Archive for ◊ December, 2017 ◊

31 Dec 2017 Happy New Year…………….
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Wow. Where in the world did 2017 go? Just a year ago we landed in Sydney and spent the first month of 2017 in Australia. We totally missed New Year’s Eve in two countries.

In 2000 we bought the River House property and came up with a twenty year plan. We started 2000 sitting in the St. Ores Restaurant, in Gualala, CA wondering if the world was going to come to a grinding halt when the clock struck twelve. Y2K turned out to be nothing but a nothing burger long before that saying became popular. It what seems like a blur we find ourselves seventeen years later with a property far beyond our wildest expectations. Our dream was to find thirty acres on the world famous Bulkley River and build a simple little log cabin and enjoy fishing and the Great White North. Thirty acres turned into two hundred and ninety six and the little log cabin became a large house with attached studio, two wonderful cabins, a big shop, a gazebo and much more. Early last year we put it on the market and to eliminate an easement issue bought eighty eight more acres giving us exclusive access to a mile of river frontage. Putting the property on the market was part of the twenty year plan and because of its size and remoteness we figured it would take three years to find the “wright” buyer. Last year we completed a long wish list of things we wanted completed before selling and completed all but putting the finishing touches on the fence, entry gate and replacement of the decks. Those last three projects will be completed before June 8th when we plan to hold a Brokers Open for BC Realtors.

We are not quite sure what 2018 holds as the sale of River House is the wild card. Properties like River House tend to close quickly; in thirty days or less. Once that happens we will bring a few things back to the states including the Nice and Judith’s T-Bird. I’ll sell the Nice as soon as we cross the border as ocean fishing will no longer be in the cards. We will put Judith’s T-Bird in storage, buy a car and take off on a two month trip to see friends and family around the entire USA. We figure that will give us time to adjust to a huge change in lifestyles and give us time to evaluate plans A and B for our remaining years in Walla Walla. One thing we’ve discover, in the last three month of doing almost nothing, is we are NOT ready to sit on the couch eating Bon Bons and watching Oprah.

The world is unfolding as it should……………..

30 Dec 2017 Just When I Thought Crab Couldn’t Get More Expensive………
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I woke up at five thirty and try as I might I couldn’t get back to sleep. It was cold in the rig and figured we ran out of propane. I tried lighting the stove and there was a nice strong flame. I rebooted the furnace and it came to life and ran for about fifteen minutes and got the RV back to sixty seven degrees.

I put on the coffee and turned on the TV. The first story of the day was about two young guys who may have broken the code to determining what is and what isn’t fake news. While the app is in the Beta stage the two entrepreneurs suggested the Facebook is very interested in buying . They went to great lengths to insist this app wasn’t left or right and evaluated an article based on content and the history of the source(s). Once you load the app then log on to read an article a pop up appears rating the truthfulness of the content and if untruthful points the reader to more reliable sources. I signed up to be part of the beta test, signed up Judith and a friend and can’t wait to start checking how well it works.

Judith was up at eight thirty. We discussed the day over breakfast. After poker we would have lunch at a Chinese restaurant then head south to a swap meet/farmers market.

I went to poker where thirty showed up for this morning’s tournament. I was dealt pocket kings early in the game and had to abandon those on the river when my opponent kept calling and the board had both straight and flush possibilities. Abandoning that hand cost me more than half my chips. Then I became card dead and didn’t make the final table. While at the table I asked about the Chinese we were planning to go to and it was given thumbs down. One of the players said the only decent Chinese restaurant was in Santa Maria.

I picked up Judith and we headed for Santa Maria. The restaurant was huge and only had one table occupied when we walked through the door. Since it was twelve thirty that didn’t give us that warm fuzzy feeling. The place was very clean; a good thing. They only gave us the lunch menu until I asked for the main menu. We started with pot stickers and ordered two lunch specials and a side dish of chow Mein. Lunch was better than decent and a lot of food for thirty bucks.

We found the swap meet/Farmers Market and there was just a vendor or two and not a customer in sight. We drove right by and took the back way, along the ocean, to Pismo Beach. While the weather is tropical this area is in desperate need of rain. It hasn’t rained since February and there is just a sprinkle in the forecast for the next ten days.

Next we drove to the Avila Pier to get out New Year’s Eve Dungeness crab. The pier was crowded and fish market had lots of crabs. They did jack up the price to $13.99 a pound and add a buck a pound if you wanted it steamed. Thirty five bucks for a crab? Fools and their money soon part.

I boiled the crab while Judith beat me in Crib…….Again. Dinner was easy; leftover Cornish hens from a couple of days ago. Something found the cat food I put out.

One of the poker players at the Central Coast Casino asked if I’d like to go Chumash Casino for their Sunday bounty tournament. He’ll pick me up around eleven thirty then make the hour trip south. The tournament usually gets above fifty players with longer levels and more starting chips.

29 Dec 2017 Another Sunny Day…………….
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With probably the best weather anywhere in the United States it is no wonder that this RV Park is totally full. When we checked back in Judith requested an end spot and was told it would be at least a week if at all. That was OK with me but Judith wants what she wants and an end spot in this park is important to her.

I started my day at six thirty. By the time Judith greeted the day at eight thirty I had all my morning rituals out of the way. We had breakfast and discussed the day. I was going to play poker then go to a muffler shop to have a tail pipe, that fell off yesterday, welded back in place. Five tabs attach it to the muffler and by the looks of things two of those snapped a while ago as they were rusty. When the third one snapped it fell and started dragging. When I hear the dragging, while leaving the RV Park, I stopped within a few feet. I grabbed it and started to raise it up and it came off in my hand. I had hoped leasing a one year old truck would be trouble free but that doesn’t look like that is the case. It is never easy.

Thirty players entered today’s tournament. Just after we got down to two tables I made a semi bluff and got looked up (called) and was out of the tournament.

It was eleven thirty when I returned to the park. As I came through the gate I saw Judith coming out of the office. She waved me down and told me we needed to move to an end spot a couple rows away. Checkout time is eleven and the people in our new stop didn’t leave until almost twelve. While Judith finished the laundry I packed up most of the trailer and was ready to move as soon as the spot was vacated.

Judith’s timing was perfect as she arrived back at the trailer just in time to help me hook up and move. By one were set up in our new spot and will remain here until we leave for points south on the 15th. We are now two rows and about a hundred feet from our old location. We are wondering when or if Spooky will find our new location. The world is unfolding as it should.

I had a one thirty appointment at the muffler shop which turned out to be a father and son operation. I was greeted by the son a nice, early twenty something big guy with a full beard. He put the Chevy up on a lift and in a couple of minutes I heard him say “hey dad I need a hand holding this”. When his dad appeared I couldn’t help but think when the kid who is working on your truck has a father younger than your sons you are definitely OLD. Thirty minutes and thirty bucks later I was on my way back to the RV Park.

Judith was ready for our daily walk when I returned to the park. We made our two mile trek through Pismo Beach and back along the beach. The temperature was in the mid-seventies and lots of people were enjoying the day in and along the ocean’s sandy beach.

Judith won the evening Crib game and to add insult to injury skunked me. While she was cooking dinner I logged onto the APT site and entered the evening tournament. Over forty players entered and I was happy with winning forth which should put me close to being the December tournament chip leader.

Judith has tomorrow booked with Farmer’s Markets and a craft fair. After poker we’ll try a new Chinese restaurant in the hopes we finally locate a decent one.

28 Dec 2017 Off To Good Start…….
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I slept in until almost eight and logged ten hours. I knew I was going to be behind the eight ball when my feet hit the floor. I put on the coffee and portioned out some cat food. As I stepped out the door I could see Spooky under the steps. It didn’t take long for her/him to find us. Whatever it is will have a free roll, in the food department, until we head south on the 19th.

I checked in on River House. The cold snap is still sapping but will start to warm up in a few days. Walla Walla was in the high teens and the forecast, for Pismo Beach, is to be in the mid-seventies today.

I managed to get the crossword and Sudoku puzzles done before Judith greeted the day. We discussed the day over breakfast. We marvel at how little we have to do and wonder what in the world “real” retirement will be like when that happens. Sitting around eating Bon Bons and watching Oprah isn’t our style.

I was at the Central Coast Casino at ten and plunked down my twenty bucks as did nineteen others. I was hit with the deck immediately and started building a big stack. I made the final table with lots of chips but gladly chopped when it got down to seven and pocketed $149.

I was back at the RV Park before noon and had a quick lunch before we headed off toward Morro Bay to a spot we like to hike. It is a trail above the bluffs and usually uncrowded. Wrong. Being the week between Christmas and New Years and sunny, warm weather the entire central coast is packed. We barely found a parking space then walked the very crowded trail.

We stopped in Morro Bay for a couple burritos at Taco Mexico on the way home. The place was crowded at four and it took Judith about twenty minutes to get a small takeout order. Once we hit San Luis Obispo the freeway was bumper to bumper all the way to our Pismo Beach exit. I stopped at the 7-11 and got Power Ball and Mega Bucks tickets; both are well over three hundred million.

I won the evening Crib game before we warmed up the burritos. They were great and doing the dishes was as easy as balling up and throwing away the aluminum foil…..

More poker tomorrow and doing as little as possible in the afternoon are the only things on the agenda.

27 Dec 2017 Back at Pismo Coast Village
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Location is important for lots of businesses. Location makes a difference in RV Parks as well. When we first got to Pismo Beach we stayed in the KOA a short distance east. Like Pismo Coast Village it is very close to the freeway. We noticed the noise at this KOA, on our last visit, as we were in a spot not very far away from Hwy 101. Last night we parked nearer the office less than two hundred feet from our prior location and it was noticeable quieter.

My day started at six thirty. I put on the coffee. Our little two cupper does a great job taking less than a minute from start to first sip. Unfortunately it only keeps the second cup hot for about twenty minutes so sixty seconds in the microwave is mandatory. I logged unto the heating system, at River House, to check things out. It warmed up to about zero and the geothermal system is keeping all the rooms at fifty with the exception of the wine cellar and that is always at 56 degrees.

I finished all my puzzles and to do list long before Judith greeted the day at nine. We seldom if ever buy grapefruit in our part of the Great White North as they are small, usually not fresh and always north of two bucks. We buy gigantic white grapefruit at the local Farmer’s Market at a buck fifty a pop and they are sweet, juicy and delicious. I had one ready when Judith opened her door.

After a quick breakfast we walked over to a market/petting zoo that is very popular and always busy. They have an uncountable amount of goats, lots of chickens, horses, a cow or two and even two Emus. They sell packs of lettuce and carrots so the kids can feed them. They do, and do and do resulting in some pretty fat animals. The goats seem to be the best beggars and are rewarded accordingly.

We got back to the KOA just in time to depart by the eleven o’clock deadline. It took just ten minutes to get back to Pismo Coast Village. Judith went in to register and they let us in early and assigned a space one over from where we departed on Monday. Many of these spots have owners and that’s who was occupying our old spot. They have a huge diesel pusher and it is between us and the freeway blocking out a lot of the noise. There goes that location thing again.

It took us about an hour to set up getting settled in for the next nineteen days. As soon as we were set up Judith took off to do some shopping and I set in the sunshine and read The Reader a book Judith brought back from the Park’s book exchange. All RV parks, no matter how large or small, seem to have a book exchange; take one, leave one.

Job one for Judith was getting the truck washed and noticed one of the front tires was a little low. I asked her to bring it back to the park so I could check it out. Before I even got outside she was pointing to a screw imbedded between the treads. I Googled tire shops and a few minutes she was off to get it fixed. While she was waiting I got a call from Capture and the bank was missing some paperwork and begged me to get in FedEx by four. I had to call Judith and yank her out of line at the tire shop. By the time the smoked cleared and if it hadn’t been for the driver arriving fifteen minutes late I might just be driving to Oakland instead of writing this blog tonight.

I took on the cooking duties and fired up the Toolbox grill and cooked a Cornish hen along with a pasta dish and fresh spinach sautéed in olive oil, sprinkled with pine nuts and seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper. It was heads and shoulders over yesterday’s Christmas dinner.

Tomorrow it is back to the poker wars at the Central Coast Casino. We walk every day and other than that not much else is on tomorrow’s agenda. Nice.

26 Dec 2017 Customer What?
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I started my day at six knowing that today was going to be a very short travel day; six miles to be exact. By the time Judith greeted the day, at eight thirty, I was through my morning ritual competing all the daily puzzles and even doing forty minutes of exercises. The weather map showed it was -25 in Prince George which lies four hours south east of River House. It is typically colder there as it was this morning. When I checked River House it was minus nine. Our Geothermal heating system was keeping the house a toasty fifty degrees; our winter temperature setting when we are gone. I checked Walla Walla; about sixteen with a little snow on the ground. I believe they had a White Christmas.

I scrambled Judith and egg and cooked a crab omelet for me. We have found a better than decent bakery, the Eclair Bakery, and are really enjoying their bread. They only cook bread for the Farmer’s Market and as special orders for restaurants. Their Honey Wheat smeared with a little butter and Judith’s strawberry jam was perfect with the crab omelet.

Judith did the dishes and started packing up the RV for the move while I went for propane and to the Fedex office. When I got back I started loading chairs, ladders and other goodies in the back of the Chevy for the very short trip to the KOA six miles to the north. Checkout time here is eleven and check in time at the KOA is one, however, arriving a little early isn’t usually a problem. I said usually. We pulled in at eleven fifteen and was told “our spot” wasn’t vacant yet and to leave and not come back to one. Customer what? There is a big parking area just outside the gates to the KOA and we pulled our rig in there as did the next people that had the gall to arrive early.

No sooner than I turned off the engine the phone rang and it was Doug Hollands, an old friend that lived on Walcott Road before moving to the states. He was in Tennessee. We talked for thirty minutes catching on the last six months or so.

As soon as I got off the phone we grabbed our walking sticks and headed for a great trail near this KOA. The trail was really crowed today with lots of families with little kids and dogs. Speaking of dogs…… What in the world is going on in the dog world? In this part of the world dogs under ten pounds are either carried or pushed around in modified baby strollers by their owners. Really? IMO opinion the only thing that is missing is one of those cute little doggie sweaters monogramed with “my owner is a poop picker”.

Shortly after one rigs started piling into an almost empty RV Park. We did get a big pull through making unhooking a non-issue. Within minutes I had the water and electricity connected and Judith put out the slides and got things set up inside.

I won the evening Crib game and Judith took on the cooking duties. I cut the tough prime rib into thin, tiny pieces and Judith cooked them in sour cream gravy and served them on rice along with Swiss chard from the Farmer’s Market. They were still tough, but good. My favorite Uncle Nick would have said “they must have cut it off the horn”.

Tomorrow we move back to Pismo Coast Village where we will stay until the middle of December when we head south to San Clemente State Park about three hours south of Pismo Beach.

25 Dec 2017 A Hell Of A Lot Tougher Without Any…………..
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Madonna Inn Main Dinning Room…………..

I woke up at five and refused to get up and start my day. It was well after seven when my feet hit the floor. I put on the coffee and turned on the news. I turned on the TV and started checking the news links and things were humming for a Christmas morning. Imagine that.

I checked in at River House and it was -9. Walla Walla was sixteen degrees and it was a little above forty here in Pismo Beach with a forecasted high for the day of near seventy. I checked the River House cameras; no new snow but lots on the ground and at least half way up the four foot split rail fences.

I got all my mental exercises out of the way including my weekly training assignments from the Advanced Poker Training site. With all that done I decided to bag my physical exercise routine after all it was Christmas morning.

Spooky the cat that has adopted us got her breakfast at eight on the dot. She shows up like clockwork every morning at eight and every evening at five. She is still really skittish and doesn’t come close enough to touch. I do get a pathetic little meow as she looks up at me when I set her/his bowl of food by the door. We move tomorrow and we’ll return Wednesday but they aren’t sure we’ll have the same spot. It will be interesting to see if she can find us. She’s pretty fluffy so I think she has getting handouts down pat. Many, many years ago we parked our trailer in Gualala and would go up every couple of weeks to fish. There was a huge cat named Max who adopted us and would arrive on our doorstep within minutes of us arriving. He loved to come in the trailer and nap on our laps. According to the park owners we were his second most favorite visitors. When the number ones were there he wouldn’t give us the time of the day.

Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day over cinnamon rolls from a place in Pismo Beach that has been selling them for umpteen years. They were good and should be at three fifty a pop.

We took our walk at two then got dressed up and drove to the Madonna Inn for Christmas dinner. We ate there for the first time, last year, and it was good. It wasn’t outstanding but better than decent.

We had a three o’clock reservation and were seated about fifteen minutes early. Within thirty seconds our waitperson arrived and gave us a warm friendly welcome. Judith opted for the traditional turkey dinner and I decided to have the prime rib. When the salad came I was surprised that the greens were wilted and had seen better days. When our main course came one glance told me the peapods were extremely over cooked and not very appetizing. The piece of prime rib was large, about one inch thick and cooked to a perfect medium rare. I first tried the mashed potatoes and they were warm at best. Next I cut my first piece of prime rib and it was tough. I’m talking barely able to cut it tough. While it had decent flavor I could barely chew it. We didn’t want to make a scene at Christmas and didn’t, however, we won’t be returning to the Madonna Inn anytime soon. I’m sure we won’t be missed as the place was packed and has been around forever.

We were back at the RV Park by five and just in time for me to enter the five o’clock tournament on APT. Over sixty players registered. Three hours later I finished third which I think puts me atop the leaderboard for December.

Minutes after I was knocked out of the tournament Judith and I played our evening Crib game and she won a very close match.

No poker tomorrow. The room doesn’t open until noon and where will be no tournament. We have to be out of the park for twenty four hours because of some crazy rule that says the longest stay will be twenty nine days. We’ll go back to the KOA in Avila then return on Wednesday.

24 Dec 2017 A Christmas Winter Wonderland……….
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River House On Christmas Eve………………

I started my day at seven. The days of getting up at six on the dot apparently passed along with Buddy who faithfully got me up each morning for better than fifteen years. I put on the coffee and turned on the TV and started looking at news feeds on my computer.

I checked in at River House and it was a bone chilling one degree. The forecast for the rest of the week is more of the same with a low of -9. Yes, it is The Great White North and it gets cold. It is a winter wonderland as today’s blog picture indicates. I checked in on Walla Walla and it was sixteen with snow forecast for Christmas day. And here in Pismo Beach it is was a tropical seventy today with next week looking wonderfully warm with a high of seventy seven on Thursday.

Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day over breakfast. My plan was to spend most of the day on planning for an upcoming board meeting at Capture. Capture has just acquired a business in Las Vegas which should increase annual revenues by about twenty five percent and give us entrees into new business sectors.

Judith and I went on our daily walk around two and logged a good two miles again today. We like to walk north from the park to Pismo Beach, buy what we need, and then walk back along the beach under the pier and back to the RV Park. The beach was crowded today being both beautiful and a holiday weekend.

Judith won the daily Crib game before we sat down to eat the crab we bought yesterday. I cooked it when we got home last night saving the dollar per pound steaming and cleaning charge. I’ve cooked more than my share of crab and still enjoy every bite. Crab was one of Buddy’s favorites. I sure miss her. I think this is only our second catless Christmas in our nearly forty eight years of marriage.

Tomorrow we’ll hang around the park until two thirty then head up to the Madonna Inn for Christmas dinner. We ate there last year and it was a good experience well worth repeating.

May everyone have a wonderful Christmas sharing this special day with family and friends.

24 Dec 2017 Merry Christmas………….
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A Wonder End To A Day In Pismo Beach

My day started at six on the dot. I knew it would be a busy day when by feet hit the floor. Before Judith greeted the day, at nine, I had done all my mental and physical exercises. I’m keeping my weight right at two hundred which isn’t easy when you can open your refrigerator while sitting in your recliner!

Just twenty players showed up for the Saturday tournament. I’m sure lots of players were out buying last minute Christmas presents. Judith and I mutually agreed to remove that hassle by deciding to NOT give each other gifts early on in our marriage. That seemed weird at first but it works for us. As a wonderful old friend once said “a relationship is nothing more than a set of faults you can live with”.

I played well and got just one out of the money when my opponent flopped quads. Speaking of poker……..

I joined a poker training site a little over a year ago. I play on this site when I’m in the states and can’t play on my favorite “money” site; Pokerstars. It is an interesting an informative site and I have learned a lot more about poker than from over fifty poker books I have read since I started seriously playing poker about fifteen years ago. Now that I’m confident they are a valuable poker training tool I have started to recommend it to other players. The first player I told about it, Dennis, logged on a bought a six month membership. As part of APT’s membership program they pay a “commission” for recommending the site to others if they join. I’ve decided to put those commissions to good use and have those dollars go directly to a wonderful charity; This charity is run by an ex-Marine, Si (Sonny) Tenenberg, who has a passion for our troops overseas and has a group of volunteers that donate their time to pack and ship desperately needed items to those troops. We put this charity on our donation list last year and hope many of you will check them out and help if you can. Please log on to his website and read a few of the e-mails from troops that receive these care packs.

I was home just before noon and Judith was ready to go and clutching a big list of things to do. Our first stop was a Walmart where she picked up her new glasses and a few other items. Next we went to our favorite Wood Fired Pizza place. Excellent. Eating there makes us home sick for River House. About a third fewer vendors were at the Farmer’s market. We managed to get everything we needed accept a bagful of Kettle Corn.

Next we went to the Avila Pier to buy a Dungeness crab. The line was long and the tanks were almost empty. The only crabs left were small or missing one or more claws. As I was peering sadly into the almost empty tanks an older employee came up to me and said they are unload more crabs and they will be in the tanks in about thirty minutes. That was music to my ears and we gladly waited. When the big container came rolling in that same employee grabbed the biggest one and put it in the bucket I was holding. It weighed almost three pounds and cost a staggering THIRTY bucks. The lady behind me bought fourteen. Is this economy roaring or what?

We were back in time for our evening walk and logged almost two miles. With all the other waking we did today I’m sure that we nearly hit four miles.

We ate the wonderful pot-roast leftovers from dinner a couple nights ago. I won the evening Crib game before calling it a day.

We did all our errands today hoping to hunker down on Christmas Eve and just enjoy relaxing and appreciate just how lucky we are to live at River House half the year and RV the rest. Amazing.

22 Dec 2017 I’ll Make a Beautiful Design –
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Make Beautiful Design

Plow onward…………..

I woke up at one thirty and fought the urge to get up and start my day.

I often wonder at what age one stops dreaming? As early as I can remember my mother, Fanetta, always told be “Edward, you are a dreamer”! I was, I am and hopefully always will be. After I got back to sleep I had one of those so realistic dreams you thank the Lord when you realize it was just a dream. I dreamt we were in the building in Walla Walla we are thinking about building and it was almost completed. The third floor was under construction and was looking very fancy. The person who was leasing the space, whom apparently I never met, was there and when he turned around to introduce himself it was my childhood friend, Richard Wiseman. He was about thirty and of course I’m a hundred and a half. Richard died of cancer at age fifty and that event changed my life. Soon after he died I told Judith I was going to change our lifestyle and five years later we turned the business over to a general manager to run, bought River House and started RVing.

Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day. She had laundry to do and I wanted to play in the morning tournament. I did and made the final table but went out ninth. Poker…. I then got into a cash game that was just starting and booked a small loss before calling it a day.

I was home in time for a late lunch before we took off for our daily walk. It is warming up here with the forecast showing the next ten days in the high sixties and low seventies. That is a far cry from River House where a cold snap has dropped the temperature into single digits. Walla Walla is not that cold but barely above thirty for the next ten days.

We walked through Pismo Beach and back along the beach. The tide was out with lots of sand dollars waiting for the tide to come back in and get them out of harm’s way. The two pictured on today’s blog have opposing movement styles.

Judith won the daily Crib game and took on the cooking duties. I did the dishes before hoping on the Advanced Poker Training site. I’ve been learning a lot and are currently tied for the most first place finishes in December. That and four bucks will buy me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Tomorrow I’ll play in the ten o’clock tournament then pick up Judith for a trip to the wood fired pizza oven place then on to the Farmer’s Market. On the way back we’ll go to the pier and get a big Dungeness crab for Christmas Eve