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
"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
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