Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Reading Is FUNdamental

This is the second of Kate Mosse's trilogy of mystical life in France's Midi-Pyrennes region that I have read this Summer.

It was a good read and I look forward to reading the final book in her Languedoc trilogy, Sepulchre sometime soon.

Unfortunately, I will not have read these books in their sequential order. The correct order would have been to read Labyrinth first, then Sepulchre and finish with Citadel.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hectic Sunday

Sunday was a bit more hectic than usual due to a snafu at the end of our Manzanillo trip.

We were scheduled to leave Manzanillo at 11:50 a.m. on Saturday for a short flight on AeroMexico to Mexico City where we would have a 75 minute layover before boarding an Air Tran flight to Santa Ana's John Wayne Airport.

We were smoothly going through our check-in process until our AeroMexico agent very apologetically informed us that our flight would be at least one hour late.

Of course, this meant that we would miss our connection in Mexico City. The people at AeroMexico were great in securing us a spot on a 4:00 p.m. Alaska Air flight to Los Angeles with all of our friends.

Since they had all flown out of LAX, it was easy enough to hitch a ride back to the Camarillo with the FitzGeralds.

The problem was that our car was still in Santa Ana.

Thus on Sunday I boarded a train in Camarillo at 7:18 a.m. for the three hour ride to Santa Ana. My sister-in-law Gayle, who lives nearby, picked me up at the train station and graciously gave me a ride to the airport.

From there I was off to my Mother's house for a visit. Guess who I found there?

"Oh God, more paparazzi!"

It was none other than young Jacob Contreras.

"Feed Me, SVP"

Vanessa, our niece Lauren and her
newborn Max were in the house too!

Our son Mike, my sisters Linda
and Marilyn, Lauren and Max

After visiting for a few hours, I was off to Cal State University-Northridge to pick up our friend from Lyon, Lucie Damboise.

She has been living in the San Fernando Valley with first our friends the Sabolics and more recently in the dorms at CSUN while she studies American culture and the English language. She will spend her last two weeks in California living with us in Camarillo.

Lucie with her two Brazilian friends
Suzani and Julianna

They are also CSUN students that she met through her university program.

After picking her up, we drove directly to a 70th birthday party in Camarillo at Yolanda's Mexican Food Restaurant.

Rod, Jason and Scott Fujita

Can you guess which one was celebrating their birthday?

Lucie and Laurie

Lucie is now safe and sound in Casa Contreras.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Manzanillo, Mexico

After our niece Amy's wedding last weekend we flew down to Manzanillo for what promised to be a very fun week by Mexico's Pacific Ocean coast.

Manzanillo is a funny sounding word so I looked it up in the dictionary. It comes from two ancient tribal words as it turns out.

The first part of this wonderful seaside resort city's name comes from the word Aztec "Manxa" meaning "125% humidity."

The last part of its name is from an even more ancient language. "Neyo" is Mayan for "hotter than the face of the Sun."

They knew well of what they spoke.

We arrived via Mexico City
late Sunday afternoon

Our resort home in La Punta
was gorgeous! 

With a nice view of the bay too

We simply settled in that night before getting ready to play an early round of golf at the Las Hadas Golf Course . . .

 A VERY early round of golf!

We had lots of spectators

One of my numerous bad lies

Notice the pin which is protected by a bunker in the background . . . wonderful

 Interesting Tree

The Las Hadas' 18th Hole

The Pacific Ocean serves as a nice water hazard. Our foursome put our first seven drives into the water. Our eighth  shot, in a best ball format, landed in the sand trap in front of the golf cart seen here.

We were all ECSTATIC!!!

After an amazing day of true golf mastery worthy of the PGA tour, we retired to our La Punta home base.

A park across the way

Our pool/patio area

 A good place to read and relax

 The Dining Area

 Our Room


Dinner Time!

GREAT Chile Rellenos

 Seen on our post dinner constitutional

 Tuesday at a private beach

 World Championship Uno Tournament

Who are all of these people?

Seen here with me, left to right, are Mariana Mezic, Courtney Kelly and Connor "Shifty" Kelly.

We were staying with adults as well.

 Kerry and Mike Kelly

Adriana and Igor Mezic

Brian and Koreen FitzGerald


Another day, another beach. This time it was a public beach.

There is actually a man selling these
priceless items in there somewhere 

Selling her wares atop her head
Shifty got a tattoo

Koreen and Laurie discussed
Global Warming

Mariana, Adriana and Ivana Mezic

In the evening we opted for a Sunset Harbor Cruise.

 Shoving Off

Our skipper was none other than . . .

Captain Jack Sparrow!!!

a.k.a., Victor

We saw the rugged coastline

Preparing absolutely fresh ceviche

How fresh you ask?

It was made from fish that Brian caught about ten minutes earlier and was it ever so tasty! 

 Laurie gave it a shot . . .

 . . . and landed the evening's biggest
Skip Jack

The Skip Jack is a member of the tuna family.

 Ebb and Flow

 Pray to the BVM as you ship out

Blow Hole

 A Golden Sunset

Or perhaps you prefer a . . .

. . . Red Sunset

Adriana and Laurie were shipmates

Laurie caught another one


 From the Dining Hall

 Our Pool

Laurie took this shot of the troops

An Italian Dinner in the Las Hadas Resort

 Mike wearing a halo after breaking
his neck in a brutal surfing accident
earlier in the day

 Celebrating Ivana's (Ivy) 15th Birthday

"On three, everybody take a photo"

Brian can be such a kill joy.

 My hair grows quickly in this humidity

Siren Kerry

The Kelly Kids

Night at the Las Hadas Harbor

 A neighbor's home

 Cool Light

A bit of a Moorish flavor 

Our Street

Our House

The FitzGerald's room's ceiling

 Back to the private beach

 Life under a palapa

Auditioning for a Corona commercial

Piñata Magic

A second Birthday Cake for Ivy

Swing it Ivy!!!

 A peaceful View

What a GREAT week in Manzanillo!

Back to life.

Back to reality.