Monday, August 31, 2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton

My book for August is The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton. I got book after seeing Bolton interviewed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Bolton has a long career of public service. Bolton served as a United States Assistant Attorney General for President Ronald Reagan from 1985 to 1989. He served in the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1989 to 1993 and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs from 2001 to 2005. Bolton was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006, as a recess appointee by President George W. Bush.

Bolton served as the National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019. This book explores his time in the Trump White House. I would describe it as "Inside Baseball." The book details the day to day mechanics of serving as the National Security Advisor.

Bolton spent a lot of time as National Security Advisor trying to apply some structure and process to the national security policies. Trump's lack of consistency, steadfastness, and resolve undercut Bolton's efforts.

I have noted before that Trump is very thin-skinned and that he plays fast and loose with the truth. It is also clear that Trump is very dogmatic about a number of his core beliefs...

This book highlights a fourth problem: Trump’s erratic behavior. Bolton notes that it is difficult to pursue complex policies in a contentious world when the policy is subject to instant modification based on the boss’s perception of inaccurate and often-already-outdated information.

There are parts of this book that I enjoyed. I found the day to day details of trying to implement national secuirty and foreign policies interesting. Nevertheless, I don't recommend the book. At almost 500 pages, it is a slog.

Kindle Notes:
  • Trump wanted to do what he wanted to do, based on what he knew and what he saw as his own best personal interests. - page 445
  • I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations. - page 485

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Neighborhood Book Club

Sharon is part of a neighbor book club that was meeting about every two months. On a break since the shelter in place order in March, they met Thursday night socially distancing in Judy's backyard. They discussed The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I babysat Lee while Morgan did a Zoom class.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


Monday, August 24, 2020

Downton Abbey - Season One

Friday night, Sharon and I finished watching season one of Downton Abbey. Sharon and Jack watched the show years ago, but I didn't watch it with them at the time.

The first season includes seven episodes. It initially aired almost ten years ago from September 26, 2010 to November 7, 2010.

The show explores the lives of the fictional Crawley family, the hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic servants. The storyline centres on the fee tail or "entail" governing the titled elite which endows title and estate exclusively to male heirs. The timeline for season one stretches from the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912 to the outbreak of the First World War on 4 August 1914.

Downton Abbey received eleven nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. It won six, including Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special for Brian Percival, Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special for Julian Fellowes, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Dame Maggie Smith.

Season one is very good. I enjoyed it and recommend it.

Sunday, August 23, 2020


Drew, Jack and I played Catan in the afternoon. I won!

I particularly enjoyed playing on a large 34 inch screen with a mouse rather than on a laptop.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Rey Azteca

Continuing our weekend pandemic tradition, we got curbside takeout from Rey Azteca on Friday night. I had a two item combo with Green Sauce Enchilada with Grilled Chicken, Red Sauce Enchildda with Marinated Chikcen, Refried Beans and Spanish Rice. Sharon had Enchiladas Suizas with Marinated Chicken, while Morgan Steak Fajitas with Shrimp, Whole Pinto Beans, Lime-Cilantro Rice and Flour Tortillas.  I got a cheese quesadilla to share and one πŸΈπŸ˜πŸ‘Œ House Margarita.

Eating dinner, we watched the last episode of season one of Downton Abby.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Sea Ranch Hike

Sharon and I have been trying to do a hike every month this year [January, February, March, April , May, June]. Working on the exercise room, we missed July. Sunday morning at Sea Ranch, Drew, Jack, Sharon and I hiked to the Gualala River and back.

We head up hiking 5.7 miles in just over two and a half hours. I particularly enjoyed the San Andreas Fault Interpretive Trail.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

World War II Radar Station

World War II Radar Station
Marker 30A-22

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

This site is located on the Spring Meadow Trail at Sea Ranch, California. The Sea Ranch Archives Committee has identified twenty-six historic sites scattered about The Sea Ranch. They have constructed trail markers with information explaining the significance of each place. They were placed as part of The Sea Ranch 50th anniversary being celebrated from Memorial Day 2014 to Memorial Day 2015. The GPS coordinates for this location are 38° 44' 00.1" N 123° 28' 38.3" W.

World War II Radar Station

Uphill to the Northeast lies what was the site of a U.S. Army Air Force's aircraft control and warning station. It covered 12.5 acres and had facilities for 150 men, 35 dogs and a vehicle mounted 75 MM gun used to patrol coastal beaches. The radar building stood on the hillside above. Less than 20 years after the base's closure, the Sea Ranch airport below was built for more peaceful purposes.

World War II Radar Station

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Drew & Shannon => Morgan & Lee

After spending a couple of night with us after Sea Ranch, Drew and Shannon started winding their way back to Southern California. Morgan and Lee showed up somewhat unexpectedly.

Monday, August 17, 2020

159 Day Streak

With my Move Goal set at 910 calories on my AppleWatch, I have reached the goal 159 days in a row. That's my longest streak ever. I broke my record of 155 days that I set just before I went to the Army/Navy game last December. With the shelter in place effectively continuing, it will be interesting to see how long I can continue the streak.
159 Day Streak

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Jack back to DC

Heading back to Georgetown, Jack caught a 12:10 pm Southwest flight from Sacramento to Midway.  With about an hour layover, he took a 7:05 pm Southwest flight from Midway to Reagan National Airport.  

Jack was on the ground about 9:30 pm.  Catching an Uber, he was back at his apartment before 10:30 pm.

Jack is facing a challenging week. He has a second interview for a job. Additionally, Jack needs to find a new place to live this week.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 8

Although it was midnight by the time I got to bed on Friday night, Sharon and I were up and moving about 6 am.  We spent a couple of hours packing up and cleaning the house.

Morgan and Lee left about 9 am.  The rest of us rolled from the house just before 10 am.

I was shocked at the number of people on the beaches between Jenner and Bodega Bay.  The traffic going North was very heavy.

Sharon and I made a quick stop for fuel in Petaluma.  We met the kids for lunch at Cornerstone Sonoma for lunch.  Sharon and I had actually stopped here fourteen years ago, but it has expanded significantly since then.  This is definitely going to become a regular lunch stop on our way back from the coast in the future.

We got back to Carmichael about 4 pm.  Except for a short section of I-80 near Dixon, it was a relatively easy drive.

I really enjoyed the week.  Like the Sea Ranch anniversary trip, I never thought that we would actually pull this off and get everyone there for the week.

Friday, August 14, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 7

I ran north from the house. I covered four miles in 45:42 for an average pace of 11:20.

When I got back, Drew and Shannon had finished preparing a large English breakfast.  It included sausage, bacon, beans, toast, mushrooms and kale.

Morgan wanted to go to the beach again.  We packed everyone up and drove to the parking lot for the Walk On Beach.  Unlike Thursday, we actually made it to the Walk On Beach this time.

Just as we were setting up, a bee (meat bee?) landed on Lee's hand.  Morgan yelled and I grabbed the bee off of his hand.  Lee ended up getting stung (bitten?).  His finger swelled up a little bit, but he seemed very nonplussed about it.

When we got back to the cars, Sharon and I headed into Gualala to see if we could find any baby benadryl for Lee.  Stopping at both the Gualala and Surf market, we weren't able to find anything.  We decided to pick up everything for dinner.

After a late lunch, Sharon and I headed to the Gualala River to go kayaking.  We put the double in the water and headed towards the ocean rather than upsteam.  We covered 2.2 miles in just over an hour.  We had a really nice close encounter with a large group of pelicans along the way.

Everyone jumped in the hot tub when Sharon and I got back to the house.  Shannon spotted a small whale very close to the bluffs.  I was very surprised how close it was.

I barbecued hamburgers for dinner.  We added some macaroni and green salad.

We lost power for about an hour and a half just as I started to cook dinner.

We finished the night playing Unstable Unicorns and Catan.  Andrew won the game of Unstable Unicorns, while Jack won Catan.  It was almost midnight by the time I went to bed.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 7

Thursday, August 13, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 6

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 62020 Sea Ranch - Day 6

The plan for the day was another trip to the beach.  After a breakfast, Sharon and I hiked north along the bluffs.  The kids were going to drive and park.  We were all going to meet at the Walk On Beach.  Sharon and I covered just over 4.5 miles in just under an hour and a half.

With some confusion about who was where, we ended up meeting the kids at a small beach just north of the Walk On Beach.  After hanging out at the beach, we walked back to the cars and headed home.

We had a late lunch followed by the slowest afternoon of the week.  While Morgan was working on a project for school, we hung out with Lee.  It was very nice opportunity to interact with him.  

Drew, Jack and I played a fog island version of Catan.  For the first time in probably almost a dozen games against Jack and Drew, I won!

Everyone spent time in the hot tub.  At some point, I sat on the bluff with Drew while he played trivia via Zoom with Kyle et al.

For dinner, Sharon and I drove into Gualala and got curbside take out from the Vue Kitchen.  Sharon and I had a very nice dinner there when we were at Sea Ranch in January.  I had Braised Short Ribs [Burgundy braised beef short ribs, garlic mash, bacon and seasonal vegetables], while Sharon had Tipsy Sardinian [fish, prawns served in spicy vodka sauce with sun dried tomatoes and saffron cream linguini]. 

We finished the night playing Unstable Unicorns.  Shannon won the first game.  I won the second game!

Almost every night we were at Sea Ranch, we didn't get to bed until 11:30 pm or later...

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 5

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 5

Drew, Sharon and I started the day walking north along the bluffs.  When they turned back, I started running.  My goal was a historical marker that I had seen on a map.  I crossed Highway 1 and climbed a hill near the equestrian center. Once I got to the historical marker, I decided to go a little farther to add some mileage.  I ended up climbing Hugal's Ravine.  Sharon and I hiked this area with the Sanborns.  In total, I covered just over five miles.  It was the first time that I have ever run on the east side of Highway 1.

The plan for the day was multi-faceted and complicated.  Sharon planned a surprise birthday and graduation party for Jack.  While Sharon and Shannon went to Point Arena to pick up a cake for the party, I took Jack and Drew to the driving range.  The three of us hit a number of buckets of ball and then putted and chipped.  I was very happy with how I hit the ball.

With everyone back at the house, I went into Gualala and picked up lunch from the Seafood Shack.  I had a Tuna melt, while Sharon had fish and chips.  We discovered this restaurant in January.  I am glad to see that it is still in business.

After lunch, Sharon, Jack, Drew and I loaded up the kayaks and headed to the Gualala River.  Once we got there, Sharon said that she had a w0rk emergency and headed back to the house to decorate for the party.

Drew, Jack and I took the kayaks up the Gualala River.  We had to portage across three shallow areas.  We had a great time.  Jack ended up climbing up a tree in the river and jumping in the water just as we were turning around.

In a twist of fate, Drew poked a hole in the bottom of his kayak on a submerged tree.  He was able to make it back to the car with just the air in the sides of the kayak.  Jack noted that if we were taking bets that I would have probably bet that he would have been the one to poke a hole in the kayak!

I really enjoyed the afternoon kayaking with the two of them.

Afterwards, the three of us stopped at the Surf Market to buy steaks for dinner.  When we got back to the house, Jack was initially miffed at the decorations.  He settled down fairly quickly and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

After presents, I barbecued the steaks.  We had a nice dinner of steaks, baked potatoes and salad.  Unfortunately, I cooked the steaks a little much for Sharon's taste...  

We finished the night watching the first half of Hamilton on Disney+.  Drew and Morgan had never seen it.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 5

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 4

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 4

I took an early morning run south along the bluffs.  I ended up going all the way to a coastal access parking lot just north of the lodge.  The lodge was closed when we were here in January and is still closed.  On my back, I took the Sea Meadow trail and then went a mile beyond the house.  In total, I ran just under six miles in an hour and fifteen miles.

We had a little bit of a lazy morning.  As a nice surprise, sitting on the bluff, we could see whales.

The plan for the day was to take Lee to the beach.  We loaded up everyone, except Jack, and headed to Black Point Beach.  I ran by this beach during my morning run.  We headed up spending about an hour and a half lounging and exploring the beach.  Lee had a great time playing in the sand and trying to eat sea weed.

After a late lunch, Sharon and I took the bikes out.  We rode north.  We turned around after exploring Pelican Reach.  We stayed at house on this street.  In total, we covered more than eleven miles.  Next week, I am going to pull together a Google map that shows all of the hiking, running and biking that we did on this trip.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 4

We spent some time in the late afternoon enjoying the hot tub.  Eventually, I wandered into town to the Surf Market and bought locally caught salmon for dinner.

Morgan cooked the salmon and pulled together a salad, while Shannon and Drew made risotto.  It was very late by the time we ate dinner.

We finished the night playing Unstable Unicorns.  I thought that I had won the game, but Sharon "super neighed" me.  Jack won in the same round.  It was almost midnight by the time we got to bed.

Monday, August 10, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 3

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 3
The plan for the day was golf.  Originally, we were going to play 18 holes on Monday and then play 9 holes on Thursday.  With Morgan showing up on Sunday, we decided just to play 9 holes.

We took off for the golf course about 930 am.  It was an odd round.  We ended sending Jack, Drew and Shannon in a threesome with Sharon and I following as a twosome.  We all got off to a rocky start on the first tee (a par five dogleg left).

The course was in horrible shape.  The fairways were dead and hard as a tabletop.  I struggled and took a number of mulligans.  I had a lot of trouble reading the greens.

We caught up with the kids at the 8th tee and played with them on the last two holes.  I hit a beautiful eight iron over the gulley to the back of the 8th green, but three putted...

I ended up shooting a very liberally scored 54.  We will probably play again on Thursday.

Afterwards, we headed into Gualala and got takeout from Trinks.  We took the food back to the house and had a late lunch on the back deck.

Everyone spent some time in the jacuzzi in the afternoon.  There are a number of odd things about how this house is situated on the bluff, including where they put the jacuzzi.  More on the house in a future post.

Working with Nooter, I scheduled a 6 pm Zoom cocktail hour with the Davis Mafia.  The group included Nooter and Barb, Chabrier and Karen, Tomasin and Julie and Wallen and Jill.  Drew, Jack, Sharon, Morgan and Lee made guest appearances on my end.

We had a late dinner.  Shannon and Drew made a great pork shoulder Mexican meal.

With the kids playing guitars in the living room, I crashed hard a little after 11 pm. 

Sunday, August 09, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 2

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 2

I started the day with a five mile run north from the house.  As I have often said, Sea Ranch is probably my favorite place in the world to run.  I came upon one historical marker that I hadn't seen before...  I was surprised how few people there were on the trail.

The plan for the day was a hike to the Gualala River.  It took a while to get everyone moving; with the larger group, I expect this is going to be a challenge all week.

With Shannon deciding to hang back, Drew, Jack, Sharon and I hiked from Pacific Ocean to the Gualala River.  We stopped for lunch near the river and then explored the San Andreas Fault Interpretive Trail.  We ended up hiking about 5.7 miles through a variety of terrain.  A map is here.

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 2

When we got back to the house, the Tomasins were there.  Tomasin had called me earlier in the day and asked about stopping by.  We had a nice socially distanced visit and a couple of beers.  Tomasin is closing down this medical practice and retiring at the end of August!

While the Tomasins were still here, Morgan and Lee showed up.  I am looking forward to spending a some time with the two of them.

Sharon, Jack and Drew made a run into town to get the ingredients for dinner.  Jack made vegetable quesadillas.

We finished the day playing Unstable Unicorns.  Drew won.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 1

2020 Sea Ranch - Day 1

We spent a couple of hours getting packed up and loading the cars.  We have an amazing array of stuff, including three inflatable kayaks, five sets of golf clubs and three bikes.  Thankfully, both Drew and I have SUVs.

We rolled from the house about 9:40 am.  Waze routed us through a part of Petaluma that we haven't been through before and on to Highway 101 north before turning west to Bodega Bay.

Sharon made a 12:30 pm reservation for a wine tasting at the Sonoma Coast Vineyard.  Afterwards, we stopped at Tides Wharf Fish Market for some smoked salmon.

We hit Gulala about 3:30 pm.  After doing some shopping for a few more things, we picked up the key and headed to the rental.  We are spending the week at Sculpture Point.  I will post some observations about the house in a future post.

After getting settled into the house, Sharon, Drew and I did a couple of mile walk along the bluffs south of the rental.  The weather was beautiful.

Sharon brought a lasagna that she made earlier in the week for dinner.  It was a nice dinner of pasta, bread and salad.

Jack, Drew and I finished the night playing an extended game of Catan.  Drew won.


Friday, August 07, 2020

Drew and Shannon

Drew and Shannon rolled in about 930 pm from Southern California. We are very excited to see them!

With Jack back on Thursday, the five of us are taking off on Saturday morning to spend the week at Sea Ranch. Morgan and Lee are planning to join us on Sunday.  Morgan suggested a family vacation after we saw her in March.

Sharon and I haven't been to Sea Ranch in the summer in more than twenty years. In 1999, we took Jack, Drew and Morgan to Sea Ranch.

Thursday, August 06, 2020


After spending just over two months in Georgetown working on some plans for the future, Jack traveled back to California. He caught a 6:15 am Southwest flight from Washington DC's National Airport to Chicago's Midway. He then boarded a 8:55 am flight from Midway to Sacramento. Landing in Sacramento just after 11 am, Sharon scooped him up.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Bryce Point Puzzle

When we first began to shelter-in-place in March, we started an Amsterdam puzzle on the kitchen counter. When Sharon and Jack finished it, I set out a Bryce Canyon Puzzle. It turned out to be extremely difficult. As Drew pointed out in late May, the colors on the box and the picture in the box of the puzzle were not true to the puzzle pieces. Additionally, there are some amazing changes in color from piece to piece. We finally got it finished!

Monday, August 03, 2020

Exercise Room

Over the last three weekends, we have completely remodeled the exercise room.  This included emptying the closet, the old bookcases and the old entertainment center, multiple loads to Goodwill, a quarter load of trash picked up by 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a fresh paint scheme and a new entertainment center.  The new entertainment center took me more than six hours to build and hoist into place.  

Sunday, August 02, 2020

2020 Kings versus Magic {virtual}

I am not sure when we will be able to attend the Kings games in person again...  Sunday afternoon, I watched the Sacramento Kings versus Orlando Magic NBA game while running on the treadmill.  Behind by 24 points at half-time and 35 points at the end of the third quarter, the Kings lost the game by the score of 132 to 116.

Harry Giles was the Kings leading scorer.  In twenty minutes, he had 23 points on 9 for 11 from the field, 0 for 1 from three and 5 for 6 from the free throw line.  He also had eight rebounds.

The Magic had three players with more than 20 points: Aaron Gordon had 22 points; Nikola Vucevic scored 23, and; Terrance Ross added 25.

I was frankly never a fan of Grant Napear.  I enjoyed listening to Gary Gerould do the play by play for the game.  

After the game finished, Gerould noted that the game was disheartening and/or disappointing; this summed up my feelings perfectly.  The Kings looked like a team that had never practiced together.  It didn't look like they were running any offense.

A log of 2019-2020 Kings games that I saw in person or watched virtually is here.  With Marvin Bagley hurt again, it has been a very disappointing season.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Dos Coyotes Border Cafe

After spending the loin's share of the day finishing up the exercise room, we continued our Saturday night pandemic traditional of getting curbside take-out.  We got food from Dos Coyotes Border Cafe.  I had a Shrimp Taco & Chicken Enchilada Plate, while Sharon had a Mahi Mahi Seafood Burrito.

We finished the day watching an episode of season one of Downton Abbey.  Afterwards, we watched the first episode of season one of The Mandalorian on Disney+.