Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Graduation Party, a Wedding and EuroBall Updates

This just in from TripAdvisor:

This internet travel site has just released its Top Ten list of Beachfront Hotels. Coming in at #6 was the Mazzaro Sea Palace in Taormina, Sicily. I loved that they said Sicily not Italy.

Taormina is an awesome destination on Sicily's Ionian Sea Coast that everyone looking to relax for a few days after a week or two of sightseeing should seriously consider.

Part of the Taormina, SICILY Beach Scene

Great memories from some of the best days of our lives.

P.S.: TripAdvisor selected the Longboat Key Club and Resort in Longboat Key, Florida as their #1 Beachfront Hotel in the known universe.

The Ventura County Star also kept my Sicilian nostalgia raging as they published a piece by Giovanna Dell'orto in their Escapes travel section titled "Aeolian Islands: Simple Beauty - Clear water, tranquility off coast of Sicily." This article concentrated on the island of Salina and just as with Taormina's beaches, if you ever get the chance to spend a few days relaxing on any of the Aeolian Islands, you will be much the better for it!

Meanwhile, back in Ventura County, California. . .

Party at Mike and Vanessa's!

Saturday afternoon we continued to celebrate Vanessa's earning of her Master's Degree with a very nice get together with the usual suspects at Mike and Vanessa's apartment.

Walt Disney's Favorite Fan

It is Cap and Gown Season in America

Lots of Family and Friends
Lots of Fun

My sisters Marilyn and Linda with
our mother Chuny

They seemed to enjoy their first visit to Mike and Vanessa's new digs.

Graduation Gifts

What red-blooded American girl doesn't like to open presents?

Disney Princess Wrapping Paper

Who would have ever thought it possible?

Brighton Charms

Vanessa owns a Brighton charm bracelet and many of the people in attendance gave her more charms to add to it on this happy occasion.

It was great until, at the end of opening up all of the presents, Vanessa realized that one of the charms, a lucky horse shoe, was missing. A thorough scouring of the scene including going through the trash can resulted in nothing.

What to do?

Call in Sherlock Contreras of course!

Michael examined all of the clues in an attempt to deduce the missing horse shoe's whereabouts, making everyone happy again.

At about this time, Laurie and I had to leave this party to drive over to Ventura's Wedgewood Banquet and Wedding Center located on the grounds of the Buenaventura Golf Course.

The reason for this was the impending union of Kristin Kemsley and Tory Henderson. Kristin had asked me to accept the honor of presiding over their ceremony which I humbly accepted.

As usual, the Flower Girls
tried to steal the show

No dice.

Minister George Contreras
Universal Life Church

PLEASE don't tell Pope Benedict the XVI about this!!!

Kristin and Tory exchanging their vows

With Mr. and Mrs. Henderson

The Wedgewood
A great setting for a reception

I loved their modernistic cake topper

This was the fifth wedding that I have performed over the last few years and I never cease to be overwhelmed that a couple would trust me on this oh so special day in their lives.

Thanks for the honor Kristin and Tory!

EuroBall Updates

2011 Division I Södra Standings
The top two teams at the end of the regular season will play in the 2011 SAFF Division I Playoffs with the top two teams from each of the other three Division I Conferences.

Ystad Rockets (4-0)
Kristianstad Predators (3-0)
Limhamm Griffins (2-1)

Lugi Vikings (0-2)
Ekeby Greys (0-3)
Hässleholm Hurricanes (0-3)

Week 4 Results
Ystad 44 - Hässleholm 0
Kristianstad 26 - Lugi 2
Limhamn 49 - Ekeby 0

Week 5 Games
Saturday, May 21st
Ystad (4-0) at Kristianstad (3-0)
Ekeby (0-3) at Lugi (0-2)

BYES: Hässleholm (0-3) and Limhamn (2-1)

SAAF Division I Södra Notes: There appears to be an obvious split between the haves and the have nots after the first four weeks of Division I Södra play. The biggest problem for the three winless teams (Ekeby, Hässleholm and Lugi) is their shared inability to generate any offense. These three clubs have only been able to score a combined 22 points in their eight games to date. This lack of offensive firepower puts tremendous stress on their defenses who must be on the field for an inordinate amount of time each week and have given up a total of 338 points in the same eight games.

Our Hurricanes continue to struggle on both sides of the ball. Again, the hope is that serious improvement occurs during the BYE week as they prepare to play at Lugi on May 28th.

Big game next weekend as Division I Södra's two undefeated teams, the 3-0 Kristianstad Predators and the 4-0 Ystad Rockets, meet for the first time this season in Kristianstad. It promises to be a great game.

Ystad continues their pursuit of excellence on the heels of last year's outstanding 10-2-1 season that saw them win their Division I playoff pool before losing the Superseries relegation game to Djurgården IF.

Of course, the young, fast, hard charging Predators are coached by Ryan Bolland, the "Pride of Buena H.S." His defense has only given up one touchdown in three games while his offense tops the Division with 132 points scored, a gaudy average of 44.0 points per game. I know Ryan was not pleased with the Predator's performance this week and will work them hard as they prepare for their big game on Saturday.

2011 Italian Football League Standings
The top four teams at the end of the regular season will play in the 2011 IFL Playoffs.

Bologna Warriors 6-0
Ancona Dolphins 4-2
Catania Elephants 4-2
Parma Panthers 4-2
Bolzano Giants 3-3

Milan Rhinos 3-3
Milan Seamen 3-3
Reggio Emilia Hogs 2-4
Lazio Marines 1-5
Bologna Doves 0-6

Week 8 Results
Milan Rhinos 40 - Catania 26
Bolzano 49 - Ancona 48
Lazio 40 - Milan Seamen 28
Bologna Warriors 55 - Bologna Doves 0
Parma 50 - Reggio Emilia 22

Week 9 Games
Saturday, May 21st
Catania (4-2) at Bologna Warriors (6-0)
Bolzano (3-3) at Milan Rhinos (3-3)
Bologna Doves (0-6) at Reggio Emilia (2-4)

Sunday, May 22nd
Ancona (4-2) at Milan Seamen (3-3)
Lazio (1-5) at Parma (4-2)

IFL Notes: There are now only three weeks left in the IFL's regular season. Just like this past weekend, all ten IFL teams will be in action in each of the next three weekends. This lack of BYES is very unusual and refreshing on the part of the league's schedule makers.

The 6-0 Bologna Warriors appear to be separating themselves from the rest of the pack and I would say have to be a lock for at least one of the four playoff spots. After that, things get heated up and quite interesting as the three 4-2 teams (Ancona, Catania and Parma) plus the three 3-3 teams (Bolzano, Milan Rhinos and Milan Seamen) are all in the mix for the other three playoff spots.

As for our favorite team, the Catania Elephants, a seriously challenging schedule awaits them down the stretch after losing to the Rhinos yesterday. After next Saturday's game at Bologna against the undefeated Warriors, the Elephants finish with two home games against the 3-3 Milan Seamen on May 28th and the 3-3 Bolzano Giants on June 5th. Should Ancona, Catania and Parma finish with identical 7-2 records then it will come down to some, I'm sure, weird IFL tiebreaker since all three teams beat each other (Catania beat Parma, Parma beat Ancona and Ancona beat Catania) leaving no clear cut pecking order between these three squads if they all win out.

It should be a very competitive and interesting regular season finish leading up to the start of the IFL playoffs on June 25th.

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