score of 106 to 100.

In the loss, DeMarcus Cousins had a triple double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Cousins was 7 for 19 from the floor, 1 for 2 from three and 10 for 14 from the free throw line. He missed two key free throws down the stretch.

Paul George led the Pacers with 24 points on 8 for 15 from the field, 2 for 5 from three and 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Jeff Teague added 22 points.

Rudy Gay (21 points) when down in the third quarter with a suspected torn left Achilles tendon. Once Gay was out of the game, the Kings really didn't have a shooter to help spread the floor.

The Sanborn's seats have access to the lounge underneath the arena. I enjoyed having a chance to visit this part of the arena. We ran into the Laskins there before the game. I was surprised how packed it was; Phil said it was busier than usual.

The Kings are not a fun team to watch. They now have 2 wins and 3 losses in games that I have seen in the 2016-2017 NBA season.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Northstar Day 4

The original plan for the day was to snowshoe. After getting Sharon to ski two days in a row, she was done. We decided to head home early to beat the holiday traffic.

We had a leisurely breakfast in the Manzanita restaurant in the Ritz. Afterwards, we lounged in the room before starting to get everything packed up. It is hard to believe how much stuff we had with us.

We got the car about 10 am. In spite of the bellhops comments about the traffic already being backed up, we had a very easy drive home. Without a stop, we were back in Carmichael just after 12:00 pm.

It was a great weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Celebrating My Birthday [2017 Northstar Day 3]

Pretty much a perfect day...

2017 Northstar Day 3

Sharon and I got up and had the buffet breakfast in the Manzanita restaurant in the Ritz. Sharon had a lot of trepidation about the day; she was concerned about trying to ski with Larkins. She kept talking about only skiing a little bit and stopping early...

Hustling to get our stuff, we met the Larkins at the mid-mountain lodge before 9 am. With stops at the Summit Lodge and tōst, the four of us skied off and on until after 2 pm. We sat in the sun at tōst for long time...

Skiing with the Larkins was perfect for Sharon. Larkin coached Sharon and worked with her on her form; he worked as a ski instructor at Sugar Bowl for a number of years. I really owe both the Larkins for how well they took care of Sharon over the course of the day.

While it was sunny on the ridge and the upper lifts, the mid-mountain was foggy like Saturday. The four of us stopped for very late lazy lunch at the Backyard Bar & BBQ back at the Ritz.

Afterwards, the Larkins headed home and Sharon and I headed to the room. Sharon went to the spa to hit the jacuzzi and steam room. I watched the end of the Green Bay versus Dallas NFL playoff game. It was wild; the Packers won the game by the score of 34 to 31. Aaron Rodgers is a witch...

Celebrating my birthday

Sharon and I finished the day with a birthday dinner at the Manzanita restaurant in the hotel. We had a nice dinner of caesar and beet salads with a couple of filet mignons. Last Sunday, Sharon gave me a pair of snowshoes for my birthday.

Here is how I have celebrated my last fifteen birthdays!

Two footnotes. First, Larkin, Cindy and I skied together the first time 35 years ago today.

Second, the infamous Man Down incident occurred on my birthday eight years ago.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Northstar Day 2

UntitledThe plan for the day was to ski. Sharon and I had coffee and oatmeal for breakfast at Café Blue in the hotel.

Bringing Sharon to the Ritz Carlton to ski is probably going to be a long term mistake. They have a great set up. When they checked in on Friday, they took our ski boots, skis and poles. When we were ready to ski, we stopped at the Mountain Conceirge and swapped our shoes for our boots. They keep the boots and shoes on warmers. Once you have your boots on, you walk out the door and they hand you the skis and poles. From there, you ski below the Big Easy Chair down to the Lodge at Big Springs. It is a very convenient!

When I went to buy the lift tickets, I was shocked at the price. We were quoted $150 for an adult lift ticket for Saturday.

Sharon and I had a great day. We skied for a couple of hours in the morning. We had a couple of burgers for an early lunch at the Backyard Bar & BBQ.

I got her back out on the slopes for a couple more hours after lunch. Over the course of the day, I got Sharon to ski progressively slightly harder and harder runs. The only drawback was that it was foggy most of the day in the mid-mountain. For the last couple of runs, we took the Vista chair up to the east ridge. It was sunny up there!

I got Sharon to ski a lot more than I though I would. Tomasin and Snipes had talked about coming up on Saturday, but never made it...

After skiing, we headed to the spa with the hopes of hitting a jacuzzi and steam room. Unfortunately, everything was set up for single sex, e.g. a woman's only jacuzzi and steam room.

Getting cleaned up, we headed back down to the village on the Timberline gondola. Unlike Friday night, the village was hopping. There were a lot of people ice skating and hanging out around fire pits.

We finished the night with dinner at Mikuni. We had about a 30 minute wait for a table.

At Northstar

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Northstar Day 1

view from the hotel room
View from the room at the Northstar Ritz Carlton

Using most of the bucket of the remaining Marriott points that we have accumulated over the last two years, Sharon and I made reservations for three nights at the Ritz Carlton at Northstar. The hotel is located right in the middle of the ski resort. I have been toying with the idea of trying to stay here for the last couple of years.

It is the absolute perfect weekend to go. There has been a series of storms hitting Northern California over the last week. The weather broke on Thursday night and the weekend should be beautiful. Northstar got 11 feet of snow over the last week. It supposed to start raining again in the middle of next week.

We rolled from Carmichael about 9:30 am. With a stop for gas and groceries in Auburn, we pulled up to the hotel a little after noon.

While waiting for the room, we had a light lunch. The room was eventually ready about 1:30 pm. We got unpacked and lounged in the room. With the fantastic snow conditions, Larkin spent the day skiing by himself. He texted us about 3:30 pm saying that he was quitting for the day. Larkin stopped at Ritz and we bought him a beer.

After he rolled, we spent some time talking to the concierge about snowshoeing. There is a night snowshoe hike on Saturday. Additionally, part of the plan is to snowshoe on Monday.

Getting cleaned up, we took the Timberline Gondola from the Ritz down to village. Sharon checked out a couple of the stores. I was surprised how deserted it seemed. We stopped at Petra at glass of wine. Afterwards, we wandered over to Tavern 6630' for dinner. Sharon had a udon noodle bowl with salmon, while I had pappardelle pasta. Eventually, we caught the gondola back to the hotel.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas Day Movies

In 2009, we started going to movies on Christmas day. The list of films that we have seen and who we saw them with includes:

2023 - Poor Things - Jack, Sharon and Tom
2022 - {at Drew and Carmen's house in Orinda for Christmas}
2021 - Don't Look Up - Tom, Jack, Sharon
2020 - Last Christmas - Sharon, Jack, Drew, Shannon
2019 - Rise of Skywalker - Sharon, Jack, Tom
2018 - Vice - Sharon, Jack, Tom
2017 - The Last Jedi - Jack, Drew, Sharon
2016 - Rogue One - Sharon, Jack, Tom, Eric
2015 - The Force Awakens - Sharon, Jack, Tom, Eric
2014 - Unbroken - Sharon, Jack
2013 - Anchorman 2 - Sharon, Jack
2012 - The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey - Sharon, Jack, Tom, Kevin
2011 - Sherlock Holmes - Game of Shadows - Sharon, Jack, Kevin
2010 - Black Swan - Sharon, Tom, Becky
   2010 - True Grit - Jack, Kevin, Eric
2009 - Sherlock Holmes - Sharon, Jack, Tom, Becky, Kevin, Eric

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jack back to school

JackFinishing Jack's twenty day Christmas break, we got up at 4:00 am and headed to the airport at 4:30 am. Jack caught a 6:09 am United Flight from Sacramento to Houston and then a 1:00 pm flight from Houston to Reagan in Washington DC. Catching an Uber, he was back on the Georgetown University campus to start the second half of his freshman year a little before 6:00 pm eastern time. Jack starts classes tomorrow.

It was great to have him home! We are still trying to figure out his plans for spring break and our plans for Easter...

Monday, January 09, 2017

To Portland and back

I spent the day winding my way to icy, slushy Portland and back for a series of meetings. I flew out of Sacramento on a 9 am flight and back on a 8 pm flight. My new boss was supposed to travel with us. My employer has a hospital and clinics in Portland.

It turned out to a very unsettling and disjointing day...

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Taking down the Christmas decorations

Sharon and I spent almost all of Saturday and Sunday taking down and packing up the Christmas decorations. It took us parts of three days to put everything up in November. I need to count how many boxes of decorations we have (30?).

The whole process was complicated by the fact that it rained hard most of Saturday and Sunday (atmospheric river...). Getting the Christmas tree out the back door and cutting it up in the pouring rain was a particularly fun exercise. I was completely soaked by the time I was done.

While I love the house at Christmas, it felt right to take everything down, turn the page on the holiday season and start into the new year.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Dinner at Roxy

After spending the day taking down the Christmas decorations, Sharon and I left the house to Jack and had dinner at Roxy. We used a gift certificate that the Renteria's had given us for our wedding anniversary at the fall dinner party. I had a lamb burger, while Sharon had salmon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol 3: Hit it Hard

In early December, Sharon and I watched Hit it Hard. This is the thirteenth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume 3. An episode guide for Vol 3 is here.

The documentary spends some time looking at Daly's golfing career. His two greatest on course accomplishments are his "out of nowhere" victory in the 1991 PGA Championship at age 25 and his playoff victory over Costantino Rocca in the 1995 Open Championship.

The film also spends a lot of time looking at his struggles with alcohol, drugs, women and gambling. It is somewhat amazing to me that with everything going on in his life, he was able to play golf at all.

Most of the Volume 2 and 3 30 for 30s have been 1 1/2 to 2 hours long. Hit It Hard was only 60 minutes. While I have lamented the move to the longer films, this documentary left me wanting more. It seemed like it just scratched the surface on a number of topics.

Monday, January 02, 2017


Continuing our quest to see films that might be 2016 Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to Fences at the Century 16 and XD at Garfield. Over the last couple of years, we have tried to guess in December and early January which films will be nominated.

Fences is on a number of lists as a possible Best Film nominee. Additionally, there is a lot of talk about Denzel Washington for Best Actor and Viola Davis for Best Actress. The film was tagged by the American Film Institute as one of the ten best films for 2016.

Fences is a 2016 American drama film directed by Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on his Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name. The film stars Washington and Viola Davis. They are reprising their roles from the Broadway revival of the play.

Washington as Troy Maxson is the focus of the film. He was a Negro Baseball league player who is now a garbageman. His bitterness and how it affects his loved ones is the heart of the story. Set in the 1950's, the film explores the evolving African-American experience.

I actually rated Manchester by the Sea slightly ahead of this film, while Sharon liked it better than Manchester by the Sea. I found the film a little slow in spots. You spend a lot of time with Denzel Washington; he has a lot of dialogue...

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year's Day 2017

New Year's Day 2016

For the first time ever, we hosted a New Year's Day dinner. The group included Sharon's brother Tim, Kathy, Erin, Sharon's nephew Eric, Jack, Sharon and I. Sharon's brother Tom proposed the idea, but ended up being sick. Sharon made a nice dinner of prime rib, potatoes and green beans.

We finished the day watching Green Bay beat Detroit for the NFC North Championship.