Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend Activities

  • Dog walk along the tracks with lizards, squirrels and snakes
  • Awesome family hike up Cowles Mt.
  • Wine tasting at Solterra
  • Family movie night

Monday, February 03, 2014

Joshua Tree Climbing

Troop and Crew 774 (including Jaya) had its January event at Joshua Tree National Park.  We had done the climbing merit badge in December at Solid Rock so we wanted to get out for the real thing!
The drive up is long but all highway.  There was some rain along the 10 that made me nervous but we had blue skies the entire time.
Our camp sites at Indian Cove were right up against the rocks.  We had some climbing instructors along that brought the equipment.  They put up the ropes in the morning so the kids could get going right away.
After climbing, the instructors took everyone to a cave.  I did not go but everyone loved it and it was the highlight of the trip.  The few of us who stayed went on a hike along a nature trail.
This was the first trip for our new Alps Mountaineering family tent.  It was a breeze to setup and worked great.
We are definitely going to Joshua Tree again!


I haven't posted my reading list lately, but not for lack of reading...
* The Settlers of Catan by Rebecca Gable - an intriguing fiction based on the game; it took me a while to figure out the robbers
* Wisdom of History by J. Rufus Fears - interesting to see how history repeats itself, even todays
* The Golden Shore: California's Love Affair with the Sea  by David Helvarg - although one-sided at times, still a good read about California's best asset, its coast
* Emeril at the G'rill: A Cookbook for All Seasons by Emeril Lagasse - some good recipes but most call Emeril's spices
* Sunday Soup: A Year's Worth of Mouth-Watering, Easy-to-Make Recipes by Betty Rosbottom - some very nice soups
* Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to 00 Million in No Time Flat (Agora Series) (audio) - by Michael Masterson - similar to the lean startup movement but a bit broader in scope
* Two Years Before The Mast by Richard Henry Dana - timeless classic of California two hundred years ago
* U.S. Military History For Dummies by John C. McManus - quick summary of our long military history
* Inferno by Dan Brown - Dan's Brown latest is not as good as Da Vinci Code but much better than Lost Symbol
* State of Change, A: Forgotten Landscapes of California by Laura Cunningham - compelling book comparing the natural history of ancient California with today; fabulous artwork
* History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time by Brad Meltzer - more of a transcript of a TV show rather a standalone volume; some interesting stuff especially on the JFK assassination
* A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front by Winston Groom - interesting book on the Flanders Front from the author of Forrest Gump; hopefully I can get out to Ypres during my travels to Belgium
* The Italians Before Italy by Kenneth R. Bartlett - great history of Italy prior to unification
* The Emperor's Tomb (with bonus short story The Balkan Escape): A Novel by Steve Berry - somewhat incredulious adventure tail
* Native American History For Dummies by Dorothy Lippert and Stephen J. Spignesi - a bit too much commentary and not enough history
* The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook: Delicious Recipes and Entertaining Ideas Using Only Foods and Drinks from the World’s Greatest Grocery Store by Cherie Mercer Twohy - some great recipes for our holiday parties
* Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan - interesting history of Jesus and his time; Ehrlman is somewhat easier to follow though