Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Newsletter 2007

We wish all our family and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll keep this newsletter short because it's mostly a recap of events that are already covered in our blog.

Our dogs are doing well. Heidi is nine years old. She has arthritis but has responded well to medication. She seems happy and pain-free, although she misses the long walks we used to take as a family. Cleo, at 19 months, is just about full grown: weighing over 100 pounds (actually light for a Great Dane) and standing about 32 inches at the shoulder (or nearly six feet tall on her hind legs). She's tall and slender (like her adoptive mother), and strong as an ox. Mostly, she's a good girl even though there are many temptations when the kitchen counter is below eye-level. Lots of pictures are posted on our web site.

Lisa has enjoyed living in the Augusta area. She runs the web site for the Augusta Newcomers club. She's involved with the garden group, the book group and various lunch groups. She's made lots of friends through these activities, and has been introduced to many of the restaurants and coffee shops in the area. Some of her friends encouraged her to play golf so she took some lessons at our local course. Her golf pro quickly determined that she really was left-handed and needed the appropriate clubs. Many years ago, her father had tried to teach her to play right-handed and it hadn't worked out so well. We've been to the driving range together a few times, and we're looking forward to playing together. Keep an eye on our blog if you're interested in progress reports.

Steve has now been working at Janus Research Group for over a year. He describes his project as "a video game for soldiers, but without the fun stuff". Management might call it a simulation system for collaborative training on Army communications equipment. (If you were the government, which one would you pay more for?) In other news, Steve was happy to see Stanford win a couple of football games, especially the amazing wins over USC and Cal. A few more wins and we would have had a bowl game. As it turned out, we feel confident saying that Stanford was the best 8-loss team in the country. Wait 'til next year. Steve was actually in town for the Oregon game. However, he had a tight schedule so he enjoyed the tailgate party but skipped the game. It was good to see the family and friends after being gone for a couple of years.

This fall, we joined a local dining club. We've enjoyed happy hour at the Pinnacle Club whenever Steve can get away from work on Fridays. The club held their annual President's Ball, a fun black-tie event, in October. Definitely, the event of the season.

Steve's family out in California are all doing well. Our niece, Ashley, is now a teenager, and will be going to high school next autumn. Her brother, Michael, is 11 and doing well at St. Christopher's school. On the other side of the pond, Lisa's father spent some time in hospital, but is recovering and has finally managed to get back on the golf course.

It didn't take long for us to discover that life in Augusta revolves around Masters Week (in early April). We didn't win the lottery for 2008 practice tickets, but we hope to find another way to attend the tournament. Steve is trying to organize a Stanford Alumni cocktail party during Masters Week for next year. He has sent email to Tiger Woods but hasn't heard back yet.

Heidi and Cleo as Elves

Heidi and Cleo showing a little Christmas spirit, courtesy of

Saturday, December 22, 2007

trip to North Carolina

We just got back from a spending a few days at our "beach house" in North Carolina. While we were there, we were fortunate enough to attend a couple of Christmas parties with our old friends and neighbors. It was great to see everyone again. We also had time to play a little golf. Steve hadn't played for over a year, since we moved to Augusta for the new job. He managed four pars and four bogies, and took enough mulligans to keep his unofficial score under a hundred. The next afternoon, we got in nine holes. Lisa drove the cart and made a few putts, but her rib injury (thanks, Cleo) kept her from taking a full swing. She should be better soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cleo's Chaise

Cleo used to sleep in her crate. So if we went out for dinner she would be crated, then we would come home and she would have some crazy time and then be crated again. I felt bad for her and decided she was old enough to sleep on her own bed. Since she likes furniture so much, particularly our bed, there was no point in trying to get her to sleep on the floor. She's too big for the average dog bed, a twin size would have been great but would not fit in our bedroom, so I settled on a large chaise longue. Steve was convinced that she would never get off our bed to use it. The first night we let her snooze with us as always and then went through the same routine of putting her to bed, but on the chaise instead of in the crate. She got up and came over to me and cried. She kept that up for an hour, with me putting her back in bed and her getting up again. Then she slept on the chaise for a few hours. Then cried... She kept this up for three nights, and on the fourth, miraculously, she slept on the chaise. Success. Until the weather turned cold. Then she would come and cry to get in bed with me again. Eventually she would sleep in a tight ball on the floor at my side. I figured the chaise was too cold so I got her a sheepskin and velvet blanket. It worked.

Steve is still amazed that he was wrong. Of course Cleo and I knew it would work because we understand each other. More photos.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stanford Beats Cal

On Saturday night, Stanford beat Cal, 20-13, at Stanford Stadium. The Stanford Axe is back home where it belongs.

By the way, as Tradition demands, the score on the Axe trophy for the 1982 Big Game will be corrected to 20-19 in favor of Stanford. Twenty-five years ago, I was there at Cal's Memorial Stadium as the The Play, which will forever live in infamy, stunned Stanford. Just to set the record straight: his knee was down and that was a forward lateral.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cleo and Heidi in 2007

I have set up web pages for the dogs' photos this year:

Heidi and Cleo

Cleo's love of furniture

Cleo sleeping

Cleo and Sparky

Monday, November 19, 2007


The Guarino family has a new member: Genevieve is a six-year-old Cockapoo, affectionately known as Gene. Cousins Cleo and Heidi send their regards.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Alzheimers Walk

I walked three miles around Lake Olmstead today as part of the 2007 Memory Walk with the Alzheimers Association. I did it in memory of my mum.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

President's Ball

We went to the President's Ball at the Pinnacle Club and particularly enjoyed the White Chocolate Martini Bar. Steve is missing from the first picture because he was off to get me another martini.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stanford Stuns USC

It was an unbelievable finish to a huge upset victory over the Trojans in the Coliseum last night. Final score: 24-23. I thought Stanford had a good shot at winning three games this year, but this wasn't one of them. The TV announcers were so shocked that they got the teams mixed up and didn't know what the score was.

Here's the full story: Stanford Stuns USC.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Steve's California Trip

Steve went to California to visit family and friends. Lisa stayed home to look after Heidi and Cleo. Photos

Saturday, September 15, 2007


We went to Aiken to see our first polo match. The photos don't do it justice. It was a lot of fun to watch, very fast and furious. Lisa's new favourite sport.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Yorkshire Airlines - It Caps Owt

Our friends, Ken and Ruth, just told us about this new airline which should make it much more convenient for Lisa to pop over the pond to visit her Dad who is a real Yorkshireman, and proud of it.
Check out their promotional video.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Idea Houses

We went to Reynolds Plantation to see the Southern Living and Golf Digest Idea Houses. There are many photos to illustrate good ideas from our trip.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock'n'Roll Bash at the Pinnacle Club

We joined the Pinnacle Club just in time to attend the Rock'n'Roll bash. Great entertainment from 2 Elvis impersonators. Unfortunately we won neither the slow dance nor the twist - surprise, surprise! Lisa made herself a "Great Dane" skirt, rather than a poodle skirt. Photos

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Save the Delta Queen

The Delta Queen is a traditional steamboat that's been operating for years under a special exemption to federal regulations. Now congress is refusing to renew its exemption and it looks like the old steamboat will have to retire. There's a web site that's trying to Save the Delta Queen.

Here's more info from an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

In June, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed its bill to renew the Coast Guard bill, but without the Delta Queen exemption - meaning that the boat must cease operating when its current exemption expires in November 2008.

The committee's chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., opposes the exemption because, he says, the boat's advanced age and wood construction present an unacceptable safety risk, according to spokeswoman Mary Kerr.

"The exemption for the Delta Queen is from fire protection standards that apply to all other passenger vessels operating in the United States. I can't imagine the number of lives that could be lost if a fire started on the Delta Queen when everyone is asleep," Oberstar said in a statement.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also opposes the exemption, mainly because the boat is not unionized.

He told Majestic that he would not support the exemption unless the Seafarers International Union gets behind it. Majestic spokeswoman Ann Marie Ricard said the company reached out to the union but didn't get an indication that it would be supportive of the exemption.

Many years ago, we enjoyed a steamboat ride on her sister ship, the American Queen, cruising out of New Orleans. We hope the old steamboat can be saved.

Chaos in Davis

John sent us this picture of his new kitty, called Chaos. She was adopted from the Humane Society and is now happily living in Davis, CA.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Remembering Yvonne Maddock

To commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Lisa's Mum, we went out for Indian food at The Taj of India. Yvonne died in 2003 of the effects of Alzheimer's disease. We're not sure Indian would have been Yvonne's first pick, but she did like onion bhajii. Indian food is the common ethnic food in England, sort of the way Mexican food is for Californians.

In her younger days, Yvonne had trained as a ballerina. I will always remember her dancing with Ken at a New Year's Eve party, probably a decade ago. Even though Alzheimer's had made daily life difficult for her, she was still able to waltz gracefully with her husband. I imagine that they must have looked splendid when they had their first dance as young adults in the late '40s.

My favorite family story is about our parents having dinner together. Ken and Yvonne had come over to visit from England and we were hosting a dinner party at our house in Sunnyvale with my parents as guests. I'm not sure the two sets of parents completely understood each other. As George Bernard Shaw wrote: England and America are two countries divided by a common language. My father was telling Yvonne about the Miner family's timber land in Oregon and how many board-feet they had cut a few years ago, and Yvonne was just going along with the flow as if she was completely fascinated by the tale of some great adventurer. I still laugh any time I hear the term "board-feet".

In closing, "I'd like something nice, but not common."

Monday, August 6, 2007

In memory of Mike

We went out to dinner at Locos Grill and Pub and had a couple of beers in memory of my brother, Mike, who was born on August 6, 1963. He died of leukemia in 1990 at the age of 27. Mike had a lively spirit and quick wit. He taught English at Bellarmine, and coached basketball. His life was too short, but he touched a lot of people.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Mo' Mode

Lisa and I stayed at Savannah Lakes Resort over the weekend. It's just across the border into South Carolina, near the small town of McCormick. The resort is built along the banks of Lake Strom Thurmond, which is known as by its historic name, Clarks Hill Lake, in Georgia. We had dinner at the resort's bar and grill on the outdoor patio with an up-close view of the lake. The food was fine, but we had a slight communication problem when ordering dessert. I chose their special pecan pie and asked if I could "have it a la mode?". The waitress responded that "the kitchen had no mo' mode" in her local Southern accent. I quickly decided to let the matter drop rather than go through an embarrassing explanation of my unfortunate phrasing, which would undoubtedly expose my non-existent knowledge of French, when she pleasantly inquired "Would you like ice cream with that?". So it all worked out well in the end. I enjoyed my dessert and Lisa had a giggle.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Still waiting for my free iPhone

I'm on the list to get a free iPhone from Rush. In the meantime, I'm learning more about the capabilities of the iPhone from this helpful video.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

We joined the Independence Day celebration at Mount Vintage. Pictured to the right is our favorite "Patriotic Pony" from the parade. We enjoyed a traditional Fourth of July picnic lunch at the Town Center. As a special surprise, several vintage small planes did a fly-over during lunch. Photos

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Last night, we celebrated our anniversary by going out to dinner at Calvert's Restaurant in Augusta. We're calling it the beginning of our fourteenth year of marriage (see Triskaidekaphobia). The posting date is just a coincidence.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

AVP in Atlanta

Here are a couple of photos (courtesy of from our trip to Atlanta to see the pro beach volleyball tournament. They actually built a beach in the parking lot of a big shopping center called Atlantic Station. We had a great time, despite a thunderstorm or two. The first shot is Mike Lambert (former Stanford star) spiking. The second picture is Kerri Walsh (former Stanford star and Gold Medalist) at the net. I played high school football many years ago with Kerri's uncle.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cleo and Heidi in tug 'o war

When Cleo was still a little puppy...


Cleo, our Great Dane puppy

Cleo was a cute little monster.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Heidi, who's your daddy?

A short video, starring Heidi...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bertie in Low Places

It's a year today since Bertie died. We miss him, but we're happy that we can still enjoy him on video. Lisa put together this short version of Bertie in Low Places for YouTube.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo a day early by having dinner at our favorite local Mexican place, Poblanos.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Deer playground

We have often seen deer in the woods behind our house. When I came home from lunch one of them was right by our fence. He stood there while I went outside and took his picture.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

English Garden Tea

I joined the Augusta Area Newcomers Club in March, and in April I was organizing the English Garden Tea and Plant Swap, an annual event hosted by the AANC Garden Group. It was a very refined affair. Since I am also now the Webmaster for AANC, you can see more pictures of the event at the AANC website.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Masters Week Visitors

We enjoyed our first Masters Week, although we did not get tickets. Steve was glued to the TV for the final rounds. We also had our first human visitors, our neighbours from North Carolina, Eric and Carol, and their Jack Russell terrier, Sparky. Of course Sparky was our very first visitor when he came to stay for Thanksgiving last year.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brookgreen Gardens in Spring

We drove back to North Carolina for the weekend and visited Brookgreen gardens. As usual Steve had to take pictures of the turtles. Photos

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Aiken Trials

Now we are living close to "Horse Country" we decided to take advantage and go to the Aiken Trials. This thoroughbred race is the first event in the Triple Crown. We signed up for the VIP tent and dressed up accordingly. It was a very cold day but with the open bar we soon had a warm glow. The carriage parade was fun, followed by the races. Photos

Friday, March 2, 2007

Newcomers Club

Lisa joined the Augusta Area Newcomers Club. She went to a nice lunch at the Pinnacle Club with the local ladies.

Tornado Warning

The worst of the storms missed us last night, but a tornado apparently destroyed a house in a nearby county. Unlike a hurricane, the "super cell" was relatively concentrated and moved very fast (60 mph). The local TV station was giving us warnings with various town scheduled right to the minute. In less than an hour, the intense part of the storm had passed by. We just got a lot of rain, something like 5 inches over night.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The Oscar show was too boring to watch, but we were happy to see Lisa's aunt Helen win for best actress.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Planning our next home

Real people who live in a Hobbit House. I thought we might get some good ideas from looking at their plans. Lisa says No.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let Virgin America Fly

Let Virgin America FlyOur friend Richard Branson is trying to start up a new airline in the US. At the moment, the Department of Transportation has denied Virgin America's application to operate in America. We hope our government will reconsider. Visit for more information.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Columbia and Charlotte

We had a brief but fun vacation for one night, visiting Columbia on our way to Charlotte. In Columbia we wanted around the State Capitol campus and had lunch and ice cream. We drove on to Charlotte and spent the night downtown. Dinner was our favorite Tapas at Arpa, but we also managed the famous "Krispy Kreme" Bread Pudding at Savannah Red which was one of the restaurants in our hotel, the Marriott.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

New Look

We've converted our blog to the new Blogger. It has a new look and a new URL: You can find all our pictures at (There's also a link over to the right.)

Happy New Year!