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December 24, 2012

I just finished my 155th biography today about Mick Jagger, so I'm into the "J's," the tenth letter of the alphabet.  Since I started this alphabetical biography read back in 2010, it appears that my reading pace is roughly one book per week.  I'll continue my reading and updating my reading list for the rest of my years.

December 20, 2012

Today we visited the Palomar Observatory in northern San Diego County, CA.  To see some pictures, click here.

December 18, 2012

I've spent some time today trying to clean up the web site.  There were just too many buttons at the top of each page.  Now all of the pages are listed alphabetically via the "Adventures" button and they are also listed chronologically via the "Adventures by Date" button.

December 15, 2012

During the past two days we've had our first winter storms of the 2012 season.  To see the snow covered mountaintops of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, click here.

December 13, 2012

Winter is raging in Redlands today; it's only 52° and it's raining.  I hope that it doesn't last very long.

December 6, 2012

Today we were back to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA to see their current civil war exhibit.  For pictures, click here.

November 20, 2012

Today was nature day in Palm Springs.  We were in the Andreas Canyon, which is part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.  The fan palms here are magnificent.  For pictures click here.

November 8, 2012

It was a cold and rainy day today, but we headed out to Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  For pictures click here.

November 6, 2012

I reached another milestone today with my reading list.  My current total is 150!

October 31, 2012

We celebrated Halloween by visiting the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see the "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection" exhibit.  The Bowers Museum states on their web site that:

"The Albright collection consists of pins that Secretary Madeleine K. Albright, America’s ambassador to the United Nations (1993-1997) and then as the first woman to occupy the position of U.S. Secretary of State (1997-2001), wore before, during and after her years of public service. Shortly after becoming a diplomat, Albright discovered the power of jewelry to convey a foreign policy message. Before long, she began selecting appropriate pins to wear to particular meetings, visually expressing her high hopes, determination, impatience, or warm feelings. The brooches soon became her diplomatic signature. Their stories and messages reflect the Secretary’s sense of humor and her humanity."

Unfortunately, photography wasn't allowed but the two pictures shown below are provided by the Bowers Museum.  Every pin had (has) a purpose and there was an explanation of that purpose (or attitude) associated with each pin.  In the picture below, her "dual clocks" on the Statue of Liberty head are right side up and upside down.  The purpose?  She could see the time looking down on the pin and the person she was speaking with, could read the time on the clock that was right side up.

This pin below has a great story.  Apparently while Albright was the ambassador to the U.N., Saddam Hussein had seen her speak on television and labeled her a "serpent."  When it came time for US Secretary of State Albright to meet Saddam face to face, she wore the pin below to let him know that his derogatory remark didn't intimidate her in the least.  Her feisty demeanor was and is balanced by her great sense of humanity.  There was also a pin there (not pictured) that was given to her by a son whose mother had died during hurricane Katrina.  The stunning pin is an abstract, swirling design of white gold, amethyst and diamonds.  The son told Albright about his mother's death and how his mother had also loved pins.  The son knew that giving her pin to Albright would be what his mother would want to do.  When presented with the pin, Albright's response to the son was "It would be an honor for me to accept it."  There were about 200 pins and their related stories on exhibit here and those stories associated with each pin were both powerful and moving.  We loved it.

October 28, 2012

Today we celebrated our wedding anniversary at Scarpetta's Restaurant in Beverly Hills.  Beverly Hills is a unique place since no matter what direction you come from, when you cross the city line and enter it, you can immediately sense a different atmosphere.  I guess its wealth is what overwhelms you: it's pervasive, it's all around you and you can't ignore it.  People who live or work here operate in an environment like no other and, for outsiders, it takes a while to get used to that.  For some pictures of the restaurant (and us), click the Scarpetta link above or click here.

October 26, 2012

I've had a good stretch of biographies lately and today I finished reading "With Billie," written by Julia Blackburn about the life of Billie Holiday.  Julia did a beautiful job with this one, kudos to her!

October 15, 2012

Over the weekend we went to Long Beach to see our nephew, Brandon Haas, perform in the play Ajax in Iraq.  Brandon is attending California State University in Long Beach and was part of the California Repertory Company's production of this Broadway play.  Photography wasn't allowed but I was able to find this picture on the Internet.  Brandon is the second from the right.

October 11, 2012

It's 4:00 PM here and the temperature is only 63°.  It probably hasn't been this cool since last spring.  However, it's supposed to be in the nineties again this weekend.

October 4, 2012

Today we were off to Newport Beach and had lunch at Mario Batali's Pizzeria Mozza on the Pacific Coast Highway.  What a meal and what great ocean views we had.  Click the link above or click here for pictures.

October 1, 2012

We're having another high pressure, high temperature heat wave here in Redlands.  Since this thermometer is in the sun, it's reading about 15° higher than the actual temperature, but that doesn't make you feel any cooler when you look at it.

September 30, 2012

It's Harvest Moon time in 2012.  In traditional skylore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.  It has been gorgeous.

September 14, 2012

Today is Judy's birthday and we had originally planned to go to Catalina for the day but the more we thought about it, we realized it would be kind of hectic and it would make for a long day.  So we bailed on Catalina and went to Laguna Beach instead.  It was a beautiful day there and very relaxing.  For pictures here.

September 7, 2012

Yesterday we used the train service here for the first time since we wanted to see Union Station and the Olvera Street area in downtown Los Angeles.  The train trip makes it pretty easy but the truth is that it doesn't really save a lot of time.  It takes about 90 minutes each way and if your destination isn't close to Union Station, then you'd have to deal with the bus system, which we wouldn't want to do.  Union Station and the Olvera Street marketplace are both impressive sites to see and are easily seen in a few hours.  We also had the opportunity to take in the LA City Hall, which included a big surprise with its observation deck.  To see pictures, click the "Olvera" link above, or click here.

August 30, 2012

We've had a very hot month of August this year, so we've stayed at home lately to beat the heat.  However, cabin fever had set in so we knew we'd be safe by going to the beach.  Today's adventure brought us to the Pacific Ocean to see the newly installed USS Iowa Museum.  To see some pictures, click the "Iowa" link above or click here.

August 20, 2012

I just finished reading Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer, by Edward Jay Epstein and found this biography shocking.  Through Epstein's research of US government files and documents that were released by the former Soviet Union, he paints a picture of Hammer quite unlike the public persona that Hammer had created for himself.

August 15, 2012

It's still hot here, but at least it's cooled down a little bit.  I'm now into the "H" letter with my biographies, and Alexander Hamilton's biography was the 135th on my reading list.

August 10, 2012

The heat wave continues here and today is expected to be one of the worst days.  Yesterday we went into panic mode when the circuit breaker for the air conditioning unit repeatedly began to trip.  I was fortunate to contact our electrician who arrived around 6:00 PM to confirm my correct diagnosis of the problem.  He had to go to three different stores to find the right breaker and the AC was back on around 7:40 PM.  The temperature in the house had reached 85°.  It was only a couple of degrees cooler by the time we turned in for the night, but at least we knew the AC would continue to cool us as we slept.  We don't do very well with these types of things.

August 7, 2012

It is hot in Redlands!  Yesterday it was 109° here and the heat should continue for at least a week.  In July we had seven days that were 100° or warmer, but not all of them in a row.  July and August seem to be the two months here where we are forced to stay inside on some days.  Back in New England, the cold kept us house-bound for weeks (months?) at a time, so I shouldn't complain.

July 29, 2012

Yesterday we were fortunate to go on a public tour of the iconic Bullocks Wilshire building in Los Angeles.  Tours are only given here once a year and it was first come, first served to get on the list.  We made it and were glad that we did.  It was difficult selecting pictures for this web page since the building is such an architectural wonder.  I hope you enjoy your brief glimpse at this gem.  Either click the tab above or click here.

July 27, 2012

Back in April, Judy and I toured the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.  While there, we saw the Curiosity rover whose twin is now approaching Mars.  If everything works, and there are a lot of "ifs" in the process, Curiosity will touch down on August 5, 2012.  JPL has released a video showing the unbelievable landing sequence required to make this happen.  You can view it by clicking here.

July 24, 2012

Today is the third anniversary of two big events that occurred concurrently in 2009.  Even though Judy and I left New England on June 25, 2009 bound for LAX with Dante and Bello, because of accrued vacation time, I was still an "active employee" of the city of Worcester.  However, my vacation time was exhausted and I officially became retired on July 24, 2009.  Additionally our first month here was spent actively looking to purchase our new home and on July 24, 2009 we had an executed Purchase and Sale agreement for it.  We subsequently closed escrow later and finally moved in on October 3, 2009.

By the way, yesterday Sally Ride died and to our surprise we now understand that she was not only the first American woman in space, but she was also the first American lesbian in space.  She may have "gone up," but she never "came out" during her lifetime.

July 21, 2012

I just finished reading The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour and Greed, written by Sara Gay Forden.  I'd strongly recommend it for anyone's reading list.

July 18, 2012

Today we visited the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA.  Before we entered the complex, we both had a somewhat negative expectation of what we were going to see.  This was because both Judy and I carried a lot of negative baggage about "Tricky Dick" and Watergate and the Vietnam War.  While some of those feelings are still there, we both appreciated the many good political accomplishments Nixon performed in his career and we also saw what a loving, family man he truly was.  Judy had met him once while he was a "citizen' passenger on an American Airlines flight.  There is a video of him at Pat's funeral that was just heart wrenching, showing that under it all he was just as human as the rest of us.  For pictures, click here.

July 14, 2012

It's been hot and very humid here for the past few days, but we're expecting drier weather tomorrow.  We're not used to 80% humidity, the normal here is about 15%.  I just finished a biography of Zane Grey that brings my biography total to 130 books.  My next one, which I haven't started yet, mentions murder in the liner notes.  I can't wait to begin!

July 11, 2012

In order to beat the summer heat of Redlands, we went to the beach today, Long Beach!  To see some pictures of the unique Naples district, click here.

July 1, 2012

We were very lucky to hit pay dirt on a deal Judy signed up for with Cirque du Soleil.  We received an email offer from them on Friday for discounted seats for today's performance of Iris.  The show was great.  Our seats were in the sixth row center of the orchestra section so we were about 15-20 feet from the stage.  Many of the performers were directly over our heads.  It is at the Dolby Theater, home of the Academy Awards Ceremonies.  For a quick preview of the show, click here.

June 28, 2012

Today's adventure was to see the Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars exhibit at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.  Click the link above or click here to see some of these priceless treasures.

June 20, 2012

Today we toured Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  For some pictures, click the link above or click here.

June 18, 2012

For Father's Day we celebrated by having two delicious Maine lobsters that were on sale at Stater Brothers.  It was a beautiful day to dine outside and they were cooked perfectly.  For a moment, we thought we were back on the deck at Barnacle Billy's in Ogunquit, ME.  I checked Billy's prices and our one and a half pounders were cheaper than his current menu price.

June 15, 2012

In celebration of the A. K. Smiley Public Library's 40th anniversary of their Heritage Room, the library is having a special program this weekend called "Library Days."  Judy and I took a tour of the treasures housed in the library basements, which includes their archives and special collections.  This is an exterior shot of the library.

And this is an interior photo of the large reference room shown on the left side of the building above.

Don McCue, our tour guide, is the Heritage Room archivist, head of special collections and curator of the Lincoln Memorial Shrine.  Don, in the yellow shirt, is showing the group some of the library's first edition, autographed collections housed in the climate controlled basement.  Judy is peeking out from the lower left corner of the picture.

June 12, 2012

The basement area of the A. K. Smiley Public Library has reopened after fixing and cleaning the area necessitated by the flooding they had there.  So, I'm back to my regular biographies after a nearly three week absence.  I was creative in the interim by finding non-fiction books while continuing my alphabetical order of subjects.  I read an interesting book on Charles Goodyear and have just finished a book written by Mikhail Gorbachev.  Gorbachev's book was very interesting in that I had never read a book by a modern Russian politician.  Sometimes the lemonade that you make can be surprisingly tasty after you've been given a bunch a lemons.

June 5, 2012

Today we visited the Southern California Earthquake Data Center located within the campus of Caltech in Pasadena.  For pictures, click here.

May 28, 2012

It's Memorial Day and Judy's back home from Waco.  She enjoyed Jacki's wedding and had a great time there.  I just finished the Jane Goodall biography and was captivated throughout this 700 page read.  Here's Jacki and Brandon.

May 26, 2012

I went to the library yesterday to pick up another biography but was surprised to find that the basement area of the library has been closed due to flooding.  That's where all the biographies are stacked!  I still have a couple hundred pages left to read in my current 700 page monster, so I'll stretch it out for awhile.  I recently picked up a copy of Adobe's Lightroom 4 so I'll be reading the online tutorials and user manual until the basement reopens, which is scheduled for June 7th.  Judy's off to Waco, TX today to attend the wedding of Jacki Johnson.  She'll return on Memorial Day and I plan on eating at La Costa and Isabella's in the meantime.

May 18, 2012

We finally were able to enjoy the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway yesterday and had a great day there. We originally thought that we'd also take in the Sunnylands estate, but there wasn't enough time.  Oh well, it gives us another reason to return.  For pictures of our adventure yesterday, click here.

May 4, 2012

I traveled cross-country this week to visit my sister, Nancy, in Fort Mill, SC.  Fort Mill is southeast of Charlotte, NC.  We had a very nice visit and were able to tour the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in nearby Belmont, NC.  Now that Nancy has had a couple of years in her new home, she's been able to finish off her landscaping and put her "signature" on the beautiful appearance of her home.  She got in a little gardening chores during my visit.

April 24, 2012

Yesterday we toured the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.  The place is like a small city.  It covers over 170 acres of land and employs about 5,000 people.  The JPL is responsible for design, construction and oversight of all the unmanned, robotic space craft for the United States.  While all employees are employees of Caltech, the operation is fully funded by NASA.  Without visiting this facility, the average person wouldn't realize that we currently have two vehicles orbiting Mars and a third one orbiting Saturn.  It's a great tour.  For some pictures, click here.

April 20, 2012

Yesterday we went to the Bowers Museum to hear a lecture by Laura Hillman, a Schindler's List survivor of the Holocaust.  On the way, we stopped at the historic district of Old Towne Orange that was lovely.  For pictures, click here.

April 15, 2012

Judy's back from her four day trip to Grass Valley and things are getting back to normal again.  However, Dante is taking his time making the adjustment since he doesn't like it when Momma goes away.  It's a beautiful day here in Redlands with the storms gone, as well as the cloud cover that has dimmed the sunshine lately.  Here's a morning picture of Mount Baldy in all of its glory: snow cover, palm trees and oranges.

April 3, 2012

Today we returned to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see their current exhibit, "Sacred Gold: Pre-Hispanic Art of Columbia."  The exhibit contains over 200 gold figures and ornaments.

Also included in the exhibit is the famed Atocha Cross, recovered in 1986 near Key West, Florida, from the wreck of the 17th century Spanish galleon named the Nuestra Señora de Atocha.

Of course our lunch at Tangata was delicious, as always.

March 14, 2012

Today we were off to downtown L.A. to redeem our two passes to the Grammy Museum that we received through a Groupon deal.  Since the museum didn't open until 11:30 AM, we decided to have lunch first at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, located next to the museum in the L.A. Live complex.

Wolfgang never disappoints us and today we enjoyed a four cheese ravioli and a roasted garlic chicken pizza.  The Grammy Museum was just okay.  There was music playing everywhere and it seemed like it was competing with itself rather than complementing the body of work.  Most of the exhibits required the visitor to stand in front of a video screen wearing headphones or placed you in a sound room in front of a computer monitor.  We were expecting more costumes and memorabilia than what we saw.  What was additionally a disappointment was the fact that no photography was allowed anywhere except in the lobby of the museum.  So, below is the one picture I took in the lobby that showcases Keith Moon's drums.

March 8, 2012

Today we visited the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA.  For pictures click here.  We also drove to Newhall afterwards to visit the Thraves' mausoleum.

March 6, 2012

Our new Valencia orange tree was delivered yesterday and Judy and I planted it late yesterday afternoon.  For pictures, click here, but check out our beautiful calla lily in the front yard.

March 4, 2012

Well, Judy's still talking to me after I nearly caused her demise yesterday.  We visited the Limestone Canyons on the Irvine Ranch and ended up walking an unplanned half marathon over mountainous terrain.  My punishment for causing this is to dig a three foot by two foot hole in the backyard to receive a Valencia orange tree that will be delivered tomorrow.  Thank goodness there won't be any criminal charges.

February 28, 2012

Today we toured some of the wineries of the Temecula Valley Wine Country.  The occasion was suggested by Olga and Mark Farrell, who are one of New Hampshire's most noted oenophile couples.  Mark is the only perfusionist that I have the pleasure of knowing.  We began at the Churon Winery to get an idea of what the valley had to offer and then made a second stop at the Monte de Oro Winery.  This winery's setting made us realize that we were in the heart of the area's wine country.

Mark and Olga are staying in San Diego this week, so Judy and I were happy that we could reunite with Olga and meet Mark.  This shot was taken inside the tasting room at Monte de Oro.

We finished our trip at the Leoness Cellars, that not only had a spectacular view of the countryside, but a Cabernet Franc that Mark was looking to acquire.

Hopefully we'll all get together again on one of their west coast visits!

February 19, 2012

Our favorite coffee house, Augie's Coffee House, is holding an art competition during March, with a bicycle theme.

I've decided to enter the competition with a whimsical photograph taken in Cortona, Italy during our September 2007 trip.  I'm retired, so I'm always looking for things to make life just a little more interesting.  I'll post the results of the competition on April 1st.

February 18, 2012

Judy and I both had minor colds this week, which is only noteworthy since it was the first time either one of us has had a cold since moving to California two and one-half years ago.  Not a bad run!

I also finished reading a biography of Paul Gauguin today, which focused on his time spent in Tahiti and the Marquesas.  It will be an insightful read to any Gauguin fans out there.

February 4, 2012

I just finished reading Jerry Garcia's biography written by Blair Jackson.  What an incredible and monumental chronicling of Jerry's life.  I loved it!

February 1, 2012

Today's adventure was a drive to the San Fernando Valley to see Judy's old stomping ground.  We drove all around Northridge, CA so I could get an idea of where she grew up.  Here she is in front of her former home at 8735 Oak Park Avenue.

Judy and her family moved into this home when it was brand new in 1953.  It's currently appraised on Zillow for $601,000, which is a significant increase over its original purchase price of $26,000.  After lunch we headed south on the 405 and got off at Mulholland Drive.  Unfortunately it pretty hazy (smoggy) today, so the pictures I took really don't show the beautiful vistas that these residents have.  That's okay, we'll be back another time.  While on Mulholland, we drove past the house of Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train,  who had just committed suicide this morning.  The scene was loaded with satellite trucks from all the local news stations as well as the many police units investigating the scene.  Otherwise, it was a very nice day and we both enjoyed seeing Northridge.

January 19, 2012

Today's adventure brought us back to the Mission Inn in Riverside, for, what turned out to be, a two hour private tour of the hotel.  The Mission Inn occupies a full city block in downtown Riverside.  The highlight of the tour was our private viewing of the Saint Francis of Assisi Chapel, featuring an elegant beamed ceiling, ornate Mexican Mahogany wooden doors, the 18-karat gold leaf Rayas Altar and seven Tiffany stain-glass windows.

January 11, 2012

Yesterday we went to the LACMA to see, among other things, the current installation of California mid-century modern design.  The exhibit is quite large and extremely interesting, especially the relocated and reassembled Charles and Ray Eames' living room.

January 3, 2012

I almost typed "July 3rd" since the weather out here feels like it should be that time of year.  We've had highs of 86° the last few days.  What a way to start the year!

December 29, 2011

Well, Mary Tyler Moore, Jon Voight, Marianne Faithfull, Ted Danson and I were all celebrating today, separately of course.  While we all share the same birthday, at least I'm the youngest one of the group.  Judy treated me to the latest Spielberg film, The War Horse, followed by lunch at Dhat Island.  The movie had a good story line, but it was predictable, Disney-like and overly long.  Too bad.  We're still digesting our Caribbean-Creole lunch.

December 24, 2011

For Christmas Eve we had lunch at the Mission Inn in Riverside.  We sat inside, although outdoor dining was also available.  It's a beautiful place and the Inn has six restaurants within its one city block footprint.  We couldn't believe how crowded it was.  The food was very good, but it was a little bit on the expensive side.  We had planned to eat lunch and then take pictures of the Inn all decorated with its Christmas arrangements but the sun was still up so we headed back home.  It was about 75° yesterday and we're expecting it to hit 80° here on Christmas Day.

December 20, 2011

It's been cool in Redlands lately.  Night time temperatures in the mid thirties and day time temperatures in the mid sixties.  This week end should warm up and we'll enjoy some seventy degree temperatures again.

December 10, 2011

It's been a pretty nice day here today.  I was up early taking pictures of the total lunar eclipse, then did some yard work and then off to lunch.  Judy is down in Forth Worth, TX, visiting her dear friend Maxine, and she'll be back tomorrow.  Whenever she used to go away, she always worried about me cooking for myself.  Now she has no worries!  Whenever she goes away, I eat at any of the best restaurants I like and, I don't care what I spend!  Today it was La Costa Mariscos for their fantastic tequila-lime shrimp.

December 1, 2011

December has blown in at hurricane force.  Recorded wind speeds in Ventura County reached 97 mph this morning and it has been gusting to about 55-65 mph here in Redlands today.  Things should calm down by tomorrow afternoon.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!  I just finished an excellent book written by Farley Mowat about Dian Fossey.  I had never read anything by Mr. Mowat previously, but I have subsequently found that he is revered as one of Canada's finest conservationists and authors.  I highly recommend his Woman in the Mists.

November 16, 2011

Yesterday I finished reading Bob Fosse's biography and I was stunned by this book.  I guess I was busy with other things in 1973 when Fosse was awarded an Oscar for Cabaret, a Tony for Pippin and an Emmy for Liza with a Z.  He still is the only person to win all three honors in a single year and the only person who has received these honors, all in the "Best Director" category.  Wow!

November 9, 2011

Today we drove to Palm Springs to hike the Tahquitz Canyon.  Can you imagine seeing a 60' waterfall in the middle of the desert?  Look here to see what it's like.

November 4, 2011

It's a rainy day in Redlands, which is perfect for reading a good book.

October 23, 2011

I just finished a biography of Ian Fleming yesterday, what an interesting man he was.  The book was written extremely well by John Pearson.

October 18, 2011

We had a real treat for ourselves today, we went to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA to see a special exhibit on loan from China called "Warriors Tombs and Temples: China's Enduring Legacy."  For pictures, click here.

October 16, 2011

Today I finished my 100th biography after starting sometime in mid-February 2010.  I'm reading a little bit more than a book a week, although since I started, I'm now reading more lengthy volumes and less of some of the earlier "fluff" biographies that are on my reading list.

October 10, 2011

We had a small swarm of earthquakes last night, which we couldn't feel.

October 8, 2011

Today we had a great adventure riding to the top of Mount Baldy on their chair lift.  However, it was certainly chilly at 34º.  For pictures, click here.

October 7, 2011

Judy and I had an unexpected culinary treat for lunch today; bratwurst and sauerkraut.  It all started as we were watching California's Gold a couple of nights ago.  Huell's guests were the Krüegermann family of Los Angeles, who operate a family business selling pickles and sauerkraut.  We wanted to try the sauerkraut but I had no luck finding any in Redlands.  However, I did find a German restaurant and deli called Gozzolo's in San Bernardino.  We went to the store yesterday and picked up some pork bratwurst, the Krüegermann sauerkraut as well as some Krüegermann red cabbage and apple mixture.  We grilled the bratwurst and had the sauerkraut and red cabbage/apples on the side.  Delicious, and who knew we'd swoon over the German fare!

October 6, 2011

I went out equipped with a 100 foot measuring tape today and, with Judy's help, attempted to determine where the property line is located between ourselves and our neighbor.  To make a long story short, we found that the property lines separating properties are indicated and have been etched into the sidewalk when the sidewalk was originally installed.  Judy and I walked our side of Buena Vista Street and noted a "V" etched into the sidewalk delineating each lot as laid out in the original subdivision plan.  This makes it a lot easier (and cheaper) than had we hired a surveyor to find the corners of our property.

October 5, 2011

We expect to make some changes soon in our front yard.  Our next door neighbor is going "southwest" with her landscaping plan.  This means she's going to rip out her lawn and replace it with decomposed granite and drought tolerant plants.  Since part of our front yard abuts her existing lawn area, we are going to (collectively) locate the property line and we'll brick that area from the line to our driveway.  It will tie in with our existing brick work out front and should look pretty good when completed.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.

October 1, 2011

Judy is returning home after her four days in Grass Valley.  She didn't get rich at the Boomtown Casino yesterday, but she had a good time and purged herself of the desire to gamble.  Today was my last day of eating out and I went back to La Costa Mariscos for the occasion.  Today's selection was "Camarones al Mojo de Ajo," which in English is Shrimp in a garlic sauce.  There was also quite a bit of chili peppers thrown in and it was delicious!  After four days of eating out it will be nice to get back to our normal routine.

September 30, 2011

It was another busy day today.  I gave the new stucco section of the front porch a coat of primer and I'll give it the finish coat tomorrow.  Someone from the Social Security office here in Redlands contacted me about various questions they had and now they're computing my benefit factoring in my pension from the city of Worcester.  This is a lingering curse from Ronald Reagan who enacted legislation prohibiting  "double dip" pensions for state and local government employees.  Not that much that I can do about it, so I'll wait and see what their determination is.  I went back to Isabella's for lunch and enjoyed their cream of broccoli soup as my appetizer.  The main course was their "Mignonette al Vino Rosso," which is medallions of filet mignon cooked in a red wine and mushroom sauce.  It was wonderful!  I had a coffee at Augie's, came back and mowed the lawn and then jumped into the pool.  Judy's at the Boomtown Casino today, so maybe I'll hear some good news about her luck there.

September 29, 2011

Today ending up being fairly busy.  After doing my usual yard clean up and watering, I made a batch of gazpacho for my evening meals the next few days.  Shortly afterward, our painter, Jesus Lopez, showed up and repaired all of the bubbling stucco on our front porch.  Tomorrow I'll prime it and Saturday I'll paint it our "house yellow."  While Jesus was working, I started (and completed) my online application for Social Security retirement benefits.  It was a very easy web site to navigate (finally the government did something right).  Then it was time for lunch and today I walked over to La Costa Mariscos to enjoy their Mexican seafood.  The English translation of their Spanish name is "The Seafood Coast."  Chips and salsa started it out, followed by my entree of grilled shrimp in a tequila and lime juice sauce.   The side dishes were: rice, garden salad, black beans and corn tortillas.  A bottle of Dos Equis beer served to balance out some of the fire from the chilies.  After lunch I went to Augie's Coffee House and came back home for a swim.

September 28, 2011

After a mechanical problem, Judy had her flight cancelled and she has just arrived in Sacramento, about three hours later than she had planned.  I've had to fend for myself, meal-wise, so I went to Isabella's Ristorante Italiano for lunch.  The soup today was a delicious cream of cauliflower and I had the "Vitello Bergamo" for my entree.  The Bergamo is veal medallions sautéed with asparagus and mushrooms in a creamy tomato wine sauce.  The wine was Alteo Chianti DOCG, from Siena.  I'll be suffering through these food choices through Saturday.

September 27, 2011

Today is the one year anniversary of my surfing adventure at Bolsa Chica State Beach.  Yesterday I finished my 98th biography, and that one was of Fellini.  After reading Fellini's and Francis Ford Coppola's biographies, I have a much more informed opinion of the movie industry and how it really is behind the camera.  Being owned  and controlled by large corporations, I previously had never thought of how chaotic and disorganized it usually is.  Well tomorrow Judy's off to see her sister Beverly up in Grass Valley, CA.  Of course they're planning their usual day trip to the Boomtown Casino in Reno, NV.

September 22, 2011

"Life" is oftentimes dealing with the cards that have been dealt to you, and trying to come up with a good plan in spite of the original "bad hand."  When our Mimosa tree came down it was quite a shock for us since our back yard faces west.  The heat and glare of the afternoon sun was like a death ray.  Now, thanks to Mario from Screenmobile, we have re-screened the screen porch, kitchen and bedroom windows with Screenmobile's solar screens.  These screens block 90% of the sun's heat and light and have successfully replicated the shade that we formerly enjoyed.  In order to have some green to look at, we've decided to plant a Valencia orange tree in the back yard.  It will make for a pleasant view and, we'll get to have our own oranges!  Unfortunately, orange trees are planted in the spring, so we'll have to wait for 2012 to see one there.  But it's always nice to have something good to look forward to.

September 16, 2011

We were back on Catalina Island on the 14th to celebrate Judy's birthday to see the things we missed on our first trip, pictures are located here.  We took the walking tour of the Casino building, which is just amazing.  The ceiling in the entrance lobby still has its original paint and is complemented with both gold and sterling silver leaf.  The theater is beautifully painted and the acoustics are perfect.  Radio City Music Hall in New York patterned their acoustical design on this theater.  The man responsible for all of the artwork in the building previously had done Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  The ballroom, which is round like the building, originally was a full 15,000 square feet which has been reduced to 10,000 square feet to accommodate kitchen and catering functions of the present day.  The facility now can be rented for weddings and other functions.  In its heyday, the ballroom had a maximum attendance of 6,000 dancing enthusiasts.  The floor level of the ballroom is at a height comparable to that of a ten-story building, but there aren't any elevators to service the patrons.  Since the owner, Mr. Wrigley, also owned the Chicago Cubs, he built two sets of stadium-type ramps for entrance and exit of the ballroom.  We, along with the 32 other people on the tour, effortlessly walked up the ramps from the ground floor to the ballroom.  It really is quite a place.  I almost forgot to mention that the theater's ceiling has dozens of gold leaf stars that have twinkling lights that operate while watching the film, it's beautiful!

September 14, 2011

Our day started out with a jolt, or I should say a shake.  There was an earthquake having a magnitude of 4.1 in Beaumont at 7:44 AM.  Beaumont is about 10 miles from us.

September 9 ,2011

The Mimosa is gone; it only took Danny's Tree Service two hours to cut it down and clean up the debris.  It's different, but we're looking forward to creating a new look for our back yard.

September 8, 2011

We had two tree service companies over to look at the Mimosa yesterday, and the diagnosis wasn't good.  The trunk is rotted out and it has to be removed, and it will come down tomorrow.  I took this picture this morning and you can see how we lost its shading canopy on the right side of its trunk.  We're going to leave the stump as a remembrance rather than grinding it down.

September 6, 2011

We had some excitement in the early morning hours today.  Our much loved Mimosa tree lost a large limb about 3:00 AM.  It was very loud and scared all of us, especially Dante and Bello who were lounging on the screen porch.  There are two pictures below from June 30, 2011 showing the tree in all of its glory.  It's now cleaned up, but we've lost shade in half of our back yard.  What a shame.

August 29, 2011

From temperature records monitored by the Redland Daily Facts, it appears that Saturday, August 27, 2011, was 110º here in Redlands.  That's the highest temperature we've seen since coming here in June 2009.

August 28, 2011

Today we enjoyed a great brunch at the Cafe Sevilla in downtown Riverside.  The majority of the offerings were a mix of Spanish cuisine, Tapas tastings and seafood, in addition to the more traditional brunch items.  The decor was impressive in this beautifully restored building right down the street from the Mission Inn.

August 24, 2011

The GRAMMY Museum has posted some pictures taken during Tyler Bates' interview and performance on August 15th, which is linked here.

August 16, 2011

Last night we were at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles to attend "Reel to Reel: An Evening with Tyler Bates" that was held at the GRAMMY Museum.  Tyler did a great job during the two-hour program, which was sold out.

Tyler's latest film score is for Conan the Barbarian 3D, which will be opening on Friday, August 19th.  The GRAMMY Museum's program announcement for last night's show is shown below.

Reel to Reel: An Evening With Tyler Bates
Presented by American Express

Monday, August 15, 2011; 8:00pm

Tyler Bates

With more than 49 films and 17 years scoring movies, film composer Tyler Bates is at the forefront of innovation in film music. From the early stages in his career composing low-budget films, to creating music for movies like Zack Snyder's battle epic 300, which embodies orchestral and choral themes with a rock n' roll attitude to the new Warner Bros. soundtrack for Conan The Barbarian, which will be released on August 16, Bates continuously provides ambient electronic textures, intoxicating vocal melodies and driving hypnotic rhythms. His work has appeared in countless movies and television shows; The Day the Earth Stood Still, Showtime's hit series Californication, Dawn of the Dead, Halloween, Slither and The Devil's Rejects. He's also composed for numerous videogames such as Army of Two: The 40th Day, Activision's Transformers, and the 300 and Watchmen games. Currently, Bates is generating some of the most exceptional scores, consistently finding fresh ways to unite the emotional with the abstract and the organic with the electronic. Bates will engage in a discussion with the GRAMMY Museum's Executive Director Bob Santelli regarding his career and the process of writing pieces for films. Along with the discussion, he will take questions from the audience and instruct a live composing demonstration.

August 14, 2011

On Friday, August 12, 2011, we witnessed the wedding of Jennifer Johnson and Paul Komadina down in San Diego.  Jennifer is the daughter of Jeff and Angie Johnson, who is a former flight attendant and dear friend of Judy's.  The reception was held at the Ultimate Sky Box, overlooking Petco Field in downtown San Diego.  Congratulations to Jennifer and Paul!

August 8, 2011

I just finished Walter Isaacson's biography of Albert Einstein, it was one of those books that you don't want to end.  It was fascinating, pleasurable and understandable, which is quite a feat considering the depths Walter had to scale to convey the mind of this genius.  I loved it!

Coincidentally, it was just one month ago that Judy and I walked across the same bridge that Einstein did during his 1931 visit to the Mount Wilson Observatory.

August 7, 2011

We've been enjoying delightful weather here recently with temperatures in the mid-nineties and low humidity.  We've also been busy with a few projects around the house.  There were three Italian cypress trees growing next to the garage and they were all causing some damage to the shingles of its roof and the flashing.  If we didn't do something soon, the trees were going to cause some damage to the structure.  So, out they came and a roofer came in and mended the three areas that were affected.  I had to repaint that wall and Judy replanted the Red Apple that was destroyed in the tree removal operation.  We also had some problems with the central vacuum motor that burned out.  It was replaced once, but the replacement motor also failed.  After waiting about three weeks, we now have a third motor that appears to be working just fine.  Let's hope that continues!

July 27, 2011

Yesterday we visited the grounds of the Mount Wilson Observatory in the Angeles National Forest.  It's quite a place and we may return during a weekend when docents conduct tours of the facilities.  To see some pictures, click here.  We drove the entire length of the Angeles Crest Highway from west to east and were able to see impact of the 2009 Station Fire, two years after its occurrence.  Many of the large trees are still standing, but dead and blackened.  However, in total, the area is now fairly green and the drive was beautiful.

July 19, 2011

A small milestone in my reading list today, I'm up to the letter "E" and I've finished my 90th biography.

July 14, 2011

I just finished reading a biography of Isadora Duncan, written by Peter Kurth and titled Isadora: A Sensational Life.  It is a wonderful story about this early twentieth century dancer, which is full of the glamour and the tragedy that was her life.  I strongly recommend it to all.

July 8, 2011

Yesterday we visited the Getty Villa near Malibu, CA, right off the Pacific Coast Highway.  The Villa is modeled on the Villa of the Papyri (Villa dei Papiri), which is a private house in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. The Italian residence sits halfway up the slope of the volcano Vesuvius without other buildings to obstruct the view. In AD 79, the eruption of Vesuvius covered all of Herculaneum with some 30 m of volcanic ash. Its remains were first excavated in the years between 1750 and 1765 by Karl Weber by means of underground tunnels. Its name derives from the discovery of a library in the house containing 1,785 carbonized papyrus scrolls.  It was a great day except for the traffic on the Santa Monica freeway between that city and LA.  It was horrendous both coming and going.  For pictures, click here.

July 4, 2011

It's hot!  Our temperature in Redlands has been hovering around 104° for the past three days and it will probably be the same tomorrow.  It's possible that we may have a thunderstorm this afternoon.  I just finished a book about Alfred Dreyfus written by his son and it included some of Alfred Dreyfus' memoirs.  It was a good read, which surprised me in that its publication date was in 1937, two years after Alfred Dreyfus died.  This brings me to number 88 on my biography reading list.

June 30, 2011

We went to Catalina Island last week, and I neglected to mention it in the Blog.  For pictures, please click here.

Our mimosa tree is currently in full bloom and is spectacular!

June 12, 2011

Judy and I took a short ride over to the old Norton Air Force Base this morning in pursuit of the elusive Boeing 747-B.  Since its decommissioning in 1994, the airport is now known as the San Bernardino International Airport, however, there are no commercial flights into or out of the airport, it's sad.  Boeing is using the airport for testing of the 747-B (the new cargo version of the 747), the new 737-900 and the new 787 Dreamliner.  Sure enough, as we drove around we spotted a crew working on the 787.  Some of the hangers at this airport are immense!

When we returned home, I found out through Flight Aware that the 747-B is now at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.  Hopefully, when it returns to San Bernardino, I'll be able to get a picture of it.

June 10, 2011

We've had a thick "marine layer" here for the past few days, so I've been unable to get a picture of the 747, although I've heard it fly over several times.  It has been reported that the testing at the San Bernardino Airport will continue through the end of June, so I still have a chance for a snapshot as it flies overhead.  I also found out that the 747-8 that is being tested here is the cargo version, not the intercontinental passenger version.  And, my first sighting was correct, it has "747 B" painted on its belly.

June 7, 2011

For the last three days I've heard and seen a large airplane pass overhead, which is unusual in that we're not in the flight path of any commercial airliners.  The plane was flying at a fairly low altitude and I could read, what I thought said, "747 B" on the belly of the plane.  After some investigation on the Internet, I found that Boeing has been recently been testing its new 747-8 out of the San Bernardino Airport, which is located just next to Redlands.  I plan to have my camera ready today in the event it passes overhead again.  Boeing's web site states that it plans to ship the new planes to its customers in a few months.  The Boeing 747-8 web site is available here.

May 29, 2011

Today we enjoyed a champagne brunch aboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.  We were lucky to get a Groupon two-for-one deal.  The Queen Mary staff were great and the champagne, fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee cups were never empty.  To see the pictures, click here.

May 20, 2011

We made the front page of the Daily Facts today, above the fold, no less.  Click here to see it.

My sister Nancy visited us this week, which was her first trip to California.  We took in the sites in and around Los Angeles (Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood sign and the beach in Santa Monica).  We also walked and drove around Redlands and ate very well during her four day stay.  Unfortunately, the Southern California weather wasn't cooperating for us, we had some rain, clouds, fog and wintry temperatures (55-65°).  For a couple of recent pictures of Nance, click here and go to the bottom of the page.

May 6, 2011

Yesterday we visited the Huntington Library for a second time after realizing that we had not seen many of the gardens on our first visit.  If you plan to visit Los Angeles, going to the Huntington Library should be a top priority of the places to see here.  To view yesterday's pictures, click here.

April 21, 2011

I just finished reading The Last Trials of Clarence Darrow, written by Donald McRae in 2009.  It was riveting, I couldn't put it down.  The was number 79 on my reading list.

April 17, 2011

It's been beautiful here yesterday and today.  Yesterday was 95° so I jumped into the pool for first time this season.  The pool water was 68°.  Today is a little cooler, somewhere in the 85-87° range.

April 12, 2011

It's taken me over a year to finally reach the fourth letter of the alphabet, "D."  The biography was that of Salvador Dalí, which was an interesting read.  The creative genius of the 1920's and 1930's unfortunately turned into a comic book character in his later years, passing away on January 23, 1989.  This makes number 77 on my reading list, which is shown here.

March 27, 2011

This past week the A. K. Smiley Public Library held its semiannual book sale and we were there on opening day.  The event was written up in the Redlands Daily Facts and of course Judy got all of the ink, lucky her!  I was mentioned too, but the mention was "her husband."  Things have changed since I used to get all of the ink in the Worcester Telegram.  To see a copy of the article, click here.

March 20, 2011

Spring officially begins in a few hours and we just had a small tremor shortly after midnight.  For a full history of our recent earthquakes, click here.

March 4, 2011

We were blown away by the Huntington Library yesterday, what a place!  For some pictures, click here and for a description of some of their rare books, click here.

February 24, 2011

Winter continues in Redlands.  High temperatures in the fifties are projected for the next four days and a high of only 44° forecast for Saturday.  Further increasing the bad news, rain is forecast from Friday through Sunday.  There goes our afternoon walks!

February 22, 2011

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the similarity between Lady Gaga's "I Was Born This Way" to Madonna's "Express Yourself?"

February 21, 2011

We spent the day in Indio, CA today at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival.  Although we knew about date shakes, but had never tried one, today was the day.  We were a little disappointed because it tasted like a vanilla milkshake and not like dates and, it was so rich, we both had a bit of trouble settling our stomachs afterward.  In any event, the fair was fun and you can click here to see the pictures.

February 15, 2011

We enjoyed our Valentine's Day here in Redlands with warm temperatures and sunny skies.  However, winter is finally settling in since we expect temperatures to drop to the sixties and we'll have on and off showers over the next four days.  But, it's better than Worcester, MA whose wind chill is currently 4°.  No thanks!

February 9, 2011

We enjoyed our day at Griffith Observatory today.  For pictures, please click here.

February 5, 2011

You never know when the cacti or the succulents are going to bloom here in Redlands.  To see the colorful display, click here.

January 26, 2011

January seems to be screaming into history this year.  I guess it's because it's been a fairly busy month for us.  We went to the Soboba Casino yesterday and Judy was hot at the roulette wheel.  We spent some of her winnings at the Fisherman's Market in Banning as our reward.

January 23, 2011

We took a little day trip on Thursday into Pasadena to see the Norton Simon Museum.  We weren't disappointed, it was beautiful.  The collections were more extensive than we had anticipated.  To see some of the pictures taken, click here.

January 15, 2011

We were very fortunate yesterday to see "The King's Speech" that was shown at our nearby Krikorian Premiere Theater.  It's great to be able to walk to a theater to take in a show.  The movie is riveting, fabulously acted by its cast.  The screenplay is based on the book written by Lionel Logue's grandson who recently uncovered his grandfather's diaries.  Mr. Logue, the speech therapist, successfully coached King George VI to overcome his stammering, aided by the support of the King's wife, Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother).  This feature rises well above, and out of reach, of the traditional formulaic films currently being produced.

After the movie it was time to change into shorts and tee shirts, to sit by the pool and enjoy the beautiful 80° afternoon.

January 14, 2011

Redlands has experienced a small swarm of earthquakes over the past three days, however, nothing serious.  For the historical record, click here.

January 10, 2011

I just finished reading Cleopatra's biography and was somewhat disappointed in the lack of evidence of her "supposed" seductive nature.  However, she wasn't lacking in her powers of manipulation.  Cleopatra is now number 62 in my list of biographies.

January 8, 2011

We're back after two days at the CES in Las Vegas.  For pictures of our trip, click here.

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!  It's going to be a cold day for everyone in the Tournament of Roses Parade today and it's generally been fairly cool here in Redlands.  Judy and I have decided that our blood is beginning to thin after eighteen months in CA.  Temperatures in the high fifties or low sixties are now our new standard for "cool," compared to zero degree days back east.  For Christmas, we had dinner with the Haas family down in Huntington Beach and it was a delightful event.  During the day on New Year's Eve, we drove over to Highland to see the flood devastation first-hand, what a shame for those people in and around Old Greenspot Road.  We also saw the mountain ready to collapse onto the backs of the homes on Autumn Chase Drive.  Those homes are still under evacuation.  We celebrated New Year's Eve by having shrimp scampi and a nice bottle of 2001 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for lunch, followed by a walk downtown for cappuccino.  It was a great way to start the new year.  To see pictures of this morning's sunrise, click here.

December 24, 2010

I just finished the Churchill biography, which filled 912 pages, excluding the references and index section.  It was written by Roy Jenkins; himself a member of the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Chancellor of the University of Oxford and also seated in the House of Lords, amongst other distinctions.  It is a fascinating documentary, although it took me several hundred pages to adjust my reading cadence and also acclimate myself to reading British English, versus American English.  Trips to the dictionary were frequent due to the extraordinary command of the English language shown by Mr. Jenkins, who passed away in January 2003.

December 23, 2010

In the spirit of the holidays, I'd like to share the following joke:

It was a holiday tradition at our house. Each year on Christmas morning, Mom would get up extra early and prepare a special breakfast that included eggs Benedict served on her prized heirloom dishes.  One year, though, she must have sampled the eggnog before she got started.

When the family came downstairs and gathered around the table, we found that the eggs Benedict breakfasts were served on the hubcaps from Dad’s car.  Dad asked, “What’s going on?”

Mom replied, giddily, “Don’t you know? There’s No Plates Like Chrome for the Hollandaise.”

Corny I know, but any joke that will forever corrupt the memory of a beloved Christmas standard is okay with me.

December 14, 2010

We're in downtown LA today to see the LACMA.  To our pleasant surprise, we found out that the second Tuesday of each month is "free day."  So we didn't have to pay the $15.00 admission fee.  The LACMA has over 100,000 objects and is the largest art museum in the western United States.

December 13, 2010

We had a wonderful day yesterday visiting Judy's cousin Mary and her husband Dick down in Palm Desert, CA.

December 10, 2010

The server migration is now complete and the email is working properly, thank goodness.

December 9, 2010

I'm in the middle of migrating my web site from a server in the Boston area to a new server hosted by Network Solutions and it is a very anxious operation for me.  Stay tuned!

So far, almost all is going well, except for a few Microsoft Front Page problems.  The web is now accessible from two URLs:  www.allardrealestate.com and www.robertallard.com.  My normal email address, which is  allard@allardrealestate.com, is not working since my new mailboxes haven't been created yet.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at roadrunner.com.

December 2, 2010

It's a beautiful day here considering that it's the second of December.  The temperature is around 75° with cloudless skies.  There was a little shaker yesterday a couple of miles away in Loma Linda.  Its magnitude was 3.2 and Redlands had a little after shock several hours later.  Today we went back to the Soboba Casino after I had received some free slot play coupons in the mail.  Needless to say, their ploy worked since I "left" twenty dollars at the casino after spending their free money.  However, all was not lost since we had a great lunch at the Fisherman's Market & Grill in Banning.  The food is always wonderful here.  When we returned we spent a couple of hours under the pergola enjoying the bright sunshine, the L. A. Times , and the Redlands Daily Facts.  Retirement is habit forming.

November 24, 2010

I just finished Julia Child's biography, Appetite for Life, and what a good read it was!  The biography was written in 1997, seven years before her death in 2004.

I was fortunate to have seen Julia and Jacques Pépin perform a cooking demonstration at Harvard University probably around 1981 or 1982.  What a loveable educator, entertainer (and comic) she was, and she is sorely missed by her fans.

Julia was a "spy" in World War II!  She worked for the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, which morphed into the present day CIA.  She performed top secret research and clerical functions where she clearly demonstrated a high level of organizational skills in the process.  While in China, she loathed the regime of Chiang Kai-shek, who was being backed by the U.S. government, Chiang was my previous biography before Julia's.

November 18, 2010

Apparently we had quite a swarm of earthquakes yesterday.  The So Cal Earthquake Data Center reports a total of seven for November 17, 2010.

November 17, 2010

This morning we had an earthquake registering a 3.2 magnitude, but, it didn't wake me up!

November 9, 2010

I've added three more pictures to Dante and Bello's page, their birthday is Wednesday, November 10th.

November 5, 2010

I just returned after visiting my sister Nancy in her new home in Indian Land, SC.  Indian Land is about 25 miles southeast of Charlotte, NC.  Her home was just completed at the end of September 2010 and, in a few short weeks, she's all moved in and all of her personal interior renovations have been completed.  To see a few pictures of her home, click on the "Nance" tab above, or click here.

Yesterday we drove around (in the rain) to see some of Charlotte's sites.  We went downtown (which is called "uptown," very southern) by the new Mint Museum and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  We went into the old Mint Museum on Randolph Road and we also toured the Billy Graham Library.  The building that houses the Mint Museum has a fairly interesting history.  Gold was discovered in North Carolina in the late 1700's and the first branch of the United States Mint was located in this building in uptown Charlotte.    Over $5 million in gold coins were minted here between 1836 and the outbreak of the Civil War.   The building was later moved to its present location.

It was great to see Nance after an eighteen month separation but we're both settled into our new locations now.

October 29 2010

Yesterday was our seventeenth wedding anniversary and we celebrated at Isabella's Ristorante Italiano in Redlands.  We both tried their Scampi Diavolo and it was fabulous!  It's great that we have such a nice restaurant that we can walk to here in Redlands.  Returning home, we realized that when we came to vacation in California in 2008 (to see if I'd like living here), we celebrated our anniversary at Spago's.  So this year was our third time celebrating our anniversary in California, time flies.

We're both looking forward to our next seventeen years together!

October 27, 2010

I've added a page for Dante and Bello.  You can click the button above, or click here to see their pictures.

October 23, 2010

The SoCal Earthquake Data Center reported a swarm of earthquakes here in Redlands yesterday and another one this morning.  All of them were fairly small magnitudes, ranging from 0.8 to 2.2 on the Richter scale.  For the full report, click on the "Earthquake" button above, or click here.

October 22, 2010

Today is the 18th anniversary of my "visit" to Judy in Grass Valley, CA.  After that day, both of our lives were permanently changed.  We're looking forward to some sunshine today after a week of clouds and sporadic rain showers.  We're also anticipating a warmer weekend and a more normal climate for Southern California.  We can't complain, the last time it rained here was back in April.

October 20, 2010

The L. A. Times published a story in today's paper about a murder-suicide in the small town of Crestline, where we were this past weekend.  The two principals were a woman and her nine year old grandson, that little town must be in shock.  When we were there, we had coffee at Madeline's Oceanview Cafe, which was a great place and Madeline is certainly quite a character.  Crestline sits on top of the San Bernardino mountain range and the San Andreas fault lies at the base on the mountain, hence, the "ocean view" in the event of a major quake that slides Southern California into the Pacific ocean.  Madeline has signs plastered all over her restaurant, like, "My son is the inmate of the month at the County Jail," and "Does my fat ass make my ass look fat?"  She's got a million of them to delight her customers.

October 18, 2010

Maxine is on her way back to Fort Worth today, however, Judy and I are sorry to see her go, we had such a great weekend with her.  And a full weekend it was! 

Friday we gave her a walking tour of downtown Redlands after having lunch at Isabella's Italian Restaurant.  We window shopped along State Street, inspected the A. K. Smiley Library and the Lincoln Memorial Shrine, and strolled through the Redlands Bowl

Saturday we took a driving tour of Redlands going to the University of Redlands campus and explored the mansions on Summit Avenue, Sunset Drive and Crescent Avenue.  Then we had lunch at the Fat Greek in Yucaipa followed by a tour of the Kimberly Crest House and Gardens, pictures of which are shown on the link above.  What a special place Kimberly Crest is with its period decor and furnishings.  

On Sunday we drove through the fog up to the Cajon Pass on I-15.  At the summit the skies cleared so we could see the Mormon Rocks in all of their splendor.  Then we headed east to Silverwood Lake and had some coffee in the small mountain town of Crestline.  As we descended from Crestline's high elevation in the San Bernardino Mountains, we saw the "marine layer" that had completely covered the cities and towns of the Inland Empire.  The summit of Mont San Jacinto peaked through the top of the marine layer in the distance.   After some lunch at the Eating Room, Judy and Max went browsing through some of Redlands' antique stores and I got to take some rest.  We all had a very nice time together.

October 13, 2010

I just finished Champlain's Dream by David Hackett Fischer and it was the best book I have read in my continuing biography marathon.  Mr. Fischer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for Washington's Crossing, which I'm looking forward to reading, once I move up the alphabet to the W's.  My great grandmother lived in Pierreville, Quebec on the banks of the St. Lawrence river and I remember going to visit her as a young boy with my family.  Later in life, visiting Quebec City became almost an annual pilgrimage for me and now I'm looking forward to my next visit.  Champlain founded the colony that was to become Quebec City in 1608.  His statue is on the promenade (Terrasse Dufferin) overlooking the St. Lawrence and is adjacent to the Chateau Frontenac.

October 12, 2010

The Earthquake Data Center downgraded the October 9th earthquake to a 1.2 magnitude.

October 10, 2010    10-10-10

We had a 1.4 magnitude quake here yesterday at 7:55 AM and, thankfully we felt nothing.

October 8, 2010

Well, it had to happen, the law of averages, etc.  After reading fifty biographies in which some were great, some others dry, I never failed to complete reading the entire book until today.  My failing book was the memoirs of Edgar Cayce, entitled "My Life as a Seer."  I would have titled it "My Life as a Nut."  I just couldn't read another page, although I was up to 150 pages of it.  Now it's on to the next biography (which is another four pound, 800 page encyclopedia), but, it has to be better than Edgar's ramblings.

October 4, 2010

Yesterday we had a nice full day in Los Angeles.  First, we went to the Farmers' Market where everything looked the same to Judy as it had many decades ago.  Then we had a fabulous lunch at Tuscanova's in Century City.  Finally we visit Tyler Bates and his family and get a chance to see his newly completed studio.

September 30, 2010

We had an earthquake here yesterday morning (1.4 magnitude), but, we didn't know about it except for the USGS report.  We saw the coiled basket exhibition at the San Bernardino County Museum and some pictures can be accessed by the "Museum" link.

September 28, 2010

Yesterday Los Angeles broke its all-time temperature record by reaching 113° downtown.  Redlands high yesterday was 109°.  I'm still experiencing yesterday's adrenaline rush and the resulting body aches as well.  While I was able to get up and catch three rides, all three ended with wipeouts, not dismounts.  I'm especially sore on both sides of my rib cage and on the tops of my feet.  The fiberglass long board isn't very forgiving on those body parts that aren't used to hard bumping and abrasion.  However, there aren't any regrets, I loved every minute of it.  Surfing has now been officially scratched off my "bucket list."

September 27, 2010

It was 106° here yesterday and it is forecasted to be about 107-108° today.  So, to beat the heat, I screwed up my courage and Judy and I drove to Huntington Beach so I could try surfing for the first time in my life!  When we got there I luckily found an instructor for the Corky Carroll Surf School who agreed to take me for a one hour lesson.  I say luckily because the Surf School was closed for the season.  The instructor, Jordan, was at the beach for some other reason, but, he decided to fit me in.  Paddling out is really tiring and trying to get everything covered in one hour made for an intense workout.  But, I was successful!  I got up three times all together and had one fairly long ride on my first time up.  It's a pretty thrilling experience and I'm sure I'll surf again under some more relaxing circumstances.

September 24, 2010

We decided to go into L.A. today to visit the L.A. County Museum of Art and see the La Brea Tar Pits, which is right next door.  We toured the Tar Pits and the associated Page Museum and were done by 11:00 AM, however, the LACMA doesn't open until noon.  So we headed down Wilshire Boulevard and went to lunch at Wolfgang Puck's Bistro in downtown L.A.  Judy had the Pacific Fish & Chips and I had the Spaghetti Bolognese, our two favorites here. For dessert,  it was the Molten Chocolate Cake with two espressos.  A fabulous meal for $37.00!  We'll make the trip to the LACMA another day.  When we got back to Redlands the temperature was 99° and we expect triple digits over the weekend.

September 21, 2010

I added some of Judy's pictures taken at Gary and Alecia's wedding on September 18, 2010.  To see the pictures, click here.

September 19, 2010

I continue on my bachelor weekend while Judy stays with her sister, Beve, and her husband Charlie, who live in Grass Valley, CA.  Beve's son Gary was married yesterday in Grass Valley, outdoors, on a beautifully sunny and cloud-free day.  Judy, Beve, Charlie and one of their friends are going to the Boomtown Casino today, which is located just outside of Reno, NV.

We had planted a Bird of Paradise earlier this spring and we now have it's first bloom.  Pictures are shown here.

September 14, 2010

For Judy's birthday, she wanted to go to the Soboba Indian Casino and then have lunch at the Fisherman's Market and Grill.  The casino is in San Jacinto, out in the middle of the desert, but we're very comfortable there.  We each started with $100 and Judy got lucky at the slots, but I didn't.  I was down to $15 but luckily, I couldn't miss on the roulette wheel, I was winning on about nine of ten spins of the wheel.  Judy unfortunately gave her winnings back so, in the end, she had $100 left and I had $100 left.  Two hours of entertainment and it costs us nothing!

The Fisherman's Market in Banning is one of our favorite restaurants in the area.  I had the steamed mussels and Judy had fish (and shrimp) and chips.  The food was excellent, as usual.

September 12, 2010

It's a beautiful day here in Redlands.  The temperature is 93° and the skies are blue.  I finished the Andrew Carnegie biography today; 801 pages and each page went quickly.  We'll be celebrating Judy's birthday on Tuesday and she's headed up north to Grass Valley, CA this weekend to attend her nephew Gary's wedding. 

September 6, 2010

While not completely back to normal, Judy seems to be out of the woods with her pulled muscle problem.

September 4, 2010

Judy pulled a muscle in her back on Wednesday and she continues to suffer from it.  Hopefully today the pain will finally subside.  I'm looking forward to a "fluff" biography, on the same level of Yogi Berra or Valerie Bertinelli.  I just finished Caravaggio yesterday and that was 500 pages.  The one I'm reading now is 800 pages!

September 2, 2010

I've added a page that will follow earthquakes centered in Redlands, which can be accessed by the tab shown above.

August 30, 2010

If you noticed, this will confirm that my Telegram screen name is I_love_LA.

August 27, 2010

George Cohen has asked what books on the reading list would I recommend to others.  I haven't regretted reading any of them, but a few are more enjoyable reads and do stand out.  To date, I would recommend the books on:  Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ted Bundy, Maria Callas and Truman Capote.

August 22, 2010

Decided to take a little Sunday morning drive since we didn't have much to do around the house.  Our destination was the mountain town of Wrightwood located north of Redlands just off the I-15 (the highway connecting L.A. and Las Vegas).  We stopped at the Mormon Rocks Fire Station to take a few pictures and then we had coffee in Wrightwood.  It's a pretty small town, laid back and not very commercial.  It must be a nice spot to just get away from it all.

We re-traced our steps but chose to return to Redlands via Route 138 that goes through Crestline and then down the mountain into San Bernardino.  We had never heard about Silverwood Lake but found it after passing through a wonderful stretch of narrow, windy two-lane roadway going up into the San Bernardino Mountains.  The drive went through an old forest area so the tree canopy was thick and dark.  Some of the trees had trunks that were about 8 to 10 feet in diameter, very impressive.  Silverwood Lake was spectacular and very big.  Boats and Jet Skis everywhere!  It looked like a lot of fun.

We continued on to Crestline, which has a post office and a few stores, but not much else.  Then back down the mountain, in very fast traffic, until we got to the 210 and then back to the Chili's in Redlands for lunch.  Pictures are posted under the "Cajon Pass" tab above.

August 19, 2010

We have a little termite infestation in our garage, so the contractor is now to removing some dry wall and will correct the problem. 

I had a good report from my doctor yesterday who told me to keep up with my good California lifestyle.  Great numbers on all of my lab work so I no longer need the blood tests prior to seeing him.

Judy had her stitches removed from her previous oral surgery. Also, her primary left the medical practice that we belong to, so she's taking my doctor, Dr. Douty, as her new primary.  She will see him at the end of the month.

 The latest pictures from the Mt. Rubidoux Memorial Park and the Redlands Bowl ballet are accessed through the link shown above.  Isabella's Italian Restaurant that is referred to on that page does not have a web site.  However the menu is shown here, just ignore page one of the PDF since it is a coupon.  The menu is shown on pages two through five.

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