Archive for the ‘Family and Friends’ Category

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship;  it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
    ―     Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Birthday, Hil!!  May we forever hold hands on our walks…
All my love,
Your Kev
On This Day In:
2021 It Also Helps To Marry Well
Holding Hands And Thinking
2020 A Mandelbrot Set
I Still Can’t…
2019 Proposing A Happy Birthday
35 Years Later
2018 Forever
2017 Too Good To Be True
Plain Speaking
2016 She Is Still Singing
2015 Don’t Complain
2014 Nothing Is The Same
Orange October (XII) – Giants Win Game 7 (3 To 2) And World Series (4 To 3)
2013 Hours, Days, And Years
2012 In Kev Are In Hil
2011 No Game, Didn’t Really Happen
A Good Post

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The Curse Of Chief Tenaya”   (2002©)  —   book review
Today’s book review is for a historic fiction novel set in 1800’s.  The author is Craig J. Carrozzi.  It is about an Irish immigrant coming to the United States and making his life through the pre-, actual and post- “Gold Rush” in Northern / Central California.
Full disclosure:  Craig (the author) was a member of the football teams I played on while in high school in San Francisco.  After high school graduation, Craig joined the Peace Corps, returned to San Francisco to get his BA and then subsequently lived a good deal of his life in South America.  Like me, Craig was raised in San Francisco.  He is the author of five published books and numerous articles.  Of his five published books – one is about attending a SF Giants baseball game as a youth;  three are semi-autobiographical fictionalized stories about his time in South America;  and, this book (being reviewed) is about earlier days in Northern California.
The book’s main character is Jeremiah Ignatius McElroy.  He is born in Ireland, starts off as a hard life (potato famine and Yellow Fever), moves to the US (via Canada), travels across the country / continent and ultimately becomes a hunter and tour guide in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  His main geographic expertise is the high-country of Yosemite Valley and it’s “cousin”, the Hetch-Hetchy Valley.  He spends the winters in Oakland, CA with his widowed younger sister and her family.  Jeremiah is hired by a wealthy landowner to track down and destroy a Grizzly bear.
This is basically a “man’s” action book with a couple of interesting twists (interesting to me, anyway).  First, the current day action is interspersed with the growing-up portion of Jeremiah’s life.  The author / publisher uses the “trick” of italicizing the historical narration so the reader can clearly “see” when the author is talking about the past.  The second interesting aspect of the book is an obvious attempt to include “real” famous / historic literary figures in the story.  Hence, Jeremiah reads Ambrose Bierce columns in the daily newspaper;  drinks with Jack London in a bar; and, meets John Muir while up in the hills.
The “action” portion is the life of the growing up, becoming a man and then aging and preparing for old age;  but within the specific confines of the plot, it is the pursuit of a giant Grizzly which has been terrorizing cattle ranches in and around the Hetch-Hetchy area.
So, is this book any good?  Is it realistic in it’s character(s) and / or historic depictions?  Is it entertaining and / or interesting?  And, finally, do I recommend this book?
In short – the answer is YES, to all of these questions.  The book is relatively short (225 pages) and the story is a fast and well paced read.  I read it completely in one sitting and found it hard to put down for my own meals.  (This despite a good deal of delicious sounding meals through-out the book.)
In general, the book seems pretty accurate to very accurate in describing both people and locations.  I must admit, I felt the author let a bit of his own “politics” come into the attitudes and language used in some of the conversations.  One example is when Jeremiah uses the word “deforestation” in an extended dialogue.  I looked the word up.  The word is cited as first used around 1870, so it is possible Jeremiah might know it, but it seems to me, unlikely a hunter / trapper / outdoorsman / tour guide would know the word, let alone use the word.  But, these are very minor flaws in an otherwise well written work.  A brief clarification:  I haven’t spoken with the author in over 50 years, so I really have no idea about his “politics” or if they are reflected in the writing.  It’s just how I felt while reading the book.
And, “the Curse” itself?  Well, it created a “hook” and theme for the book, but I felt it could have been better fleshed out.  I’m not sure why I feel that way or how I might have advised the author to improve the story during development, but it (the “hook”, not the book as a whole) made me feel like I was reading a poor mix of “Dancing With Wolves“, “The Last of the Mohicans” and “The Deer Hunter“.  Very much like those movies, the ending is thought provoking rather than PollyAnn-ish uplifting.  A “Good” or “Bad” ending will then depend on the reader’s individual reaction to the ending.  The “curse” was from the last Native American Chief of the tribe (Chief Tenaya, a non-literary, but “real person” from the period) which lived in the Hetch-Hetchy Valley.  He pledged to haunt those who would despoil the tribes sacred lands (the Valley).
I found the book to be between “hard to put down” and “can’t put down”.  That’s quite a statement from this reviewer.  The descriptions of the skies, mountains, valleys, flowers and animals filled my imagination and reminded me of earlier outdoor travels and adventures from my own youth.
Final recommendation:  Very highly recommended if you are into “masculine” adventure type action stories with a historical setting.  Given I was raised in Northern California, I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of “old world” San Francisco, Oakland and the towns from the Bay Area to Hetch-Hetchy.  If you are prudish, be advised there is some minor sexual content, but I felt it was well within the boundary of character and story development.
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book at normal / sale price (for an old / used book) and no compensation has been provided to me by anyone for my opinions in this review.
On This Day In:
2021 MAGA Choice: Reality Or Lies
You Seem To Be
2020 A Good Reason To Blog
Finally Enjoying The View
2019 Living Free
2018 Relative Imagination
2017 Thank You, Senator McCain (So Far Anyway)
2016 What About Friends?
2015 It Tastes Good To Me
2014 Others’ Footsteps
The Not-So-Modern Samurai
2013 Doin’
2012 A Lover
2011 What Have We Found Here

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Happy Birthday, Bec!
Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.
    —     Omar Khayyam
And congratulations (again) on starting the new job and being unopposed for re-election to the College Board!
We love you always,
Mum and Dad


On This Day In:
2021 Strong Women Make Them Too
Gather Moments
2020 Another Opportunity
Stand Up, Shout Out
2019 Birthday Gifts For Our Daughter
Feeling Age
2018 Seeking To Make A Difference
2017 Happy BD, Bec!
2016 BD Quotes
2015 Princess
2014 Optional
2013 Happy Birthday, Rebecca
2012 Be Not Old
2012 National League Western Division Champions!!!
2011 What Kind Of Work Do You Do?
2010 Another Loser… And Come November

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Last evening we attended the kick-off re-election gathering / party for my daughter (Rebecca), who is running to keep her seat on the Contra Costa County Community College Board.  If re-elected, this will be her second four-year term on the board.  Even though a junior member of the Board, she has already completed a year long rotation assignment as Board president and she hopes to be able to continue to bring her energy / exuberance to bear helping students achieve their life ambitions via affordable education.
Ever the proud dad, I encourage everyone reading this to make a donation at:  Rebecca Barrett for Community College Board 2022
If a donation is beyond your means, I hope you will get involved in your local politics and make your part of the world a better place for all.  Believe it or not, your limits ARE your imagination and your willingness to stand up and participate in making the future you want to see.
If nothing else, please be a part of the solution:  register for and VOTE in the upcoming election(s)!
On This Day In:
2021 Living At The Edge
A Simple Song
More Sounds (Guitar Review)
2020 Poor Proof
Right From The Start
You Voted For An Incompetent And Corrupt Business Person To Drain A Political Swamp
2019 I Wish This Were More True
2018 Used To Rejection
Day 16: Looking Ahead (Just A Little)
2017 Tonight
I Rejoice
2016 Conscientious Courage
Speaking Of Which…
2015 The Beautiful Snow
2014 Nurtured By The Voices
2013 Précis
2012 Fear And Understanding
2011 Just Being Human

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Deep in my heart I know I am a loner.  I have tried to blend in with the world and be sociable, but the more people I meet the more disappointed I am, so I’ve learned to enjoy myself, my family and a few good friends.
    —     Steven Aitchison
On This Day In:
2021 Your Best Heat
Memphis Group
2020 Me Too
2019 No Regrets
2018 In Times Of Crisis
Genes, Desire And Luck
2017 The Voice Of Experience
2016 Who And When
2015 Change Process
2014 What Is Still Possible
2013 Strength Is There
2012 Beyond Reasonable Doubt
2011 Celebrating Values
2010 Is it just me, or is it suddenly dark around here?

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On Tuesday, my sister called me up and asked if I wanted to do a “water fast” with her.  I asked what was involved.  She said:  “We start at 5pm today and go to 9am on Thursday.  You can have water, black coffee or straight tea – black, green or herbal.”  I said, sure, why not?  I’ll try it…
I finished dinner at 4:45pm and “started” the fast.  Other than water, all I had to drink was a pot of black coffee (68 ozs).
Initial reaction:  It wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I thought it would be…  By starting in the evening, you miss the first day (8 – 12 hrs) of thinking about food.  By ending at 9am, you don’t have to do much to end the second day, but wake up.  I drank the coffee between 10am and 4pm and except for a rather poor night’s sleep, it didn’t bother me either.  I normally drink mostly cold black coffee anyway, so it was no big deal.  The coffee substantially reduced my hunger.  I don’t know if the late coffee (after 2pm) caused the poor night’s sleep as I’ve been experiencing poor sleep off and on for almost a year.
Post reaction:  Well, I dropped three(3) pounds – so that was interesting.  With no caloric input to speak of and a “normal” calorie burn of over 3,400, I would have expected a loss of no more than a single pound.  (Supposedly, one pound of weight is 3,500 calories.)  I didn’t do any exercise other than walking my dog for 20minutes, so that didn’t add anything to the calorie burn calculation.  Yesterday was a “water pill” day.  I take a water pill for my water retention on alternating days, but I didn’t feel bloated going into the fast and I don’t feel bloated today.  (A non-water pill day.)  From about 7pm to 10:30pm (last night), I had one of those “clarity” periods, where you feel 10 years younger (and slimmer) and your mind seems totally invigorated – so there is that…
Final thoughts:  Given my generally positive physical response, I think I’d like to try it again for a couple of weeks to see if it has any lasting benefits.  I think the Tuesday to Thursday protocol is also a good fit for me.  I’ll  post again if I have another go next week…
Oh, and my sister found it so good / easy, she added a couple of hours and did a 42hr fast!
On This Day In:
2021 All I See Are Nails
More Money
2020 We Will Get Through This
2019 I Asked My Family Doctor Just What I Had
2018 You Have Just Begun To Climb
2017 Equal Protection Under Law
2016 A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion
2015 Or You Don’t
2014 If You Ever Fall…
2013 Glory Days (part 2)
2012 They Follow A Pattern – If You Know What I Mean
What I Live For (Precis)
2011 Giving

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Last year, we had our front yard converted from mostly grass to drought resistant rocks (and some plants).  Here’s a pre-change image…

Mostly grass…

And here are some shots of Spring’s colors…


The flowers on the immediate sides of the path are miniature roses, which have a surprising amount of size variety considering they were all bought and planted at the same time…  The ones above are about mid-shin / knee height.

The Tallest…

This is the tallest and next to it (on the lower right) is the smallest.  There are probably a dozen more buds getting ready to blossom.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are a half-dozen bees doing their thing on this bush.

Diagonal Shot…

Here’s a better shot of the poppies…

California Poppies…

A better view of the snapdragons…


My wife spends a great deal of energy on the gardens (front and back), but it’s worth it for the up-lifting feeling you get when you see everything in the bright morning sunlight and full Spring colors…
On This Day In:
2021 In Pursuit
The Music Of Her Laughter
2020 Close, Sustained And Careful
2019 #45: Spread The Fear
Fear The Beards
2018 Slice, Nick, Cut, Bled
2017 Like Most Blogs
2016 The Window Left Open
Free Experience
2015 Reality == Perception / (Times Reported * 10)
2014 Tear Da Roof Off Da Sucka
2013 Exposed Spirits
2012 Ow-ow
2011 Focused Relatives

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To my son, never forget that we love you.  No matter where you go or what happens in your life.  You are loved.  Forever and always.
    —    Anonymous
The next time you see a worm on the sidewalk, move it to the grass.  It’s already having a rough day.  Be kind.
    —    Anonymous
[Happy Birthday, son.  Stay true to yourself and be kind…  (rough around the edges, but kind).
Love Always,
    —    Mum and Dad]
On This Day In:
2021 Now You’re 31…
Versions: (Father And Son)
2020 Make A Fuss
2019 Hopefully, You’re Learning To Forgive
2018 Enjoy The Sunsets As Well As The Sunrises
2017 Enjoy
2016 I Got A Feeling
2015 Fiction Leading To History
2014 A Self-Correcting Process
2013 None But He Knows
2012 99% Are Demanding
2011 All In The Family
Take Your Pick

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Dust In The Wind

[Happy Birthday, Sis!!   Here’s some inspiration to pick up your guitar…    —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2021 Stopped Counting Decades Ago
Just Enjoying The Sun
2020 To My Idealistic Sister
2019 Respect For My Sister
2018 I Trust Cows
No Boundary
2017 Don’t Sink Now
2016 A Burning Passion To Teach Freedom
2015 Before Debit (And Credit) Cards
2014 Herding Cats
2013 Ooops!
2012 Understand A Great Truth
2011 Start Here…
2010 Random Acts of Vandalism On Easter Weekend…

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Today is my mom’s birthday…  Yesterday, my sister brought her over for lunch and an afternoon in the sun.  Here she is with her cake / candles.  We opted for fire safety and didn’t use 95…  (LoL)

Let them eat cake

On This Day In:
2021 Maybe Faith Is Based On Hope
I Want To See You Smile
2020 Thank You (To Those Who Serve)
Hanging In There
2019 Her Job, Too
2018 Just Another Song I Like
Earlier Still
2017 Ten To Go
2016 Unstable Emergence
2015 88
2014 Some One-Liners Are Too Easy
2013 Greatness
2012 Memories Of Arlington
2011 Wake Up

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Out of the depths of the mysterious box,
Flowed the marvelous symphony,
Of all the virgin voices of the forests of America
    —     Agustín Barrios Mangoré
From his poem:  “Profession of Faith
[Happy Birthday, Mom!  Love, Kevin    —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2021 Maybe Faith Is Based On Hope
I Want To See You Smile
2020 Thank You (To Those Who Serve)
Hanging In There
2019 Her Job, Too
2018 Just Another Song I Like
Earlier Still
2017 Ten To Go
2016 Unstable Emergence
2015 88
2014 Some One-Liners Are Too Easy
2013 Greatness
2012 Memories Of Arlington
2011 Wake Up

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How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    —     Satchel Paige
Getting old is like climbing a mountain;  you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!
    —     Ingrid Bergman
[Happy Birthday to me!    —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2021 Staying Young While Getting Old
Mid-Afternoon (Hopefully)
2020 Still Measuring
2019 Living On The Couch
Who Am I – One Interpretation
2018 A Gardening Goal: Feed The Flowers
2017 Freakishly Happy Cowboy
2016 One More, Please
2015 Infinite Adventure
2014 Unpaved
2013 Headstones
2012 Keeping Young
2011 Lessons Well Learned

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The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard.  It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.
    —     Warren Buffett
[Happy birthday, Bro!  You demonstrated the meaning of an “Inner Scorecard” for me long before it was ever a thing or had a name.   —    KMAB]
On This Day In:
2021 Show A Brother Some Love
Beyond Words
2020 Especially You, Bro
Words Without Explanation
2019 Enjoy!
2018 Happy Birthday, Bro!
2017 Love Can Change The World In A Minute
2016 60, Little Bro!
2015 Vision and Courage
2014 58 – Little Bro
2013 New Adventures And Old Hopes
Caving In
2012 Bits And Bobs And Birthdays
Always Hope
2011 Wet Snow And Long Hills

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Here’s a photo of the front of our house today…  It’s our first day this year of 80°+ temperature.  (And, no, that’s not a rainbow ending at the tree in our front yard.  At least I didn’t find a pot of gold when I looked.)
And here is our first blooming California Poppy…
We didn’t get many daffodils this year.  We had a bit of a false spring back in February, so we got sprigs / shoots but almost no flowers.
On This Day In:
2021 I Hope Not
Diggin’ It
2020 Organized Skepticism
2019 An Interest In Life
2018 Two: A Current President With Both
2017 Watch This Space
2016 Beyond The Foundation
2015 Become An Affliction
2014 Just Setting Out
2013 Scott’s Inscription
2012 Good Knowledge
2011 Social Safety Nets

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You have power over your mind – not outside events.  Realize this, and you will find strength.
    —     Marcus Aurelius
[Sarah, Happy Birthday!!
Congrats on your recent new job!  Keep making your own path and you will find strength along the way.  We are proud of you!!
Love Always,
Mum & Dad]
On This Day In:
2021 Step By Step Find Strength
Keep Searching
2020 Giving Thanks
2019 One A Day
2018 Try
2017 You’re Starting To Make Us Feel Old
2016 Focus
2015 Challenging Legacy
2014 Happy 21st Birthday!
2012 Trust Him Smile
2011 Why Change?

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