Thursday, May 15, 2008

Life in Camarillo

The hardest thing about living in Aci Castello is missing my family and friends back in Camarillo, California where I now make my summer home. So the first thing I've done the last two days is to reacquaint myself with these great people in my life.

Koreen FitzGerald

First stop on Tuesday morning was Rio Mesa High School in beautiful El Rio, California where I spent the last 19 years of my 38 year teaching career.

The first person I had to visit was Koreen who has been one of the rocks upon which RMHS was built. She has been sort of the trouble shooting member of the secretarial pool for many years, being moved from position to position as crisis have occurred. She ALWAYS makes the school better! Here she is in her office in her current position as ASB Bookkeeper.

Koreen is one of my dearest friends as is her husband, Brian, who is Rio Mesa's highly respected Athletic Director, Head Track Coach and soon to be coaching Freshman football for the Spartans.

I spent most of the morning at Rio Mesa just visiting friends and students, a great time indeed! 

Cousins Wine Bar in Camarillo

After a hard Tuesday at school you need to unwind, what better place than Cousins. Here I am joined by, from the left to right, Shi Young Kim (Art teacher and our "adopted daughter"), my bride Laurie, Koreen and Brian FitzGerald.

Wonderful Kim of Miramar Eye Specialists

On Wednesday, I started the day by getting my attending to my medical needs. After filling some prescriptions, I stopped by Miramar in Camarillo to have my glasses checked for any signs of wear and tear. Kim, pictured above, has worked at Miramar for years refurbishing and ordering glasses for thousands of people. She is the type of person who always leaves you smiling as you walk out the door because of her positive attitude. Here I have tried to explain the latest trends in stylish Italian eye wear. Unfortunately, she had nothing that really came close. 

I consider her one of the unsung gems of life in our town.

Debi and Goldie

I have known Debi Murphy, and her late husband Dan, for over 35 years. Dan and I coached together for most of that time at Thousand Oaks H.S., Westlake H.S. and Rio Mesa H.S. before he passed away almost two years ago.

If you need to talk with a friend about any experiences either positive or negative, then I hope that you have a friend like Debi in your life too.

Ventura Harbor

I took Debi to lunch at Brophy Brothers Seafood Restaurant overlooking this harbor.

A little sun, a little wine, some good food, some ice cream and some great company...LIFE IS GOOD!

Nike Factory Outlet store in the Camarillo Outlet Mall

After lunch it was back to some serious business, SHOPPING! The Camarillo Outlet Mall has over 140 different stores offering a wide variety of buying experiences and Debi and I hit most of them.

Our first stop was the Nike store for new walking shoes for me as my old ones had died a peaceful death in the dirt in Catania last Saturday at practice. 

"Sconi, Sconti, Sconti"

St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church

This is the Roman Catholic church I attend in Camarillo. We have a total of three Catholic churches in town and this is the oldest. It is almost 100 years old so it must have a lot of history just like the ones in Sicily. 

Palermo Espresso Bar & Gelato

Although there are several ice cream shops in town, this is Camarillo's only gelateria. After a hard afternoon of Outlet Mall shopping, Debi and I decided to cool off with a gelato or two but they were closed for remodeling! Damn Palermo!!!

We decided to go across the street to J.J. Brewski's for a bottle of wine to make up for this upset in our plans.

Debi and Laurie

After work in Santa Barbara, Laurie joined us at Debi's house for wine, some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and bread. Let the good times roll!  


On the way home from Debi's, I decided to stop in at Cronies Sports just in case some friends may have stopped off at our local watering hole to watch Game 5 of the Lakers-Jazz NBA playoff series.

Sure enough, I found Joe Mollica, Koreen and Brian.

Pink Elephant Recruiting

Of course, my job with the Elephants as coordinator of the "Pink Elephants" program does not stop just because I am on another continent. Here I have talked Andrea into becoming our first Pink Elephant who has not actually stepped foot in Sicily...WHAT A MILESTONE!!!

Late Arrival

Shi Young Kim joined us a little late because she had to attend a school board meeting to honor one of her students who won an award at the districts annual spring Art Show. We have six high schools in the Oxnard Union High School District with anywhere from 2,400 to 3,000+ students in each school, so this was a very competitive show.

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