Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where did Advent go?

OK, it is getting closer now and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Of course the stores began the season this year as soon as Halloween passed but the Christmas Season has actually not even started yet. One thing many people forget is that December 25th is the first day of Christmas and the Christmas season continues for 40 days until Candle mass, yet on December 26th you see the Christmas trees aligned on the street ready to be picked up by the trash collectors.

I remember when I was a kid living in Mexico we never had a Christmas tree at our house but I do remember my aunt putting up a very elaborate Nativity set every single year. She always told me that this should be done on Christmas Eve but she cheated and on December 16th the first day of the “Posadas” she would put it up, then kept it until at least January 6th the day of the Three Wise Men.

These days we start celebrating Christmas too early and don’t pay attention to Advent (I for one love the Christmas Season and want to extend it as long as I can and I too have become a culprit in this practice), but let me remind you that the season of Advent is one of preparation for us to receive Christmas and should not be ignored.

Again, my wish for you is that no matter how you all decide to participate in this wonderful holiday may you all have the best and the most joyous Christmas season and that peace, love, and family unity is the main focus as we all remember and celebrate Baby Jesus’ birth.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Glendale Glitters 2012

What to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Well considering we were already showered and fed as my mom and my lil sis came to visit earlier I thought I would show Abby what 1.5 million lights wrapped around trees, palm trees, and even buildings would look like on the yearly biggest block party in Historic Downtown Glendale. Yes, 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale get the sparkling treatment for the delight of millions of people that come to visit from November 23 until January 12. Welcome to Glendale Glitters!

On our way over to Glendale Glitters we noticed that the Tanger Outlets are already open. As we exited the freeway a line of cars wrapping around the entrance to Westgate had formed already, then again it was still Black Friday weekend so it was obvious people would be flocking the brand new shopping center. For us, that will be a future trip to go and explore and probably blow some moula.

City of Glendale Arizona, City Hall.

As we got to Historic Glendale I expected to have a hard time finding a free parking space ($10.00 prime parking signs are posted all over the place) but luck was on my side and we found a nice semi-empty street within a very short walking distance. As we crossed 59th Ave I have a habit of trotting while I cross the street but Abby hates it. Well this SOB on a big Ram truck didn’t show signs of wanting to stop even though we were at the middle of the intersection and on the crosswalk. I pulled Abby harder and then hesitated as I still was not sure of what he was going to do. We finally got to the other side and I couldn’t help but scream to the fool on the truck out of adrenaline charged rage. His female passenger attempted to do the talking for him but he sped away. OK this was the only bad incident of the night. They will get their just reward for their stupid careless actions in due time.

If you have never been to Glendale Glitters try to make the trip at least once. I know some of my family members like to go every year more than once. Food row is a huge attraction at this event with the ever famous and always tasty Indian bread having one of the biggest lines. If you have kids this is a good place for them to have a fantastic time as there are lots of attractions, rides, and activities aimed just at them. However take some money as it will set you a few dollars back.

Historic Glendale houses lots and lots of Antique Stores and they keep them open late during this time. If you are into antiques this is the place to be.

We walked it up and down, had some Indian Bread, entered a couple of Antique Stores, took some pictures, enjoyed the lights, fought the crowds (on opening weekend this event attracts well over a hundred thousand people each night), enjoyed the typical Phoenix Winter weather (no sweaters or jackets required) and then decided to call it quits and headed back home.

All in all, a good time once again. Life is good and God is always great.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arizona Mills

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.  ~Dave Barry

Ok she had been to Arrowhead Mall in Peoria but I still have not taken her to Arizona Mills in Tempe so after we attended mass and dropped my mom home I headed to the Mills without telling her where we were going. We got there on an empty stomach so I suggested we eat first. The mall as expected was pretty packed and parking space was scarce but we spotted an empty spot near the entrance and parked the car before we were beaten to it.

We had dinner at the Rainforest CafĂ© and let me tell you it took the whole rest of the day and lots of walking afterwards just to digest it. I had an extremely tasty steak and chicken fajitas plate while Abby opted for an equally tasty plate of pasta Cajun style aptly named “Pastalaya”. Ummm both plates were very delicious and filling and worth every penny. We pretty much finish all the food as we didn’t want to be carrying it all over the mall.

Ok the truth is we did carry the food but in our tummies.
Arizona Mills has more higher-end stores that are not found at Arrowhead Mall but when you visit the stores on a Sunday and a holiday is near and all the stores swear they have “good sales” the place becomes hard to navigate and I for one feel crowded and overwhelmed. I grew up being a swap meet type of guy not a mall person.

Still, Abby did find herself a cool looking suit ensemble in a different color than her standard black. I have yet to convince her to put more color in her wardrobe but hey little by little. It appeared that this year orange is the new pink but she wasn’t buying it.

Before we knew it gates and sliding doors were being slammed and that was out cue that it was time to go home. Truth be told my feet were so tired from walking that in my case should have been cue enough but Abby is a tireless browser/window shopper and I just have to shape up to keep up with her. Ah youth has escaped and swooshed over my head without my permission.

As we stepped out to the parking lot it was already dark and after a not to bad traffic jam from all the exiting shoppers we were on the freeway on our way back home.

All in all, a most excellent day out in the company of my honey. I am sure we will be doing this again soon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NASCAR - Advocare 500

The post said to first register to win, second to write a post as to why I like NASCAR, and third to upload a favorite NASCAR related picture of mine, and it was a that point that I said that the prize which consisted of a 4-pack of NASCAR tickets for Sunday's race was mine. Well, at least that's what I told myself.

So I did, I followed the motions and did as they instructed and then for the next four days I kept checking my facebook and my phone for texts as I was just waiting for the good news that I was the winner... But nothing. Then Thursday night as we got to our church choir practice I received a voice mail, funny thing is I never heard my phone ring and it said: "Congratulations Jose you have just been selected the winner of the 4-pack NASCAR tickets and if you call this number tomorrow we will instruct you on how to get them".
I just kinda laughed when I told Abby cause I had been waiting for that call all week as if I was certain I would get it.

My daughter Nikki is a pro at winning contests and immeadiately she sent me a text congratulating me for the win. When I suggested that maybe now it was time for me to start buying lotto tickets she said: "Trust me dad, I have done it and it doesn't work". Talk about a harsh way to burst my bubble. Well, I can't no longer say I never win anything right!

So, we recruited a couple of awesome kids to fill the other two seats, Diego and Loyiel Jr. a.k.a. "Ducky" were only too happy to come with us. So after picking them up we headed to P.I.R. which fortunately is only a few minutes away from the house. Being that NASCAR is attended by thousands of people streets get closed and traffic gets re-routed but I know the shorcuts. He he he!

Ah! Victory is mine... not the bike though.

We got there a bit late so we missed a lot of the exhibits and stuff but we did get to see the F-16s fly over and the fireworks. The seats were right before turn #1 but we were only the third row from the bottom and the view wasn't the best, when the cars passed in front of us they were just a blur and if we turned our heads to the right to see them go they were already dissapearing on turn one.

Nevertheless, we had an awesome time, the kids really enjoyed it and we got to go RV hopping too, so at least that was fun.

Oh yes! It was loud and the kids had ear plugs and fingers in their ears.

All in all, Abby and i  had another fun and succesful outing, this time with two of the g-kids.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Old Litchfield Arts Festival

And as always we had a good time but the heat beat me up again and the fatigue sat in and sent me to sleep just as soon as we got back home...

We got up and watch some TV and then I realized the day was so attractive and it was saying get out of the house and enjoy. So I told Abby to get ready cause we were going out. I had read in the newspaper that the City of Litchfield was having it's annual Arts Festival and I thought for sure we would have a good time. Too bad we couldn't afford any of the nice stuff for sale there but it is always nice to just watch and get ideas.

Quick stop at the bank to get some petty cash and we were on our way. We got there at around noon and Old Litchfield Road was packed, we were lucky to find a parking spot very close by. We were welcomed by the Food Row area and since we hadn't had lunch we decided on eating first. Food at these type of events is always expensive but for some reason always extremely tasty.

She didn't know what was saltier, the curly fry or my curly hair!

We ordered a sausage dog and a very big order of curly fries. Ummmm que rico! Abby found this cute small round curly fry and I just couldn't resist proposing again.

With this fry I thee wed!

To Be One With Each Other
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?-George Eliot

So here we are, it's already November and the weather is still hot. OK, it was not extremely hot but hot enough. So we walked up and down and pretty much stopped at the majority of the vendors tents. I always fall in love with big frames as I have a big tall wall that is screaming for some major art, maybe soon.

These Native Americans travel to different places taking with them their beautiful music and dance. We watched them perform for a while and then continued walking through the fair.

All in all we had a very nice time.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Christmas Season

Are you all ready for Christmas? Without a doubt for me the Christmas season is the best time of the year and yet for many years we struggled to get pass it. Yes, I know that now Christmas is highly commercialized but that is not what Christmas is all about. To put it in very simple terms Christmas is the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and to do this we have come out with many customs and traditions not celebrated by one or two people but by billions of people around the world.

There is a warm and fuzzy feeling I get througout the entire season. I love to also live the Christmas season through my kids and grand kids and hope that in some way we all get past the hoopla that comes with it and just share the love and goodwill that surrounds this important celebration.

There are many traditions such as hanging Christmas lights, getting a Christmas tree to decorate, sing Christmas Carols, exchange gifts, and eat lots and lots of delicious food but I have a tradition of my own that I adopted and that is to watch as many Christmas movies as I can. The reason for this is that the majority of them have a positive message and in many cases are inspirational and most of the time I end up by myself watching as many as I can.

In previous years I use to set my DVR on overdrive to record all the Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark channels and kept watching the recorded movies well into January or February, but I no longer have the luxury of a DVR and my current cable plan doesn't even include the Hallmark channel so last year I had Christmas movie withdrawals.

Well, this year it seems this won't be a problem. Thanks to Netflix I am already on my 8th or 9th movie this year so far and counting, and I already am in a Christmas mood.
The Advent and Christmas season is also a busy season for our church choir and I look forward to it. I think of Christmas as the best time of the year to share life with family and friends and just as Christmas is the best time of the year in the economy representing a big part of any business yearly revenue, it should also create a sort of spiritual revenue in our souls to carry our love and goodwill for one another until the next Christmas season.

My wish for you is that no matter how you stand economically this Christmas season, you get to enjoy the magic of the season by counting your blessings and realizing that the best things in life are free.  Visit your local church and attend the Christmas mass and then just celebrate with a wonderful Chrismas dinner in the company of your family.

I hope you all get into the Christmas spirit.

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