Monday, November 28, 2011

An L.A. Adventure

Of course being late to our appointment with Fr. Ruben was not a part of the plan but somehow it happened. I had it in my mind after reading the reminder on my phone that our meeting was at 10:00 so we left with what we thought was plenty of time to make it from La Puente to St. Vincent de Paul church in Los Angeles. Not only were we delayed from what to me is an insane amount of traffic but when we finally reached our destination there was no place to park as an episode of the show "The Closer" was being filmed both in the parking lot as well as in parts of the church.

So finally we parked a couple of blocks away in a metered one hour parking spot. We run, OK I run and pulled Abby but when we finally were let into the office the priest what opened the door for us said Father Ruben was gone to do some shopping for an out of town trip.

Why couldn't he wait for us after all we were only late for a few minutes. Oh well we will just have to postpone our meeting with him another week or two. So I pulled my phone to call him and then I realized my note said our meeting was at 9:00 am. Yeap, I totally got the times messed up. So I left him a message and then we went for breakfast.

So, we decided to hit Olvera Street. I had not been there in a very long time and I was surprised to see so many people walking there on a Tuesday morning. We definitely had a good time going in and out the different shops there and just basically window shopping. Of course I took advantage and as always went on a picture taking spree.

It was 2:00 pm when my phone rang. Father Ruben suggested that if we could get there by 2:30 he would see us. Now Calle Olvera is only about four miles from St. Vincent de Paul but in rush hour traffic it might as well be across the city. I however found holes here and there to maneuver and after parking two blocks away again and running towards the office we were only seven minutes late this time.

Success, paperwork was turned in and the meeting went well and that my friends are some of my L.A. adventures these days.

Scenes from La Placita Olvera in Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Engaged Encounter Weekend

It was a fantastic week and weekend, how does time go so fast, why does it seem like you just blink an eye and it's gone. Yes that again was the case last week. I got to La Puente Wednesday afternoon and as usual I was hungry so my lil sis and I went to Las Marias to have some Mexican food, I had the steak and shrimp fajitas which were delicious and more than enough for me to also have lunch the following day.

Thursday I spent all morning in the house and everybody was at work then in the afternoon my sis cooked a tasty steak "bistec ala Mexicana", and at that time I was surprised by Abby whom showed up a day early as I was expecting for her to get to La Puente on Friday. Now that was a wonderful surprise indeed.

Abby and I.

This plate is at the entrance of the chappel.

Our "Engaged Encounter" retreat was over the weekend and it took place at St. Mary's Seminary in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara. I had purchased the snacks we had to take to share with the other couples but being a guy I never read through the lines when I got the instructions for the weekend and forgot we also had to take a pillow, additional covers, a robe (optional), and a towel. Abby also forgot to bring her make up case which she had ready and left it back at her house so the not reading the instructions through cost us an additional hundred bucks, ouch! I hope I learned my lesson.

So we left for Santa Barbara with plenty of time but being Friday afternoon I anticipated lots and lots of traffic all the way. Although I was right it really wasn't that bad, we had to be there at 7:15 pm and according to my car's stereo we got there just in time as finally after taking like 20 left and 10 right turns up the mountain we finally found the seminary, we knew the view must be breathtaking but we couldn't see nothing as it was pitch black going up the hill.

First thing I notice upon arriving is that there is only a couple of cars in the parking lot, so we got off and went to ask where the registration was taking place. The nice couple sitting there whom we later got to know as the senior presenter couple told me, they were not even set up yet because it was still too early. Too early? It is now 7:15 pm the time the instructions said to get there, and then it hits me, not only does it get dark very early right now but my car's stereo has Arizona time which is an hour ahead. Duh! So, from that moment on we were know as the first couple to get there.

Scenes from the beautiful St. Mary's Seminary.

After registration they started promptly at 8:00 pm with their welcome speech and they dove right into the topics. The presenters consisted of a senior couple whom had been married well over 50 years and a junior couple whom had been married about 17 years, and the priest whom I though was one of the coolest most easy to understand and well spoken man. He is currently the priest for the students at Santa Barbara State University so he is used to dealing with young couples which most of them were.

His name is John and at first I did not catch his last name, but on Saturday he wore his name tag and I noticed his last name is "Love". One of the many anecdotes he told us was that before he became a priest he used to date. He dated this girl for about six years and he shared to us that her name was Gay. He said she actually didn't mind the name combo but she said it would have been fun explaining that check book signature. When he broke the news to her that he would be becoming a priest she replied that she already knew it.

So more than once throughout the weekend I got a teary eye as the couples shared their own personal experiences with us, it is very easy to create a bond with these couples and with the priest and the bare their souls in front of us for the sake of making sure our own brand new relationships and commitments take off in the right direction. At the Engaged Encounter is not uncommon to see couples arguing amongst themselves as they explore their most intimate inner thoughts with an open mind.

Abby and I with Fr. John Love.

Abby and I with Joe and Kathie.

Abby and I with Jorge and Katie.

They fed us so much during this weekend that for a moment there I thought I wan on a cruise and not on a retreat. There's a Mexican family that takes care of all the housekeeping duties as well as all the cooking and let me tell you the food they came out with was the bomb.

We had a Sunday afternoon mass and then we received our certificates of completion which are required by the church were we will be getting married, then at around 3:30 pm were were sent home.

Sunday morning we woke up to the beauty of rain and fog and lot's of food.

The gardens there are just too beautiful and well taken care of.

Looking down the hill.

The front of the chappel.

By the chappel facing the ocean.

It was a wonderful weekend, I learned a lot from it and we, Abby and I intend to use what we learned on our daily lives.

The drive back to La Puente was even faster, the GPS app on my phone is now becoming one of the most used and trusted apps I have. I think it's amazing how these computers can think and re-think the routes to our destination with such accurateness.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

So after a wonderful week in Los Angeles I finally left La Puente at around 10:00 pm and headed back to Phoenix, the idea of leaving late was to bypass all the traffic which I knew would be heave as the city to spend the holiday with their family. I still got caught in some slightly heavy traffic but it was flowing really good all the way.

It was almost 3:00 am when I got home and as always it felt good but truth be told it is harder and harder to leave Abby behind. Yes I know that will be fixed pretty soon but it just isn't happening soon enough.

After a short visit to my mom's I headed to the store to buy the stuff that we needed for our Thanksgiving feast, I was rushing as I thought they would be closing early but I should have known Walmart being Walmart would never close.

For the first time in many years we did not celebrate Thanksgiving in my house. Also my son and his family decided to branch out and celebrate on their own so this year Nikki and Loyiel were the hosts so I got ready and headed their way. I knew to get there early for the picture taking session which is always a fun time for sure.

Not only did we do our normal photo session but then my daughter Nikki decided to start practicing on her new found passion, painting faces, so she started with Michelle and then with Alexis and before she knew it the kids were taking a number to wait for their turn. Of course we took a bunch of pictures as all this happened and it turned out to be more fun than it was probably intended.

We did however had a wonderful time, complete with lots of delicious food, turkey and ham included and a plethora of side dishes. Two pumpkin and a peanut butter pies for desert completed the meal. Now the countdown to Christmas begins. Me, I am already in a Christmas mood, if you know me then you know that Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I don't mean it because of the commercialization of the holiday but for the reason of the season.

So, please allow me to start wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Major Life Changes... Bring Them On

OK so the question was "Now what?" For now it's been sort of a laid back take a much deserved break and enjoy your time off kinda time but realistically this cannot last for too long or hell will break lose. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about even though by now it's old news I lost my job back in September just a week after my 21st anniversary.

Two years ago the best company that I had ever worked for was sold and change was inevitable. It was the best ride I had as far as work is concerned and I will remember my time there as some of the best time spent anywhere. Can't say enough about a workplace that was always good to me, the owner showed compassion and understanding to all his employees and was always the first one to jump in in the time of need.

He also made sure that all of his employees would get a piece of his success in a financial way as a "Thank you guys" for caring so much about this company. It even felt good when out of the kindness of his heart he made some of us partners by giving us the money to buy into the company.

However private ownership and corporate are two different things and the changes began almost immediately, add to that a really bad economy, and it was not really a big surprise to see it coming. Job security had been a topic of daily conversation as many felt and probably still feel that it can happen to anyone at any time. Then again most of us know that absolutely no one is indispensable.

With an upcoming wedding a big event like losing your job changes everything and in my experience the best way to survive is to accept it, embrace the change, and work towards a new path for the future. I truly believe it will actually be fun and in recent self evaluations I found out we won't really need much to have a comfortable and enjoyable life so future bring it on!

Yes, the job search has begun, I am ready for what I imagine will be a long and tediuous job to fill your imformation in the never ending websites as it seems no company wants to hand applications the old fashion way. Now it's all done on line where most likely your chances are 1 in 1000 and yes the "Sorry to inform you that you are not the right candidate for our company" have began coming in but I already expected that and I don't really take this notices too hard... yet!

So just remember that if any of you out there hear about some job opening and wants to recommend me go right ahead, me and my bank account will thank you dearly if I get hired somewhere. lol

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

KOOL FM Car Show!

The annual Cool FM carshow was once again held at Westgate City Walk in Glendale, Arizona. This is a fairly big show where you will find pretty much every kind and brand of cars on display. From the always popular Hot Rods to the not so shinny but always beautiful Rat Rods, low riders, trucks tall and low and even bikes not only the ones with shinny engines but also the ones with pedals.

For the second year in a row I find out about the show at the very last minute through my FaceBook friends, otherwise I would have taken my Pony to show. So, I got on my car and headed towards Westgate.

My friend's entries. Denver's rad Rat Rod and Don's awesome F100.

As soon as I got there I see this beauty and it's not even in the show. Wow!

One red hot Hot Rod.

Then I see four Caddies lining up in the registration line, let me tell you these Caddies were hot, however I could not get past this one as it was one beautiful sled.

Not only did I walk up and down the rows of cars but the sun was shining so much and I being the smart old dude that I am was only wearing a muscle shirt so as you may already have imagined I got a mega tan bordering on mega burn. Ouch! But even under those conditions my mission was clear, see as many cars as you can and just enjoy the show.

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