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Early August Happenings - Tennis And Sacramento

July 31 to about August 15, 2015
Written August 1+

Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

As I start this diary, I am unsure as to what all it will cover.  The August plan includes Marianne's ArtHop show (6th and 8th), but that's got its own page.  Otherwise, it's here and there and preparation for a long trip up north.  We'll keep a record and, when it's done, think about whether it was worthwhile -- for us at least.

The first event was (is) a weekend in Sacramento.  Why?  Primarily to go to a tennis tournament where nephews Adam and Spencer are playing.  We came a day early and left a day late, just for a break in the big city. 

Friday (31st)
There was a time when Fresno and Sacramento were equally prosperous small California cities, but Sacramento has had the advantage of being government-centered rather than farm-centered.  Lots more money in government than farms!  Anyway, we stayed near Old Sacramento and started with a walk though the tourist area. It's kind of like the gold towns we visited earlier, just bigger and more touristy.  Nice enough for a one-time stroll, but we may not need another visit.
This monument to Theodore Judah, the original planner of the transcontinental railroad, is in Old Sacramento, near where ground was broken in January of 1863 for track construction.  This is the basis for the extensive train museum in Old Town.
The other standard attraction is the Delta King, representative of boats that provided the original access to Sacramento from San Francisco.
We did have a wonderful lunch in the garden at "The Firehouse Restaurant" and we would come back again for a nice meal.  (We'd have to save up our dining-out budget though, because it's pricey.  Worth it.

Saturday (August 1st)
I started my Saturday with an early morning photo shoot.  Sorta.  Mostly, I drove around looking for something interesting.  Not easy in a pretty plain small city, particularly when I had to avoid the police-blocked streets.  Reminded me of Fresno.

I managed to shoot the "Blue Moon", even though it seems pretty normal to me, then a few sunrise pictures from across the river.  The tall building is the CALSTRS headquarters, the source of Marianne's retirement income.  A fancy castle.  No big-deal pictures, but I have to remind myself that it is all practice.

After my morning walk, even the Perko's breakfast was welcome.  The diet Marianne and I share keeps us from lots of goodies, but at least we appreciate our simpler fare.  Then it was off to Laguna Creek Racquet Club in Elk Grove.

Chris, Leisa, Adam, and Spencer all hugged us and we exchanged birthday greetings - mine on the 1st and Chris' on the 2nd.  Then it was down to the serious stuff: pre-match briefings and words of encouragement.  The Carmel club had a team of eight and played two rounds of singles and doubles.  Adam played singles, great in the morning and ... in the afternoon.  Spencer played mixed doubles both rounds and gained more experience.  It was hard to believe he is just ten-years-old and the kid I remember carrying around our backyard in Pommersfelden.
d150802_02_carmel.jpgThe team finished out of the top spots, but did qualify for two more rounds on Sunday.  We wished them well, but decided that another day in the hot sun would cook our brains even worse, so we opted for museums.  Even without our cheers, Adam returned to form, winning two singles rounds, and Spencer continued gaining experience.  Congratulations to all of the Carmel Valley Athletics Club.

Sunday (2nd)
On Sunday, we started with a pleasant breakfast aboard the Delta King and then a walk through Old Sacramento and a noisy steam engine.  Further on, we passed a small community center for Nisei War Veterans, honoring Japanese-Americans who served in the US armed forces, despite the forced internment of 120,000 of their families, relatives, and friends. Parts of American history are less glorious than others.

Our major goal for the day was the Crocker Art Museum.  This turned out to be a huge art collection, spread in a large modern building grafted to the old Crocker home, a large pair of structures on their own.  We wandered for our museum limit of about two hours and saw just a fraction of the displays, not even one complete floor.  We need to come back.
Armin Hansen was my favorite. Throughout the first half of the Twentieth Century, he painted the people and scenes he saw, often of the Monterey Bay fishermen.

But there were many other rooms as well that I appreciated, particularly this room of three figures, strong but very different.

I'm not sure what all were Marianne's favorites, but the one she ordered a post card of was David Ligare's Penelope.

The museum is too large!  This is some of what we didn't look at.
And the old Crocker House itself is grand.

After just touching the surface of the huge Crocker collection, we were ready for lunch (At "1022".  Decent, once we politely noticed what was wrong.)  Then a nap.  We're seniors, after all.

We still had enough energy for one more local attraction, a smallish one, and the Sacramento History Museum fit the bill perfectly.  We arrived 50 minutes before closing, and the docent said that would be plenty.  It was.  Below are pictures of three small items.  Much of the rest was a repeat of "gold country" stories and displays we have seen already. One only needs view so many pictures of mid-19th Century miners.
Ground floor display of an older Sacramento Bee news operation.  The Bee is one of the oldest newspapers in California, started at the time of the California Gold Rush.
A relatively large "local" display concerned Dunlap's Dining Room, reportedly a popular spot for 60 years, starting in 1908.  This popularity was despite a limited menu: fried chicken, baked ham, and T-bone steak were all ever offered.  Would that work today, I wonder.
A story of turn-of-the-century orphanages caught my eye.  It was a reminder of how brutal "the good old days" of the west could be, with parents disappearing or dying with little notice and children being left alone, far from relatives back east.
With that, we were through with our Sacramento visit.  Overall, I'd have to say it is a nice place, with character, history, and a real city feel -- small city, but good enough.

On Monday morning, we drove the three hours back to Fresno, our city of similar size to Sacramento, but much less sophistication.  Yet!  We will hold out hope!

John and Marianne


In case you missed it, here's the link to the family story about Marianne's first Fresno ArtHop.

Our other August events are travel:  First to visit Gabby, Mamal, Ava, and Sam in Monte Sereno, and then the start of a long trip up into Oregon and Washington.


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