Saturday, September 30, 2023

2023 Israel/Egypt/Jordan - Day #4 - Old City of Jerusalem

Old City of Jerusalem

One Ancient City. Three Major Religions.

Immerse yourself in one of the world’s holiest cities.

Begin with a drive to Jaffa Gate, entrance to the Old City. Continue to the Citadel (known as the “Tower of David”), where you can browse the Jerusalem Museum. After, walk to the Muslim Quarter and Bethesda, site of an ancient reservoir of healing. Stop at the Church of St. Anne, birthplace of Mary, and the Church of the Flagellation, where Jesus was flogged before his crucifixion. Trace the Via Dolorosa next, passing the Stations of the Cross and arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After lunch, walk to the Jewish Quarter and see the First Temple Wall before viewing the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock and Western, or Wailing, Wall. Learn more about the excavations of the First Temple and Southern Wall at the Davidson Center and Jerusalem Archaeological Park. Note that this tour requires two miles of walking.
I was up about 5 am... We met the Gainsleys and Mark and Evelyn in the dining room just after 7 am.

After some confusion between the bus driver and the guide, the excursion started at the Loin Gate. The first stop was Bethesda, also known as Bethsaida, is an ancient reservoir. It is mentioned in the Gospel of John, where Jesus heals a man who has been lame for 38 years.

The second stop was the Church of St. Anne: the birth place of Mary. The Church of Saint Anne is a Romanesque church located in the Muslim Quarter. It is dedicated to Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary. The church was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century on the site where Anne and Joachim are believed to have lived. it is one of the best-preserved Crusader churches in Jerusalem.

From there we started up the Via Dolorosa. This is the street that Jesus traveled carrying the cross. Along the way, we passed the stations of the cross.

The third stop was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is where it is believed that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected.

On fourth stop, we wandered through the Citadel (known as the “Tower of David”) and the Museum of the History of Jerusalem. The Tower of David is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance.

We had a pita for lunch at the Panoramic Golden City Restaurant and Cafe roof.

The fifth stop was the Last Supper Room, also known as the Cenacle. It is located on Mount Zion just outside the Old City walls. It is believed to be the place where Jesus and his disciples ate their last meal together before his crucifixion.

The sixth stop was the tomb of King David. It consists of a small room with an empty tomb in the center.

The last stop for the day was the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. Jesus was kept prisoner here on the night before his cruxification. It is also where Peter denied knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.

Although it was split up differently than the original descriptions of the excursions for the first two days, we covered almost everything in the list. The only thing I felt like I missed and would have like to have seen was the Shepherd's Field in Bethlehem.

For dinner, Mark, Evelyn, the Gainsleys, Sharon and I walked to Cloves Restaurant for dinner. We had two very interesting starters; one was fried kubbeh and I need to figure the other one. I had seafood pasta for an entree, while Sharon had eggplant moosaka.

We finished the day with a nightcap at the hotel garden bar. Sharon and I crashed hard about 10:45 pm.

Friday, September 29, 2023

2023 Israel/Egypt/Jordan - Day #3 - Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Jerusalem & Bethlehem

Visit the Cities of Jesus’s Birth, Death and Resurrection

On this in-depth excursion, witness the legacy of Jesus in two of Christianity’s most important cities.

After a scenic drive, make a photo stop atop Mt. Scopus, with its breathtaking panorama of the Old City. See the picturesque Gardens of Gethsemane with their Rock of Agony, and visit the impressive Church of All Nations and the Greek Orthodox Church of Maria. At Mt. Zion, you will see the stunning Dormition Abbey; the Last Supper room, where it is held that Jesus’s famous final meal took place; and the tomb of King David. Next, stop at the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where Jesus is said to have been kept prisoner. Continue to Bethlehem for exterior views of the Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important place of pilgrimage for Christians. Then explore Shepherds’ Field, where the first announcement of Jesus’s birth was made.
Like the Seabourn cruise last year, I was up early. We finally connected with the Gainsleys at breakfast at 7 am.

A bus and a guide showed up at 8:30 am. There is a group of 14 that will be traveling together for the next three weeks.

The actual excursion was slightly different than the brochure. The first stop was the Mount of Olives. From there, we had a great view of Jerusalem. By code, all of the buildings in Jerusalem are built of local white limestone.

The guide (Yossi) did a nice job of explaining the history of the city. I didn't realize that according to Jewish and Christian tradition, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. This mountain is located in Jerusalem and is now part of the Temple Mount complex.

The next stop was the Church of All Nations. This church is built over the rock of agony where Jesus prayed in agony the night before he was crucified. The church is built in the Gardens of Gethsemane where Jesus went after the Last Supper.
The third stop included the Western (Wailing) Wall and the Temple Mount. The Western Wall all is the last remaining structure standing from the Second Jewish Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. It is the holiest site in Judaism.

After the Western Wall, we explored the excavations of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. The Southern Wall of the Temple Mount is a retaining wall that was built by King Herod during his expansion of the Temple Mount platform southward on to the Ophel. It is 922 feet (281 m) long and is one of the most important archaeological sites in Jerusalem.

Back into the bus, we drove to Bethleham. I didn't realize that Bethleham is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. We were told to take our passports. We dropped our guide and went through an Israeli checkpoint. We had a group lunch at the Nissan Restaurant.

After lunch, we picked up a second guide and went to the Church of the Nativity. The church is divided into three sections: the Latin Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. Each church has its own altar and chapels. The center of the church is the Grotto of the Nativity, where Jesus is believed to have been born. Frankly, this surprised me; I didn't realize that there was a site celebrated as site of the birth of Jesus.
We were back to the hotel before 4:30 pm. Kevin, Donna, Sharon and I had a cocktail at the hotel bar. There a group three course dinner in the garden at the hotel: soup, salmon and dessert.

The four of us had an after dinner drink with Mark and Evelyn. Sharon and I crashed hard about 10:45 pm.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

2023 Israel/Egypt/Jordan - Day #2 - To Jerusalem

Thursday was a very odd travel day. Combining the late departure on Wednesday, the fourteen hours in the air and the ten hour time change, we essentially traveled for the whole day.

I got restless on the flight. I read my book [Jesus outside the New Testament] and tried to sleep. Oura said that I was in bed for 5 1/2 hours, but gave me a sleep score of 16 and said that I didn't sleep at all. I felt like I dozed lightly for two or three hours.

We were on the ground on schedule at 8 pm. A Viking representative met us just before Passport Control. She led us through the process; it felt like we were jumping past hundreds of people. It was a blessing compared to the fiasco in Chicago coming back from Scotland.

It took a while for the luggage to show up. After collecting the bags, the Viking Representative led us to a taxi. It was about a forty-five minute drive from the Ben Gurion Airport to Jersalem. My only regret was that it was pitch dark. I would have liked to have seen the countryside. We got to the hotel about 9:45 pm.

We are staying four nights at the American Colony Hotel. We have a giant junior suite with a balcony.

The Gainsleys landed about 4:45 pm and were already at hotel. They had crashed by the time we got into our room. The Gainsleys said that their room has a lot of street noise, but our room is in the back of hotel and very quiet.

We crashed about 10:30 pm. In spite of the time change, we feel asleep quickly.

Random Note. This is our first Viking trip. I am really impressed with how they handled us on the first day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

2023 Israel/Egypt/Jordan - Day #1 - San Francisco

Sharon and I are off again exploring the world. We will be spending the next three weeks wandering Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

We had a shuttle pick us up just before 1 pm. The shuttle stopped and picked up Tom, Mary and Jean. In an interesting coincidence, they are flying to Istanbul Thursday afternoon. They wanted to come over this afternoon and spend the night. Even more interestingly, they are on the same flight back from Istanbul with us in three weeks when we come home. As a result, it made sense to split a shuttle both ways.

After dropping Tom, Mary and Jean at their hotel, the shuttle dropped us at the International Terminal about 3:30 pm. We breezed through checking the baggage and clearing security. I was shocked at how few people were there.

We used a couple of Sharon's free passes to camp in the United Lounge and have a couple of glasses of wine. When we flew to London in 2019, we had dinner in a restaurant in the concourse before settling in the United Lounge. This time we just grabbed a bite to eat in the lounge.

We had an 8:05 pm United flight nonstop from San Francisco to Tel-Aviv. The flight boarded on time. We have seats 31c and 31b in econony plus. Unfortunately, there are a large number of families with little kids around us; it could be a long flight.

The timing of the this flight feels odd. Usually, it seems like we leave on these international trips early in morning and get to the destination early in the morning. This time, we are leaving pretty late and arriving late. It will be interesting to see if this effects our internal clocks differently. Better?

I am writing this using the Wifi on the plane. I continue to be amazed at how effective the wifi on these long international flights.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Past Lives

Last Friday night, Sharon and I watched Past Lives. We have started of our annual trek to see all of the potential Oscar nominated films. As of today, the Goldderby web site has Past LIves fifth on the list of potential best picture nominees.

Past Lives is a romantic drama film written and directed by Celine Song in her feature directorial debut. The plot is semi-autobiographical inspired by real events from Song's life. The film stars Greta Lee as Nora, Teo Yoo as Hae Sung, and John Magaro.

Nora and Hae Sung are two childhood friends from South Korea who are separated when Nora's family emigrates to the United States. The film follows the relationship between two childhood friends over the course of 24 years as they contemplate their relationship when they grow apart to have different lives. Decades later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront destiny, love, and the choices that make a life.

"A beautifully crafted and deeply moving film." -
"A stunning debut from Celine Song." - The New York Times
"A film that will stay with you long after you watch it." - Variety
"A must-see for fans of romantic dramas." - The Hollywood Reporter
"One of the best films of the year." - IndieWire
Over the years, Sharon and I have watched a lot of "bad" movies that were nominated for best picture. This is a good film; it was very watchable. The film's pacing is very good; it never feels too long or too short. I think that it will probably get nominated for the best picture Oscar. Although it won't win best picture, I recommend it!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

My book for September was Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford, Dewitt Wallace Professor of Anthropology at Macalester College. When we were at Lake Almanor, the Nooters recommended the book.

The book is a narrative of the rise and influence of Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his successors, and their influence on European civilization. Weatherford acknowledges that Genghis Khan was a ruthless conqueror who committed many atrocities, but he also argues that he was a visionary leader who created a vast and prosperous empire.

The book is particularly interesting in its discussion of the Mongol impact on European civilization. Weatherford argues that the Mongols spread many important innovations to the West, such as paper money, gunpowder, and the compass. He also argues that the Mongols helped to break down the barriers between East and West, which contributed to the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration.

Kindle Notes from the book

The Mongol army had accomplished in a mere two years what the European Crusaders from the West and the Seljuk Turks from the East had failed to do in two centuries of sustained effort. They had conquered the heart of the Arab world. No other non-Muslim troops would conquer Baghdad or Iraq again until the arrival of the American and British forces in 2003.

Genghis Khan shaped the modern world of commerce, communication, and large secular states more than any other individual.
There is a lot of detail in the book about Genghis Khan life that is based on The Secret History of the Mongols. This book is a 13th-century Mongolian chronicle that tells the story of Genghis Khan's rise to power and the founding of the Mongol Empire. It is the oldest and most important surviving Mongol source on Genghis Khan.

Over the years, I have started to look at biographies with a more critical eye. Authors can spin the stories of a person's life in different directions by emphasizing some things and ignoring other aspects. This book has gotten a fair amount of criticism for its revisionist take on Genghis Khan.

I enjoyed the book, but I am not sure what to think about it historical accuracy. I would be interested in bouncing that question off Nooter.

[Note to self], I am going to add the Travels of Marco Polo to my reading list.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Carter Garrick Herne

Jason, Jack, Sharon and I went to Carter's Celebration of Life last Saturday.

Carter Garrick Herne, a talented young carpenter and 7-year resident of Bozeman Montana, was in a motorcycle accident while riding Bridger Canyon Road on August 25, 2023 and did not survive. Carter was 25 and had renewed his organ donor registration just a week earlier. His family honored his wishes and he left the earth a hero, giving the gift of life to others by donating his organs on August 28, 2023.

Carter is survived by his parents, Chris and Sonja Herne, his siblings Darby, Jaden and Jack, as well as his grandparents George and Julie Herne and Grant and Janet Wartenburg. He is predeceased by his grandparents Elaine Dadderio and John Dadderio. He is survived by a large extended family of loving aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Carter was born in Wichita, KS on October 2, 1997 where he lived until age 2 before moving to Broomfield, Colorado and then to Fair Oaks, California at age 7. He attended St. Mel Catholic School and then went on to Jesuit High School, graduating in 2016. Carter then attended college at Montana State University in Bozeman Montana for a few years before discovering his love of carpentry and woodworking when he started working for Peak 15, building high-end custom homes.

Carter was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and dear friend to many. In his youth, Carter was an excellent student and multisport athlete that ended up loving rugby best, playing for Jesuit High School in two national championships with first and second place finishes as well as playing for the Montana State Club team. In his senior year of high school, he also became a thespian appearing in a few productions with close friends before graduating. He was a boy scout from age 5-18 trekking Philmont Ranch twice before earning scouting's highest rank of Eagle Scout. His scouting experiences are undoubtedly what gave him a love of the outdoors where he enjoyed camping, hiking, backpacking, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and hunting. He took pride in harvesting his own meat through hunting and truly loved Montana as his playground. Carter had recently taken up CrossFit to keep in shape for his outdoor adventures which also included skiing and snowboarding with friends and family. In recent years, he had honed his carpentry skills with a passion for reclaimed wood. Carter was a skilled problem solver and never saw a building challenge he couldn't overcome. He truly loved his work and took great pride in the perfect lines and corners that created a beautiful finished product. Carter loved to travel and his last great adventure was a hunting safari trip to South Africa with friends in July where his joy was evident in pictures he sent to his family over the course of the trip.

Carter lived in the moment and focused on joy in the present rather than chasing happiness. He was a caring and kind person with a wonderful sense of humor and a generous heart always willing to drop everything to help anyone in need. He connected easily with people and developed deep, strong bonds with those he loved. In addition to his parents and siblings, he had become close to numerous "families" that became his "family" over the years, all who will miss him greatly.

A Celebration of Life will be held at St Mel Catholic Church in Fair Oaks, California on September 16, 2023 at 10am with a luncheon to follow. There will also be a memorial birthday celebration for Carter on October 1, 2023 in Bozeman, Montana at 6pm at Storm Castle Caf? where his appetite was legendary and his seat remains reserved. For details regarding the Montana event, please contact Abby Robertson at Peak 15 (406) 270-8056.

In honor of Carter's love for Scouting and the outdoors a special Scouting Memorial fund has been created in his name. The Carter Herne Scouting fund will help youth across Northern California experience Scouting and attend high adventure BSA camps such as Philmont Scout Ranch. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution. To do so, follow this link or send a check payable to Golden Empire Council, BSA 251 Commerce Circle Sacramento CA 95815.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Donum Estate

Sharon and I took the Tomasins wine tasting at Donum Estate. We have been wine club members since early 2017.

We did an "Explore Experience" tasting. It is described as an "exclusive, in-depth exploration of the wine, land and art of the Donum Estate with this 2-hour experience, perfect for guests seeking an immersive and personalized adventure. The experience begins with a splash of one of our award-winning wines, followed by a guided all-terrain vehicle tour of our open-air art sculpture collection, working farm and surrounding vineyards. After the tour guests will be escorted to their private tasting in a serene and elegant open-air tasting salon, where they'll embark on a seasonal exploration of our wines. Each wine is paired with a small seasonal canapé, elevating the tasting experience to new heights."

We have done this tasting twice before. We took Jack in 2019 and Holly and Van in 2021.

Afterwards, the four of us had a late lunch at Bloom Carneros. I had a BLT special with peaches instead of tomatoes, while Sharon had halibut tacos.

It was a slog getting home in the traffic.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023


I had another Golftec golf lesson on Wednesday morning. After feeling dazed and confused at the driving range yesterday, I left the lesson with the feeling that I am moving in the right direction. It is going to take a lot of work to change fifty years of bad habits...


I facetimed with Nooter for about fifty minutes on Wednesday afternoon. One of my goals in retirement is being better connected with family and friends.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Wildwood Kitchen & Bar

Sharon and I met the Gainsleys at Wildwood Kitchen & Bar for drinks and dinner. The four of us are headed to Israel next Wednesday for a Viking trip to Israel, Egypt and Jordan. The Larkins and Leclaires will catch up with us in Egypt. We discussed tipping, clothes and dinners on the pre and post-excursions.

For appetizers, the four of us split Mushroom Bruschetta [locally grown assorted mushrooms, shalllots, herbs, goat cheese, permesan crostinis] and grillel artichoke [lemon, harissa aioli]. For entrees, Sharon and I shared lobster ravioli with seared prawns [caramelised onion, scampi cream, parmesan cheese] and seared shrimp risotto [tender arborio rice, pistou, smoked apple bacon, parmesan cheese].

Monday, September 18, 2023

Neighborhood Homeowners Association Meeting

Monday night, Sharon and I went to the annual neighborhood homeowners association meeting at the pool. We missed the last meeting in January of 2022 when we were in Hawaii for her birthday/retirement celebration.

Sharon has been on the board for the last four years. She is up for re-election in December; Brad and Tom are also running for the seat.

The meeting was pretty well attended. thirteen of the twenty-four properties were represented. Although I expected some drama, the meeting was very civil.

I love our neighborhood.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

At Heringer Estates Winery

Sunday afternoon, Sharon and I met Erin, Cormac, Tom, Tim, Kathy, Cormac's aunt Eve and her boyfriend at Heringer Estates Winery. We spent the afternoon wine tasting and picking out the wine for Erin and Cormac's wedding.

We did the same thing in early May with Drew, Carmen, Pam and Mike. Erin and Cormac are getting married at Heringer Estates in late October six days after Drew and Carmen get married there.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Celebration of Life for Carter Herne

Jason, Jack, Sharon and I went to a Celebration of Life and Funeral Mass for Carter Herne. Carter was one of Jack's closet friends in high school. A couple of pictures of Carter include: 2014; 2016, and; 2017.

The obituary is here.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Jack is back

Jack and Jason took a late train to Sacramento. I picked them up at the Amtrak station in downtown Sacramento.

Thursday, September 14, 2023


I took a Golftec golf lesson on Thursday morning. It is eye opening to review my swings in slow motion and look at what I am doing wrong. I am continuing to try to break fifty years of bad habits and rebuild my swing from scratch!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

St Michael's Church - Burgh by Sands

This is the second of two churches that I explored on the last day hiking Hadrian's wall into Bowness-on-Solway.

St Michael's Church
Burgh by Sands

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

The GPS coordinates for this location are 54° 55' 20.2" N 3° 02' 57.4" W.

St Michael's Church - Burgh by Sands St Michael's Church - Burgh by Sands St Michael's Church - Burgh by Sands

This twelfth century church was built with stones from the Roman wall nearby. Edward I came here to cross the Solway and subdue the rising under Robert the Bruce. He died on the marsh and was brought into the church to lie in state on 7 July 1307.

The fortified tower was a refuge during the border raids.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Parks and Recreation - Season Three

Sharon and I finished watching season three of Parks and Recreation. We finished watching season one in August of 2023 and season two in September of 2023.

Season three has sixteen episodes. It aired from January 20, 2011 to May 19, 2011.

The season adds Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, a positive and optimistic city manager, and Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt. The season sees the development of the relationships between the main characters. We see Leslie (Amy Poehler) and Ben's relationship grow and April (Aubrey Plaza) and Andy (Chris Pratt) start to date. The season explores the themes of friendship, loyalty, and community

Season 3 of Parks and Recreation is widely considered to be one of the best seasons of the show. I enjoyed season three; it was definitely worth working our way through season one and two to get to season three. I recommend it...

Monday, September 11, 2023

Ancil Hoffman

Sharon and I played golf with Alan and Jeanie at Ancil Hoffman. We scheduled the day when we got together with the Chabriers in August. Alan is part of the extended Davis Mafia rugby group.

As we started to get organized to play, I got a shock. They had the front nine closed. We were playing the back nine twice.

Teeing off at 9:16 am, the course played slow. It took us more than four hours and forty minutes to play 18 holes.

I didn't feel good on the driving range. I had a rough first nine holes, but settled down a little after the turn until I fell apart on 16. I shot a liberally scored 115.

After one Golftec lesson and some work on the driving range over the last two weeks, I feel like I am making better contact. I am pushing a lot of shots to the left. My short term goal is to be able to shoot better an double bogey golf consistently...

The four of us had lunch together at the Main Event Bar & Grill at the course. Afterwards, Sharon rushed to an executive board meeting of the Deterding Ranch H0meowners association.

One footnote. A number of us, including Alan and I, played in a rugby tournament in Truckee on Labor Day weekend of 1983 as the OATS [Old Aggie Touring Side]. There were several iconic events from that weekend, including Wilson breaking his ankle and Bachman throwing a knife into a wall at the end of the table at the Victorian Station in Tahoe City. Although I don't remember interacting with her, Jeanie was at that tournament; he had just started dating Alan.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

At Carmen's Bridal Shower

Sharon spent Sunday afternoon at Carmen's bridal shower. Drew and Carmen are getting married in October.

Hiking Bidwell Park

After breakfast at the Residence Inn, Sharon and I headed to Bidwell Park. Parking at Hooker Oak Park, we did a short hike in Lower Bidwell Park. We covered 2.25 miles in just over fifty minutes.

Back at the hotel, Sharon got ready to go to Carmen's bridal shower, while I watched the first half of the 49er game. I dropped Sharon off at the bridal shower at 11:30 am and headed back to Hooker Oak Park.

I hiked into Upper Bidwell Park. I covered 7.2 miles in about two hours and fifteen miles. I made a tactical error. I probably should have parked further up near Horseshoe Lake and hiked from there. I ended up hiking only a mile and a half on the Yahi Trail; I would like to come back and hike just that trail with Sharon.

I picked up Sharon at the bridal shower at 2:45 pm and started for home. We were back in Carmicheal about 4:40 pm.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

To Chico

After watching Coco Gauff defeat Aryna Sabalenka in the women's final of the US Open, Sharon and I took off for Chico. Sharon is attending Carmen's bridal shower on Sunday.

We are spending one night at the Residence Inn. After getting cleaned up and dressed, we dashed to meet Pam, Mike and Carmen at Strong Water. We had a cocktail and visited.

From there, the five of us wandered to the Red Tavern for dinner. The group split Crispy Brussels Sprouts [Served with Pancetta, topped with Balsamic Reduction] and Peach Burrata [Stracciatella Cheese wrapped with Mozzarella served with Grilled Peaches, Arugula tossed in a Peach Vinaigrette, topped with Mint, Basil and Toasted Pistachios].

Sharon and I split a Tavern Caesar Salad [Little Gem Lettuce, Sourdough Croutons, House Made Caesar Dressing, Parmesan Cheese]. For entrees, I had Steak Risotto [Medallions of Filet and New York served with Mushrooms and Sun-dried Tomatoes served in a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce over Risotto], while Sharon had Grilled Signature Meatloaf [Made with Ground Filet Mignon and New York mixed with Ground Pork Sausage, baked and finished on the grill, served with Green Beans over Crème Fraiche Mashed Potatoes, topped with Bacon Crisps and a Peach Chutney].

Back at the room, Sharon spent some time on the phone with Marlene. It was almost 11:30 pm by the time we crashed.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Jimmy Buffet Concerts

With Jimmy Buffet's passing, I am trying to sort out when I saw him live. I can remember seeing Jimmy Buffet live in concert twice. In late July of 1979, Wallen, Jill, Melissa and I drove to the Berkeley Greek theater to meet a large group. He performed there on July 29, 1979 as part of his Volcano Tour. I can remember Hunter dancing in front of me…

In May of 1981, a group of us saw Jimmy Buffet at Caesars Tahoe. He performed there on May 3 as part of his Party Time '81/Coconut Telegraph Tour. I was dating Nancy at the time.

I have a memory of Wallen, Jill, Alison and I staying together in the same room in Tahoe. We ended up in cab with Mike Wilson and his first wife (Pat?) driving through the snow to the casino. I thought we were seeing Buffet, but it doesn’t line up with any of his tour dates…

I also am not sure what concert we were seeing in Tahoe when Nooter’s date said “we are staying the night?”

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Poppy by Mama Kim

Tom, Sharon and I had dinner at Poppy by Mama Kim. The restaurant is located in the footprint of the old Sutter Memorial Hospital campus. I spent a lot of time in this area when I first started working for Sutter Health in the late 1990s. Additionally, Drew and Morgan were both born at the old Sutter Memorial Hospital in the 1980s.

As starters, the three of us split hummis with grilled eggplant, Jimmy Nardello peppers, feta, marinated olives and flat bread and fried green tomatoes with pascilla remoulade. For entrees, Sharon and I had lamb sliders with goat gouda, creole relish and arugula on brioche with house pickles, sweet potato chips and a side salad, while Tom has a flat iron steak with chimichurri. The food was very good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

End of Ordinary Time

Over the last twenty-seven years, Sharon and I have lived into a rhythm of decorating the house. Beginning Labor Day, Sharon starts to decorate the house with fall decorations. Orginally, this was driven by the fall dinner party, but it has taken on a live of its own.

At Thanksgiving, we switch the house to Christmas decorations. We have an enormous amount of Christmas decorations: 25 plus boxes?

In recent years, Sharon has started to accumulate more Valentines Day decorations that she puts up after we take down the Christmas decorations. After Valentines Day, the house transitions to Easter.

After we take the Easter decorations down, we have started calling it "Ordinary Time." This lasts about four months from Easter to Labor Day. In truth, there are a few summer decorations.

Last Friday, I started pulling the fall boxes out of the storage shed. In total, there are nine boxes. We have started decorating the house for fall!

Monday, September 04, 2023

Annual Rebecca L. Frame Memorial Invitational Scottish Rules Bocce Ball Tournament

Sharon and I spent the day at the eleventh not-so-annual Rebecca L. Frame Memorial Invitational Scottish Rules Bocce Ball Tournament at Tom's house. The group included: Tom, Eric and Ashley, Kevin, Leah, Lydia and Amelia, Terry and Steve, Erin and Cormac, Will and Eileen, Jim, Sharon and I.

Tied with Jim at seven in one of the first heats, I lost in sudden death. Jim won the finals against Kevin, Eric and Sharon. Apparently, this is the fourth time that Jim has won.

[Note to self], I need to get a picture of the cup with all the names of the winners next year.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Comcast Xfinity Outage

Starting Saturday night, our Comcast Xfinity internet services were out for about twenty-two hours. It is interesting how much we rely on the internet.

We use AppleTV for all of our video services. I switched us from satellite DirecTV to DirecTV stream about a year and a half ago. The AppleTVs don't work without an internet connection.

Additionally, we have a large number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. I have a Smartthings hub with ring cameras, a Rachio sprinkler controller and Ecobee thermostats. All of the external lights and a number of internal lights are all controlled by the Smartthings hub. There is at least one external light with a switch that is almost impossible to get to so that you can turn it on and off manually. All of the IoT devices were offline.

We have a Peloton treadmill and bike. Neither of them work without an internet connection.

About 15,000 customers were impacted. Comcast is pointing to a car crashing into a pole and some equipment on Antelope Road in Citrus Heights and a fiber cut due to vandalism.

I spent forty years building and supporting networks. I would have expected that there was more redundancy in the equipment and the circuit paths. It would be interesting to see an architectural diagram of the internet connection to our house...

Like January of 2021, I was able to use my cell phone as a hotspot to connect my laptop to the internet. Just out of curiousity, I checked the availability of Verizon 5G Home service; it is not available in our area. Given how reliable the comcast service has been over the last four years, I don't think that a secondary connection, either wired or wireless, would be cost effective.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Dinner with Jeana and Larry

Sharon invited Jeana and Larry to the house for a gin and tonic [Harris Gin, Mediterrean Tonic Water and Grapefruit]. Afterwards, the four of us went to dinner at Piatti. We all worked together at the Farm Credit Banks in the 1980s and 1990s. Although there was some disturbing news, it was great to catch up.

For an antipasti, we split Fritto misto [jumbo prawns, lemon, blue lake beans, cauliflower, calabrian chili aïoli]. For entrees, I had Saffron spaghetti [prawns, garlic, corn, spicy pickled peppers, basil, parsley, white wine], while Sharon had Ravioli [spinach, ricotta, lemon cream, citrus gremolata]. Larry ordered a nice bottle of Mancini 2021 vermentino di gallura.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Parks and Recreation - Season Two

Sharon and I finished watching season two of Parks and Recreation. We finished watching season one in August of 2023.

Season two has twenty-four episodes. It aired from September 17, 2009 to May 20, 2010.

Like the first season, it focuses on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her staff on the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. The season stars Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, and Chris Pratt. It also featured guest appearances by Louis C.K., Megan Mullally, Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, Justin Theroux and John Larroquette.

Rob Lowe and Adam Scott appear in the last two episodes of the season. Scott left his starring role on the Starz comedy series Party Down to join Parks and Recreation.

The second season of Parks and Recreation is a huge leap forward from the first season. The characters are more developed, the jokes are funnier, and the stories are more engaging.

One of the biggest improvements in season two is the development of the characters. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is still the same optimistic and enthusiastic government worker, but she's also more confident and assertive. Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is still the curmudgeonly libertarian, but there is a softer side of him as he develops a friendship with Leslie.

The stories in season two are also more engaging. The show explores some more serious topics, such as government bureaucracy and political corruption, but it always does so with a sense of humor.

I recommend season two!