Here’s a few pics

I won’t even feign interest in this past few weeks.  Go to work…  Go home… repeat.  BLAH.  Bringin’ me down.  Here’s a few pics.  Enjoy.  Or don’t.

KC Company

Good times this weekend.  Our friends the Martins came out and joined us for a few days, and we did our best to entertain them, in our non-entertaining kind of way.  I’m rather focused on the Royals game at the moment, so I’ll just touch on a few of the highlights and then add a bunch of pics for filler.  Solid strategy.

Aside from our standard-issue wine tasting outings and restaurant visits, we actually mixed in a few genuine “activities.”  While a real rarity for us, we knew they liked to exercise occasionally so we tried to accommodate them.  Our first outing was a hike to Horsetail Falls up near Tahoe.  I guarantee that every single time we’ve driven to Tahoe I’ve said “Man I want to hike that some day,” both on the way out and back.  Well, I guess now I’ve done it.  It was a moderately difficult hike, and least for me, but well worth the effort.  I hope to go again soon as a matter of fact, maybe when it’s a little cooler.  Still a good hike though, despite being a bit on the warm side.  I like my hikes to have a “destination,” and the falls at the end was surely something to see.  I about filled up the memory on my camera taking pics along the way.  The hike took us about three hours, then we decided since we were so close to Tahoe we might as well drive on up for a late lunch.  That decision was mostly based on the fact that it was 100+ back in El Dorado Hills, and about 82 in Tahoe.  We enjoyed a tasty meal at a beach-side pub, then made the inevitable run back down to the scorching heat at home.

To close out the weekend, we took a 3.5 hour float down the American River.  I’ve “floated” on this river a few times before, but at a much higher elevation where the water is a lot rougher.  This time we were down near Sacramento, where the flow was very mellow to say the least.  We kicked back in tubes and just kind of bobbed down the river for a few hours.  The water was quite icy, but it felt good in the 100 degree heat.  A nice little diversion to be sure;  We’re planning on hitting it again this coming weekend if we have time.

Full Summer Mode

Well it’s gotten to the point where it’s so hot out we just don’t go outside.  Bound to happen.  It is still rather pleasant in the evenings, but by then we’re so bored we STILL stay in.  Vicious cycle.

I think we did something fun Friday night, but that was so long ago I’ve forgotten.  Sorry.  Or, maybe we didn’t.  We’ll never know.  I have some recollection of Saturday.  I got up and headed out with my kayak to one of the nearby parks, namely Negro Bar.  Usually I go to Willow Creek, but I was feeling rather adventurous and decided to branch out a bit.  OK, I missed my turn and decided it was too much trouble to turn around.  However I got there, it ended up being a good decision.  After not too much time, I came to the conclusion that it is just a lot better area than Willow Creek, at least this summer.  It was amazingly clear and the shorelines are a lot cooler.  There’s more to look at in general, to occupy my short attention span.  There’s also a few big bridges to pull up under and cool off when it get too warm.  (Or, just splash some of the icy-cold river water on you I guess.)  The reason I never go there is because parking is a little sketchy, (there’s WALKING involved, ugh,) but I came to the firm conclusion it is worth the extra effort.  After that outing I brought the car back to Donette, and she rolled down to the airport to pick up our friend Kelly.  We took her out to some average Mexican food, then treated her to a visit to my favorite spot, Steve’s Pizza.  Then we went home and turned the Royal’s game on and promptly fell asleep.  Quite the hosts, we are.

Sunday our friends Michael & Alaina came over for a big breakfast, then we headed out to Sutter Creek for a little wine tasting.  We hit our favorites:  Baiocchi, Scott Harvey, and Yorba.  Great wine, but holy smokes it was HOT.  It was all I could do to shuffle from one place to the next without getting heat stroke.  For lunch we went to the always delicious Gold Dust pizza, but it was so hot out we couldn’t even enjoy their great deck.  Finally we called no-joy on the heat and scurried back home for more Royal’s baseball and air conditioning.  It’s mercifully cooled off about ten degrees since then, so we might survive the rest of the week.

Monday Again?!?!?

Geez, I hate to say it but I’ve got nothing.  It’s been pretty crummy out in the Western world…  I’ve been spending most of my time sitting on conference calls.  Want to hear all about them?  No, I didn’t think so.  Meanwhile all three or four of my friends (the count has gotten so high I’ve lost track) have been out of town partying it up, and left their dogs with me.  What a deal.  The good news is, little Quinn really has a big time with his pup friend.  Unfortunately they got a little destructive, but what can ya’ do.  There were some losses involving a nice  pair of sunglasses, a rug, and no small amount of sod.  Sigh.

I did get out of town for a short time last weekend.  The wife and I got up to Tahoe for a night and caught a concert with Train & O.A.R.  Not a bad show.  I was a little disappointed in OAR…  Their sound was pretty muddy and they didn’t seem too really be interested.  Maybe because it was an outdoors show and hot as blazes, who knows.

This past weekend was just a total bust.  I tried to herd the puppies all day, and walked around with my phone in my hand trying to pay attention to calls.  So lame.  Yesterday I tried to smoke some ribs, which came out marginal at best.  That was just more disappointment piled on.  Not sure what happened there, I guess I needed to give them my full attention.

The Gambler

That was a big week in The Life of Phil.  That’s not necessarily a good thing either;  I don’t like “big.”  I like “consistent,” thank you very much.  Well, things happen.  I went to a conference in Las Vegas all week, and it was a bit overwhelming.  Too many people, too hot, and, at the end of the day, it was work.  They can host those things wherever they want, try as hard as they want to make them fun, but it’s still work.  And by “hot,” I mean 110+.  BRUTAL hot.  You could hardly breathe outside the hotel.  This is not to say I didn’t have any fun.  One of my friends attended with me, and then our wives showed up mid-week.  Once the conference (mercifully) ended, we had one big party day too.  We got all fancy and rented a cabana down at the hotel pool, and that made for a great afternoon of relaxation.  That’s the way to go, I’ll say that.  No laying out in the sun on blistering hot plastic chairs for these high-rollers.  After that we met up with one of my college buddies who has lived out there since…  Well, since we got out of college.  He (again, mercifully) took us off the strip for a while, and was it ever good to get away from that mess.  We hit the new tiki bar in town first.  Ever heard of a tiki bar?  I surely hadn’t, but then I’m old and uncool.  After that he took us to a Thai food place, which was a wonderful change from the hotels, both in terms of taste and price.  Oh, and I’m sure everyone wants to know the results of our time at the tables.  Well, I don’t gamble, so I took all my money home.  Donette was the gambler of the group.  She dropped a ten-spot in the penny slots.  Gave it one pull, doubled her money, and cashed out.  I guess that makes her the top gambler in the group.

That was an exhausting week, but we still had “obligations” when we got back home.  Saturday was our friend Jana’s annual birthday party.  We’ve been three years in a row now, and it’s always a blast.  They’ve got an incredible back yard, pretty much made for such events.  I went over around noon and threw a bunch of ribs on, then Donette joined me later in the afternoon and we proceeded to enjoy the pool until way-too-late.  Good times.  The ribs came out OK too, much to my relief.  I hate cooking for large groups of strangers…  Too much pressure.

We rounded things out with a trip to some of the local wineries.  It occurred to us we hadn’t been wine tasting in quite some time.  The weather was reasonably nice, and our friends had a new car to squire us about, so we hit the tasting circuit.  We hit several favorites, and tried one new place.  Sunday Funday, indeed.

I’ve got an awful lot of pics from my trip, and the weekend.  I’d split them up into multiple posts, but I always forget.  So, here they are.