Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On The Road Again!

OK, so I lied, last months trip to California was not the last one as I thought, the one coming up this week will. Seems that I will be receiving the new year there. I will be leaving Thursday right after work. For the record, I am being abducted, taken, kidnapped by a wonderful woman and I just couldn't resist and in my weakness I had to say take me, take me. lol Seems to me it will be a great way to start the new year.

Without letting old chapters in the book of life fade, I am ready to try and start writing some new ones. As life goes on it is my duty to make sure it is not wasted, we have only but one life and as I learned last year a fragile one at that. So as my sister in law stated the other day, I am ready for 2011. I am ready to see what adventures it brings, I am ready to enjoy it with my wonderful family, I am ready to open up myself to new horizons and to shoot for the stars if possible.

Life goes on and so do I. Being a "choir boy" at church has given me tremendous help in getting reacquainted with my faith, my church, but most importantly with my God. As crazy a fool that I am, I realize that without God we are nothing and being close to him made 2010 easier for me to handle, all of a sudden things were not as obscure as I thought they would be, and every day as I wake up I can totally see that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel because no matter what the sun continues to rise every morning.

So it is with new expectations that I welcome this trip, going with my BF, one that has been a very important in my life throughout this year makes it so much sweeter. Now if she would only like to stop everywhere while traveling like I do it would be a big plus, but alas it seems that there won't be any detours or unscheduled stops because while I am a "the getting there is part of the experience" she is "the let's get there already... and fast". lol Ummmm!

Soooooo... I wish you all my family and friends a very Happy New Year! May it be full of nothing but good things, fun, health, love, peace. Let's pray for the economy to get better, and for the people to unite. Stop the hate, promote good will. In my experience these are key elements to having a good and happy life.

Love you all and have a terrific but safe New Year's celebration.


In many ways 2010 was a slow year for me but if I had to get a theme for what's to come, I think it would be this:

On the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way and our way

Monday, December 27, 2010


This is what makes my Christmas happy.

I did have a Merry Christmas, I am blessed to have my mom, my kids, my grand kids, and pretty much my entire family here with me. It is inevitable that as the family keeps growing customs change, right now the one pillar that continues to keep us together is my mom. She is fundamental in my life and I for one have been enjoying her as much as I possibly can.

If I think back, I cannot remember a Christmas without my mom. Yes there were a few during the time that some of us were here in Arizona and she still remained in California but that would not last because my parents made the wise decision to move here to be closer to us.

It is said that parents have kids and that it's our responsibility to raise them good and to eventually turn them lose to make a life of their own but no where it says that we have to be apart so I too continue to enjoy them as much as I can while I have them close to me. I know people that aren't as lucky as I am in that their kids and grand kids leave miles and miles away and they only get to visit once or twice a year if they are lucky.

Thank God and some very smart people for the Internet, at least now they can stay in contact through pictures and even through video. Still, not the same as having those little bodies so close to you that you can hug and kiss them at will.

Although I spent Christmas Eve with my family Christmas Day I spent by myself, something I had not ever done before.

I hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine was.

Granpa and Arielle.

Grandpa and Atallie.

My beautiful niece Marya and I.

Here I am with my sister Elena.

Michelle and I sandwiching Diego.

Here I am with my nieces from Church and fellow choir singers.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa and Sarah

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling.

"Your friend? Your sister?'" "Yes, Santa,' he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue. "She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the child exclaimed.

"She misses you," he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

"What is it?" Santa asked warmly.

"Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

"The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes.

"Is there any way, Santa . any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon.

He knew what he had to do.

"What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he thought with a sinking heart, "This is the least I can do."

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.

"Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day. "C'mon.....I'll take you there." Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.

They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead.

And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!" "Santa!" shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.

A child the tender age of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he lookedat her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering "Thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels. "Oh, yes, Santa... I do!" she exclaimed.

"Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you." he said. Layingone hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night.... all is calm, all is bright..."

"The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. "Now, Sarah," he said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!"

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.

"Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him.

"My only child is the same age as Sarah," he explained quietly.

"This is the least I could do." They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do.

Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

"Hi, Santa! Remember me?!" "Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the "only"child in the world at that moment.

"You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. "Sarah!" he exclaimed.

He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed.

Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tribute To a Most Wonderful Woman

...Wife, Mom, Daughter, Grandma, Godmother, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend and everything in between.

I wonder if she still uses the name "Sancha Melchor" up there in the celestial FaceBook network and still doesn't want to be found? Ja, ja, too late because we all know where she is and we all continue to "bug" her with our endless requests and to rely on her and her always wise advice.
Written with my kids in mind but meant to be shared will all of you my family and friends.

One year has passed and swooshed over my head. Where did it go?

Last year after attending Ducky’s birthday party, weak as she was, Sylvia decided she wanted to have her nails done, so together we went to the Salon and not only did she get her nails done but she also got a pedicure. I sat next to her getting a massage while we commented on how lucky we were.

We were all broke and some of you were already saying you felt bad for not having presents for us. The funny thing is that I remember both of us telling you how we were getting the ultimate Christmas present from all of you, and that was the fact that as different and weird you all are in a nice kindda way we just loved how all of you get along with each other. Yes, we know there are conflicts once in a while but for the most part you always conquer them and then move along.

I am sure she is still very happy because you guys continue to be nice to each other, and rely on one another, which is what being a family is all about. One thing I can assure you is she always thought of family being first otherwise she would not have helped you all as much as she did, and yes sometimes even behind my back if it involved money. Sneaky woman wasn’t she.

Today marks the first anniversary of her passing to a better life, and let me tell you that I personally think she is doing an awesome job as an angel. I hear she took care of three wonderful kids before sending them to us. She manifests herself through the rain every 22nd day of the month (except maybe last month as she took a day off cause it was her birthday month) and to date has come to visit many of you through your dreams.

This only tells me one thing and this is that GONE SHE IS NOT, her body is but not her heart and soul. She is as present today as she ever was, not a day goes by that I don’t see her photo and say goody bye as I go to work, I practically quote her everyday, thank her for teaching me how to cook so I don’t starve, see her when I see Nichole and Michelle, specially Michelle whom at times is like a mini her, and sometimes even when looking at Kika, spooky yes I know, but so true. And I won’t say anything about the correlation of Juan and Diego, but you all know what I am talking about.

Regardless of what the future may bring for me one thing is for certain my past will never ever change, that is documented and archived and filed in my memories so that I can always carry it with me wherever I go and yet have readily accessible as needed. And trust me I have 31 full years of those memories, which I know will last me for the entire rest of my life. Yes, in my life new memories will be made but the old ones will never die.

I ask of you to think of one little word, one that was on top of Sylvia’s list at all times. She thought of this as the most important part of life as she told it to me repeatedly. So please think of it, disseminate it, think it, talk about it, and then live it. Of course I am talking about the word “FAMILY”. I present you the word, but you guys have to give it meaning by your actual actions. I am hoping that you will find out that “family” is more than just a word in the vocabulary.

This morning I attended the 7:00 a.m. mass at St. Vincent de Paul as it was intentioned for Sylvia and as much as I like al padresito Jorge as Maryita calls him I was pretty happy that it was Father McCaffrey whom presided the mass. I thought it was only fitting.

I won’t lie to you I too miss her dearly, I miss her voice, her food, her jokes (which were few and far), her dancing, her scent, but most importantly her presence. But I have also accepted this as God’s will and I won’t question his judgment. So I made the decision to somehow have her with me every day in my thoughts, in my heart, and in my soul, this has worked for me and has kept me sane.

Sylvia and I had vowed to return to our church and to be a part of it. We initiated our bible studies, she had agreed for me to be a part of the choir and to get involved. She said she would even go back to St. Vincent de Paul. Wow, those were tough decisions for her and yet she knew it was time for us to do it. She told me she felt the importance deep in her soul. I intend to honor her by continuing what I am doing, and I invite all of you to join me. The Christian formation our church offers is not only necessary for our family but it is essential. It defines who we are in our faith in God and in Jesus Christ.

By the way the 8:00 p.m. Christmas Mass on the 24th at St. Vincent de Paul will also be for her. Those of you that can and would like to attend are cordially invited. Plus our choir will be singing so that night I will dedicate my singing to Baby Jesus and to her. Last year she made it a point to invite all of you so this year I carry her wish by doing the same.

So today as we all reflect and feel sad for her absence honor her by celebrating her life, a life that was full of great advice, of good wishes, and plenty of love towards every single one of us and imitate her to the best of your abilities. I am sure she wants her legacy to be carried on and passed to all her grand children, nephews, and nieces. Don’t miss her but carry her with you, and if you have the need to cry let them be happy tears as she is now resting next to God in a way better life, and just let her do her job from up there. As I said before so far she has made an exceptional job and I don’t foresee her stopping any time soon.

Love you all.

P.S. On her behalf have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No Santa Claus?

My son sent me this and I really love it. I still believe in Santa Claus and his magnificent power to make children and grown ups alike happy.

I believe in Santa!

What? No Santa Claus?

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.

I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.

I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.

I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.

It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" She snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.

That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car. "Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.

The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, and the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care....

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's sad to see how we take things for granted. Because God is being good to us we don't realize how fortunate we are, but then you sing up to sponsor a kid or a veteran for Christmas just so that they can have a present to unwrap and it kind of put things in perspective. When you get your "star" (in this case a sheet of paper) the first thing you see is a number, mine was D133B, and yes after that there is a name, my veteran's name is Joe but weather it's easier or more convenient I would hate to bee files as D133B and would prefer to find my file under "J" for Jose or Joe.

Another year is gone. Another Christmas is here! And I can't help but wonder where did the year go? What happened to it? It slipped right through my hands in what seemed like a blink of an eye. I have mentioned this before, now that I am older I don't like my years to disappear quite this fast except they do not ask me for permission. The days just come and go it seems at will.

So hopefully this sweatshirt/long sleeve t-shirt my veteran chose will be easy to find.

In the meantime, this is the best time to reflect on all of our blessings, on our families, on our health, and on those things that we don't want in our lives, like unemployment and poverty. Let's pray that things change for the better and our politicians finally see the light and do as they are expected.

Otherwise, we will become a number in the long lines of poverty. A lot of us can probably live with the essentials but it's gotta be hard to live with nothing. So do your part and if you are one of the lucky ones working as I am do not complain about your work conditions, about not getting a raise, about how not getting along, because even with all that many of us are probably way better off than most. I prefer to look for the positives and not the negatives, it just makes my life so much easier.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Through The Years

So I finally started a YouTube page to post some of the song vides my friends and family as well as myself record. Here I attempted to sing the Kenny Roger's classic "Through The Years.

I also intend to record as many songs as I can from our church choir and I will upload them little by little as they are available. Yes, the choirboy has been very active and is heading to his firs anniversary as a choir member.

If you want to visit my you tube page follow the following link and put it in your favorites so you can visit often, trust me I am trying to add something everyday so that there's always something fresh and new to be found.


Monday, December 06, 2010

South Mountain Park

This is what you see as you enter the park.

The other day on a lazy Saturday afternoon with nothing better to do we decided to cruise down to South Mountain Park. I been living in Phoenix for the past 20 years and I had never been there. Sure I see it from the freeway every single day but for the first time we actually went into the park and up the hill to see Phoenix from an eagle's eye.

Almost at the entrance you will find The Ponderosa Stables, for some $35.00 an hour you can take a horseback ride into the park. I'm thinking this definitely may be something to do in the near future.

Scenes from Ponderosa Stables at South Mountain Park.

Going up to the top takes a while. The road is nicely paved but it's narrow and with lots of curves easy to go down the cliffs if distracted. It is also a nice biker destination but again me being a biker I rate this ride as a ride for experienced riders, no rail guards on the road can easily spell disaster.

Ride carefully and this is one heck of a good ride to take.
Now these are my kind of horses

Once up the top you can see the whole valley. Phoenix is a pretty city that really isn't too big. If you are driving on I-10 you can enter Phoenix and leave it in less than an hour. You'll have a clear view of Downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Airport, the West Valley and even Scottsdale. Really a nice view in every direction.

The view from the top of the mountain is breath taking.

Can't believe one misses so much without even thinking about it. I had been missing this for 20 years and it's only a 20 minute drive from my home. I wonder what other interesting places I am missing. I think I will start a list of places to visit around me.

Looking at the horses and just plain looking pretty.

Scenes from South Mountain Park.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jurassic Park

Yes I am a dinosaur but of a different kind.

The plan was to leave sort of early but as always I procrastinate and by the time I took a look at the clock it was 3:00 pm. Of course my lil sis insisted in cooking for me because this would actually be the only meal she cooked for me this time. So I was only to happy to stick around for the fish, bean, and salad meal. Ummm que rico!

I said good bye and walked out, couple of more pictures and I was on my way. First stop to gas up. I noticed traffic was building up and then I realized it was Monday, so I gassed up as fast as I could and then headed towards the freeway. Being so close to the Pomona Freeway I decided to just take that one, big mistake, the 60 during rush hour is horrendous. If it wasn't cause when I travel I don't care about traffic I may have gotten upset. Fortunately that is just not me.

Joe Cool is ready to hit the road.

The freeway was at a stand still and all of a sudden I see these big rig move, I thought it was me moving so I apply the brakes only to realize that it wasn't my car the one moving but in fact it was the big rig, the pick up truck behind it didn't have a chance it was like roll, roll, roll, and then bam!!! I must give it to the pick up truck, it took the hit valiantly, I did not noticed extreme damage but I can just imagine the feeling of being behind a huge semi-truck and seeing it come your way.

Traffic lighten up a bit and I started cruising at a more steady pace. No food stops this time since my sister did feed me. I got to the Cabazon area and I just had to make a stop at the one place I missed back in August. The Cabazon dinosaurs were there just waiting for me. I've stopped here before but every time feels like the first time. This place is as close as I'll ever get to a Jurassic Park.

The Cabazon dinos.

It was cold, it was windy, and it was exciting. I captured a few good images of these fine specimens, went inside the belly of Dinny the big apatosaurus, and 40 minutes later I was back on the highway.

Of course back in the jurassic era when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Mustang already was the transportation of choice for the caveman. Smart fellows those cavemen were and with good taste too.

For more info on the Cabazon Dinos just CLICK HERE!

Another stop just to get me a coffee and a last stop in Quartzite to top of the gas tank and by 10:00 pm I was back at home.

Another great fun California trip, the last one this year. God providing I'll do this again next year.
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