Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Day Before Ten

Birthday 2003 - At Home

Miriam will be ten tomorrow.  Ten years ago she was born to us.  Since then she has brough us lots of joy.  I thank God for surprise that she was to us.  

For her birthday this year she requested to have a 'just-family celebration'.  She wanted a LAN (local area network) party; we have five computers ready for the whole family to play each other tomorrow.  Here's the day's agenda:

Breakfast:  Pancakes, Bacon, Plum Sauce, Orange Juice
      Note:  An early breakfast as we'll go to church afterwards.

Lunch at the Ridgeview Park:  Ribs, Corn on cobbs, Orzo Salad, Mountain Dew
     Note: Croquet and Frisbee Tournament will follow

Dinner:  Shrimp Carbonara, Fresh Tomatoes, Carrot Cake
              Before dinner - "Rise of Nations" Tournament
              After dinner - Open Presents, Surprises from Siblings
              Continue on-going game of  "Civilization IV"

After that everyone will be tired and all ready to go to bed.   Before she turns ten, I retrieved some of her earlier pictures for nostalgic reasons.       
June 2004 (wrong date on camera) - England

Miram at Sunday School

Just to show how small she was.

Ballet Recital - Cameron Park

With her sister and brother on her birthday.

2006 - El DOrado Town Center

Birthday 2007 - Calveras Big Trees

Birthday 2008 - Belize

Birthday 2009 - At Home.

May the Lord God continue to protect and guide her throughout her life.

Monday, July 26, 2010


July 20, 2010 - UC Irvine

Shannon looks the reverse manner.

Brahms and the Anteater, Irvine's mascot.

Magnificent kid and tree!

Anteaters everywhere...

Irvine is big on Computer Science.

Fountains at one of the business parks in Irvine.

Of all the UCs, Irvine has the best gardens and outdoor seating areas.

Obviously someone else had a camera. 

She was also on her own college tour and focusing on the Engineering Department. 

I forgot whi bulding it was.

"Ate, dont' go to college!"

We visited Lola Ibang and Lolo Ago in Oxnard.

The De Ocampos and the Durans with Tim.

A road has been named after our family!

We did a self guided tour of UC-Irvine. Physically, it's a very nice university with a huge campus. We were so tired by the time we got done.  The good thing was that the landscaping is great. Again we drove towards the next university but on the way we stopped in Oxnard, California to visit the de Ocampos who used to be my neighbors in the Philippines. Lelong Ago (Santi) and Lelang Ibang (Gene) were waiting to see us. We were eventually joined by their kids, Bobot, Auntie Belen, Steve and Angel. They brought us to a Vietnamese restaurant to have dinner. That was kind of them.  Then we drove to Goleta where we spent the night. 

El Dorado Hills to Bakersfield

We left El Dorado Hills on July 17, 2010, made our first major stop in Merced, and spent the night in Bakersfield.

Posing by the sculpture 'Beginnings' at UC Merced.

Entrance to the university.

A home away from home...

Tri-tip steak, potato salad and watermelon...

Testing the 104-degree (F) temperature of Merced.  Bearable.

High light intensity for optimum photosynthesis.   (There's a family joke behind photosynthesis and Shannon.)

'Beginnings' adorns the main quad at UCMerced.

This is what he did when he was not reading or watching a movie in the car.

So we left go to San Diego.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bakersfield to San Diego

Since pictures speak louder than is my photo-journal for July 18-19, 2010 during our road trip to Southern California. 

Four thousand wind mills somewhere east of Bakersfield.

In the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Getting closer to civilization as we approached San Diego County.

Embassy Suites - San Diego

She's happy to be out of the car.

Deciding on the type of pie for dessert.

What time is breakfast served?

Relaxing at the University Town Center in La Jolla.

I coersed them to pose with this tree.  :)

Crossing the street in search of a book store.

The Geisel Library in UCSD named after... Dr. Seuss.

Happy after eating at the Currant Restaurant in San Diego.

I want those pots for my garden...if only I have the room for them.

After this picture was taken we traveled to Irvine...UC Irvine. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

College Tour - Day Two

Even at 102 ºF we slept soundly in Bakersfield in the comforts of the brand new hotel we stayed in.  After a short family prayer time and breakfast we continued on with our trip to San Diego through the Mojave Desert.  From the citrus plantations of Bakersfield the vegetation shifted quickly to several species of scrubs and Joshua trees.  I've always known that California is a semi-arid place but this was the first time I've seen the expanse of its uninhabited barren lands.  The temperature was shifting every few minutes between 104 to 108 ºF.

We had lunch at a place called Polly's Bakery and Deli where they served good pies.   With our big family, we got to sample five kinds.  Our favorites were the rhubarb, lemon meringue, and chocolate cream pies.  Apple and cherry pies were so so. 

Thank God for an uneventful trip.  Somehow I was worried to go through the desert but it was better than I thought. We arrived at Embassy Suites - La Jolla at about three in the afternoon.   We walked to the nearby famous University Towne Center.  It's beautiful and even very cool!   We shopped a little bit and continued on to do some walks again.  The kids even had time to play with some games as Brahms brought the PS3 with us.

Tim got to startle a woman who works for the hotel by hy his Tagalog-speaking abilities. :) 

Today is now Monday:  This is the day that we are scheduled to go on the University Tour at UCSD.   It was unbelievably surprising and slightly annoying to have Shannon get up at 6 am.  Traditionally she's the last one to get during our trips.  Could it be that she's excited?  Tim sent her with Miriam (who was also up because they shared a bed) down to get some hot chocolate and read their bible and newspaper in the lobby while the rest of us tried to get some more sleep.  They were to wait for us there till were all ready to eat breakfast.  Breakfast was fun as usual at Embassy Suites.  They like the luxury of being able to choose the ingredients in their omelets.

We are ready to for the day.  In the mean time, Miriam, Brahms and Tim are swimming downstairs.  Shannon and I are left here at the 10th floor (Rm 1022).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

College Tour - Day One

To help Shannon decide on which college to attend, we are doing a "college tour".  It is not our normal way of travelling but this time it's a road trip.   The first college was UC Merced.  Shannon did not choose it as one of her top ten but since it is already on our way we decided to take a look.  It is very new; some buildings are still under construction.  Shannon kept repeating that her school, Oak Ridge, has more students than this university.  Well, the good thing is that there is a lower instructor to student ratio.  Everything is new and fresh and maybe lab equipments are at least current if not top of the line.   The university sits in the middle of what seem formerly agricultural field and very close to the Yosemite Lake. 

To me UC Merced has a lot of potential.  We'll see what Shannon thinks.

We had lunch at Panera Bread in Stockton and spending the night in Bakersfield

Monday, July 12, 2010

Charlon and Duane: 25th Wedding Anniversary

Happy Couple: Charlon and Duane

We were privileged to attend Duane and Charlon's 25th wedding anniversary celebration yesterday.  Thanks to the gracious invitation from Bruce and Perla who organized the occasion.  For my children this was like meeting their relatives on that side for the first time.  Although we had met once before, they were too young to remember. 
Carlos, Bruce and Perla Lewis

Carlos Lewis poses with the Lewises from El Dorado Hills.

Cutting the cake that is a replica of their original wedding cake.

Rene recalls her childhood with her dad on matters of discipline.

Katherine reflects on the days when D & C were still dating.

It was wonderful getting to know Duane and Charlon their family.
Bruce and Perla including their son did a great job!