Sunday, May 18, 2014

Two Weeks of Catching Up

Haven't posted in quite a long time, so here goes . . .

Double-Dip Weekend 

Laurie has gotten a bit of the short end of the stick every May for the last forty years as her birthday, May 7, and Mother's Day are always just a few days apart. 

Birthday Celebration First

Wine was involved.

Who would have guessed?

She danced the traditional
Birthday Dance with Jacob

Jacob read all of Gigi's cards to her

What's in the locket Gigi?

Kevin and Jacob, of course

Enjoying the celebration
with the . . .

. . . appropriate non-matching sox

Time for some more Birthday Fun

Wizard of Oz cake

Helping Gigi with the candle

Rainbow cake but of course!

With Laurie, Mom, Gigi

I think that Laurie had a very good day as her age and the name of one of America's most famous highways are now the same.

No, not the Pacific Coast 101 Highway.

Mother's Day

At my Mother's house with my aunt Katie, sister Marilyn, grand nephew Max, niece Lauren, mother Chuny, sister Linda and my bride Laurie.

SoCal Heat Wave Continues

A home made popsicle does the trick. 

Sandine of Chocolatine

She and her husband are the new owners of this excellent French bistro in Thousand Oaks. They hail from a small town near our beloved Lyon, France and Sandine has the sweet accent to prove it.

I have yet to meet her husband but since he is the bistro's baker and his croissants and pain au chocolat are both absolutely heavenly, he is my new best friend forever. He just doesn't know it yet.

Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers

Thanks to the generosity of one of our former football/baseball players from Westlake H.S., Gene McMillion, we were able to go to this game last Wednesday night and sit in the posh Lexus Dugout Club to boot!

Check out the Rings

Mike, Vanessa and Jackie

The View from our Seats

Life-long Dodger Fan

One of Roy Campanella's three
National League MVP Awards

Unfortunately for Los Angeles fans, they were all won when the team was still in Brooklyn and before Campy's terrible career ending, paralyzing car crash.

Dodger Gold Glove Winners

#14 Gil Hodges, First Base

One of the club's all-time greats! His best years were in Brooklyn.

#9, Wally Moon, Left Field

The spark plug of the 1959 World Championship L.A. Dodger team.

Two Mustaches

Mike with Kirk Gibson's 1988 NL MVP Award. 

Don Newcombe's First Ever
1956 Cy Young Award

To make this honor even greater, in 1956 this award was given to the best pitcher in major league baseball only. Today they give one of these to the best pitcher in each league annually.

A young boy playing in Dodger
Stadium's dirt before the first pitch

Looking up at Vinnie from our seats

Members of the WNBA's
Los Angeles Sparks were on hand

They had dinner right next to us in the Dugout Club's restaurant.

Paul Maholm started on
the mound for the Dodgers

He got lit up BIG time by the Marlins.

Though this pitch was a strike

Dee Gordon carries 1/3
of his weight in his pockets

Dodger Outfielder
Yasiel Puig

Powerful, fast, a Dodger and a Cuban is a good way to go through life.

The first four of the Dodgers'
World Championship Banners

They also cover the peak years of my interest in the club as a youngster growing up near Dodger Stadium.

Dodger Ambassador
Tommy LaSorda

He autographed a baseball for our daughter-in-law Vanessa and sat about 15 meters away from us.

Adjustable Belts in the Bigs

That surprised our son Mike a lot.

Me too.

Great Beard on Dodger
Reliever Brian Wilson

Come On Andre Ethier!!!

Miami Marlins Rookie Pitcher
Anthony DeSclafani

His major league debut was a good one as he was the winning pitcher in a Miami 13-3 victory. He pitched six strong innings giving up only two earned runs.

With Laurie, Vanessa and Mike

Great night despite the Dodgers abysmal performance. Thanks again to Gene McMillion but it should be noted for the sake of the Dodgers that in the two times that Gene has given us his seats the Dodgers have lost both games by a combined score of 23-4.

We need to concentrate more on the game!

EuroBall Aid Continues

96 Used Jerseys

Mihai Grigoras of Romania's Cruj Crusaders American football team contacted me about trying to gather up any and all donated equipment for his team. One e-mail and voilà, 96 used jerseys in very good condition!

Although a rival Romanian squad is three months in arrears in paying me back a sizable amount of money for gear that I sent them, our new pay-first shipping policy was agreeable to Mihai and the Crusaders.

Selim Baccouche

After months of e-mailing and Facebook messaging with Selim, today we finally met for the first time.

Selim is from Paris and is living his American football dream by playing defensive tackle for Santa Monica College. He is working hard to hopefully earn a Division I scholarship after the upcoming junior college campaign.

Our day was highlighted by his complete devouring of a Cronies Sports Bar Big Daddy Burger.

Good guy!

Reading is FUNdamental

Iraq, genetic engineering gone wild, fractals, Louisiana swamps, power mad scientists . . .

I liked it all.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Earl Derr Biggers

Reading Is FUNdamental

I enjoyed yet another adventure into the ever so inexpensive world of reading on a kindle device.

This tome included three Biggers' stories that did not feature his most famous character, Charlie Chan.

The three stories were The Agony Column, Inside the Lines and Seven Keys to Baldpate.

All were interesting but I still love his Charlie Chan stories much more interesting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Awards and Heat

The past week was HOT in Camarillo but we survived thanks to some awesome awards ceremonies.

National Honor Society
Newbury Park High School Chapter

Mike Contreras
Teaching with Honor Award - Service

Our son Mike is on the right as one of his students, Hayden Exstrom, reads the reasons why Mike earned this award.

Mike as a Reader of
new NHS Members

Besides honoring four NPHS teachers, a counselor and an administrator for their Teaching with Honor in the areas of Character, Service, Leadership, Scholarship and Lifetime Achievement, the Honor Society was a also installing their new members on this warm evening.

New NHS Members on Stage

Yaser Khokhar

Yaser is one of the new NHS members and was a lineman on our NPHS JV football team last Fall. Three other members of that team were similarly inducted but were unable to attend the ceremonies. Missing were Liam Metcalf, Kyle Popok and Chris Reusch.

What a great honor for these four JV football playing Panthers! I am very proud of all four of them. 

Jason Klein and Michael Contreras

Jason is the Athletic Coordinator at NPHS and the Varsity Defensive Coordinator. On this night he also was selected as the NHS Teaching with Honor Award - Character winner.

Richly deserved. 

Mike was headed to Tombstone
right after the award ceremony

Laurie and I were very proud of Mike's award to say the least.

Tierra Linda School
Hawk Pride Award

Continuing with our award theme, I accompanied family friend Cyndy Murphy to her son Dylan's elementary school, Tierra Linda, to see him receive his award for his very positive outlook on life and showing great leadership in his class.

 Dylan Moore

Dylan with his Teacher and
School Principal

Meanwhile, back at the Grand Parenting duties . . .

Jacob enjoying a hot day
in the backyard with a hose

It does not get any better than this at the age of two!

Yes, the barber strike in Ventura County drags on for yet another month.

Taking over Poppo's iPad to 
watch The Minions in action

A close second to the outdoor water fun.

Life goes on . . .