Archive for April 2016

The Storage Locker

April 30, 2016

Today Paula and I took another trip to the storage locker to work on cleaning it out. We try to get down there once a month or so. Sometimes it seems that we are not making progress. Here is what it looked like when we finished today. The picture on the right shows a mostly empty set of shelves. That’s the progress we’ve made.

We managed to fill up the Jeep with stuff. We filled up two trash bags. We went through a lot of saved documents including bank statements and bill from over 10 years ago. We dropped off some stuff at Good Will. We found a bunch of photos including our wedding pictures. We found Paula’s Job’s Daughters installation pictures for her term as Honored Queen.

We have a ton of slides yet to take home. I haven’t quite figured out how I can look at them. Most of them are stored in Kodak Carousels. Harold had a fondness for taking slide pictures rather than prints. I don’t know if there is a slide projector stashed somewhere. Asking Mary doesn’t return useful answers. My end game is to get as much scanned and stored on line.

Over the next few weeks I will be working on scanning the batch of pictures that we took home. I will post the interesting stuff. We continue to struggle with lack of dates and peoples names on the pictures.

We had asked Mary if she would like to come. I think that we finally persuaded her that it wasn’t a good idea. No place to sit. She would have really slowed us down.

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Minor League Baseball

April 28, 2016

milbWell, as many of you know I am a huge (or as Donald Trump would say “Yuge”) baseball fan. So last week I learned that the son of one of our friends in OES is a pitcher in minor league baseball. More about this later on in my post.

Forgive me if you already know this. Minor league baseball is divided into classes with Single A at the bottom and triple AAA at the top. As players get better at the sport they move up from one class to the next with AAA players potentially moving to the Majors.

The various minor leagues tend to be somewhat regional in nature probably to keep travel costs and ticket price lower . There are three AAA leagues. The International League is mostly in the Northeast. The Pacific Coast League is mostly in the west. And the Mexican League is in (drum roll please) Mexico.

There is an excellent web site that covers all of the players and teams in Minor League Baseball. MiLB.com covers all you could ever want to know about players, teams, stats, scores and standings. The site is free unless you want to watch games on streaming video.

Going to a minor league baseball game is a lot more affordable than major league games. When I was living in Massachusetts, there were several teams that played close by. We would often go to see the Lowell Spinners (Single A) or the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) for a fraction of the cost it take to go to a Major League game. The ball parks tend to be a lot smaller. You are always close to the action. There are no “nose bleed” sections. Even the beer is cheaper.

Alas, here in LA there are no AAA teams within an hours driving time. eg. The LA Dodger’s AAA team is in Oklahoma City.  There are several Single A Advanced league teams in California. Closest is probably the Inland Empire 66ers. But still that’s 2-3 hours on the freeways. The closest AAA team would be either Las Vegas 51’s or Fresno Grizzlies.

Minor league team names always seem to be interesting. The names often have a local flavor to them. Here are the logos for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (that’s one nasty looking pig) and the Albuquerque Isotopes:

 

6254_rochester_red_wings-primary-2014So back to my original subject. So our friend’s son is a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization. Jason Wheeler was called up to the Twins’ AAA team (Rochester Red Wings) this week. He pitched in his first AAA game yesterday. He pitched seven innings. He gave up a home run and got a “no decision”. You can follow Jason’s progress here.

 

 

 

 

Date Night

April 24, 2016

Jungle BookSaturday was date night. We really needed to get out without Mom even if only for a couple of hours.

So, we went to see the movie “The Jungle Book“. I guess we are getting cheap in our old age. Jungle Book was available in iMax 3D, Regular 3D and old plain 2D. 2D was $7 a person for Seniors. iMax was $17. We did the old fashioned 2D. Characters were voiced by Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and many more fine actors and actresses.

The film is rated PG and rightly so. There are parts that are pretty violent and might be a bit scary for little kids. I wouldn’t take a kid to see it under the  age of 8 or 9.

We loved it. We went to a 4:45 showing and there were a lot of families with kids in the theater. I particularly liked Baloo voiced by Bill Murray where he starts singing the “Bare Necessities”. We also liked the scenes with King Louie.

Here’s the Bill Murray version from Youtube. I will be playing this tune at Lodge in a couple of weeks.

When you compare this version with earlier versions you can readily see how far the animation technology has come. This film was filmed completely in Los Angeles.

I would give the film 8.5 stars out of 10. We loved it.

And by the way, you can download the Kindle version of the Rudyard Kipling Book from Amazon for $.99. What a deal.

Now for dinner part of date night. We had hoped to try the Hopsaint Brewery restaurant in Torrance. Saturday night was not a good time. We couldn’t even find a parking space. We’ll try another time when it might be less busy.

We came up with a plan B. We decided to go to the “San Franciscan” in Torrance. I was itching to have a good steak. We don’t have a barbeque grill at our place (forbidden my HOA). It was busy too, but at least we found a parking space. Had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

I had a 9 oz Filet Mignon. Paula had something called a “Drunken Sam”. The menu descrbes it as

“Filet mignon, pan fried in burgundy wine and brandy. Served atop fried eggplant and topped with an Ortega chile and jack cheese”

I had a taste. It was very good. Paula cleaned her plate. This is not fancy and the decor is rather plain but food is excellent. This is our place to go to when we have a hunger for steak.

Mary

April 16, 2016
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Mike, Jonathan and Mary

Time for an update on Mary. Physically, she is doing just fine. No colds, no infections, no falls, no trips to urgent care or the ER. She’s doing as well as one could hope for 90+ years of age. That doesn’t mean things are getting easier.

Paula and I had a chance to sit and talk without Mary listening. We headed out to our local Starbuck’s and sat outside on a beautiful spring day and talked about everything. Mostly these days we are trying as best we can to improve Mary’s quality of life. It can be frustrating at times, but we give it our best shot.

Last Friday,  we told her that we would be going to the Mariner’s Night at the lodge. This event is held on the first and third Friday of the month. It is a casual get together where a light dinner is served along with drinks among friends. We usually just sit and have a drink and talk with our friends.

We try to encourage Mary to go so that she can socialize with other people (some of who she knows). Last couple of times she told us that she doesn’t like going. We suspect that the reason is that she has trouble holding up her side of the conversation. Her conversation skills have fallen such that all she can do is say hello and how are you. It didn’t help things when she found out that dinner was spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. Mary doesn’t like pasta, especially spaghetti. She doesn’t care much for bread either.

For us, it’s a chance to get out of the house and not cook dinner and not have to clean up. (Which of course, Mary no longer does and hasn’t done for years.) So we tell her that perhaps we can bring some food home for you. She says, oh alright I’ll go.

So Mary has told us on occasion that she would like to get out more. But when we do take her someplace, she complains or just sits and does nothing. There are many days where she gets up in the morning at 9 am eats breakfast and goes back to bed and sleeps all day. Sigh.

For instance, on Friday Paula took Mary to get their hair done. While I took the Toyota to the dealer for service. After they were done at the hair salon, they went clothes shopping at Draper & Damon’s (a local women’s clothing store). Mary went into the store and just sat. Paula couldn’t get her to look at any clothing. Sigh. Not that she needs any clothing. She has two closets full of clothing that she never wears.

A couple of weeks ago, Paula took her to the eye doctor. The doctor did a refractometry exam. (That’s the procedure where the optometrist figures out your eye glass prescription.) Mary has been wearing glasses for a while now, mostly for watching television or driving. Of course, she doesn’t drive anymore, so now it’s just for TV.

We wanted to get her another pair of glasses to keep in her purse. We think that she has another pair of glasses stashed somewhere, but damned if we know where she put them. Primary use would be at church where she can’t see the words on the screen. So the one pair of glasses that she haves usually gets left behind at home. Also, I don’t think that Mary likes being seen wearing eye glasses. Again, sigh.

One more thing, Paula and I have been trying to get her to talk about what she would like for her funeral service after she dies. We have asked many probing questions. Do you want an OES service? Cremated? Favorite hymn?  Favorite Bible verse? We’ve got nothing. She doesn’t like talking about it. I guess she figures that she will live forever.  It’s becoming clear that we will be on our own for deciding on funeral services.

Later,

Fast Food in LA

April 11, 2016

A week ago we all went to a presentation put on by the SP/SB Historical Society on the Fast Food industry in LA. I am just getting around to writing this. So sue me. Anyhow, I had expected the presentation to be about Fast Food in general. What we got was a little bit about Fast Food businesses and a lot about In-n-Out Burger. Here’s the wikipedia entry for In-n-Out.In-N-Out_Burger_sign,_Los_Angeles

Mind you, I’m not complaining. In-n-Out is one of my favorite burger joints. There is one up on the corner and I visit it often.

When we talk about fast food, we are in general talking about franchise businesses that serve the meals in about 2-3 minutes. There usually is a limited menu, typically burgers and fries or fried chicken.

So here are a few factoids that I learned.

  • Carl’s Jr started out in life as a hot dog stand.
  • In-n-Out was started by Carl Snyder (1914-1976) and is still family owned. ie. not franchised.
  • One of In-n-Out’s logos is the crossed palm trees. Based on the crossed Palm trees in the movie “It’s a Mad Mad Mad World”. Adopted in 1972.
  • In-n-Out is the only Fast Food joint that uses fresh potatoes rather than frozen fries.
  • In-n-Out first opened in 1948.
  • McDonald’s first opened by Ray Kroc in San Bernardino in 1951.
  • KFC first opened in Corbin, Kentucky by Harlan Sanders during the Great Depression. The first franchised KFC opened in Salt Lake City, UT in 1952.