Saturday, April 15, 2017

Of Las Vegas, Easter Week, the Caribbean and Ever More Nordic Noir

Wwere quite busy the last few weeks with even more travel on the horizon . . .

First stop, Las Vegas to visit Jenn, Andy and Kevin.

As it turned out, we met up with some other dear friends by accident while visiting Sin City.

Kevin marveling at Laurie's
breakfast at Hash House a-Go-Go

 I just ordered a simple apple cinnamon
pancake with eggs and bacon

We had a delightful time as we were joined by UW college roommates Loren and Sandy Brucker, who were with Sandy's sister Luci and husband Bob, who were taking in more than a few shows on the Vegas Strip.

Lots of fun seeing them all even if I forgot to get a group photo amidst all the fun chit chat.

Next up, Kevin's soccer practice!

 Kevin, the "Darth Vader"
of Vegas soccer

 Coach Andy setting the
pre-practice tone

 Jenn helping get Drill #1
get started for the team


. . . and almost scores

While Coach Jenn helps out yet again, our hero was not daunted in the least by this miss.

On Tuesday night after we left, he scored three goals in the clubs next game!

 Nothing like some EXCELLENT
BBQ after a grueling practice!

 In the evening, I met up with
Jason Johnson near the MGM

Jason was our great QB with Sicily's Catania Elephants back in 2008 and just an all-around good guy.

He was in town to film the Pro Football Arm Wrestling Tournament. The NFL would angrily announce the next day that this tournament was extremely bogus in their opinion.

Oh well.

Heading home after a great four
days in Las Vegas

Kevin had to stay in Nevada.

EXCELLENT croissants
as we left town

Easter Week was upon us and Mike had the week off, so he decided to toil . . .

. . . building the kids a playhouse

Mary liked it!

I did too!

 Well done Mike!

 The Easter Egg Hunt
was a success

We did it on Friday as we are scheduled to be out of Camarillo on Easter Sunday.

Jacob loved the
easter Eggs

Peeps (YUCK!) were part
of Laurie's dessert

But NOT part of Mike's or mine to be sure!

Mary enjoyed her Easter Basket

 Erik, Leslie and Ty Peterson

This morning we joined the Peterson's for a fun breakfast at Camarillo's Eggs and Things. Erik was an excellent defensive lineman for us at Westlake H.S. back in the 1980s and currently coaches at Yosemite H.S.

They were in town to tour the Cal State University-Channel Islands campus as Ty is a Junior in high school and is beginning to prepare for his eventual choice a year from now.

Even though EuroBall Adventure IX in Sweden doesn't start for another two weeks, I just agreed to EuroBall Adventure X in Mexico City!
Coach Jesús Sanchez of the Osos Rivas club in Madrid, that I helped back in October-November, is going to be the Head Coach of the Europe Warriors All-Star team.  They will travel to Mexico City this coming August to play a game against the Pumas UNAM university team who is celebrating their 90th season of playing American football.

Jesús asked me to be his Special Teams Coach with the club and I instantly said "YES!"

Our two months working and living together with Jesús and his family in Madrid led us to two conclusions. First, he is a hard working, knowledgable coach. Second, Laurie and I both trust and respect him as a person.

Saying yes to him was a done deal or as the saying goes, "He had me at hello!"

For more info on the Europe Warriors, go to:

Next up . . .

 A Trip to the Mother Country

While it will be Laurie's first excursion the the previously forbidden island, I've been there more than a few times, mostly as a child.

We'll be traveling with our friends Mark and Susie Johnson and their two daughters Sophie and Mallory.

Should be a Cuban hoot in weird weather.

Reading Is FUNdamental
Nordic Noir Edition

Great Read!

Enjoyable as well

My obsession with the dark, twisted musings of Camilla Läckberg are due to friends Aiki Parts and Lotta Douhan of the greater Uplands-Väsby megalopolis who first gave me one of Läckberg's books to read .

It is like crack cocaine to this mystery/crime book lover!

Fortunately for me, the Camarillo Public Library has many of her books. I have now consumed five of them with great interest.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Son Michael's 41st Birthday

On Monday, our youngest son Michael turned 41 years of age . . . now that's really hard to believe.

We had Michael, Vanessa, Jacob and little Miss Mary join us at our home for a celebratory dinner.

As usual, Mike wanted a simple
homemade yellow cake
with chocolate frosting

His wish was Laurie's command.

I liked the American Civil War soldier atop his birthday cake, quite apropos don't you think?
 Balloons were a must

 Jacob helping Michael
open his presents

 Either a cool cutting board
or a really small surfboard

Jacob and Mary checking out
the iPad as they eat fruit

Jacob helped his Daddy
blow out the candles

Often, quiet family times are the best.

Tonight was one of those nights.


Monday, April 3, 2017

EVERYONE Loves a Good Festival!

ANOTHER FEW LAZY DAYS IN SOUTHERN California, but the blog must go on . . .

Love babysitting little Miss Mary
two times a week!

Friday's usually mean SLEEPOVERS with Jacob!

 One Friday, we started with
miniature golf in Ventura

Proud after sinking yet
another par putt

Well, there's par and 
then there's par . . .

 Sleepovers are highlights

 You had to be there

Santa Clara Elementary School
Fund Raiser

Chocolates are the building blocks of a healthy Catholic body according to an encyclical by Pope Francis.

Last Friday's Sleepover started
with the movie "The Boss Baby"

We both liked it.

Get a good meal soldier

Saturday was April 1st, aka, April Fools Day in the USA.

We were foolish enough to take Jacob and go to not one but two major events in Ventura County on this glorious Saturday.

Up first was . . .

The 42nd Annual
Scandinavian Festival
at California Lutheran University

 Cool Viking Encampment

Great storyteller explaining how
the names off the days of the week
coming from Scandinavian lore

For example, did you know that Thursday comes from Thor's Day?
A boy and a dead Wild Boar


Kubb, aka, Kill the Peasants, is a great game that Jacob loves to play in our back yard.

He had fun executing a few peasants before lunch.

 Viking Weaponry

Colorful Viking Tent

 Jacob wanted a photo of
this pig head

 Nice outfit

Not sure if it is truly seaworthy

A boy and a steam begging
to be crossed

Sweden soon

Did you know any of these Swedish facts?

Under its Constitutional Monarchy, the Sovereign of Sweden is King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Sweden is a country made up of 158,927 square miles making it the fourth largest country in Europe and about one tenth larger than the State of California.

The population of Sweden is approximately 10,015,000.

While the nation's capital and largest city is Stockholm, the two most important cities from both historical and athletic perspectives are Uplands-Väsby and Hässleholm.

You could look it up.

 CLU's giant Martin Luther statue
wearing the Noble Prize

Bob Dylan winning the 2017
Nobel Prize for Literature
was interesting
Jacob could win one in 2063

Time to hit the kids' craft making booths.

Sanding down a
wooden butter knife

It was INTENSE work!

Time for a snack break

A healthy cold plate in the sunlight and a delicious bowl of Swedish meatballs, lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes in the shadows.

 The booth to make Swedish
Christmas tree straw ornaments
was packed

Denmark, not so much

 Making a Danish fish

Sort of a Danish origami feel to this.

 Jacob and the Fish

Sounds like a Disney movie.

Making a Norwegian rock troll

A call to . . .

. . . dance?

. . . to eat dainty Swedish pancakes ?

. . . to start gorging on sausages?

. . . NO, it was time for an
old fashioned Viking battle!

I lost my wing man early
in the fighting


We had a GREAT morning at the
Scandinavian Festival!

Now it was time to drive about 15 minutes to beautiful Moorpark, California for . . . 

16th Annual The Blue and The Gray
Civil War Battle Reenactment

 The Battle of Antietam is

Private Billy Otis Streeter
of the 2nd Vermont Volunteer's
Company E

He eerily looks a lot like our son Michael.

Practicing their battle techniques

Or maybe just trying to impress the ladies.

 Jacob helping Billy Otis
to set up his camp

Jacob and Billy Otis Streeter

 Is that a Civil War era laser
beam on his hat?

 This General likes to relax by
smoking a pipe before a big battle

This like a stogie instead

Laurie liked these lace sun umbrellas

They are quite fancy indeed!

The Union forces marching
into battle to face . . .

. . . the undermanned Rebels


What does that mean?

It means KABOOM!

More Union troops

 The Battle was on now!

Reb cavalry behind the Union line


 Billy Otis SURVIVED the battle!

Jacob joined Billy Otis on the
march back to the Union camp

Saturday was a loooooong day but we had a lot of fun, being grandparents can be daunting at times.

Now we absolutely need to get out to Las Vegas soon to see grandson Kevin and his Mom and Dad.

Reading Is FUNdamental

 Swedish Noir at its finest

The 20th of the 22
Jack Reacher novels that
I have read

This is all Mike D'Antuono's fault. I only need to find the two newest Reacher novels to finally catch up to Lee Child's writing efforts.

Not the best story in the series but Reacher did have an amazingly high body count to offset any holes in the story.

Another Mike D'Antuono

Actually, it can.

Published in 1935, this work has some amazing parallels to today's zany, volatile American political scene.