Category Archives: family

my wife, kids, cat, home, etc. my parents, brothers, sisters, cousins

Holiday Photo 2014

A little fun was had whilst taking our holiday photo

Warning: This is what can actually happen when you’re taking a holiday photo by yourself with the camera set to a timer. You can’t really check on what others are doing while waiting for the shutter to click.

Baby Room


Back in 1979 my sister Shelley asked me to paint Nils’ room.  Heck yeah, my parents’ first grandchild and all. In turn, Nils and Sarah asked me to help paint their baby’s room, the first great grand child.  This team effort included young Theo’s help with birds, and companionship from Walter the dog.

AL West Champs – How Sweet It Is!

A’s players stream onto the field following the final out

As I write this, it will be 41 years tomorrow that my dad extracted my brother and I from school to attend a baseball game. October 5, 1971 was a warm Indian summer morning in the bay area. That afternoon, game 3 of the 1971 American League playoffs would take place between the Baltimore Orioles and my hometown Oakland A’s. My classmates were envious, and I had to endure their good-natured teasing, but knew that somehow the class would monitor the progress of the game. My very first playoff experience.

Some striking similarities in the game Mary Ann and I attended yesterday. Weekday game with a playoff atmosphere, kids in attendance missing school, classic bay area Indian summer weather, Oakland Coliseum, green and gold taking the field, a palpable level of excitement. Game #162, the final game in a season full of magic and exceeded expectations. We endured a loss back in ’71, Jim Palmer threw a complete game, despite a pair of home runs by Reggie Jackson. But the O’s were a powerhouse, even though they lost to the Pirates in the World Series, their lineup was formidable up and down.

Texas has a lineup more than capable of lighting up a pitching staff, but my A’s never flinched.

To say that history was made this day is a little misleading, but it certainly marked the culmination of an incredible regular season.

My observations:

A.J. Griffin was pulled after surrendering 5 runs. Unfortunate for him, the quality of his pitches wasn’t all that bad, it looked to me like he was more a victim of bad luck more than anything else. Evan Scribner relieved Griffin and ended up getting the win, but after getting a force out on one pitch in the 3rd, he did give up some loud contact the following inning. With 2 out, Beltre smashed a single, Cruz doubled and Young lined out to first. Were it not for Brandon Moss’ reach, Young probably has 2 RBIs. Scribner was sharp in the 5th and into the 6th inning.

A 4-run lead was not enough to strike fear into the hearts of the A’s and their faithful fans. Yes, the volume dropped temporarily until Scribner got the out in the 3rd, but we sensed that being as early in the game as it was, scoring 4 runs was certainly within our reach.

A’s players run a victory lap after their infield celebration. Ah, to have front row seats – alas.

A’s fans are my people. It was like sitting with extended family – high fives, “Let’s Go Oakland” chants, vuvuzela blasts – the works. Lots of love in the stands.

The right field bleachers greet Grant Balfour with the boxing kangaroo move. Hilarious!

The players not only feel the love, they give it right back. The infield celebration was madness, the victory lap run by the entire roster afterward was even better. They just couldn’t get enough, returning to the field over an hour after the last out.

Fireworks 2012

Family night at the Coliseum – 9th inning drama to down the Red Sox, capped with a fireworks display viewed from the playing field…

It’s not every day your daughter graduates from high school

Natalie, member of the class of 2012

ML’s 50th

Got to hand it to them, my brother Mark and his wife Suzanne throw a mean party. These photos are mainly from the band’s perspective…

Lester story

Our anniversary falls on the same day as Lester’s birthday, so in his honor…

(circa 1986)

As I entered my driveway after a day at work, I saw Lester jump up from a laying down position near the fence, tail wagging wildly. I knew he had jumped the fence again, but before I could scold him, a stranger approached me from from across the street.

“That your dog?”

“Yeah, anything the matter?” I’d never seen this guy before, and I briefly tried to guess what he wanted. Maybe Lester knocked his kid over while playing. There were a few neighborhood kids not intimidated by his size that would come over and ask to walk him up and down Oak Street. Maybe he saw Lester chase a cat; sure there were a few instances of that, but that’s another story. I’m ready to hear what this guy has to say.

Right away he starts in. “It was just like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin or something man. See my car over there?” He pointed to a white sedan near the corner of Grove Way. “It was about an hour and a half ago. I was working, laying on the ground below it, wrenching, you know, when I hear your dog come over. He comes over and sniffs my leg then kind of lets out a whimper and a bark. I saw he was friendly so I got up and began to pet him. I thought at first that he wanted to play. Then he gently tugged at my sleeve like he wanted me to follow him over here. Well I did, and when I got over here, I saw some little poodle kind of dog at the bottom of your driveway, laying still on its side and bleeding. Your dog looked at me and barked loudly a couple of times. So I went to your next door neighbor’s house and told them to call animal control.”

As it turns out, the dog got hit by a car right in front of my house and managed to limp to the side of the road. There was a small blood stain that led a few feet up my driveway. The guy told me that Lester must have sensed the dog in distress, jumped the fence and summoned help.

The tags on the dog were traced and identified its owner as the Sultan of Brunei. The dog was airlifted (using the vacant lot across the street as an impromptu heliport) to UC Davis, where doctors said had he lay bleeding another minute there he would have surely perished. The Sulltan later contacted me and invited me to stay at his palace for a while, but I had a ball game that Wednesday night and I politely turned down his invitation.

believe it… or not?

Catan final standings 2010

Since we started documenting victories in 2008, here are the family records through 2010:

Natalie and Eric tied with 24 wins each, Rocky 18, Mary Ann 13

As of new years day 2011, I’m in the lead (probably the only time I can boast this) with 2 wins.

Christmas is saved

For as long as I can remember, my aunt Rosemarie (my mom’s sister) has baked Christmas cookies – a lot of Christmas cookies.  In fact, more cookies than you can imagine.  As part of this very large and sprawling family (my mom’s the youngest of 8, her brother alone has 10 children, and as good Catholics go, lots of nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren), she presented gift boxes of baked goods to just about every family, each containing 2-3 dozen cookies of various shapes, flavors and sizes.

Word got out that this would be Rosemarie’s final year of Christmas baking.  It was my mom who broke the news to us maybe a couple months ago.  For a little history, Rosemarie’s house was remodeled 40+ years ago, the kitchen was expanded to serve as her crafts workshop and food production area, so she means business.

We were all relieved to learn that the initial reports were in fact inaccurate, just as my brother stepped up to deliver a toast to acknowledge our aunt at the family gathering on Christmas night. Turns out my mom got the story wrong, Rosemarie decided to stop hosting Christmas Eve for the Ramos family at her house (another meal of epic proportion).

All is right with the world again. As word spread of the developments and conflicting reports, stock analysts warned of the potential impact to butter and sugar futures.

Long live Tallo’s cookies!!

NCS Champs 2010

1955CPS softball played incredibly well this year, last night they were crowned NCS Division V champions, and deservedly so. The team played a total of 21 games since February, each a victory.  Some games were hard-fought, others blowouts, but in NCS play they ran the table and did not allow a run – remarkable. Last night they defeated a very talented team, St. Barnard’s of Eureka, 1-0.  It was classic softball, dominated by pitching and defense.  The Cougars scratched out a single run in the 4th inning, a razor thin margin of victory.  The game ended with St. Barnard’s runners in scoring position, the tying run at 3rd, the go ahead run 60 feet behind her, and Sadie striking out the side.

I’m very proud of my daughter and all the girls, here’s what we’ve had all season long:

A group of talented, competitive and dedicated young ladies who know the game, play it hard, and show respect toward the game, their opponents, and officials.  Everyone knows their role, accepts it and fulfills it for the greater good of the team.

An outstanding coaching staff, full of positive energy, equally well versed in instruction, strategy and motivation.

An enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan base consisting of students, alumni and parents.  The time spent together is always very enjoyable.

Team spirit.  To witnessed it firsthand is to know what I’m talking about.

An outfield that can run, catch and throw.  Witness the relay against Valley Christian, when a bomb to the wastelands of right center field beacme an out at 3rd base.  It hapened that way because the fielders didn’t give up, and they executed the way they’ve been taught.  In addition, these girls consistently did all the little things right. For example,  hustling into position to back plays up and keeping runners from advancing on errant throws.

An infield that turned many a hard shot into outs.  The other team hit the ball hard? No problem, we routinely gobbled up ground balls and line drives, retiring batter after batter.

On-field leadership. One word: Zoe.  To see her in action is to truly appreciate her talent.  A catcher that knows home plate belongs to her.

Pitching.  This is what we had that put us way over the top in our league and in NCS play.  Most teams have just one, a few teams have a pretty good one. Not us, we have two. We are blessed with a pair of hard throwing, accurate and cool-under-pressure pitchers.  They’re both sophomores, and both getting stronger with each progressing season.

A school that puts the right amount of support and emphasis on their athletic program.  CPS is typically not the place to go if a kid is looking to immerse in a highly competitive athletic program, that’s somewhere else.  The administration, faculty, staff and student culture allow for a rich balance of academics and athletics.

College Prep will now hang a softball championship banner in the gym for the very first time.

CPS alum Nick Masson (brother of senior 1B Helen) has been documenting the last several games, you can see more photo sets here.