Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adventures in California

On the road again! California bound, destination La Puente.

It is safe to say that I am getting way too familiar with I-10 between Avondale and La Puente. I know the gas stations, truck stops, towns, rest stops, casinos, freeways, etc. etc. I know that on marker 71 Maricopa county ends and La Paz county begins, and I know that from the top of the hill to my gas stop exit in Quartzite there are 11 miles.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." -- Henry Miller

Yes, I am getting too familiar with I-10 to the point where the five and a half hour drive is not that bad. Of course driving the 07 Pony is very enjoyable too. The seats are comfortable, the radio plays music straight from my DX memory card and won't repeat a song throughout the whole trip, the cruise control is very useful but I still prefer to have full control on the gas so I don't use it much, and sucker is pretty fast too.

The Post Office and The West Coast Vietnam Wall
In Chiriaco Summit, California

So this past trip was very nice, again I don't mind the five and a half hour drive to get there but I can tell you that the 45 minute mile and a half drive from Hacienda Blvd. to Azusa Blvd. in heavy Saturday traffic was extremely frustrating. No, I didn't see no accidents, traffic was just that bad and I have to ask myself how is it that the locals say "Oh this is not that bad". I understand that when you don't have a choice you kindda have to adapt and overcome but to anyone that is not used to that kind of traffic it is totally frustrating and upsetting.

We stroke out on finding a venue for the wedding but will continue to set appointments and I am confident that we will find something soon. We better!

Yahoo weather told me there would be rain over the weekend, well, Yahoo was right, however the rain came at night so Saturday and Sunday were actually very rain free. Monday was not as lucky as it rained most of the day. I left La Puente at noon and the rain followed me all the way to Palm Springs, at times it was raining so much that I could only see two cars ahead of me and my wipers were working on overtime. Then clear skies for about an hour and then rain again but not as hard all the way into Buckeye.

My honey and I posing for a picture in between dancing and singing.

I had a great time with my honey. We joined my sister at Casa Cabral on Friday night for some karaoke and lots of dancing. I was in a dancing mood. Karaoke rotation in Cali is a bit different than here in Phoenix. There you write your name, you get called and then if you don't write your name down again you are S.O.L. which defeats the term "rotation", so I got to sing a song and as I was saying good bye got a chance to sing a second song. Oh well!

Having good fun and dancing our little feet tired.

Well, each time I go there it's obviously a new adventure and I am sure there are more to follow during the next five months.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Trip of the Year!

Since I am not sure weather I'll leave for Cali on Thursday or Friday I am already busy at washing all the clothes, it's a ritual every time I go to put together complete sets of clothes that I will need for however many days I'll be there. It's sort of like making the anticipation a little more agonizing because many times I am completely packed and ready to go like two days in advance. Yeap, a glutton for punishment I guess but when you are by yourself you have to find something to do with your spare time which these days is pretty much all the time. He, he, he!

I am excited for this trip because although plans can change at any time and without previous notice we intend to go dancing and to karaoke, which means dress up clothes and dress shoes. And at this time I am still debating weather I want to drive or ride, there is a huge difference on how to pack depending on what I choose. But besides the fun part this trip is also destined for Abby and I to go and check out the different venues where we can hold our wedding reception and hopefully find a place and book it.

The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.
~Amy Grant

Yeap, the date is getting closer now, it is amazing how fast time has passed. The anticipation mounts and so does the stress, well not for me but for her, women tend to stress out a bit more than men in this area. lol Me, I am just confident that if it is God's will all will fall into place at the right time. So, I am truly hoping that much will be accomplished during this trip.

Love is a gift of one's inner most soul to another so both can be whole
~Tea Rose
One thing is for sure, I need to take up a collection to keep funding these trips because with a thirsty Mustang they are not cheap, so send your contributions in the name of love to my attention. lol Or not, money or not more than likely I'll still be traveling even if I have to be a stow away in a freight truck or something.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Monday!

Hanging with Mr. Cool.

First of all if my daughter wants to take me to the movies in the morning she has to call me at the very least with one hour of anticipation and not with just ten minutes, so when she said oh did I wake you I was like huh, well yeah! So no, I did not go with them to watch Beauty and the Beast in 3D.

Then she called again on her way back and asked if I was home. "Good hook us up with breakfast cause I am starving" she said, so I cooked this potatoes and egg brunch topped with my delicious home made red salsa and we had some really good tacos. At first the kids said they didn't want some, then they kept coming back for more thus reaffirming the fact that I am a great cook.

Mr. Diego's head was looking like a chia pet so I kidnapped him and kept him with me all day. We went to the Barber Shop were he received a nice buzz and then we came back to the house were we just kicked back and had a good time doing nothing.

Hanging with these little kid is one of the easiest things to do. He may be only eight but he totally acts and I think he truly believes he is much older than that. Never bugs, does not demand that we buy him things and if I do buy him things he always things about his three sisters first, he is full of kind words for everyone and basically just loves us unconditionally. Those that know him will agree with me that it is very easy to love him.

Later, we decided to watch a movie and Garfield was the movie he picked, so Garfield it was. Then my daughter said to come over to her house and to return her kid and she would pay me some tostadas as ransom. So after briefly weighing the options I was sitting in front of three tostadas and a very talkative Rapunzel.

No doubt God is good and he takes care of me through my family. Me, I just cherish the love that comes my way and pray to God that it doesn't ever end.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Family Get Together

On a Sundy afternoon...

Michelle and Nichole looking pretty and I believe hungry.

There is nothing like spending a Sunday in the company of your kids and grand kids, this blog doesn't really have a theme but if you look in the archives you will see that it has always focus on family and family life, and yes, mine in particular. I am pleased to see that we always pull through the adversities life may throw at us and we do so with unity, hope, and love, and lots of it.

That be me and Nikki. The pizza was just a hold me down until the real food was ready

During these past two years my little family has experienced many changes and little by little we are adapting to them, for a little while there I felt like we were all heading in different directions as part of the changes as well as the growth of the individual families, at times we all seem to just plain struggle but we are all making it one way or another.

When adversity comes knocking I am always amazed to see how fast my kids round up together and unite and start helping one another, this gives me a great sense of pride and to some point of accomplishment. My son is going through a rough time in his life and again not only my daughters but also my two son's in law have been there for him and it is so nice to see how he is thanking each one of us just by showing us some very positive changes. Yes, in this case actions are louder than words.

Michelle and El Daddy~O.

So for three Sundays in a row we have gotten together as a family and just enjoy each other's company weather by cooking or watching the football games, but mostly cooing, but as I told them, next week you're all on your own because this kid here will be making his first trip of the year to good ol' crowded Southern California, specifically the La Puente area.

I rock when it comes to cooking, today I prepared this finger licking good gallinita pivil.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thank You Ministers For All You Do!

Begin at Home
Someone once said: “Charity begins at home.” So does evangelization. Husbands and wives should help each other to take their faith seriously and grow in it. Parents are the first to help their children open their minds and hearts to Jesus by teaching them how to pray and giving
them their first religion lessons. How important for the family to practice their faith, especially by participating in the Sunday Eucharist.

So we were invited to a dinner at 6:00 o'clock in Sharp Hall as a "Thank You" to those of us that are in one of the many ministries at St. Vincent de Paul. As we entered the hall we were all registered and were given a wrist band, I thought father McCaffrey was going to give us unlimited beer thus the wrist band but no, it was actually a numbered band that later would be used for a prize raffle. Well one can only wish, ja ja and I don't even drink.

Upon entering the hall I noticed how much work had been put into this event. All the tables and chairs were nicely covered with table cloth and matching chair covers. A nice center piece with two candles and disposable cups with a bottle of coke on each table. Also I noticed that our peers, all those that organized this event dressed the part as professional waiters. It was a very nice touch. Each person had their assigned tables and they did a fantastic job first at making sure we all had bottled water and later in serving us first the salad, then the main course. We were on our own to go get the dessert as they had a huge dessert table set up as well.

I wanted to take many pictures of the event but my camera's battery died after the third or fourth image. Well no problem I'll use my camcorder which also captures images, wrong, Mr. Joe Cool forgot to reload the memory card in the camcorder so, needless to say I could not take any more pictures.

Serve your parish as a Eucharistic minister, lector, choir member, altar server, usher, etc.

A musical group that plays and sings charismatic music played for our listening enjoyment then Father McCaffrey introduced our new priest and welcomed him into our parish. After an opening prayer our waiters began bringing the food. They did an awesome job and we all enjoyed the food.

Then the prize giving started, it was fun as it was done in a white elephant fashion. There were a little bit over 35 presents given away and those that were lucky to have their number called were having fun at stealing the gifts from those that were hiding theirs instead of raising it up.

Help Someone in Need
It is important to see Jesus in the poor. When faith is put into action by serving those in need, faith comes alive and has the power to attract others. Evangelizers don’t just write checks but reach out to the sick, the homebound, the troubled, the homeless, the hungry, and the imprisoned. When others see this “hands on” service to the poor, they will take the faith more seriously.

Once the presents were finished it was time to have them opened by the winners, that also took a little while as there were many, finally they were done and now it was time for a DJ to start playing the music. The tables would be moved out of the way so that those that desired to dance could do so.

As a last surprise which I did not wait for a mariachi came in to play some music and to entertain those that remained there. It was a fun time in celebration with our peers from all the other masses both English and Spanish and I don't think anybody that attended had a bad time.

Prayer is what drives evangelization. Prayer is something we can all do – any time, any place. We can pray for ourselves and for others. And certainly, almost everyone, even the most hardened unbeliever, appreciates prayers in time of need.

I am happy to report that in about two weeks I will be celebrating my second anniversary as a choir boy and I am loving it more and more.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mi Familia

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! ~Albert Einstein

It's a new year and it's also time to recharge our batteries, time to regroup and to rekindle those things that for one reason or another started slipping from us. As I mentioned in a previous post I started my year with those that matter most to me and the happy feeling I had that day just does not want to leave again. So... after mass I texted my kids and asked a simple question, "How about hot dogs at my place?".

Well, needless to say they accepted my offer and once again we had a fantastic time together. The weather here in Phoenix has been gorgeous so while the older kids played outside, and the guys watched the football game, Michelle, Nichole, and I got busy preparing the hot dogs. I had been craving hot dogs with all the trimmings, the only thing I didn't want on them this time was bacon. Well, I didn't hear the end of that one. lol

Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown

Not all have the opportunity to have the family all gathered in the same place at the same time, I am just lucky that way. So every time we are together I cherish the moment and just take it all in and then I take a nap. lol Yes I do, and my daughters certainly have plenty of pictures of me doing this.

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

And thank you for a house full of people I love. Amen. ~Terri Guillemets

So, I for one love having these small family gatherings whenever possible, it is important to let each other know how much we care about one another, if we don't have each other to lean on then we have nothing. I am not making new year's resolutions, I never do but I do resolve to enjoy my family, all of it as much as I can.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard

Friday, January 06, 2012


I refuse to feel threatened if I have not done anything wrong, I have that power in me and I am thankful for it but sometimes living in a state like Arizona many people that also have done nothing wrong do live in fear.

OK living here illegally does constitute doing something wrong under the law of the United States but you know that popular saying that says "All rules are meant to be broken" sort of come into place here. Because if by breaking this one rule you as a father or mother can provide better for your family by honestly working and earning your keep then you cannot be considered a burden but an asset.

You have to experience this to understand, and in my case I did. Yes I am now an American citizen but that was not always the case, and I do thank my parents for giving me and my sisters a better life here in the U.S. than if we would have stayed in Mexico. Yes, they broke man's law but worked hard to repair whatever harm they may have caused by doing this. The outcome is my whole family, a product of love and sacrifice are all good citizens of this country, of our state, and of our community and are in no way a burden to this country.

My story is repeated over and over throughout the entire country and the few that may actually be bad seeds are a very minimum percentage. So education is key, we must educate our children and teach them right from wrong, don't wait til they get the warped notion of this on the streets. I know my kids without a doubt love everybody regardless of what nationality or color they are.

We only get one life to live, so I hope those I love live it well. Then there are those that waste valuable time on things such as hate and prejudice. I have to wonder what kind of home environment these kids live in. What would posses two seemingly nice teenage girls to fire up a camcorder and record what seem minute after minute of uninterrupted hate, voicing out what obviously are their beliefs but shamelessly based on hate towards their fellow man.

I say shame on you parents that allow your kids to do this, and shame on you if your kids learned this by example and are not doing anything other than following in your footsteps.

If you want to know what prompted this post just watched the attached youtube link. I know some of you will be in pro of this and some in con and in the end God Bless America because we have freedom of speech and are entitled to our own opinions.

On a side note, us Mexicans do like burritos and God forbid if they are bean burritos we can be lethal if you know what I mean. ;-)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Thousand and One Nights

I didn't even realize it until right now, after blog surfing and commenting for a while I came back to my own dashboard and then I noticed that yesterday's post was in fact my 1000th post. I guess this means that in the span of the past five plus years I have probably written 1000 little stories. Who would have thought I would keep this for this long? In June the blog will be six years old already, let's see how many more stories we can tell in the future.

I am surprised that Blogger is still very much strong, I think blogging took a downfall with the birth of Facebook but as far as I am concern as long as blogger is still alive so will my posts. Facebook and blogging to me are like night and day. Facebook is for a day to day but blogger is a progressive tale of my family life and is archived here for you to see.

So, today would be sort of the 1001 night for blogging, well kindda. What would you do if one night you come home and find out that you don't have keys to open it and the kids are cold and just plain want to go inside and attack their rooms and their beds? Well, that was the case on one particular night and me being the smart man that I am first searched to see if just by chance any of the window may have been left unlatched, which this particular night was not the case.

I don't even have a number for a locksmith so what is the next logical thing. Hummm I remember back in the other house I had to replace a kitchen window and after I took it out myself and took the frame to a glass shop the window was only around $8.00 dollars so there, that was my answer let's brake a kitchen window. So I took a deep breath and wacked it with a hammer, to my surprise it bounced back so another deep breath and bam success, or at least partial success. I didn't know windows in new houses were double paned.

Sooooo, one, two, three, and BAM! Second pane is now also broken, finally access to our house. Fast forward to the next day, and I am trying to figure out how to take the window out, strike one cause I could just not figure it out, all my manly family members gave it a try and strike two, no success, so I call a glass shop. After giving them the 411 on what I needed I found out that there was like a $75.00 fee for them just to go see it and measure it so Mr Smart a.k.a. as me said well have no fear I can measure it for you, so I did.

Well, based on what you are telling me double paned window with these dimentions the replacements will run you approximately $450.00 installation included. Ahh! Did you say $450.00 I think we need to hold on as I need to check my finances which at that time were hitting a regular low. Strike three!

People I knew all tried to figure out how to handle this on our our own but no luck.
Well people I am happy to report that some 3654 day after that insident, our phones now find the nearest locksmith, you can probably google how to brake into your own house, you can call a family member that has a key to your house and so on and you can also finally replace that darn broken window.

Yes, after ten years the window has finally been replaced and to my fiance locking the front door of the house will once again make sence. lol

This also proves that I live in a good neighbourhood. And that cardboard boxs make good interim window panes He, he, he!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Let It Unfold One Day at a Time

Now what? Where do we go from here? Last year was definitely a good year, it was fun, it was exciting, I certainly broke the record for trips to California, I fell in love, I got engaged, reworked my life, got rid of most of my possessions, lost my job of 21 years, and enjoyed life as it is being thrown at me. To me there is no other way, those of you that have known me for a long time already know that I no longer take things for granted, but I do enjoy what it is granted to me, I am still a simple man with simple goals and no unnecessary expectations, I have had good teachers and mentors in my life that have shown me that expecting less and enjoying more is the key.

So now we are already into the new year and with it come some very needed life fine tuning. As I continue my quest towards a new beginning with the woman I love I have to keep archiving my past and setting that clean slate that from this day forth will be filled with new dreams, hopes, and memories. The archives will be closed but as always readily available.

So finding a new job is now top priority on the agenda, after being in management most of my working life I would now like to find a job where I don't have to be the one calling the shots, I already have enough white hair and even though I consider myself to be fairly stress free it does take it's toll when all the responsibilities ultimately fall on your shoulders and when things go wrong you have to be the one putting your face out there. I think for once I would just like to worry about me and that's it. Don't get me wrong, I am a team player but what I mean is I just want to worry about my performance and not everybody else's.

Finding the funds for the upcoming wedding is also going to be priority one, but that will be right after I find a job, so with that said I ask everyone of you out there to give me a holler if you hear of anything out there and also to say a prayer on my behalf so I don't get too many rejections. I know it's a tough world out there these days so I will go out there with that in mind and I do expect it to be a tough hunt with plenty of competition.

I started a "To Do" list last year, sort of a honey do list but longer, lol. I have done very well in achieving and completing the tasks in the list and I am finding out that I like having it. I named it "Jose's very big to do list" so you can just imagine, I cross one task on it but add a couple more. Having the list just keeps reminding me that I can't deviate from it or it will get insanely long.

I have found out these past two years that I am in fact a smart man and I don't need to live my life in survival mode, I have always been like my mom when it comes to money and it is not hard for me to live on a budget and to stay within the budget. Thankfully I know how to live very little so that is a big plus. I can handle stress easier than most and people tend to confuse this with me being nonchalant but trust me I am not. I have never been nor I intend to ever be a conformist, I just don't like to live above my means, been there done that and I don't want it thank you very much.

So, all I am saying is that I think I learned a lot last year and now I am totally ready for this 2012 to start unfolding, so wish me luck and I promise I will keep you all posted as the events unfold.

Those of you that have been a daily part of my life I thank you and ask you to please don't abandon me as I need all the good vibes you all can send my way. Love ya all.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The First Day Of 2012

I love everybody even people I have not met in person but that have been in my everyday life. I know there are some people out there that don't really understand this concept but I have found some of the greatest friends I have in the Internet and I won't change them for nothing and I have no problem at all letting them now that I love them.

This being said I welcomed 2012 with the people I love and care the most. I spent the morning with the woman that I love the most, my fiance Abby and the woman probably loves me more than anyone in this whole wide world, my mom! And the sistersita that knows me better than anyone, the one that when I was little took care of me, and when I was young made sure my clothes were always looking sharp for the disco, and the one that always has an open ear to hear me out. Thanks sistersita for pulling me back to church, serving with you in our choir ministry has been a life saver.

After mass Abby and I came to the house to wait for those that have made my life very bright and very happy, yes I am talking about my three kids and my ten wonderful grand kids. Without a doubt God blessed me with the best kids a father can ever wish for and now these ten grand kids that bring sunshine and a lot of noise into my life. We were also very fortunate to have Abby's little girl and her boyfriend join us in a family carne asada. There is nothing better than to start the new year with those you love the most.

My two dysfunctional in laws whom I love as if they were my sons took over the grill and before we knew it we were all enjoying the carne asada. Abby had cooked this killer rice that one of my daughters dubbed as fantastic, some tasty beans, and a delicious pico de gallo, while I made two different kinds of salsas which as always the kids attacked right away with tortilla chips.

There was a little moment there when I didn't feel the love. They guys say there is a curse that if I watch my favorite team play they will lose so time and time again they ban me from the living room when The Cardinals are playing. I went out to take care of the meat on the grill but had to go inside to get a pan, I was in the kitchen for no more than 30 seconds when the opposing team scored a touchdown, the "Dad get out of here" screams came out from all of them almost in unison. Half an hour later they came out and said Dad you may now come back in, our team won. lol

What a fantastic family time we had together and I was so happy to be sharing this time with Abby.

Abby and I closed the day with a visit to my sister's house. There my nieces had us going with some of their stories, we drank coffee, talked, had fun, and laughed a lot. All in all it was a fantastic first day of the year.
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