Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve 2017

Phil's Birthday CakeWhile I have always counted New Year's Eve as my least favorite holiday, we had a nice evening. We went with the Sanborns to a New Year's Eve Celebration at the Catta Cerdera Country Club. It was a very nice dinner, including a first course of braised boneless short ribs over manchego polenta cake, fried leeks and pan jus, a second course of tomato basil, a third course of petite filet mignon & shrimp scampi with au grain potatoes and roasted carrots and a fourth course of grand mariner cake. I need to go on a diet.

We ended up heading back to the Sanborns' house about 11:00 pm. We celebrated the New Year in their hot tub!

Sharon had gotten Phil a birthday cake. We ended having a piece and celebrating Phil's birthday about 1:30 am. By the time we got to bed in their casita, it was almost 2 am... We stayed in their casita once before.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Brun and Kim for dinner

With the house still decorated for Christmas, we had Brun and Kim over for dinner. We had a nice dinner of paleo hamburgers, fries and salad.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Darkest Hour

Starting to gear up on our annual march to see all of the Oscar nominated films, Sharon and I went to see Darkest Hour at the UA Arden. For the next several weeks, we will be guessing at which films are going to get nominations in the major categories.

The Darkest Hour is on some lists for best picture. Additionally, Gary Oldman's portrayal of Churchill tops most lists for best actor. Oldman has already been nominated for the Best Actor – Drama at the upcoming 75th Golden Globe Awards and for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

Darkest Hour is a 2017 British biographical war drama film. The film stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and follows his early days as Prime Minister. The movie actually covers the period from May 9 to May 28, 1940. The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James. Lily James was in Baby Driver.

I enjoyed the film more than Sharon did. I read a FDR book earlier this year. Churchill pops up a number of times in that book. Additionally, the Dunkirk retreat takes place during film. After seeing trailers for Dunkirk repeatedly last year, I need to see that movie as a bookend to this movie.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Kings versus Cavs

2017 Kings versus Cavs
Parking at the Plaza 555 garage across the street from the Golden 1 Center, Jack, Drew, Sharon and I went to dinner at House Kitchen & Bar. Snipes rolled up just as we were finishing dinner.

2017 Kings versus CavsFrom there, we went to the Sacramento Kings versus Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball game. Opening a lead in the fourth quarter, the Kings won the game by the score of 109 to 95.

We had seats 3, 4, 5 and 6 in row U of section 118. Sitting at the back of the lower deck, I was pleasantly surprised at the view from the seats.

Vince Carter was the Kings leading scorer. He had 24 points on 10 for 12 from the field and 4 for 5 from three. Carter had no free throw attempts?!? I continue to be impressed with Bogdan Bogdanovic; he had 16 points and was 3 for 6 from three.

The Cavs leading scorer was Kevin Love. He had 23 points on 7 for 12 from the field, 3 for 8 from three and 6 for 6 from the free throw line. LeBron James had a triple double: 16 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.

We visited with Hunter and Snipes in the concourse at halftime.

It was a very enjoyable game and evening. Including preseason, the Kings now have 4 wins and 0 losses in games that I have see in person during the 2017-2018 season.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017

With the boys sleeping late, we had a lazy morning. We exchanged gifts. I got Drew an Apple Watch and Santa brought Jack the new iPhone that he has been wanting. At Sharon's suggestion, we got everyone a 23andMe ancestry kit. I am going to be very interested to see all of our results. After presents, we had waffles, eggs and bacon for breakfast.

At noon, Jack, Drew, Sharon and I took Tiber for a leisurely three mile loop around Ancil Hoffman Park. I was surprised by the number of people on the trail.

Continuing our tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day, Sharon, Drew Jack and I went to the Century Arden 14 and XD for the 3:45 pm showing of The Last Jedi. Tom was supposed to join us for the movie and then dinner, but was sick. This is the ninth year in a row that we have seen a movie on Christmas Day. Drew and I both enjoyed The Last Jedi, while Sharon was more lukewarm.

After the movie, we headed to Buca di Beppo for dinner. Although we missed having Tom join us, it was nice to have just the four of us. We split a Mixed Green Salad, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni, Eggplant Parmigiana and Bianca Pizza.

When we got back to the house, Drew and I took Tiber for a long walk. We spent some time brainstorming strategies for one of the challenges that I am going to face in 2018.

I really enjoyed having Drew here this year for Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017
After spending the day getting the house spec'ed up, Drew, Jack and I took off for Mass about 3:10 pm. Tom was already there when we got there. The four of us worked on saving a row. The Rositanis joined us. Sharon rolled up a couple of minutes before Mass started; she had to park in the Bank of America parking lot. Although Eric and Ashley were supposed to join us, they never got there. If possible, it seemed like the church was fuller than previous years. There were a lot of people standing in the back...

For the second year in a row, Father Mike Moynahan gave a unique homily. 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 raced back home. The Christmas Eve group this year was 19, including Sharon's brother Tom, Eric, Eric's girlfriend Ashley, Kevin, Leah, Lydia, Sharon's brother Tim, Kathy, Erin, Erin's boyfriend Cromac, Eileen, Eileen's boyfriend Will, Leah's parents Steve and Teri, Jim Dunn, Jack, Drew, Sharon and I. This ties the record for the number of people that we have hosted for a holiday dinner with Thanksgiving of 2014.

Sharon made a nice dinner of Osso Boco, risotto and green beans. I really enjoyed having a chance to sit with Drew and Jack at one end of the table.

Opening the presents was a little bit of a fiasco. Unlike previous years where we did a round robin, they tried a strategy of giving everyone a present at the same time. We need to rethink this in the future.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Back from Kansas City

Up at 4:00 am [2:00 am Pacific time], I caught a 6:40 am Southwest flight from Kansas City to Las Vegas. Boarding with A19, I was able to get one of the nice exit row seats on a newer 737. With a long layover, I had breakfast at the PGA Tour Grill.

I then caught what was supposed to be a 9:50 am Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Sacramento. It boarded about 9:40 am for a scheduled 10:05 am take-off. With A22, I got another exit row on an older 737. I ended up with exit row seats on all four flights this trip Once we boarded, they continued to work on a problem with the floor lighting for the rear exit. It was after 10:30 am before we finally took off. I was back in Sacramento just after noon.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

At Cerner

I spent the day in Kansas City at Cerner. The morning agenda included: Innovations Campus Tour; Video Wall Content; Video Wall hardware; Video Conferencing and Live Streaming Technology, and; Cafe Technology. We traveled to the Cerner World Headquarters in the afternoon to talk about the CareAware Smart Room and Hospital Operations Demonstration and Discussion and Remote Hosting Discussion.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

To Kansas City

Up at 3:30 am, I caught a 6:20 am Southwest flight from Sacramento to Phoenix. Boarding with A33, I was able to load from the rear of the plane and get one of the nice exit row seats on a newer 737. With a very short layover, I caught a 9:50 am Southwest flight from Phoenix to Kansas City. With A26, I got another exit row on an older 737. I was on the ground in Kansas City about 1:30 pm. I took an Uber to downtown Kansas City. I spending two nights at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott.

After checking in, with Sharon's urging, I took another Uber to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I spent about two hours wandering through the museum. The museum exceed my expectations. The collection includes a Caravaggio [John the Baptist], an Hieronymus Bosch, several Van Goghs and the largest public collection of Thomas Hart Benton. For years, Sharon had a Thomas Hart Benton poster hanging in the East View and Marina Point houses. There were two special exhibitions: Through the Eyes of Picasso and Dreams of Kings: A Jade Suite for Eternity. The Picasso exhibit was very good.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jack is Back!

Jack is back!Finishing up his finals in the afternoon, Jack took an Uber to Dulles.

He caught a 5:45 pm nonstop United flight from Dulles to Sacramento. Jack was on the ground in Sacramento just after 8:00 pm.

Sharon and I picked him up. It is great to have him home for Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Get Out

Saturday night [December 16], Sharon and I watched Get Out as an HD rental on the AppleTV. The film has been chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of 2017. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Get Out received two nominations: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Comedy or Musical for Daniel Kaluuya.

Get Out is a 2017 horror film written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele. It stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who visits the family of his white girlfriend.  All of the family's servants are black and act strangely. Allison Williams as the girlfriend and Bradley Whitford as the girlfriend's father costar.

Sharon liked the film more than I did; she gave it an "8." With what looks like a weaker field this year, it is going to be interesting to see if Get Out gets an Oscar nomination for best picture. I would probably bet that it doesn't...

mailing the Christmas Cards

Nineteen of the last twenty years, Sharon and I have sent out a Christmas Card. Dissatisfied with the quality of the photos on commercial cards like Shutterfly, I have built my own format and process. Unfortunately, this is a lot more work...

Every year, I promise myself that I will get it done earlier, but it always slips into a last minute rush. This year, I mailed about 70 cards on Sunday afternoon, December 17 and another 30 plus cards on Monday morning, December 18.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Neighborhood Progressive Christmas Party

UntitledSharon and I went to the third annual [2015, 2016] progressive Christmas Party in the Deterring Ranch neighborhood. It was slightly different, less ambitious format than last year. The group included: Greg and Mitchell; Jim and Debi; Rod and Kathy; Dan and Debra; Mike and Jill; Tom and Judy; Glenn, and; Sharon and I.

The party started the evening at Greg and Mitchell's home for heavy hors d'oeuvre. The evening included an ugly ornament exchange. After the ornament exchange, the group moved to Dan and Debra's for dessert.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Cookies

Sharon, Tom, Eric, Ashley, Erin, Cromac, Leah and Lydia spent the afternoon making Christmas Cookies.
Christmas Cookies

Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Dinner

I took Sharon to Ruth Chris for her traditional holiday dinner and gift exchange with Janie. I was surprised how long they were there. I dropped her at 6:30 pm and picked her up at 11:20 pm!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dinner with the Sanborns, not!

Carpooling, Sharon and I headed to Paul Martin's after work. The plan was to meet the Sanborns for dinner. Unfortunately, it turned out that Sharon got the dates mixed up! We were supposed to meet them for dinner on the 18th rather than the 14th.

We ended up having a leisurely dinner. After a crab cake starter, Sharon had fish tacos and I had blacken pacific redfish.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

New Hampshire Historical Marker #45

We rode the Mount Washington Cog Train on day four of our F@ll 2017 New England trip.

Mount Washington Cog Train
New Hampshire Historical Marker #45

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This marker is located on Base Station Road, Jackson, New Hampshire. The GPS coordinates for this location are 44° 16' 04.6" N 71° 21' 14.4" W.

New Hampshire Historical Marker #45

Completed in 1869 for $139,500. This unique railroad was built through the genius and enterprise of Herrick and Walter Aiken of Frankin and Sylvester Marsh of Campton. Over three miles long, the average grade to the 6,293 foot summit is one foot in four. Made safe by the toothed wheel and ratchet. It is the second steepest cog railroad in the world and the first of its type.

New Hampshire Historical Marker #45

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Rooster Bar

My book for December is The Rooster Bar by John Grisham. Somewhat unbelievably, this is the 32st book by John Grisham that I have read in the last twenty-five years. I am not sure that this is something that I should be proud of... It is the third of his books that I read this year!?!

I usually tear through a Grisham book as a light read. I labored through The Rooster Bar. It may be my least favorite Grisham book ever.

Grisham says in the Author's Note that the idea for the book came from an article in the September 2014 edition of The Atlantic titled "The Great School Scam." While the story looks at student loans and diploma mill law schools, the plot contains a mishmash of other subjects, including: mental illness; illegal aliens, ICE and deportation; practicing law without a license; a class action lawsuit; a medical malpractice lawsuit; off shore banking, and the African country of Senegal.

The book is a mess. I didn't enjoy it. I don't recommend it...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Jack to Boston

Charlotte and Jack
Jack and Charlotte
Friday Afternoon [December 8], Jack caught an Uber from Georgetown to BWI airport. He took a 716 pm flight to Boston. Jack spent Friday and Saturday night in Boston.

On Saturday night, he took Charlotte to her sorority formal.

Sunday morning, Jack caught a 11 am flight back to Reagan and then an Uber back to campus. He has finals starting this week and then will be flying back to Sacramento for Christmas break on December 19.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Celebrating Jack Frame's 100th Birthday

Sharon and I went to her brother's Tim's house for a celebration of their father's 100th birthday. Jack Frame passed away in 2006. The group included Tom, Tim, Kathy, Eileen, Sharon and I.

Describing their father, Tim said that "Jack Frame was intelligent, honest, humorous, well liked and a good family man."

I have a photo album of pictures of her dad here.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Dinner with the Renterias

For the second Sunday of Advent, Sharon and I went to Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Clarksburg. I have always wanted to visit this church. I loved the building, but was disappointed in the older priest.

After Mass, we met the Renterias for dinner at the Press Bistro. We had dinner there once before with the Foys when Jack and Bridget went to the Jesuit Jr Prom. Sharon had salmon, while I had the seafood risotto. We ended up sitting and visiting for more than 3 1/2 hours...

Friday, December 08, 2017

Liz for Dinner

Liz came for dinner. Sharon served corn flake chicken. Liz is taking off for three weeks of traveling around California with a New Zealand woman that she met on the Camino.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Vermont State House

We walked to the Vermont State Capitol Building after breakfast on day three of our F@ll 2017 New England trip.

State House
Vermont Roadside Historical Marker

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This marker is located at 125 Street Street, Montpelier, Vermont. The GPS coordinates for this location are 44° 15' 41.3" N 72° 34' 51.3" W.

Vermont State House

Montpelier became the Capital in 1808, when the first State House was built. Ammi B. Youngs 2nd State House, built in 1838 and destroyed by fire in 1857, was similar to this 3rd structure on the site, completed in 1859.

Vermont State House

Vermont State House

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Hunter and Snipes

Hunter, Snipes and II met Snipes and Hunter for a couple of beers and a burger at Broderick Midtown. I had a salad and a Bison Burger. It was great to catch up.

Intellectually, I have always enjoyed Snipes' company a great deal. He definitely raises the average IQ of the group whenever he is around!

Yule made brief cameo appearances just after Hunter got there and again right before I left.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

2017 Christmas Tree

2017 Christmas Tree
In 2015 and 2016, we got Christmas trees at Able's on Sunrise. We were extremely happy with the trees that we got there. When that lot disappeared this year, we weren't sure what to do. Last Friday night on the way to the Gainsley's Christmas Party, we stopped at a lot at Cal Expo and then at Lamb's in Elk Grove. We bought trees at Lamb's from 2009 to 2014. We ended up buying a flocked tree at Lamb's.

I picked up the tree on Saturday morning (December 2). Sharon's nephew Eric came over and helped us get it into the house and up on the stand. We decorated the tree after dinner [December 5].

Sharon is not completely satisfied. Although it is a great looking tree, she thinks it is too small. [Note to self], let her pick out the tree next year!

Monday, December 04, 2017

2017 Jesuit High School Lessons & Carols

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.
For the second straight year [2016], 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 in 2015 while I was working in the Napa Valley.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

An Adventure plus Frame Family Dinner

With Fair Oaks Boulevard closed due to the California International Marathon, Sharon and I decided to walk to Mass at Our Lady of Assumption for the first Sunday of Advent. It was 5.25 miles round trip. On the way there, we walked up Palm to Fair Oaks to El Camino to Walnut. There were a lot of sections without sidewalks. On the way home, we headed east through a neighborhood. We walked up Fair Oaks against the marathon runners. While their were a lot of runners when we first got on Fair Oaks on the way home, the course was deserted by the time we got to Palm. Just as we got to Palm about 11:10 am, they opened the intersection. We talked about making it an annual tradition.

While Tom and Eric were hiking the Camino, Tom sent a group text saying that he wanted to start a monthly Sunday afternoon family dinner. He has been trying to do it the first Sunday of every month.

Sharon and I headed over to Tom's house about 4:00 pm. With Tim in New Orleans with Brun and Jim Ellis celebrating their birthdays, it was a smaller group [Tom, Eric, Ashley, Leah, Lydia, Sharon and I]. Tom served a lemon themed dinner, including lemon rice, broccoli and salmon.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

2017 F@rm Credit West Christmas Party

For the sixth time in the last seven years [2011, 2102, 2013, 2014, 2015], Sharon and I went to the F@rm Credit West Christmas Party. Last year, Sharon was feeling under the weather and we missed the party.

This year, it was held at the Cattlemens in Roseville. Due to the consolidation into their new office, it was a big group. There are fewer people every year that I knew when I worked for F@arm Credit. Intellectually, it was interesting just to cruise in Sharon's wake before dinner. We sat with Holly and Van and Chris Petersen and his wife at dinner.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Gainsley's Christmas Party

Over the years, we have had very little luck in making it to the Gainsley's Christmas Party. In the last few years, it seems like it always fell on the same date as Sharon's work Christmas Party. We finally made it this year.

After stops at Christmas tree lots at Cal Expo and in Elk Grove, we rolled up to their house about 7:30 pm. It is the first time that we have been to their new place. We had a nice evening, including visiting with a couple of people that I worked with at Sutter Health: June and Kendall and their husbands.