Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Week in Sleepy California Included a GREAT Wedding!

Monday-Monday, July 22-29, 2019

We were over our jet lag by mid-week and we had wasted no time getting back into our slow paced, California lifestyle.

I met with our old friend from Seattle Mark Johnson, who had some business to take care of in Los Angeles, for lunch on Wednesday.

Downtown L.A. can be a bit
overwhelming to us country folk

 We had a good meal at one of
L.A.'s iconic eateries

Part of our meeting also had distinct Varese Skorpions overtones.

You see, the Washington Huskies as of June 1st have become an Adidas program. They switched from their long time association with Nike thus forcing them to divest themselves of all of their Nike products.

Mark was able to buy the Skorpions a slew of Nike products that the UW put on sale at incredibly cheap prices. His purchases included new football shoes, socks, elbow sleeves, gloves, skull caps practice jerseys, practice pants and game pants.

This was a great opportunity for our Skorpions to outfit our team at rock bottom prices.

After lunch we transferred three large bags of UW football equipment into my car's trunk. All that is left now is to inventory the gear, box it up and send it off to Varese.


Late Wednesday afternoon, I needed an American Football fix, so . . .

I headed over to Rio Mesa H.S.


One of my former Rio Mesa players, Jorge Zaragoza, is one of the Spartans' Freshmen football coaches.

I wanted to see how his newest charges were adapting to their first high school football experiences.

Long time Rio Mesa Freshmen
Offensive Line Coach Ralph Lemos

The chutes that his 14 year old players are about to run through were old and weathered I thought when I first joined the Rio Mesa staff in 1989.

Good quality lasts a long time!

 Milano Seamen mascot at the
Ventura Harbor on Thursday

I enjoyed a good lunch with Rio Mesa teacher Joe Mollica at the Ventura Harbor's Cuban restaurant.

On Thursday night, we ventured over to the historic Camarillo House to enjoy a concert and sample some street food trucks' offerings.

Seeing the famed Camarillo family
white horses was an unexpected plus

 They are fine animals

Concert to the left,
food trucks to the right

 Laurie in the middle

Our sandwiches from this
truck were . . .

The Camarillo House
through the trees

More horseplay
on our way home

On Friday, I got to read to Mary
in our front yard

On Saturday, we drove about three hours north up the 101 Freeway to Paso Robles for our nephew Tim Hicks' destination wedding at the Cass Winery to his beautiful bride Caitlin Heck.

 Our lunch stop at San Luis Obispo's
Apple Farm restaurant was artsy

When we arrived in Paso Robles, we exited our air conditioned vehicle and stepped into a 103°F/40°C oven of a winery rich region of California.

 Lightning McQueen was at
the Cass Winery!

 The Cass Winery's classic Chrysler
would transport the wedding
couple to the outdoor wedding site


The Cass property is a working vineyard after all.

The Hicks family and their spouses
under the 200 year old oak tree
where the ceremony took place

 The Wedding Party

 The Vows being exchanged

Caitlin's brother was the officiant and did a remarkable job of making the ceremony both solemn and hilarious at the same time. Many a tear was shed during this nuptial celebration.

Caitlin and Tim
are married!

Cousins Tim and Michael

The Wedding Cake was as
delicious as it looked!

Sisters Laurie and Gayle

Gayle is the Mother of the Groom.

As the Sun went down,
so did the temperature

Thank goodness!

The other Love Couple

Vanessa and Michael

Best Man Scott with Michael

Cousins were everywhere!

The reception in the winery was as excellent as the wedding ceremony.

We all had a wonderful time!

On Sunday we headed straight
to the coastal city of Cambria

It was only about a 20 mile drive west from Paso Robles to Cambria via Highway 46 but it was a world apart in terms a weather.

You see, Cambria was only in the high 70°F range this morning.

If we had more time, we would have stopped at one or 12 of the 20 or so wineries we passed along the way.

 Cambria is an artsy town

Just as we were about to leave Cambria, I got a call from former Westlake H.S. player Bob Hoyman. Via Facebook, he had seen that we were in Paso Robles yesterday and wondered if we could get together for an adult beverage in Morro Bay at a bar called The Siren?

Of course we could!

Morro Bay is only about 30 minutes south of Cambria and on our way home to Camarillo.


Bob was not alone.

We met with, from left to right, John Gibbons, Ken Katz and Bob Hoyman all from our Westlake H.S. days about 35 years ago.

I can not tell you how much I enjoyed our chance meeting with these men who brought back lots of great memories!

This U19 European Championship
American Football Tournament
started on Monday the 29th in
Bologna, Italy

Of course, I was interested in
this game because . . .

Five Varese Skorpions were part
of Team Italy

From left to right, DB Manuel Bulgheroni, LB Stefano Lusuriello, RB/Slot Alessandro Brovelli, WR Matteo. Mozzanica and LB Pietro Migliori

 WR Matteo Mozanica is #12
on a pass play broken up by
this Danish DB

 DB Manuel "Biondo" Bulgheroni
is #82 on the tackle

Slot #49 Alessandro Brovelli
breaking two tackles after
catching a pass . . .

. . . on his way to a 31 yard . . .
. . . TD!

He is celebrating in the End Zone with his fellow Skorpion Matteo Mozzanica.

Alessandro had a great game for Team Italy. He caught three passes for 74 yards and his TD. He also rushed the ball four times for another 22 yards. Thus he had totaled 96 yards or about 45% of Team Italy's 216 total yards on the night.

In the end though . . .

Team Denmark was just the
better club today

In the tournament's other Monday games, the results were:

Austria 61 - Spain 7
France 30 - Finland 0
Sweden 20 - Norway 7

On Thursday, it will be Denmark vs. Austria and France vs. Sweden in the Championship Bracket. Thursday's Consolation Bracket will see Italy vs. Spain and Finland vs. Norway.

The final games of the tournament will take place this coming Sunday to sort out first through eighth places.

Post game photo of our five Skorpion
players and some of our Skorpion coaches

From left to right: Manuel Bulgheroni, Giorgio Nardi, Stefano Lusuriello, Alessandro Brovelli, Cristian Bianchi, Matteo Mozzanica, Dani Donati, Pietro Caprioli and Pietro Migliori

After watching the live streamed feed of the Italy-Denmark game, I needed more American Football.

Only one thing to do, drive the 20 minutes over to Oxnard to watch the NFL's Dallas Cowboys third practice of their annual Summer Training Camp in Ventura County.

Michael and Jacob joined me

Uh-oh, Jacob wanted to check
out the souvenirs

A Training Camp t-shirt
in a youth size please

After buying him a t-shirt and saying NO to a Dallas Cowboys #1 foam finger, we entered the training camp's fun zone.

A cherished moment at
the cornhole game station

Tossing the pigskin

 Scouting Report:
"Rocket arm, needs to learn touch"

Pre-practice walk-through

 Set and Motion recognition drill

 Three happy campers

Starting to get serious

A boy and a dream

Scrimmage Work

A Field Goal attempt as we left

It was a good day at the park today, I video taped a lot of Cowboy drills to send back to the Skorpions.

Reading Is FUNdamental!

I did a lot of reading this week.

Strong effort

An oldie but still a good read
from the 1950s

I love Camilleri's work and
mourn his recent passing

Back to another of this classic
Euro-crime writer's fun reads

As you can tell, I like mysteries.