Thursday, January 26, 2023

Strange Doings

Tues.-Thurs., January 24-26, 2023

 My Mother's condition continues to fluctuate from good to not so good on a day-to-day basis.

These almost daily trips to Pasadena took a slightly different tack on Wednesday as my sister Linda encouraged me to take off for home sooner than normal.

In the skilled nursing facility's parking lot, I saw a parked car with . . . 

. . . this 1950's cult classic movie inspired
decal of the Creature from the Black
Lagoon eating a slice of pizza

It looked like a slice pepperoni pizza to me.


But it inspired me to do something crazy as well on the way home.
I visited Glendale Community College

I attended Glendale as a college Freshman during the 1965-66 school year while playing Center, Defensive End and Outside Linebacker for the Vaqueros.

It was an interesting experience which led to my earning a football scholarship at the University of Washington for the Fall of 1966.

The Vaqueros were 7-2 in 1965 by the way. Our Offensive Line Coach that year was Jim Hanifan. He left Glendale after the 1965 season to embark on a seven year stint coaching the OL at Utah, California and San Diego State.

The NFL came calling for Coach Hanifan's skillful teaching of OL fundamentals. He earned the reputation of being one of the NFL's best OL coaches during his 30 year pro career while coaching with the St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams. He was the Cardinals Head Coach from 1980-1985 and was the Falcons Interim Head Coach in 1989.

I feel fortunate, having learned from three great line coaches in my playing days, Dick Landreau and Jim Yang at St. Francis H.S. and, obviously, Jim Hanifan at Glendale College. All three were excellent teachers who were task masters demanding that we worked on the detailed fundamentals of the game day after day after day.

I was lucky.

Our niece Lauren played basketball
for Glendale in the late 1990s

Watching her play a game in the Vaqueros gym was, before this week, my only on-campus visit to Glendale since leaving there in June of 1966.

As was predictable, there had been a ton of improvements and construction over the last 57 years.

One of those improvements was
an on-campus football stadium
Jim Sartoris Field

Jim Sartoris was a couple of years older than me. He played football at both Glendale and Washington. He returned to Glendale and had a distinguished career as a coach and athletic administrator at Glendale for many, many years.

The sign under the scoreboard reads:

Yes, that Andy Reid!

The current Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach is bit younger than myself, he also played at Glendale back in the day.

The Field Turf at Sartoris Field
was immaculate!

Back in 1965, this was a natural grass surface and it was our practice home and track facility only.

We played our games that year at the only football stadium in the city located on the campus of Glendale H.S., home of the Dynamiters. At the time, that stadium was also the "home" field of the Glendale Hoover H.S. Tornadoes and the Crescenta Valley H.S. Falcons. Scheduling games for these four schools must have been a nightmare.

Is Dynamiters even remotely P.C. enough today in our ever softening times?

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Classic crime solving
from the 1930s

Felony and mayhem always work for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Another Weekend of Wildcats CYBA Basketball

Fri.-Mon., January 20-23, 2023

My Mother spent another weekend with family members in attendance at her skilled nursing facility in Pasadena. She continues to battle on a daily basis.

On Saturday, the Camarillo Youth Basketball Association (CYBA) had a titanic game in their Grade 5 Division. Our grandson Jacob's Wildcats (2-0) were squaring off against the Trojans, the only other 2-0 squad in this eight team division.

Jacob is #5 in blue under the basket

Jacob chasing the Trojans tallest
player to the hoop

Deal it to #11!

At the end of the First Quarter, the game was tied at 4-4.

Jacob at the Point Guard position

Movement is a MUST!

Battling for another rebound

Defending the Big Man

At the Halftime intermission, the Trojans had surged to a 13-6 lead.

Rebound attempt of a missed free throw

There is that Trojan giant yet again

Getting back on Defense

The end of the Third Quarter saw the Trojans in cruise control mode with a commanding 21-9 advantage.

Jacob got in a ton of running
in this full court game

A free throw attempt for the Wildcats,
that Trojan player is REALLY tall!

Working the floor

Rushing in for a possible missed
free throw rebound

It was not a good day for the Wildcats but the Trojans were definitely the better shooting team on this day.

Trojans (3-0) 30 - Wildcats (2-1) 14

1. Trojans 3-0
2T. Bruins 2-1
Tigers 2-1
Wildcats 2-1
5T. Blue Devils 1-2
Orange 1-2
Buckeyes 1-2
8. Deacons 0-3

All games will be played at
Las Colinas Middle School
on Saturday, January 28, 2023

1:30 pm Wildcats (2-1) vs. Tigers (2-1)
2:30 pm Deacons (0-3) vs. Buckeyes (1-2)
3:30 pm Trojans (3-0) vs. Orange (1-2)
4:30 pm Blue Devils (1-2) vs. Bruins (2-1)

After the game we all went out to dinner at Freda's Pizza & Woodfired Kitchen to have a early celebration of Vanessa's birthday that was coming up next Wednesday.

A good time was had by all!

Mary riding one of Camarillo's
artsy bikes on Ventura Blvd.

Back home, Mary and Laurie
needed to check the calendar
for upcoming events of interest

Monday night means another of
Mary's enjoyable ballet classes

In EuroBall news . . .

Jesús Sánchez's Mallorca Voltors
opened their 2023 Spanish Serie A
season with a win

Eastern Conference
1T. Badalona Dracs 1-0
Mallorca Voltors 1-0
3T. L'Hospitalet Pioners 1-1
Valencia Firebats 1-1
5. Zaragoza Hurricanes 0-2

Western Conference
1. LG OLED Black Demons 2-0
2T. Coslada Camioneros 1-1
Osos Rivas 1-1
4T. Alcobendas Cavaliers 0-1
Gijón Mariners 0-1

The 1-0 Voltors have a home game next
Saturday vs. the Zaragoza Hurricanes 0-2

About five months ago, the European League of Football added an expansion team in Paris. It has taken that long for the French team to finally settle on a nickname.

The ELF can finally welcome
the Paris Saints!

The Saints will play the 2023 sesson
in the five team Western Conference

Four German teams plus the Paris Saints.

These are the six clubs comprising
the ELF's Central Conference

This Conference has two German squads and one each from Austria, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. 

The Eastern Conference will
also have six clubs in 2023

This is another Conference with two German teams. The Eastern Conference also has one team from each from four other countries, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

The geographic lay of the land
for the 2023 ELF season

The somewhat weird 17 team ELF 2023 configuration is due to the last minute withdrawal of the Istanbul Rams. The Rams wanted more time to regroup and rebuild after their dismal 1-11 initial 2022 ELF season.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Moorpark H.S. at Camarillo H.S. Basketball Game

Tues.-Thurs., January 17-19, 2023 

My Mother's health continues to be an up-and-down, day-to-day issue as we continue to be with her in her Pasadena skilled nursing facility.

Because Laurie had a scheduled oral surgery on Wednesday, I did not go to Pasadena but instead used most of the day to tend to her post-operation, drug induced lethargy. By the evening she was back to herself.

Michael and Jacob came over to the house to see how she was doing. Once they saw that, though a bit sleepy, she was doing just fine, Jacob announced . . .

" . . I thirst for basketball!"

It was Youth Night at Camarillo H.S. for the Scorpions Boys Basketball game vs. the Moorpark H.S. Musketeers.

All elementary school and middle school students were allowed into the game for free if they were accompanied by an adult.

Laurie gave us her approval to go, so off we went!

It was 0-0 at the opening tip but
that would not be the score for long

It was a loosely called game by the
refs which led to bodies on the floor often

In the end, the Scorpions proficient three point shooting was too much for the Musketeers.

Final Score: Camarillo 74 - Moorpark 46

Jacob had a lot of fun with his friends at the game making it a worthwhile evening for all of us.

On Thursday, Michael was able to join me on my visit to see his Grandmother. I believe that seeing Michael was a solid boost to her spirits.

Afterwards, Michael and I opted to hit one of our favorite Los Angeles spots.

Iconic The Original Philippe
Home of French Dipped Sandwiches

Ever since Covid, the traditional
long tables that sat here for decades
have been removed

Come to think of it, I've never ordered 
a steaming hot bowl of Dolores chili
I would NEVER even think of trying
their pickled pig's feet

The double-dipped New York pastrami sandwich with bleu cheese, a slice of apple pie and one of Philippe's signature lemonades made for a great dining experience.

A Contreras Family Tradition

After every visit to Philippe's, we stop at their candy/souvenir counter near the exit to buy and share a roll of delicious Butter Rum Lifesavers.

Some family traditions are much better than others.

Sometimes the Facebook provides one with an unexpected surprise like this one . . .

My favorite all-time Los Angeles Ram
starring in his own 1953 biopic

I'm sure that this excellent film won numerous Academy Awards that year.

The 2023 UW Husky Schedule
was announced

The month of November will be tough with games at USC, vs. Utah, at Oregon State and vs. Washington State for the Apple Cup.

These will be difficult waters to navigate. 

Reading Is FUNdamental!

An excellent post-WWI yarn from an English
author who now lives in nearby Ojai

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Week Two of the CYBA Wildcats season

Fri.-Mon., January 13-16, 2023 

Over the weekend, my Mother continued her stay in a skilled nursing home in Pasadena. Some hours were great, some were good and others were not.

On Saturday, at the Los Colinas Middle School gymnasium, Jacob's mighty Wildcats (1-0) were taking on the Orange (1-0) in an early season Camarillo Youth Basketball Association (CYBA) Grade 5 league showdown.

Mary was in the house to root on
the Wildcats and her brother Jacob

It was pouring rain all day long, so this charming, cozy and dry gym was THE place to be in Camarillo.

Jacob driving to the hoop!

Orange defender practicing
his tackling techniques for the Fall

Chasing down a loose ball

Thanks to sharp focus and good shooting skills, the Wildcats led 12-2 at the end of the First Quarter.

Rebound that basketball!



At the halftime intermission it was Wildcats 16 - Orange 6.

Kicking it back out

Rebounding is definitely NOT
for the faint of heart

Jacob uses a jump shot technique
on his Free Throw attempts

As the Third Quarter came to a close, the Wildcats were still leading by a comfortable margin, 23-10.

Dribbling into the front court

Denying the inbound pass

The Wildcat fans were happy

The Final Score was Wildcats (2-0) 33 - Orange (1-1) 13.

Current CYBA Grade 5 Standings
Trojans 2-0
Wildcats 2-0
Blue Devils 1-1
Bruins 1-1
Orange 1-1
Tigers 1-1
Buckeyes 0-2
Deacons 0-2

Week #3 Games
at Los Colinas Middle School
Saturday, January 21, 2023
1:30 pm, Blue Devils (1-1) vs. Buckeyes (0-2)
2:30 pm, Wildcats (2-0) vs. Trojans (2-0)
3:30 pm, Bruins (1-1) vs. Deacons (0-2)
4:30 pm, Tigers (1-1) vs. Orange (1-1)

Battle of the last two undefeated clubs this coming Saturday. Tickets are still available on the various second market websites.


Mary wanted us to celebrate
Saturday's big win

GREAT idea Mary! We were off to Camarillo's treasured Mexican restaurant El Tecolote for a late lunch.

Absorbed watching an NFL playoff
game during our lunch

In other news . . .

If you are in the Bisbee, Arizona
area in April . . .

Our son Michael played in this tournament last Spring. He is on a knee, second from the right in his blue Redondo Beach Wharf Rats uniform.

The ref third on the right in
this photo is Cat Conti at Saturday's
Hula Bowl All-Star Game

I always feel good about helping her get her start as a referee many years ago while she was still working at Cronies Sports Grill in Camarillo. 

A. It is that time of year
B. I guess the Left Guard took this
famous Super Bowl IV play off

The DI Spanish League 2023 season
started over the weekend

LNFA Serie A Week #1 Results
Osos Rivas 16 - Gijón Mariners 3
L'Hospitalet Pioners 37 - Valencia Firebirds 15
LG OLED Black Demons 14 - Camioneros Coslada 7
Badalona Dracs 13 - Zaragoza Hurricanes 0
BYES: Mallorca Voltors & Alcobendas Cavaliers

LNFA Serie A Standings
Eastern Conference
Badalona Dracs 1-0
L'Hospitalet Pioners 1-0
Mallorca Voltors 0-0
Zaragoza Hurricanes 0-1
Valencia Firebirds 0-1

Western Conference
Osos Rivas 1-0
LG OLED Black Demons 1-0
Alcobendas Cavaliers 0-0
Camioneros Coslada 0-1
Gijón Mariners 0-1

LNFA Serie A Week #2 Schedule
Sat. & Sun., January 21-22, 2023
Black Demons (1-0) at Osos (1-0)
Voltors (0-0) at Pioners (1-0)
Cavaliers (0-0) at Camioneros (0-1)
Firebirds (0-1) at Hurricanes (0-1)
BYES: Dracs (1-0) & Black Demons (1-0)

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Using recluse spiders as a murder
weapon was BRILLIANT!

So far, the first four books of the Commissaire Adamsberg series that I've found at the Camarillo Public Library by Fred Vargas have been a joy to read.