Friday, November 25, 2011

"Why Should We Stop Now?"

            I wrote a poem a while back about "The Girl That Got Away". In that poem I wrote about the differences between a teenage girlfriend I once had and the woman I married 8 years later. I remember writing about how I missed certain things at times about the girlfriend and how a lot of the blame for why she left should lay with me. I wrote about the sparkle I'd see in my wife sometimes that would remind me of the past but still. she wasn't "her". I eventually took responsibility for everything that *I did to change her along the way. With every lie I told, with every tear she cried and with every fight we fought, we changed our future and at the same time wrote a new history we'd one day look back on. I can honestly say that we weren't the only ones to blame. From day 1 there were (probably still are) people who expected us not to succeed. We had a lot of obstacles standing in our way. That played a huge role in both positive and negative ways and brought us to where we are today, both literally and figuratively. I'll always love the teenage girlfriend but since then I've learned to let her go. I'm happy with the woman she became because I know with everything we've been through, it takes an experienced woman to love me the way she does. 
      I wished my wife a Happy Anniversary this morning. Thirteen years ago today she agreed to be my girlfriend. After I did I could feel a tear began to form in my eye as I thought of all the pain I've brought her through the years. I broke the "I'll never hurt you" promise every guy makes in the beginning (although most know they shouldn't). I made her a mixed "Oldies" cassette (I did say 13 years ago), and titled it, "Baby, I'm For Real". 
     I know there're many couples who wish they could go back and prevent certain things from ever happening. Clean up all the "couldn't should've would'ves"and leave a perfect past to tell their kids about. Well that's me. I won't lie and say I wouldn't change things if I could. I know I can't and I'm happy she's still by my side. I guess that's the most important part.  I remember reading one of those "Love Is..." cartoons from the L.A. Times years ago saying, "Love  is...making sure the good times outweigh the bad." It had a scale with the good times outweighing the bad. When all is said and done I'm sure our good will FAR outweigh our past. We're here together to look back and more importantly to appreciate what we've built and work together for a better future for ourselves and our kids.

I love you, Anna. Thank you for every tear and every year. You've shown me Love and taught me  how to Love. We're only 13 years in. As the song says, "Why should we stop now? We've got it going>"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Olive Branch To His Son

"Who died?"
Those were the first words she spoke after coming out of the coma she had been in for the last two weeks. Her husband Ignacio Jr. stared at her with a puzzled look on his face. "How could she possibly know?" he thought. "My Father", he finally answered. He hadn't spoken to his Father in 25 years. His parents divorced when he and his little brother were just kids. His father remarried had a couple of kids and the bad blood that existed between his new wife and his first wife created a rift between Father and Sons that spanned 2 states and the last 2 1/2 decades of his Father's life. Although he tried to have a relationship with his boys, years of harbored pain eventually caused them to part ways for good.

Ignacio's Father was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer and he and his older brother, Armando, were quickly informed. His health  immediately began to decline but the combination of pride and the pain Jr. had been carrying around for so long kept him from visiting. Armando on the other hand was by his dad's side and with him at most Dr.'s visits.

Ignacio Sr. was a very quiet but loving and giving man. He knew he could never get back the years he lost with his sons and never make up for the bad decisions he made in his life that eventually broke them up but as he laid there on his death bed he made one last attempt to do do right by his son. He traded in his time so that his son would have more with his wife. He passed away and Ignacio's wife came out of the coma the next day.

Armando fought back tears and stepped away from the podium twice to regain his composure as he shared this story on the night of  his dad's Rosary. His younger brother, Jr., attended the rosary and funeral the next day but did not see his father before he passed.

I remember my Grandpa Ignacio as a very quiet man. I never knew much about my uncles, his son's Armando and Ignacio Jr., or the story of his relationship (or lack there of) with them. I heard their names didn't see them much when I was growing up. Just the mention of their mom's name made my Grandma's blood boil. Not even on my worst day could I make her that upset.

The way Tio Mando told the story gave us all the chills and made sense to me. I believe it. His father made mistakes and wanted nothing more than to extend an olive branch to his son and say he was sorry.

 Ignacio Gonzalez
June 15, 1921 - Sept. 28, 2006

Monday, November 14, 2011

Consejos on your Golden Birthday

You turned 12 on the 12th of  November. A "Golden Birthday" is what it's called when your age matches the day of the month you were born. I heard it's supposed to be the luckiest one. I hope you enjoyed your day. I had to wait until I turned 27 for my Golden Birthday and it was worth it because that was the day I married your Mom. Well, anyway Anthony, you turned 12 and I can't believe how tall you're getting. You don't make me feel old. You make me happy. I smile when I think of you. You walk up to me every day threatening to pass me in height. I hope you do. I never outgrew my Dad. I look into your eyes and challenge you to become a bigger man than I could ever be. Forget about height, I tell you. What kind of accomplishment is that? Your eventual height has already predetermined and there's nothing you can do to change it. Become the man I always promised I'd be. Be good to your wife and put her first. Show your kids love. Don't make the same mistakes that I've made in life. Don't hurt people like I have and you'll save yourself a few tears. *Then you will outgrow me. I wish nothing but the best for you everyday. You truly have your whole life ahead of you. You're smart and can do anything you set your mind to. The same was said about me when I was a kid. Now, you're stubborn and hard headed at times but you know right from wrong. I have faith that you will make the right decisions in life, remember to appreciate what you've got and I pray you will be happy. Remember, nobody'll give you anything. You need to work hard for what you want in life.

"I don't tell you this often enough but I'm proud of you, son."  From my dad to me and from me to you.
 I love you, Anthony

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Our Own Backyard

            Today began just like any other Sunday we've spent in Palmdale. Well,except for the fact that it was raining. It's been a while since the last time the sound of raindrops woke me up on a Sunday morning.I looked out the window half hoping it'd be cold enough outside for some snow. I knew it was a long shot but hey, I can dream can't I?
            Anna and I agreed we were both too lazy to go to mass and since I didn't have an answer for her "What are you going to make me for breakfast?" question, we planned to take the kids out to Denny's for breakfast, hit up Target for some groceries (a thermal brush for Anna) and come back home.
            We got on the 14 fwy and when our exit came up, we just kept going. Back in 2008 we'd taken the 14 north on our way to Lake Tahoe so as we drove this time, the plan was to exit at the "Edwards Air Force Base" exit, explore the nearby surroundings, feed the near starving children in the backseat and head back. Well, again we kept going. We did exit there, filled up the gas tank and got right back on the 14 (you guessed it) North.
            We drove into Mojave and were greeted with this sign. We all thought this was pretty cool and wondered what we'd find here. Well, we found a Denny's so we stopped to eat and while we were there we used Foursquare to see if there was anything we'd like to check out while we were in Mojave and we found a spot.
            The Mojave Air And Space Port sounded like a great place to see. I immediately thought "Mos Eisley" when I read "Space Port" so I figured it HAD to be cool. We did drive over to go to see it but didn't couldn't find the entrance when we got there so we checked out a couple of memorials nearby.
                   A cart that was used by the Golden Queen Mining Company was on display as well as a The Roton built by Rotary Rocket Inc. I provided links just in case you want to read more. We found that this little outing was turning into quite the history lesson but that's cool with me because that's what exploring the past is all about. I just hoped the kids were as excited about the trip as I was.
                 It was time to turn around but we weren't done exploring yet. We got back on the 14 and headed south this time. We decided to take a closer look at a place we noticed on the way up. Anthony called this place, "Nuke Town" because all the buildings were barely standing AND in the middle of nowhere. The whole place kind of looked like a scene from the movie The Hills Have Eyes. It's located on Mojave Tropico and Truman Rd. I googled that later and found this and this Gas and Diner that we drove by just a couple miles before. Go ahead and click the links.You might learn something.
                Our last official stop was The Cat House. We bought a year membership at the Exotic Feline Breeding Compounds. Peacocks roamed freely as we walked from den to den checking out Leopards, Tigers and Jaguars (oh my). I took a couple of pix for your viewing pleasure.Check 'em out.
        I said that the Cat House was our last official stop because we did try one more place, The Willow Springs International Raceway, but were told at the gate the cost of admission was $40 so we turned around and called it a day but know we'll be back soon.
        I really enjoyed spending this time with my family. I'm grateful that we have the opportunity to do things like this and I hope it meant as much to them. I remember my Dad being adventurous when I was a kid and I'd like my kids to remember me the same. I think it's important to get away from the routine and just spend time. We spend so much time on the road to and from L.A. during the week that I guess it's ironic to end up on the road again to explore our desert surroundings. We've lived here in Palmdale for 2 years and it's cool that we're still discovering things in our own backyard.
P.S. If you happen to know of any places we should check out, please let me know. Thanks