Thursday, December 29, 2011

Elf Yoursefl

The kids made a elf yourself with anyone or anything that was near the webcam.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Some more books are read:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where in San Diego?

Where can you find these gifts from Japan?

Weekend Activites

* Troop 774 Trap shooting at Escondido Fish and Game - this picture shows Bengt hitting a clay (the white streaks are the pieces)

* Jaya's Christmas parties
* Good hike along San Dieguito lagoon with Sophie

Friday, December 09, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Day Activities

* Great hike at Double Peak in San Marcos with the Morilaks - my first time there
* Awesome dinner at the Fletcher's
* Christmas tree lighting at Forum shops
* Rid my computer of the "System Fix" malware/virus

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Follett

I read Ken Follett's two Medieval epics: The Pillars of the Earth
and World Without End. The former was better. It had better characters and the story was more interesting. The latter was a bit bland and somewhat predictable. I am going to take a break for Follett now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Boy Scout Camp

Bengt and I had our first Boy Scout camp with Troop 774 at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. We drove up Friday night to Paso Picacho campground and setup tents in the dark. We were expecting rain during the night but it didn't come until after breakfast. Unfortunately, it didn't stop. The kids spent time in the tents or in the cars and we couldn't get the emergency preparedness drills done that we were planning. The troop made a side trip into Julian for pie to wait the rain out. We finally made the decision to leave late in the afternoon when one of the tents flooded. Overall, it was short, but we learned alot of being prepared in the rain.

Friday, November 11, 2011

America's Historic Triangle

We recently took a family trip to America's Historic Triangle in Virginia which includes Williamsburg, along with Jamestown and Yorktown.
We stayed at the Governor's Inn. It is older motel in need of some redo. But it suited us well since it was cheap and we hardly spent much time there.
We had a great time! I loved the history and the restoration of the Williamsburg area. One of our favorite activities was the "Revolution City" outdoor theater performance put on by the cast. It gave a real feel for the excitement and tension of the time leading up to the Revolutionary War.
For food, we ate two of the taverns: King's Arms and Shield's. They were a wonderful time and the food was good. They are expensive but they help support the foundation. In the Merchant's Square area, we ate at Retro's diner and Aroma's Coffeehouse. The former was great for diner food while the latter was great for good but inexpensive dinners. The kids loved the indoor smores.

We did a half day at Jamestown. It was amazing to see the fort that was only re-discovered in the 1990's. The archeology museum is a must-see.

We also spent two half days in Yorktown. One part was spent at the battlefield. We did the driving tour to see the battlements. The other part was spent in the small town. I liked the cannonballs stuck in some of the walls (see Jaya's photos). Below is Redoubt #10 which the Continentals stormed to complete the encirclement of the British.

Jaya has more photos on Facebook.

Where in San Diego?

Where is this unusual set of gravestones?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Financial Books

* How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market by Nicolas Darvas - I love reading Darvas' tale of the 1950's bull market; the telegrams are quaint
* Unfair Advantage: The Power of Financial Education by Robert Kiyosaki - The latest by the Rich Dad guru and beginning of my latest journey
* Real Estate Riches: How to Become Rich Using Your Banker's Money by Rolf De Roos - A Rich Data real estate investment primer
* The Dollar Meltdown: Surviving the Impending Currency Crisis with Gold, Oil, and Other Unconventional Investments by Charles Goyette - great read on the government malfeasance in running the economy
* Rich Dad's Rich Kid, Smart Kid by Robert T. Kiyosaki - advice on educating your kids, both academically and financially
* Investing in Real Estate by Andrew J. McLean and Gary W. Eldred - good reference material on real estate investing
* Emerging Real Estate Markets: How to Find and Profit from Up-and-Coming Areas by David Lindahl - a good primer on how to research emerging markets, a bit vague but useful
* Rich Dad's Advisors®: The ABC's of Real Estate Investing: The Secrets of Finding Hidden Profits Most Investors Miss by Ken McElroy - the real estate guide in the Rich Dad series
* Rich Dad's Advisors: Guide to Investing In Gold and Silver: Protect Your Financial Future by Michael Maloney - not as good (or recent) as Goyette's book
* Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens: The Secrets About Money--that You Don't Learn in School! (Miniature Edition) by Robert T. Kiyosaki - starting the kids early
* Rich Dad's Advisors: The ABC's of Property Management: What You Need to Know to Maximize Your Money Now by Michael Maloney - essentially a guide to why you shouldn't manage your own properties
* The Art of Real Estate Appraisal: The Complete Guide for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals by William L. Ventolo Jr. and Martha R. Williams - a surprisingly comprehensive book on the "art" (and it is an art) of appraising
* Real Estate Loopholes: Secrets of Successful Real Estate Investing by Diane Kennedy - a great primer on how to buy, own and sell real estate with the max tax and legal advantages
* RICH DADS RETIRE YOUNG RETIRE RICH by Robert T. Kiyosaki - motivational book, some interesting concepts but little practical advice
* Loopholes of the Rich: How the Rich Legally Make More Money and Pay Less Tax by Diane Kennedy - an extremely informative book on the basics of real estate tax and legal issues
* Sales Dogs : You Do Not Have to Be an Attack Dog to Be Successful in Sales (Rich Dad's Advisors series) by Blair Singer - the last 3 chapters are the meat of the book
* Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men - One Message by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Donald Trump
* Rich Dad's Before You Quit Your Job: 10 Real-Life Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Building a Multimillion-Dollar Business (audiobook) by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter - some interesting lessons and stories of entrepreneurship
* Landlording on Auto-Pilot: A Simple, No-Brainer System for Higher Profits and Fewer Headaches by Mike Butler - some decent tips on self-managing single family homes
* Tax Secrets of Millionaire Real Estate Investors by Richard T. Williamson - a great book on real estate tax issues
* How to Create Multiple Streams of Income: Buying Homes in Nice Areas With Nothing Down by Peter Conti and David Finkel - a good intro to lease option
* Rich Dad's Real Estate Advantages: Tax and Legal Secrets of Successful Real Estate Investors by Sharon Lechter and Garrett Sutton - another decent by somewhat shallow book from the Rich Dad on real estate investing

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

10 Years in Encinitas

This month marks our 10 year anniversary in Encinitas. Much as stayed the same, but some things have changed.
* Moonlight Beach Tot Lot was built and was a great success. Our kids loved it when they were younger.
* Cottonwood Creek Park was built and was a great success.
* The kids have attended no less than 6 schools.
* Less greenhouses and more houses.
* The San Dieguito Heritage Museum moved from a dilapidated old gas station to nice new digs near Encinitas Ranch.
* The Hall property park has still not been built.
* Pacific View school closed in 2003 and still sits idle.
* Quail Botanical Gardens built a children's garden and changed its name to San Diego Botanical Gardens.
* All the Albertson's have closed - one is being replaced Kohl's while the other was replaced by a Smart & Final which moved.
* Our street has cycled as the old guard has moved out and new families have moved in.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Activites

* Bengt made blue belt at USSD!
* More of Jaya's play
* St. A's Fall Festival

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011


* The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - I liked the Medieval theme but the story was a bit weak
* The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray- a wonderful book about elements
* Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle - good, but with a weak ending

Weekend Activities

* Jaya had a confirmation retreat
* The rest of us spent a day in Rosarito, Mexico to visit with children to help brighten their day
* Hiked San Eljio lagoon and almost stepped on a baby rattlesnake!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Historical Weekend

* On Saturday, we dropped in on Encinitas' 25th Birthday Celebration at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. We had some good food and vote for our favorite lima bean recipe.
* On Sunday, we went to the Cabrillo landing reenactment at the Point Loma Sub Base. We had some great Portuguese food.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jerry Schad Memorial Hike

I memory of Jerry Schad, Sophie and I did an 8-miler in Mission Trails this weekend. We parked along Portobelo and took the trail along the north edge of the park past Shepard Pond to the north approach to the North Fortuna. It was very foggy and misty and visibility was only about 1/4 mile so we could see the summit until we where there. We then headed to South Fortuna, down the Steps into the valley. We headed north into Suycutt Wash and then west up onto the Rim. We followed the Rim Trail back to the trailhead.
Here is a view from near the summit of North Fortuna:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family Camp

We had an awesome family camp up at Mount Laguna. Hiked the Big Laguna Trail out to the big lake, the Lightning Ridge Trail and the Nature Walk at the visitor center (which was closed for an unknown reason). On the Nature Walk, Sophie stepped into a cactus and had spines all over her rear paws. We pulled most of them out but she still wanted to walk on her own; which she did with a limp.
Here are some pictures from the BLT hike.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Dinner on the Patio

Jyoti bought some more cactus for our garden and put then on the patio table.  When I made dinner and put the bowls of broccoli and salad down I couldn't tell the difference between the succulents and my meal.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Activites

* Put up a storage shelf in Jaya's closet
* Rearranged the living room and Bengt's room
* Cleaned up a bunch of stuff, stored some and giving away some
* Washed car, then it rained!
* Changed the rear brakes on the Kia, very frustrating until I read that the pistons twist, rather than press, back into the calipers

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is the World a Safer Place?

Professor Joshua Goldstein makes a compelling case that today is safe and getting safer.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Activites

It was a hot and humid weekend by San Diego standards. This meant lots of pool time. Also did some walks and runs on the beach.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tax-Free Weekend

People are always amazed when citizens get exciting about not paying taxes...and when tax revenues go up when rates go down.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jerry Schad's Last Journey

My favorite outdoor author, Jerry Schad, has terminal cancer is not expected to live long. Very sad for a great San Diegan.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Ken Follett

My brother mentioned Ken Follett to me and I quickly read two of his historical novels:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Family Wedding

One of Jyoti's cousins got married in Greenville, SC that past weekend. The weather was hot but not unbearable. We got to reconnect with lots of relatives and had a great time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cuyamaca Backpacking

I did a nice little one-night backpacking solo trip to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park over the weekend. I left work on Friday night and drove to the Green Vally campground entrance. I parked there and headed out. I took the Harvey Moore trail the 4.5 miles to the Granite Springs primitive camp. It was a bit warm but not too hot; I had plenty of water and was constantly sipping from my hydration bladder. The camp was completely deserted. There is a pump for water but the signage warned it was for livestock only. The rangers said you could purify it and I did so with iodine tablets. I made 2L that way. The camp was nice but there were enough flies to annoy you. After dinner, I lied in my tent and read a book until the sun went down. I slept well and woke at the crack of dawn. I quickly packed up and was on the trail by 6:00a. I took the East Mesa Fire Road trail initially. I then took the spur trail that went up to the top of Oakzanita Peak. The morning views there were incredible. I wish I hadn't forgot my camera! Back down the peak and another few miles back to the parking lot for a total of 6.2 miles out. That made 10.7 miles. My pack was 33 pounds including food and water.