Wednesday, April 10, 2013


There are many things you can find yourself praying for.  Some pray to finally win the Mega Million and pull off the most epic way of quitting their jobs.  Some just might be praying to make it through the family holiday meal without a fight.  Sometimes you pray to get home safely.  I found myself in the middle of our Eat, Pray, Love California trip with my loved ones around me for prayer to be a bit necessary.  During the Easter Season, Emily, Elle, and I were all in line with plenty of our family's Easter Traditions.  First comes love, then comes fighting, then comes talking behind your family's back.  I'm sure that many are accustomed to this family tradition.  This year, I found my small family in a civil war, with casualties on both sides and plenty of friendly fire.  The bonus for me this year were the chocolate eggs.  

Most traditional Family Holidays start with a prayer, and this Easter is was said by my 88 year old grandfather.  Now this is a wise man who speaks four languages, and was a High School Latin teacher for 38 years.  He had plenty of time to perfect the language of prayer.  Over the years his prayers have started  to sound a bit like the daily meetings you can spectate at your local McDonald's between the hours of 6:00am and 10:30am.  This is where every old person, male or female, within a 2 mile radius over the age of 70 take part in their hour long discussions with conversations that drive around in circles.   Before we ate our Easter Feast, my whole family and myself were taken hostage by my wonderful grandfather, for perhaps, his longest prayer to date.  With his faith and concentration, he continued on praying through two crying babies, my mother's coughing attack, and my sister's and my snickering.  The minutes on the clock continued in long and devoted prayer with no end in sight.  Is it wrong to pray for a prayer to end?  I'm sure I was tempted.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


California can be a bit of a touchie subject for me, with some less-than-enjoyable memories of a frail past.  A new found life in the VA has led me to the decision to let go of the hurt, and now I have the opportunity for new discovery.   This is the equation: EAT, next - PRAY, then - LOVE.  First up - EAT. 

In California, there's nothing more appetizing than a short Mexican man handing you a perfect hand crafted burrito, filled with the best mystery meat in town.   As we both speak the language of food, there is no need for English.  Just say, "Uno carne asada burrito senior. Gracias!"  Don't mind the fact I'm eating from a truck that looks like it even a blind health regulator would fail it for uncleanliness. The exterior of the truck is slapped together with the ever so handy duct tape, because I'm sure it's seen it's fair share of the  Mexican border, and true, half the the cats in the neighborhood have disappeared, but when you take the first bite, a passionate love affair comes alive with the flavors of California spilling into ever corner of your mouth.  Now I know what Julia Roberts in the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" meant while she was in a restaurant in Naples declaring to her friend,  "I'm having a relationship with my pizza."

Now, I'm sure it is a bit comical to anyone who isn't a natural born Californian, but as soon as we find ourselves in the mother land,  there is a mad dash to the nearest In-N-Out with the enthusiasm that with one bite it will indeed cure any sickness.  You have Cancer?  Try a Double Double.  Californians have know the cure for the common cold for years!  It lies in the delicious burgers found at  In-N-Out.  With enthusiasm like this, you would think we could bring ourselves out of the recession, but perhaps we just don't have our priorities in order.  At least we eat well!   Sorry to the unfortunate souls who are not blessed with the gift of Taco Truck and In-N-Out.  Pray you may become more fortunate to travel and find these Food Meccas.  California doesn't get a lot right when it comes to the world of the Kardashians, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the alarming rate of plastic-looking women in Hollywood, but we sure know how to eat.


Does it make me bad if I possibly became more excited to eat in California than to see my family?   As I have traveled back to California in the past, I found myself becoming angry, and I had no choice but to self-medicate with the alluring flavors of California to keep me happy and content - that is until i got hungry again.  Then, that haze of the anger came upon me, and I would have to repeat the process.  This time was different.  I went in with the hopes of a better relationship between me and my home, and came out not-so-angry, with a very full and satisfied belly.