October – what’s it to ya?

Well, another month has passed and I haven’t felt all that inspired to write a blog post. I used to try and update this thing weekly, but Twitter and Facebook get more attention. Jesse is still raising money for his trip to Europe. We drove to Barstow the past two weekends to clean up the yard at my brother/mom’s place. The first weekend we worked 8 hrs and hauled off 3 truckloads of tumbleweeds and branches. It also happened to hit around 105 that day so we were a might bit tired when we finished. This past Saturday, we were able to finish the job and hauled two more loads to the dump. We managed to finish before the heat set in and even stopped to enjoy lunch at our family favorite Rosita’s run by my good friend Genaro.

Now we are looking to hold a yard sale, so we will be pouring through all our belongings to determine what stays and what goes. It’s been 5 years since we moved in, so we definitely have some stuff that can be sold. If you are in the area the weekend of October 15-17th, be sure to stop by and buy some stuff. Jesse will be parting with some of his Star Wars collectibles and the countless Lego Bionicles he has accumulated. We are also going to clear out the DVDs and video games too. Hopefully, we will raise enough to pay for most of his Europe trip. That’s about all from here. Hope you are having a great fall and that the holiday season ahead is full of joy.

Time for the bi-monthly blog post

Hmmmm, let me think. It’s been two weeks since the last post so something must have happened that I can write about. Well there are the obvious sports related things: Angels sweeping the Dodgers(included for my best friend Jim), Lakers advance to the NBA Finals and battle the hated Celtics, the US begins Group play at the World Cup, all of which I enjoyed watching from the comfort of my home except the losses to Boston. No enjoyment at all for those, but the Lakers will wrap things up in the next two games to secure another title.

I went with a former co-worker Rich, who passed through town, to lunch at Lola’s in Barstow a couple of weeks back. I also took a large group to Rosita’s for lunch and Jerry took great care of everyone. Friday night, Jerry threw his 45th birthday bash at Rosita’s and even got hair extensions put in to rock the mullet. It was great seeing lots of Barstow High classmates there (Jerry, Jessica, Laurie, Gary, Derelyn, Clark, Chris, Cruz, Theresa). The old saying still holds true, “84 parties more.” Saturday, after watching the US-England match, Renee and I worked in the yard taking care of weeds and raking the gravel on the driveway. I did read a couple of Star Wars novels too. I finished Fate of the Jedi:Allies yesterday. That’s about all from here. Hope everyone is going to have a great summer as the kids get out and the vacations begin.

Pomp and Circumstance – 25 years later

Twenty-five years ago, the Barstow High School Class of 1984 marched across the stage to receive their high school diplomas and launch out into life. We were full of dreams and hopes not knowing what lie ahead, but ready to leave BHS behind. I remember thinking how, like almost every student, I looked forward to leaving the campus behind and enjoying what I would do with my life. I wrote in my senior plans, “I plan to stick around Barstow for a year and then go down to San Diego State.” I was going to study Broadcast Journalism and become a television news reporter. Things didn’t exactly work out that way.

Two weeks after graduation, I was on a Greyhound bus bound for San Jose, CA. My best friend was living in a transient hotel and had a job lined up for me. I went to work for Bentz Tool in Campbell, CA as a Grinder’s apprentice. I was laid off after two weeks and eventually landed a job at a plating company in Santa Clara, CA doing shipping/receiving. I eventually moved back home to live rent free and worked mowing lawns/trimming trees around Barstow. I got tired of that, visited the recruiter and signed up for the Army to get out of Barstow.

I would eventually be stationed in Alaska where I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Reassigned to a post in Texas, I left the Army and married my wife. Our journey took us to Bible school in Dallas, youth pastors outside Ft. Worth, back to school in Tulsa, on to more school in Kentucky, before returning back to California.

I never figured, 25 years after graduation, I would be working back in Barstow and living in the desert again. I am not complaining as I have a great job and actually enjoy being in the desert. The town I desperately wanted to leave at graduation is now the place I provide for my family. I go to restaurants I loved growing up and see people I have known since grade school. I enjoy the smell of rain and work helping people understand the desert. Who knows what the next 25 years will bring? I have enjoyed the last 25 and trust the Lord to direct my steps in the next 25.

‘Up’ Movie Review and Weekend Recap

Friday night, I was excited to see the Lakers return to the NBA Finals yet again. Renee and Jesse went to see his old classmates choir recital at AVCS allowing me to yell and scream at the Lakers until they won the game. Now they need to finish the return and beat the Orlando Magic to win the championship. Saturday morning, I had everyone up early and loaded in the truck on our way to Barstow to repair a downed section of fence at my brother/mother’s house. We made a brief stop at Plata’s for breakfast burritos before getting to work on the fence. I felt bad for the neighbors as we pounded nails from 9:30 to 10 am, but it was already approaching 90 by the time we were done.

Once we returned home, we showered and we headed to the theater to see Up by Pixar in 3D. Jesse stayed home so Renee and I went to see it. Previously, we had seen extended clips of the movie presented by the Pixar design team at NAB in Vegas so we had some idea of what to expect. Renee even made some custom lenses in advance to fit over her glasses so she didn’t have to wear glasses over her glasses. The story is about a widower named Carl who is having to leave his home to enter a nursing home, but opts to escape with his home into the sky and head to South America to fulfill a wish of his wife. He inadvertantly takes a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell along for the journey. It is a touching story of regret and renewal. In trying to fulfill his wife’s wish, he discovers a new life to enjoy. The imagery is great and the story even better. Though Pixar is known for it’s “kid’s movies”, this will tug at the heart of anyone.

Sunday morning, I helped Jesse work on his truck by adjusting the alternator so that it lined up with the flywheel better to eliminate wear on the fan belt.Then along with Renee, I began the scraping of the acousitc ceiling in our bathroom. It was in bad shape and was looking awful. So it was scraped clean. The mess was confined to the bathroom and was cleaned up with some effort. We ran to Lowes and purchased some semi-gloss paint and applied the first coat to the ceiling. A few hours later, we applied the second coat and moved everything back into the bathroom. I don’t think I want to attempt the reast of the house just yet, but I am sure it will get done one way or another. I vote for another, meaning I would like to hire somone instead of doing it myself.

Visit from my brother

Over the weekend my brother Chris came in after going to Microsoft Tech-Ed in LA. Saturday we hung out at the house and delved into all the swag he acquired. We went to lunch at Nicks and enjoyed some pizza and chesesticks. Jesse left afterward to do yardwork/scavenger hunt with his youth group until that evening. Sunday morning, Chris and I loaded up and went to Barstow. Before leaving Apple Valley, we stopped at Stater Bros. grocery store and upon leaving I wrongly advised him there were no parking curbs. There were, but only where he had parked. He ended up puncturing a sidewall. After changing to the emergency donut, we went back to the house and got my truck. We stopped at the 1st St Del Taco for breakfast burritos and then began digging through boxes that were in storage. He found some things to take home, but there was a lot of stuff we wondered why my folks had kept. Once it got too warm and his curiosity was satisfied, we returned home to shower and catch the two Game 7s in the NBA playoffs while snacking on flour chips from Rosita’s. Monday, I was back to work, but Chris came up for lunch at Platas after finding a replacement tire. Monday night, we ate at In-N-Out to satisfy another SoCal food fix before he left Tuesday morning. It was great to see him and reminisce about old times.

What has happened since February?

A month with no blogging and now twice in a week. Go figure. On the 13th, we celebrated Renee’s birthday. I got her a Bluebell T-shirt and plush since we don’t have any Bluebell Ice Cream in CA. We took her to Mimi’s Cafe for dinner and then had some cake and ice cream when we got home.

Her parents arrived from TX the following Sunday and then the rain came down. We ended up taking them to the Route 66 museum in Victorville on President’s day. We drove Route 66 to Barstow and ate at Idle Spurs. The next night, Renee and I celebrated our 19th anniversary with her parents at Dinapoli’s Firehouse in Apple Valley. A few days at the house was enough for her folks so I took the rest of the week off to drive them around. On Thursday we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. We even got back through Cajon Pass before traffic got bad. On Friday, we went to Calico Ghost Town and stopped for an early dinner at Rosita’s. Saturday we drove them to the airport and I caught my pinky in the door as we unloaded. OUCH! I quickly wrapped it in some napkins and we saw them to the terminal.

On the 24th, I got older. Enough said. Renee insisted we go to dinner so we went to Mama Carpino’s in Apple Valley. Last weekend, Jesse and his youth group went to camp in the San Bernardino Mountains. With him gone, Renee and I enjoyed some Chinese food which he doesn’t like and finished her Columbo DVD. If you want to see any photos, join Facebook and friend us.

Snowing in Barstow

Yesterday, we had a rare heavy snowfall in Barstow. On average, it snows once every five years there. Unfortunately, I was already at work when it began to fall. It was beautiful to watch, but very hard to get anything productive done. As a kid growing up in Barstow, the moment you saw snow falling, all activity ceased. We would walk right out of class, right out of school and start playing in the snow. Even if it didn’t stick, we left becase it snowed so seldom. So with the snow accumulating, offices began to close. First the BLM office closed and then the Mojave National Preserve. We were going to be left alone until we were told that we too could go home. Funny thing was that by the time I hit the freeway and made it to Lenwood Road, it was nothing but rain. It rained all the way home to Apple Valley. Renee was disappointed that there had been no snow at the house. She has her hopes set on some falling there soon.

Rain on Halloween….No Surprise!

As a kid growing up in Barstow, one thing you could always count on was that come the end of October it would be cold, windy, rainy or all of them combined. I remember several times getting all dressed up to go trick or treating and having it rain as we went around door to door. Did we stop because of the rain? No way! There was candy to be gotten. Then there was the weird tradition that was only in Barstow of having the Mardi Gras parade on October 31st. Why? I have no idea, that is just when it was. So trick or treating was always on the 30th. We didn’t know any better, so once you moved away you found out that Mardi Gras was not at the end of October and regular places actually trick or treated on the 31st. They recently changed that tradition and now hold the parade the weekend before Halloween and let kids trick or treat on the 31st. The Mardi Gras parade was always a cold night as well as you were in the parade or along Main Street/Route 66 watching a sibling in it. Eventually they began broadcasting it on the local cable channel and that was some big deal because you could be on TV.

As I left the house this morning, the rain was falling and the clouds were rolling in right on schedule.

Back to work after my brother’s visit.

All good things must come to an end or so the saying goes. I was able to hang out with my younger brother over the last few days as he was in town for his 20th high school reunion. It was great reminiscing about our days past and laughing about memories. We even managed to get a breakfast burrito from Plata’s before excavating things from the many layers of dust in Barstow. Some of those things hadn’t seen the light of day in a long, long time. All in all it was a good visit and we really enjoyed having him visit. Now to get back to work after having 5 days off…where is the any key….?

Copper thieves give me the afternoon off

Friday, I was given the afternoon off by copper thieves. We went to lunch at Rosita’s and returned to an office full of beeping back-up battery supplies. It turns out that copper thieves had decided to steal copper from on of the nearby substations. This resulted in a large portion of Barstow losing power. We waited around for a few hours before calling it a day and heading for the house. The power remained out until 7 that night.

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