Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Carmen's family traditionally celebrates Christmas on Christmas eve, while the Bears generally celebrate Christmas, Christmas morning. This normally works out just fine, and this year was no exception.

The evening started off with our entire family: Lila, Ceci, her boy friend Jay, Lina, Edgardo, Carmen and myself. With both daughters it is a rare occasion when even the four of us are able to get together, so we decided to take a picture.

Martha joined us along with her son Kike, and her boyfriend's family, including his mother. Our neighbor Jackie join us as well. We had a lot of great food and plenty to drink. Some of the presents that stood out where 16 x 20 framed photos of Jay and Ceci that were presented to Jay and Ceci, my cloth napkins and a copy of the movie "Writers Day".

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will already know about the cloth napkins and the movie. They were on my birthday present wish list. It concerned me that I received them on Christmas, but it would not be the first time that Christmas and my birthday were merged.

We ended the evening at about mid-night playing the "Sponge Bob" version of monopoly.

The next morning we were off to Fresno to enjoy Christmas at my sister Susan's house in Fresno, but there was a hitch. After the arrangements for Christmas were made, Lila got a job through the holidays working at the La Quinta Hotel in Berkeley. She was scheduled to work Christmas day from 3:00pm to 11:00pm, so Lila was not able to go to Fresno with us. She did get to sleep in however and trust me she appreciated that.

Our neighbor Jackie was good enough to keep Lila company and go with her to her work.

My mother showed up about 9:00am with her homemade coffee cake. We all piled into Martha's mini van, which she was nice enough to loan us. We had one more person than would fit in out Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. So off we went, Mom, Ceci, Carmen, Lina, Edgardo and myself eating coffee cake as we rolled down the highway. It took us about 3.5 hours and while I drove the rest nodded off and enjoyed a good nap.

Other than Lila, everyone was there Susan, Willie and Jake did a fine job of hosting David, Charlie, Teressa, Bob, Reeva, Becky, Dad and ourselves. The food was great and there house was just right for such a gathering. Jake played the guitar as presents were passed out. Charlie looked pretty cool with his new sunglasses.

As we opened the presents. I noticed that everyone seemed to be getting presents but me. Finally the last present was taken from beneath the tree and sure enough, no present for me. I made the mistake of pointing this out.

Next thing I know, they pull out a 42 inch high definition wide screen television out of nowhere. I was floored. I had not expected this at all. The size is just perfect and will fit in our entertainment center. By the way, I think I heard someone mention that this was Christmas/Birthday present. Now just when I thought I was so spoiled, my sister Susan presented me with something I did not think existed.

It was my grandfathers railroad watch. My dad had been wrong, it did not get lost or stolen. Susan had it the entire time. Since she was not able to attend Fathers Day, we had no idea she had it. Susan declared me "Keeper of the Watch" and it is my duty to at some point in my life to declare the next "Keeper of the Watch", which she said should be a male. I have to admit, I had tears in eyes. I knew exactly what it was when she held up the sock containing the watch. As I reached for the sock, I touched it and my grandfather. I don't think I have ever been so spoiled at Christmas/birthday. It was very special and I want to thank all of you so much.

We ended our stay with a picture of the five kids of Laura and Jim.

We packed up our loot and drove back. We dropped Ceci off at her boy friends house and I was dropped off at Lila's work to spend the rest of the shift with her. Jackie caught a ride home and I decided to enter this into our blog and email a few high school friends to wish them a Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What about BoB?

Bob Bear of Morro Bay, California has taken time away from his frito-lay driving day job to unleash on to an unexpecting web-surfing universe his website, whatmeanstheworldtome.com. I am inviting each and every one of you to visit and submit your story.

Thank you,
Bob Bear

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Edgardo Turns 88

Today was Edgard Sing's (Tata) 88th birthday. He spent the day with his daughters Carmen and Martha and their families minus Carlos who is in the US Air Force in Abeline Texas. Pedro, his wife and Jay (Ceci's boyfriend) came over for dinner as well.

Ed is Elected to Advisory Board

While in Las Vegas this past week, I ran for the one spot on the advisory board that is allowed to vendors for America's Best Value Inn (ABVI). I was up against three other candidates and was elected.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ed's Birthday

Yes folks, once again December is here and the concern on everyone's mind is, "What do I get Ed Bear for his birthday? " Sure there are distractions such as Pearl Harbor, Christmas and New Years Eve, but who can even think about any of those things when you are stressed out about what to get me? Well, worry no more. Here is a list of presents that I will be expecting:

This list has been provided out of the goodness of my heart to eliminate the stress and confusion you all suffer from during this time of the year. For those of you who are wondering, no this does not count as a Christmas present. I don't even own a BBQ to use all the coal you folks gave me last year, so I certainly won't need anymore this year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Original Joes Catches Fire

Long time Bear family favorite restaurant Original Joe's at the corner of Turk and Taylor in San Francisco is closed!

There is a sign in the window that says "Closed Due To Fire, Opening Soon". According to an article I read on the web, the restaurant caught fire on October 12th. I was working three days in the city this week and went by the restaurant twice, but saw not activity.

The other sign reads "That 20-something model with 30 years of experience that is on CSI has not shown up yet. So we just don't know nothin yet.

Carmen meets up with friends from Peru

Saturday evening we drove down to San Jose, and hooked up with Mrs Chela, her husband and sister in-law as well as Norma and her husband Terry. We all took off to the Olive Garden for an evening of good food and the ladies chatted the night away.

Terry told me about a movie he and his friends produced "Writers Day" I plan to order it from Amazon and check it out. The story is a mystery that takes place on a train. I love trains and can't wait to see it.

Turns out it was Chela's birthday, so we topped off the evening with a birthday cake and a round of Happy Birthday.

If all that wasn't enough, in the table right next to us were some old friends that live in San Jose Linda "Amsel" and Chuck Spencer from IRC. What a small world!

Solar Living Institute

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Mom, David, Charlie drove up to the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, California. Hopland is located north on Highway 101 just before Ukiah. We rode up in our Ford Escape Hybrid which seemed to fit in with the spirt of things.

The name "Solar Living Institute" is really misleading. They do so much more they, they generate power from Wind, the have their own water well, pond with fish, they grow their own food, the buildings are made from straw and mud, the bathroom doors are made from recycled prescription pill bottles, they have flushless urinals. There is really so much to learn from there. Their focus really seems to be leaving a small footprint on the earth.

We took the tour at 3:00 and were rewarded not only with a good tour and some great information, but you could buy their book called "Solar Living Source Book" for only $20.00, while inside their store the cost was $35.00. This book has 640 large pages filled with great information.

We had a really good time. I think I'd like to go back again, and perhaps stop at a winery and plan to have lunch at the local brew pub.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here's a picture from Thanksgiving! This is my friend Wade!

We had quite a few people here for Thanksgiving, we had Carmen, Ed, Lila, Ceci, Edgardo, Lina, Wade, Jay, Laura, Jim, Becky, Susan, Willie, Willie's mom, Jake, Martha, Kike, Edwin, and his two kids, Jackie, Puzz, Joyce, Christine, Mary Ruth, Carol, Scott, Bob, David, Teressa and Charlie.

We had so much great food and finished it offe with two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie and a blueberry pie....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eco Fair in Concord

Today I went to the Eco Fair in Concord. I asked everyone I knew to go with me, but no one could or wanted to. It seemed a bit strange to drive by myself in a vehicle designed to hold five to and Eco Fair, but there I was. I realized afterwards I could have asked my mom, but too late. At least I drove the hybrid. I got to tell you, those that did not go, missed out.

It was not a large fair, but it was good. PG&E was there, just outside of the room where the booths were, they had a Plug In Hybrid and were promoting the concept. They also gave everyone who came by a compact florescent light bulb and a book entitled 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do To Save The Earth. It is actually a pretty good book.

Once inside I got a really nice Frisbee made completely out of recycled plastic, a water bottle courtesy of the Contra Costa water district. I got some pencils and a ruler that was made out of recycled dollar bills. How cool was that?

I got some cloth shopping bags from Safeway. They were giving one per person. I asked for two and they hesitated until I explained that I have a family of six living at home. Don't you think stores should give these away for free anyway?

I got some compresses sponges that expand when they get wet. I love these for preparedness kits. Using a sponge to collect water from morning dew is a great survival technique.

I got some literature with great information. For example, I can take our old Christmas lights that have been in the family forever and trade them in for a string of LED Christmas lights in Concord for free. I also found out that EBMUD who supplies the water where I live, will give me free water flow heads for my sinks and showers. That is great since I was getting ready to buy some. Oh, and PG&E had a booth inside where they were giving out two more compact florescent lights to each person for a grand total of three. My family and friends really should have come with me.

Oh, I almost forgot, I found a company that has a conversion kit to change a normal toilet to a French toilet for only $30.00. It automatically cleans you using the water, reducing your toilet paper consumption. My wife being from Peru is very interested. Bedea's are very popular throughout Latin America.

I found a woman owned company in San Francisco that specializes in maintance on Hybrids. It is supposed to be the first like it. It is claimed that they plan to offer upgrading Hybrids to Plug In Hybrids.

One of the greatest things about the fair was the exchange of ideas and the ability to ask questions and get answers to all those things I had been thinking about. My last stop was just outside across from the PG&E Plug In Hybrid, there was a guy from a home solar company that had an Electric Car that had been manufactured by Toyota about 10 years ago. It still runs great and is still using the original battery.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lina Returns Home

Lina is Home

Wednesday morning Lina was not feeling well at all. Carmen was off to work, Ceci was at school and it was decided that she needed to go to the Doctors Medical Center Hospital emergency room. It was thought that she may have had a mini stroke. The doctor observed that she had a twitching on one side of her face. They ran all sorts of tests on her heart and they all came back with good results. It really bothered me that they could not find a bed for her in the hospital until evening. She spent many, many hours in the emergency room and she is 79 years old. I was talking to my neighbor Karen and she told me that happened to her mom when she took her to the hospital as well.

The family brought her food from home, and were abruptly scolded by the nurse. So she ate the hospital food and proceeded to spend a very long night being sick.

She stayed over night and in the morning the remaining test results came in all looking good. Yesterday evening as Carmen had just signed her out she started to feel just as terrible again. So she was signed back in. This time the family brought her soup and was not going to take any lip from the nurse. That night she did not get sick. From what I can tell, they really don't have any idea why she felt so bad. I have truly lost all faith in our health care system.

This afternoon, she returned home. During that entire time, they never were able to find out what was wrong. This whole episode is shameful.

She is home and very glad to be home and we are all glad she is home as well.

One Pink House


After doing quite a bit of work on our house, it needed to be painted. Rain came early this year, so with all the bad weather it took two weeks. When I got home on Tuesday, I was greeted with a PINK HOUSE. I was in shock. Carmen looked nervous and kept repeating "I picked the wrong color". I asked "What do you think of this color?". I had to ask several times before she answered "I'm not crazy about the color, but I can live with it." I responded "Well, I can't!". I like to think I'm confident in my masculinity, but a PINK HOUSE is too much.

Carmen got on the phone and contacted the painter. It wasn't going to be cheap, but he was willing to get the crew back out the very next morning and by the end of the day, I had my yellow house with white trim back and we lived happily ever after.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bearfamily.com Goes Green

Bearfamily.com now has a new web page for the environmentally concerned. You can click on the link under our "Resources" section or right here at http://www.bearfamily.com/green.

Carol Bear will most likely take over this web page and should do a great job of providing us with some great content.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visiting Carol in Chico

I had to go to Red Bluff to work with one of our programmers, so I called Carol to see if she would like to have dinner. After I finished my work for the day I drove up and met Carol. She took me for a short walking tour of Chico. It is especially nice in October.

There really was no choice for dinner. "Madison Bear Gardens". I could not find a website. It not only has a great name, but what a place. It is old and has a lot of character. It reminds me of Berkeley, but actually better and more spacious.

Carol and I got to talking about Green and going "Off the Grid". Don't be surprised if we had a "Green" page to the Bearfamily.com website.

We had a great time, Carol is doing very well. I checked into my hotel and drove over the Red Bluff the next morning.


Best Western Annual Conference in Montreal Canada

Each year I travel to the Annual Best Western Conference for work. This year it was in Montreal, Canada. Lila did some research and informed me earlier in the year that the drinking and gambling age is 18. Interesting how when this semester came up, Lila just happened to be taking all online classes. It is true that they have to meet one a week in person, but they are allowed to miss one week. Guess which week Lila missed. Lila was not only packed before any of us, I think she was actually packed several days ahead of us. You see, Carmen decided to come to Montreal as well. Unfortunately, they don't let high school kids take online classes, so Ceci had to stay home.

We arrived in Montreal, checked into our hotel and had dinner. I had a local beer with a Bear on the front of the bottle. I'm sorry, I don't remember the name of the beer. The town is very clean, very old and very nice. We settled down for a good nights sleep. Unfortunately at about 4:00am, we were woken by the fire alarm. I called down to the front desk to see what was up, but each time it was busy. We threw on some close and quickly made our way out of the room and to the stairwell. We were on the eleventh floor, but by the time we made our way to the seventh floor, we were met by billowing smoke making its way up and people coming up the stairs. They looked pretty scared.

We stopped, and turned back. I reached for the door of the closest exit from the stairwell and it was locked. I'm pretty concerned at this point and some terrible possibilities run through my mind. Carmen points out that Lila has her key and I make way so she can open the door. I lead my family and the rest of the people out of the stairwell. As we pass the elevator, I press the button just to see what would happen. The light blinked off almost immediately. I know you aren't supposed to use the elevator when there is a fire, but I wanted to know what all of our options were. We continued around to the other side of the building. There was only one more stairwell and we entered it and fortunately were able to make our way down to the first floor and out of the building to the street where there already fire trucks. We noticed there was a Days Inn across the street, where we checked in and stayed for the remainder to stay, on the fourth floor.

Tuesday evening we went out to the casino, where Lila ordered her first fancy drink. A pina colada.

Our friend Jan Misch taught Lila her method for working on the slot machines where Lila managed to win $2.75 Canadian (worth more than US dollars at the time of this writing). Lila's winnings naturally were enough to pay for her trip. Interesting thing about the casino. It is non-smoking and they do not serve alcohol to those gambling. They do stop by and offer drink such as soda, juice and coffee. Don't feel too bad. There is a lounge on every floor of this six story casino. The casino is owned by the government. All of the profits go to improving the roads. They sure have nice roads in Montreal.

Next morning we were eating that the lovely restaurant in our hotel. As you dined you could look out onto the street in front and see the fire truck and police. What? Yes, they where visiting again. No fire this time. Just past the restaurant where we could not see, a truck had missed it's address and backed up. Right over a pedestrian.

Our day in Montreal was October 17th, which just happens to be Lila's birthday. It was very nice of Best Western to hold their gala dinner in her honor. There we were with about 2000 of our closest friends.

One thing about Best Western is that I have been doing business with these people since before Lila was born, so there are many people that know her, but since she does not come every year, she doesn't necessarily remember everyone that knows her. This year Steve Wahrlich attended the conference. He has been to the last three, but hadn't attended in many years before that. Lila had missed the last three. He saw Lila, gave her a big hug and kiss as many who know here did and she freaked out a bit, since she forgot who he was and could not see his name tag. Once she saw it she remembered who he was.

The gala was wonderful, besides Lila, Carmen and myself, Jan Misch (her partner in crime with one armed bandits), Laurenne Douglas (We have a picture of her holding Lila when Lila is about an hour old), Betty (Laurenne's Mother, born and raised in France and is more French than France itself) and Carl Doughty who I have known since 1979 were all sitting together. There were lots of friends at the tables around us and everyone knew it was Lila's birthday.

The food was wonderful and was followed by entertainment. The first person was a comedian. I don't remember his name, but I will find out. I can't ever remember laughing so hard in my life. I was laughing so hard, not only did it hurt, but I decided it was better to just top breathing till I calmed down. He was so funny. "Salad is not a meal. It is the promise of a meal to follow." After the comedian, there was an impressionist that impersonated famous singers. That really didn't thrill Lila or myself that much, but at the very end he did Bill Clinton playing the saxophone. With his mouth, he made the sound of the sax and did an entire song. It was very impressive.

When that was all over, Laurenne took a white flower from the table setting and presented it to Lila. It was very sweet.

Next we went upstairs where they had a live disco band and we danced the night away. Above is a picture that Carmen took and Laurenne, Lila and myself on the dance floor.

The next morning, we flew home. Next year the Best Western conference is in Hawaii. Look out Hawaii. Ceci will be there too!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Jake Ate His Tooth

Friday after school Mommy and Jake went to Round Table Pizza for Lunch. Jake had earned a free pizza from the library Summer Reading program. After Jake started eating his pizza the tooth was gone! The mommy said, hey Jake where is your tooth? Jake tried to touch his tooth but it was gone. Then he started to look on the floor and all around but he could not find it. The Mommy started to laugh and told Jake that he ate it. It's in your tummy Jake! When Jake and the Mommy got home they wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy and put it under Jake's pillow. Jake fell asleep and was up supper early on Saturday. Mommy I got one hundred dollars from the Tooth Fairy, SEE! Jake the Mommy said that's one dollar. Jake was very happy. The mommy put on the TV for Jake and went back to sleep.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Caribbean Cruise 2007

Now boarding on track 39 ....

I fell sick just as we left California. We flew into Miami via Dallas, where we were greeted by Carnival Cruise staff and whisked away to the Hilton nearby. That evening, Carmen and I decided to visit Little Havana. While Carmen was inside purchasing dinner, the cab driver invited me to have a Cuban coffee with him. It was dark and strong.

The next morning we got up and went through all of the security processes, but at last we were on board the Carnival Valor and what a ship. We were on deck six "Upper Deck". Our cabin had a balcony. Besides being sick (upper respiratory) I am prone to sea sickness and took my first Dramamine.

The Bahamas
The Bahamas is very charming. The city we pulled into was Nassau. Being part of the British Common Wealth, this was the only country where we had to fill out forms in order to enter their country. They drive on the left side and the whole country is beautiful with a laid back approach.

We went horse back riding. That's right, Carmen went horseback riding. Not only that but we took the horses into the ocean. Horse back riding in the Caribbean is truly beautiful. We finished the day off by having lunch at Conch Fritters. We had Conch salad, which is like ceviche, and cracked Conch, which is fried Conch. I washed it down the Klick, the local beer. For desert Carmen and I split a local delight which had a sauce made of guava.

St. Thomas

Curious thing about St. Thomas. It is part of the United States of America, yet they drive on the left side of the road. There are some down sides to St. Thomas. Since is is part of the USA, you can not buy Cuban Cigars or Rum. On the up side, you can bring back up to 5 liters per adult over 21 as long as one is purchased in St. Thomas.

It is amazing how the different islands while having the so many of the same features can be so different. They all run on Caribbean time, which is slow, but the people are different and you notice it. Besides the usual shopping, we went on a submarine ride. After breakfast we took a Dramamine and headed off for our ride on a submarine. A small boat took us out to an uninhabited island. While the ride was less than a half an hour, it was a bit choppy. While I was smart enough not to bring the sun block, I did start to wonder why I had not brought the Dramamine with me. During our boat ride, there was water, punch and a bottle of rum and you could help yourself. By the time we pulled up to the island dock, one lady had lost it. She was terribly seasick. Needless to say her and her husband never made it to submarine.

We enter the submarine, and I notice that it is rocking pretty good. I'm worried about getting seasick. I've been seasick before and it is not fun at all. The only thing worse is to know that you have spent plenty of money to get seasick! Once we leave the surface, the ride becomes very smooth. Almost as smooth at the submarines at Disneyland. Carmen is a real trouper, she is having a great time. We are seeing so many different kinds of colorful fish and coral. Next to Carmen however is a man that is not having such a good time, he gets to sick, that he ends up using three bags! We return to the Island, none worse for the wear.

San Maarten

I think San Maarten was my favorite Island. It is governed by two countries Holland and France. The common language there is English. Even the national anthem, shared by both countries, is in English. We pulled into the Dutch side and took the standard tour which ended at a private beach. We rented an umbrella and a couple of deck chairs and I began to paint on the sunscreen. Carmen loves the beach and had a wonderful time. I am always very cautious about the beach since I can get sun burnt so easily. I did go in, and did some body surfing. The water was fantastic and I caught some really great waves.

We did some shopping on each island. Besides the usual T-Shirts, Rum, Mugs ... etc., we bought and enjoyed one of my favorite things to buy in the tropics. A chilled cocoa nut. I love cocoa nut water. This is not the same as cocoa nut milk. This is before the cocoa nut has had time to rippen. It is just so refreshing, and puts you in that tropical mood.

Fun at Sea

There were several days at sea and it was all fun. Carmen got plenty of time in the sun, I studied art and played poker, after all that is how we got on the cruise to begin with. We attended an art auction and even brought home a couple of pieces. We enjoyed the pool and the hot (not too hot) tubs. There is something about siting in a pool (pool is salt water from the ocean), in a ship, in the ocean. It's like one of those dolls that you take apart and there is a smaller one inside. I enjoyed their water slide, and Carmen enjoyed watching.

There are games that go on that you can participate in. One was called Super Trivia. I did not try it until the 2nd of three days. Still we got second place even with no points for the first day. Everyone thought I was so smart. Everyone that knows me, knows I had them fooled. On the third day of the game, Carmen joined me so we both got medals for second place.

Food on cruises is legendary and our cruise was no exception. Prime Rib, Beef Wellington, Lobster, Suffle ... it was amazing, but what is more amazing is the service. Once you are assigned a table, that table, waiter, waitress and cocktail waitress are yours every night. They did such a fantastic job. I have never seen such great service in all my years of travel.

Once we returned to our cabin each night, the bed would be turned down, there would be two chocolates waiting and a surprise. Our favorite was the monkey.

... and by the way

This is Emily. She is a dancer on the cruise line. She is from Glendora. What a small world.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I flew up Friday to take care of some business concerning our house in Franklin. After that I headed over to visit with Aunt Lousise. As I pulled into her drive way a ground hog scampered ascross the grass. There was Aunt Louise. I must say that for a lady who will be Ninety years old March 3, 2008, and is recovering from cancer, she looked great. We went inside and I gave her the letters that Lila and Ceci wrote and passed on good wishes from all of the family. She really enjoyed them, truth is she loves hearing news from the entire family.

We went into the living room and sat down. There are so many memories in that house. So many connections to the past. There is a chair from Sara Bear, that table belonged to the Mc Griffs. Aunt Louise told story after story about this relative or that. It was a wonderful time. We talked about a Bear family cook book after remembering back when Lila, Ceci and I visited Nancy Serra and Aunt Ruth. Nancy, Lila and Ceci made Orange Cookies from a recipe that was hand written by Sara Bear. Aunt Louise will be looking through her recipes. She is sure she has one or more written by Sara. We might even convince her to part with her secret recepie for the chile sauce used at the Dairy Isle.

We decided to try some place different, so we drove out to Seneca and tried a little restaurant near the Bear's Den. The gentleman that bought Bear Furniture from Uncle Don and Aunt Louise, opened a second store that just sells mattresses. The food was okay. It is geared towards a younger audience. The have speciality hot dogs and all sorts of ice cream sundae's.

A 90th birthday is a very rare thing indeed. It is the same day as our anniversary. It would be nice if as many Bears as possible were able to turn out. We will need to contact her nephews Roy (who lives near her) and Rick Riddle. I can notify the west coast Bears well enough and I'm Sure Dr. Bob Bear will take care of the east coast. Then it hit me. That same year, My mom (Laura) turns 70 and my dad (Jim) turns 70 as well. Then just when you think you can relax, 2009 will Aunt Ruth's 100th birthday. Better confirm that date.

While there on business, we listed the properties in Franklin that had been owned by people with the last name of Bear. The normal people you would expect came up on the list. Uncle Ted (Chester) was listed quite a few times. We then did a list of Mc Griff, but no one came up. Then we tried Mc Cracken. There was quite a list. Wonder if any of them are related to us.

I was awoken the next morning by a terrible racket outside. There were so many sirens and emergency vehicles. It seemed they just kept coming. I was tired as I was still dealing with a three hour time zone difference. I turned on the TV worried that perhaps there had been a terrible accident, or a terrorist strike. It was neither. It was something glorious. The 298th Army Transportation Reserve from Franklin Pennsylvania was returning from over a year in Iraq. All the the buildings facing the route were decorated with signs and decorations welcoming "their" troops home. There were three buses full of reservists. They were were escorted by an long line of Vietnam Vets on motorcycles. Every police car in Franklin was there. The people lined the streets to welcome home their hero's. There wasn't a dry eye in the town.

As I left the hotel, and noticed that the Franklin Club is up for sale. It is such a beautiful building on the outside. I was inside a few years ago and it was a bit run down, but not terrible. They are asking for $300,000. I can't imagine what it would cost if it were in California. Aunt Louise said the problem was membership. As the old guard died off there weren't enough new members to keep up with things. Eventually, they even opened up the restaurant to the public, but it was too late. As I drove out to through town I notice that many of the neighborhoods seem to be improving quite a bit.

After breakfast, I picked up Aunt Louise and we went to church. The church she has always attended and was married in is in the lot adjacent to her house, but two years ago there was a terrible storm. In the morning the steple was on the ground. When they started to look at what it would take to repair the church, it became obivious that years had taken a toll on the church. It was decided they would need to tear it down and build a new one. They have been working
on plans for the new church and raising money ever since. In the mean time we went to church at the Sugar Creek Civic Center. They have two services each Sunday, because the entire congregation will not all fit at the same time.

The church service was wonderful. The members all know Aunt Louise. It seems everyone in a 100 mile radius knows her. They told me how she had told them so much about me and our family, it was very touching. So many of them knew Uncle Don and one even knew Grandma (Mary Bear). One of he friends was from Germany which gave me a rare opportunity to speak German. Just as we started one of the other ladies said we don't understand a word. That is when I explained that "Niemand heir spricht Deutsch" means that "No one here speaks German". Just goes to show that a church is a group of people, not a building.

After church we visited some family sites such as the Presbiterian church that Sara Bear had attened along with her family growing up in Franklin. There was the apartment where Sara Bear lived and many of her grandchildren had visited her there. Aunt Louise showed me the gas station where Uncle Don first had his business partnership. It is still a gas station (Sheetz). A portion of the original building still stands. We visited the Mc Griff farm outside of town. It looked much better than the last time I saw it. A family with children has moved in and really cleaned it up. There is even a little playground with swings and a slide.

We finished up with a visit to the cemetery. There they were, but wait. Where was Isabel. She spent her final days in Franklin. Louise said "You had to ask that question, didn't you?". Even though it was her wishes to be buried along with her family, Jamie (her son) had her ashes scattered on a wooded area atop of a hill overlooking Franklin, the town she loved so much. Aunt Louise, thought she might have purchased a plot near the family. She wasn't sure if Jamie knew that and said she would check with the cemetery office when it is open. By the way, Ted has a marker there, but he is not buried there either. It was his wish to have his ashes scattered on the banks of the Alegany.

Did you know that Uncle Don worked briefly for the railroad? Not sure which one. He worked as a fireman on the line between Oil City and Buffalo New York. He didn't like the work. He told Aunt Louise that it was freezing. Aunt Louise's brother worked for the railroad inspecting the connections between cars. He actually retired from the railroad and pursued a career with the local Fish and Game department.

We ate lunch at Bonanza. A flood of childhood memories hit me as soon as I walked in the door. I could just see Uncle Don, bringing us in and taking us to dinner. While there we ran into her Great Niece Katie, daughter of her nephew Rick. She works there and is 16. After lunch, we went back to her house, I dropped her off at her house. Sherry will be visiting her in October. She is not sure if Ashley will be able to come or not as she has a new job. As I crossed the one way bridge out of Sugar Creek I was hit with a bit of sadness. In many ways Aunt Louise is out last link to our past. She lives alone in her home surrounded by friends and family. She has no cell phone, no Internet access, not even a computer and yet, has lived an amazing life. She still takes medicine for breast cancer. She gets a major test once a year. So far she is clean.

On the way out, I stopped briefly at Polly's (Dairy Isle). I ordered a small ice cream cone. Polly used to work for Aunt Ruth when it was the Dairy Isle and brought it from her when Aunt Ruth and Uncle Don retired. She asked permission to change the name. Aunt Ruth said she didn't think she could have run the Dairy Isle without her help. Polly passed away. They used to dip the cones in chocolate. Not today. They only had Key Lime or Berry for a coating. I reflected on all of this, threw out the rest of my ice cream cone. It just wasn't as good as when it was the Dairy Isle. I got back in the car and made my way to Pittsburgh to catch the plane home.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lohman & Barkley

Growing up in LA Country in a little town of Glendora, our family often listened to the Lohman & Barkley show on KFI. In recent years, we have wondered what they were doing and if they would ever get together.

I remember they hosted a morning show Monday through Friday. Most of the time they played music, which no one liked, it was when they spoke. They were so creative and had so many characters such as Ted J. Baloney.

Unfortunately, they are both deceased. They are missed.

Roger Barkley died at age 61 of pancreatic cancer on December 21, 1997 at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California

Al Lohman died October 14, 2002 at age 69 of complications from bladder cancer. Bandleader Ray Conniff died at about the same time, and while Conniff's obituary in the Los Angeles Times rated an entire column, Lohman's took up nearly three pages.

You can do a search on Google for "lohman and barkeley" and there are a number of links with great information about them.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Email from Carlos

hola tio

how are you doing?

i'm doing pretty good, but sometimes my mouth is getting me in trouble... ,
i'm supossed to start baking pretty soon or at least that is what they are
telling me and i don't know if i should belive them or not because they keep
switching my schedule and instead of baking i end up cooking.

i got good news for you...
they gave me the day for my interview on dallas, is october 5th, but when i
did my paperwork they never gave me the questions i'm supossed to study, but
i'll take care of it tomorrow, and then i'll start studiyng for the test and
who knows i might be able to become a citizen before my enlistment is over.
i get to test for Staff sergeant next year around march or may, but if i
deploy i'll be testing out of cicle, so there is a lot on my mind right now

i'm also taking kickboxing classes on the gym tuesdays and thrusdays, and
working out 5 days a week for at least 2 hours and right now i feel that my
arms are going to fall off.

take care


Monday, September 3, 2007

Blog update

Okay gang, I have gone back on earlier blog postings and have added some pictures that Dad took.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Great Day in Great America

So my friend Francisca (Cisca) came to visit for about a week from L.A. along with her baby boy Jason Alexander Ramos whom I believe I am his Godmother. It's a weird little story. Any who, we went to Great America this past Sunday and it was awesome! We met Spongebob and I rode upside down rollercoasters and they rocked my socks! Cisca and I have been friends since about third grade and we met in church and we really started hanging out in junior high and got even closer in high school. I trusted her with the whole rollercoaster thing and she knows what I can and can't handle and she doesn't pressure me to ride any thing I don't like. I love her lots and here are some pictures from a totally awesome day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We Had Fun Today!

If you were not in Fresno you missed the fun. We cut down a tree and we still have more to go. Jake had his first day of Soccer practice. He had a lot of fun. This is a Jake and Daddy kind of thing. I just sit back and watch the fun. What made this day great is the weather, only 104 and humid. Well, I got a little older today and may be a little wiser (will see).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

new phone and number

hey you guys i have a new number it's (510) 221-8494 okay bye!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vacation 2007

After we finished a full day with Susan and Jake, he hit the road again and drove another two miles to Buttonwillow. Next morning, we didn't get up all that early. We had breakfast at the Union76 truck-stop. It was good and filling. Next we drove over the Grapevine and down to Laguna Beach. Because we drove the extra two hours the night before, we missed all the traffic as we passed through Los Angeles. Thank goodness for Diamond lanes. We used them a lot during our vacation.

We checked into the Inn at Laguna beach which is adjacent to the main beach. It is simply beautiful. Since I knew the General Manager and we are friends, there was a lovely bottle of chilled white wine and a box of chocolate cherries.

Since we had not had lunch, we tried one of Rachel Ray's $40 a day suggestions and went to the Shake Shack just before Newport Beach. I had a date shake, Carmen and Ceci had a pineapple shake, Lila had vanilla. Ceci thought she had a vanilla shake till she got to the bottom. Ceci and Lila had chili dogs, Carmen and I had Tri-tip sandwiches. Everything was delicious.

We enjoyed the pool and the beach. The town was very busy. Lila and I ready Harry Potter books. That night we tried another of Rachel's restaurants, the Sun Dried Tomato cafe. The food was great. I had Filet (Beef) tacos with blueberry relish. What a wonderful combination.

The next day, Breakfast was complimentary at the hotel. Ceci and Carmen went shopping and we tried a third Rachel Ray restaurant for lunch. This one was not our cup of tea. It was a vegiterian sandwich shop and we were really not aware of that till it was too late. Anyway, two out of three isn't bad.

That afternoon, we took Lila to Francisca, a childhood friend's house. We took her and her baby out to dinner and Lila spent the night.

Next day, we had a leisurely breakfast, packed and drove north. We picked up Lila and Continued north to San Luis Obispo, where we checked into the Sands. This is a lovely property which is owned by our long time friends the Norris family. That evening, my brother Bob and his girl friend Reva met us at the hotel. Susi Norris, her Hubby and the kids joined us and we all went to the Farmers Market. I still think this is the greatest Farmers Market ever. I even wore my Farmers Market T-Shirt. By the way, did I mention the Farmers Market? We had some great BBQ, I bought some artichokes and some kettle-corn. It sure was crowded.

The next day we got to together for breakfast with a former employee who is still doing some testing for us. We had breakfast at the Apple Farm. What a breakfast. I had a great hash. With my biscuit and blueberry jam ... oh my! Jennifer was accompanied by her husband and twin daughters. They are so cute.

This time Lila and Carmen went shopping. Hey, everyone went shopping but me! That does not seem fair at all. That same day, Ceci and Carmen got a pedicure. Notice a pattern here?

That afternoon, we went to Bob and Reva's place in Morro Bay. They have a lovely house. We went out to the Morro (Rock), saw lots of pelicans, other birds, sea lions and even otters. Again some shopping ... sheesh, will it ever end? Ceci got a sweatshirt with a hood. We had dinner at a small local restaurant. The food was fantastic. After we retired to Bob and Reva's for a fantastic watermelon desert that Reva made.

After Bob played us some music, we headed back to the hotel. Next morning we went swimming with the Noris's. Even got to see the dad, Jess Norris, or as the little ones call him "Grandpa". After that we hit the road and drove home. It was good to be back home. I think I need to go shopping. Wonder if there is any money left

Saturday, August 11, 2007

more pictures

family vacation

hey you guys i'm sure my dad will post the details of our trip but here are the pictures!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Bears Droped In!

The Ed Bear family just dropped in for a visit and a little pizza, at Jake's house in Fresno on their way South. Jake is happy to see them along with his mommy(SUSAN). Hope everyone is having a fun Summer! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dean's List

I made the Dean's list at school and qualify for the honor's society. yay.

Texas Trip

I went to Texas. It was very nice. I saw some friends. We had a party. We had fun. I came home. The end.

Happy Birthday Carmen

Friday July 27 was Carmen's birthday. We celebrated by going to La Pena. There they have a Peruvian celebration with lots of Peruvian music, and dancing in tradition Peruvian garb. We all went, Carmen, Lila, Ceci, Lina and I. Edgardo stayed home. There at La Pena we ran into Rebecca and her family. They are Peruvian friends going way back to before we were married. I have to admit that I really didn't want to go, but I had a great time and was glad I went. I took some video and will probably be posting it on bearfamily.com soon.

Saturday July 28th is Peruvian Independence day. I had to go into the office to catch up on some work. Carmen went into work early. When I got home, I took my nephew Kike to the Saturn dealer in Fairfield. There he decided to purchase a Turbo Charged Saturn Sky. What a car. He is only 18 and he is buying his mid-life crisis car. I won't tell you how much he paid, or how much he is being charge for insurance. It would give you a nose bleed.

While all of this sounds like it should not take too long, it did. We spent three hours in the Saturn dealer. Being a Saturday during summer vacation, the freeway was packed. I suspect this was because of all the people going to Marine World Africa USA. Anyway, we were supposed to go to the 70th birthday part of Ceci's Padrino (God father), but it took so long that we were too late to go.

So ... Saturday night Lila and I went to the last showing of the Simpson's movies. We both really liked it, but then again, we are huge fans of the Simpson's. Ceci saw the movie earlier in the day with her boyfriend. Carmen didn't want to go as she is not a big fan of the Simpson's.

Sunday I spent working on the house with my friend Gary Cheek. I pretty much act as his assistant. As I'm not very skilled in the ways of construction. We have finished replacing the siding for now, fixed the garage door and install some new redwood 2x4's for overhead of our entrance.