Sunday, November 29, 2009

A New Tree for the Bears

I spent a lot of time working on the tree I cut down and still have a lot more work to do. I have decided that we must plant another tree, but am having a difficult time deciding what kind of tree to plant. Here are the ones that I have put on the final list:

Cherry - So far this is in first place. I have some bush cherries, but I need a tree to produce enough cherries to make a good jam and maybe even cherry pie. I need one that is self polinating so they will be smaller cherries. The larger variety need two trees for polination. I made cherry jam once, and it was delicious. One of my favorites.

Olive - Most everything I do gets made into Jam. It would be nice to have something that would be different. Canned black or green olives. Dare I try to make Olive Oil? That could be awesome. Some of the best bread I have ever had was at a restaurant called Roti. It was a whole wheat sourdough bred with black olives and walnuts.

Apricot - During the first 5 years of my life, my grandmother lived in a house with her husband. She had a huge apricot tree. She made apricot jam and it was delicious. I love pastry with apricots. They sell the fruit in stores, but it is not as good as they pick them too early.

Walnut - I love walnuts. They are my favorite kind of nut and covered with chocolate, wow! I also use them in scones, cakes ...etc. But I have a friend that is giving me a lot of walnuts so I guess I don't really need that either.

Avocado - A good friend of mine has one of these trees, and will give me all the avocados I want, so I don't really need this.

Banana - I would love a banana tree, but it gets too cold and the frost kills them. I think we would have to grow it in a pot and bring it inside during winter.

It would be nice if I could plant two trees, but that would really eliminate a lot of space in the back yard. I still want to add blue berries and grow all the vegitables that we grow each year such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers ...etc

Did I mention that we raise chickens and have our own supply of fresh eggs? They taste really good. We have also raised Turkeys in the past, and I would like to do it again next year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Church Appreciation Dinner

My mom called me and asked if I would like to go to the church's service appreciation dinner. I said "I would not LIKE to go, but I will". LOL I go to so many banquets for work, but I love my mom, so I guess I'm going.

Mom is a Eucharistic Minister and is a member of a ministry. I think it has to do with Father Serra, which I really don't know anything about. So I'm off to the dinner, which my daughter Lila would really have liked to have gone to, instead of me. I felt the same way. She just joined a couple of ministries, the choir being one of them. I think the choir is a ministry.

Anyway, my mom meets me at the church. I think she was probably an hour early and wants to be the last to leave. After all, there will be dancing tonight. My mom warns me that it is a semi formal event, so I have my suit and tie on.

When I arrive, I notice that there are two key people that seemed to be responsible for putting on the dinner. Both are members of the Knights of Columbus and are in their mid to early twenties. One is a friend of Lila's, his name is Ugoeze Ofoegbu. He is not African American, he is actually African. His dad is a tribal chief in Nigeria.

I am right on time, yet my mom has been there for a while. I give her a hug and sit down. Naturally being the proud mom she is, she has to introduce me to all of her friends. It is at this point that I notice that even though I am going to be 50 next year, I'm one of the youngest people at the dinner.

There are a number of speeches, singing and prayers followed by dinner. Dinner was actually pretty good. After dinner there are awards, followed by more speeches, prayers ...etc. After they get everyone that received an award, they announce that they are to be honored with their spouses to have the first dance. I'm thinking it will be a waltz or something. After all, the average age looks to be about 75. I was wrong.

The music starts and the first dance is to be "Celebration" by "Kool & the Gang". Now this is definitely not a "Disco Era" gang by any stretch of the imagination. Ugoeze is the one that gave instructions about the music. He was born in the mid 80's so to him, the 70's is old music. After all it was before he was even born. To him that is old, but these people were already old in the 1970's.

The old folks don't shy away. Maybe they should have, but they didn't. It was not a pretty sight and even Father Jimmy, Sister Angela and Father Nick got up and danced together. I managed to get a video of this if they ever give me any problems. Seeing these people dance like this will require some therapy on my part, but I am sure I will recover. I will say that they should probably think twice about serving wine next time.

I danced a number of times with my mom and she danced with a number of old guys. I don't know them, but they are old guys. She said I was a good sport, so I guess I did my duty.

I almost forgot to mention. Everyone got to keep their wine glass. On one side was an etching of the church, the other side had the date of the event. My mom had to snag a second glass. I knew she would.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Festival

Today I went to the Green Festival in San Francisco. My daughter, Lila, took me to the El Cerrito del Norte station in our Ford Escape Hybrid. I got off at the Civic Center Bart Station and walked to 8th and Brannon. It is just under a mile each way and I was working my hiking boots. This is important cause this is the longest walk I have done since I sprained my ankle. I really felt it on the way back.

It seems over the last year, that there are less conferences, expos ... etc. that focus on being green. There is the local Earth Day event in Richmond, but there were a lot more a year or so ago. I think they are important. It is a great way to get educated and inspired. I learn a lot every time and it makes me want to do better.

This year you could bring five cans of food instead of paying the $15 entry fee. I would have done that, but they did not post it on their web site. Last year it was three cans. You don't save any money, but it sure does some people a lot of good. Paying by donating canned food is my favorite method of payment. I still didn't have to pay $15, I got a five dollar discount for taking BART.

There were Circus Soleil performers out front while we waited in line to buy our tickets. That was a special treat. I wanted to get a short video, but I didn't want to loose my place in line.

One of the booths calculate how much impact your trip to the festival is and how much it would cost to offset using carbon credits. Since most of my trip was via BART, they calculated heavy rail. It came out to 3o cents. Just for fun, they calcualated what it would have been if I had driven. Funny enough, it was actually worse for me to take BART than drive. So then they decided to try and recalculate using the commuter train setting. It still would have been better to have driven the Ford Escape Hyrbid. Strange when you take into consideration that they gave me a $5 dollar discount for taking BART instead of driving. I don't know if the program was right, but it makes one think.

It was a full festival. Many drawings for prizes and I entered all of them. Hope I win. The samples were plentiful, wonderful food (chocolate is a food, right), fruits, drinks and more.

Here is one of the new technologies and space savers is this toilet/sink combination. I want one!

One of my favorite things was a lady wearing bags, to show how much goes into landfill for every person that shops every year. I thought it illustrated the point very well.

Some of my favorite companies are Green Zebra and Zip Car. They were there in force and I made a point of stopping by.

Saw my friends at 3prong. They have moved from their location on San Pablo Road inside the Green Motors facility. They are now on fourth street.

One thing that I noticed was just how nice and polite everyone was. It really makes a different and helps to put a smile on your face.

After I had made the rounds to each booth, I stopped to have lunch. In the ultimate green, I brought my own lunch in a thermos. I used a bandanna for a napkin, a spoon from home and a bottle of water and I was set. I did not stay for the live music. No one from my family was able to go with me and regardless of how nice it was, it is not the same when you are alone. Maybe next year!

Monday, November 9, 2009


This weekend was an amazing weekend. I had been down last weekend, visiting Dave Talley and having lunch with a lot of my Charter Oak High School (COHS) classmates. This weekend, Carmen came with me. We drove down this time and Melinda Race was kind enough to put us up at her place. That helped us to keep the expenses down.

Melinda is an amazing woman. Her house is immaculate and her family is so wonderful. We especially enjoyed our time with her Grand Daughter Makala.

Saturday after breakfast, we visited Cobos. We had to, her cell phone doesn't work and her voice mail is full, so we stopped by and had a great visit with her daughter and new grandson Logan.

Next we were off to Glendora and visit Craig "Gumby" Schaeffer and his family in the house his father built. It is such a cool house and I apologize to his lovely wife for just dropping in. It was truly unfair, but I had not been to that house in over 30 years.

Next we hopped on over to Melinda's mom's house. What a beautiful house and Melinda's mom is such a sweetie. She even remembered me and I have to admit she looked familiar.

Now it was time for the COHS Alumni Waterpolo match. This was the major reason for the visit this weekend. My wife Carmen wore my letterman's jacket and it got a lot of looks. It was the only Lancer jacket there. I hope next year others will bring theirs and show that Lancer pride.

There were four of us over 40: Craig "Gumby" Schaeffer, Eric and Craig Schubel and myself. The turnout for the alumni was great and the stands were full of COHS 1978 alumni. Diana Cobos and Lisa Kagerise both came to watch as well.

We all played and Craig even scored. The game went into double overtime and sudden death. In the end, we won 20 to 19. I have to hand it to the COHS seniors. They only had 3 substitutes. We had about 18. We wish them luck when they go to CIF.

After we washed up, we headed over to the Black Watch Pub in Upland. Little Debbie Knott, is all grown up now and organized a mult-year COHS reunion.

Debbie is now Debbie Ross and she has a fantastic band that rocked us all night long.

It was so good to see so many classmates and I have to say that the class of 1978 had the best showing at the reunion. That is because 78 is great! LOL

That evening passed way too fast. We returned to Melinda's house. The next morning, we chatted with Melinda and Carla Anderson. Terry (1977) snuck out of the house before the rest of us could get up.

Carmen and I headed back home at 11:30am and it took use 7.5 hours with no traffic to get back home. The plane was a lot quicker.