Captain Fun in action

Captain Fun in action

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Surprise

This year the family took a rest from traveling and we stayed in San Diego for Christmas. This can be a nice change from the extra effort of car or air travel in the busiest time of year.  We connected by phone and email and blog. 

Our Mom Kate joined us of course. Here Jeanne helps Santa distribute gifts on Christmas Eve.  Yes, we open eve and Christmas morning.

Our cat Abby got in the spirit and brought us our first personal Christmas gift with her skills as a huntress: a fresh lizard kill she had been pursuing for weeks on the patio!!  Good Kitty!!

But that was not the big surprise...   Maybe it was Warren's really big package from Jeanne which had him guessing for more than a week.

A new wet/dry shop vacuum (to help clean that new sports car).

Nope, that wasn't the Big surprise either.  The big surprise came Christmas morning when Lisa and her boyfriend Ray Villegas came over to open presents. Ray got Lisa a football jersey for her favorite team, and in the bottom of the gift bag was a small box.  Hmmm.......  She opened the box......  Ray got on his knee....

And asked her to marry him !!!! .......

She took a deep breathe.... and said "Yes!".  For some reason kissing ensued.

We were surprised for sure!!  Lisa called family before I was allowed to Blog the news, but she wanted to share this Christmas proposal.  They are in no hurry to set a date, but prefer to make plans, counsel, and talk with family and friends about their new life together at their own pace. We are praying for the Lord's direction and timing in this exciting time.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teeth of Winter

Winter (California Style) finally arrived in San Diego. We had some concerned phone calls from our family after making the national news.  Seems like we are either on fire or sliding towards the ocean.  Here is a rainbow I caught the tail end of literally yesterday afternoon.

The persistant rain was tough on the Cosmos plants in the front yard and rearranged some of the garden too.  This NEVER happens in San Diego.  Ok, I hear the chuckles from family with 2 feet of snow on their porch.

Inside, Abby made her usual rounds of the ever changing present pile under the tree and sang a chorus of "It's A Very Meowwwrry Christmas" by Burle Ives.  I think I heard that right....

After a long look outdoors (with harness on and ready for action) Abby aborted the front porch "afternoon outdoor foray" for a longboard cervesa and a nap.  Smart girl!

Tonight Abby will guard the tree while Jeanne and I celebrate my buddy Steve's birthday (yup, Christmas eve eve) as he turns the big "6" OOOOOHHHHHHH.  Good excuse to deliver Christmas goodies to those gathered.  It's beginning to look a lot like christmas.....every where you go......   ho ho ho!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Letter

The ocean water is 54 degrees, the waves aren’t so hot this morning (according to the internet), the Chargers don’t play the Chiefs until 1:00 pm, and the cat decided she wanted breakfast early so she could stalk birds on the patio (on her leash).  I’m looking at the first few Christmas cards that have drifted in from those beloved family members who have been ready for Christmas since before Thanksgiving and I’m thinking “I better knock the annual letter out early this year!”  Well, early for me.  Some of you will read this from a mailed envelope and the rest from my new blog most of you are getting used to at where I can post pictures of our year as well.  I respect those who still like the old way we have practiced so long.
This year Jeanne and I celebrated our first anniversary.  Man, does that sound weird to my mind. Married July 10, 2009 we are still enjoying our new life together and discovering a great deal we admire and appreciate about each other. 

We spent a bit of time this year sorting through the boxes and boxes of stuff to get our garage back from the “we have two of everything” situation.  We had garage sales, gave stuff to the kids, sent a bunch to Goodwill Industries and folks in need. Stewardship is big on our list, and we have been blessed with too much stuff.
Also related to setting up our new life has been a constant parade of redecorating projects.  Jeanne has real talent here and to quote Lisa on a visit to our master bedroom “this doesn’t even look like a room that was ever in this house before!”   We did everything but the hardwood floor refinishing and tile ourselves.  Times are hard for many in our state as across the country, and one option to save money is to skip teeth cleaning.  Jeanne is a dental hygienist and she and many others have had their hours reduced considerably.  So she stayed busy at home planning and making wonderful changes for us.
During one of the projects I got a little overly aggressive with my back and ended up with a herniated disc and the joys of sciatica (pain radiating down my left leg to the foot).  After many trips to the pharmacy, chiropractor, physical therapist, and eventually to the UCSD Medical Center pain clinic for cortisone shots, I finally got some relief.  Phew, don’t want that fun ever again.
In April we flew to Colorado Springs to visit daughter Renee, son-in-law Alejandro and their precious little boy Danilo.  We got to be grandparents for a week and really enjoyed little “Danny” very much.  He is the best grandson in the whole world as you may have guessed. No?  You know a better one?  Really? Well let me tell you, whomever you have in mind doesn’t have a chance of being as smiley as Danny. Below is the first fig newton experience!

Fall leaves are fun!

Especially to throw!!!

This little guy is a pretty happy camper, and is very accepting of his grandpa and grandma who have very limited time with him. 

This visit gave Renee and Ale time to get to know Jeanne a little better too.  Renee and Ale are wonderful parents which is no surprise.  If you want to check in with them visit Renee's excellent blog at  She is my inspiration to start this blog by the way, and it has been a fun diversion that fulfills my love of writing and overcomes my sloth in communicating with those I care about.

Lisa lives just a mile or two away from our house and is a constant joy when she visits.  Working two jobs and still has time for movies and celebrations!  Here she is with her new friend Ray.

This year has also been a pleasure as I get to know my new step-son Daniel better.  Jeanne's only son is a great guy who plays guitar and makes his living implementing and maintaining client/server type computers for a local company.  So we have a great deal in common besides his Mom.  We are growing together as blended families and I couldn't be more pleased.  Here we are celebrating Daniel's  birthday around the pool at his girlfriend's apartment complex.

Many of you are aware that one of my passions is my Toyota MR2 sports car.  This little two seat, mid engine, fun-to-drive companion has been my joy each day as I commute to work.  Alas it neared the 200K mile mark and I had to make a decision about its long term fate.  The decision came when I ended a two year search for a good used Honda S2000 on the CarMax website. 

Yep, I found one in the color, interior and with low miles I was looking for, so I traded the “White Tiger” in for what became known as the “Silver Bullet”.  Jeanne and I love the many warm evening drives to Church with the top down then out for a date.
I continue to work with my SD County government customers working for a small company called Attain who subcontracts to Northrop Grumman.  I work with a team who helps our county choose, implement, integrate and bring to life computer programs for their staff who work in permitting and inspecting operations.  These folks check your food, restaurants, grocery stores, crop treatments, gas stations, all the cash registers at point of sale, construction sites, air quality, etc. for compliance with local and state laws.
Jeanne and I now host a program for recovery from divorce and separation called DivorceCare at Eastlake Church twice a year.  If you or someone you care about is enduring this devastating experience visit to find a group near you to attend.  This faith based 12 week group oriented program can help a great deal.  We also spend time helping our mothers continue to navigate the senior years the best we can.
We hope this communication brightens your Christmas season and helps you to know what we have been up to this year.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year dear ones! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Birthday Boy

Today is a work day for me, but my family got me out for a little Birthday celebrating last Sunday.  I'm truely blessed at 61 to be able to work, play, surf, enjoy the love of family and the radiance of God's profound love for me inspite of myself.  "All this and salvation too" is a common phrase I like to reflect upon. 

Some birthdays are easier than others. If you are facing some of life challenges, or even deep despair (as I have in the past),  please be patient with yourself as my friends were with me and look forward. Don't go it alone. Surround yourself with those who will help each in their own way and let them be your companions on the road to recovery! 

  Here I am with family and friends at "Top of The Market" on San Diego bay.  This is a favorite of mine and Jeanne too.  Great place for a leisurely lunch and birthday desserts.

Lisa made friends with a native San Diegan party crasher.  I love the view and tradition this restaurant is for my family.  My grandmother used to take us here when it was Tom Lai's cantonese food.  My Mom recalled when this opened during WWII. 

My complementary birthday cake was a little small for sharing, so we ordered from the desert tray the waiter brought around.  Hope your next birthday is as pleasant as mine this year.  Thanks for all the birthday calls today as well!  I'm touched.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Patio Parties

One of my favorite things in San Diego is outdoor parties.  We do 'em on the ole patio.  So did the early California ranchers that settled this part of the world.  Sun, friends and a patio table with food is all it takes.  We don't worry about the occaision that much, we just make an excuse like "Fred's birthday from last month" and we get together.  What follows is a cavalcade of patios, friends, family, and fun from last summer and fall this year.

This is an annual Surfer's Bible Study August potluck at Pete and Candice Savage's house.  Add pool to patio for more fun.

The warm evenings make it a great time to catch up with friends and trade lies stories about the local fishing and surfing. I enjoy the close ties that a common faith allows with these folks who we pray for as we meet life's challenges.

Here are a couple of happy patio compadres squinting  in the evening sun as they wait in the buffet line.

Later we migrate inside to the dessert table.  Yummie!

Island Prime restaurant has a nice patio!  My brother Ken and daughter Lisa catch up on one of his Navy stops in San Diego. My mom, Kate, is just beyond Ken at the table looking animated.

A summer favorite is beer on my Mom's patio.  This is a tradition my brother, friends: Mike and Steve and new stepson Daniel are sharing.  Didn't have to ask these guys to smile for the camera.  Good Times!

Biggest patio party ever at my house was Kate's 90th Birthday Bash.  Yep 90 candles!  I had to take the battery out of the smoke alarm in the family room just off the patio for this part.

Just move your furniture outside, invite 60 guests, cater a lunch and viola!  Mom hasn't returned to normal orbit yet according to NASA.

Mom may be a record setter for gathering neighbors, friends, fans of swimming (Neptune Club), and family on a warm July 24th.  In this case we moved the buffet indoors.

If you don't have a patio try a community park, church reception hall, friend's house, or your own backyard with umbrella's.  Everyone will appreciate a little bit of time to graze and connect.  It's just that simple. Don't forget your snapshot camera.  Thanks everyone for joining us this year!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still Jammin

My parents started me on clarinet when I was in 5th grade.  It was that or join the choir.  The choir had girls and they made you stand right next to them, so cooties were inevitable and I just couldn't do it.  I'm really glad for music and the rich dimension it added to my life over the years.  After clarinet, sax, flute I took up guitar so I could play rhythm for the band in which I worked my way through college.  I loved woodwinds, but the everyday pracitce for lip exercise killed it when I had a family and full time job.  I gravitated to the guitar more and more....

I have been privileged to contribute to the worship team at EastLake Community Church on a rotation basis where we have a full professional production rock band presentation with video and internet feed to the multimedia worship services offered there. Here is the happy old rocker giving his best to embelish the various styles of worship and secular music we play as a "special" to introduce the sermon topic.  This can be challenging as we do authentic versions of say... Green Day's "Field of Broken Dreams" for a sermon on depression, hopelessness.... or Brad Paisely's "I'm Just A Guy" for Father's Day.

One weekend we did a Mowtown Era Rythm and Blues number complete with horn section.  The church unknowingly hired three guys I had worked with in the 70's: Jim Weis, Carlos Seranos, and Robbie Breen.  Talk about a blast from the past!  They remembered me from my sax days and were surprised to find me playing electric guitar doing comp and some lead fills.  Life is full of surprises.  Thanks to all of you musicians who have blessed me with your musical contribution to one of the many bands and memories of my life.  Keep on rockin and sharing the love!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A New Friend

I have a new friend.  I never thought I would have a friend like this one.  Sometimes life brings you a little happiness from a corner of the universe you were unwilling to embrace due to bad experiences there.  Three women in my life conspired to change that experience.  Jeanne, Lisa and Renee are a mighty force for the cause of cats!  So, I decided I better give in and go with the flow.  Here is our new cat Abby going with the flow.

Man, I wish I could sleep like that cat! 

Sometimes Abby helps us keep up with important literature. 

Here is a more regal picture of this new queen of the household.  If you question her position she will confirm my claim with quiet indifference.  Turns out I kinda like that.  Guess who she sleeps with.  Makes up for indifference with affection on her terms of course.  I think I like this new friend.  Made any new friends lately?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Favorite Veteran

Today I write to tell you that your "little brother" can become your hero.  My younger brother Ken is a veteran of many more military campaigns than most of you know.  I'm very thankful he is still with us to read this and be my brother whom I love and admire and thank personally every Veteran's day for his personal sacrifice to protect me and my beloved country - meaning all of you. My other favorite veteran is all the rest of you who have served in so many ways to keep me free.

This is Ken standing on front of Babylon. This is where his travels with the Marine First Expeditionary Force took him on the way to ending Saddam Hussein's hideous reign over the people of Iraq. The history behind these ruins reminds us that the innocent have always needed protection from the wicked. Remembering and respecting those providing the protection is what Veteran's day is all about in my mind.  Irrespective of your political persuasion, or feelings about war, I hope you will reflect upon the fact that your safety and right to hold and speak your position is dependent on those like my brother.

The tyrant who's defaced image appears on the wall is gone. Unfortunately there are more like him, so we must continue to identify this type of person and guard the innocent from them.  And so I'm thankful for the men and women who are involved in doing that for our country today.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ken. Here he is at home in Oahu on his lanai having a cool one.  This is the brother I surf with, and share with and love dearly.  Not every brother is so fortunate!  Thanks Ken - from your whole family!  Have a cool one today on me!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Fun

Today is a sunny 92 degrees, but the evening will be cool and this is one of my favorite times of year in San Diego. The end of daylight savings time and shorter daylight conspire to leave less time for the beach and so we move to indoor fun.  For years I have enjoyed the plays at Lambs Players Theatre over the San Diego Bay bridge near the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

 Jeanne has become a fan, and we were blessed to get a stranger to take a picture in Coronado one evening on the way to Lamb's production of "Room Service" an old Broadway hit.

You can join the fun at:  This is a great theatre, with a staff of inspired folks who entertain and challenge you about life's universals and moral issues quite often.  Food for the heart, and mind.

Two blocks to the west of Lamb"s Theatre is the beach (hmmm... recurrent theme here) and the Hotel Del Coronado. This is one of our favorite strolls with memorable surroundings and restaurants and the fresh ocean air.  Romantic?  You bet!  Hope you will be inspired to get out of the house this fall for a little break away from your routine.

Monday, November 1, 2010


One of the qualities I enjoy most in my wife Jeanne is her playfulness!  She often makes me laugh with little observations about myself, an event we are attending, a group of people acting foolishly.  She loves to poke fun, cajole, act out a stereotype complete with verbal accent. Don't get me started on her invention of our alter "trailer trash" personalities "Billy Ray" and "Lula Mae".  She uses them to point out less than considerate behavior in a comical way.  Smart girl.

Recently Jeanne had to have a somewhat serious foot surgery to correct a bone spur and joint problem.  This left her at home with leg up most of the time.  Among other things she passed the time making some GREAT Halloween costumes - yes,  Hippies!!!  Although she and I didn't identify with the Hippy lifestyle or attitude about drugs etc, we recognized that the Hippies did show compassion for one another and appreciation for "smelling the roses" (and many other flowers) along the road of life.  So here is a hurrah for the positive side of "Flower Power" as celebrated during Halloween this year.  Thanks Jeanne!  Peace!

Jeanne in front of our house and the Cosmos flowers planted late summer.  Groovy!

"Rolling Stone" and "Sunshine" - happy Hippy Halloween hopefuls at the Clairemont Square for a movie with my Mom.  Don't miss "Secretariat" the recent Disney production about the famous race horse and the extraordinary woman who brought him to championship form that remains unbeaten even today. 

We surprised our Bible Study by leading worship in costume. Some of the group couldn't figure out who we were. They recognized the guitar and the voices at some point. Happy fall season everyone!