SIR Branch 8 Mt. Diablo History 2011

Report for 2011: Derek Southern, Big Sir

Branch 8 began the year moving to a new luncheon venue and with a new BEC team comprising Derek Southern, Big Sir; Gary Plisco, Little Sir; Erland Perrson, Secretary; Leo Barrella, Treasurer; Bill Peterson, Attendance Secretary; Bill Barnard, Membership Secretary; plus Directors Ed Benson, Wally Freeman, Bill Hunter, Mike Long, Jim Sowell, and Bon Wadors. The move to the Concord Hilton proved to be less contentious than making the decision, the most nagging problem being the sound system! Members liked the ambience, the space (once we changed from 10 to a table to 9), easy parking, and the great price our team negotiated for drinks! Through the MRC we implemented a ‘blue card’ feedback system to ensure the BEC kept in touch with members. In November we welcomed a total of 275 attendees at lunch which was a new record, and way above the capacity of our former venue.

We continued our steady growth to reach 307 active members, up from 291 at the end of 2010. To gain these 16 new members required inducting 39 members while we lost 14. The State suggested a 10% target for new inductees (29) and we easily surpassed that target. Our average luncheon attendance of 79% was up from our previous year’s 78%. The reasons for our growth are variously attributed to the number of our activities (we reached 40 this year), a very active membership which takes advantage of our activities, and a membership which gives its time freely by volunteering for all the many roles which must be filled to enable the smooth running of a branch. The current membership maintained, and built on, the foundations laid by the many that preceded us in leadership positions.

The financial condition remains healthy. Members voted to keep the luncheon cost at $20 monthly, and to include the difference of $1.89 between that and the hotel charge in the requested annual donation. This resulted in a decision to suggest a $40 donation for 2012. Members also voted to put an emphasis on delivering the month Hotline newsletter via the internet, with the provision that members could opt in to a subscription based USPS delivery for $20.

Several of our Branch members held State office and Committees in 2011. Dean Steichen Branch served as Regional Director, supported by Area Governor Ron Smith. Dean was also on the State Nominating Committee and during the year took on the leadership of the State INFOSYS where he was supported by Walt Schick and Derek Southern. Other State committees featuring Branch 8 members were Growth and Membership (Dean and Walt), Publicity & Tools (Walt and Ed Benson), Travel (Bob Hagler) and Insurance (Roger Borgerson). Volunteers for Area 2 activities included Derek Southern (co-chair Computers and Technology), Carl Moyer (Fishing), Walt Schick (publicity) and George Schulze ($ums in retirement)

During the year we welcomed the State president twice to our luncheon meetings, once to elevate Sir Frank Begert to Senior HLM status, and a second time to honor Sir David Perkins and Sir Ron Smith as our new HLMs. A Branch 8 golf team was recognized for winning at the State championship. The two Ladies Day Luncheons were well organized by the committee lead by Roger Miller, and well attended by members with their Ladies. Don Atwater continued to introduce new activities, and most members took advantage of at least one activity during the year. The statistics issued by the State organization showed Branch 8 to be at the top of most of the ‘league tables’, we certainly set the pace following the SIR motto “Men enjoying active retirement”.

A healthy and successful 8 looks forward to another good year in 2012.


Activities – Mike Long, Activity Coordinator Report:

The Activity Coordinator, Mike Long, and Assistant Coordinator, Jock Mackaig, completed their first year in their responsibility. A monthly report of activities was made to the BEC and this is documented in the notes of the meetings.

There are currently forty (40) activities available to our SIR Branch 8 members. Five activities in this group are Area 2 activities: Bowling, Computers/Technology, Fishing, Pool, and Sums in Retirement. We added five (5) new activities in 2011 and dropped one. The five new groups are Bargain Wines, Bocce Ball Team League Play, Couples Golf, Let’s Dine In 2 (Couples) and Internet Games. The Yoga activity was dropped due to lack of participation. Sixteen (16) activities are open to spouses as full time participants or as invited. There are also 8 poker groups (only recorded as one activity) and each with it’s own coordinator. The most attended activities continued to be our Nine Hole and Eighteen Hole Golf groups. Other activities that are most popular include the Book Exchange, Explore & Eat, Poker, Travel, Bridge, Lets Dine Out, SIRS in the Kitchen, and our two Wine Activities (Finders and Tasters).

Our group held the annual Activity Chairman Breakfast at the Hilton on December 12, 2011. Approximately 35 chairmen or designate attended this year. In addition, other guests invited included, Derek Southern, Big Sir, Gary Plisco, Little Sir, Dean Steichen, SIR Region Director, Walt Schick, Area Publicity, Jim Pumphrey, Hotline Editorial Board/Photographer, and Bill Peterson, BEC Attendance Secretary, and Jock Mackaig, Assistant Activity Coordinator.

Special Events – Ladies Day Luncheons – Roger Miller-Committee Chairman

Our Ladies Day Luncheons (LDL) were held in June and December. These were organized by the LDL committee of Tom Click, Lloyd Gunderson, Paul Laderer, Bernie Rosner, Jack Waddell and Chairman Roger Miller. The June event was held at the Contra Costa Country Club. Cost was $32.50 with approximately 180 members and guests attending. The December LDL was held at the Round Hill Country Club at a cost of $37.50 per person with 274 attending. Entertainment was provided by the coral group, Jump In. Many door prizes from various business were handed out to attendees at both events along with See’s Candy and floral centerpiece from each table. Officer and Directors were installed at the December event for the 2012 year.


Chairman Larry Lange. Astronomy Meetings and Subjects: January 10 – Journey to Palomar; January 17 – Stargazing party at the home of Derek Lofquist; February 14 – Rescue of the Hubble Telescope; March 14 – Greatest Story Ever Tolf; April 11 – Saturn: Lord of the Rings; May 9 – Filippenko – Mercury and Venus; June – no meeting; July 11 – Asteroids and Dwarf Planets; August 8 – Extreme Energy; September 12 – Biggest Blasts; October 12 – Dark Matter; November 14 – Life and Death of a Star; December – No Meeting. At the January Stargazing party, ten wives joined our group outing.


Bob Barnes, Chairman, Larry Mersmann, Asst. Chair

Every Friday; Time: 8:30 a.m. ‘til 10:30 a.m. and usually from April/May to September/October( stop/start dates depend on weather and court conditions. We play at the Bocce Ball courts, Newhall Park, Concord and this activity is open to all SIR members and their guests. Currently, we use Concord Federation League equipment and the League has decided to charge $5 per person for the entire year.


Bob Barnes, Chairman, Larry Mersmann, Asst. Chair.

Every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from April/May to September/October….dates depend on weather and weather. We play at Baldwin Park in Concord. This is limited to 10 players who joined the Concord Bocce Federation at the start of the year. We give preference to prior year’s League players than SIR members who have played Bocce Ball. In the past, Leagues have charged $20 per person for the League season.


Ken Main, Chairman, Tom Kerns, Asst. Chair

The crowd of SIRs around the exchange tables speak to the popularity of this activity. We estimate that we now have an inventory of over 800 books (around 40 boxes). In July of this year, Ed Benson asked Ken Main to take over the chairmanship of this activity and Ken actually accepted! Ken has lots of help and support from Co Chairs Tom Kerns, Don Biersey. Rob Laaback and Ed Benson. We are rotating the task of bringing and setting up books at our monthly luncheons. In an effort to identify usage, we have attached a label to the spine of each book and are requesting members to record a “borrow” date on this label. Over time, we hope this will help us determine which books can be purged or donated to the local libraries.

The concept remains for SIR to bring books and electronic media to the monthly luncheons that they wish to donate and exchange with other SIR members. We (the book exchange team) set them up on tables, encouraged participation, answer questions, publicize the service and bring the books to our respective homes for storage at the luncheons conclusion.

 Book Group

Steve Tiller is Chairman. The Book Group has met every other month for the last year and we generally get about six participants.

There is a core of about five people besides myself. It includes:
Ken Hodges, Bon Waters, Roger Spurling, Tom Doll, Jim Kain

The selection of books has been on the eclectic side. We have reviewed:
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
The Icarus Syndrome by Peter Beinart
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Up to the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Ohlone Way by Malcolm Margolin

Bowling Activity
Chairman Dan Weller. Besides the Chairman there were only 2 Branch 8 participants (Tom Baker, Bill Earl) in the 48-person Area 2 2010 – 2011 Bowling League. Another SIR league started in September, 2011. This league is hosted by Branch 19 and takes place at Clayton Valley Lanes.

Dan and Tom also participated in some of the State-wide bowling tournaments. Dan won the All-Events and Doubles events at the Sonora SIR tournament; and Dan and Tom won the Doubles event at the Branch 19 tournament in Clayton. Wally Lamboy and Vic Esposito also participated in some of the SIR tournaments.

The team that Dan Weller and Tom Baker were on won the league Winter championship, winning more games than the other 11 teams. A highlight of the year was a 2-day SIR tournament at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno. Over 190 SIR and guests participated in the tournament. The Chairman hopes to expand Branch 8 participation in both league and SIR tournament bowling in 2012.


Tom Baker, Chairman; Dick Long, Asst. Chair.

We use the duplicate bridge format (same hand is played by all partnerships). We meet the 2nd Friday of each month. The year started meeting at members homes then switched to meeting at Chateau III on Cleveland Road in Pleasant Hill with 16 regular players – 4 tables. Our play lasted about 3-4 hours with light snacks and coffee provided. Each player took a turn setting up the tables for the event once every 16 months. The group sub list has grown to over 20 and there have been few changes in the group membership in the last 8-9 years which led to the formation of both Duplicate II and III.


Chairman Max Creamer; Walt Schick, Asst. Chair.

This is the sixth year for this group and meet the 4th Friday of each month at Carl’s Jr in Walnut Creek. There were 24 regular players with 19 different subs from Branch 8 and 12 more from other branches. They played 24 hands of bridge for about 4 hours with a lunch break. An entry fee was collected and paid to the top 3 winning partners. Players ranged from intermediate to experience. New interested members to Branch 8 were added to the sub list.

Bridge Duplicate 3

Jerry Milano, Chairman and John Mosher, Co-chair. The third duplicate group began activities in April 2011 growing from the long substitutes list for Duplicate 1 & 2 and the idea that some of the subs would like to play more frequently. We started with three tables and grew to four tables by the end of the year. The meeting room at Carl’s Jr has room for six tables; and six tables (12 teams of 2) would be most welcome for 2012.


Rod Hughes, Chairman
In the year 2011, we started out with 6 tables which is the maximum for Carl’s Jr. Restaurant in Walnut Creek. Over the last year, we had 6x people on the sub-list. We were able to play 4 rounds of 5 hands due to the experience factor. Very few times did we drip to 5 tables based upon vacations as our subs came through for all of us. During November and December of 2010 we omitted playing our schedule due to the Holidays and we followed the same policy for 2011; however, some couples desired to play during those times and set up a non SIR get together.

Co-chair Rod Spicer, Harry Hubinger. This activity started in 2010. It’s a co-ed group for beginning players. They also had a separate group for players somewhat experienced by needing practice. Players asked questions and received comments from the instructors – Co-Chairs on their play in a non-competitive environment. They accommodated up to 6 tables and 24 players.

Bridge – Rubber
Chairman Rob Spicer, Assistant Ray Veronte. As in 2011, the group met on the first Thursday of each month at Carl’s Jr. in Walnut Creek. They had a pool of 35 players but limited play to the first 24 (six tables) to sign up each month. They collected an entry fee payable to the winning team.

 COMPUTERS AND Technology (Area 2)

Branch 8 Co-Chairman – Bill Phelon and Hans Pable

CAT meets on the third Thursday of the monthly, except for June and December. The meetings begin at 8:45 AM are held at the Walnut Creek Elks Club. The usual monthly programs are either guest speakers or activity members presenting information on the latest in computers and technology, including software developments and consumer electronics. Some of the subjects covered in 2011 included a presentation on PG&E’s Smart Meters; discussions of Cloud Computing, Tablet Computers, Internet TV and Tax Preparation Software.

Between 40 and 60 Area 2 SIRS attend each monthly session. During 2011, there were 44 Branch 8 members who attended at least one CAT meeting.

Leo Barrella, Chairman

Course selection and tee times organized by the Chairman. We play at a variety of golf courses in the East Bay area. All participants pay at the course. This activity is open to all SIR Br. 8 members and spouses for a fun day playing with other SIR members and wives.

Herb Hellsten, Chairman, Bill Douglass, Asst. Chair.

The Cribbage Group meets twice a month on the first Wednesday and the third Tuesday at Carl’s Jr., which is located in the Nob Hill Shopping Center off Oak Grove Road and Ygnacio Valley Blvd. at 1 PM. We had thirty different branch members participate in the twice-monthly cribbage games during 2011.

A total of 583 games have been played over the 22 sessions with an average attendance of eighteen members on Wednesdays and fourteen members on Tuesdays. Wednesday attendance was lower on three sessions due to conflicts with golf. Tuesday attendance again is lower due to five members attending SIRS in the Kitchen. Ten of the thirty members have participated in over 75% of the games played.

Year-to Date Cribbage results find Stan Johnson leading the average score per games played with 29.04 points per game followed by Jack LaSalle with 26.88, Al Kapp with 26.67 points and Terry Mason with 25.01. The winners of a game receive 25 points for the win plus the difference between scores. If the winner beats his opponent by more than 30 points this is deemed a skunk and the difference in points is doubled when added to the 25 points for winning. The high score for a game during 2011 went to the team of Rob Laaback and Steve Bishop with 151 points followed by Bill Douglas and Jerry White with 139 points and Herb Hellsten and the team of Jack LaSalle and Larry Mersmann with 127 points. High scorers for a dayt were Bill Douglas with 368 pints, Dieter Lauterback with 364 points and Stan Johnson with 317 points. Any branch members who have played cribbage or would like to learn the game are encouraged to join us.

Digital Photography Group
Pump Pumphrey, Chairman, Bill Phelon, Asst. Chair.

The group meets at 10 a.m. on the 3rd Friday of each month at a member’s home. They discuss individual insights and experiences with cameras, lenses, techniques, photo software, new developments and of course the photos they produce

Deiter Lauterbach, Chairman, Ekk Keller, Asst. Chair.

This group of 14 participants played on the 4th Wednesday of the month (except November/December) for about 4 hours at a members home. We meet at 9:30 a.m. for coffee/doughnuts and start a 10 a.m. We bring our own lunch compete by playing 6 dominos for the prize money from the $5 donation of each player.

Explore and Eat
Larry McEwen, Chairman

This group meets at various points of interest in Northern California/Bay Area on the 3rd Friday of the month. Most tours were led by a docent and were followed by a lunch at a local restaurant.

Fishing (Area 2)
Carl Moyer, Chairman

It was a tough year for the group, as rain and an unending wind stymied many of our efforts. Socially, however, we were stellar, beginning with a spring fish fry attended by nearly 40 fisherman, a backyard barbecue with wives and friends, our annual lunch with the SIRs in the Kitchen with over 40 eager eaters, and finally our annual Christmas Dinner. We gained many new members, and are growing. As usual our year began with the trip to the big Sportsmen’s Expo in Sacramento. Then trips to Shadow Cliffs Reservoir in Pleasanton, where many trout were caught in the morning and a restaurant lunch was enjoyed. We also had lower Delta trips for sturgeon and stripers; which were repeated when the weather allowed. Party boat trips for halibut in San Francisco Bay were not fruitful, salmon forays to the ocean had limited success, and rock cod trips were not up to par. Summer brought trips to Lake Tahoe for mackinaw trout, and guided ventures to Lake Berryessa for kokanee salmon, and Oroville lake for salmon. A very, very successful safari satisfied our trout fisherman at Lake Davis. A trip to the Sacramento River for salmon was very productive. We finished the year with crab/rock cod combo trips, delta stripers and sturgeon, and trout at Lafayette Reservoir and Shadow Cliffs. We hope to be busier in 2012 with more favorable weather, and a who lot of fun

Stan Johnson, Chairman

We set several new records with our nine hole golf group this year (December 1, 2010 through November 30, 2011) Sixty three (63) members played at least one round with us during the year. Our highest weekly participation was 28 players in a given week with an additional two weeks with 27 participants. Branch 8 played 775 rounds of nine hole golf in 2011. All of the above are new records! We usually played at Diablo Hills Golf Course in Walnut Creek, but also played about monthly at Pine Meadow in Martinez, as well as four outings at Buchanan Field in Concord. We also played twice at Grayson Woods in Pleasant Hill. Bill Cooke played the most rounds of golf with 48 ( out of 52 weeks)! Our chairman, Stan Johnson, was second with 46 weeks. As usual, we had a great group with terrific fellowship during the golfing and after. We had a large percentage of our golfers stay around after our round for a drink and some good stories.

Chairman Darryl, Chairman

It was with great sadness to all this past year, especially the golf committee and all 18 Hole Golfers when we lost Glenn Cheetham to his unexpected passing. Glenn was a valuable asset to the success of the 18 Hole Golf Program. He will be truly missed.

We currently have 122 members signed up with the 18 Hole Golf activities with most playing numerous times during the year. We schedule one golf event each week of the year with Boundary Oak being our home course that we play twice a month. In other weeks, we travel to an assortment of golf courses in the bay area. Our tournament director also organized 8 special tournaments during the year 2011.

Lynn Jones, Chairman

The activity had 16 SIR plus many spouses, family and friends. The one hour walks averaged about 2.5 miles. A list of 36 trails in Diablo Valley are used to plan the outings. We meet about 9:30 a.m. at a trail head every Thursday morning which is announced each month by the Chairman. Afterward our hikers went to a nearby café for coffee and sweets. Our walks are mostly in Contra Costa County with a few in Alameda County and participants move at their own pace.

Ray Tenzer, Chairman, Enrique Arvizu, Asst. Chair

Branch 8 Hikers meet on the Tuesday of every month to hike about 3 to 7 miles on our wonderful regional park unpaved trails that include redwood forest, oak studded hills, and open grass lands. We sometimes see interesting wildlife and beautiful spring wild flowers. We very often experience outstanding views of our Bay Area from hill tops as well as interesting topography that most individuals never get to see. Each hike included: Line Ridge, Redwood Regional Park, Tilden Regional Park, Inspiration Point Trail, Lafayette Reservoir Trails, a Danville Back Area Trail, The Iron Horse Trail (Alamo/Danville)., and Dublin Hills Regional Park. We have 20 active members with 3 to 12 hikers and guests on any given hike. After our hikes some of us often go to lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Internet Games
Don Atwater, Chairman

We play various games on the internet with other SIR Br. 8 members. Members will submit data pertaining to their interest in particular internet games to the chairman. This activity is set up so members can connect with one another on their own. Only Cribbage and Poker had organized games and participants in those games. There are no costs or fees for this activity.

Ron Cassano, Chairman, Joe Karg, Asst. Chair.

Our group meets every other month beginning in January and have eight couples participating. The host rotates and provides the main dish and other round out the meal.

Richar Asadoorian, Chairman

Our group is a newly formed in 2011 since our orginal group of Let’s Dine In #1 was crowded and we needed a second group. Since inception, we have had three events held in August, October and December. We have seven ravenous couples and to-date five have been available to attend. We can accommodate a few more and for that they need to contact the chairman at

Walter Schick, Chairman, Asst. Chair Dan Franklin.

There are now 8 poker groups of 7 players. This is an activity open to all Area 3 branches. There we 51 different players. Each group had their own “coordinator” or sub-chairman and meets monthly on a scheduled day and time at a member’s home.

Chairman, Jerry White.

Branches participating were 8, 19, 116, and 146. We play partner 8 ball and sometimes 3 person crazy 8 ball. Group plays twice a month at Masses Billiards in Walnut Creek. New players are always welcome. You don’t need to be an expert. It is a fun game for all.

Don Atwater, Chairman, Bill Peterson, Asst. Chair

A SIR Br. 8 member will display his art, craft, hobby or collectable items for all attendees prior to our month lunches.

 SIRS In The Kitchen
Ed Benson, Chairman and Jim Sowell , Asst. Chair.

2011 saw Sirs in the Kitchen’s sixth year as a Branch 8 activity. Over the six years we have grown from our original six members to 37 in three classes of membership. The three classes are necessary in case our monthly luncheon becomes over-subscribed. Average attendance at a luncheon is 22 to 24 participants, and fortunately, we have not yet had to turn any participant away. Our members continued to enjoy good food, good wine and even better fellowship at 11:00 a.m. every third Tuesday of the month at Executive Chef Ed Benson’s home.

The activities by month were the following:
• January – We took it easy after the holidays and had meatloaf. All the guys love it.
• February – Boneless prime rib lead the menu, and we even had Brussels sprouts. (UG)
• March – Our annual soup kitchen featured four types, but the favorite seems to be split pea.
• April – Our old fashioned Easter featured baked ham, gelatin salads and old time chips and dips.
• May – We held an ahi feast, featuring ahi caught and furnished by Chef Paul
• June – We hosted the Branch 8 BBQ later in the month so our regular meeting featured simple food, meatloaf again. The guys can’t get enough of it.
• July – What do you do in the prime of summer? Have a picnic with fried chicken, potato salad, green salads and homemade ice cream.
• August – We have been hearing about how tasty Wagyu beef is, so we prepared Wagyu beef patties. They were either served as hamburgers or plain with baked potatoes and Caesar salad.
• September – We hosted our annual meeting with the Area Fishing Group and stuffed ourselves with fried rockfish bites, baked rock cod, yellow fin tuna and salmon.
• October – Time for a BBQ and we feasted on tri tip, baked potatoes, carrots, salad and Chef Bon’s wonderful pear tart tartin.
• November – We wanted to top last year’s crown roast of pork, and maybe we did with porchetta, roast potatoes, asparagus and Ms Donna’s tiramisu.
• December – The holiday season brings us our Christmas Gala. This year we will again feature prime New York strip roast with horseradish sauce accompanied by twice baked potato casserole, haricot verts with caramelized shallots, Caesar salad and cheesecake.

It was a busy year, and all members had a great time and continued bonding over food and wine. Looking over the menus, don’t you wish you were a part of the group?

Ed Benson, Chairman; Walt Schick, Asst. Chair.

In 2011, the Branch 8 BBQ was held again with Sir Ed Benson and Sir Walt Schick as co-chairmen. After getting the scare of a life time with heavy rain on Tuesday and even a bit of a sprinkle on Wednesday, Thursday, the 30th brought us great weather. My notes said that we had 61at last year’s event, so we had a significant improvement in attendance.

Sous Chefs Al, Walt, Bob P. and Jim S., met on the previous day and did all the prep work necessary to make the BBQ a success. EC Ed and Bob O. (our cartage supervisor for the day), joined by Paul C. at noon loaded and carried the cooking equipment and all the food to the beautiful Castle Rock Park. Our set-up crew met us at 1:30 and the park personnel loaded all the stuff into their truck and golf cart and off we went to get the grounds ready for everyone.

Guests started arriving around 2:30. Dinner was served around 4:00 and included Morton’s Marinated Tri Tip, a selection of green, bok choy and potato salad, chili con carne, garlic bread and biscotti. Special mention goes to Ron S. as our coordinator, bartenders Dan, Jim S., Tommy and Bob O. and Sous Chefs Bon (who provided great assistance at the BBQ), Gene, Tom K. (on beans) and everyone else who pitched-in.

By 6:40, or so, everything was packed, the area policed and the crew headed home with another Branch BBQ under our belts! See ya’all next year.

Don Wesdorf, Chairman; Don Allen, Asst. Chair.

The 2011 Dine Out group enjoyed a year of fun and friendship with 57 SIR and their ladies attending the ten monthly dine outs events. (We exchanged to a luncheon for the month of November to see if the SIR group was interested in luncheons and had good attendance. Many thanks to our Hosts and Hostesses that offered their time and talent to introduce their favorite restaurants to the rest of us for our social and dinning enjoyment. We look forward to another enjoyable year in 2012. We will begin our new year with a January Dine Out at the Ristorante Forli in Alamo hosted by SIR Don Wesdorf and his charming wife Diane.

Bon Wadors, Chairman; Steve Tiller, Asst. Chairman

We are a group of SIRS who like to get out of the house once in awhile and share a good meal and some lively conversation. Each month one of us acts as host, chooses a restaurant in the area and arranges for a table for the group, usually about ten. There are a wide variety of places where we dine from Italian, American, Mexican, Chinese or whatever. Of course the prices have to be reasonable. Some of us may even share a bottle of wine. We meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. and are usually out before 7:00 p.m. Our membership grew to a total of 16 during the year by stood at 13 in December. As usual, the social chatter was lively.

George Schulze, Chairman.

Our activity begins with a breakfast with talks and dicussions by experts on financial subjects. Members share personal experiences and problems. We meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month, 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., except when conflict with holidays, moved to the 3rd Wednesday of the month. We meet at the Legends Grill at Diablo Creek Golf and participants pay for their own breakfast.

Bob Hagler, Chairman, Jim Lunn, Asst. Chair

Our Travel group had another fun year with a cruise to Eastern Michigan in September and four excursions to locations in the Bay Area. Our first group outing last August took in a wonderful musical, I Do! I Do!, in San Francisco. We also had a large turn out in the city to see the Blue Angels during the annual Fleet Week celebration. In October we spend another fun day at Golden Gate Fields Turf Club for lunch and reserved seating for the racing program. In December, we had an enjoyable evening attending the musical comedy, Beach Blanket Babylon. This also included a hosted dinner at Firenze by Night one of San Francisco’s best Italian restaurants.

 Wine Tasting
Gary Plisco, Chairman, Bill Barnard, Asst. Chair..

There were 26 SIR members on the e-mail list for this group. Cost of wine provided by hosts was shared and tasters brought food to share. Number of tasters was determined by hosts’ available space for the sit down tasting. The group normally met every other month. However, in 2011 only 5 tastings were held. The first was a field trip to a winery (Sterling Albert Winery in Concord-no cost to tasters). It was delayed twice by the winery before being held in early March. Tasting of about 10 different wines for about 30 SIR and guests was held among the “wine storage barrels.” Tasters brought finger food which was available during the tasting. Lots of wine drinking, snacking and socializing during the tasting. Next came a tasting hosted by Bill & Nancy Barnard in late April. They accommodated 12 tasters and served 6 Chardonnay wines from various CA locations. This was followed by a tasting in July for 12 tasters, hosted by Bob and Laurie Barnes. They served 7 wines (3 cabs, 2 Petit Syrah, 1 Zin& 1 Syrah), 6 of which were made by their son & friends. One (cab) was purchased. Cost was minimal as the homemade wines were provided. The 3rd hosted tasting for another 12 tasters was by Bill and Nancy Larmer. They served 7 Washington Reds (Sangiovese, Blend, Syrah, Cab, Lemberger, Syrah, Mouvedre). At the last 2 tastings, tasters were asked to try and ID the wines. Some tasters were able to ID about half the varietals. The last tasting in early November was another field trip to 6 wineries in Livermore Valley. Tasters brought food to share for lunch at one of the wineries. Cost of tasting was the winery tasting fee ( $5 per couple-shared tasting). Tasters combined purchases to get case discount.

Bob Price, Chairman and Tony de Losada is Co=Chair

Our group of 14 full members, 3 associate members and 3 waiting members meet six times on the even numbered months. Spouses and/or significant others are invited and averages 22 to 30 attendees at each event. A topic/focal point is selected, such as wines from certain geographic areas, wines of certain category, for sampling, evaluating and ranking. Each couple brings a wine of choice, and appetizers to serve six attendees which in turn solves the dinner question at our meeting time of 6 p.m. Members are encouraged to enjoy themselves, keep the evaluations as simple as possible, and eliminate excessive rhetoric with reference to wine analysis. In short, HAVE FUN! Members volunteer as hosts on a rotating basis. Long time co-chair Walt Schick stepped down this year due to other commitments, and Tony de Losada has agreed to serve in his place. From time to time, the Winefinders co-mingle with the Winetasters, Sirs in the Kitchen, and others as befitting the occasion.

Roger Sperling, Chairman

We completed the fifth year of Writing Your Life Stories in June 2011 and elected to begin a sixth year (10 monthly sessions) in September. We currently have 20 members on the roster. We are now doing something new –having group members be the facilitators when the chairman is unavailable. The continuation of this activity is testimony to the fact of the camaraderie felt among the SIRS when they write and read to each other short stories about their life experiences. It is a pleasure to work with them as they strive to preserve their personal family history- and have fun doing it.

posted 1/8/2012