Friday, August 26, 2016

New Lives

And just like that, she's gone.
It happens to every family with children and some are lucky that their children don't move away too far just to keep an eye on them from time to time. But, when your child goes away to college, it hurts. My oldest daughter left yesterday morning to begin her New Life away from the only home she known for the last 18 years and nothing will ever be the same. Not for my wife, for my son, who will also start college next year and not for my youngest children (Triplets) who will also start kinder in a couple of days.
Our last life changing event was when the Triplets were born. Prior to that it was just coasting with two teenagers who were very independent and that gave my wife and I more time to each other. Then the Triplets came.
I am of the belief that we all live different lives during our mortal lives and that through each stage we come to meet different people and as we transition from each one, we have to learn to let go of the previous one, though there is always a constant and that's our immediate family circle. This stage will stay with you 'till death. That gives me hope that even though my daughter is now gone to discover herself and branch out into her own life, that I will remain a constant in hers. I am hopeful but also realize that to every rule there is an exception. 
Her leaving also prepares us for my son's departure next year, even though he says, he'll never leave. (We're in trouble) At the same time, it gives us a glimpse into our future with the Triplets, triple the love and the drama.

Last week, I had an opportunity to take my daughter to Los Angeles for a trip down memory lane (details will be in a different post). This trip was intended to give her a closer look as to where her dad came from and how his life in the United States began, as if given birth to, stepping out of the trunk of a car and into his new life. The intent of the trip was to show her that our lives evolve in ways that we control up to a certain point, then whether your life is already written in a book by a mighty being or left to chance, you have to make the best with each situation that you find yourself in.
I can't deny that I'm happy about her choice to leave town for a college experience but also sad that she won't be in the house, or her bedroom when I get home from work. 
Just like that, she's gone, and we will get used to our new lives. 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Honeymoon #2

True beach volleyball 

Melissa getting tossed by the waves


Kids at play

This guy had just proposed to his girlfriend. They asked me to take a picture of them. So I did, including one with my camera

Breakfast with a view 

Butter cake for my birthday 

"And I see your true colors shining through."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chapter 17

I've seen you grow and become a woman with your own:
I've seen you cry through pain and happiness and I've cried with you.
I've seen you trust and love without questioning.
I've seen your loyalty for those you love.
I've seen you love your sisters as if they were your own children. 
I've seen you love your mom as if she was your natural mom.
It saddens me that we are approaching a time when you will take flight
A time when you will become more and better than you are now.
It saddens me that the price to your happiness is my joy and tears at the same time.
But like the flower that closes at darkness only to spread its leaves at the first sight of light, 
I look forward to the day that you take flight and become yourself.
What our creator destined for you.
I've seen you grow and I can't wait to see more of it.
Through sadness and joy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A great day with the triplets

Drove out to Lake Mead and Dam and look what we found. Tunnels!
It was a great day and the babies walked like real pros, there were some trip and falls but overall they did great. 
Enjoy the sights

This was our first stop. It seemed a bit steep then we realized trails were mostly for mountain bikers, so we decided to go to the Dam instead.
Dangerously peeking over the bridge and looking down into the Dam.
The Dam as viewed from bridge.
Ready to start our hike. It is now 1:30PM

First of five tunnels. Weather was great

La familia, walking together.

Low flying helicopter tours, noisy.

Couple of hours later, they were getting tired. 

Almost back to car. 
It was a great day. Who says there's nothing to do in Vegas?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Girls' Soccer - Third Season

The girls started "playing" soccer last year. Not sure whether they were going to like it or hate it, we went at it like every parent sticking their kid(s) into a sport or activity not of their choosing. 

I believe our expectations were much higher that theirs so it was very frustrating to Melissa and I when the girls would just stand around on the field while everyone else attempted to chase the ball. There were other kids who acted the same way while their parents also yelled and pulled their hair in exasperation.
Joining the team was not cheap, so yanking them out after the first two or three sessions was not an option. With encouragement from their coach and after much consideration, we signed
them up for the second season hoping they would take to it and have fun. Of course they were having fun, it was us parents who were not.
Season two was at beginning of Fall last year.
They were a little more willing to participate this time around though every now and then, they would still act up and revert to playing with grass while their teammates either ran around them or joined them at staring at flowers.
We still were not 100 percent convinced that they were into it and with Melissa being the only one dealing with practice nights while I was at work, we still debated whether they would com back for Spring.
Spring is but two weeks away and their third season began today. The difference in their level of participation and understanding of the game is, as Kitty would say, "fantastic". 

I've had the chance to be at some of their practices now that I'm not working nights anymore and I can see a huge difference from last year to this one and I'm looking forward to not just their practices but their games as well. Even if they just stand in the middle for the field while Melissa and I yank our hair out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy 16th birthday Olivia!

What a day 16 years ago. You came into the world a happy baby with a mop of black hair on your head and blond streaks. You didn't come out crying and even after cleaning you up, the doctors were concerned with your breathing or low oxygen level and then you surprised them with a loud cry. 
That's been the story of your life; quiet demeanor but with a rage of emotions right underneath. 
And now you are 16. 
This is your day to enjoy and be
To enjoy the company of those who love you
To enjoy a great milestone in your life. 
To be.
To be 16.
Soon the world will be yours, every path and road will be open to your choosing.
Soon you will be your own person.
A woman who will be forged by a combination of love, tears, pain, sadness, happiness, tenderness.
A woman who will love unconditionally 
A woman who will dream and cast away sadness and pain to emerge behind clouds and mountains like a new sunrise.
A woman who will stand on the love of those left behind.
A woman not yet to be.

Happy Birthday My Darling Olivia.
Love, Dad.

Cake by Mommy

Not quite finished

Mom and Grammy

Kevin, Bill, Kevin and Jack

The twins and Olivia

Daddy always supporting his baby

Kitty eating watermelon

Kids playing at Pappa Rick's new toy

The Ladies

The Kids

Aya and Didi.

Anthony and his gramma Yolanda

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

San Miguel Cajonos

San Miguel Cajonos, Oaxaca. Mexico

It is much easier to tell people that I am from Mexico City than to tell them I am from Oaxaca or even say "San Miguel" - There are probably hundreds of towns in all of Mexico with the name of a very revered Archangel. Saying Mexico City then is much easier to explain and some will know of the city because of a layover there or trips in past times.
I was born in this town in 1965. (You do the math). A town high up in the Sierra Madre where the fog envelops the mountains from early in the morning and you are truly awoken by the far cry of roosters and dogs. 
Modern times have arrived along with the dollar remittances from places as far as California, Minnesota and New York.Yet, the town still holds a tight grip on some people that year after year, documents or no documents, return to pay their homages to the Virgin or to San Miguel, who dutifully watches over his flock.
I lived here for only a short period of my life. From birth to about my 6th year of life. I remember many people along its muddy streets during the rainy season. Streets that are now covered with concrete but still get flooded with rain.

My father at the time was the only one of the siblings who did not emigrate to Mexico City like his brothers, perhaps because he was the only one who was married then and with kids. Eventually we'd all move to the big city to join my uncles.
While growing up there, I also remember trips to the fields of corn along with my grandfather or with other relatives. Harvest time required all family and extended family members to join in. 
My first language is not Spanish but rather the indigenous Zapotec of which exist many variations even from one town to the next. I was introduced to Spanish when I began attending our local elementary school, General Ignacio Zaragoza. (Big building in center of picture). I still remember my first teacher and perhaps of many in mine and other generations. Don Bernabe Crisantos.
It's been many years since I left, not just there but also Mexico City where I truly grew up. Even though more than half my life has been spent here in the Estados Unidos, that pull still exists and whether it is through pictures or stories of others, I relieve my infancy with each word or Images from San Miguel Cajonos.

(Thanks to my cousin Fernando Zarate for the pictures of his recent trip.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tripadvisor Review

This is a follow up to my previous post regarding the guests who left without eating.
It is more of a statement with regards to the reviews posted by people at travel sites like, Yelp, Tripadvisor or many others that serve more as a platform or tool for disgruntled, unhappy customers.
The percentage of good reviews overshadows most of the negative ones, unless a place completely drops the ball in all categories, most reviews are on point. (tripadvisor is where our restaurants are reviewed the most)
My issue is with the disgruntled or unhappy guest that posts an exaggerated review in hopes of hurting a business, just because of a slight crushed ego.
Consider the guest I previously blogged about. I believed my staff and I did everything in our power to not only keep them from leaving but to "guarantee" them a great experience.
They ended up leaving, which is OK for anyone to do at any place, where they are not happy with product and or services. However this people did not even give us a chance and yet, they feel empowered to rate us on: food, service, value and atmosphere.
Granted, their main complaint was about the atmosphere and indeed, that could be rated as low as they pleased.
Unfortunately, the site does not distinguish between the different categories.
So be it. It's the nature of the beast!