Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve 2021

I have always counted New Year's Eve as my least favorite holiday. Originally, we were planning to have a late dinner at Ella's with Sharon's brother Tom. With Sharon feeling under the weather, we cancelled.

After dinner at home, Jack and I played a couple of games of cribbage. I won both games, including pulling a 39 point hand and crib in the first game!
Jack, Sharon and I ended up watching Being the Richardos.

We finished the night watching fireworks from the master bedroom balcony. I am fascinated by the number of different large fireworks displays visible across the valley. There were more than ten different fireworks displays that we could see.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Matrix Resurrections

Thursday night, with Sharon at a St. Mary grade school get together, Jack and I watched The Matrix Resurrections on HBOMax. While I have seen The Matrix fairly recently, I have not seen either of the two sequels. In preparation for this movie release, Jack watched all three of the original films again in the last couple of weeks.

The movie is a science fiction action film produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski. It is the sequel to The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and the fourth installment in The Matrix film franchise. Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lambert Wilson, and Jada Pinkett Smith reprise their roles from the previous films.

The film is set sixty years after the events of Revolutions and follows Neo [Reeves]. He lives a seemingly ordinary life as a video game developer troubled with distinguishing dreams from reality. A group of rebels free Neo from an altered Matrix and fight a new enemy that holds Trinity [Moss] captive.

The first twenty minutes of the movie is an interesting twist on the story. Once you get pass this part, the story falls into a pattern visually similar to the first three movies. I give the film a lukewarm thumbs up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Old Aggies Holiday Catch Up

Nooter organized an Old Aggies Holiday Catch Up Zoom call. There was a nice turn out, including: Nooter; Gribi; Clayton; Wallen; Greene; Geselbracht; Tyburczy; Chabrier (with Kay); Hoffman; Wiley; Rehlich; Hunter, and; Moore. Nooter did a great job serving as the master of ceremonies to keep the discussion organized.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

My second book for December was The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson. I have had this book on my Amazon wish list for some time because Janie mentioned it. I loaded it into the Kindle app before I left for the Army/Navy game. While Sharon has read several of Erik Larson's books, this is the first of his books that I have read.

The book covers the Winston Churchill's first year as prime minister of the United Kingdom stretching from May of 1940 through May of 1941. It paints a vivid portrait of the politician's intense and erratic personality. While the story focuses heavily on Churchill and his family, the book also provides a vivid account of the Blitz, the German bombing campaign that caused the British to live in fear.

I enjoyed the book; it was very readable. Although I have read a few World War II books, I frankly didn't realize the extent of the damage that the German Blitz did.

[Note to self], I need to read another book about Winston Churchill. I really enjoyed this book and Millard's Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill. I enjoyed Larson's writing style enough that I am going to add Larson's The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America to my reading list.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Don't Look up

Christmas night, Tom, Jack, Sharon and I watched Don't Look Up on Netflix. The last two years we have watched a movie at home on Christmas Day rather than going to the theater.

The film was named one of the top ten films of 2021 by the National Board of Review and American Film Institute. It received four nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and six at the 27th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture.

The movie is a satirical science fiction film written, co-produced, and directed by Adam McKay [Vice, The Big Short]. It has a star studded cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep.

Don't Look Up stars DiCaprio and Lawrence as two low-level astronomers. They attempt to warn humanity, via a media tour, about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization.

Jack, Tom and Sharon choose this movie; it would not have been my first choice. The movie did not resonate with me. I am shocked that it was picked as one of the top ten 2021 films by the American Film Institute. I will be surprised if it wins any awards.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Succession - Season Three

Sunday night, Sharon and I finished watching season three of Succession. We finished season one in the middle of June 2020 and season two in early July 2020.

Season three aired from October 17 to December 12, 2021 with nine episodes. In October 2021, the series was renewed for a fourth season.

The show centers on the Roy family, the dysfunctional owners of Waystar Royco, a global media and hospitality empire. Ambushed by his son Kendall at the end of season two, Logan Roy begins season three in a perilous position, scrambling to secure alliances.

I was originally lukewarm on the show, but it grew on me during season two. I really didn't enjoy much of season three. I felt like much of the season ground on and on; the show was going in circles with the Roy sibliings abusing each other. It shifted gears in the last two episodes and was much better. Overall, I give season three a "B-".

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Day 2021

A Christmas Day in three parts...

Part One. After Sharon and I walked Tiber, we made a nice breakfast of waffles, bacon and pineapple. Unlike last year, it was just Jack, Sharon and I. The three of us had a leisurely morning opening presents. It was definitely a golf Christmas. Sharon and I both ended up giving each other laser golf rangefinders.

Part Two. In the late morning, we headed to Morgan and Daniel's apartment. Jack, Sharon and I hung out and visited while Daniel worked on putting together the Ikea play kitchen that we got Lee for Christmas. Lee is a wonderful little guy. We are enjoying having them so close.


An interlude. Back at house in the afternoon, I wandered out to the jacuzzi by myself. When I retire, I plan to write a book about 1991. Soaking in the hot tub in the rain, I played with some thoughts for the dedication and the opening chapter.

Part Three. Sharon's brother Tom came over in the early afternoon. We spent some time lamenting the drama and politics of Christmas Eve. Sharon made a nice early dinner of individual beef wellingtons, potato souffles and spinach.

Traditionally, we have gone to see a movie on Christmas Day. Since the start of pandemic, we have watched a movie at home. After some debate, we settled on Don't Look Up. More about the movie here.

After Tom left, we finished the day with a discussion on the current state of things...

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

In an attempt to have a larger family celebration in this uncertain time, Sharon and I invited everyone to a Christmas Eve open house. Unfortunately, this turned into a drama with political overtunes.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a very nice afternoon. Kevin, Leah, Lydia and Amelia showed up about 1:15 pm and stayed for an hour and a half. Jim showed up about 2 pm. Lee, Morgan and Daniel turned up at 3:00 pm. Erin and Cromac and Will and Eileen rolled about about 4 pm and stayed until just before 7 pm. As a result, we had twelve different guests over almost six hours! I do miss the larger Frame Family events...

I was dissappointed that Tom didn't make it. At the last minute, he decided to focus on getting his house cleaned up for a couple of holiday celebrations over the next couple of days.

Sharon got a honey baked ham. We had a spread of appetizers with several people bringing contributions.

After everyone left and we picked up a little, Sharon and I finished the day watching episode eight of season three of Succession.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Spencer

Thursday night, Sharon and I watched Spencer. We are continuing our quest to watch movies that might recieve Oscar nominations. Kristen Steward currently has the best odds on the Goldderby site to win the Best Actress Oscar.

Spencer is a historical fiction psychological drama film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Steven Knight. The movie stars Kristen Stewart as Diana, Princess of Wales. The cast includes: Timothy Spall as Equerry Major Alistair Gregory; Jack Farthing as Charles, Prince of Wales; Sean Harris as Darren McGrady, the Royal Head Chef; and, Sally Hawkins as Maggie, the Royal Dresser.

The movie is set over five days: from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day in 1991. The film was inspired by Princess Diana's decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles and leave the British royal family.

When the movie ended, Sharon said that was a "1"; she did not like the movie. In particular, Sharon really disliked the soundtrack. I don't recommend the film. I don't believe the film will be nominated for Best Picture. I am frankly surprised that Stewart is being seriously considered for Best Actress. Jessica Chastain's performance in the The Eyes of Tammy Faye is much richer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Back from San Francisco

After I had a couple of morning meetings, Jack, Sharon and I wandered around to the Four Seasons on Market to the MKT Restaurant for breakfast. Jack and I both had THREE EGG OMELETS [Spinach, Chicken Apple Sausage, Feta Cheese], while Sharon had AVOCADO TOAST [Fried Egg, Hand Crushed Avocado, Heirloom Tomato, Espelette, Rosemary Foccacia].

Packing up the room, we rolled from the hotel about 10:30 am and were back in Carmichael about 12:30 pm. I spent the afternoon in meetings.

Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 Kings versus Warriors

I got myself overcommitted personally and professionally. Sharon and I got an opportunity to use some tickets to the Warriors versus Kings game at Chase Center on Monday night. I didn't want to turn down the opportunity, but hadn't cleared my work calendar as well as I should have.

Up fairly early, I did some work and tried to sort out my calendar for the next two days. Eventually, Sharon and I wandered down to the Mission Street Pantry and got a continental breakfast using a coupon in lein of the M-Lounge.

After a couple of morning meetings, Drew and Jack rolled up to hotel. The four of us wandered down the block to the SFMoma. We spent a couple of hours exploring the museum including an interesting Joan Mitchell Retrospective.

Jack, Drew, Sharon and I wandered to a late lunch at John's Grill. Sharon and I had Jack LaLanne’s Favorite Salad [Seasonal Greens, Crab, Shrimp, Avocado, Mushrooms, Tomato Tossed in Our Famous Creamy Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing]. Drew had Fisherman’s Pasta [Linguine, jumbo prawns, salmon, snapper, mushrooms in basil cream], while Jack had a Broiled New York Steak Sandwich.

After lunch, Drew headed back to Oakland. Sharon and Jack crashed in the room. I did a walk about hunting for a series of California Historical Markers. Using the Waymarkly app, I eventually found eight different markers, including: #90 FORT GUNNYBAGS; #88 NIANTIC HOTEL; #462 SITE OF FIRST JEWISH RELIGIOUS SERVICES IN SAN FRANCISCO; #408 SITE OF THE FIRST MEETING OF FREEMASONS HELD IN CALIFORNIA; #453 LUCAS, TURNER & CO. BANK; #192 EL DORADO, PARKER HOUSE, AND DENNISON'S EXCHANGE; #500 EASTERN TERMINUS OF CLAY STREET HILL RAILROAD; and, #119 PORTSMOUTH PLAZA.

Getting cleaned up, Sharon and I caught an Uber to the Chase Center. Jack walked, while Drew and Carmen drove in from Oakland. Sharon and I had dinner in the JP Morgan lounge at the arena.

We watched the Sacramento Kings versus Golden State Warriors NBA basketball game. Keeping the score close for most of the game, the Kings were outscored 29 to 19 in the fourth quarter and lost the game by the score of 113 to 98.

The high scorer for the Kings was Tyrese Haliburton. He had 24 points on 8 for 18 from the field, 2 for 4 from three and 6 for 7 from the free throw line. Haliburton had 11 assists. With Fox and Mitchell in the COVID protocols, he played 41 minutes.

The high scorer for the Warriors was Steph Curry. He had 30 points on 13 for 27 from the field, 4 for 12 from three and 0 for 1 from the free throw line. Draymond Green added a triple double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to sit on the floor. We were in the second row [seats BB 144 and 145] just to the left of the Warriors bench. Drew got tickets for him, Carmen and Jack in the upper deck.

The Kings now have one win and two losses in games that I have seen in person during the 2021-2022 season.

After the game, Drew drove us back to the hotel.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

To San Francisco

Jack, Sharon and I took off for San Francisco in the early afternoon. We are spending two nights at the Marriot Marquis. Wallen and I stayed at this hotel in 2018 during the World Cup Rugby 7s.

After getting settled in the room, Sharon was dismayed to find that the View Lounge on the top of the hotel was closed on Sundays and Mondays. After a couple of false starts, Sharon and I ended up having a cocktail and a snack at Soma Restaurant and Bar.

We finished the day taking an Uber to meet Drew and Carmen at Abrazo. Eating outside, the five of us split a number of appetizers, including: SEASONAL HOUSE MADE BREAD [Olives, Shallot, Fines Herbes, Smoked Paprika Olive Oil]; CURED MEAT & CHEESE BOARD [Spanish & Regional Meats & Cheeses, Marinated Olives, Candied Walnuts, Dried Fruit, Pickles, Breadsticks]; CHARRED OCTOPUS [Potatoes, Kumquats, Chorizo Oil, Shellfish Jus, Micro Celery, Grilled Scallion Vinaigrette]; and, ROASTED CARROTS [Garrotxa/Tangerine "Panna Cotta", Frisée, Sunflower Seeds, Pomegranate Arils].

For dinner, Sharon, Drew and I each had SEAFOOD PAELLA [Bomba Rice, Saffron, Chorizo, Prawns, Mussels, Clams, Squid, Scallops, Smoked Paprika Aioli, Grilled Meyer Lemon]. Jack had ROASTED CHICKEN "CHILINDRON" [Saffron Rice, Tomato, Roasted Peppers, Wild Mushrooms, Olives, Baby Spinach, Boquerone-Herb Bread Crumbs], while Carmen had TAGLIATINI [Wild Mushroom Ragout, Fino Sherry, Fennel, Baby Spinach, Thyme, Garrotxa].

It was a very nice evening and meal. Drew and Carmen dropped Sharon and I back at the hotel, while Jack went with them to spend the night in Oakland.

The one odd thing over the course of the day was that the hotel was crawling with Metallica fans! The band was playing at the Chase Center. I actually saw Metallica open for the Rolling Stones in 2005.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

2021 Neighborhood Christmas Party

Sharon and I attended the seventh annual [2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020] Deterding Ranch Christmas Party. The group included: Greg and Mitchell; Jim, Debi and their daughter Julie; Mike, Jill and their son Alec; Brad, Heidi and Clark; Glen, Tanya and their son BT; John and Jan, and; Jack, Sharon and I.

The event started at Mike and Jill's house for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Jill collected baby pictures from everyone and put together a board to guess who was who. The group then moved to our house for dinner and an ornament exchange. Sharon served a great dinner of salmon.

Friday, December 17, 2021

2021 Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree 2021
This year's Christmas Tree has been a little bit of an odyssey. We bought it on December 4, but didn't actually get it up until Decembr 14. Initally, I had trouble using the stand from last year. I made two attempts to put the stand on and bring it in the house. Both were failures; it was not stable.

I ordered a heavy duty stand from Amazon. Tuesday night, using the new stand, I was able to get it in the house and stable. In a shock to all of us, we are very pleased with the tree! Surprisingly, it may be the tallest tree that we have ever had.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Hip

While we were playing golf with the Gainsleys and Wongs, I twisted my knee. I took a week off. After I got back from the Army/Navy game, I started to workout again. After a light low impact Peloton bike ride on Monday and a slow walk/run on the Tread on Tuesday, I pushed my myself harder on the bike Wednesday night. By Thursday night, my right hip was brothering me; it was getting worse and worse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Survivor: Season 41

Sharon, Jack and I watched the finale of Survivor 41. The three of us plus Drew watched the finale of Season 40 in May of 2020. But due to the pandemic, the Survivor crew was not able to produce this and the subsequent 42nd season in 2020. This season was eventually filmed in March and April of 2021.

Erika Casupanan was voted the Sole Survivor, defeating DeShawn Radden and Xander Hastings in a 7–1–0 vote. Sharon and I were both surprised that Zander didn't get a single vote.

For the first time since Survivor: Borneo, the season's winner was revealed during Final Tribal Council as production was unsure on the ability to have a live finale due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vote reveal was then followed by a Survivor After Show special with the final players and the jury instead of a live reunion.

A couple of miscellaneous notes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice

My book for December was Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice by Chris Wallace. I saw Wallace talk about the book on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. I read and enjoyed Chris Wallace's other book on the development of the atomic bomb last year.

The book focuses on the final eight months of intelligence gathering, national security strategizing, and meticulous military planning that leads to the climactic mission when SEAL Team Six closed in on bin Laden. It delivers new information collected from in-depth interviews with more than a dozen central figures, including Admiral William H. McRaven—leader of the operation in Pakistan—as well as CIA Director Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and two members of SEAL Team Six who participate in the raid.

Overall, this book is not as well written as Wallace's first book: Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World. In particular, I felt like the first half of the book dragged. When it shifts to the planning for the raid, I found the book very compelling. Given the strength of the second half of the book, I recommend it.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

2021 Army/Navy Game - Day #4

For the second day in a row, I set an alarm for 750 am. Although I spent some time searching for other options, we ended up having breakfast at the hotel [french toast]. After a leisurely breakfast with the group, we packed up the room and moved our bags to Tomasin and Snipes' room.

We spent the late morning hanging out in the lobby/bar of the hotel with a great view of New York City. Eventually, we checked our bags with the bellman and moved next door to The Highwood. It had a nice set up for watching football.

About 345 pm, Tomasin, Snipes, Larkin and I caught an Uber to Newark Liberty International Airport; it took 40 minutes. The airport was busy. I used CLEAR, but the group beat me through the TSA Pre line. We sat and had dinner at the Vanguard Kitchen near the gate [burgers].

Boarding about ten minutes late, the four of us caught a nonstop United flight to Sacramento. Unfortunately, after we boarded, the plane sat at the gate for about an hour. Scheduled to leave at 6:55 pm, the flight didn't take off until 7:53 pm.

At just over six hours, it was a long flight. Although I had a nice exit row aisle, I got restless.

On the ground in Sacramento about 1110 pm, Jack picked me up at the curb. I was home and in bed just after midnight.

It was a great trip. I enjoy the group's company immensely. Two observations.

First, as we visited in Nooter's room early friday morning, Nooter and Larkin spent a couple of hours talking about music and playing a number of old songs on the bluetooth speaker. I told the two of them later in the weekend that I found that very interesting to watch. Larkin and I have been hanging out for forty years, but we never really talk about music; it is not one of the ways that he and I connect.

Second, while I love these guys, I would rather travel with Sharon. I enjoy seeing the world and exploring. Sharon and I have very similar aggressive rhythms.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

2021 Army/Navy Game - Day #3

I actually set an alarm for 750 am. Getting up and showered, Larkin and I met the group in the lobby of the hotel for breakfast.

The plan was to head to Metlife Stadium early. Larkin, Nooter, Snipes and I caught an Uber in front of the hotel at 10:55 am. It was about a twenty minute ride. Walking up to the gate, we ran into Max's group.

After some wandering around, we found a defensible space on the first level. We spent a couple of hours there gathering the group and visiting. Getting to our seats, I was surprised to find that Jim and Joy Page were joining us.

It was an enjoyable game. Navy beat Army by the score of 17 to 14. Throwing only six passes, the Navy quarterback rushed for two touchdowns.

Two years ago, it was a mess leaving the game. We ended up walking a long way from the stadium to catch an Uber. Over the course of the day, I looked at the train connections. With Nate leading the way, we fell into a herd of people heading towards the trains. We caught an event train to Secaucus Junction Station. From there, we took a New Jersey Transit train to Penn Central.

Exiting Penn Central, we started looking for an Italian restaurant. Eventually, we stumbled across Trattoria Bianca at the corner of 8th and West 35th streets. I had a Grilled Vegetable Pizza [Mushroom, eggplant, zucchini, onion, chopped tomato, olives, mozzarella cheese and basil] and a Caesar Salad.

After dinner, I dragged Larkin and Vic on a walk about to Times Square. Larkin hadn't been to Times Square since 1968! From there, we wandered back to the ferry. Just missing the 11:10 pm ferry, we ended up on the 11:30 pm ferry back to the hotel. Larkin and I crashed about 12:30 am watching Saturday Night Live.

Friday, December 10, 2021

2021 Army/Navy Game - Day #2

With a group of nine of us for most of the day [Larkin, Tomasin, Snipes, Wallen, Nooter, Jim, Vic, Max and I], it was hard to get everyone moving in the same direction.

Moving slowly after a very late night, Larkin and I joined the bulk of the group for breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, we caught a ferry from Port Imperial to the Midtown Edgewater Landing at 39th Street. I was interested in walking the High Line and pushed the group in that direction.

We ended up walking the whole trail, about 1 1/2 miles in forty minutes. A map is here. I spent most of the walk talking with Nooter about his new job with the International Biochar Initiative.

With Nooter needing to make a call for work, the group settled into Best Burger on West Little 12th Street in the meat packing district for beers and snacks. Afterwards, we continued south to the 9/11 Memorial. Sharon, Kevin, Donna and I visited the memorial in 2013. Tickets for the 9/11 Museum which wasn't open when I was there before were sold out for the day.

Jumping on the subway, we headed to Times Square. Snipes had scouted a historic dive bar called Rudy's. We hung out there for a while and then started towards an early dinner. Walking with Nooter, we had a meandering talk about life.

We had a very large group for dinner at the Old Homestead Steakhouse. Adding Max's wife, son and his wife, daugther (Tracey) and her husband (Nate) and nephew, I think that group swelled to fifteen for dinner. I had a SHERRY BROTHERS NEW YORK PRIME SIRLOIN.

After dinner, we walked back to the ferry and headed to the hotel. Like the first night, a group ended the night in Nooter's room talking and listening to music. Larkin and I wandered back to our room and crashed about midnight.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

2021 Army/Navy Game - Day #1

Two years ago, a group went to the Army/Navy game in Philadephia. We had tickets to go last year before the game was moved to West Point and the crowd was limited due to the pandemic.

We are heading back this year for the game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Sharon dropped me at the airport. Larkin, Tomasin, Snipes and I were scheduled to catch a 9 am United flight from Sacramento to Denver.

Things quickly went wrong. They loaded the plane, but we sat at the gate. Finally, they announced that there was a security issue with a contractor. They had to take all of the luggage off the plane and rescan it. We had to exit the plane. While we were waiting to reboard, United automatically rebooked us on three separate later flights from Denver to Newark. Larkin and I were now scheduled to fly from Denver to Dulles and then on to Newark. We were scheduled to arrive at 11:56 pm rather than our original 7:12 pm arrival.

Eventually, United reboarded us on the plane. We left for Denver at 1130 am, 2 1/2 hours behind schedule.

As we were flying from Sacramento to Denver, I kept an eye on our original flight from Denver to Newark. It was delayed. Its departure time kept getting pushed back farther and farther. When we landed, I realized that the plane was still there and only two gates away. I headed forwards that gate repeatedly trying to call Larkin. Larkin had his phone off...

I was able to get on the plane, a middle seat in an extra leg room row [10B]. I was giddy. I called Snipes, but he said that he couldn't hear me and to call Tomasin. I finally connected with Tomasin and told him that I was getting on the original flight. Boarding the plane, I had to work my way all the way to back to find a spot for my carryon.

Thankfully, Tomasin, Snipes and Larkin made the flight. I would never have heard the end of it if they hadn't. I think that Larkin was the last person to board the plane. We had an uneventful flight to Newark and were on the ground about 8:15 pm, just an hour later than our original arrival time.

By the time, we collected Tomasin and Larkin's luggage, it was almost 9 pm. I was frankly surprised that Tomasin's checked bag made the connection.

The four of us caught a cab to the Envue Hotel at Port Imperial in Weehawken. We are spending three nights there.

Checking in and dropping our luggage in the room, we caught up with Nooter, Wallen, Wallen's brother, Vic, Max and Kathy in the restaurant.

I ended up having a late dinner of FARMERS PASTA [spaghetti, eggplant confit, kale] in the hotel restaurant.

After dinner, several of us retired to Nooter's room. By the time that Larkin and I crawled back to our room, it was after 3 am. In the forty plus years that I have known both Nooter and Larkin, this is the first time that they have met. More on that in a future post...

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Mailing the Christmas Cards

Twenty-three of the last twenty-four years, Sharon and I have sent out a Christmas Card. Dissatisfied with the quality of the photos on commercial cards like Shutterfly, I built my own format and process. Unfortunately, this was a lot of work... Additionally, the number of cards that we send out has exploded to over 100 in the last fifteen years with the inclusion of people from SEAS, Outlaws, Jesuit High, Sutter Health, Adventist Health and Deterding Ranch.

Two years ago, I decided to go back to a commercially printed greeting card. Everything has gone a lot quicker!

I mailed 121 Christmas Cards tonight, Wednesday, December 8.

In 2020, I dropped 119 Christmas Cards at the post office on Sunday night, December 6.

In 2019, I dropped 73 Christmas Cards at the post office on Tuesday night, December 17 and 33 more on Wednesday morning, December 18.

In 2018, I dropped 104 cards at the post office on Monday, December 17.

In 2017, I mailed about 70 cards on Sunday afternoon, December 17 and another 30 plus cards on Monday morning, December 18.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Work from Home - Day 635

For the first time since March 23, 2020, Sharon spent the day working at her office in Rocklin.

I am still working from home. We are targeting reopening our Roseville headquarters on January 18, 2022. Given the number of people who are now tagged as remote workers, it will be a very different place.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Ancil Hoffman plus dinner

We played golf with the Kevin and Donna and Holly and Van at Ancil Hoffman. With Fair Oaks closed for the California International Marathon, we met everyone in the parking lot by the Jack in the Box and carried clubs across the street to our cars.

Like a couple of weeks ago when we played with Holly and Van at Lincoln Hills, I was hitting the ball very well on the driving range. I am continuing to focus on keeping my head and shoulders still. Unlike that time, I felt like I was able to carry some of it over to the course.

We started off with two threesomes. I was with the Gainselys and Sharon was with the Wongs. Sharon rode with Holly all day. At the par three fifth hole, we joined up and played as a sixsome until the clubhouse. We did the same thing at the back nine; we started as two threesomes and then joined up after a couple of holes.

In an odd turn of events, I twisted my knee badly teeing off on the 12th. I went down like I had been shot. As a result, the last six holes were a little bit of a blur. Nevertheless, I feel like I played pretty well. I shot a fairly honestly scored 110.
After golf, we headed back to our house. I barbecued a flank steak. We had a nice meal of steak, rice and a slaw that Holly made.

It was a nice day. The six of us are going to be together on Kauai to celebrate Sharon's birthday in January.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Shopping for a Christmas Tree

Taking Tiber with us, Jack, Sharon and I headed to Roseville in the late morning to shop for a Christmas Tree. For the fourth year in a row [2020, 2019, 2018], we went to Bambi's Christmas Trees at Douglas and South Harding.

In 2018 and 2019, we went to Bambi's on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Last year, we went on Friday after Thanksgiving.

This year, we didn't get around to going until the weekend after the Thanksgiving weekend. This was a mistake; the selection of larger trees was not good. We eventually picked out a 10' to 11' foot tree. Due to some work that Sharon is having done in the family room, we didn't have it flocked this year. We put it on top of the Volvo and dragged it home.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Gainsley's Christmas Party

Over the years, we have had very little luck in making it to the Gainsley's Christmas Party [2018, 2017, 2010, 2001] . In the last ten years, it seems like the party always fell on the same date as Sharon's work Christmas Party. We made it this year.

Donna actually started working for me at Sutter Health the day after Jack was born in 1998. We worked together until she and Kevin retired in 2013.

We had a nice evening. We ended the night talking to a couple [Art and Kim?] who are scheduled to be part of the group [Gainsleys, Larkins, Heringers] taking an Egyptian cruise in October of 2023.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

The Power of the Dog

Thursday night, Jack and Sharon pushed to watch The Power of the Dog on the AppleTV on Netflix. We are starting our annual odyssey to watch the potential Oscar Best Picture candidates. Golddebery.com currently has the film with the best odds to win the Best Picture Oscar.

The Power of the Dog is a western drama written and directed by Jane Campion. It is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch [The Imitation Game and 1917], Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons [Judas and the Black Messiah and The Irishman], and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

The film tells the story of two brothers — one magnetic but cruel [Cumberbatch], the other gentle and quiet [Plemons] — and of a mother and son. Their arrival on the brothers’ ranch shatters an already tenuous peace.

When it was over, Sharon said "that was awful." I liked the film more than she did. Cumberbatch's performance and the cinematography are very, very good. I would be shocked in Cumberbatch isn't nominated for Best Actor, but frankly, I would be surprised if it wins the Best Picture Oscar.