Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Football, Goodbyes and Delays


First, let's finally recap the last football weekend. . .

#99 Scott Fujita
Cleveland Browns' Outside Linebacker

Scott, as many of you know, is our Godson and is playing his first season with the Browns. This is his ninth season in the NFL having previously played three seasons in Kansas City, one in Dallas and four in New Orleans including last year's Super Bowl championship campaign.

After opening the 2010 season at 0-3 with the three losses by a combined 12 points, the Browns hosted their cross state rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Browns were in another close one.

Scott blocking a Bengals' Field Goal attempt

Celebrating Scott's Big Play

It proved to be very important as the Browns hung on to win their first game of the season, 23-20.

Too bad T.O. and Ocho Cinco.

The Browns are 1-3 and play the Atlanta Falcons this week.

#17 Erik Folk
Washington's Heroic Kicker

For the second straight season, Folk kicked a Field Goal with no time left on the clock to beat the University of Southern California Trojans, this time 32-31!

The Dawgs are now 2-2, 1-0 in the PAC-10. They host Arizona State this Saturday.

Rose Bowl?


In keeping with our Field Goal theme, Jason Johnson's Pacific Lutheran Lutes beat the University of Puget Sound Loggers on a last second Field Goal, 31-28.

The weird thing here is that for some as yet untold reason, PLU has a history of not attempting Field Goals. In fact, from 1998-2001, a stretch of 36 games, they never even attempted a Field Goal, NOT ONE!

To everyone's shock and awe, the Lutes kicked a 49 yarder as time expired to win the big battle for Tacoma bragging rights.

The Lutes are now 3-0, 1-0 in Northwest Conference play and play Whitworth next.

In high school action, Michael Contreras' Hueneme H.S. JV team fell to 1-4 as they dropped a close one to Santa Paula 29-20. They have a bye this week.

Rio Mesa's Varsity is now 2-2 after losing to Dos Pueblos 27-17. Up next for the Spartans is Buena.

In belated news of the Hässleholm Hurricanes, Johan Hammaqvist wrote yet another great article in NorraSkåne about the teams tremendous growth with the additon of at least two new youth teams, an Under 15 eleven and an Under 13 squad. About 50 potential players have attended practice to date, THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT!

You can see Johan's article at


After returning to Hässleholm last Thursday, it was time to say some goodbyes. After shopping for some last second travel needs and getting Emilio to put three more notches in my now too big belt (YAHOO!), it was off to the Cordeiro's for dinner.

William and Adrian (A-Train) Cordeiro

Shawn Cordeiro is an absolute Grill Master, his BBQ pork steaks this evening were a further testament to his title.

Katarina, on the other hand, specializes as a Pastry Chef. Her chocolate tort did not disappoint me in the least. I needed a few extra calories for the flight home to be sure.

As for the Cordeiro kids, I had great fun with these two all year long and tonight was no different. Thank you Cordeiros for your friendship and hospitality.


Did I really just write that???

On Saturday morning, sans camera, I said my farewells to Johan and Henning Hammarqvist. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Karolyn.

Our talks about politics, West Virginia Mountaineer Football, soccer in general and trips to Finja soccer games will stay with me forever.

I was pumped that he got his collegue at NorreSkåne, Bertil Nilsson, to autograph my DVD of "Plötsligt igen. . ." in which he starred.

Johan has been an incredible friend to the Hurricanes as well. His tremendous articles on us in NorraSkåne newspaper are a huge reason for the growth in both the team's fan base and youth programs.

Thank you Hammarqvists for your friendship and hospitality.

Henning now calls me Årge, who cool is that!

In the afternoon, I went for one last walk in the woods with Johan Persson and Dexter The Wonder Dog.


Old Library Ruins

Hässleholm Autumn

Johan and Dexter lead the way

Leaves are turning from green to. . .

. . . brown

Fourth Season

I have now been in Skåne for the end of winter, all of spring and summer and, now, for the start of fall. I love this area of the globe deeply, even Eslöv.

A Lake


That reminds me, Randy Moss got traded back to the Vikings today from the Patriots. What do you think Shawn?

Big Boulders

White Mushroom


Brown Mushrooms

Also O.K.

Red Mushroom


This one is highly poisonous. Don't eat it please.

After our walk, we went back to Johan's flat for one last "Fika Time." We were joined by Mariana and a Persson to be named later. She baked all of the dozen Fikas I consumed.

Thank you Perssons for your friendship and hospitality.

In the evening, it was time time for a special Saturday edition of "Taco Friday" at the Castle Palmbrink in Vinslöv.

Elin is the Numero Uno Mexican food cook in all of Scandanavia. I keep telling her to open a restaurant but thinks that I'm just kidding her.

I'm not.

Prince Ludvig

In a stunning upset, Ludvig kept his clothes on the whole night!

Princess Mira

Princess Linna

Their Royal Highnesses
King Uffe and Queen Elin

Uffe said the Elin always has her eyes closed in pictures so I took two to be sure to get her with her eyes open. My second attempt was successful but it was a bit out of focus.

Let's keep her streak alive.

Thank you Palmbrinks for your friendship and hospitality.


On Sunday, the much anticipated journey home began at 8:00 a.m. when Johan Persson picked me up to drive me to the train station.

Little did I know what the next two days of travel held in store for me.

The train, although ten minutes late, proceeded without further delays to get me to Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport in plenty of time for my flight to London.

An issue here was my Camino walking stick which I was not going to leave behind for any reason. I already had two bags to check in, would I be able to carry it on board? The lady at the check-in kept nodding her head covertly as she said, "You need this to help you walk, correct?" Of course the answer had to be "Why, yes I do."

The walking stick came aboard with me.

Also, my bags were checked in all the way to Los Angeles so I didn't have to drag them to my hotel in London that evening, life is good.

Our takeoff was delayed about 15 minutes and we fought headwinds. When I entered Heathrow's very long Passport Check line, one of the British Custom's Officers saw me standing with my walking stick and motioned me to the very front of the queue.

The Camino Provides.

I just missed the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. Once aboard and moving, we were delayed about ten minutes because a train in front of us was stuck on the tracks.

At Paddington I made the easy transfer to a City Line Underground for the ride to St. Pancras Station. Did I say easy? Not today, I got stuck behind eight of the slowest walking tourists (no, not Koreans this time thankfully) that made me just miss this train by about ten seconds.

Ten minutes later I boarded the City Line only to have yet another train stopped on the tracks ahead of us blocking the way for another ten minutes. Do you see a pattern here?

My plane had landed at 3:00 p.m. and by the time I checked in because of all of these delays, it was 4:55 p.m. Now, I have always made it a point to go to a play when staying in London. It was Sunday and many theaters are dark on Sunday evening, but I was still shooting for the 5:00 p.m. start of the critically acclaimed play "Ghost Stories." Not this time.

St. Pancras Station

They are turning this building above the station into a very high end hotel. . . nice!

The National Union of Teachers

N.U.T. for short, seems apropos.

The Church of England's St. Pancras Church

I attended their very enjoyable Evensong service at 6:00 p.m. They featured a good organist, Hans would have approved, and a five person choir that sang quite well including a dead ringer for Uncle Fester from the Addams Family TV show.

Pub Time

Great tomato and basil soup, outstanding steak and ale pie and a pint. Life is good.

Not me, it's Mahatma Gandhi

Monday's Last Leg Was Easy!

No. . .

I had a 6:00 a.m. wake up call to start this latest last day in Europe.

First, my normally One British Pound Sterling Tube ride to Paddington was a no go, the Tube worker's were staging a one day strike!

I thus hailed a taxi. The driver asked if he wanted to know the cost before we left and I said "Sure." He called dispatch and their answer over the conference line was 18 British Pounds Sterling (about $36 USD)! The cab driver apologized and said that the company had jacked up all of their prices to take advantage of the strike, did I still want to go? Of course, this was Capitalism at its finest!

Once aboard the Heathrow Express, I caught sight of a man across from me reading a newspaper whose headline blarred out "U.S. Terrorism Alert!" Here I go again.

Fortunately, Heathrow was ready for the onslaught of travellers who would need extra scrutiny and we got through security fairly quickly all things considered.

Once at the gate, I won the lottery. I had been picked at random for yet another search before boarding. No, it wasn't a strip search.

O.K. let's take off.

No, our plane's public address system was not working and it is against the laws of God and nature for us to take off without one we found out. We sat in the plane for three hours while they fixed it.

The scheduled 11 hour flight went well especially since the seats in coach are now wider apparently. I watched Russell Crowe's new version of "Robin Hood," defintely different from my favorite Errol Flynn version.

Once at LAX, the Terrorism Alert reached new heights. Passport Control, baggage collection and exit usually is about a 20 minute affair. Today it would take over an hour!

I had originally told my Mother and Aunt that after my 1:00 p.m. arrival, Laurie and I would drive over to their house in San Marino, about 20 miles from the airport to say hello. They offered to make us lunch and as an added bonus, my sister Linda who lives in Santa Barbara was there on a visit.

Instead, it was now after 5:00 p.m. and we now needed to fight crosstown, rush hour traffic to get to them. It took two hours.

When we finally arrived, we were shocked that Casa Contreras had been turned into. . .

Albergue Contreras

We went with the Pilgrim's Menu and had a fabulous meal. They appeared to enjoy my Camino de Santiago slide show and had lots of questions and comments.

Finally, at about 9:00 p.m. local time, 5:00 a.m. London time, Laurie drove the one hour to Camarillo while I dozed off for some reason.

It was good to be home.


David said...

Welcome home. I look forward to seeing you soon, and hearing the stories that didn't make it onto the blog.

George said...

There are many.