Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Being a Tourist in Your Own Town and the 2016 Holiday Bowl

Monday, December 26, 2016:

Another BEAUTIFUL day in Southern California could only mean one thing, it was time to be a tourist in our own town!

Jesus and I loaded ourselves into the Honda and took off to see some of the greater Los Angeles area's more famous sites.

First stop: Pasadena's Rose Bowl

Jesus realized quickly that they
were getting ready to host the
"GrandDaddy of Them All"

 Penn State will be playing . . .

. . . Jesus' own Simpson College Storm
it appears

After a quick walk around Pasadena's trendy Old Town, we headed into the heart of Los Angeles for lunch at . . .

. . . Philippe's

Double dip beef and pork sandwiches were the call.

Philippe's was crowded as usual

After lunch, we were off to Griffith Park.

Near the Griffith Park Observatory

Lots of hiking trails in the distance

 Three Icons
Movie Star James Dean
The Hollywood Sign in the distance
Murcia Cobras WR Jesus Clemente

We then drove down Hollywood Boulevard and Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive before arriving at . . .

Venice Beach

The Sun was setting but we still
enjoyed some people watching
on the boardwalk

Jesus was in spired at
Venice's Muscle Beach

 Nice Hall of Fame Plaque

 Beautiful sunset at Venice Beach

Jesus' seeing Muscle Beach
inspired to rip off a quick
25 pull-ups

Or was it 30?

We were not done yet

The Santa Monica Pier

By the Santa Monica Pier's
tribute to famed U.S. Route 66

Jesus' burger for dinner
at Bandits Bar and Grill
in Camarillo

It was a great, long day to be sure and there was more in store for us on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016:

Our son Mike joined Jesus and I for a 7:00 a.m. blastoff south to "America's Greatest City," San Diego.

Why San Diego today you ask?

Why the 39th Annual
Holiday Bowl of course

The Big Ten's Minnesota Golden Gophers entered their first ever Holiday Bowl game with an 8-4 record.

The PAC-12's Washington State Cougars were playing in their  second ever Holiday Bowl having lost to BYU 38-36 in the 1981 game. The Cougars were also 8-4 on the campaign.

 A visit to Old Town
was mandatory

 I should have bought this
awesome poncho

Jesus at a Cougar tailgate

 The Holiday Bowl's stadium is also
the home of the San Diego Chargers

But not for long unfortunately for San Diego's NFL fans according to the press. The Spanos family that owns the team wants to move them back to Los Angeles where the Chargers played their first AFL season back in 1960.

 Jesus was heading into the Fan Zone

With Gene Alim

I got to finally meet Gene, a legendary coach in San Diego high school circles for years and now in EuroBall as well.

He will be reporting soon to help coach the Reus Imperials that play in Spain's top league, the Serie A. 

Jesus and I with Gene's friend
Susie, her daughter Tiffany and
his daughter Vanessa

The view of the stadium and Jesus
from our $8.90 seats

The supply of these $30 tickets far outstripped demand on StubHub. We reaped the benefits.

4:00 p.m. Opening Kickoff at
an empty Qualcomm Stadium

While both school's fan bases traveled well to San Diego, I believe that the problem was that people from Southern California who did not have strong WSU or Minnesota ties simply did not come to the game.

Too bad for them
as it was a nice setting

Mike and I were having a good time

Jesus took this panoramic photo

We were all glad to be at the
game even though both offenses
were struggling

Minnesota "M" at halftime
or a "W" if you were on the
WSU sideline

Halftime fireworks

The game itself was not full of fireworks.

Por ejemplo, WSU scored a TD with less than a minute left to play to make the score 17-12 in favor of Minnesota. A two point PAT attempt was definitely in order for the Cougars. 

Here is what unfolded:
Attempt #1 from the three yard line, incomplete pass but Minnesota called for pass interference.

Attempt #2 from the 1 1/2 yard line, WSU illegal procedure before the snap.

Attempt #3 from 6 1/2 yard line, incomplete pass, Minnesota off sides.

Attempt #4 from the 3 1/4 yard line, incomplete pass, no penalties.

Minnesota recovered the WSU onside kick, took a knee and went home with a 17-12 victory.

We got into our car at 8:01 p.m. and, thanks to zero traffic, were back in Camarillo by 10:45 p.m.

Mike and I had a great time sharing Jesus' first ever college bowl game experience. Good times indeed!

 Reading Is FUNdamental

I have now read 17 of the 20
"Jack Reacher" books

As the cover says, "Pure, escapist gold."

The Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie was loosely based on this particular book.

Thanks again to Mike D'Antuono for telling me about these fun reads years ago.

Christmas Day 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016:

Christmas Day is always a big day at our home as usually all of my side of the family reunites in Camarillo to exchange gifts and enjoy each other's company.

As for the gifts, we now only give presents to the undersized newest members of the family, as we all feel that we, the older folk, have more than enough possessions in our lives.

Jesus helping Laurie do
some prep work for our meal

Mary digging into
the cheeses and dips

 Great to have Jacob and Mary
in the house

We were missing Andy, Jenn and Kevin a whole bunch today, but we will see them soon in Las Vegas.

Jesus' team is the Murcia Cobras

"Gigi, when can we
open the presents?"

"Presents? What presents?"

Mike with cousin Leo

Cousin Max digging in with gusto

My Mom talking over the life of la
Duquesa de Alba with Jesus

 This one is for you Max

Mary's first Barbies

Jacob likes big presents

My sister Linda, Leo and
our niece Lauren

 Linda giving the necessary Barbie
tips to little Mary

Max and Jacob hugging after
signing their Christmas Present
Peace Accord

 Mike helping Mary

 "Jacob, would you like me
to help you open that present?"

"Thank you Aunt Linda!"

Great Grandmother Chuny
replacing Mary's hair ribbon

A boy and his troop transport plane

My sister Linda, me, my sister Marilyn
Our Mother Chuny

After our family left, Mary and Jacob still had their Christmas stockings to unload.

"What could it be?"

Christmas present overload


 "I really LOVE Christmas!"


"Jesus, do you want to have
a tea party with me?"

Vanessa and Mary

 Jesus seemed to have a good
time with our family today

Granddaughters are something
to ponder daily

Mary, me, Jacob and Laurie 

Laurie served up another great dinner with turkey, ham and all of the trimmings.

It was a joyous day for all of us I believe.