Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

Last weekend was a long one by both design and emotions.

Let's start with the feast that is Thanksgiving . . .

Grandson Kevin

On Thursday, we drove to my mother's home in San Marino for a family reunion and some turkey.

Kevin and his second cousin Max

Andy, Jenn and Kevin came from their home in North Las Vegas and joined Mike, Vanessa and Jacob and the rest of our extended family for a bitter-sweet evening as we would be together for the first time since the passing of our beloved Aunt Katy a week ago. 

Want to play dominoes?

After a good afternoon and evening of family, food and football, we were awakened on Friday by Kevin's desire to not really play dominoes but to instead show us that he could correctly count all of the spots on each domino.

He was a bit perplexed when he picked up the one domino without spots though.

St. Andrew's Church
Pasadena, California

On Friday morning after a nice service in this church, we laid Aunt Katy to rest after which we returned to the house for a lovely reception to be with friends and family and try and remember the good times.

I don't know what else to say except that we all loved her and will miss her greatly.

From this emotional low-point of the weekend, we had to quickly rebound because that night we had a C.I.F. semi-final Northern Division playoff contest to play.

And we were going to have two Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons in the house to boot!

Franck Lonn and Vivien Villard

Franck and Vivien had been in the U.S. for about two weeks having visited San Francisco, Las Vegas and the greater Los Angeles megalopolis.

While in NorCal, they had visited with our former Falcon QB John van den Raadt and his bride Robin.

I have no clue, nor do I want to know, what these two wild men did in Las Vegas.

In SoCal, they had a great time with last season's Falcon coach Gregg Campbell and his wife Alida and son P.J. On the previous Friday they attended a C.I.F. playoff game in Orange County, on Saturday they drove to the Rose Bowl to see the annual USC-UCLA Battle for the Bell, and on Sunday they took the train to San Diego for the Rams-Chargers NFL game.


We were scheduled to join them for the Rams-Chargers game but had to bow out due to Aunt Katy's passing.

Instead, the boys came with fun presents and attended our game at Newbury Park as the 10-2 Panthers hosted the 10-2 Atascadero Greyhounds in what would be a shootout of major proportions!

Panther QB Daniel Prieto

So far this season, Daniel has thrown for 3,577 yards and 46 TDs against only 5 interceptions while completing 69.5% of his tosses.


Sophomore WR Darnay Holmes

Darnay has caught 87 passes for 1,349 yards and 15 TDs.

Senior WR Darick Holmes, Jr.

Going into this contest, Darick had not played in the previous five games due to an injury. Still, he has solid stats with 46 catches for 725 yards and 12 TDs. He is committed to playing for the Arizona Wildcats next year.

Senior RB Matthew Matlock

After missing several games at the start of the season due to injury, he is finishing strong with 1,301 yards rushing and 7 TDs.

NPHS Head Coach Gary Fabricus
Why is this man smiling?

Why are these JVs
on the Varsity smiling?

Because we WON!!!

We are off to the C.I.F. Northern Division Championship tonight as this incredible shootout ended when the Panther defense stopped the Greyhounds two-point play and the win about a foot short of the goal line.


As I said, as I write this we are preparing to leave Newbury Park H.S. at noon for the trip up to Paso Robles to play the 12-1 Bearcats. They were ranked #1 in our division most of the year until being upset by Atascadero on the last night of the regular season.

The 11-2 Panthers at the 12-1 Bearcats . . . should be a good one!


Kevin is a Husky Fan!

On Saturday we just lazed at Casa Contreras watching a plethora of great college football games culminated by the Apple Cup, the Washington Huskies at the Washington State Cougars. We also celebrated our daughter-in-law, Jenn's birthday with a great tri-tip meal, presents, cake and candles!

The Dawgs won easily this time.


Because I am leaving for my new coaching job in Murcia, Spain in mid-December and because our family was all in town for the weekend, we decided to have our Christmas gift-giving, for the grandkids mostly, on Sunday.

More on the Cobras at the end of this post.

Jacob was into the moment

Cousin Itt?

Jacob and Kevin about to have their
first squabble of the morning over toys

Kevin and his Dad love Star Wars


Andy, George and Mike

It is always good to be with the boys and their families.

Kevin and Jacob bonding

A boy and his train

Laurie's famous football Christmas tree

Proud Grandparents

R2D2 was a big hit for Kevin

Christmas Present Mania!

Reading Is FUNdamental

The true story of the tales that led to novels like The Hunt for Red October.

A great read if you are a fan of naval history.


I finally received my plane ticket from the Cobras for the start of my coaching stint in the southeast corner of the Iberian Peninsula. As always, they found a deal . . .

It will be an interesting journey.

I will first take an Aeroflot jet at 3:55 p.m. from Los Angeles to Mother Russia!

After 12 hours and 25 minutes in the air, I land in Moscow at 3:20 p.m. Marx-Lenin Standard Time the next day.

Once in Russia, I have a four hour layover before boarding another Aeroflot plane for the five hour and 20 minute flight back west to Madrid.

I will land in the Spanish capital at 10:40 p.m. Conquistador Standard time the day after leaving California after 21 hours and 45 minutes of traveling not counting the drive to LAX and being their at least the suggested two hours before the initial flight takes off. It also does not count the time that will be needed in Madrid to go through customs, grab my stored luggage and take a taxi to my usual quaint and centrally located accommodations at the Hostel Las Fuentes.

It's going to be a long day.

I was able to convince the Cobras that once in Madrid, letting me stay for a full day to somewhat recover from Jet Lag would be a good thing before meeting the team for the first time. It also gives me time for hot chocolate and churros at the Chocolatería San Ginés just around the corner from the Hostel, a chance to see the Christmas Market in nearby Plaza Mayor, and time to visit the amazing Prado Museum.

1-2-3 COBRAS!!!

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