Monday, August 25, 2008

Josh's First day of 3rd Grade

Well today and tomorrow I am a single dad. Linda's Uncle passed away and she and her parents went down for the funeral. Today was Josh's first day in the 3rd Grade (hopefully he won't need first aid).

Here are some pictures...Linda come home soon and enjoy the pictures.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cars and Romance

So while you are waiting for the next installment of the BatB, I thought I'd entertain you with some of the cars that I've had while I've been with Linda...and the two before because they were so cool!

Ready? Here we go:

First car 1965 Ford Mustang coupe...sweet car. We used to call it 10/10 looked good from 10ft away and/or 10 MPH. I still love that car though. (Looked a lot like this car it's a 66 though and it had a hood scoop with centerline wannabee chrome wheels.)
Second car 1970 Ford Mustang Mach I 351 Windsor w/ Cleveland heads bald tires and a sweet handling package. I often blew the doors off of new Corvettes just for fun! (it actually looked a lot like this one, but the paint was a lot dingier and cracked and peeling)
With Linda
Mid 80's Yellow Nissan Sentra (couldn't find a banana yellow one so use your imagination). My parents bought this car so our illegal nanny from the Philippines could drive us to school...without her license. Then she ran away with the baker from our bakery/coffee shop in the Wilshire District. I'm not kidding...

Mid 80s Ford Ranger 4x4...many of you don't know this about me, but I used to come up here to the Central Coast to ride ATVs in the Oceano Dunes. We bought a truck very much like this without the roll bar and push bar to tow our RV out of the sand. We'd get the RV and trailer full of toys stuck in the sand and then pull it out with this bad boy...only problem is it was cheaper to just pay the tow guy to get you out and we used to pay him to get this truck unstuck too...bunch of Filipino yahoos.
We spent a lot of our dating relationship in this truck...good times.

1980 Honda Accord (aka the mistake from you know where) this car was a piece of junk, but I really liked Linda's car so my parents bought this for my sister...then she pawned it off on me, which I deserved because I helped make the decision. Linda's looked like this one, but brand spanking it came off the show room floor 10 years earlier. If you ever get a chance to buy a Dean Durand (Linda's dad) owned car you should pay $1k over blue book and you'll be glad you did.
Mine guessed it Banana Yellow! It stunk and the seat in the back was completely deteriorated so nobody ever sat back there.

Early 80s maybe late 70s Buick Regal (I think) I can't even find a picture that does this car justice. I got kicked out of my parents house and had to give up the sweet Honda Accord (blah) and bought this baby for $700. I made weekly payments to my roommates friends for it. It ran like a charm and had a bench seat hubba hubba. Needless to say when I moved back I sold it to some people that only spoke Spanish.

1992 Honda Civic DX hatchback white with black trim. We used to call it the Panda car (get it Patrick and Linda put together?)
I always wanted to trick it out like this, but never had the $$ or the gumption to steal to get it done. It was bone stock...steel wheels w/ hubcaps and everything. I think I put a sweet stereo system in it but that was it. I remember getting a terrible deal on was so bad the sales person was apologizing and i was going, "What don't normal people spend $14k on a $10k car and get a loan for 14% interest?" I was really bad with money back then...

We took the Panda into our marriage in 1994. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the cars during our 3.5 year dating/courting relationship.

FYI we sold the panda and bought a Toyota Corolla (we aren't sure why now). Then Linda's parents gave us their newer Toyota Camry for whatever we could sell her 1980 Honda Accord for. We still miss you Sunny Car! Where are you? If only we had a 3rd garage that baby would be on blocks or in a museum in Japan somewhere...

We sold the Camry for a 1996 Volvo Station Wagon (you may see a college aged woman driving it around town with a Calvary Sticker in the back window) and the Volvo turned into our sweet 2006 Toyota Sienna. Regardless of popular opinion Mini-vans are awesome. 14 cupholders in that baby and it's sweet at the drive-in. I crashed the Corolla or a lady turned left in front of me and that turned into our sweet 2000 Honda Civic that my friend Chris keeps trying to get me to sell to him.

Don't tell Linda, but someday I want one of these...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Disneyland on a budget...

Sorry we were away from internet for a few's so very difficult! I promise the BatB story will continue asap. Hopefully we haven't bored you to death yet. Linda and I are getting a great kick out of it.

Anyways we are tired and ready to rest at home after 3 days at the Disneyland Resort. Linda and I found a great place to stay right across the street from Disney California Adventure Park called the Anabella Hotel.

It was a fantastic hotel...I'm talking it should have been $200 a night not the $115 (w/ parking) we paid. It was only a 15 minute walk to the Disneyland entrance, we never started the car once we parked it in front of our room.

It was a great deal and we'd stay there again. In fact, we probably have to since we just bought 4 annual passes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

BatB Part III: Movies and Blue Corn Chips

This is the third installment of Beauty and the Beast: The Linda and Patrick Story. Catch the other parts below.

I finally had the excuse to nonchalantly ask people about Linda, since everyone could see that we got along famously (see crash and burn conversation in Part II). Here's how the conversations went:

Me: Hey other college group person (OCGP) howz it going?

OCGP: Hey Pat (that's what they called me back then in the 80's) how're you doin?

Me: the sky is so blue and so was the sweater dress Linda was wearing last Sunday, do you have any idea where she is? (Very tactful and nonchalant eh?)

OCGP: Ummm she goes to Azusa Pacific University. (At this point OCGP is thinking should I really tell this stalker?)

Me: Oh yeah? Where is that? (This is before the internet and google maps really took off...remember 1989?)

OCGP: Ummm Azusa.

So using my own brand of investigative journalism and private detectiveness I found out that Linda was 30 minutes away and only came home some weekends because she was busy with school and choir. Every day that went by I wondered when she would be home long enough for me to win her heart.

A couple of weeks after Thanksgiving she got out of Azusa on Christmas Break (I think they call it that there because it's a Christian University). I started seeing her at the College Group where we had Sunday School and mid-week Bible study.

After one of those studies me, Linda, one of Linda's Good Friends (OLGF), and an OCGP we'll just call Muscle Pants (because he always wore them) were sitting outside talking. One of us had the great idea to go do something together (this was before Starbucks was on every corner).

We all decided to head to Blockbuster (the analog version of Netflix for all of you born in the 80's) to rent a movie and then watch it at Linda's house.

Now you have to remember I was a brand spanking new Christian, which is to say I thought I had joined some form of the Amish. I was always surprised that these holy people watched movies. I was also surprised that Linda had invited us over to her house while her parents were out of town. In my old days that was code for...who's 21 year old cousin are we going to call to get us a keg...
But I digress...after almost an hour of perusing Blockbuster with me and Muscle Pants offering movies like Robocop and Rambo, but getting completely shut down, we found the perfect movie: Say Anything. Yes that was the movie we would watch. How can you go wrong with John Cusack.

At this point I should tell you that I was flirtin it up with Linda. I was pulling out all the stops, well as much as you can in a Blockbuster. I pretty much walked around following Linda like a lost puppy, but not looking like I was following her around...know what I mean?

I would do things like open the door to where the refrigerated Cokes were (why are those at Blockbusters anyways?) so my pecs and bicep muscles would flex. Again she was completely unimpressed.

Or I would show how well rounded my movie viewing was, I mean I didn't just like things like Robocop and Rambo with just a bunch of shooting. I liked stuff like Above the Law where they used Martial Arts to kill and maime. (I'm just glad I kept my love of Star Trek a secret). Linda was still unimpressed.

What does a guy have to do? Well we brought Say Anything back to her parents house. I think she made us some popcorn, but for health reasons she brought out some blue corn tortilla chips for herself, which are much more common now than they were then (there were only a handful of Trader Joe's back then).

I said something like, "Oh how like totally like awesome! I like totally eat those like totally all the time!" She looked at me the way I wanted her to look at me after flexing my muscles to get a Coke at Blockbuster. Like she was finally impressed. YES! Score one for the Patman...(nobody called me that I just made that up)

We watched the movie and I was mesmerized. It was like I was watching our prophesy right there on her parents television screen, in beautiful Hi-Fi VCR man! Except for the station wagon part and the Dad being a crook and a few other things this movie is our story.

See I was kind of the weird crazy ADHD guy that was into kick boxing (sport of the future) and quite head over heals in love with the Game Show Hostess/Valedictorian. (BTW Linda recently revealed to me that this was the night she knew she wanted to marry me...honest! She was just coy about it for 4 more years because one of us had to graduate college.)

After the movie we parted ways. Muscle Pants was trying to horn in on my lady and stayed a while longer. I was somewhat worried until I remembered...he wears muscle pants all the time.

Fast Forward to a College Group movie night within that same Christmas Break (apparently private colleges have like 2 months off because I think this was in January 1990). We were all sitting around at Don's house, he was the Deacon in charge of corralling us college peeps, trying to think of a movie we all could agree on. (We had already seen Princess Bride like 12 gazillion times since I got saved in November.)

We decided to send a few of us to Blockbuster to pick a couple of movies, you know the old Joshua and Caleb spy out the land kinda thing? Well Linda was very vocal about how picky she is with movies. So I volunteered to represent her choices, because we had shared blue corn tortilla chips.

Well needless to say four of us went to Blockbuster and were gone for about 2 hours. Remember OLGF (one of Linda's good friends)? She was with us and was playing a prank on me. She told me that Linda loved Bobcat Golthwait. And I bought it because you know she is OLGF and at this point Christians were still kind of a mystery to me and maybe they all just liked Bobcat for some reason.

Since none of us had a cell phone (they were the size of a cinder block) we couldn't call ahead and see if our movie choices were any good. We brought back Spaceballs and Hot to Trot (which really was some of Bobcat's best work...not). I could only guess what Linda was thinking, because she was thoroughly disgusted by both movies. Do I need to remind you that I was her representative? Oh my gosh! All the points I had made with the blue corn tortilla chips went down drain.

I was absolutely sure she hated me, big time! But you know what she started coming home more often from school...

This concludes Part III. As a preview I will tell you that we actually DTR in Part IV. It's a beautiful story of long talks in the church parking lot, other college group boys trying to get my girl, and a little town in Mexico called Peligro (Danger). Until next time...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Major Case of I Wannas

One of our friends does this thing with her kids when they whine about wanting something at the store. She says, "You seem to have a major case of the I wannas right now! Maybe you should think of some things you are thankful for instead."

Well I have a major case of the I Wannas! At first it started out as a need (aka I could save so much on gas) but to be really honest I just want to have a Vespa LX 150 in Excaliber Silver (the one pictured is the right color but it's a 200 or 250).

See the thing is people will say, "I bought a Vespa because I could save on gas"...well how does that work when they cost 5 G's out the door? Even if you saved $200 per month (which I don't think I would since my sweet civic gets 33 MPG) that would take 2 years to get back. So really I would just be taking the gas savings and paying for my I Wannas.

But man it looks so sweet at the dealership! Then I got some bad news...soon everyone who rides a scooter that goes over 30 MPH (the one I want goes 68 according to the owner of the dealership) has to get a motorcycle license.

Oh well...that was fun while it lasted, but I still want one.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adventures from the Book of Virtues

Faith, Courage, and Honesty

But Dated, and Not Very Engaging

The Adventures from the Book of Virtues series includes: Adventures in Faith, Adventures in Courage, and Adventures in Honesty. These videos are a bit dated, which is not why I only recommended a rental. They just don’t bring the “moral of the story” home.

If you didn't already know these are not the full review. They are excerpts. To see the full review click on any of the links below the title.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

BatB Part Deux: The Meeting(s)

This is the second installment of Beauty and the Beast: The Linda and Patrick story. Part I is below.

I looked at the program and found out her name, Linda Durand, aka my future bride. I went straight home and pulled my sister's year book out of her room, probably without knocking or asking...I know so rude. As I looked at her beautiful picture, I knew at that very moment that I was going to be Baptist.

All week I kept thinking, Why does a week have to take 7 days? I would have to wait a whole week before I could meet Linda. Finally after days of torture Sunday came along, the fateful day when I would meet the Beauty.

I drove, separately, to the church and went straight to the college group Sunday school class. You didn't expect me to go to the service did you? I figured I would meet Linda there. To my surprise, and yours I'm sure, I did not meet Linda that day.

I did meet the funniest, and best, Sunday school teacher ever...Don. I remember thinking, Christians can be funny and have a good time studying the Bible. Don was one of the Deacons at the church and faithfully taught us college aged people. I started going every Sunday. It was my first introduction to Jesus.

I thought it would be a little too obvious if I started asking some of the college group gang where Linda was so I just kept my mouth shut and hoped she would show up some day. In the meantime, I started going to CSUN in September.

My mom decided we were all going to start listening to KWVE, the Calvary Chapel radio station. At the time, I was driving a Nissan Sentra Sedan, banana yellow with banana yellow interior and my mom would check the radio station almost every day to make sure I was listening to KWVE. This is funny because I could have been listening to devil music up until a block away and then switch the station, but I wasn't. I was actually listening to KWVE.

CSUN is, or at least was, known as a commuter school and I fit that bill to a T. I commuted about 15-20 minutes each way, just long enough to hear Chuck Smith or Greg Laurie or any number of the great evangelistic preachers from the Calvary Chapel system. From September through November of 1989 I must have heard the gospel message at least 1,234,567 times, give or take a few.

That November something inside me changed towards Jesus. It's hard to explain in words, but the closest thing I can think of is that I fell in love with Him. I had heard of all He had done;came to earth to die for my sins and all, so I gave Him my heart...over and over again. I must have pulled over at least 10 times a day to pray with the radio versions of Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, etc. My life has never been the same...thank you Lord!

I'd like to say a lot changed, but I was still a bad student, son, and worker; but I had this in explicable joy that I have to this day. (All that other stuff Jesus has been slowly refining in my life.) I remember that my desires had changed; instead of going to parties and getting drunk I wanted to go on scavenger hunts with the college group, instead of listening to AC/DC I was listening to Michael W. Smith...I know it was weird! But I am so glad He invaded my life!

That same month I went to Sunday school and took my normal seat, kinda towards the back. Down the aisle came someone new, to me. She was wearing a blue sweater dress, but I could only see her from the back. It seemed everyone else knew who she was. Could it be her?

She sat at the front so i still couldn't see her face very well. It was a small room, but I still couldn't get a good look. I couldn't wait until the study was over so I could meet her. Finally, after what seemed like hours of looking at the back of her head, somewhat stalkeresque, it ended. I ever so nonchalantly made a beeline right over to her to both see if it was Linda and meet her if it was!

Dream sequence: We locked eyes and instantly fell in love. Everyone and everything else fell by the wayside to the most romantic music you've ever heard and we both rode off into the my banana yellow Nissan Sentra [screeching sound].

Here's what happened:

Me: "Hi I'm Pat, were you in that musical this summer?" [Yup just call me Rico Suave!]

Linda: "Yeah." She was thinking Is this guy a stalker?

Me: "I remember that." [That's gonna knock her off her feet.]

Linda: No response she went and talked to her friends.

So there you go...she wasn't impressed with my conversation skills. She was not impressed with my looks either, even though I dressed like Bobby Brown. Yeah, who wouldn't be impressed with a Filipino sporting a mullet, flowing white with big black polka dots shirt, and baggy pants a la MC Hammer. I was a little too ethnic for La Crescenta.

Anyways, I went home feeling pretty dejected. I mean I met my future wife and it just didn't go the way I had hoped. I'm not sure how I thought it would go but not so anticlimactic. I mean we met...that's all. No date, no when will I see you again...nothin. Until...

That's Part II (or Deux) hope you liked walking down memory lane with me. It's kinda fun. Part III to come...let's see it took 2 comments to get Part II how many comments will it take to get Part III (3 or three also tres).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Beauty and the Beast Part I: How it all Began

Our fifteenth anniversary is just around the corner so I feel inspired to journal how Linda (the Beauty) and I (the Beast) found each other. I can honestly say I am more in love with Linda now AND that she is even more beautiful to me. Linda, I love you more than I can say, like the Beast I can't imagine where my life would be without my Beauty...

It was the summer of 1989; I found myself graduated from St. Francis High School with no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had basically wasted my High School career away with parties and just enough effort to squeeze out a B+ average. I had been accepted to Loyola Marymount University, but couldn't afford to go so I was headed to Cal State Northridge (CSUN).

I was kinda together with a girl my senior year, meaning we saw each other but it was never official...I know weird huh? Even weirder was that summer she broke up with me. I'm not sure how that works when we weren't really together, but it was still quite devastating. Honestly it messed me up pretty bad.

My family was having financial difficulty that year, my Dad had recently started in Real Estate...yup in the late 80's when Real Estate wasn't doing so hot. That summer my family had a vacation trip planned to San Diego, "camping" at Campland on the Bay. I had a great excuse not to go; orientation at CSUN...right. My brother decided to steal a bike from someone at Campland, because someone had stolen his back home.

This is why I call myself the Beast, I was a mess; scholastically, relationally, spiritually. A big time lost mess...but it all started to change that summer.

So after my brother stole that bike my Mom had enough. There was a non-denominational church service at the campground that Sunday and she went. She started getting really interested in a very different Christianity than we were used to as Catholics. She started going to the Baptist church near our home and dragging everyone in our family...except me.

See I had endured 4 years of all boys Catholic High School. I was Roman Catholic through and through man! I remember the fights we would have and how I all of a sudden wanted to go to Catholic church every Sunday. Until...

I can still remember it, I was in my room surrounded by pictures and mementos of my "glorious" High School days. It was a Sunday morning in mid to late August 1989 and me and my mom were having our normal fight. "Come with us to Baptist Church tomorrow" [said in her oh so evident Filipino accent]. "No I'm not going there, they read the Bible and pray to Jesus...and that's plain weird! I'm staying Catholic!"

Just as my mom was about to give up again she said, "Well just come to the musical tonight." Can you imagine the scene? I'm 18 years old, two earrings in my left ear, the sweetest Filipino mullet you've ever seen, and I was probably hung over from the night before (not to mention probably wearing a fluorescent green muscle T with acid wash jeans); "Sure mom I'll go to the church musical tonight." Did I just say that?

She was so freaking happy and I was stunned. Did I just promise my mother that I would go to a church musical? I am way too cool for that! But I was stuck.

So that night I piled into the car with my Mom, Dad, sister, and brother (thinking I'm 18 I should go in my own car...wait I don't have my own car.) During the musical I did my best to show that I was too cool for all these old and young fuddy duddys. I kept wondering what my party buddies Bruno and Dom would think if they knew I was here. Then it happened...

The end of the musical had finally come and I was visualizing in my mind the fastest way to the nearest exit. I was all of a sudden woken out of my day dream with the most beautiful sound I have ever heard and THE most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

I don't remember the song or the words I just remember the girl. She was wearing jeans with a kind of handkerchief belt and a t-shirt and big beautiful 80's hair. I remember the sweetest sound coming out of her in song...I was quite literally mesmerized. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. As she walked around the stage (remember Baptists aren't allowed to dance on church premises) and sang her solo I fell head over heals in love.

I remember thinking two things; this church can't be all bad and I'm gonna marry her someday. Yeah and Beauty is gonna fall in love with the Beast...right!

I would love to tell you that when the lights came back on and the cast was taking their bows our eyes met, it was love at first sight, and we ran into each others arms in slow motion; but that's not what happened. We'll cover some of that in Part II. For goodness sake comment and let me know there are actually people reading this blog!

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm a Presidential Hopeful...Apparently