Mike and Angel

Photo by Carolyn Maginot

As 2008 comes to a close, I once again find myself taking stock of where I have been, what I have done, what I have learned, and what I hope to accomplish in the future.  Time spent with family and friends is precious to me.  I also enjoy the company of our cats and our remaining canine, Umo.  We had to put Brownie to sleep a few weeks ago and Umo is very lonely.  I find myself buying dog toys on a weekly basis hoping to keep Umo occupied and out of trouble.  The temptation is to get Umo a new companion, but I already have way too many responsibilities including the maintenance of a battalion of cat boxes that I do battle with daily.


The death of Cari’s mother, Fay Brown, in December of 2007 cast a long dark shadow over 2008.  Fay was our benefactor during tough times and graciously gave Marlene a place to live when she decided to leave the nest.  Settling the Brown estate was an emotional experience for all of us that involved way too many trips to LA.  I really appreciate the moral support of Matt Heilmann, Rex Duarte, Dave Hall, and Brande Ruiz during the last months of 2007 and early 2008.  Both Matt and Dave took off time to accompany me to LA.  Dave and Brande were kind enough to take care of the animals when Cari and I both needed to be out of town.


In these troubled economic times, all the Maginots are still working.  I am still a Customer Service Supervisor for eScrip.  Cari is still doing nails…just not as many.  Marlene has two part-time jobs.  She works for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where she also takes classes and performs, and she works for an insurance firm doing administrative work.


Marlene lives with her boyfriend Kevin Pedersen and their friend Noah in Hollywood.  She has a commercial agent and is a featured performer on the UCB website.


I continue to take night classes at Sierra College where I earned an Associate of the Liberal Arts degree this year.  In 2008, I began the year with an Electronics class to qualify for my degree, followed by an online Art Appreciation class during the summer.  You can see my Art Appreciation blogs here. I finished the year with a figure drawing class. I am a few units away from additional degrees in the Applied Arts and English. Unfortunately, classes don’t always fit my work schedule.  I will continue to take classes that interest me and I’m sure that additional degrees will sneak up on me.


Taking art classes stimulates me to do more photography and to delve deeper into Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.  I take snap shots with a SONY Cyber-shot camera and with my cell phone, but I still rely on my Olympus OM-1 when it comes to serious photography.  I did two “real” photo shoots this year.  The first was the wedding of Dan Levinson and Molly Ryan in May.   The second was some publicity shots and album art for Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff in July.  I posted a great number of Dan and Molly’s wedding pictures here.  I also did a slide show movie from some of the pictures using Final Cut  posted here.


I have been doing publicity shots for Jeff and Maya for years.  They are a pleasure to work with and one of the most creative couples I know.  Check out their website:


Speaking of websites, I have retired as Dan Levinson’s webmaster.  The torch has been passed to Nancy Giffin.  I wish her the best.  I still maintain Dan McIlhenny’s website and his My Space page.


I plan to devote more time to my own websites and blogs this year:


The last time I updated my My Space blog was after Cari and I went to Las Vegas to celebrate Marlene’s 21st birthday.  It was a fun trip.  We saw Cirque Du Soleil’s Love and visited the Star Trek Experience.  Cari and I went back to Las Vegas at the end of October and saw Elton John’s Red Piano show and also Cirque Du Soleil’s Zumanity.  We had good seats for Elton and when it came time to sing “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” we joined Elton on stage with a few other members of the audience.  For Cari, a serious Elton fan from way back, it was a dream come true.


It was a good year for concerts.  Rex and I saw Elvis Costello and The Police.  Marlene and I went to see Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney do what they call the Jill and Julia Show.  Julia tells stories.  Jill sings songs.  I went with Noah to see Sweeney Todd, not the movie, the stage show where the actors play all the instruments.  It was great to see Judy Kaye who reads the Sue Grafton novels play Mrs. Lovett...and the tuba.


I was able to see Dan Levinson and Molly Ryan perform three times this year;  first at the Jazz Forum in April (with Marlene and her friend Rachel), then at their wedding early in May (with Cari, Marlene, and Kevin), and finally at the Sacramento Jazz Festival at the end of May (with Dave).


Closer to home was a house concert at Floyd and Joy Perry-Thistles house featuring Steve Noonan, Ralph Barr, and Michael Ray Cox in August.  It was a delightful evening of music and homemade desserts.


I also went with Rex a couple times to see his son Ryan and our old friend Chris LeGate do improv with a group called Improvers' Nation that performs regularly at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley.


Visitors to the Maginot’s household this year included Cari’s friend Paul Evans from England and Bob Shockey up from LA.  Paul finally got to see Alcatraz this time around.  Bob and I only got as far as Perkos.


Going out with friends is always nice, Cari and I had a nice brunch with Kika Kane and a chance meeting in Kmart lead to a very nice lunch with David Briggs the day before my birthday.


I took care of Alisa Austin’s cat Penny while Alisa went to a convention.  Penny joined the rogue’s gallery of cats, dogs and people that inhabited my art class sketchbook.  But one of my favorite subjects for sketching and photographs this year was Angel who belonged to Cari’s mom.  We adopted him last December and he continues to be a great source of amusement. See photo above.


Christmas Day usually means a trip to Vacaville to see my Aunt Margie and Uncle Rocky, but the weather and road conditions were iffy, so Cari and I stayed close to home.  I enjoyed a nice Christmas breakfast at Rex’s house while Cari slept in.


My favorite new movies this year were Wall-E, Ironman, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, but I haven’t seen that many new movies. As far as TV, Cari and I are currently watching X-Files, Boston Legal, Lost, Star Trek: Next Generation and Alias.  We may be behind the times, but there are no commercial interruptions when we watch our shows…and we don’t have to program any kind of electronic device since most of our film and TV comes to us on discs from Netflix. 


My iPod is full of audio books, podcasts, and very little music…that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been listening to artists old and new while driving or doing chores.  Good books that I’ve listened to recently are The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Daisy Miller by Henry James, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, Wishful Dreaming by Carrie Fisher, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.  The podcasts I listen to regularly are This American Life, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and the News from Lake Wobegon.  Podcasts that I watch regularly are Tiki Bar TV and Best of You Tube.


I just want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a pleasant new year.