June haiku: Summer solstice edition

Grease sing-a-long

Free dinner from work
Means I don’t have to cook
Just go home and run

Summer solstice plans?
Hike up to my happy place
Watch Dodgers win one

Weird to see Stringer
Chasing down Brit murderers
Not running drug ring

Unplanned tempo run
Goes well, run sub 9-mile pace
Puts me in good mood

At Grease sing-a-long
Dirty lyrics get censored
Can’t corrupt the kids

El Tri wins Gold Cup
Defeats a hated rival
Diaspora cheers

At tunnel exit
Grand views of Half Dome and falls
Suburban kids ‘Ooh!’


Old school: Camping


Things I like about this photo (1989ish):

  1. The Padilla kids are in it, in fact I only have it because Stephanie scanned it. Our parents are compadres and had been friends since they were teens. We grew up together and went to lots of parties and camping trips. We were all close in age. Tony was the same age as Danny; Kathy was a year younger than me; and Lori and Stephanie are the same age.
  2. We’re crammed in to our large brown tent on a camping trip, most likely at Kern River, one of my happy places. I’m pretty sure when we went to bed that night, we could still fell ourselves being pulled downstream by the cold waters of the river. Growing up, we took almost annual camping trips to Kern River with extended family and my parent’s compadres. I loved it, even when I’ve gone more recently as an adult. I’m going camping next week for the first time in Yosemite. My cousin and her boyfriend proposed the idea and the group quickly grew. It’ll only be cousins and our significant others. It’s been interesting to plan this out together rather than rely on our parents to pack everything. Hope we don’t forget something.
  3. Bunny ears. Since it’s unclear whether Tony or I am giving Kathy the bunny ears, I’m just going to blame him. It’s something a big brother would do, right?
  4. That sparkly headband. I went through a headband phase around 3rd or 4th grade. My mom hated it because she really wanted me to have my hair up in a neat ponytail or braided.
  5. Lori’s hair is finally growing out of the bob/bowl cut she rocked as a toddler.

I’m sure there will be more campground shenanigans after this trip.


Priced out

My plan was to win money or a car. If I won the car, I’d sell it. I’d use the cash for the wedding fund. Good plan, right? Sadly, it didn’t come to fruition.

I came home from The Price is Right seven hours later con un pedo en la mano[1]. Actually, I didn’t leave empty handed. I came home with a $25 gift certificate to Fantastic Sam’s and some stories about my day.

Needless to say, I was never called to “come on down!” to Contestants’ Row. All those people walked away with a decent door prize. Instead, I waited around for hours on uncomfortable benches, read more of Y: The Last Man and caught up with some grad school friends.

My friend Lucy asked me to fill a spot from someone who flaked from her 4-person reservation earlier in the week. I said sure. I like Lucy, she’s fun to hang out with and would make the day away from work worthwhile. I prepared the night before by briefly studying some prices in the Sunday newspaper mailers. That morning I got dressed in a UCLA t-shirt and hoodie since the show was for the back-to-school/colllege special.

Representing UCLA @ The Price Is Right

I didn’t have my heart set on being a contestant. If I was, I probably would have worn tiny shorts, a cutesy low-cute t-shirt, knee-high socks, big hair and gobs of makeup (think Hooters waitress). Or I could have relied on my personality and been more outgoing when it was time for the very brief group interview with the producers. By the time it was my group’s chance to chat with the producers, I’d already been waiting about 4 hours. I was tired, bored and couldn’t muster any excitement. I’m sure I sounded like the most boring education PhD student ever. I might have been better off I had said something like, “my dissertation is on the impact of watching The Price is Right on college students’ grades.” And then I’d say I’d found some positive correlations, especially for math grades and public speaking.

Anyway, the actual taping was entertaining and went by rather quickly. The set looks just like it did from the Bob Barker days, but now with a much thinner Drew Carey at the helm. We sat in the second row way up front, stage right. The contestants who competed for the big prizes on stage sat in front of us filling out prize forms and commiserating about lost cars and money. When we weren’t taping and being instructed on what to do (cheer loud, look pumped) and what not to do (take forever to come on down or make a guess on a price), loud pop music played pumping up the crowd.

Aside from watching the chosen contestants compete, the best part was the off-camera time with Carey. He was pretty entertaining and talked to the mainly college student crowd about his not-so-great college career (he was dismissed twice from Kent State for academic reasons and never graduated). He even gave advice to those who seemed interested in entertainment. He seemed kind of humble about his career. Naturally, he had great rapport with new announcer George Gray. I’m not surprised that Carey was my favorite part of the day since I enjoyed his eponymous series and Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

The back to school episode, also the final episode of season 39 (!), will debut on August 19th.


[1] My mom uses this phrase all the time. It literally means “with a fart in hand” but just think of it as being empty handed. The origin of this phrase is actually a cute story from my mom’s childhood. I need to double check the details with her and will post it later.


June haiku: Grooms and grooming

I don’t think a haiku does justice to Cain and Jessica. I’ve known Cain since he was a kid. He’s a year my brother’s junior and they went through school together from K-12. Their friendship grew stronger in middle and high school. Cain became a fixture at my family’s home. He’d come over to hang out with Adrian, go skate boarding, play video games or workout. I came to see him as a brother and as a member of the family. Like a brother, he was there for some of my memorable moments, went on a vacation with my family, and celebrated many birthdays.

As for the wedding, it was lovely and a lot of fun. I’d been looking forward to it for a while and was curious how Adrian would toast his best friend when it came time. I teared up during the vows, especially when Jessica recited the vows she wrote.

It’s been neat to see my adopted little brother grow up, become a father (their daughter is adorable) and become a responsible adult (not that he was a crazy kid or teen). Oh yeah, he graduated a day before the wedding too! He’s had a lot going on.

Congratulations, Cain and Jessica!

First grade teacher
Tells entertaining stories
Of disruptive kids

Finally dyed hair
And got rid of all the grays.
Back to brown. For now.

Shots to celebrate
Just-earned doctorate degrees
Time for new titles

Flash bright orange pass
Ride free on the Big Blue Bus
And get to school/work

Get upper lip waxed
Avoid Frida mustache look
Don’t like her that much

Met at Wilson
Dated eight years, had baby
Now starts wedded bliss

Father’s Day wishes
Delivered through text message
Dad was out of town

Familia, Fotos

Youthful forefathers

Grandpa Bartolo, 19 years old, 1944, Salamanca, Guanajuato
My paternal grandfather passed away in 1996, but before that he left his mark through his ability to heal with his hands and his influence on his family. I was lucky to see him almost every Sunday and get to know him. He was a little strict, I think you’d have to be with a bunch of grandkids running around your house, but always kind and loving.

Papá Chepe, 25 years old, 1945, Los Angeles
I’m very close to my maternal grandfather. Since I was a kid, he’s lived with my family when in Los Angeles. I love dancing with him and hearing his stories about when he was a kid or when he first came to LA as a bracero. He’s worked hard his entire life in the fields and as a gardener. He’ll be 91 in a few weeks.

Dad, 18 years old, 1972
There’s a lot of things that I admire about my dad. One of those has always been his willingness to better himself for his own good and that of his family. At a young age, I saw him change his life and become a better father and husband (he wasn’t a bad father/husband before, but there’s always room for improvement). He’s made some big changes and been a good example of the benefits of hard work, fait and will power.