Saturday, January 30, 2021

Mikuni's

Over the first month of the new year, Sharon and I have had curbside takeout every weekend. This has included Serritella's, Rey Azteca, Canon and Allora.

Sharon and I finished Saturday with curbside takeout from the Fair Oaks Mikunis. We split a Wakame Salad [Marinated seaweed salad with toasted sesame seeds], Gyoza [(potstickers) Crispy or Pan-seared pork and chicken], a Davis Roll [Crab mix, spicy tuna, seared tuna, white tuna, masago and onion], an Iron Chef Roll [Panko shrimp, white tuna, sauce, masago, onion], Spicy Dream 1 [Lightly seared raw tuna, Mikuni original dream sauces, green onions, sesame seeds], Garlic Salmon [Lightly seared raw salmon, garlic avocado sauce, green onions, sesame seeds] and Black and White [Albacore tuna toro seared with olive oil and garlic, black tobiko caviar, jalapenos, ponzu, green onions, sesame seeds].

After dinner, we watched an episode of The Flight Attendant and the first episode of the Undoing.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

18 Hours without power [Working from Home - Day 319]

An extreme atmospheric river storm that reached Northern California on Tuesday evening brought extreme wind gusts overnight and is continuing to wreak havoc Wednesday morning in the Sacramento Valley and Sierra Nevada.

Fierce, howling southerly winds knocked out power for tens of thousands in the valley, many of whom remain without power. The gusts toppled trees, and the mix of high winds with a half-inch and an inch of rain near the capital contributed to numerous traffic incidents on Sacramento-area highways. Downed power lines and trees also forced extended roadway closures, many of them overnight.
With winds topping 60 mph, we lost power on Tuesday night after 10 pm. It was a long night with the wind hammering the house; neither Sharon or I slept very well.

Using my iPhone as a hot spot for my Mac laptop, I ended up attending about four hours of meetings on Wednesday morning. I was shocked at how well the set up performed, particularly in a two long Microsoft Teams video conferencing meetings. The biggest negative was that the house was starting to get pretty cold. With the batteries wearing down in all of my devices, I cancelled my afternoon meetings. This was probably fortuitous; cell performance started to deteriorate after lunch...

Just as we were starting to make hotel reservations for Wednesday night, the power came back on just after 4 pm. While 18 hours is not that long, we just aren't prepared for an extended outage. Living in the suburbs of a large city, I just never expected this long an outage. Additionally, in our neighborhood, the power is underground.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Central Timber Production Zone (CTPZ)

Hiking with the Gainsleys in October, we came across this historical marker. I am sure that it wasn't there when we hiked the same area with the Sanborns in 2018.

Central Timber Production Zone (CTPZ)
See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This marker is located on the SAG Ponds Trail east of 37268 Schooner Drive, 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° 43' 09.1" N 123° 26' 50.9" W.


This portion of the ranch land, originally purchased for development by Oceanic Properties, Inc., along with the forested areas to the north and south, was sold to a timber production company in 1986 and selectively logged. The central section was subsequently repurchased by The Sea Ranch in 1992 and dedicated as commons. These 282 acres are now managed by the The Sea Ranch Association and contain a number of hiking trials. Notable are the "fairy rings" of redwoods and the nearby sag ponds.

Monday, January 25, 2021

News of the World

On Saturday night, January 16, Sharon and I watched News of the World. This film is being talked about for several possible Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

News of the World is a Western co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass. It is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles.

The movie stars Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. The film follows a Confederate Civil War veteran who works to return a young girl who was stolen by Native Americans as an infant to her last remaining family. Listening to him talk about the movie on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Hanks said that this is his first Western.

The last part of the movie is supposed to be set in the hill country between Austin and San Antonio. The movie was actually filmed outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. [Note to self], I am interested in exploring the Texas hill country at some point. This region also played a huge part in Lyndon Johnson's life.

Sharon liked the film better than either Mank or Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. I would rank it behind The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mank. While it might get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, I think that it won't get a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Downton Abbey - Season Six

Saturday night, Sharon and I finished watching season six of Downton Abbey. This is the final season of the series. We finished season one in August, season two in early September, season three in late September, season four in October at Sea Ranch and season five in December.

The sixth season comprises nine episodes. It originally aired from September 20, 2015 to November 9, 2014 with a December 25, 2015 special Christmas episode.

The show explores the lives of the fictional Crawley family, the hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic servants. The storyline in season six runs from April 1925 to January 1st of 1926. The season focuses on the impact of a changing world on the family and her servants.

Although it felt like a number of things were rushed to a conclusion in the last couple of episodes, I enjoyed the season. All six seasons were very well done. As I said recently about On the Rocks, I enjoyed the characters and would definitely watch more about their lifes. We will probably watch the movie next weekend.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Celebrating Sharon's Birthday

We were originally planning to spend a long weekend at Sea Ranch celebrating Sharon's birthday. When the rental agency cancelled the booking, we decided to plan a hike at Cronan Ranch. We hiked there last February with Tiber. We invited the Larkins to join us.

We ended up hiking just over 6.1 miles in about three hours. A map of the hike is here. We stopped for lunch at the picnic tables near the old movie set. I brought a bottle of champagne and some cupcakes to celebrate Sharon's birthday. Jack called just as we were sitting down for lunch to wish her happy birthday. Jack gave her a celebrity birthday greeting; Sharon watched it as she was talking to him. After the hike, we visited with the Larkins in the parking lot.

I picked up curbside takeout from Allora for dinner. We spilt GNOCCHI ALLA ROMANA [pancetta, parsnips, ricotta salata, smoked carrot], a BEET + CITRUS salad [house made ricotta, grilled fennel, pomegranate vinaigrette], a WHOLE BRANZINO and Chocolate Panna Cotta [burnt orange marmalade]. I gave Sharon a large curved monitor for her birthday. We finished the night watching the penultimate episode of the final season of Downton Abbey.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Kicking off her birthday weekend

Kicking off her birthday weekend, Sharon spent the day with her brother Tom. In the morning, they walked through Arden Park across Eastern Avenue into the Mariemont neighorhood.

For lunch, they got mushroom and thai salads plus fries from Cafe Benardo. Sharon and Tom spent the afternoon hanging out.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

2021 The Sea Ranch - Day 1 NOT!

We were originally planning to take off for The Sea Ranch this morning. We had rented a house for five days and four nights to get away and celebrate Sharon's birthday. Unfortunately, the reservation was cancelled by the rental company when the Sonoma County COVID-19 lockdown was extended a month on January 8.

This is the second trip we have cancelled in the last two months. We were planning to travel to DC at Thanksgiving.

I am really looking forward to the day when we can travel again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Sea Ranch Apartments

Sharon and I came across this Sea Ranch Historical Marker while we were hiking in October. It is located in the far Northeastern edge of the community on a little used trail.

The Sea Ranch Apartments
Marker 35D-43

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

This marker is located on the Pomo Hillside Trail near 371 Haversack, 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° 45' 33.4" N 123° 30' 41.1" W.

The Sea Ranch Apartments

This group of 45 small houses nnd duplexes, originally built as employee housing and now managed. by an affordable housing corporation, was constructed in two phases following a mandate from the California Coastal Commission. Working with a modest budget, the architect created five house types, all based on the core of a rectangular gabled room. Building walls often extend as fences, separating properties and terminating in storage sheds. With each house usually placed near one edge of its property line rather than mid-lot, the site plan maximizes usable outdoor space.

The Sea Ranch Apartments

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sea Ranch Hike

When we were in Sea Ranch in October, Sharon and I hiked just over ten miles in four and a half hours. This included a section in the northeast part of Sea Ranch that we had never explored before. Using data from Runkeeper on my iPhone, I generated this map.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Catan with Drew and Jack

Ever since I started trying to use my new Mac laptop to play Catan, I have had struggles. Jack suggested I install Steam. Trying to use Catan in Steam for the first time, I got a black screen in the game. After more than 30 minutes of struggles, I eventually got Catan to load in Safari. We played one game which Jack won.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Celebrating My Birthday [worst birthday ever?]

I made a tactical error. Following up on an appointment in late December, I scheduled a dentist for my birthday. I thought it was going to be a fairly quick one hour appointment. It turned into almost two and a half hours. With the travel time, it took almost three and a half hours out of the middle of day. Combined with a minor crisis with Luna, the day turned out much different than I planned.

Drew stopped by in the afternoon. Eventually, we picked up curbside take out from Canon. We had a before dinner cocktail: Bison Grass Gimlet [Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Lime, Coconut]. We split a Shaved Carrot Salad [Tabbouleh, Coffee Date Vinaigrette, Herbs] and a Roasted Beet Salad [Lavender Goat Cheese, Aji Chile Emulsion, Preserved Kumquats].  For entrees, Sharon and Drew had Burgers & Tots [Cheeseburger and Tots with Mole, Cotija, Pickled Onion], while I had a Half Rack of St. Louis Ribs [Black Bean Sauce, Sesame Crunch, Chives]. For dessert, Sharon had Toasted Hazelnut Cake [Ginger Mousse, Black Mission Fig, Salted Toffee Icing], while Drew and I had Burnt Basque Cheesecake [Spiced Brown Butter Crumble, Pear Sauce].

We finished the night watching Bill Mahr. We got a chance to connect with Jack and Sophia via Facetime. It is also Sophia's birthday.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

2020-2021 Sacramento Kings Over/Under Wins

In their annual NBA Over/Under podcast in December, Bill Simmons, Ryen Russillo and Joe House were spilt on the Kings. Simmons and House liked the under, while Russillo was on the over.

There were two other interesting points. First, Simmons talked about wanting to see Bagley, Barnes, Hield, Haliburton and Fox on the floor together. At this point, the results haven't been good. This combination has a +/- of -6.0. This grouping ranks 132 out of the 134 combinations that the Kings have put on the floor in this early season.

Second, the group also felt that the Kings should have gotten more for Bogdan Bogdanovic. Rather than letting him walk, they thought that the Kings should have pursued a sign and trade. I am hopeful that Bodgan's absence will restore some of Hield's confidence.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Amazing Race - Season 32

Tuesday night, Sharon and I finished watching season thirty-two of the Amazing Race. With a passion for traveling, I have enjoyed watching the Amazing Race over the last few years.

Season thirty-two featured 11 teams of two in a race around the world. It premiered on October 14, 2020 and completed its broadcast run on December 14, 2020.  It was originally filmed in November and December of 2018. This cast included former Carolina Panthers players DeAngelo Williams and Gary Barnidge, Olympic hurdlers Kellie Wells-Brinkley and LaVonne Idlette, professional volleyball player Riley McKibbin, college basketball coach Jerry Eaves and America's Next Top Model Season 21 runner-up Will Jardell.

The legs of the race inluded:
  • Leg 1 (Los Angeles → Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Leg 2 (Trinidad and Tobago → Colombia)
  • Leg 3 (Colombia → Brazil)
  • Leg 4 (Brazil → Paraguay)
  • Leg 5 (Paraguay → France)
  • Leg 6 (France → Germany, Berlin)
  • Leg 7 (Germany, Berlin → Kazakhstan)
  • Leg 8 (Kazakhstan → India, Hyderabad)
  • Leg 9 (India, Hyderabad → Cambodia)
  • Leg 10 (Cambodia → The Philippines, Manila)
  • Leg 11 (The Philippines, Manila → New Orleans)
Sharon and I spent two weeks in the Philippines and in and around Manila in 2003. While we experienced the horrific traffic, I didn't recognize any of the places in Manila that the teams visited. Looking at a map, several of the sites were very close to the historic center of the city and the golf course where we were.

I continue to enjoy this show. We will probably go back and a couple more of the old seasons, particularly the seasons with Rob and Amber.

Season 33 started production on Feb. 22, 2020. Due to the global pandemic, CBS halted production after filming three episodes and making stops in England and Scotland.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Riparian Passage: Salal Creek

Riparian Passage: Salal Creek
Marker 35A-44

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

This marker is located on the Bluff Trail near 384 Main Sail, 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' 55.3" N 123° 31' 09.2" W.

Riparian Passage: Salal Creek

Riparian zones are the transitional areas between land and water. At The Sea Ranch, these are the banks of streams flowing from the hills in the east, through the meadows to the ocean bluffs. They form a defining feature of the natural landscape. These zones were severely overgrazed when this land was purchased in 1963. With careful husbandry, the native vegetation has rebounded to control erosion, absorb pollutants in the stormwater runoff, and provide wildlife habitat. Salal Creek is representative and the only one reaching the ocean without a substantial drop in elevation.

Riparian Passage: Salal Creek

Monday, January 11, 2021

Brothers Heringer

During Christmas Eve dinner, Jack used the term Brothers Heringer. I am really pleased with the way their relationship has blossomed over the last few years.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Jack back to DC

After spending three weeks on the West Coast, Jack headed home to DC. Up at 4 am, Sharon, Drew, Jack and I headed to the airport a little after 5 am.

Jack caught a 6:45 am United flight from Sacramento to San Francisco. His flight from San Francisco to Dulles was delayed about an hour. Jack was eventually on the ground at Dulles about 5:45 pm. Catching an Uber, he was back at his apartment about 7 pm.

We really enjoyed having a chance to spend an extended time with him. With any luck, we will visit him in DC in the late spring!

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Taking down the Christmas decorations

Last weekend, we took down the Christmas tree. Over the course of the week, Sharon took down and packed up most of the indoor Christmas decorations. I spent the first half of Saturday taking down the outside decorations. Staging the boxes in the garage, I started to move everything back to the storage shed, but ran into a crew painting the doors on the units.

Sharon replaced the Christmas decorations with an assortment of Valentine's Day decorations. I was surprised by how many there were.

Jack and Drew took a day trip to Lake Tahoe to shoot some drone footage. When they got back, the four of us finished the day with curbside takeout from Rey Azteca.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Family Dinner

With Jack heading back to DC on Sunday, we got everyone together for a family dinner on Friday night. The group included Drew, Jack, Morgan and Lee, Sharon and I. Sharon made a great dinner of cornflake chicken, scalloped potatoes and green beans.
Drew, Jack and I finished a late night playing three games of Catan. We each won a game.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Mayfly 2020

It has been odd couple of years. I swung from profoundly sad in 2018 to joyful in 2019. This year, we had a hundred year pandemic dropped on the world and I personally experienced a sea change.

Graham ViewGeorgetown Senior Parents Weekend • Pandemic • ZoomCatanSculpture Point: family vacationPalladuim GroupLeeFiresDeerfieldRansomwareWork From HomeSea Change

You can find my previous Mayfly summaries here!

What is this?

Monday, January 04, 2021

Rod's NFL Survivor Pool

I was one of three players to successfully navigate Rod's NFL survivor pool. You have to pick a winning team straight up each week, but can only use a team once during the season. I got very lucky several weeks, including weeks 5, 7 and 8.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Christmas Ornament 2020

2020 marked the 26th Christmas that Sharon and I have celebrated together. I have bought Sharon an ornament for the tree every year since that first Christmas.

This year, I bought two ornaments to commemorate Jack's graduation from Georgetown University.
Christmas Ornament 2020 Christmas Ornament 2020

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Taking down the Christmas Tree

2020 Christmas TreeWe spent the loin's share of the day taking down the Christmas tree. We packed up the ornaments and then threw the tree off the deck. With it raining lightly, I cut the tree up and stuffed it in the green barrel. We are going to leave most of the other Christmas decorations up until the weekend of January 9th.

A couple of notes for next year. We need to replace all of the lights on the tree. Buying a strand this year, we ended up with a couple of shades of white. Additionally, we probably need to consider buying the tree a little later. This tree was a mess by the time that we took it off; it was very dry and collapsed into the shape of a missle...

We finished the day with curbside takeout from Serritella’s Italian Ristorante & Pizzeria. I had spaghetti and meatballs, Jack had tortellini gorgonzola and Sharon had veal piccata. We finished the day watching episodes three and four of the Amazing Race Season 32.

Friday, January 01, 2021

New Year's Day 2020

Jack and Drew took off in the morning to head up to the house that Drew and Shannon are renting. They stopped to see Morgan and Lee on their way.

Sharon and I headed up to Placerville in the early afternoon. We caught up with Jack, Drew and Shannon at the VRBO. Shannon and Drew are renting a VRBO off of Green Valley Road with a Placerville address for the month of January.

After a walk in the neighborhood, we settled in for a game of Unstable Unicorns. Morgan had gotten everyone Unstable Uniforms games or expansion packs for Christmas. We played the Unicorns of Legend Expansion Pack that Morgan gave Drew. Jack won.

Using the prime rib from New Year's Eve, we had french dip sanwiches and a salad for dinner. It was a great use of the leftover prime rib.

After dinner, we played two long games with Not Safe for Work Unstable Unicorns deck that Morgan gave Sharon for Christmas. It was interesting!?! Jack won the first game, while Drew won the second game.

It was a very nice evening. We love Drew and Shannon.