Saturday, June 7, 2014

Conejo Classic Passing Tournament

On Wednesday I got a phone call from Doug Dagan, the Varsity Defensive Back Coach at Newbury Park regarding today's annual Conejo Classic Passing Tournament that was held at Moorpark College.

The tournament is made up of 24 Varsity teams but Doug had a problem. Trabuco Hills H.S. was forced to drop out at the last second and Doug needed a team to fill in for them.

Would our JV Newbury Park squad be willing to bite the bullet?



Thus, thanks to the help of a lot of parents providing transportation, our JVs left NPHS at 7:15 a.m. for the drive to Moorpark College and an 8:30 a.m. game against Laurie's alma mater, Crescenta Valley H.S.

It would be a GREAT day for an American football tournament and a fun day for me to see a lot of my old coaching buddies.

Rich Herrera

Rich was the Head Baseball Coach at Westlake H.S. when I was the Head Football Coach there back in the 1980s. He was there supporting his new local school Valencia H.S. who we would play later in the day.

Game 1 vs. Crescenta Valley H.S.

Our boys were a bit nervous but I thought that we did a good job in terms of giving effort.  We lost but we had some very positive flashes. 

Dennis Gossard

Dennis was an outstanding single-wing tailback at Crescenta Valley H.S. back in 1964 when our St. Francis H.S. team played them. He has been coaching at C.V. for a long time and his son serves as the team's Offensive Coordinator.

Game 2 vs. Arleta H.S.

I forgot to get a picture with their coach Bill Coan who is a San Fernando Valley warhorse of a coach.

Our boys continued to impress us with their effort.

Bill Irace

I played JC football with Bill at Glendale College in 1965. He is always a fun man to see at these tournaments and is helping at Crescenta Valley H.S. with Dennis Gossard. 

Spacing vs. Arleta

Game #3 vs. Valencia H.S.

The Vikings were easily the best team in our four team pool and won easily but still, we had our moments.

I like our kids a lot, we are going to do well this year if we keep progressing.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Visitors in Camarillo and a Trip to Seattle

Catching up yet again . . .

We have been busy the last two weeks with a great visit as Jenn, Andy and Kevin came into Camarillo from Las Vegas for five fun filled days, the start of Newbury Park H.S. JV American football Spring practice and a trip to Seattle for Sophie Johnson's high school graduation.


With the Contreras Clan back together for a few days, it meant only one thing . . .

Grandchild CRAZINESS!!!

Kevin up to his usual antics

So Jacob just had to follow his lead

We can DANCE!!!

The Happy Song from the movie Despicable Me 2 did the trick for these two.

Yet again.

 Learning about a New Toy

Jenn and Mike explaining the concept, and then, surprisingly . . .

They SHARED!!!!!!!!

Kevin, Jenn and Jacob

 "Gimme Two!"

The Santa Barbara Zoo

On Friday, we loaded up the car as Laurie and I joined Andy and Jenn for a trip for the cousins to see the animals.

Mike and Vanessa used the always lame excuse that they had to work that day.

 Kevin and Jacob
The Calm before the STORM!

Turtle chasing Duck

The Cousins took this scene in earnestly and, unbeknownst to us, made a blood-oath pact to do the same the rest of the day.

There they GO!!!

On the Zoo Train

Andy riding with his son Kevin up front and Jacob with me behind them.

 Kevin had a GREAT time!

He and Jacob left us all exhausted! 

Nothing that a hamburger at The Spot in Carpinteria couldn't fix as it turned out.

Back at Casa Contreras

Jacob swinging for the short
right field fence

 Kevin taking his hacks as well

To top everything off, a HUGE thanks to Andy who was able to reconstruct/reinforce our relatively new bed frame that was either cheaply made or unable to support my weight (Laurie is as light as a feather you know). I know that he did not get his knowledge of woodworking from my side of the family, thank you Grandpa Bill!

It is always SO MUCH fun when we all get together. We will do it again later this Summer when the eight of us get together again for a week at a beach house in Carpinteria.


Sophie Johnson's Graduation

On Sunday, we got up bright and early for the drive to the Bob Hope Burbank Airport and a flight to Seattle.

We had been invited for the end of a very busy weekend, as our friends Susie and Mark Johnson's oldest daughter was graduating from Holy Names Academy (founded in 1880).

I say busy because the powers that be at this exclusive, girls only high school planned to keep the soon-to-be-graduates busy long before we arrived.

Friday night was their Baccalaureate.

Saturday was their Prom.

Sunday night was their Graduation and all-night after graduation party (no males allowed).

Monday afternoon (Memorial Day) was a BBQ for family and friends at the Johnson House.


 Holy Names Academy
2014 Graduation at
Benaroya Hall

Benaroya Hall Balconies
They were packed too

The Graduation was held in this sparkling new music hall in downtown Seattle, not on their campus.

Again, WOW!!!

Sophie and her proud Parents

The Graduation was lovely and Sophie's next stop is the Honors Program at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

 Beth's Cafe 12 Egg Omelette

Sunday night at about 11:00 p.m., Sophie's younger sister Mallory mentioned that she had never been to Beth's for a shot at one of their infamous omelets. 

Since Sophie was with her classmates on their all-night Graduation Party, Mark and I, in unison,
yelled . . . "ROAD TRIP!" 

After changing into more suitable clothes befitting Beth's iconic standing and clientele, we arrived at this historic 24 hours-a-day diner at midnight. It was packed and we had nine people in front of us but, due to the high turnover, we were seated within 10 minutes.

We team-ate about 3/4s of the omelet and took the rest home. I really can't believe that we did not eat the whole thing to a sickening American culinary excess.

Mark and I are getting old, I guess.

Mallory played the "I'm Petite" card on us.


Another BEAUTIFUL day in Seattle!

It was so nice that I even walked the Johnson's little dog/puff ball, Millie.

What were the odds of that.

The Johnson's have one of the most incredible views out of the back of their home, the Montlake Cut built in 1916.

The Cut links Lake Washington via Portage Bay and Lake Union to the Puget Sound. Their home is just a short walk from the University of Washington's recently renovated Husky Stadium.

 The Cut is home to the UW Crew

Sailboats on Portage Bay

BIG Boat heading to the Cut

 The UW Hospital across the Cut

The Montlake Draw Bridge

The previous five pictures were all taken either in the Johnson's backyard or near it.

We were sent out to get some ice and . . . 

. . . wouldn't you know it,
this burger place was nearby

Their burger was quite good but their onion rings might have been the BEST I've ever had!

I've had a few onion rings over the years as it turns out.

The ice we bought was exceptional too.

 Mark Thanking People

At the the BBQ, Mark, Susie and Sophie wanted to thank several people who were keys along the way. Mark is introducing/thanking Sophie's eight grade teacher here.

Lee and Jon Kadletz

While Jon was one of my roommates back in the 1960s, Laurie first met him in elementary school growing up in La Crescenta, California.

He and Lee got married soon after he graduated from the UW.

They moved back to Seattle from SoCal several years ago and we just don't see them often enough.

Another View of the Cut

Sunset over Portage Bay

Everyone had left the BBQ but
Laurie had one more smore to make


We stayed an extra day as we got a ridiculously cheap air flight rate if we left Seattle on Tuesday night.

This gave us a chance to have breakfast at the Edgewater Inn with two of our favorite people Christie and Jason Johnson. We first met them in 2008 when Jason was the QB of Sicily's Catania Elephants and I was one of their coaches.

It was SO good to see them and catch up!

 The Space Needle

I think that this is famous in these parts.

 French Food for Lunch in Ballard!

Nope, closed on Tuesdays.

Instead we ate a pig or two at the excellent Bitterroot BBQ restaurant just down the street.

 Susie and Laurie

Before an easy flight home, we spent the rest of Tuesday afternoon in the Johnson's backyard watching the world go by on the Montlake Cut.

And having some wine.

Don't get too close

A Sea Plane in the Cut?

 That's more like it

George and Mark

We've had a good friendship for a long time . . .

. . . a VERY long time indeed!

This is a picture of us as skydivers in October of 1969.

It was our first and only time to jump out of an airplane. We each went solo as the concept of a tethered jump with an instructor to guide you was not yet a safety concern or concept.

Reading Is FUNdamental

This was the tenth book by the truly great Norwegian crime noir author Jo Nesbø that I have read.

He NEVER disappoints!

Thanks to our son Andy for giving me this book about pilgrims discussing several facets of life, history and politics in Cuba as they walk the Camino de Santiago.

Not a great example of flowing prose but it did cover two of my favorite topics so, yes, I liked it even though I can not agree with all of his assessments about Cuba. The fact that he rode busses on the Camino did not sit well with me either.

Cuba is in the Soul