PANDEMIC PLANS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

 

Well, it’s been quite the week, heh?  Last week at this time I had all sorts of social engagements and golf games on the calendar.  Today, I think of a trip to the grocery store as a major outing.  Mind you, an outing the warrants rubber gloves and endless sheets of Clorox wipes.  Who ever thought that going to pick up some rutabagas would become a life-threatening excursion?  When they first told us to watch out for the elderly I envisioned the folks that Dash the Wonder Dog used to visit in the retirement care center.  To my horror, I soon discovered that I’m considered elderly and, therefore, in a high-risk group.  Our paranoia about the virus has resulted in some changes around here.  We’ve begun to look at our friends in a whole new light – do we really think the Smiths wash their hands as thoroughly as they should?  Is Sally going to the grocery store and then not wiping down her countertops?  And what about those Johnsons?  They had their kids and grandkids in for spring break last week.  Surely they are swimming in germs over at their house.  Just to make it easy, we are not only socially distancing – we are socially hibernating.

The other change is that we now spend a fair amount of time figuring out what to do.  Normally, each morning when we walk Dash we talk about our plans for the day.  Now, with nothing on our calendar, that conversation is a little stretched for content.  My husband’s main “job” is to play golf.  His secondary job is to watch golf and hockey on TV. But now our golf course has closed down and all sports have been suspended so he’s out of work.  I’m not sure that the new relief package is going to cover his “unemployment”.  But we may need it.  His occasional pastime is watching the stock market but we’ve had to put an end to that as well – his heart just couldn’t take it anymore.  I usually knit a couple of hours a day because I enjoy it and it’s a calming activity.  But now that I have all the time in the world and no place to go, my knitting feels like a time-filler, which is sadly true.  Yesterday I tackled some ironing I’ve been putting off and I cleaned the kitchen for the n-th time and then I ran out of ideas.  Now I’m wishing that I hadn’t spent so much time last year organizing my closets.  Damn that “sparking joy” craze.  My spice rack is alphabetized, the sock drawer is neat as a pin, and all of my pantry items are resting in their designated baskets. I’m looking for other activities to keep me entertained, and – this is important – refrain me from killing my husband. My friends and I joke that among the 30-somethings we will see a baby boom in 9 months, while some of us older folks may well end up in the hoosegow for murdering our spouse.

We’re only 8 days into the 15 day “distancing” suggestion and I’m already antsy.  I’ll get over it.  Really, it’s not much of a sacrifice to sit on the couch with Dash, watch trashy TV and knit.  When I think about what the front line people at hospitals are going through it gives me shivers.  I can’t imagine their stress – not only the anticipation of a coronavirus tsunami, but the risk they take for themselves and their families working so near the disease.  I worry about all the small businesses that may be lost because we all have to stay home – businesses that have provided our communities with so much diversity and character.  But I am optimistic that we will all get through this.  I’m cheered by some unusual bi-partisanship in Washington and how citizens of all stripes are pulling together.  For every stupid college student on the beach in Florida saying they don’t care if they infect others, there are 10 great kids who are volunteering to help the elderly and needy.  It’s uplifting and perhaps just what we needed to remind us that we’re all Americans.

I hope that in two weeks time when I’m writing this blog we will be through the worst of it.  But according to this website https://covidactnow.org/  we may just be at the beginning.  So just in case, does anyone have the name of a good bail bondsman?

How Terribly Strange to Be 70

by Bob Sparrow

“How terribly strange to be 70”  Old FriendsSimon & Garfunkel

Steve, Terry, Ken, Kent & Ed using ‘aiming fluid’ at Top Golf

We came in the mid-1960s as young men, boys really, to Westminster College, a Christian college that sits at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains on the East Bench of Salt Lake City, for only one reason . . . football. We just wanted to play the game.  While our destination was the same, our paths were quite diverse.  Some came right out of high school, some came after a year or two of junior college, some came from a Division 1 school where they were never going to play and some came because they knew they were never going to play anywhere else.  And while we all came for the game of football, we left with great friendships, great memories and a college degree that positioned us for success later in life.

The ‘we’ is a group of 11 Westminster graduates, all 70-something, who gathered in Las Vegas two weeks ago for an informal reunion put together by my old college roommate and running back on the football team, Ken Poulsen.  You may think that 11 isn’t very many people to gather for a reunion, well, actually only 9 were football players, but that still represented nearly half of our team!  The non-football players, but still successful graduates of Westminster were Dave Chally, who was a fan and a friends to us all, and John Soltis, our ‘spokesman’ who played basketball for Westminster.

Chally & Hall awaiting instructions from Ken

While Ken had planned a number of activities for us – Top Golf, bowling and attending a comedy club show, most of the entertainment came from the recalling of stories and antics from our college days.  Listening to them would make one wonder if or how this group ever made it through college, much less enjoy any success after it, but indeed this was actually a very accomplished group:

Ken ‘Little Poison’ Poulsen – running back; after graduation joined the Marines, was a Bombardier/Navigator in a A-6 jet during the Viet Nam war.  Earned Master Degree in Education and ultimately became Superintendent of Schools in the Sacramento area, now retired with two homes in Arizona, one in the desert, one in the mountains.

Terry ‘TC’ Callahan – tight end; after graduation he was drafted into the Army and became a combat medic seeing lots of action in Viet Nam.  After the service he earned a Masters Degree and worked as a Probation Officer and did background investigations for the Department of Defense. Retired, he now has two homes in Utah, one just south of Salt Lake City, the other in St. George.

John Soltis addressing us at our ‘Awards Banquet’

Joel ‘Herbie’ Hall – running back; joined the Marines after graduation and flew helicopters  (Huey gun ships) in Viet Nam receiving 28 air medals.  He then had a 32-year career with the 3M company.  Now retired in the Atlanta area and has a second home in Jensen Beach, Florida.

(Editors note: I wrote a previous blog on the above three guy after we all met in Vegas in 2017 – here’s the link in case you want to read more.  https://fromabirdeyeview/?p=6648)

John ‘Tiger’ Horan – wide receiver; after graduation became a Navy officer and was a Bombardier/Navigator in an A-6 jet and remained in the Navy retiring after 23 years as a Lieutenant Commander.  John is retired and living in Kanab, Utah and teaching a high school aviation technology class.

Mickey ‘Mick’ McBride – lineman; received Masters Degree in Educational Administration, was a teacher and coach and ultimately retired as high school principal

Steve ‘Hands’ Harmon – wide receiver; Steve transferred to Cal State Hayward where he earned a Ph D in Public Health and now teaches at the University of Utah and works for the Veterans Health Care Administration in Salt Lake City.

Ken, Duffy, Horan & Mick ‘telling lies’

Ed ‘Coop’ Cooper – running back; graduated with a business degree and went on to earn a Masters Degree from the University of Utah.  Ed  worked for Martin Marietta for 38 years, the last 25 has a Regional Sales Manager.  He is now retired in Salt Lake City.

Kent ‘Kicking Lawyer’ Holland – lineman; after graduation became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, then attended law school at the University of Pacific and continues to practice law in Salt Lake City.

Dave ‘Electric’ Chally – friend & fan; after graduation he worked for NECA (National Electric Contractors Association) in northern California, where he grew up, then moved with the company to Spokane where he became Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest for NECA; he is still working for them in Spokane.

John ‘Duffy’ Soltis – basketball player and orator; graduated with a degree in Sociology, which he didn’t know what to do with so ended up going to law school in San Diego and returned to Utah with his law degree and worked in various positions with the Salk Lake County District Attorney’s office.

A pretty impressive group if you ask me!  And that doesn’t include some Westminster ex-players who didn’t attend the reunion, like:

Parsons at the ‘First Supper’

Craig ‘Doc’ Wilkinson – receiver; graduated with mathematics major and minor in physics and chemistry, joined Army Reserves with the 328th General Hospital Unit, went on to earn medical doctor’s degree from University of Utah and has practiced general and vascular surgery in Salt Lake City for 35 years.

Steve ‘Sugar Bear’ Kazor – lineman; BS degree from Westminster and a Masters Degree from Kansas State.  Coach in the NFL for the  1985 Super Bowl Chicago Bears and continues to work in the NFL in player personnel.

Scott ‘The I’ Iverson – basketball player; served in the Marine Corp prior to coming to Westminster, where he earned a BS degree and then a Masters Degree from BYU.  He taught and coached high school in Utah and Arizona.  He is now retired in Utah

I’m holding my Worst Bowler ‘Stay with Football’ Award’!

But the three nights in Vegas weren’t about accomplishments, it was about hilarious stories and the rekindling of old friendships that could never die.  I came away with pride of being a member of this group and with a big smile on my face thinking of the stories about our days as the fighting Westminster Parsons.

Not so terrible to be in your 70s!

 

 

MARCH MADNESS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

If you live in a sunbelt state you would know what month this is without looking at a calendar.  The tip off is increased traffic, a shortage of dinner reservation slots and thousands of white legs in Bermuda shorts.  All that adds up to one thing, it’s March – the month of Spring training for baseball.  Both Florida and Arizona get swamped with visitors this month and then – like magic – they dissapear on April 1.  Last year more than 1,737,975 people attended Spring training games in Arizona’s Cactus League!  Oh sure, some die-hard fans may have attended 20 games or more, but still, that’s a LOT of people coming to the desert in a short period of time.  According to the official Cactus League stats (and isn’t baseball just full of those?), the biggest number of fans visit from Chicago to see their beloved Cubbies.  More than 16,000 people showed up for just ONE game last year.  And who can blame them when the average temperature here is 75 and back home…well, they’re putting on six layers of clothes just to walk the dog.

Baseball is not the only event that March brings.  Seemingly every school in the United States is on Spring Break over the next four weeks.  Normally Arizona is not as inundated as Florida, given that we don’t have sandy beaches or a long history of hosting drunk college students.  But this year it seems there are more kids visiting grandparents in our community.  Maybe with the corona virus people have cancelled trips to Disneyworld or Atlantis...who knows?  Grandma and Grandpa’s house sounds like a good alternative – it’s free and less germ-ridden than your average hotel room.  I expect that for the next month our community pool is going to need extra chlorine for those youngsters who confuse the pool with the restroom.  Our gym will also be packed – mostly with college-age kids who run on the treadmill at speeds that I could only dream about.  God, they make me feel old.  They will also be talking on their phone and – most disturbingly – not wipe off the equipment after they use it.  When they leave at the end of the month we will have been exposed to every virus currently circulating in our institutions of higher learning.  Personally, I’m skipping the gym this month – I can’t find a hazmat suit to fit me.

Finally, for some reason the golf clubs around here have conspired to schedule all the big invitational tournaments this month.  Okay, granted, I don’t have to play in our club’s event, but it’s really fun and at least it’s an outside activity.  Plus it’s always fun to bet on the same people who win every year.  In the golf world these people are known as “sandbaggers”, meaning they artifically inflate their handicap and and then shocked – SHOCKED! – when they shoot an unbelievely low score in the tournament.  So betting on them to win is the only way to feel good about these people – they are so reliable that every year there is money to be made on their shenanigans.  I’m just hoping that my score isn’t so bad that I’ll wish I had been quarantined with the corona virus instead.

The good news is that this March will bring two great events – this week we will be hosting brother Bob and his wife Linda and next week is St Patrick’s Day.  It’s fortuitous that these two events will happen so close together because not only are we excited to spend some time with Bob and Linda, but just to add to the anticipation, my brother is the only member of my family who will share a Guinness with me in salute to the old country. That almost makes up for all those white legs we’ll be spotting this month.  On my visit to Ireland I was told that Guinness is considered medicinal, packed with vitamins and minerals.  That’s probably a lot of blarney.  Still, maybe the CDC should put it on their “recommended” list, right up there with hand sanitizer.  After all, it’s probably just as effective and it’s a heck of a lot easier to find.

Macklin Makes Dramatic Debut

by Bob Sparrow

Wednesday, Feb 26,2020

The Borrelli Family pre-Macklin

5:45 a.m.  Daughter, Dana Borrelli, 39 months pregnant, checks into Huntington Hospital in Pasadena to be induced

7:35 a.m.  Linda and I call Dana to see how she’s doing.  She says not much going on, she feels fine, contractions are still far apart

8:30 a.m.  We ‘Face Time’ Dana; she’s resting comfortably, still no urgent contractions.  We tell her we’ll be coming up to check in on her later this morning

10:45 a.m.  Linda and I, along with Addison, Joe & Dana’s two-and-a-half year old daughter, whom we’ve had for the evening, depart Orange on our way to hospital in Pasadena

10:57 a.m. We get a call from Dana’s phone, but it’s not Dana, it’s husband, Joe.  He says he’ll call us right back, that there is “Something’s going on”

We’re now in panic mode, not knowing what this ‘something going on’ is

11:05 a.m.  Joe calls us back to tell us that 10-12 hospital personnel just rushed in and quickly wheeled Dana into surgery, with one nurse holding in the umbilical cord that was ‘presenting itself’ first.  The umbilical cord coming out first is not good – it is a condition called ‘umbilical cord prolapse’ and can cause significant complications during a delivery if the cord is pressed and collapsed by the baby’s head, thus compromising the oxygen supply to the baby.  Joe is not allowed into surgery, he tells us, “This is not good”.

We are now past panic mode and are still about 30 minutes away from the hospital.  We tell Joe to give us an up-date as soon as he gets one.  He nervously agrees

Macklin Carmine Borrelli

11:37 a.m. Joe calls to tell us that Macklin is here; born at 11:11 a.m. and that both he and Dana are fine, that an emergency C-section was performed.  We were told later that because of the speed with which the surgery had to be done, that Dana lost about 2 liters of blood.  As a point of reference, an average adult has a total of about 5 liters total in their body, although pregnant women can have around 7.5 liters.  Still a lot of blood loss made Mama Dana look a bit pale.

11:45 a.m.  Linda, Addison and I arrive at the hospital and wait in the waiting room about 30 more minutes before Joe comes to get us to see Dana and Macklin.  Dana, always the warrior, says, with a smile, that all is good, and Macklin, while smaller than anticipated at 6 lbs 7 oz, is healthy.

Linda and I give a big collective sigh of relief that mother and baby are healthy and happy.  The birth of a child, I have always believed, is one of the most special miracles ever, even though it sometimes come with a little too much drama.

A special thank you to the amazing staff at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, who sprung into action immediately to save the day.

Whew!!!!  All’s well that ends well!

SPORTS BALM

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

This past weekend we observed the 40th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice”, when the US Olympic hockey team beat the Soviet Union in a shocking upset.  I’ve read a few articles about that game and how uplifting it was to our national psyche.  Of course I remembered the game – it was actually the first hockey game I ever watched – but I had forgotten how dismal our morale was at the time.  The preceding years had brought us the Vietnam War, Watergate, raging inflation and blocks-long lines to get gasoline.  A regular smorgasbord of misery.  President Carter, six months prior, had given a speech wherein he spoke of our collective “crisis of confidence”.  But then our hockey team, overwhelming underdogs, did the impossible and suddenly we all felt better.  We regained a bit of our swagger and once again, Americans felt anything was possible.

Turns out that identifying with a sports team, Olympic or otherwise, can have great psychological benefits.   Adam Earnhardt, co-author of “Sports Fans, Identity and Socialization: Exploring the Fandemonium.” points out that walking in a mall wearing a team cap or shirt instantly connects you to others fans of the team.  In that sense, your favorite team can serve the same purpose as church and family, fostering a sense of belonging.  I can attest to this.  My husband is a huge USC football fan and has struck up conversations with complete strangers who are wearing a Trojan logo.  One time he stumbled on the father of a recent draft recruit in the grocery store and the conversation went on for an hour.  No amount of my hinting about melting ice cream could deter the two of them from re-living every game from the past season.  Scholars who study “fandom” have also found there is no correlation between being a fan and a winning record.  Oh sure, there are bandwagon fans who jump on when times are good but a true fan is consistent through thick and thin.  One need look no further than the Chicago Cubs for an excellent example of this phenomenon. They had longest time between World Series wins – 108 years 19 days.  Their 2016 championship was one for the ages.  Lots of people were suddenly sporting Cubs hats, shirts and beer cozies.  But the true fans had supported the team all of their lives.  We know people who cried tears of joy and lamented that a long-lost relative never lived to see the Cubs win the Series.  Those life-long fans shared a joy and sense of redemption that could only be imagined by the rest of us.

The other aspect of “fandom” is the idolization of a particular athlete vs a team.  There may not be a better example of this than the LA Lakers.  The Lakers are synonymous with the Southland, but when you think about the team one most often congers up one of the all-time great players: Magic, Kareem, Kobe and Shaq.  Our collective reaction to the tragic death of Kobe illustrates the flip-side of being in the “sports community”.  Today, as the memorial service takes place for Kobe and his daughter Gianna, we will mourn their loss.  In grieving, we will, once again, have a shared moment.

Mostly, I think sports and athletes can be an uplifting balm for whatever ails us.  From football to curling, celebrating a win or bemoaning a loss can bring us together with complete strangers.  These days, I’m for anything that can accomplish that.

 

Polo Anyone?

by Bob Sparrow

  I’ll tell you about my trip to the desert two weekends ago to watch the polo matches, but if you’re not staying where we did, the home of the greatest host and hostess on the planet, Walter & Patty Schwartz, you’re not going to have nearly as good a time as we did.  The ‘we’ is Jack & JJ Budd, Chuck & Linda Sager and Linda & me.  The six of us were invited by the Schwarz’s to stay in their beautiful, magnificently-decorated home in the gate-guarded community of ‘The Polo Club’ in Indio for the weekend, to attend the polo matches on Sunday at the Empire Polo Club.

We arrived Saturday afternoon and were warmly greeted by the Schwartz’s.  Walt is an interesting and engaging guy, who plays straight-man to Patty’s razor-sharp, dead-pan humor; they kept us fed, watered, entertained and in stitches the whole weekend.

We arrived on Saturday at ‘Happy Hour’, although I’m thinking that every hour is happy in this place.  I’m telling you, the Ritz doesn’t have this kind of food and beverage spread; we saw plate-full after plate-full of delicious appetizers everywhere we looked.  Walt was offering us any and every drink possible, while Patty, who is an amazing cook, was preparing the most interesting and tasty meatloaf I’ve ever had.  I took an oath not to say what was in it, truth is I don’t know, but it was delicious.

Getting ready to stomp divots

I know so little about polo that I rushed for a good seat by the pool.  But in fact the matches, on Sunday, were on the magnificent ground where Stage Coach and  the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place each year.

On this day we were going to see two matches, the USPA (United States Polo Association) Amateur Cup Finals and the USPA Presidents Cup Finals.  The festivities started with the Player Parade and Salute with a horse and rider racing around the polo field, which is about 300 yard long and 160 yards wide, streaming an American flag as the Star Spangled Banner was sung by someone with an amazing voice.

Tack Room Tavern

I could bore you with polo positions like Hustler and Pivot or the number of chukkers in a game or why even left-handers have to play right-handed, but I think I’ll bore you with some other little known and less cared about facts.  There are four players on each team and they wear the numbers 1,2,3 and 4 – always!  Did you know that they do not use the end of the ‘mallet’ to hit the ball, as you would in croquet, but rather use the sides of the mallet?   Polo horses are very highly skilled, high-speed Thoroughbreds, whose manes are clipped off and whose tails are braided in order to keep them out of the way of the mallet.  OK, enough, but one of the more interesting parts of a polo match is halftime, when flutes of champagne are provided for all the fans to grab and go out onto the field to stomp divots.  Who won?  Beats me – the red and white team won the first game, the team in the dark jerseys won the second, I think, we left early to get a good seat at the Tack Room Tavern, a great place for food and drink not far from the field.

Ho, Zellweger and Phoenix

Sunday evening was back at the ‘Schwartz Chalet’ for more food and drink and to watch the Academy Awards on their 700 inch TV, at least it seemed that big, although I may have been sitting fairly close.  While I didn’t need a lecture on life from actors Joaquin Phoenix or Renée Zellweger, I think it might have been fun to have gone “drinking until morning” with Parasite director, Bong Joon Ho.

A big THANK YOU to Walt and Patty for a most enjoyable weekend.

Post Script: A few days after returning home, I received an hermetically-sealed envelope from Patty with a note that read, “Laundering fees are yet to be determined” – it was a pair of my underwear.  Not sure where I left them, but our super hostess made sure I got them back . . .  cleaner than I left them!

 

 

THE CORONA VIRUS BLUES

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

News about the corona virus gets scarier by the day.  More cases, more deaths and more quarantined people.  The experts are saying that warmer weather in the Spring should contain the virus but, Puxatony Phil aside, we’re still several weeks away from cherry blossoms and daffodils.  I know people here in Scottsdale that didn’t go to the Phoenix Open for fear of contracting the disease given the massive crowds.  Personally, I think there is enough alcohol consumed at the event that germs don’t stand a chance of surviving.  Still…you never know where it might appear.

 

As a bona fide germaphobe I have to admit that I’m a bit extra cautious these days – there is an epidemic of the regular flu going around that has made people sick for weeks.  I keep a container of Purell in the door pocket of my car so that I can wipe it on my hands whenever I’ve touched anything in public.  I grab an antiseptic wipe when I enter the grocery store, not only to wipe down the cart handle, but also to cover my finger with it when I punch in my phone number at the check-out counter.  I’d rather have my kidneys explode than touch a door handle in a public restroom.  I don’t even use the pen they provide in a restaurant or doctor’s office to sign anything – I have my own pen at the ready, sterilized and untouched by the masses.  More and more I frequent places where I can use my Apple Pay so I don’t have to touch anything.  Okay, I know that I can be a bit over the top.  At Walgreen’s the other day a woman in front of me was watery-eyed and coughing into her hand, and then used  the keypad to punch in her number as she paid her bill.  As I approached the counter the clerk asked me brightly if I would like to put my number in.  That garnered her my five minute rant questioning how a drug store that is full of sick people with the latest flu, asks people to put their hands on something that those same sick people have touched.  She told me that they do wipe down the keypads several times a day.  I rolled my eyes.  Clearly the powers that be at Walgreen’s need to teach their employees about how germs get spread.  Maybe I could consult.

In any event, I think most people agree that avoiding the flu, and particularly the corona virus, requires a good immune system.  Eating berries of any sort is highly recommended and in particular the elderberry.  At first I thought that might be a berry for old people but, turns out, it’s been the basis of moonshine and cough syrup for generations.  It was even featured in the movie Arsenic and Old Lace where the aunts used it in their deadly pursuits.  Aunt Martha gave the recipe: “For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.”  Hmmmm…that might be going a bit too far.  A friend recently went to Mexico and her doctor told her to chug Elderberry Syrup before, during, and after her trip.  A few of her travel companions had the flu but my friend sailed through in fine fashion.  I found Sambucol Elderberry Syrup at Costco.  It claims to improve the immune system as well as assist heart health and allergies.  I just started taking it last week but so far I don’t have the flu, haven’t had a heart attack and my allergies actually are better.

I’ll keep you posted.  After all this if I come down with the flu I guess the joke’s on me.  Plus, it could screw up my consulting job at Walgreen’s.

Super Bowl: The Ads, the Half-Time Show, the Bets and Oh Yeah . . . the Game

by Bob Sparrow

The Million Dollar Backfield

Before the Game

I’ve started writing this blog several days before the Super Bowl, so I’m still full of optimism for a team that I’ve rooted for since 1952 when I attended my first 49er game at the old Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park – 49ers lost 20-17 to the Chicago Bears!  Those were the days of the 49ers ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ of Y.A. Tittle, Joe Perry, Hugh McElhenny and John Henry Johnson, all Hall of Famers today.  The reality is that even though they were know as the ‘Million Dollar Backfield’ their four combined salaries didn’t even add up to a million dollars! As a point of reference, current 49er quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo makes about $1.7 million PER GAME!  While I’ve enjoyed the many Super Bowl years of 49ers past, particularly the two won by my former college coach, George Siefert, it’s been a little lean in terms of wins in recent years; so I’m really looking forward to this game in spite of it being played against, in my opinion, the best player in the game today, Kansas City Chief quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

I’ve concluded that people watch the Super Bowl for three main reasons: 1) they like football, 2) they are mostly watching the ads (which cost about $5.25 million per 30-second ad) and the half-time show, or 3) they like to bet.  I guess there is a fourth reason, they just like to party, but they are probably not watching much of the game or the ads!  So while I can’t comment now on the game, the ads, the half-time show or the party you attended, I can comment on the betting. OMG!

Mahomes & Garoppolo

Of course you can make the two most common bets, the outcome of the game with odds (giving or getting points) and total points scored (the over-under), but the ‘fun’ bets are called the proposition bets or ‘prop bets’.  Here’s just a few, and even though it’s after the game, you can still pretend to bet on these and see how you’d have done:

  • Will Alex Rodriguez be shown during the halftime show, where fiancee Jennifer Lopez is performing, and how many wardrobe changes will Lopez make?
  • Will Demi Lovato omit any words when singing the National Anthem, and will she perform the anthem in under 2 minutes or over 2 minutes?
  • Will the Golden Gate Bridge be shown at any time during the telecast? (the game is in Miami)
  • Will the coin flip come up heads or tails? (Tip: to date more people have bet on heads, but more money has been bet on tails)  Sorry not much of a tip was it?
  • Will there be more points scored in the 2nd quarter or the 4th quarter?
  • If you are a hockey fan who wants to combine a hockey bet with a Super Bowl bet, you can actually bet if Pittsburgh Penguin players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are going to score more points than the number of times that Mahomes will be sacked. (Answers below)

And so many more!  The estimate of total money on all bets on this Super Bowl is $6.8 billion!

Winning Chief Head Coach Andy Reid

After the Game

Well, as one might suspect from this die-hard Niner fan, I was happy with the game up until the 4th quarter, but then, not so much.  I can take solace in the 49ers loss in that they are a young team, but then again, Mahomes is only 24 years old!

Answers to above bets:  Alex was shown, Lopez had 3 wardrobe changes, Lovato sang all the words to the Anthem in just under 2 minutes, the Golden Gate Bridge was not shown, Coin toss – tails, more points in the 4th quarter, Crosby and Malkin got 2 points and Mahomes was sacked four times.

Wait ’til next year!

ME IN A CAR GETTING DOUGHNUTS

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

A few weeks ago I read an article on the CNBC website about Kakeibo.  In case you think that’s a form of sushi, I’ll explain.  Kakeibo roughly translates to “household financial ledger.” Invented in 1904 by a woman named Hani Motoko (notable for being Japan’s first female journalist), kakeibo is a simple, no-frills approach to managing your finances.  In essence, every purchase is made with thoughtfulness.  If you practice it you will ask yourself several questions before buying anything – can I live without it?, can I afford it?, will I really use it?, etc.  That seems like a lot of thought process to go through when buying toilet paper but it’s probably not a bad concept on anything more important…like that new pair of Manolo Blahniks.  I’ve been practicing Ms. Motoko’s approach most of my life.  As a struggling college student and then when I had my first job and apartment, eating a solid diet of bologna sandwiches prepares one for frugality.  Which, in part, is why I seldom buy a new car.

My current car, and Acura MDX, has been showing it’s age.  Not the body or interior – that still looked pretty good.  But the car was 9 years old which, from an electronics standpoint made it something out of the Pleistocene era.  Every six months I would get an offer from Acura asking me if I wanted to update the nav system and I always declined.  After all, I always carry my cell phone so I didn’t see the need.  But my husband convinced me that I really needed a new car if we are going to go on any long trips this summer.  God forbid, we would dirty up his BMW taking it anywhere.  I decided to go back to the Lexus RX SUV, a car I’ve owned twice before.  And here was a contributing factor:  Lexus always has a great lounge with baked goods and coffee.

Our first venture into a dealer was our local one and the car salesman had all the traits of a Randy Quaid character – just the slightest bit sleazy.  His attitude was “we sell a million of these so we don’t care if you buy one.”  So we didn’t.  Then we were lucky enough to have our friend Alfy take my husband to Superstition Springs Lexus to meet with Mark Dent.  I instructed them to find me a silver car (because that’s really the most important thing about a car, right?) and sure enough they came home with a deal.  I would have loved it if they’d just driven it home but nothing is ever that simple.  Turns out I needed to be there to sign all the paperwork so, braced for the worst, over the weekend we made the 45 minute trip to pick up my new car.

Right off I knew I’d like this place because they had a comfy lounge and…wait for it…doughnuts!  Ahhhhhh, that’s when I knew I was back at a Lexus dealer.  Secondly, and probably more important, turns out that Mark Dent is one of the most likable car salesmen I’ve ever met.  He’s actually just a really nice guy, regardless of profession.  He even put the big red bow on my car, which was a fun touch.

A “swift” two and a half hours later we drove off the lot with our new purchase.  We ran into trouble immediately upon entering the freeway because my husband said the steering wheel was shaking.  He was certain that the tires were out of balance.  Turns out, it’s the lane guidance system that alerts you when you’re veering out of your lane.  OMG – I cannot thank Lexus enough for this.  I now can focus on reading or knitting on long car trips, rather than watching for any “drifting” on the part of my driver.

When we got home I made sure that the “captains” chairs configuration in the second row would be suitable for our captain – Dash the Wonder Dog.  After all, any road trip must include comfortable seating for his majesty. As you can see from the photo, he snuggled right in to his new ride.  Last I saw him he was trying to learn the voice control system so he could request pee breaks and dog treats from the back seat.

All in all, it was a great experience and I love the car.  But truth be told, they had me at the doughnuts.

Big Island – Photos & Travel Tips

by Bob Sparrow

Six at sunset

As those who have been there know, landing in Kona at Keahole Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii is like what I imagine it would be like landing at Jurassic Park International Airport while the earth was still cooling.  Black lava dominates the landscape all around the airport and you wonder if there is really any civilization down there.  But indeed, there is.

Linda and I were invited, along with Jack & JJ Budd, to Chuck & Linda Sager’s timeshare at the Hilton Grand Waikoloa.  We arrived at the complex’s tiki bar just in time to watch the second half of the 49er-Viking game.  While the outcome pleased this life-long Niner fan; Linda, a Minnesota native and avid Viking fan, was not that happy, but looking forward to a week in Hawaii seemed to assuage the pain of the loss.

Showing rain everyday, except the day we’re leaving!

Typically, the colors of the Big Island are a mix of azure blue skies reflecting a sea-foam green ocean, contrasting with uneven natural black lava outcroppings against a variety of lush verdant golf courses, but this week Mother Nature had another color in mind . . . gray.  The weather for the week showed rain every day.  It’s no secret why Hawaii is so green!

But we were going to have fun anyway, and as usual, the weatherman was wrong, in fact aside from our first round of golf at Kalani Country Club (previously known as the Big Island Country Club) in a light rain, we never really experienced much precipitation.   Even in the rain, Kalani was one of the most simply beautiful courses I’ve played – because it’s ‘out of the way’ in the mountain and it was raining, hardly anyone was on the course so we played as a six-some – a most enjoyable welcome round to the Big Island.

As a ‘travel blogger’ of sorts, I feel an obligation to share some of the things learned on this trip; so following are a few travel tips.

Kona Country Club

1st Travel tip: Golf – If you come to the Big Island to play golf, forget the expensive ‘named’ courses like Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea (we played those and we all got across the ocean on the beautiful 15th hole at Mauna Lani and the 3rd hole, from the tips, at Mauna Kea: Big deal!) and play Kalani and the Kona Country Club (south of Kona) – great lay-outs, ocean and mountain views, less crowded and much less expensive!

2nd Travel tip: Food – Breakfast was mostly in with all of us enjoying Jack’s smoothies, some delicious bagels, some cheese eggs and some Kona coffee – although we did find some delicious banana pancakes at several locations, which I would recommend.  Lunch was usually late after golf at places like the beach at Mauna Kea Hotel which is looking a little tired these days, Tommy Bahamas in Mauna Lani, or at ‘On The Rocks’ in downtown Kona.  We BBQed a couple dinners at our condo and went to Roy’s for a nice dinner, where we met Wayne Newton.  But the best travel tip on food is making sure that you find the Malasadas truck parked along the main highway and stop and get a Portuguese doughnut or 12.  Eat them while they’re hot, they are delicious!

‘On the Rocks’ Kona

Wayne Newton asking to join the Monday Knights

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Malasadas Truck, where Jack & Chuck found a couple of tomatoes

 

 

 

3rd Travel tip: Entertainment – If you like magic and comedy, you will love the Kona Kozy Magic & Comedy Show in the Mauna Lani shopping center, next to Tommy Bahamas.  It’s a small theater, probably no more than 30 seats; we were six of about 12 people in attendance that night.  He is very funny, he does some great magic and gets the audience engaged.  You can have dinner next door at the Pele Wok restaurant like we did and bring your own alcohol to his show – I think we brought in a case of wine.  A very entertaining evening

Final Travel tip: Drink – If you’re planning a trip to the Big Island in the near future and like wine, you should plan on bringing your own, as we depleted the island of most of its supply while we were there.

No trip to Kona is complete without a visit to the spectacularly gigantic Kona Waikoloa Hilton Hotel, which we visited on our last evening there and watched a beautiful sunset – yes, the weather was clearing up just as we were clearing out.

Sunset on our last night at Waikoloa

A special thanks to Chuck Sager, who knows this island like the back of his hand and was able to get us to all the roads less traveled by most tourists.