Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sicilian Invasion of Ventura County

GREAT news today as two of our favorite people, Peppe Strano and his wife Valeria Guglielmino, from our two seasons coaching in Catania, Sicily came to Camarillo to first clean out the Camarillo Outlet Mall an then to visit with us for a fun time.

The Sicilian Trinacria flag
was set out to greet them

Valeria, on the left, was a member of the Italian Women's Ice Hockey Team in the XX Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy in 2006.

Laurie, on the other hand, watched those games intently on TV in Camarillo.

Peppe is still the TE/H-Back
on the Catania Elephants

Peppe is a good receiver that runs well after catching the ball and has played on the Italian National Team, the Azzuri, in international tournaments.

Valeria and Peppe at Chuy's in Camarillo

Married for just a little over a year, one of their first stops on their Western U.S.A. tour was Las Vegas, Nevada where they renewed their vows in one of Sin City's numerous wedding chapels.

Chips, Tri-Tip sandwiches and burgers were the calls for the evening's meal.

As I said, earlier in the day they pretty much cleaned out the Outlet Mall here in town. Thanks for supporting the city's economy!

Our close friends, Brian and Koreen FitzGerald, were very generous in offering the use of their family's condo on the beach in Carpinteria to Peppe and Valeria. After a week in Las Vegas with side trips to the Grand Canyon and Utah's Monument Valley, a couple of days relaxing at "The World's safest Beach" will be a welcome event I'm sure.


More Used Football Gear for Europe

Thanks to the generosity of various local schools and Pop Warner organizations, the help of Laurie in taping up boxes and some Rio Mesa football players helping to load up a rental truck, we were able to send A LOT of much needed used football equipment to Sweden and Sicily in the last few weeks.

Behind Laurie are 12 boxes (28"x28"x20") full of Youth sized helmets, shoulder pads, practice pants, knee pads, thigh pads, hip pads, tail pads and girdles. We shipped all of these boxes off to the Hässleholm Hurricanes via a slow boat that will deliver these goods in about five weeks. We got a great rate thanks to California Shipping's Magnus Karlsson, a former Göteborg Marvel of the Swedish American Football Federation.

Over the last two weeks we have also been mailing, via USPS Parcel Post, a series of 18 smaller boxes (20"x20"x20", the largest allowed by the USPS) to Sicily's Catania Elephants as well. Their gear was of the Adult variety and consisted of mostly shoulder pads.

Lots of work and a near divorce but it was worth it and making up with Laurie is always a good thing!!!

Another Solid Sicilian Mystery Novel

This is the third novel by Sicilian Andrea Camilleri, starring Inspector Salvatore Montalbano, that I have read in the last two months. Another quick, fun read with lots of flashbacks to our wonderful lifestyle in Sicily.


Here is another link to an update on Cat Conti's relentless pursuit of her dream, to become the first female referee in NFL history. Cat is a Ventura County product who is now working Diivision I college games in the Southland Conference.


The Rio Mesa Spartans tee it up at 7:00 p.m. Friday night at Ventura H.S. to take on the talented 2-0 Cougars.

On Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Peppe and Valeria will join us to watch Jason Johnson's Pacific Lutheran University Lutes (1-0) take on the California Lutheran Kingsmen (0-1) at Moorpark College. The game had to be moved because CLU's brand new football stadium is still not quite finished.


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