Boo at The Zoo

Do you have any idea how long it has been since Fran and I accompanied a child Trick or Treating, at least one old enough to know they are Trick or Treating?  Today was Boo at the Zoo (Sacramento Zoo, that is.) Grace was in her beautiful princess persona while Vivian was in her nap and Daddy-hold-me mode.

The zoo was filled with pirates, princesses, super humans, Star Wars characters, Harry Potters, unicorns, dinosaurs, pixies, ghosts and skeletons. What fun! What a safe family environment. Kudos for the zoo for conducting a wonderful event for children both small and large enough to resemble parents (and grand parents.) A number of sponsors were present to hand out candy to all the little costumed characters.

The lion was pacing in the front of his enclosure while the snow leopard was lounging on his rocks.

Speaking of rocks, Grace was too small to go up the climbing wall, but really wanted Daddy to climb all the way to the top. (Her hero made it in just about a minute.)


California Archives Speaker Series

Apparently, respite is actually available from our adversarial, political, media-drenched atmosphere, if you look. Little gems of culture and civilization are available everywhere, if you look. Alternatively, if you have friends who look, and are willing to share, you too can participate in these local diamonds in the dust.

We accepted a friends’ invitation to join them for a lecture at the California Archives Speaker Series featuring Michael Troyan, author of: “Twentieth Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment.” In addition to being an author, Mr. Troyan is an archivist, not to be image_562258579460525confused with an anarchist. Mentally form your image of an archivist, and fade it into that memory section of your brain reserved for erroneous pre-conceptions. Exchange that image for an enthusiastic, energetic person with access to deep wells of history and the ability to present that information with detail, humor and a personal sense of amazement. Michael’s love of history, the movie entertainment industry, and perhaps even more so, the people he met and interviewed during the course of writing this book becomes apparent as he speaks. If you ever have the opportunity to attend Michael’s presentation, take it. If no one invites you to attend, go look for it. It will be well worth your time and effort.

image_562258788060679The California State Archives Speaker Series presents programs three or four times a year. Among others, past presentations included, “Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World”, “Drought, Water Law, and the Origins of California’s Central Valley Project”, “John Muir and the Big Trees” and “Arabian Dreams in the American Desert: The Cultivation of Middle Eastern Fantasies in California’s Coachella Valley”.

Visit and bookmark the Archives website and add future California State Archives Speakers Series events to your calendar, then look at it.

Spookomotive Train Ride

October 13, 2018

There are alway fun events in Oldtown Sacramento (OldSac.) Today it was the 2E749F5A-947E-4787-A157-314825E8CB6ASpookomotive Train Ride for Halloween. Kids were encouraged to dress up as pirates and princesses. Ours decided princessi (My plural of princess. I can’t help it, I am a scientist after all.) would be the most fun. (Pirates can be scary.) We boarded the Spookomotive at the rail yards at the Railroad Museum in OldSac. (By the way, if you haven’t been there, this is a fantastic museum, more than worth the price of admission.)

Frances had purchased tickets online so we could bypass the ticket office and go directly to wait in line to board, once properly dressed and coiffed, of course. You know, those old steam engines were really, really big. We, however, boarded a Diesel powered train,  as was pointed out by a 3 year old pirate in front of us in line.

We were able to find eight seats together and after a short delay were on our way. During our ride, we were accosted by one bad pirate and saved by one good one. Ultimately, the good pirate was able to convince the bad one to mend his ways and near the end of the trip he came through each car and apologized for his boorish (my word, not his) behavior. The damage was done for Princess Grace, however. If she had Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, she would have used it for the return trip.

The Princessi Grace and Vivian held court in our end of the railroad car and enjoyed the sights as we travelled along the Sacramento River. There were plenty of boats and a few large yachts on the river for an unusually warm October outing. Grace was regal and enjoyed the attention with aplomb. Vivian was, well, ummm, sorry but unperturbed and plump.3F8F15A0-5189-4C2A-B628-57C0F29DB6CE

BUT everyone, pirates, princessi, moms, dads and greats all gots cookies!!

The Spookomotive train ride is a wonderful family adventure. After being assured there would be no pirates present, Grace said she would love to to on the Polar Express around Christmas time. Can’t wait!

Sacramento Speaker Series – Leon Panetta

Wednesday evening we attended the first Sacramento Speaker Series event of the new season. Leon Panetta is an American politician who has served several presidents as Secretary of Defense, CIA Director, Chief Of Staff, Director of the OMB and was a representive from the state of California.

His presentation was informative, occasionally humorous, topical and passionate. However, I doubt pro-Trump attendees would have thought so. Mr. Panetta was a Republican until 1971 when he switched affiliation to the Democrat party.

He left us with several memorable take-aways:

  • The US Government requires real leadership, rather than a chaos derived administration. Our current administration spends too much energy and talent putting out fires created by random thought tweets and not enough time developing a strategy for dealing with world and American issues and problems.
  • The greatness of the United States was built on the labor and talent of immigrants. Barring their entry will choke progress, innovation and continued growth.
  • The loss of true bi-partisan civility and cooperation between the parties. Our elected officials are more interested in keeping their jobs than doing their jobs.

He succinctly summed up the United States after a meeting with President Bill Clinton when he was left alone in the Oval Office. He stood there, looked around and thought to himself, “Here I am, the son of immigrant farmers, alone in the most powerful room in the world. Only in America.”

But the best line was in response to a question about our current presidents style and behavior: “You are the President of the United States for Christ sakes!”

We Went to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo!

Sunday morning started Neil’s last day with us this weekend. We wanted to continue our Family Weekend Visit by going to the Sacramento Zoo to meet the newest “member” of the family, Coconut, the baby snow leopard. Coconut was named in memory of the original Coconut, the house cat owned by the creator of Coconuts Fish Cafe and was scheduled to be in his beautiful habitat for some exercise and to help him acclimate to 990FDB9D-6A1F-4A7E-9E2D-BB2FA6075025
the outdoors and to the noise of his new environment. Right on cue the handlers came into the enclosure, each carrying a small (1’x2’) plexiglass shield. When we asked what they were for we were told Coconut likes shoes. Moments later the door opened and Coconut peeked out from his den into the wide world around him. Slowly, stealthily, he crept forward. It was amazing how in just walking he looked like a predator stalking prey. He was beautiful. During the 429C5A15-423E-4208-975B-E587AA0247FA20-30 minutes we watched him he climbed the rocks around the edges of the habitat, played with a toy coconut (heh heh) and attacked a stuffed animal. He was such a kitten. It was amazing.

Just down the walkway from Coconut was the gate leading to the home of Cosmopolitan, the baby flamingo hatched just 50 days ago. The staff is introducing Cosmopolitan to the rest of the flamingo flock and helping her learn to walk on uneven ground. Daily they escort her through the streets of the zoo from her home to the big lake where most of the flamingos live. She receives the royal treatment as she walks, untethered, along with her escorts. (There are predators like E96D6F86-72F1-47A3-9360-1B4EF54C14BABC5D1992-5A43-4D7F-A365-1FB42503A71Chawks and owls around the area and a small bird requires protection, although I think she considers them her entourage.)  It’s about 100 yards of twisting street, but she is focused on going to the lake. It will take almost 2 years for her normal pink plumage to fully develop. When we rounded the last curve, the flock started honking or whatever that noise is. They were very excited to see “their” baby. The staff walked her around the pond providing the opportunity for her to develop her sea legs, or rough ground legs and she did beautifully.

Our host asked if we wanted to feed the giraffe (who wouldn’t?) and led us back to the staging area where the giraffes are kept prior to releasing them to the big field. She picked a few sprigs of some tree along the way and gave some to each of us to feed the big male giraffe. He was very gentle and took the leaves from us with his immense tongue.

5235B4C1-0CEE-4EDD-9D15-FD6B93162C0FCAB0A21D-F2F9-4C3E-B0C5-4C810D450CE0Finally, we rode the carousel! Grace rode a zebra, a snow leopard and a lion. Her Tita Kathy and Dede and Bebe (me and Fran) and Uncle Neil took turns with her as she rode.

We left the zoo, grateful for the opportunities we had to meet some of the animals “up close and personal” and look forward to returning to see the progress of both of the babies.

D9EA1E55-9FCB-41EA-96FB-7C9CB62C7E72Right across the street from the zoo is a pony ride area, and how could a 2+ year old resist riding ponies, if given the chance. Grace rode 3 different ponies around the track. Her favorite was Black Beauty. She loves her ponies.

A quick stop at Taylors Market for some sandwiches and salads for lunch and then back home for some R&R before Neil had to head to the airport.

Quite the weekend with Apple Hill, the Capitol Beerfest and Sacramento Zoo! I cannot wait to see what is in store next.

Capitol Beerfest 2018

Always eager to support our local government when we saw The California Craft Beer Summit and Beer Festival was open on the Capitol Mall in Sacramento Saturday from 1-4PM, we decided we should go as a show of solidarity with Gov. Jerry Brown. By the time we actually decided to go, the online ticket sales were over. Luckily, I know someone (Daniel) who knows 7E1568D2-AD9E-47D8-8395-FED5E3ABCD27someone (named Mike R.) who had some extra tickets. That isn’t totally accurate. Mike actually went out of his way to procure 3 VIP tickets for the event and we were, and are, very grateful.

The Beer Festival showcased over 160 vendors, each pouring 2-4 different brews in three or four ounce samples included in the price of the tickets, should you have paid for them. (Did I say thank you Mike?) The Expo Hall was organized around the 4 main ingredients of beer. I am going to editorialize here: there are only, or should only be 4 ingredients in beer. If you want flavors you cannot obtain by adjusting the yeast, grains or hops, make something else, not beer. There is no place for grapefruit or apricots in beer. Sorry. Fran will likely confirm that I am flexible and eager to try new things, but somethings are sacrosanct and beer ingredients is one of them. Luckily the Expo Hall wasn’t open on Saturday so I didn’t make a scene.

Anyway, Neil and I couldn’t sample all the approximate 600 individual beers, no matter how hard we tried. I did manage a dozen or so, but asked the vendor to limit my tasting glass to only an ounce or so. If they poured more, I dumped the extra. I didn’t watch Neil EAEF4FDD-EEAD-4AFB-9E3E-F16B8C8F4779closely, but he wasn’t driving anyway. Also, it was hot. Very hot. I like darker beers but lighter ones are more appropriate on a day like today. In all honesty, I tried 2 or 3 light colored beers, but mostly stayed with my stouts, porters and ambers. Yumm!

As luck would have it the first tasting I did was my favorite of the day, a Marshmallow Chocolate Milk Stout from Garage Brewing. Now you may say, “Dave. You said there should only be 4 ingredients in beer, hops, grains, yeast and water. What gives with Marshmallow Chocolate Milk Stout?” I would respond, “Shut up and mind you own business.” It was good. There were many other very tasty selections as well.

We saw a map of 62 breweries in the Sacramento area. Wow.


Neil and Daniel at Coconuts Fish Cafe

We went for lunch at Coconuts Fish Cafe to review the event with Daniel and thank him again for knowing Mike. If you go, try the blackened mani sandwich on a sesame bun. Wow! Actually, try any of their entrees. You will NOT be disappointed.











Well, we have been home for a while now. We have a new precious granddaughter, Vivian, sister of our precious granddaughter, Grace.

I spent the time since we returned home to decide what do to with this blog. While we aren’t traveling for a while, we are experiencing a variety of activities in the Sacramento area and I decided to share some of them with you, via this blog.

The Friday before Labor Day we were given tickets to a play at the B Street Theater in Sacramento.  This very nice little theater was recently remodeled, remade, and renamed the Sophia after a major benefactor, Sofia Tsakopoulo. We were in the Main Stage, a 250 seat theater which is the smaller of the two theaters. The Sutter Theater for Children seats 365 and runs programs for school children, concerts and other cultural events.

We saw “We’re Gonna Be Alright,” a play by Basil Kreimendahl. This is a new play set during the Cuban Missle Crisis era where neighbors decide to build a shared bomb shelter. This is an excellent play filled with humor, angst and insight. If you have a chance, check it out.  The cast, direction, staging and venue were all excellent. The cast are members of the B Street Theater’s Core Acting Company and will be found in many future productions. If you miss this play, check listings for other productions at The Sophia, it will definitely be worth your while.