Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Little of This, a Little of That . . .

It's been awhile and lots has happened so, let's catch up . . .

Andy and Mike in our back yard
ca. 1981

Andy was about seven years old which would make Mike about five years old.

Just throwing this picture on the blog because it is one of our favorites of the boys growing up.

An NBA Game

My former colleague at Rio Mesa High School is a die-hard Los Angeles Clippers fan.

She has two half-season tickets to the Clippers home games at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Whenever her husband Tom can't go to a game, she invites a friend to go with her and last week I gladly accepted her offer to go to our second game of the 2016-17 season together.

Parking at the the FIDM
parking lot near the Staples Center

 Pre-game meal at one of
Los Angeles' iconic diners

 The grub at the Original Pantry Cafe
was both ample and good!

By the way Martha, who are the Clippers playing tonight?

Oh, the Milwaukee Bucks . . .

The close, hard fought, entertaining game was won by the Bucks, 97-96.


Jacob's Fifth Birthday

Our Grandson Jacob had a small,
family only birthday party
at our house

Jacob was pumped up about it

Yes, he is ALL boy!

Laurie made him a small
birthday cake, as well as
army men cupcakes

Blowing out the candles

 Jacob preferred the easier
to handle cupcakes

And some Cotton Candy
ice cream too

The Contreras kid turned FIVE

Of course, we celebrated further into the night with a sleepover.

Life is good!

The morning after a sleepover,
Jacob always helps me make
pancakes for breakfast

Michael Runs in His
Fourth Consecutive
Los Angeles Marathon

No one in our family can explain genetically why Michael runs.

But he LOVES it!

Using Jacob's signature
thumbs out, not up, gesture
near the finish line

He ran what he called
a "fun" paced run

 He was happy with his
time since he was not even thinking about qualifying for the Boston Marathon

 Nice Medal

Mike gave it to his daughter Mary

World Baseball Classic
Semi-Final Game

Mike and I headed to Dodger Stadium
to watch the first Semi-Final of the week

The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Puerto Rico
Mike, his mustache and I ate our
pre-game meal at the
Little Jewel of New Orleans

Eclectic menu on the wall behind Mike.

My Grilled Shrimp PoBoy

 So was Mike's Fried Shrimp PoBoy

Entering Dodger Stadium

I was rooting for Cuba
but they were already eliminated

We got there early for batting practice

Our original seats were in the Left Field Pavilion but with the sparse crowd we improved our seats before the start of the game.

Part of Dodger Stadium's great
Bobble-Head Doll collection

We were OK moving here

 Pre-game Introductions

Action started at 6:00 p.m.

But went well into the night

In 11 innings,
Puerto Rico 4
The Kingdom of the Netherlands 3

This event, thanks to the enthusiastic Puerto Rican fans, was more Salsa Festival than baseball game.

Puerto Ricans do not sit often during the course of a game, it turns out.

Good times and lots of fun!

The next night, the USA defeated Japan 2-1 in the other semi-final contest the next night.

The Championship game was a bit anticlimactic as the Americans roughed up Team Puerto Rica by a final tally of 8-0.


Babysitting Mary

She is a delight

Life's simple pleasures

Reading Is FUNdamental

 Tales of macabre deaths
from our Swedish friends

Action packed!

That's nineteen Jack Reacher novels down, three to go.

More really good Swedish Noir

And China has its fair
share of brutal murders too

Life continues to be enjoyable, I shall continue . . .

Friday, March 10, 2017

Busy Month, Lazy Blogger

"Bless me Father for I have sinned.

It's been over a month since my last posting . . .

What, you want to know what I've been doing Father?

OK, here goes . . ."

The 19th Century Tall Ships
came to the Ventura Harbor

Grandson Jacob was ALL in on this
rainy Nautical Adventure!

But only if he could take the helm

I think that he had a good time


I saw the movie Big!

It was good to get in from the inclement weather.

At night we played a rousing
game of SORRY!

Jacob won fair and square.

Disneyland with the
Las Vegas Gang

We joined grandson Kevin and his parental units, Andrew and Jenn for a day at Mickey's House in Anaheim.

Kevin eating breakfast with
a random bear at Disneyland's
Grand Californian Hotel

 Laurie dancing with Chip

Or was it Dale?

Kevin and Dale

Or was it Chip?

I don't know.

The buffet breakfast at the Grand Californian Hotel was magnificent! We were fully fueled, so now it was time to enjoy the original Disneyland.

Main Street USA

What the heck is film?

Laurie was pumped for the
Buzz Lightyear ride

At the Star Wars Cantina

 Kevin enjoying the
Jungle Cruise until . . .

. . . these Cobras and
Crocodile showed up

Kevin was much more pleased to be on board the big riverboat heading to New Orleans with the princess from the Disney movie
"The Princess and the Frog"


 Space Mountain in the distance


Laurie was indeed tall enough to drive one of the cars on the Autopia ride.

 It's a Small World

I was all over this ride.

In a stunning upset,
none of threw up in the
Mad Tea Cups ride

Laurie and Kevin riding horses
on the Carousel

I rode a Shetland Pony

 Happy Contreras Family
after a looooong day at Disneyland

It was my first time at Disneyland in about 20 years and, needless to say, my first time with one of the grandkids.


Palm Springs Weekend

Mark, Susie, Susie, Mike,
Laurie and George

From Disneyland, we went straight to Palm Springs to be with our friends from Seattle, Mark and Susie Johnson and Mike and Susie Carlin.

It was a great weekend spent gabbing and grazing for the most part.

Dinner a great Italian restaurant

We were joined by another delightful couple who live in Washington but spend their Winters in Palm Springs, Dan and Linda Godat.

Dan was a key offensive lineman at Tumwater High School who was instrumental in leading then running back Mark Johnson to gridiron glory in the mid-1960s.

On a side note, Mark is being inducted into the Tumwater H.S. Sports Hall of Fame this Spring. He has invited Dan and his fellow linemen to be at the ceremony as his guests as a way of saying Thank You to them.

Good move Mr. Johnson!

Mark Johnson with his University of Washington Wrestling Coach, Jimmy Smith

Coach Smith was delightful and Mark's admiration for him was obvious.

Coach Smith lives in Oregon but like Dan Godat he spends his Winters in Palm Springs too.

This was a fun meeting for me too as I had taken Coach Smith's Methods of Coaching Wrestling class at the UW and actually taught one of his Freshman P.E. classes for him as all of us in the class who were P.E. Majors were required to do.

It was a fun situation all the way around for me that Quarter.

You had to be there

Unfortunately, I was.

EuroBall Talks to
College Seniors

Since my return from my first EuroBall coaching experience in Italy in 2008, I've made it a goal to visit as many colleges as I can to spread the word about the joys of playing American football overseas to as many college Seniors as possible.

My first stop this year
EuroBall Tour

 The Big Top

I believe that it is their combination Student Union and Basketball Arena Complex. 

The University of La Verne's
American Football Stadium

Five young La Verne Leopards
who were excited about the
possibilities of EuroBall life

Thank you ULV Head Coach Chris Krich for allowing me on campus again this year!

 And my second stop on the
EuroBall Tour

Great Statue

A tribute to legendary
Coach Robert Shoup's and his 1971 CLU
NAIA National Championship Squad

No doubt that this is the
CLU American Football Complex

I was fired up!

The final two Kinsmen

A third Kingsman had to leave my talk early to attend a class and I touched base with two other CLU Seniors briefly who could not attend due to work and class commitments.

Thank you CLU Head Coach Ben McEnroe for allowing me on campus for the tenth straight year!

It was another good day on the EuroBall trail! 


We had our Swedish Pennant
out as friends from Sweden
were coming to visit us

No, they weren't Vikings

It was our friends from Uplands-Väsby, Sweden where I coached last Spring and where I'll be returning for another two month stint working with the mighty Wäsby Warriors!

Our four visitors were Lotta Douhan and her son Jesper and Aiki Parts and her son Henry.

Laurie with Jesper and Henry
at Cronies Sports Grill in Camarillo

Note that Henry has accepted the Big Daddy Burger Challenge which he easily conquered.

During our meal we were told that three of them wanted to get a tattoo in California.

As Laurie and I are clueless to all things tattoo related, we contacted our source on the matter, the Murphy Clan.

We were soon off to the Lucid Tattoo Company in Camarillo.

Within 20 minutes of our arrival,
Henry was getting this tattoo

It is a Viking rune compass.

The next morning our friends
were working out at Rio Mesa H.S.

Jesper checking out former
Spartans who went on to play
college football

Jesper, me, Henry and Aiki
on the RMHS Track

 Aiki's Tatto
"The Tree of Life"

 Dinner at Casa Contreras

Lunch at Ottavio's
Jesper, Laurie, Lotta, Henry and Aiki

We ate a lot.

We all enjoyed Fika time and the Sun
on our front lawn

Jesper's Tattoo
In part a Tribute to Lotta

Yep, eating again

Our last day together in Camarillo

After four days they had bought everything that our Premium Outlet Mall had to offer and were now off to six days living and touring Los Angeles and Santa Monica. 

We did meet up one more time in Old Town Pasadena on their last full day in California to . . .

 . . . Eat of course
The HUGE lasagna that we all
shared at Buca de Beppo

 Practice Jerseys for our
U15 and U13 teams

Game Jerseys for our three U11 squads

Thanks to Doug Dagen of Dagan Sales and Marketing, Lotta and Aiki who are both on the Wäsby Warriors Board of Directors were able to order and take home a total of 105 jerseys at incredibly low prices by Swedish standards. They ordered them on Monday and Doug had them ready to go on the following Friday!

Thanks Doug!

 They brought these as Daims as gifts
along with other Swedish Fika sweets

We are showing unusual restraint in consuming them slowly.


Thank you Ron Selig!

We were walking Jacob back from some play time at the park when Ron pulled up in his Jeep. He offered us a ride through the neighborhood.

How could we resist?

Reading Is FUNdamental

I've been busy . . .


Set in 1930s Paris,
fun read

As was this one




Swedish Noir at its best,
it was a gift from our
visiting Swedes

Solid but not as good
as the other Peter May
books I read this month

"So, that's it Father, I have nothing else to confess.

Until next time from Havana, Cuba . . ."