Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mandi & Eric Visit Us For The Weekend

In our 5th year of college at Cal Poly Darcy lived with Mandi, who married Eric on July 10th, 2004. Darcy and Eric were friends all through college since they both studied the same major - architectural engineering - which was the connection that led to Mandi getting a room in Darcy's house. The four of us became good friends that year and we've kept in good touch ever since.

After college Mandi and Eric moved back to the LA area, eventually settling in Long Beach where they bought a house. Perhaps you remember my post last year highlighting our trip down there to visit them. That post is titled: Giants, Bonds, and our Weekend in Long Beach. Now, not even a full year later, both couples are expecting new additions, with Darcy due in less than five weeks on July 31st and Mandi due in October.


The weekend started off early Friday evening when Mandi and Eric landed in SJC after only working half days at their jobs. When I got home from work at 5pm they were already on the couch visiting with Darcy. That night we took them to an italian restaurant in Los Gatos called i Gatti. It was very good, and we didn't hold back, getting not one, but two dessert dishes!

On Saturday morning we woke up to the smell of a delicious Darcy-created french toast breakfast, which was followed up with a trail walk in Los Gatos. We opted for the same walk we went on when Bosco was attacked by a goose on May 20th. Mandi, who is a faithful reader of Narduzzi Nation, was able to visualize the incident as there were hundreds, if not thousands, of geese on the prowl. Although we weren't attacked this time, we didn't get hissed at!

Following our walk we headed over the winding hill of highway 17 to Santa Cruz. Darcy and Mandi's roommate that year Erin just moved to Santa Cruz a couple months ago so the plan was to visit her, see her place, get lunch, and see where the day took us.

The day ended up taking us to downtown Santa Cruz to a restaurant called Acapulco, and then to The Boardwalk, where we hit up The Giant Dipper! Did you know the Giant Dipper is the 6th oldest roller coaster still operating? I'm not sure if that is in the US or in the world though.

The ride, as it always is, was a blast! It may be 84 years old, but it still provides a feeling of exhilaration as it throws you downward over and over again in what feels like a near free-fall. At the end they try to sell you a picture of your face during one of those free falls. I didn't buy it, but did take a picture of the screen. Here's how ours looked - pretty funny:

When our faces were looking like this, our view was something like this:

Here's a picture of the girls at the Boardwalk with their slush puppies:

Saturday night back in Cambpell we were pretty tired from the long day that consisted of a lot of walking. We went to the Sonoma Chicken Coup for an appetizer dinner followed by some Gelato. Here's the four of us winding down from our tiring day:

Sunday morning we woke up, ate breakfast burritos, and then split off into separate activities. Darcy and Mandi went to get pedicures and to return an item at Babies R Us while Eric and I went out to Cinnabar Hills Golf Club to hit range balls and chip and putt around. Darcy and Mandi ended up meeting us out at the golf course for lunch, where we enjoyed a great lunch outside on the patio.

After lunch we drove back home so they could pack and get ready for us to drop them off at the airport. When we said goodbye to them at 3:50pm at the San Jose Airport Southwest Terminal, we were seeing them for the last time pre-children. The next time we see them we will be introducing our son to Mandi and Eric's son or daughter (they aren't finding out gender). We can't wait!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Championship Bid Comes Up Short

As you all know I was pumped for the chance to win another championship in my life. The last one I can think of that I was a part of that had any significance was intramural basketball my third year of college. That was the year 2000! Last night, thanks to east San Jose church league bball, I had the chance to have that same feeling again; The feeling of we came, we saw, we conquered.

But it was not to be.

Things got off to a very good start in the first half. I played the role of the distributor and my teammates were knocking down shots. I probably had almost as many assists in the first half as I had points, which is rare for me. At halftime we were up 30-27.

The second half didn't go nearly as well. After playing a zone against us in the first half, they opened up in man to man, and it worked much better on us. Where we could drive into holes in their zone, their man to man was much harder to penetrate. This led to us settling more for outside shots, which we were not hitting with regularity. I am pretty disappointed in my own offensive output in the second half. My team needed me to score and set them up with good looks. I did that in the first half, but was unable to in the second. We lost the game 59-52.

We were rewarded with a tiny second place trophy after the game. I will keep this trophy in my cubicle at work to remind me of our accomplishment of getting that far, but also to motivate me to better it this upcoming summer season and go all the way!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

George Michael Concert - 6/19/08

Growing up there were a few cassette tapes that were mainstays in my mom's blue Dodge Minivan. To name a few, there was the Wilson Philips' self titled debut album, Milli Vanilli, Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, and UB40's Labor of Love which features the great song "Red Red Wine".

And there was also of course, George Michael's Faith.

We would drive around town, to soccer practice, basketball practice, little league, Trisha's dance and would be bumping "Faith", "Father Figure", "Monkey", "Hard Day", "this song", as well as all the other less memorable songs on the album.

Approximately 16-18 years later, I no longer listen to George Michael except for a rare moment it comes on the radio or is played in public, but some of his music is still is entrenched in my memory because of the drives around town in my mom's car. Beyond the Faith album the only songs of his I know are "Freedom", "Praying for Time", and "Funky".

I accepted the opportunity to see him for free at HP Pavilion on Thursday night. Although I only knew about half of the songs, the concert was a fun atmosphere as he put on an energetic show to an amped up crowd. He did a good job with playing most of his hits that I knew, although I would have liked to have seen "Monkey". Here is the set list:

I brought my camera to the concert and snapped off quite a few photos, but it' nearly impossible to get good photos in a concert with my Canon Elph (unless you're extremely close to the stage). Here are a couple of the best ones:

Below is him entering the stage at the begining of the show:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Championship Game Here We Come!

Last night's basketball game was a lot of fun. I had just watched Tiger Woods win the U.S. Open in heroic fashion and was inspired to play hard and win just like he did. Like I said in a previous post, it's been a while since I've won a championship and despite it only being a church basketball league in eastern San Jose, I'd sure like to experience that championship feeling once again.

Last nights game started good and bad. Good because our team showed great energy and was playing solid defense on our much bigger opponent (their center was about 6'5" 300+), and bad because we weren 't scoring. I think it took nearly five minutes before we broke the goose egg!

At halftime, we were actually ahead 14-13, which was by far the lowest scoring half we've ever had. I took the ball out of bounds to start the second half and the ref joked to me as he handed me the ball that they needed to take the lids off the baskets in second half.

In the second half the game stayed close with each team taking and losing one point leads a few times. With only a couple minutes left and the game tied, I stole the ball and darted down the court and made a finger roll layup with defenders on each side of me. Then, on our next possession, I got the ball on the wing, about a foot behind the 3 pt line and hit a huge three, giving us a five point lead with less that two minutes to play. The score was 38-33 us.

We continued to battle and play good defense and ended up winning 40-35. Following the final buzzer, we all celebrated the win with high fiving, hugging, and the occasional chest bump.

Although I had somewhat of a rocky shooting night, I feel very good about my performance. I played extremely hard, I made four threes, a few jumpers, and a layup. But equally as important, I had a number of drives where I found teammates down low for easy layups. However, just like in all of our wins, it was a team effort as most everyone stepped up with a big shot, steal, or assist to lead us to the victory.

We'll see what happens in the championship game. It may only be east San Jose church league bball, but it would still be a championship! The game is next Monday night, 6/23, at 9pm.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

In Modesto for a Wedding

Darcy's good friend Suzi's little brother got married Saturday night in Modesto. The wedding was set just outside of town at a beautiful house with a huge backyard that included a pool, a concrete patio, and large grass area. It's a perfect spot for a wedding.

We had a good time hanging out at the "Las Vegas" table:

Like it does at all fun weddings, time flew. Before we knew it, the evening was over. Thankfully Darcy and I were active with the camera and were able to capture some great shots of the evening. I went through the pictures, cropped a few of them, and filtered out ones not worth sharing.

Please click here to view our pictures from Mike and Erica's wedding.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BBall Team Breaks Second Round Jinx

On Monday night, my church league basketball team acheived a hard fought victory. Our team matched up against a fairly athletic team with a couple guys who were around 6' 4" or 6' 5". I started off the game hot, hitting four three's in the first half along with a few other two point scores. This allowed us to get out to an early lead of 15-10. Then, they came roaring back to take a 29-20 lead.

Our team showed great character in the second half. Down by ten early in the half, one of our players named Jason Barber came up with back to back to back steals. Two of them he converted to layups, and the other one he got fouled and made his free throws! Just like that, we were back in the game.

The whole second half was a total team effort as different players contributed by making big shots, grabbing critical rebounds, hitting free throws, diving for loose balls, etc. Despite our solid play, the game still came down to the wire. We were up 55-52 with 17 seconds left; their ball. I reminded the team, "don't foul a three point shooter". Lo and behold, they got the ball at the top of the key, and we fouled the three point shooter. I must admit, it was a terrible call and I don't think we even touched them, but let's face it, it's a weeknight church league so we should be thankful we have referees at all. Luckily for us, our opponent clanked his first free throw, and then missed the next two as well.

We won the game 55-52 and were all in great moods, feeling proud of our win.

Our round 3 playoff game is Monday, 6/16, at 9pm. It's the semifinals, so a win brings us to the championship game. I was lucky enough to play on some championship teams in my life, but it's been awhile, and I would love to play on another one, even if it is only an east san jose bball church league.

Check back in next Tuesday or Wednesday to see how we did.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Second Round Playoff Game Monday Night (6/9) at 9pm

Saturday at 4pm my church league basketball team had our first playoff game. We were able to achieve a hard fought victory, winning 52-47. It was actually a lot closer than the final score indicated, as we were up only 48-47 with less than a minute left. But, they had to foul and we made our free throws down the stretch.

Tomorrow night (Monday night 6/9) is our second round playoff match against the #3 seed (we are the 6 seed). This game is very significant for our team because in each of the first two seasons we have lost disappointing second round playoff games. It will feel extra special to come through with a win tomorrow night to not only live to play another day, but also to overcome the 2nd round jinx.

I know I've been bad about keeping you up to date with the progress of this season, but I will be sure to let you know how we do tomorrow night, and if we are finally able to break through to the uncharted 3rd round.

Back to Back 83's

Last Saturday my dad and I played Oakmont Golf Course up in Santa Rosa. I had a good round and shot an 83. In the round, I rebounded from a 44 on the front with a solid 39 on the back nine.

Today, at Cinnabar Hills with my neighbor Larry, I continued to play well, matching last weekend's round by scoring another 83. However, since Cinnabar is a more difficult course, this one was in my opinion more impressive. I was somewhat shaky off the tee, but my iron game was very consistent and accurate. And although I didn't make any long amazing putts, I only had one three putt.

This is how my round went:
1 - par 5 - I had a 5 - E
2 - par 3 - I had a 4 - +1
3 - par 4 - I had a 4 - +1
4 - par 4 - I had a 6 - +3
5 - par 4 - I had a 6 - +5
6 - par 3 - I had a 3 - +5
7 - par 5 - I had a 5 - +5
8 - par 4 - I had a 5 - +6
9 - par 4 - I had a 5 - +7
Front nine = 43
10 - par 4- I had a 5 - +8
11 - par 4 - I had a 5 - +9
12 - par 4 - I had a 4 - +9
13 - par 4 - I had a 3 - +8
14 - par 3 - I had a 4 - +9
15 - par 5 - I had a 5 - +9
16 - par 4 - I had a 5 - +10
17 - par 3 - I had a 4 - +11
18 - par 5 - I had a 5 - +11
Back nine = 40
Total=83
1 birdie, 7 pars, 8 bogeys, 2 double bogeys

As happy as I am to have played well, I know I can get better. If I can stay dedicated and make time to play and practice, I should be able to find my way into the 70's. However, with the price of golf being what it is combined with a full-time job and a baby one way, time will tell if I'm able to play enough to get my game to the next level.

But one things for sure. I love to play golf!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ramblings

- Starbucks wait times have grown increasingly long for me lately. This isn't the case at all Starbucks, but it is at most of the ones I usually go to. It's getting to the point that I will decide not to stop and get a drink because I am worrried about how long it will take and don't feel like risking having a bad customer experience. This makes me wonder if others are dealing with this as well. One time I went to Starbucks to get what I always get there right now - ICE AMERICANO NO ROOM NAME IS JEFF LOTS OF ICE, AND NO, I DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO EAT! - and I decided to settle for coffee because I knew putting in an "order" would lead to me standing there for ten minutes waiting for it. There was a handful of people bored waiting for their drinks already and I didn't feel like standing with them. Also, don't you hate it when ONE guy orders FOUR lattes! It's similar to being behind somebody at the bagel shop who is buying bagels for the whole office. The joy of Starbucks is that it's a convenient, quick, and tasty way to get your caffeine/latte fix. Let's hope increasingly poor service doesn't keep getting in the way.

- I'm playing golf on Sunday at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club. Can't wait! I've been practicing more than I ever have in my life and it's paying off. My swing feels great and my putting and chipping has been solid. Cinnabar can be windy but with the 7:40am tee-time I have with Larry my next door neighbor it shouldn't be too bad.

- Can you believe our little boy is due in less than a two months?

- Darcy is camping this weekend at Pinecrest. It's an annual event with a group of friends, and being seven months pregnant is no excuse not to go.

- I am so torn about who to root for in the NBA finals. I can honestly say I don't really care who wins. I feel weird not hating the Lakers, but for some reason I don't. I can remember rooting against them so passionately when they battled the Warriors this season, and I am not a fan of Kobe's personality. However, they are fun to watch, and I have a very hard time supporting the Eastern Conference. I wonder who my sister Trisha is rooting for? The only two cities she has lived in (if you don't count her year abroad in Spain) outside of the bay area are none other than LA and Boston.

- So You Think You Can Dance is a great show. In my opinion it's way better than American Idol. Give it a chance and you'll become hooked. Regarding Idol, isn't it funny how when we watch American Idol we get into the contestants and even like a few of them, and then the second the show ends, those very contestants we rooted for are now lame! I especially feel that way about this years contestants when I see them on TV now. The American Idol finale was entertaining though. I enjoyed George Michael singing Praying for Time. Darcy is seeing him at the HP Pavilion in a couple weeks.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Beth Graduates High School on May 30th, 2008

When I graduated from high school in 1998, Beth's graduation seemed like an eternity away. She was only 7 (almost 8), and in the middle of elementary school. Well I have news for you ladies and gentleman - time flies!

On Friday Darcy and I left work a couple of hours early so we could make this notable event. Despite rush hour traffic making our drive from the Silicon Valley to Santa Rosa three hours long, we made it in time. The graduation was very nice and very tamed. While many high school graduations feature flying beach balls and other shananagans from wild teenagers, Beth's graduation had none of that, which I was impressed by. Wouldn't it be a bummer if your name was called right when everyone was distracted by something extra curricular going on in the sea of graduates, such as a bouncing ball or string confetti? Hats off to Montgomery High School for making sure this sort of disrespectful behavior did not occur.

The graduation consisted of the following:

- The graduates entered the beautiful artificially turfed football feild to take their seats. During this time we were unable to locate Beth, but this is what it looked like:

- Three student speeches and three student musical performances. Out of the three speeches, I was impressed by one of them, and out of the three musical performances, I was impressed by two them, which are pictured below.



- The school principal then spoke way too long on the verge of inappropriateness. She was overly political, and needed to be reminded it's about the kids, not her. According to Beth she is well-liked. That may be, but I was not impressed with the way she used her platform on Friday night.

- Then, finally, the 366 graduates were named off in seemingly random order. I found it ironic that there were 366 of them and this year happens to be a leap year with 366 days in it. Beth went somewhere in the middle and the 15 or so in attendance for her roared at the reading of her name. I already showed you the pictured of her getting called up above, but here's another one of her rounding the corner on her way back to her seat.


My parents hosted a graduation party for Beth following the ceremony. Beth was only able to attend for an hour or so because she had to get to project grad by ten, but that didn't stop many of us from hanging out until past midnight. 20-30 of our extended family, friends, and even my buddy Dylan stopped by to enjoy great food, wine, and dessert.

Of course, many more pictures were taken at the party.

Mindy and Dennis with their third and final high school graduate offspring:

The proud brother:

Beth opening up her graduation present from my parents; a new laptop to take to Cal Poly - SLO next year where she will be studying nutrition:

Dylan and I. You may remember I visited Dylan in Portland in early April. He has since finished law school (at Lewis and Clark) and is now back in Santa Rosa studying for the bar exam full time. He takes the test on July 31st, which is the same day Darcy is due.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Bosco got to see his buddy Mac all weekend!