Friday, July 31, 2009
The beach town of Carpinteria is about 25 minutes north of Camarillo and has always billed itself as "The World's Safest Beach.
The Pacific Oceean here is very calm with a long, shallow stretch of sand with very small, kid friendly waves.
Linden Avenue, Carpinteria's main street
For a high cholesterol pizza, try Tony's on the right.
On Wednesday, we opted instead for a classy Italian meal at Gianfranco's Trattoria, the red brick building on the left. By American-Italian dining standards it was very good!
It was Linda who called for this dinner meeting as we belatedly celebrated one of Laurie's birthdays, I won't say which one.
Besides the good food and fellowship, Linda wanted to see our pictures of Asturias, Spain where she spent a very important part of her youth.
Who was I to say no.
Andy entered this photo into the fray, nice but I thought L.V.'s would be a little glitzier.
David P. Lassen continues to twist the knife deeper into Camarillo's back!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Another week in sleepy Southern California as we continue to get back into our old routines.
Laurie is back working part-time in Santa Barbara at the Law Office of John Shellabarger.
Meanwhile, you can find me at. . .
. . . the Rio Mesa Weight Room
Working with another crop of Freshmen is interesting to say the least. It is a rather small group this year with only 45 players out for the team as opposed to last year's 80 players on the roster at this point of the summer.
We seem to have a dedicated group who is working hard to get bigger, stronger and faster.
Soon it will be time for my least favorite part of any football season, fitting and handing out equipment to a team.
David P. Lassen continues to harass me on the P.O. front.
Ojai is a quaint little town in the backroads of Ventura County.
How did they rate?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Mike D'Antuono sent me this picture of the Pasadena, California Post Office (with the City Hall's dome in the background) as an inspiration for what Camarillo could do to improve our community's status in the postal/architectural world!
The Pasadena Post Office
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Just when you thought that life could not get any better, it was time for the annual Oxnard Salsa Festival. This promised to be a juxtapositioning of crafts, renewed friendships, food and, of course, salsa!
A Two Day Affair
I figured I was good for only one day so I joined Brian and Koreen FitzGerald on Saturday while Laurie decided to sit this one out for two reasons. One, she wanted to keep cleaning up the house for Mike and Vanessa's upcoming wedding and two, she does not do spicy foods very well.
No sense taking any chances.
That's Rio Mesa High School's Chemistry teacher Annie Marostica in the green top.
At St. Francis H.S. where I went to school in the early 1960's, our Chemistry teacher was Father Lawrence who looked nothing like Annie.
As they munch away, Koreen on the left and Brian on the right share a moment between bites with Rick in black and Linda in gray.
Rick is a long time Health teacher and Cross Country, Soccer and Track coach at Rio Mesa while Linda also works at the home of the Spartans as an interpretor for deaf students.
Katy is the yougest of Tom FitzGerald's three children. Tom is Brian's brother and is a Science teacher at Rio Mesa.
$5 gets you a large bag of totilla chips and ten tickets to try ten different salsas of your choice from mild to mediun to hot to DAMN!!!
Normally you get salsa in the small white cups you see on the right but we scored a BIG hot salsa bowl because the owners of Cabo Mexican Restaurant, the Spink family, had kids go through Rio Mesa.
This guy specializes in Habanero salsa.
Their range of salsas go from mild on the near end of the table to steaming at the far end.
Good times at the festival with just the right mixture of salsa strengths to be able to enjoy the afternoon.
Ben is one of the bright young teaching beacons at Rio Mesa and a good friend of our family. We invited him to join us for a small backyard BBQ Saturday night.
Mike and I were on our way to 6:30 a.m. Mass at. . .
Saturday, July 25, 2009
If you followed this blog during our three week trip from Sicily to Spain to Belgium to Scotland and finally to England, then you know about my concern for the Camarillo Post Office's place amongst the great post offices of Europe.
I spoke with long time Camarillo City Councilman Kevin Kildee about this situation at Starbuck's over a cappucino last Wednesday and he promised to look into the situation. The recession and the state of California's budget crunch present major roadblocks to a quick solution to our problem.
To review the evidence,
The Trapani Post Office
Located on the west coast of Sicily, it was while paying a parking ticket here that this whole issue was raised in my mind.
This Spanish edifice really got me wondering.
Although it is in Spain's capital city, now my blood was boiling!
In Belgium's most beautiful city, I can live with this one.
The English are reserved in many things, I can live with this one too.
Now do you see my point?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
We've been back in Camarillo for a week now so I thought I would post a quick update about our attempts to reacquaint ourselves to life in California.
After hitting the Rio Mesa H.S. Weight Room to meet the 2009 Freshman team for the first time, I headed on up to Ventura H.S. to watch our Varsity team's last 7-on-7 games of the summer, both wins over Oak Park and Ventura High Schools.
Spartans playing Goal Line pass defense
We visited the home that Mike and Vanessa will share after they get married in August. It is in a very rural area of Ventura County that is ripe with citrus fields and horses.
Their rental is located above the garage seen here.
All in all, this is a great spot for their first home.
On Sunday we drove down to San Marino to visit my Aunt and Mother to show them the photos of our time in Asturias, Spain where their parents were born and where they went to school.
We also cooked them our best attempt at an authentic Sicilian spaghetti lunch.
They liked it.
Shi Young took me to Dodger Stadium as a belated birthday present to see the Dodgers play the Cinncinati Reds. Sandra was already there with her son and some friends so we bought tickets near their seats and snuck into the row behind them.
Dodger dogs now cost $5 each and one Stella Artois beer cost $11!
The Dodgers enigmatic left fielder in action.
It is good to be home but we are definitley living a different life style than the one we enjoyed in Sicily.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Going home . . . its been a loooooong time on the road and we definitely want to see our family and friends.
We were up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready to take that last flight of the journey.
Walking to Paddington Station
We were out the door of the Caring Hotel by 5:45 a.m. to catch the Heathrow Express. It was a short, mostly flat, ten minute walk to Paddington and from there the Express would speed us to the airport in about 15 minutes.
Since Laurie and I booked our flights separately last fall, we had separate booking numbers. We had checked in on-line and both had been assigned aisle seats in different parts of the plane. We had also tried to move our seats to be together, but it wasn't possible. We smoothly and stress freely checked in THREE pieces of luggage (take THAT Ryanair!), sailed through security and boarded.
After about ten minutes in the air, the steward informed me that in the last row of the plane, which is only a two seat row, both seats were empty and that I could move there for more space and comfort. I jumped on the opportunity and had a very comfortable flight.
In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, when Laurie boarded she had been upgraded to business class for no apparent reason which meant that she essentially got a BED to sleep in!
Laurie says: I did ask if I could trade seats with George, knowing how uncomfortable he is on airplanes, but was told that I could not. (It was fantastic!!!)
Brian and Koreen FitzGerald were at LAX to greet us and they said that our son Michael and our soon to be daughter-in-law Vanessa called to say they wanted to meet us at Cronies on our way home.
We walked into Cronies and were surprised to find all of the usual suspects assembled.
What a great surprise. We had such a great time! Thank you to Vanessa for sending the e-invites and thanks to everyone for coming.
It is GREAT to be home again!
But I miss the beauty and our friends in Europe already!!!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Well, today was the 174th and final full day for us in Europe so we planned on a full day in London with the Johnson family.
We take a British Airways flight on Wednesday morning to Los Angeles where our good friends
First up on the agenda was this traditional English military pageantry.
The Queen Victoria Monument across the street was the perfect high ground to watch all of the action.
I'm glad we saw this for the first time. It was interesting but I don't think I'll be returning any time soon. From here it was time to do a little walking to see what we could find.
Doesn't matter, I'm not buying.
Built in 1819, this is London's most exclusive shopping area!
The biggest one in England, it was hectic.
Eclectic to say the least. Lots of fun here!
These locks are part of a fine canal system that runs through parts of London.
We saw hundreds of these canal houseboats. Many were colorful like this one, others not so hot.
A MIRACLE breakthrough in English dentistry.