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!”

Reunion – Day 4

Up early as usual, checked the news, as usual, coffee as usual, thank you David for being such a good friend and host this weekend.

We went to see Ginny, excuse me V-i-r-g-i-n-i-a, and her sister Judy (J-u-d-y) who were IMG_6213camping at Branbury State Park on Lake Dunmore. Check out “Road Trip!” for more Lake Dunmore experiences. Even owning our own camp, located about a mile south of Branbury on the same side of the lake, we used to go to there when we knew friends, like Ginny, were going to be there. Ginny gave me this photo proving I was there. It has IMG_6211scrawny me, Ginny in the middle and Lianne (z”l) on the right.02D61962-85C5-435A-AF78-F04E949D5CB9

Branbury, as we call it, was a farm at the turn of the century (1900, that is) then became a guest house before becoming a boy’s camp and ultimately a Vermont State Park in 1945. Interestingly our “camp” (i.e. John’s cottage) was built around the same time. David and I were wondering if this development of Lake Dunmore was an effect of soldiers returning from WWII and wanting a refuge from the hectic life in the village (Middlebury.)

I camped at Branbury some time ago. To be honest a long time ago, like 60 or so years ago. Relatives of our next-door neighbors in Middlebury used to camp throughout Vermont and one year chose Branbury. We joined them out of friendship that time, and for other camping trips over the years. My brother and I are still in touch with them, which is a very good thing.

Ginny and her friend Cheryl worked together as teachers for several years. They have been camping two weekends a year (May/June and September/October) for several more years. The lean-to campsite comfortably fits three or four, so the four or five people was a bit of a squeeze, but they are all friends, close friends. David and I brought a dozen IMG_6214donuts from Hannafords, and unfortunately, they were in the campsite, so we had to share. We had a great morning sharing and remembrancing and of course, laughing. The weather was perfect and was just beginning to warm when it was time for David and me to leave for the airport.

I planned to survey waiting passengers to find another subject for a new short story, unfortunately, the only interesting person in the gate area was a young-ish woman, with a cell phone being charged on the counter, and I just used that character on the flight from Sacramento to Burlington.  There is a field hockey team from UC Davis flying back to Sacramento. I flew out with them, but they are on a different flight home. They lost both games they came cross country to play. Too bad. (Go Panthers!)

Maybe I will have more luck in Dulles.

An hour later

Well, no luck in Dulles. The only person of any interest at Gate 8 in Dulles could have been the woman from The Cell Phone but not dressed as well. Maybe they receive the contract from the conglomerate and was returning home.

IMG_6216My flight was on time which surprised me with Florence still hanging around. As I had to walk the length of concourse B at Dulles I had no time for dinner so decided some Salt and Pepper Chips onboard would be adequate. Coupled with a split of Malbec/Cabernet, I would survive. When a flight attendant passed by collecting trash she said the chips were highway robbery. $3.99 for a small bag. She asked if I would like another and of course I said yes. She came back (much to my surprise) with another bag of chips and one of their cheese and cracker snack boxes, asking which I would like. Remember the unattendant from the first flight? She should take lessons.

When I suggested both, she said “don’t treat her like your momma, expecting IMG_6218everything.” She suggested the cheese and crackers to pair with my wine, which she noted was almost gone. I agreed and thanked her profusely. Moments later she returned with another glass of wine letting me know we were almost even. I replied, “Thank you Momma.” I did ask the guy next to me if the flight attendant might consider driving me home now, but no. There were hours left to fly, with Fran and Rosie waiting for my return. At least Fran. Rosie was probably asleep.

Reunion – Day 3


Oh, what a day!
Mid September back in sixty-eight.
What a very special time for us
As we sadly said goodbye.

Sung to the tune of “Oh What a Night” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons


Coffee, breakfast, chat and writing, a perfect start to Day 3. A quick walk, taking photos for possible future use, then a tour of old MUHS. I visited our high school once, about 40 years ago and got lost. Now we are having a guided tour.

The first thing most people noticed was the map of the school showing three floors. There were no stairs in the Junior and Senior High Schools when we went there. Everything was on one floor. The second thing, which many people knew already, was the Junior High School was moved to a new facility on the south end of Middlebury. The next was that all our outside walkways were now enclosed. What a concept, enclosed walkways in Vermont in the winter. The library was updated with new computers, the shop now used computer aided design and laser cutters. The gym looked the same, but with new floors, lunch and music rooms were all state of the art.

4D8014B5-2840-4595-9DCD-9572D4FCD7B6Now for the old. We walked down one corridor and I recognized Mr. Kelly’s latin and humanities classroom, along with most of our upper grade teachers. We knew where Home Eq was, and Mr. Wesley’s chemistry class, (the reason and influence that caused me to become a chemist,) although we didn’t go down that hallway. One woman remembered where her locker was. The most fun was walking down the Junior High corridor remembering each teacher, their foibles and virtues, the ones we loved and the ones we tormented. It was an immensely good time. We were so glad the Reunion organizers went to all the trouble to arrange this for us.EC1D8777-03FB-463B-AC36-C4DEAB770F6E

Having to kill a couple of hours between the tour and the beginning of the Reunion itself, David and I drove backstreets to Salisbury, stopping at a pretty place on Otter Creek to take a few pictures. We ended up by the Galvin farm in Salisbury and planned to stop at Waterhouse’s and the Paddlers Pub for an adult 9FD848CF-03D7-4DB7-AC10-B81562D65A70beverage before the Reunion. Sadly, they didn’t open until 3PM today. So we drove up to Middlebury and stopped at Drop-in Brewing, one of the many fine breweries the town now hosts. After a nice Baltic Porter, we realized the party started in 7 minutes, so we left and arrive a fashionable 25 minutes late.7049A61F-C164-490A-8A8B-ABF1304F6532

It was amazing to see the changes (and lack of changes) in about 40 (of 112 graduates) over the past fifty years. We all received 50th Golden Diplomas presented by Mr. Lou Majeski, Class of ’68 Faculty Advisor. (Mr. Majeski is one of the influences and reasons I started writing, oh so many years ago.)

0F5E60BE-3D5C-4DF5-91FE-44391A3E6FCBThere were Quatrains (yearbooks) to review and montages of photos from when we were babies and from high school. In every respect the people who planned and executed this weekend did an outstanding job and we thank them all.

Oh what a day!

Reunion – Day 2

This year is my 50th high school reunion. For all the number geeks out there you may like that, for the most part, my classmates were born in ‘50 and graduated in ‘68. We are now having our 50th class reunion and we are 68 years old.

Day 2
Meet and Greet

The committee who prepared for our Reunion did a great job.  We had about 30 people, including classmates, spouses and friends attend, most of whom I had not seen since graduation, 50 years ago. A number of them are Facebook friends which, while a great way to stay in touch, face to face is so much better. Luckily, the organizers provided name tags. While many of us are still recognizable, there were a few…

I was too excited and talked too much to take any pictures to share today. Hopefully, I will be in a more relaxed state of mind tomorrow (probably not) and will do a better job documenting this once in anyone’s lifetime event (maybe.)

What I enjoyed mostly is all the old clique and class barriers were broken last night. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to see everyone else. We may not have been friends a half century ago, but you couldn’t tell that by last night.

Did I mention golf? David and I played this morning. There is a reason why I didn’t 18A72EB2-0FBB-4AAA-980B-167A7E82EA72mention golf. Let’s just say the scorecard stayed on the golf cart, ok? The course was beautiful and some of the trees were just starting to change into fall foliage splendor. Another few weeks and it will be spectacular.

We did manage lunch at Rosie’s just sound of Middlebury on Rt 7. (Speaking of Rosie, Fran says she was staring at the front door, waiting for me to come home.) Did you know I worked there as a bus boy one summer when it was still Palmer’s Dairy Bar? I can only guess when, but it was probably over 50 years ago. I think Floyd was cooking there, way back then. I am not sure, but may see him today and ask him.