Friday, July 19, 2019

To Half Moon Bay

At Half Moon Bay

After her dentist appointment, Sharon and I rolled from Sacramento towards the coast. We will be spending the weekend in Half Moon Bay for Shannon's bridal shower on Saturday. With one stop to change drivers, it took us almost three hours (80 to 680 to 24 to 13 to 580 to 880 to 92).

We are spending two nights at the Ritz Carlton. Sharon and I stayed here for an anniversary trip in 2005. Surprisely, the room was ready! We have a nice view of the ocean and the new golf course.

After getting settled in the room, we had lunch in the hotel. We split a lamb burger and a cod sandwich.

Sharon took a nap after lunch. I went out for a walk about; I covered just over three miles round trip south from the hotel. When I got back, I did a work conference call on the back lawn of the hotel.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I headed into Half Moon Bay to meet Drew and Shannon for dinner. We met them at It's Italia. In addition to Drew and Shannon, the group included Lindsey, Shannon maid of honor, and Shannon's sister-in-law. I had CAPRESE CALDO [warmed red cluster tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil drizzle] and a nice SEAFOOD RISOTTO [iger prawns, bay scallops, manila clams, garlic, shallots, roasted tomatoes, cream]. Sharon had a FARM GARDEN SALAD [baby lettuces, shaved rutabega, watermelon radish, baby carrots, toasted pepitas, honey mustard vinaigrette] and a sole special.

Sharon and I finished the day with a nightcap in the bar at the hotel.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dylan Carlson

While a number of boys that Jack played baseball with and against went on to play in college [2019, 2018, 2017], Dylan Carlson was drafted by the Cardinals and went straight into the minor leagues. Carlson was the Sacramento Bee's All-Metro player of the year in 2016. Jack played with Dylan on the Elk Grove Gunners team that went to Cooperstown in 2009.

Carlson is currently the #88 ranked MLB prospect and the Cardinals #2 prospect!?!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Augusta Stone Church

Sharon and I stopped at this church when we were wandering the Shenandoah Valley.

Augusta Stone Church
Virginia State Historical Landmark A-118

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

This landmark is located at 1647 US-11, Fort Defiance in August County, Virginia. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 14' 17.8" N 78° 58' 26.1" W.

Augusta Stone Church

The Augusta Stone Church, Virginia's oldest Presbyterian church in continuous use west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, opened on 22 January 1749. It replaced a log meetinghouse build shortly after the congregation's founding in 1740. At the outbreak of the Seve Years' War, Pastor John Craig and members of the church fortified the structure with log palisades and watchtowers to defend against Indian attack. This defensive position inspired the name Fort Defiance adopted by the community that grew around the church. The building was enlarged and remodeled in 1921-22, and a new wing was added in 1956.

August Stone Church

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sunday, July 14, 2019


After I spent the day working at the hospital in Marysville, Sharon and I went to see Rocketman at the Country Club Cinema. This is a new theater in the old Country Club Mall that opened at the end of April.

Rocket man is a 2019 biographical musical film based on the life of musician Elton John. It stars Taron Egerton as John, with Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila Eileen. We saw Taron Egerton in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle.

The film follows John in his early days as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his musical partnership with Taupin. It is more of a fantasy-musical than a straightforward biopic.

I enjoyed the movie. Personally, I liked it more than last year's Bohemian Rhapsody. It will be interesting to see if the movie or Egerton get Oscar nominations.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Lake Clementine Trail Hike

Saturday afternoon, Sharon and I met the Larkins and Renterias at the confluence of the North and Middle forks of the American River. We hiked 4.5 miles in just under two hours on the Lake Clementine Trail to the dam and back. A map of the hike is here. It was warm; the temperature was approaching 100 degrees. The trail didn't have much shade.

Afterwards, we headed to the Larkins for dinner. We hung out in the pool house and eventually barbecued some steaks for dinner.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Coolidge: An America Enigma by Robert Sobel

My book for June was Coolidge: An America Enigma by Robert Sobel. It is part of my long term project to read books about all of the presidents. The book is on a list of the best Presidential biographies put together by the Washington Post.

Born in 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, Calvin Coolidge's family had deep roots in New England. His earliest American ancestor emigrated from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England, around 1630.

After graduating from Amherst, Coolidge moved to Northampton, Massachusetts to become a lawyer. With his savings and a small inheritance from his grandfather, Coolidge opened his own law office in Northampton in 1898. He started getting involved in local politics. In 1906, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. From there, he worked his way to a state senator and eventually president of the state senate.

In 1915, Coolidge was elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. He became Governor in 1918. Coolidge gained national attention during the 1919 Boston Police Strike.

In a era before the primaries determined the candidates, the bosses eventually chose Warren G. Harding as the Republican candidate in 1920. A delegate from Oregon proposed Coolidge for vice president. The suggestion quickly caught on with the delegates starving for an act of independence from the absent bosses. Coolidge was unexpectedly nominated.

Coolidge became President when Harding passed away in San Francisco in August 1923. He was elected on his own merit in 1924. As President, his administration stressed tax reductions, tariffs and opposition to farm subsidies.

Coolidge was President during the roaring 20's. Wall Street crashed about six months after he left office in 1929 kicking off the great depression of the 30's. The book provides an interesting view of the 1929 market crash; it emphasizes the explosion of the amount of stocks bought on margin and the lack of any financial reporting requirements for companies...

Throughout his political career, Coolidge was known as a man of few words. He was nicknamed Silent Cal.

This is a fairly pedestrian book. It is not great, but it is not bad. I don't think I have ever read a book that included so much material from other sources. It includes a lot of material from Coolidge's biography and speeches, newspapers, other people's speeches and books and other sources.

As a footnote, one of the mantras for my life has been a quote by Coolidge about pperseverance and persistence. You can find it here.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Catta Verdera

Thursday evening, Sharon and I played nine holes with the Sanborns at Catta Verdura. After a rocky start, I settled down and had a number of nice shots. Unlike the Quest scramble tournament in May, I actually felt like I started to get a little bit of a rhythm. I still chunked a number of shots, particularly around the greens.

I ended up shooting a 60. I am often pretty liberal with my scoring. This was probably a more accurate score. When we played the front nine with the Sanborns and the Gainsleys two years ago, I carded a 58...

Sharon had a very good round. It may be the best I have ever seen her play for an extended stretch. Sharon ended up with a 49.

Finishing up on the course about 815 pm, we headed to the Sanborn's house for dinner. They served a nice salmon dinner.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


One of our neighbors on the cul-de-sac went through bankruptcy twice last year. He has been a continuing problem to the home owners association. He hadn't paid his HOA dues in several years. He started renting out rooms in the house. At one point, he had three renters living with him.

Before the bankruptcies, he tried for several years to sell the house at an exorbitant price. In mid-January, the bank foreclosed on him and took title of the house. Nevertheless, he continued to live there and rent out rooms. As the renters came and went, he even added a new renter earlier this year when he didn't even own the house!?!

The legal maneuvering has finally run out. A judge gave him and the renters until July 11 to be out. It has been a little bit of a circus the last couple of days as one of the renters apparently bought an RV to live in. She parked it in the driveway to load her stuff into it.

It is hard for me to believe that it took the bank six months to get him out of the house. It will be interesting to see what happens with the house next.

Monday, July 08, 2019


Not quite three years ago, just before I took my current job, I spent a couple of weeks supporting a Cerner go-live in Lodi. Starting today, I am working at our hospital in Marysville to put out a dumpster fire putting our the Cerner go-live in August at risk. Most of our IT leadership team will be working out of the hospital for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The Corp

Last Sunday, Jack took us on a tour of The Corp business locations on campus, including MUG, Hill Toss, Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles. We visited Uncommon Grounds last year. There is also a Midnight MUG in the main library.

The Corp

Saturday, July 06, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 8

Sleeping fairly late, we packed up the room and checked out. We won't stay at the Georgetown Westin again. It is just around the corner from the Georgetown Marriott and we decided to stay there as a change of pace. Unfortunately, it is not as nice as the Marriott. It is fairly beat up, while the Marriott has been completely remodeled. It is hard to believe, but we made reservations on Friday at the Marriott for Jack's graduation next May...

We took the rental car to Jack's apartment and parked in the back alley. The three of us walked to breakfast at the Café Bonaparte.

After breakfast, Sharon and I headed to BWI. We caught a 2:05 pm nonstop Southwest flight from BWI to Sacramento. It pulled away from the gate about twenty five minutes late. We then sat on the tarmac for a few minutes while they said that they were checking to make sure that they had enough fuel for an alternate flight path?!? It turns out that the flight got routed south away from some weather before turning west.

It ended up being about a 5 3/4 hour flight. We landed about 5:30 pm. It took us over an hour and a half to get off the plane, collect our luggage and get home.

It was great to have a chance to see Jack. We ended up seeing him 6 of the 8 days on the trip. He seems to be enjoying his apartment and his job with The Corp. I also appreciated the opportunity to connect with the Nooters.

Friday, July 05, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 7

Capital Cresent Trail Bike RideWe started the day with some coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks. The plan for the morning was a bike ride on the Capital Cresent Trail. We spotted the trail when we were wandering around the area last fall.

We rented a couple of Capitol Bikeshare bikes a block from the hotel. From there, we used the bike trails on M Street and then K Street to get to the Capital Cresent Trail. We ended up riding 11 1/4 miles in an hour and 54 minutes.

We dropped the bikes at the Georgetown waterfront. We walked up to the Georgetown Campus and connected with Jack.

After spending some time shopping in the bookstore, the three of us took an Uber from the campus to the Jaco Juice and Taco Bar for lunch. Sharon and Jack discovered the place last summer.

Sharon and I then caught an Uber to Tredici Enoteca Restaurant in the St. Gregory Hotel. We had driven pass the restaurant on M Street repeatedly in the last couple of years and Sharon wanted to check it out. We had a cold adult beverage, talked to the Egyptian bartender and watched Coco Gauff win in the third round at Wimbledon.

Heading back to the hotel, we got cleaned up for dinner. We met Rob and Barb Nooter and Jack for a drink at Bar à Vin. This is the wine bar for the Chez Billy Sud. From there, we walked up the canal one block to Filament Ristorante. We split bruschetta, fried and roasted oysters and a caesar salad. I had Penne Con Salsicce [Penne Pasta tossed with roasted & ground Chef Made Italian Sweet Sausage, sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, Herbs and Chianti Wine in a Abruzzi Country Style hearty Tomato Sauce with sautéed Chef Made Link Sausage Pieces.] Sharon had sea bass, but I did pay attention to what everyone else got. The portions were huge! Even Jack didn't finish his entree!

After dinner, Sharon and I caught an Uber back to the hotel and crashed. We are heading home tomorrow.

It was very nice to have a chance to see Rob and Barb.

On the Capital Cresent Trail

Thursday, July 04, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 6

Moving slowly, we eventually wound our way to Old Ebbitt Grill for brunch. We had dinner there when we were in Washington DC in 2011.

4th of July ParadeSharon had been talking for weeks about seeing the 4th of July parade. After brunch, we found a shady spot near the corner of Constitution and 15th and waited for the parade to start. We were on a slight rise away from the street and actually had a nice view. We watched for over an hour and then started to work our way up the parade route towards 9th street. We actually ended up seeing the whole parade; the parade ended just as we reached 9th. I was frankly underwhelmed by the parade.

From there, we walked to the National Portrait Gallery. Sharon had seen the Obama portrait when she was in DC last summer, but I hadn't. We walked through the presidential gallery and then hunted down the Michele Obama portrait. Given my journey to real biographies of all of the presidents, I really enjoy walking through the presidential gallery.

Looking for a rooftop bar to get a cold drink, we ended up at the Crimson View. We each had a reuben hotdog. Sharon said that it was the best hotdog that she ever had!?!

From there, we grabbed an Uber back to the hotel for a nap. Just as we got to the street, it started to pour. It rained off and on for the next couple of hours.

I suggested that we head to the Georgetown waterfront for dinner and to watch the fireworks. After a number of subpar meals, we had a very nice meal at Fiola Mare. We ate there when we were in DC for the college tours in 2015. We split HALF DOZEN ASSORTED OYSTERS [West & East Coast Oysters, Adriatic Escabeche, Beet & Oregano Mignonette], a stone fruit and pancetta appetizer, WILTED SPINACH [Garlic, Meyer Lemonade] and PIMENT D'ESPELETTE SCENTED STROZZAPRETTI [Alaskan King Crab, Saffron, Corn Leeks].

We finished dinner just as the fireworks were starting. We had a nice view of the fireworks over the Kennedy Center for the first twenty minutes. During the second twenty minutes, the smoke from the fireworks started to hide some of the display. Additionally, the fireworks were working their aways towards the Jefferson Memorial and away from where we were.

After the fireworks were over, we walked back to the hotel.

4th of July Fireworks

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 5 [Shenandoah Valley]

For the first time on this trip, we set alarm. We were up and moving before 7 am. On the way to dinner last night, we noticed a trail along the creek. We went back early to hike along the Hawksbill Greenway. We ended up hiking about 2.5 miles.

After a quick stop at the Inn for some warmer clothes, we headed to the Luray Caverns. Sharon had seen a sign for the caverns when we were in Little Washington last year. We got tickets to the first tour at 9:00 am. It was extraordinary! The tour lasted about an hour. I don't think picture can do it justice.

Luray Caverns

At Glen Manor WineryBack at the hotel, we got cleaned up and packed up the room. Sharon had seen an article in a magazine rating the Glen Manor Winery as one of the best in Virginia. We headed there for a tasting. It was very nice. The wines were good. The view was different, but probably better than at the Wolf Gap Winery on Monday.

Afterwards, we headed into Front Royal for lunch. Googling farm to fork restaurants, the Blue Wing Frog was at the top of the list. This turned out to be a swing and a miss. Although it was empty, the service was slow. The restaurant was dirty...

Sharon had a steak and blue cheese salad, while I had the Cubano sandwich. I rarely says this, but I don't recommend this restaurant.

We headed back to Washington, DC. We are spending three nights at the Georgetown Westin. I was stressed coming back into town trying to get to the hotel to get on a work conference call.

The plan for the evening was having pizza at Jack's apartment. Jack had spent the afternoon putting together the table that we bought on Ikea on Sunday. We ordered four pizzas from Dominos. The group included the CEO [Seo] and CFO [Emily] from The Corp.

Sharon and I eventually walked back to the hotel about 10:30 pm and crashed.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 4 [Shenandoah Valley]

Lee Chapel

Up early, we had breakfast in the hotel. Sharon had zeroed in on visiting the Washington and Lee College. We walked up to the campus and visited the Lee Chapel. Robert E. Lee served as the president of the university for the last five years of his life. There was a great docent that talked about Lee and the chapel. We toured his office and the museum under the chapel. I was more impressed with the Lee Chapel than I was with the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum on the previous day.

We walked around the campus looking for the bookstore. Sharon bought a Washington and Lee Law School hat and a t-shirt.

Natural BridgeHeading back to the hotel, we packed up and checked out. We headed south to the Natural Bridge State Park. The property was once owned by Thomas Jefferson. We hiked about 2.5 miles out and back through the park. It is a nice trail through the Natural Bridge along a creek to a small waterfall.

From there, we started back north. Looking for a brewery where we could have lunch, we set the GPS for the Blue Mountain Brewery. This turned out to be further east than I realized, but was in line with where we were spending the night. We split a peach and kale salad and a swiss mushroom burger.

After lunch, we headed north on highway 340. It is an interesting drive on a two lane country road.

We are spending one night at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray. Both Sharon and I ended up being disappointed with the Inn. It turns out that it is in town rather than out in the countryside. Thinking that Jack might be with us, we rented one of their cottage; this turned to be a modern pre-fab building rather than a rustic cottage.

After getting checked and settled in the cottage, we wandered the grounds and checked out the speakeasy in the Inn; we were very underwhelmed.

Unfortunately, like Monday night in Lexington, a number of restaurants were closed in Luray, including the nicer restaurant at the Inn. After some research, we ended heading out of town to a very funky Mexican restaurant - Camino Real. We both had combo plates; the food was solid.

We finished the night watching the four episode of the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Monday, July 01, 2019

2019 East Coast Trip - Day 3 [Shenandoah Valley]

The plan for the day was to explore the Shenandoah Valley. I originally thought that we were going to get up early and go. Sharon and Jack decided that we should meet for breakfast.

Picking up Jack, we started towards some place that Sharon had been before on Wisconsin, but it was closed. We looped back and ended up having breakfast at Saxby's at the end of Jack's block.

We finally got rolling out of Washington about 10:30 am. I always had some trepidation about the plan for the day. Sharon talked about getting all the way to Natural Bridge and then coming back to Lexington to spend the night. It seemed to me like a lot of ground to cover.

Once we got into the valley, we stopped in Strasburg at a visitor center to replace a map the we had misplaced. From there, we drove down Highway 11 to Edinburg. Looking at Shenandoah Valley wine trails, I had picked out the Wolf Gap Winery as the first stop. This turned out to be a fairly good choice. It had great views and some drinkable wines. The owner was interesting; he was retired air force special ops and CIA.

At the Wolf Gap Vineyards and Winery

After the winery, we wandered down Highway 42 to Harrisonburg. At this point, we jumped on the I-81 to Staunton. We made a late stop at Taco Bell for a quick bite!

In Staunton, we headed to the Woodrow Wilson Museum and Presidential Library. I read a Wilson biography four years ago. We took a guided tour of the manse (the house that Wilson was born in) and wandered the museum. Although there was an interesting World War I trench exhibit downstairs, I was underwhelmed.

Sharon's brother Tom had given us two churches to explore. Their family [the Frames] can trace their roots back through the Shenandoah Valley. We stopped at the Augusta Stone Church. Wandering the graveyard, we were actually able to find two Frame headstones.

We also made a quick stop at the Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church. I was less impressed with this building. Wandering through two graveyards, we weren't able to find any Frame headstones.

Back on the road, we decide to save Natural Bridge for the next day. We headed straight to the hotel in Lexington. We are spending one night at The Georges Inn. Thinking that Jack would be with us, we booked a larger suite. It was a very nice room although I needed a sherpa to help me with the luggage.

After getting settled in the room, we had an adult beverage in the Taps restaurant at the hotel. Sharon was disappointed that several restaurants in the town, including the Red Hen, were closed on Monday.

We ended up wandering down the street to the Southern Inn for a late dinner. Sharon had FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS [Fresh Brussels Sprouts, Parmesan Cheese, Peppadew-Bacon Aioli] and LAMB MEATBALLS [Lamb Meatballs, Tzatziki, Grilled Flatbread, Micro Greens], while I had BLACKENED CHICKEN PENNE PASTA [Penne Pasta tossed with Blackened Chicken, Fresh Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Sun Dried Tomato Butter and Toasted Pine Nuts].

After wandering down the street to check out the Red Hen, we crashed in the room.