Monthly Archives: August 2007

Overheard at foster parent orientation

Me: So, the first step in becoming certified as a foster parent is to decide you are inter–

Guy: I have a question.

Me: Sure, go ahead.

Guy: I had a little CPS (child protective services) issue a while back with my stepson. Would that have any effect on my becoming a foster parent?

Me: Well, each case is different, and I don’t have enough information to speak to your case directly. Why don’t we get together after the presentation and you can fill me in on the details.

Where do these people come from?


Filed under foster care, humor

The Mac is in the shop

The wife says I look like Lon Cheney from nearly a week of packing, so I’ll make this quick. The Mac is indeed in the shop, apparently the victim of my ham-handed typing and knack for spilling water on the keyboard. I didn’t spill much but it doesn’t take much, as I learned from the local authorized repair shop staff.

If all goes according to plan, I should have my Mac back by tomorrow, er, today or Friday. Thank goodness for Apple Care, the warranty repair program for klutzes like me. Our poor children. My wife is an absolute klutz, too. We’re hoping the klutz genes work like an algebraic equation and one will cancel out the other. Will we raise circus acrobats or Buster Keatons?

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Filed under home life, wifey

Random Monday thoughts


The Missus packs away the Biblical commentary collection while looking resplendent in contrasting colors of the season. Yowza!

Five boxes: a good start, only a start.

  • The packing is going so-so. After an initial rush, we’ve slowed to a crawl. I should be worried, but why start so early when I can worry the night before the move? Continue reading

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Filed under Christianity, home life

A change is gonna come

With each new post, I am increasingly dissatisfied with the appearance of italic text. Instead of italics, the text is red. It looks like a link and competes with the color of the real links, which are light green.

To have the complete creative control I want, I’ll need to upgrade wordpress and migrate my blog to a server. This would involve a significant investment of time in learning more HTML code. And I already have projects coming out of my ears.

Sigh. The fun continues.

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Filed under blogging


The missus is at work educating the not-so-little fifth-graders while I sip an insanely powerful cup of coffee from my Stars & Stripes staffer mug. This coffee is no joke. Even now, I can feel myself recovering from a 7-hour drive Sunday from the in-law’s house in San Bernardino.

Under normal circumstances, it’s a 6-hour drive. We diverted from the plan and stopped at the heavenly Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, near Pasadena. It started as a home business for the Porto’s in Manzanillo, Cuba and continued after they immigrated to the United States.

The upscale business in the heart of Glendale bears little resemblance to the humbler storefront locations, but the charm of a family run Latino business remains.

Porto’s is a 90-minute investment of one’s time. First-timers like ourselves are often completely unprepared for the hoards of people jockeying for position in front of a wraparound glass case filled to capacity with cakes and pastries, many of which are new to most Americans. Continue reading

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Filed under Latinos

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Editor’s note: the following is a partially completed travel sketch written during our vacation in Monterey County in July. I was going to delete it from my drafts, since I never finished it, and I can’t or don’t have time to recall what I did a month later. But I figure it’s just enough material to stand on its own. Enjoy.

The missus and are on location in Monterey County for a week of catching up with family and friends.

We had a perfectly lethargic vacation day Monday. We camped out in my parents’ family room and gleefully perused the cable television offerings. “Ninja Warrior” and “Deadliest Catch” won handily over the abysmal local news offerings. We had our fill by 1 o’clock in the morning, and to my wife’s annoyance, I was snoring by 1:05, as I am every night.

Monday, July 2

10 a.m.

Come on, (pet name), it’s time to get up. Wakey, wakey.”

“Must you? Go talk to my mother, go get some cereal, go outside and read. Just go.”

“Come on, it’s a beautiful day outside and I don’t want to miss it. Why don’t we go have bagels and then go to the beach?”

Bagels. Fighting dirty and tempting the old man while on vacation. Isn’t there an ordinance against that somewhere?

“All right already. Let’s go.”

12: 50 p.m.

Nearly three hours later, we found ourselves a cozy outdoor table at the Bagel Cafe on the northwest side of town. Owned by a local Mexican family, they are as well known for their potato, egg and bacon burritos as they are for their dizzying array of bagels, spreads and espresso drinks.

12:58 p.m.

“Would you stop kicking me?”

“I’m not kicking you.”

“Oh, wait, that’s an earthquake.”

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake centered 1 mile southeast of Aromas gave the region a good jolt but caused little damage. The Bagel Cafe customers looked up, chuckled at each other and kept on eating.

1:30 p.m.

Fighting the commercial forces of The Man, the missus and I stopped by a local thrift store to buy a makeshift beach blanket.

2 p.m.

We descend on Carmel for an afternoon of reading and napping at the beach, gawking at the local boutiques and galleries and searching for ice cream.

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Filed under Salinas, vacation

The Man: Fighting the Forces of Good Health


So, I have this rash. It’s painful, not to mention that I feel like the town leper when I shake hands with the good people at church.

I went to the doctor on Friday morning. He prescribed an antihistamine. A good antihistamine. I go to my pharmacy to pick up my prescription.

“Rivera, Rivera — what’s your first name?”


“Was it just the one medication?”

“No, there should be two. A lotion and an antihistamine.”

She finds the antihistamine and hands it to me, while I sign two stickers and a receipt.

“Oh, you know what? Your insurer wouldn’t accept the other medication. We faxed your doctor and asked him to prescribe an alternative.”

It’s 4 p.m. and the somewhat helpful staff at my doctor’s office leaves the office by 4:30 p.m. to pick up their children, to catch the last few minutes of Oprah, to remind me that it isn’t about my health care needs. Who knows why they leave early? They just do. Continue reading

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Filed under health care, humor

They come in sizes?

The following conversation just happened during a discussion with two co-workers at our foster care agency.

C: So, M. brought in a case of diapers yesterday.

C2: What size are they?

Me: They come in sizes?

C2: Jay. (With accompanying look of pity and disapproval.)

Hey, it’s a reasonable question.

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Filed under diapers, humor, office talk

Summer sloth

I be slothin'

Must. Wake. Up. And. Be. Productive.

Must. Get. Off. Couch.


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Filed under summer