Sunday, July 30, 2023

A Good Week With LOTS of Grandkids Time

Mon.-Sun., July 24-30, 2023
An overall good week spent in large part with all of our grandkids for once.

Monday was the first day in full pads for Jacob and his Camarillo Stingers program. It was their last week emphasizing  conditioning over more specific football drills. 

Jacob, on the left, looked ready to roll

Michael was part equipment technician . . .

. . . and part task master

Jacob working on his tackling fundamentals

Striking a bag is indeed a
football skill

Footwork and agility

Jacob caught this one

Mostly though, it was a case of

We all thought that Tuesday would be a good day for Michael and Mary to join me for a short trip to Pasadena to visit my Mother.

Of course, we stopped in South Pasadena
for lunch before our visit

My Mother and Mary enjoyed coloring
together for about 45 minutes

Kevin and his Las Vegas Lightning
U12 soccer team at the L.A. Galaxy
home stadium in Carson, California

The Lightning were going to play seven games in a tournament over the next four days against teams from all over the United States.

Thus, on Wednesday, Laurie and I left Casa Contreras for the long, tedious drive to the Orange County Great Park located in the extremely HOT city of Irvine.

The Great Park is just that with 19 soccer fields, a baseball stadium, a softball stadium, a huge indoor ice skating rink and a series of cultural buildings geared to educating local students.

The Great Park was the former site of the El Toro U.S. Marine Corps Air Station during WWII.

A couple of old planes in tribute to
the USMC heritage of the Great Park

This merry-go-round was of interest

As was this tethered hot air balloon

Andrew, Kevin and Jenn
were ready to play

Andrew is the Lightning's Head Coach and also had refereeing duties during the tournament.

I LOVED Kevin's snazzy
Lightning jersey

The team socks were equally
good in my opinion

Andrew addressing his team before
their first game against California's
Ontario-Montclair club
Kevin warming up

Kevin is #72 on defense against
a LARGE opponent

Kevin trying to run down the ball

Kevin and that big kid again

Kick it far, Kevin!


Turn it

The second game today was against
a team from nearby Huntington Beach

Lots of action in front of
the Lightning's net

Kevin on the breakaway

Battling again for possession
of the ball

After spending a hot day in the Sun, we all drove back to our separate hotels in the quaint city of Orange.

Laurie and I opted to go out to dinner in the fun area of Orange near the Chapman University campus.

We decided to try the food at Smoqued BBQ which turned out to be delicious! 

The only two BBQ sauce
options that we had

Memories of the Great Habanero Destruction of Life experience in Santa Barbara about 20 years ago still were strong.

We both believed that the Smoqued BBQ was the proper choice.

It was delightful on my BBQ brisket Philly cheesesteak sandwich that came with a large portion of amazing mac and cheese.

Gelato and a spot a few doors down the street made for a perfect dessert to end our evening.

While in line to pay for our gelato, I asked our server about a pie-like dessert called simply "OMG." We were told by the college aged lady behind us that it was " . . . the best dessert ever!"

We completely believed her but already had our gelatos in hand. We were seated for about 30 seconds when the same young lady handed us an "OMG" that she bought for us since no trip to Orange, California would be complete without a taste of "OMG."

Such a kind gesture and it turned out that she was 100% correct, YUM!

Thursday morning we were out the door of our Best Western Inn at a reasonable hour to watch Kevin's morning game against the combined forces of the Murrieta-Temecula team.

We were joined by more of Kevin's Fan club today.

Goofy cousins Kevin and Jacob . . .

. . . their equally goofy Dads,
Michael and Andrew

The battle for that ball
never ends

Fighting through contact

Make a play, Kevin

Lightning Free Kick

I liked the defense's three man wall ready to jump with a fourth player laying on the ground behind them in case #30 went low under them.

As it turned out, the Free Kick ricocheted off of the defender on the left, right into the path of hard charging Kevin who beat his defender to the ball and then deftly kicked it into the net with his left foot.


Getting congratulations from a teammate after a score is always a good thing!

After this game, both of the Camarillo contingents had to head back north. Michael and Kevin had another Stingers practice to attend at 5:30 p.m. while we were headed to Pasadena for a dinner with my Mother in her assisted living center, but not just any dinner . . .

. . . a LUAU!

Complete with Dancing Girls!

Entertaining the old folks!

Mom looked happy

So did Laurie

It was a good meal and best of all, we did not play any games of Dominoes.

My ego was intact.

Friday my ego would take a hit

After eating at Cindy's Diner in Eagle Rock where, it is claimed, that for the first time anywhere, the cook added a slice of cheese to a hamburger.

The BBQ hamburger I ordered was excellent but the slice of Dutch Apple pie for dessert was even better.

I was still early for my normal visiting time with Mom so I took a quick side trip to visit the famed . . .

. . . Pasadena City Hall

It is used by Hollywood often as regal government building in movies and TV shows.

While I have driven by this magnificent edifice hundreds of times over the years, I had never actually gone into it.

Until today.

Tribute to Pasadena's legendary
Robinson brothers

Both of them were outstanding athletes at Pasadena's John Muir H.S. and Pasadena Junior College, now known as Pasadena City College.

Jackie Robinson, on the left, was a four sport star at UCLA and is best known as the man who broke the major league color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Mack Robinson, on the right, attended the University of Oregon and won a Silver Medal in the 200 meters dash at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Because Mack returned to live his life in Pasadena, he is seen looking directly at the City Hall.

Jackie faces to the East as he settled into life in the New York City area during and after his Dodgers days were over.

On to the City Hall . . .

It's a great spot for wedding
photos as it turns out

There is a fine fountain in the
City Hall's inner courtyard

Another bride happy to be posing


Uh-oh, a possible bride war
about to break out

I took this as my cue to go visit Mom and engage in another round of soul crushing Dominoes games.

Mom, with an impish smile on her face at the end, won again in both Games Won (18 to 17) and Points (343 to 283).

I have no ego nor pride anymore when it cones to Dominoes.

Saturday we met up to officially celebrate Mary's eighth birthday.

Mary, on the left, with her
friend Olivia

This photo was taken just before the Silly String War broke out.

Michael was an innocent bystander
caught in the crossfire

Jacob was not so innocent now
sporting green Silly String highlights
in his long locks
The girls eyeballing the birthday cake

Mary just loves her sweets.

I wonder where that came from?

Mary was READY!

Let's take a closer look
at that birthday cake

Happy Birthday to You, Mary!

Is there anything better than this
look on Mary's face opening a present?

Time to review European League of Football's weekend . . .

The Enthroners and Lions may both
be ranked too high

Lots of choices as to where to
watch ELF games on-line

I mentioned last week that I did not think that this week's slate of games was devoid of marquee matchups.

I was right!

The only decent game was the Hamburg Sea Devils 18-14 win over the Cologne Centurions.

The other five games were all blowouts with winning margins of 60, 51, 46, 31 and 29 points.

These kind of games are hard to sell to potential future broadcast sponsors.

Given the disparity in the ELF
at the moment, I still question adding
an expansion team in Madrid in 2024

There will be no ELF games next weekend. After that there will be four more weekends of regular season games.

The Rhein Fire and Frankfurt Galaxy
look playoff bound in the West

The Stuttgart Surge and Tirol Raiders
have the inside track to the postseason
in the Central
The Berlin Thunder are in the
hunt just behind the Wroclaw Panthers
for an Eastern Conference playoff

The defending ELF Champion Vienna Vikings continue to rule the East comfortably.

Saturday, August 12, 2023
Frankfurt Galaxy (7-1) at Cologne Centurions (2-6)
Helvetic Guardians (3-6) at Tirol Raiders (6-2)
Milano Seamen (1-7) at Barcelona Dragons (2-6)

Sunday, August 13, 2023
Munich Ravens (4-4) at Stuttgart Surge (7-1)
Vienna Vikings (8-0) at Wroclaw Panthers (6-3)
Hamburg Sea Devils (4-4) at Rhein Fire (8-0)
Prague Lions (1-7) at Berlin Thunder (5-3)

Fehévár Enthroners (1-7)
Paris Musketeers (3-6)

The Vikings at Panthers and the Sea Devils at Fire games are of interest. I also think that the Ravens at Surge contest may be a good one.

We'll see.

As for Sunday, other than writing this post, it was indeed a day of rest.

Sunday was a tad like this