Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Cousin Bubba

Bubba & I have been chatting over the phone over a year, but finally met in person on Friday, 11.28.08. We are second cousins (his mother Mary May Martinez-Artero and my mother Norma Estrada Capacia are first cousins). He spent most of his growing years on Guam.

Bubba’s wife, Clarissa, is stationed at Travis AFB (in Medical Administration) in Fairfield, CA. Prior to Travis AFB, they were stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS for a year. Before that they spent 5 years at Geilenkirchen NATO AFB, Germany.

We met Bubba, Clarissa & Gabe at the Nut Tree Village in Vacaville. We found a table in the little park, then gathered up tables and chairs so we could visit for a few hours. It was fun meeting cousins for the first time and discovering we have lots of things in common with our Hawaiian-accented, Guamanian-Filipino cousins. Kinda cool to have a cousin named Bubba.

Bottom (lt to rt): Clarissa Artero, Gabe Artero,
Lauren Zenimura & Norman Capacia
Top (lt to rt): Kirk Zenimura, Bubba Artero, Teresa Zenimura, Teddy Capacia, Lani & Alex Capacia

Everybody ... make funny face

Can't walk past a Christmas tree without taking a family picture, eh?

It sure was cold that night.
Bubba and Clarissa brought us
here for hot bowls of pho.
Thanks for treating us, too!

After pho, we shopped at a asian market across the parking lot and walked off some of our dinner. We walked to the fish section and asked each other, "Hey, how you cook that?" or "Cook that for me next time!" If everything works out, we'll see you again at New Years ... food and ukelele in hand!

To see all the pictures taken, click here

Black Friday 11.28.08

I needed to exchange a broken picture frame at Ikea and I thought they’d open early. When we arrived, there was a looong line outside Ikea, so we stopped next door at Walmart first.

This store is just too big to walk in
and walk out. A shopper can get
easily distracted by the many signs and smells. Huh, Teddy?

My brother, Teddy, said we HAD to stop here.
Must try the popcorn shrimp and popcorn chicken, daw.

Here it is ... fried food in the wee hours of the morning. Hmmm.

Satisfied tasters

Here we go ... playing follow-the-leader to the next store

There was a looooong line around Ikea and another 30 minutes before the store opened. We thought there was a big sale. Kirk waited in line, we waited in the car.

This is the reason for the long line.
We didn't know about the -- Free Breakfast.

Remember -- we just ate popcorn shimp and chicken.
Now, we're chowing on free bacon, eggs and potatoes.

Content shoppers -- eating again!
(Teddy, Teresa, Kirk, Lauren & Norman)

We stopped at Arden Fair Mall for some slippers.
The tree was beautiful, but too many people. Time to leave!

Thanksgiving Day

We had lunch at Mark & Shelly's in Fresno with the Zenimura side of the family. Then, we went to Sacramento for dinner at Alex & Lani's with the Capacia side. It was a hectic driving day, but well worth it to spend time with BOTH sides of the family.

Cousins (Riye, Paige, Brooke, Lauren & Kumi)

Cousins (Kathy & Shelly)

Cousins (Blake, Brandon & Parker)

(Kumi, Blake, Brooke, Brandon, Paige, Parker, Riye & Lauren)

Brooke & Bijou

Paige & Gogo

Just the Girl Cousins
Kumi, Riye, Fuji, Brooke, Paige & Lauren

Shelly & daughter Paige

In Sacramento now. Our Hosts ... Alex & Lani

Kirk, Teresa & Lauren

The Guys (Kirk, Alex, Norman & Teddy)

The Girls (Lani, Lauren & Teresa)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Source of French Fries

At the end of his sermon yesterday, Pastor Shane Ham related an incident in his car. It struck a chord with me. He just left a fast food window with Audrey, his 4 year old daughter, seated in her car seat with a bag of steaming French fries.

“Can Daddy have a French fry?” he asked her.

“No!” she answered quickly and emphatically.

Shane was disappointed, but not surprised by her childish response. He was her father—she didn’t realize he could have reached back and just taken her fries. He could have driven back to the restaurant and bought a whole bushel of fries! He didn’t have to ask her, he was able to get his own fries.

Just like that, God is often saddened by our selfish, childish responses.

He asks us to for things, not out of his need or lack, but to test the condition of our hearts. Are we cheerful and eager to give back what He has willingly provided to us?

Next time God asks you for a French fry, say “Yes!”

I know our Father will be pleased and smile. Then,
just sit, share the meal, and enjoy fellowship with Him.

Indeed, God is the willing provider and source of all your fries.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lunch Ladies

The “Aunties” had lunch on Friday (Julie, Vicky, Sheri, Norma & me). Julie found us a nice spot on the patio as it was such a perfect day outside. Lunch was delicious (our soup and sandwiches well-seasoned with tasty sprinkles of the latest family news, spiced with the goofy things our husbands were up to!) Let's meet more often … friendship isn’t fattening.

Laughter is good medicine.

To view all the pictures, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In His Eyes

Yesterday, the Oprah Show discussed beauty and the perceptions of it around the world. Some cultures prize pale, white skin while others pay for dark, tanned skins. Some societies esteem thin body frames so women starve themselves, yet other cultures honor large robust bodies so women gorge themselves. What a paradox beauty is!

Truly, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Thankfully, God finds us beautiful just for being. Nothing more—just being. He takes us, warts and all. You are beautiful. I am beautiful, too.

Thank you, God, that your eyes behold me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Basketball Happiness

Lauren received her new basketball sweats today.
"Mama, I love them!
Aren't they soooooo cute?" Cute?
Nice to see fundraising
$ at work.
O--her happiness
made visible!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lunch, Ladies?

Yes, I’m talking to you --- Julie Nomura, Vicky Lowe,
Shari Lee & Norma Rodriguez! Last time we went to lunch was Friday, 9.28.07 at the Mediterranean Grill. We were supposed to do it again soon … but, 14 months have passed!

Ok … the holidays are around the corner and things will start spinning soon. Let's do it before 2009!

How about a lunch date this Friday at noon, 11.21.08? Maybe LaBoulangerie in Fig Garden or Sweet Tomatoes on Shaw?

Start the conversation below and let’s go eat!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Football Mom Par Excellence

Gail Zenimura-Dunn

Kirk's cousin, Gail, was in yesterday's Fresno Bee, "Kicker's Mother Inspires Team." Her son, Blake (a senior and football kicker at Bullard High) and his teammates have dedicated this football season to her. Friday, the Bullard Knights picked up their first CMAC title since 2005 wearing t-shirts under their uniforms printed with"Gail Dunn, the Fighting Knights love you."

Gail's been batting terminal colon cancer for four years and fights unselfishly to be a presence in her children's lives. Blake and Brooke are blessed to have her as their mother. Two weeks ago, I watched her in the hospital, struggling for her life. While unconscious, her body stirred in bed when she heard the voices of her children in the room. Friday, she labored to stand on the field to accept the rose from her son before returning to her wheelchair.

Gail's daily fight inspires everyone around her. Few people even knew she had terminal cancer. In all these years, I have never heard her complain. Her frail, slender body carries the strongest of will and spirit. She never stops. She keeps moving forward.
Her perseverance never waivers.

Gail, you are the most awesome of Football Moms.

To read the Fresno Bee's full story, click here

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Potted Light

I looked out my kitchen window while washing dishes this afternoon.

To me, the autumn light against the pots was beautiful.
I wiped my soapy hands and went for my camera.

I snapped these shots in a minute.

As soon as I went inside, the sunlight on the patio disappeared.

Isn’t life just like that?
Sometimes the beauty in a day can be so fleeting.
You have to stop and make time to catch the moment.
In the blink of an eye, it just ... disappears.

Monday, November 10, 2008

On Old Friends

An all-girls' Catholic High School.
That's our school. Holy Family Academy.

I haven't seen Irene Masloff-Carlos and Angela de los Santos-Giordano since graduating from high school at Holy Family in Baguio City, Philippines in 1976.
It was a long time ago and so far away.

We met last Friday and Saturday (11.7-8) at Angela's home in Fairfield, CA. Irene (Friendswood, TX), Madeline Cardenas-Gabel (Union City, CA), Cleo Johnston and me.

Madeline has stayed in touch with me over the years and Cleo was their friend from St. Louis Girl's High before they all transferred to Holy Family. It was a slumber party so we changed into jammies then ate, laughed and talked for hours.
So many years to fill in.

I was 16 the last time I saw Angela. When I saw Angela at her front door, we just stopped and curiously gazed at each other. A little surprised ... a lot reminiscent. She was the same girl I remembered -- fair, tall and slender.

Then, the warm tears spilled.
Not tears of sadness, just tears of tender remembrance.

Back then, we shared notes and bond paper, chattered about Sister Hosanna, shared bags of Chippy, garlicky chichacorn, Choco-Nut and bites of sticky, gooey, banana-que.

At Angela's, we shared juicy tender rib-eye roast, asparagus, reading eyeglasses, stories of raising families, and the pain of lost loves over bottles of wine. Vino makes you tell tales.

Our school was different. We were together all day long.
Students never changed desks or classrooms ... subjects changed so teachers moved rooms.
Always together.

Angela said to take home leftovers from our gathering. That way, our party can continue in each home.

Never thought of it like that.

As I shared the leftovers with my family, I brought the reunion party home. Then, I thought of each of you. Happy tummy.

Old friends are special people
    you know and see from the heart.
No matter what or where
    life brings them.
No matter how many
   years have passed,
   you instantly reconnect and pick up
    right where you left off.
As though time,
    and distance,
       and aging,
          never happened.

To view galleries of all the pictures, click the following links: here and here.

Blog Journey

Ok. Today is Day One of this new blog.

It's a bit unnerving to put my private thoughts out public.
A few days ago, I visited my sweet friend's blog
(Sheri Twing ... yes, you) to see the latest on her life,
her family, and her church so far away in Tennessee.
I was overwhelmed with your joy. I wept.
Her site was artfully beautiful (just like her),
but most important, I felt I just caught up on her life ...
that no space of time or distance had come between us.

Thank you, Sheri.
Life made us friends, but in Him, God made us sisters.
You're starting me on a journey down a new road, my sister.