Saturday, April 05, 2014

Living in the moment

"Her grandmother looked at her pointedly, and then tips her head in Thor's direction." (Excerpts from I Bring the Fire Part I: Wolves)
We all do it. We all find ourselves acting out the moment when reading books.
I've been guilty of gasping or laughing at an imaginary sister, teacher or super hero or two, even swiping and contorting my arm while reaching for my weapon at my side, or raising my eyebrows in bewilderment  -- living out the moment of my main character.
Just hope I don't do it with a room filled with people or worse, my family. I'll never hear the end of it!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Tickets please!

If you know our family, you know we're huge baseball fans no matter the team. OK so I admit our loyalties lie with another "red" team (Go Cardinals!) but that's besides the point. By any other name baseball is baseball is baseball and we still love it!

When you're blessed with good friends who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who can get a block of tickets to a Major League Baseball game in the nosebleed section, you swallow your pride and accept them with appreciation! We did! We're not too proud to beg!

So we froze our okoles off (that's Hawaiian-speak for your derrière) and we braved what I felt was a below-zero wind chill factor. I wanted to be there at Angels Stadium, to be in the crowd, to hear the National Anthem and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" sung, and watch the vendors sell their Churros, popcorn, pretzels, and sodas up and down the aisles and keep their vertigo under check and not fall straight down into the abyss.

It's baseball season!

Tickets please!

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To the Max

It seems no matter how I'm feeling, this guy always manages to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and out. Sure, he can be the family's big pain in the rear, but Max always finds his way back into our hearts.

Some things I'm thankful are:

I have him to thank for providing Steve and I the time for our walks around the neighborhood.

I have him to thank for getting me out of the house more often to walk between one to three miles daily when exercise seems non-existent with my busy schedule.

I have him to thank for being a good listener when I need to vent sometimes.

I have him to thank for cozying up by my feet while he waits for me -- no matter how wee into the night I am up working, blogging, writing, or photo/video-editing.

I have him to thank for giving us a good scare a few months ago when he jumped over the fence to get "friendly" with the neighbor dog even though he got bit in the paws, yelped to high heaven and Christopher had to hop over to rescue his poor little butt. A dose of good ol' American humble pie!

I have him to thank for our instant house alarm and doorbell when someone is here visiting - friend or foe.

I have him to thank for being a big little brother to Panther even if he thinks he's the alpha dog (now quit trying to hump all the time).

I have him to thank for being Max.

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The Day in the Life of Panther and Max

Today was any other kind of normal day in the life of Panther and Max. 

I worked from home and around 11 a.m. I let the dogs out in the backyard and I returned to my desk, tapping away at my keyboard. I was on deadline and had a few projects to get out before end of day.

I could hear the pair in the backyard going at their usual: a bark here, a yelp there, chasing and growling and the occasional scratch at the back screen door begging to be let back in.

Panther waits to play ball.
With the faint sounds of the dynamic furry duo melodically dog-speaking to one another, I continued my work. Then a scratch at the door from Panther again chimed clear as a bell prompting my not-so-stearn almost-on-cue command, "Stop, Panther." Shortly following, was Max's low-resonating bark --and I found myself saying, "Whoa, that sounded even clearer than Panther's scratch on the door." Strange, as I shook my head. I shrugged.

Then another scratch on the door along with a sharp yelp from Panther rang through. "Holy cow," I thought, "did that come from the FRONT door?" 

Like a scary movie, I reached for the front door handle and turned the knob slowly...secretly praying underneath my breath, "Please, Lord, don't tell me that's Panther out THERE?" The door opened and sneaking his way through was -- yes, you guessed it, Panther! This jackrabbit! Without a word, without a sound, without as much a growl, it was as if he held his paw to me and said, "Don't ask!" 

I shut the door and yelled, "Ari...Panther just walked through the front door. WHAT THE HECK? Panther just walked through the front door??? Go find Max." 

She leaped to her feet, ran out from her room to the living room asking, "What?" Exactly.

Max is begging for food at the table.
She reached for the front door, opened it, and guess who was sitting on the front porch? Yep. Max, with his ears down and slanted eyes. Caught.

He matter-of-factly walked through the door, crossed the cold tile floor and it was as if he, too, raised his paw to say, "Don't ask."

I wrangled both dogs and placed them in their kennels. Ariana and I went to investigate and found the back side gate (which stands taller than 6 feet high) unlocked and wide open.

I wish I were a fly on the wall -- or a flea on the dogs -- to see just how they managed to jiggle the gate open.

I chuckled and still wonder in amazement: 1) how did they do it? 2) how long were they out there? 3) were they calling to me from the front of the house (was that them barking?), and 4) what was going through their heads, Panther's in particular, when they both decided to KNOCK on the front door?

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam packed a full house at Angel Stadium 1/26/13

Aaron, Madi and I enjoying our night at Monster Jam.
Angel Stadium was the place to be tonight during the 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam. My family and I enjoyed a night of uproarious, jaw-dropping fun!

Left and right, people poured into their seats to catch a glimpse of their favorite Monster Trucks: Captain America driven by Chad Fortune, Blue Thunder® driven by Dan Evans, Titan driven by Donald Epindendio, Monster Mutt® Dalmation driven by Taryn Laskey (who secretly happened to be my favorite -- powered by a female driver), Iron Man driven by Lee O'Donnel (who got robbed of a great Freestyle round), El Toro Loco® driven by Aaron Basl, Tropical Thunder driven by Andrew Peckham, and Grave Digger the Legend® driven by Adam Anderson, the ultimate crowd-favorite.

Titan was the clear winner of tonight's qualifying rounds advancing to the sem-finals to face off against Blue Thunder. After intermission, the stadium roared when Titan revved up for the Freestyle event and was gaining momentum before it upended and became sidelined.

A panoramic view of Angel Stadium during the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam January 26, 2013.
Iron Man, who effortlessly soared through the air delighted the audience with cheers and praise, was right on track to beating or, at the very least, tying the leader Blue Thunder, but the low-scoring round proved otherwise.

Dalmation kept up with the big boys by zipping through the obstacles and clearing many jumps, despite losing her tail during a tight-squeezed turn.

But the highlight of the evening was the beloved Grave Digger the Legend, who even after shedding its doors, sides, and everything in between, scored a whopping 31 points to be crowned the Freestyle Champion.

Missing from tonight's show was 10-time World Racing Champion, Tom Meents who drives Maximum Destruction™whom I interviewed a few weeks ago about Monster Jam returning to Anaheim. "Freestyling is my favorite part of the show because it's where I get to display two minutes of my own choreography," said Meents, "and mostly because of the fan's excitement." It's quite alright, Tom, there was plenty of excitement to go around. We'll catch you next time.

Next year should be just as exciting and more -- as new Monster Trucks will be revealed. Don't miss it.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

My First Visit to Venice Beach

Amazingly, I've never been to Venice Beach, Calif. even though I've lived here my entire life. I've always been curious about Venice Beach but never found a compelling reason to visit.

Fittingly, I had the best tour guide, Steve, who, during his first few months here in Calif. after traveling cross-country from the Bronx, N.Y., spent many weekends at this timeless classic tourist spot. As expected, there were many beach side stores and restaurants that lined the boardwalk. There were many street vendors, some intriguing, some not so intriguing, and some you flat out had to scratch your head and ask yourself, "Huh?"

But the most interesting was a man dressed in a leopard loincloth holding a sword in one hand and a frying pan in the other. He belted out the song, "I Want To Be a Millionaire." I'm still trying to figure out his act.

I felt safe at Venice as I hung on Steve's arm with Kenny and Christopher in tow. We stopped for burgers and fries and indulged in the ocean view. We watched a poor lady humiliate herself as she fell to the ground in the bike lane, while trying to avoid a collision with a few pedestrians.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

First High School Baseball Games

The much anticipated first high school baseball game came and went and without disappointment, I might add.

Game 1 of the Loara Tournament, El Dorado versus Anaheim, lead-off Christopher Rivera hit a triple and would score to give the Hawks their first run of the season. Later he hit a bloop single to right field and took second on a errant throw. To cap off the day, Christopher launched a 2RBI homerun, 360 feet dead center. El Dorado's Hawks won 22-4.

In Game 2 of the Loara Tournament, Christopher roped a solo homerun, 350 feet, over the left field wall; his second in two days, in two games.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Steve shoots hoops with Christopher and Aaron at Champions.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Defensive Arsenal

Aaron continues his arsenal in Sunday's game versus the Bulls. Dubbed the "swat machine" in the first quarter Aaron scored four points and had two shot blocks. His coach nicknamed him the "tree trimmer."

The Lakers would win the Bulls and boosted their record to 5-0, undefeated in the first half of the season.

Next game January 4, 2010.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

Basketball season has officially started - NJB basketball, that is, and Aaron is taking the court by storm.

NJB rules are going to require some getting used to. For example, they play five periods not four, and if one team blows out another team, the referees select the top three players of the winning team and they are required to sit out the entire fifth period. I guess that in and of itself is a compliment since Aaron's been selected in two executive consecutive games now as one of the top three players in the game.

Aaron has led in rebounds and blocks and twice ended up with a double-double. He has unofficially scored a triple-double in one game, although the official scorekeeper left before we could confirm it. Aaron has also received accolades for "Defensive Player of the Game" in their first game of the season.

Ironically, his team is the Lakers -- I say ironically because he is not a fan of the Lakers in real life, but rather, a fan of (gag!) the Celtics. Go figure. To add salt to my wound, he is also a Red Sox fan -- a stab to my baseball heart as the rest of the family are Yankee fans. He must think he lives in Boston!

We're having a blast watching the games and cheering for Aaron and his team. Go LAKERS!

Enjoy the photos.

To watch video highlights of today's game, click HERE.

Click HERE to see 1st quarter highlights of last Sunday's game - Dec. 6.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Team USA Captures Gold

Team USA battled back and a come-from-behind win versus Puerto Rico captures the Gold in the championship COPABE "A" game.

Read full article here.

(All photos courtesy Matt Marek/USA Baseball