Friday, November 25, 2011

A moment in time. The wedding of Jessi & Chris!

Moments in time... in life, we hold onto these moments that are encapsulated and frozen in our memories. These moments in time are as vivid as when they had occurred. One can recall even the minute details of such an event. Do you recall that first meeting, when both your eyes first crossed path? Do you remember how the both of you were introduced, your first date, or even the your first kiss? Well, this specific moment of time belonged to Jessi and Chris. They were wed on a beautiful and sunny Friday afternoon on the fourteenth of October, two-thousand eleven. 

It was a wonderful, small, and intimate wedding. It had a motif scenery of the country club out in Genoa Lakes, Nevada. The live music that played behind the background complemented the essence of the bride being walked up by her father. Up front, Chris and his best man dressed in Army military uniform were as ready as they will ever be. I knew that Chris understood the gravity of professing one's love and solidifying it in marriage to Jessi for all of time. I would not have the faintest idea of which is harder, deployment or stationed at the home front. As the wedding party walked in, I caught a glimpse of the mothers of the bride and groom dressed in matching red colors. Annette could not have been any happier for her daughter, and her face told the story. She was emotional, flushed, happy and blessed. Jim, the father of the bride was emotional as well! What father would not be, to give and offer their only daughter in marriage to her husband. The bridesmaids were dazzling in their chosen dresses of various cuts and trims. Their shoes too!

Most of the Cendaña family were in attendance. We missed Dolores for she was sick and her boyfriend Jaime. After the wedding, me and the family took some pictures at the venue before we drove off to another location for the reception. 

At the reception, I took the opportunity and conversed with the bride's extended family. Later on, Annette, the mother of the bride introduced me to more people. I find myself apt in learning about people for the intrinsic value of social connectedness. The Hor d'oeuvres were quite tasty and appealing. 

Then the newlyweds were introduced.

After the introduction, the couple made an announcement and the reception continued on. A live band played on the background, which added a unique kick to the festivity. Jim, the father of the bride gave a heartfelt message to the couple. After dinner, dancing commenced. I had to throw down a lil' bit of something something out on the dance floor. Actually, I was missing my steps because I could not dance to the type of music that the band was playing. Nevertheless, I was never short of trying. My brother Patrick on the other hand played it smooth, even got a dance with one of the bridesmaids. 

Then there was the couple's first dance, cutting of the cake, and two song tributes from Claribelle and Wendy. 

The most hilarious part of the evening was the garter toss for all the single men in the wedding. There were five of us men and a boy standing in front of me. As I watched Chris removed the garter from Jessi's thigh, I said to myself that I was not going all out to catch it. Sure enough, I did not try, but did not expect for the garter to land in front of me as I caught it with minimal effort. 

So, the night wrapped off with Chris surprised to see his truck decorated. 

To sum up, here was the message that I missed to give to the both of you during open mic.

I speak for the whole Cendaña family to let you know how honored and happy we are to be a part of your wedding and this wonderful celebration. We are happy that the both of you found each other. Do know that marriage is a blessing, and know that you have your family, extended family, and close friends to help you both walk through this journey when times get tough. Chris, you will share Jessi's abilities, ideas, hopes, plans, gifts, and dreams that she will bring into your marriage, you will depend on her knowledge, insight, expertise, faith and courage. Jessi, look towards Chris for leadership and boldness, leadership that is not selfish, bombastic, or domineering, but one marked by an attitude of servanthood. We wish you the best!


Jessi & Chris

Long Beach International City Bank 26.2 Bike Tour

A few years ago, I bought a road bike impulsively captivated by the thrill of one day competing in a race. I shopped around and tested a few bikes out, but eventually fell in love with the 09' Cannondale Six Carbon 3. Retail price was a little over 3 grand, but got a sweet deal for a little over 2 grand. I was set for I had my riding essentials: a bike, helmet, bike shoes, cycling shorts, gloves, and a jersey. The first time I rode my bike was from my chiropractor's office to work, which was less than 1.5 miles round trip and felt comfortable riding with my feet clipped on. The next time around, I rode my bike and went to a local Juice It Up. On the ride back home, stopped at a red light with my right foot clipped out, I remembered falling on my left side. Totally embarrassed at that point, no motorists even bothered to check if I was okay. I had another embarrassing ride that I took from home to the San Gabriel riverbed, to Pacific Coast Highway where I got tired. So, I went to a bus stop at Long Beach State. What I thought was the on-ramp turned out to be the gutter, which I struck at 10 mph. My bike and I flew up in the air with no way to clip out off the pedals. My bike crashed as I fell on the ground. I remembered looking up and saw a few pretty ladies at the the bus stop, and without hesitation, I took off my shoe and started blaming IT!!! I know, I know, that was a DOOFUS move on my part. The worst part was the damage that my bike incurred. I thought the frame was compromised because there were three scratched marks deeply engraved in the chain stay. For awhile, I took a long HIATUS before I started riding again. One could say, I was scared, nervous, and I like the saying paralysis by analysis. There were too many things I was thinking about, and forgot how to experience the joy of simply Riding Free.

At work...
A time came when people from work got into the bike scene and wanted to test their mental and physical fortitude through various challenges. My friend Walter informed me about the Long Beach International City Bank Bike Tour and asked me to sign up. I checked out the website and told myself, it was past due for me to break out of my habit shell of a life driven by fear. Sure, the thoughts of things that could go awry was still there, nevertheless, I needed to do something. So, I signed up. In my head, I wanted to train, but I only ended up riding with Walter one time for about 15 miles. Still, something was better than nothing!

Day of the Race...
I loaded up on carbohydrates the night before, but the problem that I had was that I could not sleep. I ended up sleeping at 2 am knowing that I needed to wake up at 4 am to pick up my co-worker Ricky and his wife. With inadequate sleep, things went horribly wrong. I could not find my safety pins for my bib, and spent countless minutes looking for it. I ended up leaving the house a little after 5 am with about a 15-20 minutes ride to my co-worker's home. I got there, loaded up his bike and went off to Downtown Long Beach. At least, I planned ahead and bought a reserved parking space and parked a few blocks away from the event to minimize congestion and traffic. The only problem was that the Bike Tour of 26.2 miles commenced at exactly 6 am. It was already 6:10 am when Ricky and I got to Marine Drive and decided to forgo the start line as we joined the other cyclists at Pine Avenue.

So, off we went, riding in the wee hours of the morning with the dawn barely upon us. It was chilly but the mood was all gooooood! I enjoyed the unity and the thrill of riding with such a huge group. Granted that I had some reservations because this was the first time I rode with such an immense group. So, I played it safe and stayed at the very left lane and rode at my pace. The tricky parts were the sharp and narrow turns like the one left turn after you crossed Queens Way Bridge. From Marine Drive to Queens Way Bridge, I saw this mother and son team, which warmed my heart. The son could not have been any older than 11 years old, as I watched his mother coached him. As I progressed through mile 3, my eye caught this one rider of what looked like an elliptical machine on wheels. Sure enough, it was an elliptical bike dubbed ElliptiGo. Between mile 5 and 6, the tour took you on a 360 degree loop around Rainbow Harbor to Shoreline Village and the docks. From the docks to the Half Marathon Split, was a 4 mile ride that went along Alamitos Beach, Junipero Beach, and Belmont Shore Beach. I recalled the vivid colors of the sky just as the magnificent sun broke through the horizon. The hues of pink, lavender, blue, and red that tainted the sky was an awestruck view of God's creation. Along the tour on Junipero Beach, I felt my quads and hamstrings tightened, and was a cause for concern. I told myself to push through, and if I needed to stop and stretch, then I would do so. Away from the beach, the tour took you northeast on Livingston Drive and north on Nieto Avenue as you entered Marine Stadium via E Appian Way. I remembered wanting to use the restroom, but did not want to interrupt my established riding rhythm. Mile 13 to 17 took you through suburban Long Beach, around Colorado Lagoon, a Recreation Park Golf Course, and to the northwest entrance of California State University Long Beach. Mile 17 to 19 took you around the outskirts of the college campus. I caught up to my coworker's older brother at the loop from E Campus Road to E State University Drive. As I headed west on Atherthon Avenue, I caught up with Walter, my coworker. I could have not missed his bright yellow shirt and lime green bike. I rode beside him and chatted for a bit. He made me laugh, when he asked me if your head should be hurting. We parted ways and I pushed on, and eventually I passed Ricky when he was at mile 16 on the opposite side of the road. I knew he was determined, so as words of encouragement, I ranted "Hey, Let's go Ricky!!!!" All I heard from him was, "ye yea yeaaah!" So from mile 21 to 26, the tour took you south on Clark Avenue, west on Anaheim Street, south on Park Avenue, southeast on Appian Way, south on Nieto Avenue, southwest on Livingston Drive, and west on Ocean Boulevard to the finish line. 

The last two miles was a hard ride because my legs were hurting, but I pushed through. As I saw the finish line, cyclists had to slow down and dismount off their bikes and I heard someone call my name. It was Ricky's wife and she tried to take a picture before I dismounted off my bike. As you walk through the entrance of the finish line, you were handed a medal and blue bag of goodies. I stored my bike at a corral and snacked on a banana and an oatmeal cookie. As I traversed through the multitude of people to get a good view of the incoming Half Marathon runners, I felt the feeling of accomplishment. I learned over the PA system, that the Long Beach Marathon race could be used to qualify for the Olympic trials over the summer. For the men, Half Marathon runners needed to have a qualifying time of 1:05:00. As I stood trying to shoot a video, a runner came in at 1:03:56. Eventually, my group finished and we all met up. We walked around and checked out some of the venues. Since I had work later, I wanted to touch base with Ricky and checked if he had finished the tour already. When I met up with Ricky, his wife told me that she worried about him the whole time because she thought we rode the whole tour together. She told me that she saw some bloodied riders and observed gnarly crashes at the finish line. I felt sooooo bad because I finished the race about forty minutes earlier, and that meant that she worried about her husband that whole time. I guess that explained why the walk back to my car, she was apart from us. I asked Ricky if she was mad at me, but he said pay it no heed. When I dropped off Ricky and his wife, he invited me for brunch and I met his whole family. The one thing that brought a smile to my face, was that Ricky's youngest daughter Erica made him a poster to wish him well for the tour. I thought to myself, there lies an incentive to do better, to be better, to do something that you would have otherwise dismissed as something impossible. So, I give PROPS to Ricky and for Walter as well! An admiration for Debbie who did the Run Forrest Run 5K. For most people, fitness is sought out for quick and superficial changes, but not for what it does in benefiting one's life. I believe that we are not complacent beings that thrive under constant comfort, but those who strive on meeting and overcoming obstacles. A process where one lays out his heart and effort on the line every time. Nothing come easy, for everything has to come through the avenue of hard work. But through our struggles and suffering, we develop perseverance, perseverance producing character, and character hope. Hope for a healthier and meaningful life!!! CFT

Me, Ricky

Walter, Me
Me, Walter, Lap


 N & A

On the 30th of September, Nicole Rene Cook and Anthony Frank Trama tied the knot. The venue was held at a golf club resort in Fallbrook, CA. I have known Anthony since my sophomore year in high school. We have shared countless memories ranging from beach camps, listening to his band The GoofOffs play, an altercation in English class, Jamba Juice Friday night lights with the boys, rides from his old skool' PIMP ride, and etc. Nevertheless, Anthony was never short of a good time being his humorous self. I knew of Nicole because she also went to the same high school as Anthony and I did, she was just a year older. 

Then came the time when Nicole went off to college at San Diego State University and Anthony at UC Santa Barbara. Somewhere down the line, communication and dialogue between these two lovebirds commenced which started through Facebook. So, on the evening of September 30th, a few years after, these two started the journey of the married life as they proposed their love for each other. Their wedding ceremony thus far, have been the shortest that I have ever experienced. I guessed that left more time for celebration of their union. 

I liked the venue and setup of the reception. Seating arrangements were named after Nicole and Anthony's favorite bands. I was seated at the Beatles table along with my best friend Dave and my old high school group. There were Jake and his wife Melinda, Matt and his now fiance Francine, Jeff and his fiance, Josh and his wife, and Lisa. During the wedding, I had the opportunity to catch up with some people from the Trama's, the Roppo's, the Smith's, old high school acquaintances, and new people that I met at the wedding. I enjoyed myself throughout the whole wedding and reception. Joey gave a spectacular and funny best man speech. I got a laugh out of Anthony and his mother's facial expression during their dance. The night continued on with more dancing and some drinks, but for the couple, it was a history in the making!

Mother and Groom
Father and Bride

Dave, Ant, Nicole, Me

Jake and Melinda
Matt and Francine

Josh, Dave, Matt, Ant, Jeff, Joey, Jake, Joey T., and Me

Dave, Me, and Jeff

This moment in time is part of what captures the human experience. Marriage is a blessing! Congratulations and I wish the very best for the both of you through the coming journeys that lies ahead. May you reflect on the love that you have for each other and the vows that you each proposed when times get tough, so that you may brave adversity through love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, trust, and faith. But the greatest of these is love, for love conquers all!