Great Wolf Lodge

Cyan told us about a place she saw on TV last year called Great Wolf Lodge. After she mentioned it a few times, we thought we better look it up. After a little research, it looked pretty cool and low and behold, there was one up the road (Interstate 25) in Colorado Springs. We decided to do a family vacation/ birthday trip instead of a birthday party.
The best way to describe GWL is like Vegas for kids. Why? Most people are running around in various states of undress. PJs and swim suits are all you really need. Also, they make it ridiculously easy to rack up a big tab. But rest assured you’ll have fun doing it.
We opted for a one night stay and that was plenty to enjoy all Great Wolf has to offer. We drove up Wednesday night after work/school and stayed at a different hotel (with a great breakfast buffet!). After breakfast, we checked out Seven Falls on the Broadmoor Resort. Very pretty area to walk around/climb. The good news is that it is also accessible which is helpful for Cy even though she and Allan climb 108 stairs. We thought we’d try to save their energy for the water park.
They allow you to enter the park at 1pm on you day of arrival and stay until 10pm on you day of departure, this is why I thought a one night stay was enough. We did online check in and our room was ready at 1pm which we didn’t expect. After changing we hit the water park. The kids liked the wave pool, Fort Mackenzie water playground, and two kids pool activity areas. After about three hours, we were ready for a break. We changed and ate dinner off the property, but there are several options onsite.
After dinner we checked out several of the resorts other activities: arcade, high ropes course, and mini golf. They have other things for kids to do like story time, rock climbing, arts and crafts, and dance parties. There is also a fun tree fort (free).
You have the option of getting different level passes that include these add ins. I recommend getting one because a la cart activities add up. We got the low end pass (fifty bucks) and it came with a gold mining activity, clubhouse crew adventure, scoop of Ben and Jerry’s, glitter tattoo, build a creature (like Build-A-Bear), arcade credits, and a build your own bucket of candy. There are two higher levels you can buy. There is a magic wand game around the resort. We ended up buying the wands, but not playing the game. They also have woodland creatures that walk around and hand out trading cards.
For day two, we woke up and headed down to the onsite Dunkin Donuts. Apparently, America and many people at GWL run on Dunkin. We met some people from Angel Fire, NM in line. We took our breakfast back to the room since the water park didn’t open until 10 and we weren’t in a big hurry.
We selected a Wolf Den room which was super cute. The woodland creature theme continued. The kids loved their own private cabin with bunk beds and a TV. So much so that they still ended up in our bed kicking Allan to the bunk bed in the middle of the night.
We headed down and played in the arcade. Cyan did the ropes course again, this time with Allan since she and I had done it the night before. Atticus did the gold (rock) mining again and then decided he wanted to try the ropes course. Cyan built a wolf named Veronica and Atticus built a raccoon named Silas. For lunch, we ate at the pizza and pasta joint. It was good. Also, they sell beer and wine by the can, box or bottle!
We hit the waterpark again for a few hours. This time Allan tried a couple of the bigger slides taking advantage of short lines.
Pros: Safety is very important, lots of guards on watch. The staff was friendly. All kids get cute little wolf ears. Everything is available in the resort, even if you forgot something. It’s all inside so no need to worry about sun/weather. Plus, the water and room temperature is pretty warm. No need to carry cash as parents wear bracelets that charge to the room. The bracelets let everyone into the park, let you check out towels and serve as your room key. I’d never trust Atticus with our room key, but when it’s attached to him, it works.
Cons: It’s a little pricey, but overall, worth it. Plus you can look for discounts and groupons. You can also bring your own food if you’re trying to save. There’s a dining option as well. There could be a lot of people depending on when you go. So expect to see meltdowns. And of course staying in a pool for hours can wear on you.
If you really wanna go all out, you can rent a cabana and stay longer I suppose. There is also a spa for kids.
Overall, I recommend GWL, especially for kiddos. There are a lot of nice touches that make things magic for kids. Mine had a lot of fun.

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Uncle Louie

My uncle recently passed away and I thought I’d write down some of my fondest memories of him.  As so many others in my family, Uncle Louie had a given name, and a name he went by with family.  His given name is Joe L. Carrillo.  He was named after his father, Jose Luis.  For the most part, his friends called him Joe and his family called him Louie.

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Uncle Louie was born in 1966 to Joe and Helen (Castillo) Carrillo.  He was a younger brother to my dad, Jim, and my aunts Kathy and Jeanette, and an older brother to my aunt Mary Helen (Hippie).  From what I gather from pictures and stories, he enjoyed sports like football and basketball and rock music like Van Halen and Joe Satriani in his early years.  My earliest memory of Uncle Louie was around the time my cousin Carlos and I were starting kindergarten.  Uncle Louie was about nineteen.  He took Carlos and I school clothes shopping and let us pick out an outfit.  I’ve always loved fashion and I felt like I was on top of the world shopping for clothes at Anthony’s and Miller’s Outpost.  I think I picked out a pink shirt and denim shorts.  It’s funny how certain details stay with you.

The men in my family enjoy hunting, fishing and camping.  Over the next few years, my dad and uncles Louie, Lawrence and Tony would go on hunting trips with their friends.  Sometimes us kids got to come along and it was a blast.  I have fuzzy memories of seeing a bear in a far off field, riding the three and four wheelers all over the mountains, the time they “got” a turkey, and the time they saw a turkey and burst out of the truck to chase it down leaving my sister and I wondering what to do.

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As I got older and moved into my first house, my dad, Uncle Louie and Allan built a beautiful porch in our backyard.  It was huge and great for entertaining.  We drove by it the other day.  Uncle Louie was no stranger to hard work, but always one to have fun.  He was the stereotypical uncle telling silly jokes, stories and pointing to you shirt asking, “What’s that?”  While you looked down, his finger went straight up to your forehead.  All of us nieces and nephews and his daughter, my cousin Felicia, would fall for that.  He was the type of uncle that would bring a vintage rocking horse over for Easter for the kids to play with.  Rarely in the photo, but always in the periphery.

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A love of the outdoors probably only compares with one other passion for the Carrillos.  The Pittsburgh Steelers.  Each year we’d gather around the TV, eat great food and cheer on the Steelers together.  Some years we even traveled to see them play.  The best memory was when the Steelers won the Super Bowl a few years back.  Uncle Louie’s good friend Victor was biting his nails down to the quick, nervous with anticipation.  It was down to the wire, but the Steelers prevailed and Victor who was on the shorter side, ran toward my uncle, who was on the taller side, crying tears of joy, “We did it, Joe!”  I loved seeing them both so happy.  Anyone who says grown men don’t cry has not seen a football fan when his team wins the Super Bowl.

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Sadly, Victor passed away a few years later.  Uncle Louie was a lath and plaster contractor by trade.  When Victor passed, he made a large cross as a memorial.  I drive by that sometimes on my way to pick up the kids.  When Uncle Louie passed, my sister Meghann said, “Can you imagine Vic running into Uncle Louie’s arms when he gets to heaven?”  I can totally see it.

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Joe (Louie) will be missed by many, but I’m glad he is not suffering.  I imagine he is up there with Grandma yelling for him (Louie!) and cheering on the Steelers with Vic.  See you again, Uncle Lou.

 

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The Pinon Express

You may have heard of The Polar Express, but have you heard of The Piñon Express?  It’s a story of Christmas magic.Capture1

The Piñon Express is a way for us New Mexicans to catch a ride to the North Pole to visit Santa.

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We hitched a ride on The Piñon Express this past weekend.

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The Albuquerque Trolley picked us up at Hotel Albuquerque and off we went.

 

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We toured the streets of downtown Albuquerque with Atticus sitting up front near the driver.

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As we drove, we listened to what sounded like Liam Neeson reading the original story.

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It wasn’t long before Santa’s engineers beckoned us to the North Pole with their lanterns.Capture6

We waited in the railyard until it was our turn to see Santa.

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While we waited, we were entertained by Jack Frost himself.

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It turns out that Jack Frost is an excellent magician.  Cyan helped him perform two tricks.

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Atticus was a little reluctant to be a magician’s assistant.

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But eventually he warmed up to Jack Frost.

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It was finally our turn to see Santa.  And his awesome photographer friend Liz Lopez.

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We climbed into the engine of a giant old stream locomotive engine where Santa was waiting for us.  We were the last to board.

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Cyan asked Santa for a stuffed kitty.

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Atticus asked for Kinder Eggs.

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Santa reviewed some of his rules.  He gave us a copy and we posted them on the fridge.

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Santa used his magic to make us junior elves.

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Then we said see you soon as we headed down to join the other kids who were listening to Mrs. Claus tell stories.

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We enjoyed cookies and hot cocoa from Rude Boy Cookies.  No relation to Rihanna.

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Santa played music for us.

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Then we all sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer together.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

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We hopped back on the trolley, left the North Pole and headed back to Albuquerque.

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We were hungry from our journey up north so we decided to go into Hotel Albuquerque for a bite to eat at Garduño’s.

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Atticus and Cyan wanted to take a picture in front of their beautiful Christmas tree.

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Thanks to everyone at the Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory for bringing us some Christmas magic!

 

 

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Viva Las Vegas

We just returned from a weekend in Vegas. For anyone outside of New Mexico, you’re probably picturing the bright lights and big city in the Nevada desert. Those of us from the Land of Enchantment know there’s a little gem north of Santa Fe that bears the same name as Sin City.

We were invited to celebrate the recent marriage of our friend Krutik and his wife Priya. We decided to head up on Friday night and explore what the locals lovingly refer to as Lil Las Vegas. Allan headed downstairs to hang out with Jesse, Kru and dozens of his closest friends and family in the hotel pantry. You see, the family owns a few hotel properties in town so everyone could make themselves at home.

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On Saturday, we went down to Lincoln Park to check out Heritage Days. There were lots of fun activities for the kids. Cyan climbed a rock wall, stamped leather, and did some soap felting. Atticus played carnival games. They both enjoyed watching the dancers from Ohkay Owingeh and making lizard puppets. After that we spent some time in the pool, spa and sauna before a quick nap.

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Then it was time for the reception. I’m pretty sure that was the biggest reception I’ve ever been to, something like 300 or 400 guests. We drove out to the historic Montezuma Castle, a beautiful 9000 square foot Queen Anne built in the late 1800s.

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During the cocktail hour, the kids explored the grounds and returned to the wrap around porch just before the mountain rain came pouring down. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck.  If that is the case, I think rain at a recption holds true and Kru and Priya will be very blessed!

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We then started making our way inside for dinner and entertainment.  The castle is beautiful inside with its wood floors, antique furniture, and large stained glass windows. There was a beautiful photo of Krutik and Priya as we entered the large dining room where the eye is drawn to the beautiful Chiluly chandeliers.

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It was a true international experience. We enjoyed folklorico dancers followed by several friends and family performing Indian dances. Atticus also contributed with break dancing. I’m not sure when or how he became a b-boy.


There were several heartwarming speeches before dinner including some from Allan’s group of friends who have known each other and been roommates for various years and in various places. Krutik was Allan’s college roommate when we all first became friends. He was in our wedding and we were delighted to celebrate at his reception. As Allan noted in his speech, Krutik looks very happy. We’re very happy for Kru and Priya. Que viva, little Las Vegas, and que viva, Krutik and Priya!

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Out of the Box

I hate cliches.  Like business cliches.  Low hanging fruit.  Play in each other’s sandbox.  Seat at the table.  Out of the box. Boil the ocean. In the weeds.

And I don’t know if I hate them because they are so universal.  Because the visual of the ideas are pretty ridiculous.  Or if because I sometimes use them.  Because they can articulate what you mean with some sort of emphasis.

Either way, let’s talk about one.  Out of the box.  And just like that this post is about to take a turn you didn’t expect.  Because it’s about boxes.  Or rather the lack of boxes.  Or unboxing as the kids say.  Actually, the kids don’t say it. They just love it.

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As is often the case, I’ve been meaning to post this for a long time.  Maybe I put it off because I didn’t have time. Or maybe I put it off because I just don’t get it.  And is that a sign of my aging?  I’m trying to grow old gracefully, but man these fidget spinners and what not make it really hard.

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So yeah, unboxing is esentially watching people open toys and packages.  On YouTube.  The people that do it make it sound really exciting.  And even though my kid has four billion toys in multiple different rooms, this is exciting to him. And I’ve learned it is not only my kid.  Other kids do this.  And people are making money opening toys online.  Which begs the question, was an MBA a bad idea?  Only kidding.  I’ve yet to monetize this awesome blog;)

So you might be asking yourself, why is my kid watching YouTube?  I don’t have a good answer for that.  My kids have iPads, and YouTube, and YouTube Kids.  And though I didn’t give them to them, I didn’t take them away.  Except once.  I mean it’s not like you’re that surprised.  You’re reading my blog.  So yes, they know how to turn on YouTube and Netflix.  It’s not a “babysitter”, but it’s part of the million things they do in their day.  I watched TV growing up.  It has made my knowledge of pop culture fierce.  So yes, they get to watch a screen when they are not playing or doing someting else and I mostly don’t regulate it.

But here’s the thing.  I pay attention.  I know when they are watcing ridiculous ish.  Like Larva, which might possibly be the worst Japanese import ever.  The second I saw Atticus watching some garbage on YouTube, I uninstalled it and told him to watch YouTube Kids.  He was mad and we talked he cried about how I’m not gonna allow him to watch just anything.

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I mean go ahead and watch people from India sing Daddy Finger with horrible computer animation that I could probably do over and over as much as you want.  It may be annoying, but it is age appropriate.  While it is annoying, it’s entertaining for them and not something I wouldn’t want them to see.  Just weird, but okay.

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What I have learned in this parenting experiment is that with technology moving as fast as it does, there are pros and cons.  Pro:  They never stay on anything too long.  Con:  They live in the on demand world.  They will never know what it’s like to have to wait until you’re favorite show comes on or hope that they play your favorite song on the radio or video on TV. They won’t request a song from DJ, they’ll just send a tweet.

Unboxing is weird.  Parenting is weird.  Business cliches are weird.  Being human is weird. You’re welcome.

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Thank heaven, Cyan is seven!

I’m a week late with this post, but that’s okay.  Cyan is still seven.  Seven!  And what a girl!

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For her birthday, I got her a new suitcase.  Her old suitcase was falling apart.  We are a bit bummed to get rid of it because she does the cutest thing with it.  She puts stickers on it.  I don’t know why she ever started it, but it reminds me of an old traveling trunk with stickers of all of the places it’s been.  The only things she asked for were a yoga ball and a Donald Trump pinata.

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She likes to dress up her stuffed animals with items she finds around the house.

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At the beginning of the year, Cyan’s teacher noticed that she was having trouble getting down to and up from the floor.  We’re not sure if it’s related to her Grave’s, but she’s seeing a pediatric neurologist and has some muscle loss.  More to come on that, but for now, she’s good.

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Her teacher also recommended that Cyan take a gifted program assessment.  She excelled on the verbal and creative portions and will be joining the gifted program at her school next year.

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As I imagine many kids are, she’s addicted to Netflix and her iPad.

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She’s an inch shy of four feet and has two loose front teeth.  One is so loose I have no idea what force of the universe is keeping it in there and I can’t convince her to pull it.  We’ll wait.

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At school this year, Cyan participated in three after school programs.  Board games in the fall and Zumba and arts and crafts in the spring.  Her friends are Veronica, Chen Chen, Trystina and Felicity whose name Cyan pronounced as Felixity until just a couple weeks ago.

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She says she has sensitive skin.  She’s not a fan of jeans.  I usually have to talk her into breaking in new shoes.  Comfy is a priority.

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She wants to be a dog trainer when she grows up.

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Cyan’s little personality is getting bolder as she gets older.  She is funny, occasionally sassy, and steadfast.  She’s my hero.

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Concerts

Everyone is posting on Facebook about artists they’ve seen in concert.  In most cases it is nine truths and one lie.  I tried to write my list a couple times and realized I could write a few lists with as many shows as we go to.  So I drudged through my old blog (going back to the MySpace days) and found the list I had made about ten years ago.

I don’t keep as accurate of records as say Allan (he has a spreadsheet), but this is a pretty good list.  The asterisk indicates I’ve seen the artist or group more than one time.

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3 Doors Down
30 Seconds to Mars
Aaron Tippin
Alan Jackson*
Alanis Morrisette
Alice in Chains
All American Rejects
Akon
Amy Dalley
Audioslave
Augustana
Awolnation
Bad Religion
Backstreet Boys*
Barenaked Ladies
Bell Biv DeVoe
Better Than Ezra
Blackhawk
Blake Shelton
Blaque
Blink 182*
Bloc Party
Boyz II Men*
Britney Spears
Brooks & Dunn
Bruno Mars
Cage The Elephant
Cake
Carolina Liar
Celine Dion
Chely Wright
Cher*
Chicago
Chris Isaak
Clay Walker
Clint Black
Coheed and Cambria*
Colbie Callait
Coldplay
Collective Soul
Collin Raye
Coolio
Counting Crows*
Cyndi Lauper*
Cyndi Thompson
Dashboard Confessional
Daughtry
Dave Matthews Band*
Delinquent Habits
Destiny’s Child
Diamond Rio*
Dredg
Earth, Wind & Fire
Elton John*
Eve 6
Everclear
Fall Out Boy*
Foo Fighters
Frankie Valli
Fuel
Garth Brooks*
Gary Allan
Gavin Degraw
George Strait*
Gin Blossoms
Goldfinger
Goo Goo Dolls*
Gravity Kills
Green Day*
Gwen Stefani
Gym Class Heroes
Huey Lewis*
Ice Cube
Incubus*
J. Cole
James Blunt
Jim Ward
Jo Dee Messina
John Mayer
John Michael Montgomery
Kanye West
Keith Urban
Kelly Clarkson
Kenny Chesney
Kid Rock
Kings of Leon
Korn*
Lady Gaga
LeAnn Womack
LFO
Limp Bizkit
Linda Ronstadt
Linkin Park
Little Texas
Live
Lorrie Morgan*
Luke Bryan
Lupe Fiasco
Madonna
Marilyn Manson
Maroon 5*
Matchbox 20
Matisyahu
Metallica
Modest Mouse*
Moby
My Chemical Romance
Nasty Boy Klick
Natasha Beddingfield
Neal McCoy*
Nelly Furtado
Neon Trees
New Edition
Nine Inch Nails*
NKOTB*
No Doubt*
One republic
Outkast
Ozomatli
Paramore
Paul Oakenfold
Peaches & Herb
Pennywise
Phunk Junkees
Plain White T’s
Quens of the Stone Age
Radiohead
Reba McEntire*
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Restless Heart
Rhianna
Rick Trevino
Roger Waters
Salt N Pepa
Sammy Kershaw
Sara Evans
Sarah McLachlan*
Sawyer Brown
Seven Mary Three
Shakira
Sheryl Crow
The Shins
Shiny Toy Guns
Smashmouth
Smile Empty Soul
Snoop Dogg

Sparta*

Spice Girls
Spin Doctors
Staind
Stevie Nicks
Stone Sour
Sublime with Rome
Sugarland
Sugar Ray*
System of a Down*
The Band Perry
The Fray
The Fugees
The Nixons
The Beach Boys
The Killers
The Mars Volta
The Offspring
The Script
The Wallflowers
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Third Eye Blind*
Tim McGraw*
Toby Keith
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tool
Trace Adkins
Tracy Bonham
Tracy Byrd
Tracy Lawrence*
Train
Travis Tritt
Trisha Yearwood*
U2
Uncle Kracker
Vanilla Ice
Wade Hayes
Weezer
Wilson Phillips
Wiz Kahlifa
Wyclef Jean
Young MC
Young the Giant*

Estate Sale

Yesterday the weather was gloomy. Allan noticed that the neighbors, or rather the neighbors’ adult children, were having an estate sale as their home recently sold.  Jim and Nida lived directly across the street from us since we moved here over seven years ago.  We’d see them out in the yard or at neighborhood Christmas parties.  Jim likes to talk and is very friendly.  He always liked to see the kids.  Now in their eighties, their health is not what it once was so they moved out of state to be closer to their children.  Jim used to tell us that they moved to Albuquerque to be near their children, but then their children moved away to several different states.  He would often drive to see them and their many grandchildren.

We made a quick stop at the estate sale.  Estate sales are so interesting to me.  You see all of someone’s stuff laid out.  It makes me imagine what an estate sale would look like at our house.  Our neighbors had lots of holiday decorations.  For every holiday they would put up a different wreath, flag and doormat.  They also had a lot of Americana décor.  I wanted to buy something, to represent these nice people, but I didn’t know what to get.  In the end, I picked up a couple of Barbie outfits from 1999 still mint on card for Cyan for a buck.  One of their sons commented on what a big spender I was.  I imagined that Nida bought those for one of her granddaughters.

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As I browsed through the goods, I talked to another neighbor.  I had overheard one of the kids telling her that the new owner is a single man.  I’d hoped it would be a family with kids.  Oh well.

Today the weather is sunny and clear. I can hear the hustle and bustle of moving and more people visiting the sale outside my office window.  It also got me thinking about a package I have on its way from my cousin Erika.  She is a photography professor and she published a book on this exact topic titled, Changing Hands. I’ve included the summary and photo from Amazon.  Hope she doesn’t mind. :)

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The photographs in the Changing Hands series are about objects for sale, spaces they are located in, and the people the items once belonged to. The objects that loved ones once cherished are no longer useful or desirable to the family. The family members then hire a company to organize an estate sale. During the sale, the home is transformed into a store and items are staged and marketed for the customers. The items and belongings are now detached, waiting for new owners. I see the personal items as substitutes for the people they once belonged to and document them before they are sold.

The line about seeing personal items as substitutes for the people they once belonged to, that’s what I was thinking about as I walked through their home.  Visiting someone’s home when they live there is different.  When you see all of someone’s stuff all together for the purpose of getting rid of as much of it as you can, it seems very vulnerable and exposed.  I’ve always thought we have too much stuff and by we, I mean my family and Americans in general.  Like why do we need it?  That’s a question for another day.  On the other hand, our stuff can sometimes tell stories.

We will miss Jim and Nida, but I imagine it’s best to be close to your loved ones in the twilight of your life.  Farewell, good neighbors.

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Jane The Virgin

A little history.  I watched my first telenovela during my first year of college. It was Rosalinda starring Thalia and Fernando Carrillo.  There were others that grabbed my attention, Abrazame muy fuerte, Esmeralda, Luz Clarita. And by grabbed my attention, I mean grabbed my mom and Nana’s attention.  I hung out with my family a lot in college.  Who does that?  Me I guess.

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Another novela that I enjoyed a lot was Mi Destino Eres Tu.  MDET starred Lucero, Jorge Salinas, and Jaime Camil.  We’ll get back to Jaime, trust.  There are many reasons to love novelas.  They are temporary.  They are over the top.  The opening song is usually catchy.  The actors are attractive.  They are in Spanish and a great way to learn Spanish when you aren’t a native Spanish speaker.

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After many years, the telenovela has made its way into the American whatever we are calling our culture.  First, there was Ugly Betty (based on Betty la fea) and Telenovela (a spoof of novelas).  I wanted to watch Betty, but never made/had the time.  And you can’t spoof a novela because they are spoofy on their own.  To get it right, you have to try to actually do it, with some twists and slightly higher production value.  And that is what Jane the Virgin does.

I was a little late to the Jane the Virgin game and I think I just happened to stumble on it one night.  As you can probably tell, I started watching TV again like a year ago and it’s amazing.  Looks like I will probably not return to school lol.

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There are lots of reasons to love JTV and many ways I connect to it despite the fact that the show can be so silly and impossible.  That’s the twist piece.  It’s got the over the top plot twists, inconceivable turn of events, extreme luxury with bits and pieces of keeping it real.  Rather than review the whole show which I can’t and I won’t, I’ll just make a recommendation that it’s worth watching and call out the things I connect with/love about it.  In no particular order.

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Catholicism – A strange, but traditional and ritualistic, yet comforting faith.

Abortion – It’s rare to see a show, especially a comedy, deal with this sensitive topic in a direct way.

Postpartum Depression – Those that know me know this one hits right in the feels.  The show’s arguable “villain” you root for, Petra, didn’t connect with her twins.  She is not a perfect mom.  But she plays a professional mom on TV.  And that HBIC is right up my alley, minus the villain part.

Writer – Jane is a fiction writer and I can’t say I love that aspect of the story, but yo, a writer is a writer and we gotta promote each other.  Who knows, maybe someday I’ll write a novel.  I doubt it though.  While I may not be a good writer, it is my passion.  This I know.  It’s not that I don’t dig fiction (it’s my favorite), it’s just that that part of the show is ironically a little too tortured.  Whereas The Passions of Santos, well that’s just fun.

HSF – Gina Rodriguez (Jane) is not only a badass to follow on Twitter.  She is a board member for the national Hispanic Scholarship Fund.  I have to thank HSF for several $k of scholarship money of which I did not buy furniture and carpet.  But seriously, I’m super proud to be a member of the Albuquerque Advisory Council of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the largest Hispanic scholarship granting institution in the country.  Also, Gina has won a Golden Globe for her performance as Jane.  Boom.

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Naughty kid –Mateo Gloriano Rogelio Solano Villanueva.  Jane and Rafael’s kid.  So yeah, actual plot.  Jane has a kid despite that fact that she is was a virgin.  More important than being accidentally, artificially inseminated is that Jane has a kid.  And through the magic of television fast forwarding, we come to find out that #Matelio is a naughty four year old.  Thank you, Jesus.  As you may have heard or deduced, Atticus Cole Armenta is naughty.  But yeah, tell me again “he’s just a boy” or “he’s smart.”  And just like Jane, I love my little dude.

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Guest stars – What show features Britney Spears, Gloria Estefan, Paulina Rubio and Bruno Mars?  Sometimes Here We Are Y Yo Sigo Aqui Just the Way You Are. Need I say more.  Slay with the divas.

Spanish, the narrator and the use of subtitles – This show uses all three perfectly, although, sometimes it seems like Jane is trying really hard to pronounce certain words en espanol.  Like abuela and Mateo.  auwela  maaaathayo

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Rafael and Michael and Petra – So officially I’m #Team/Dream Rafael, but just barely, especially with Zen Rafael, too chill.  Michael and his dimples and curly hair and pretty eyes are adorable.  And Petra is just amazing.  But Rafael is so versatile.

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Alba and Xiomara – These women represent what it’s like to have awesome women in your familia.  And Xo is just a freakin’ cool name.

Product placement – I think it’s hilarious how JTV is like a Target ad.  And thought I’ve never eaten Honey Bunches of Oats I kind of want to just so I can say I’m eating HBO.

Casting and Wardrobe – Whoever does the casting and wardrobe for this beautiful show needs a hug.  On point at every turn.  The set is pretty fly too.

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The “De la Vega-Factor Factor” – I just wanted to write that.  And a true fan will understand the emphasis.

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Pressure of being involved at school while working –Recently, Petra and Jane are doing the school mom rival thing and man the pressure is always there to be like an awesome wherever you are.  Right now I’m being awesome covered in dog hair, drinking a margarita from a red SOLO cup while writing a blog with E! on in the background.  It’s past midnight.

#Hashtags – Okay this is all really about Rogelio.  Rogelio de La Vega is everything.  In 1999, I had no idea that Jaime Camil was so freakin’ funny and handsome.  I pretty much love everything about him.  His vanity.  His gift baskets.  His obliviousness.  His good nature.  His signature color, purple.  His desire to be a father.  His a little too honest honesty with his grandson.  His hilarious hoshtags (as he says) and Twitter references.  (IRL all the JTV stars are awesome on Twitter.)  His security in his masculinity which allows him to comment on his bromance with Michael and Rafael’s hotness.  Seriously, more men need to be secure in their masculinity and sexuality.  His kindness. His accent.  Which is why I decided to pepper this post with Rogelio memes.

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If you’re still reading my stream of consciousness, thanks.  I finally caught up with the series this week.  Maybe I’ve inspired someone to check out JTV.

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This Post Is Brought to You by the Letters P, B and S

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I was pretty bummed to learn that the current adminstration’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the publicly funded radio and television company that includes NPR and PBS.  To say I support PBS is probably an understatement.  As I began to think of the programming I’ve watched over the years, I realized what a big PBS fan I really am.

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There are the obvious impacts like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers Neighborhood.  Like most kids my age, I enjoyed watching the live action scenes on Sesame Street, which I always assumed were New York before I’d had a chance to visit there.  I couldn’t verbalize it then, but I appreciated the diverse cast of Maria, and Luis, and Gordon, and Bob.  And how sometimes they’d get a little flabbergasted with Jim Henson’s precocious Muppets like Grover, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Prarie Dawn, and Elmo (after my time of course).  I loved the Tweedlebugs and the Teeny Little Super Guy segments.  I liked when they’d have guest stars like Smokey Robinson singing with the letter U or James Taylor singing Jelly Man.  I liked “One of These Things is Not Like the Others” and the cool counting animations where a psychadelic pinball machine would tell you the number of the day.  I loved the segment where they showed you how a crayon was made.  And of course, Follow That Bird.  As for Mister Rogers, I liked the Land of Make Believe best.  The weird looking puppets like King Friday and Lady Elaine and Daniel Tiger.  I wanted to visit the castle and the treehouse and ride the trolley.  At that age, it was possible.

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But there are deeper cuts and ones less remembered.  Like Lambchop’s Play Along, Captain Kangaroo and Zoobilee Zoo.  And educational shows like Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? that taught about culture and geography.  Square One and 3-2-1 Contact that made math and science interesting.  I wanted to be a Mathnet detective like Agent Kate Monday and her partner George, even if just for a few minutes in the afternoon.  The mystery solving itch continued in middle school with Ghostwriter which was geared more toward literacy.  And I’d be remiss if I did not mention the heavy hitter, Reading Rainbow.  I always imagined that I could be one of those kids that recommended a book to other kids and then said, “But don’t take my word for it.”  Pretty sure I can sing the theme song to most of these shows.  And that cool message at the beginning and end of each show…Sesame Street is brought to you by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the support of XYZ Local Dentist, and viewers like you.

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There was (and is) lots of children’s programming that I didn’t watch, but I know my siblings did.  Even Barney, my known enemy.  Teletubbies and Caillou are pretty horrible, but someone has to like them.  Much of PBS Kids’ programming can now be found on the Sprout channel.  Cyan digs the Wild Kratts.  And Sesame shows new on HBO.  But that’s the thing about the Public Broadcasting Service.  It was free to kids who didn’t have cable or satellite channels.  2,4,5,7,13.  The main channels in my hometown.  That KNME 5 was legit.

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My PBS fandom is not limited to children’s shows.  PBS introduced us to master craftspeople like Julia Childs and Bob Villa; mesmerizing artists like Mark Kistler with his Imagination Station and Bob Ross with his happy little trees.  Amazing dispalys of the natural world on Nova and National Geographic.  Hidden gems on the Antiques Roadshow.  Excellent acouostic sets on Austin City Limits and other music specials.  Bill Moyers’ specials.  Unsensational news.  And those glorious BBC imports like Masterpiece Theater, which brought over my beloved, Downton Abbey.  And Vicious.

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A few years after I graduated from college, I had the opportunity to volunteer at KNME during a local pledge drive.  I sat in a room behind the on camera talent and took phone donations from viewers like you.  We were showing an Elvis Special, which I believe you would get for a certain dollar amount donation.  Most of the people who called were elderly and I think that has to with the wisdom they had in realizing what a gem public television is.  I always wished I’d been a better supporter of PBS and I suppose at least for the time being, I still can be.

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I wouldn’t even mind paying for the programming you can find on PBS, but that’s not the point.  Here we have this rich culutral treasure that in the grand scheme of budgets is quite small, but is at risk.  You know, like the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.  In my opinion, our priorities are backward.  I don’t listen to NPR as much, but like PBS, I love it’s lack of sensationalism.  My hope is that we can #keepChannel5alive

 

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