Friday, August 21, 2009

End of Summer

The summer is officially over for me today as we hold our first official practice for the 2009 Rio Mesa H. S. Freshman football team this afternoon. I have not blogged since Mike and Vanessa's wedding so I have a lot of catching up to do!


Through our old family friend, Father Juan Jose, who has spent 50+ years working at the Vatican, Mike and Vanessa received this Papal Blessing for their marriage on their wedding day.

Yes, this is the same Pope Benedict whose picture hangs ever so proudly at Fundo Bianco, the Catania Elephants' team bar.


Vanessa with Laney Grace Brucker

The day after the wedding we gathered at Yolanda's Mexican restaurant in Oxnard for a nice Sunday Brunch.

Jack and Ryan Brucker

Mike with Scott Hicks

Harley's Bowl in Camarillo

Brian FitzGerald trying to pick up a spare.

A few of the usual suspects gathered for a few frames of friendship at the local bowling alley.

Automatic Computerized Scoring

As you can see by the scores, we were long on friendship and short on bowling prowesss. I wisely opted to be a spectator to enjoy the full comedy on display.


My Chrysler LHS attacked me!

No stiches were needed but while blood was shed, tears were not.


The Ed Phillips Pool Complex

The Rio Mesa staff has always been a very social and fun loving group. This mid-summer get together was no different.

Rick Torres was one of the main BBQers


Italian sausage appetizers were a must!

My Mom, Chuny, in white, with my
Aunt Katy in pink

Good times indeed!


Koreen and Laurie enjoying the
Island Brewing Company

We were invited to the FitzGerald Beach Compound in Carpinteria about 30 minutes north of Camarillo for three great days of mostly overcast skies.

Linden Avenue leads straight to the
Pacific Ocean

A refreshing fountain in downtown Carpinteria

A VERY cool beach cruiser at Starbuck's!

The Spot

A Carpinteria culinary landmark serving GREAT burgers!!!

Gerber Daisies

We drove up to Santa Barbara to find the sun and found a delightful street market to further add to the fun on State Street.


Freshman Dennis Bolling getting his first pair of shoulder pads.

This is the most tedious day of any football season, the day you issue the gear. It is a slow process as you try to find the correct fit for the maximum safety for each player.

We got through it.


The Grandmas

Last night we drove up to Ventura to Nicholby's to see the Granmas perform yet again. The band includes Brian and Koreen FitzGerald's son Mike, and Tom FitzGerald's son Tom.

Their ability to play their instruments showed tremendous improvement since I last saw them play in December. Their vocalizations have also gotten better.

Now it is on to the fascinating world of coaching 14 year olds!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mike and Vanessa's Wedding

Vanessa Perez - Michael Contreras
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another BIG day in Contreras family history as we celebrate our second wedding in the last six months!

One last time

At Mike's request, we started the day at our house with a pancake breakfast and Mike caught the first one off the gridle that I am flipping to him.

No, he is NOT wearing his wedding outfit.

Laurie helping Andy into his tux while Mike observes.

Why is this man smiling?

Andy and Mike are ready for SHOWTIME!

They were the Best Man at each other's wedding this year.

Mr. and Mrs. Contreras

Jenn and Andy, six months and going strong!

Let the games begin!

Craig McKenzie, Tim Hicks, Scott Hicks and Ryan Brucker were part of the early outs.

Knowing that both families are notorious late arrivers, Vanessa put 1:30 p.m. on the invitations fully knowing that the ceremonies were really scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. SHARP.

Good strategy.

Everybody was at the church and ready to go at 2:00 except Vanessa, GO FIGURE!

Mr. and Mrs. Contreras

George and Laurie, 38 years and going strong!

With my sister Linda

"Yes Dear"

Andy getting Mike to repeat the key phrase in any succesful marriage.

Becki Hull and Connie Perez
Camera shy?

In ancient times some people became professional mourners who would be hired to go to funerals to cry and moan to get people in the appropriate depressed mood.

Becki and Connie should become America's first professional live wires guaranteed to bring joy and laughter to every wedding.


Vanessa arriving fashionably late
in her horse drawn carriage.

If you don't know her, she is the reason that Walt Disney was born.

She claims that the reason for her tardiness was that it was hard to find a pumpkin this time of year for her Fairy Godmother to turn into a coach.

Here comes the bride . . .

About to light the Unity Candle

I was more than a little self conscious about taking pictures during the Mass as the Father of the Groom but I couldn't resist this one.

You talk about six happy people!

Tito and Liduvina, Vanessa's parents are on the left.

The Perez Family

With Laurie's side of the family

With my side of the family

Mr. and Mrs. Contreras

Vanessa and Mike, sixty minutes and going strong!

The Wedding Party

A kiss is always a good start to a coach ride.

The happy couple parading through the streets of Oxnard.

The Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club

In the Channel Islands Harbor, this would be the scene of a great reception.

The happy couple arriving at the PCYC
by boat.

The small manageable boat, not that huge one in the background.

I don't know how Vanessa could have been more radiant.

Mike invited some of his closest friends.

Their First Dance as a married couple.

Sisters-in-Law Vanessa and Jenn Contreras

The Candy Bar was a BIG hit!

The Disney Castle Ice Sculpture Punch Dispenser

Definitely reminded me of Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria that we saw back in March.

The Wedding Cake Topper

It really does look like the two of them!

1970's Music

Is anybody who got hitched before 1970 really married since they did not have the benefit of 1970's disco music at their reception? I think not!

Here Dr. David Hicks, our delightful brother-in-law, dances with his daughter Lyndsey McKenzie.

It would not be the last time on the dance floor for this Disco Dancing Warrior!


The always surreal Father-Daughter Dance


Brian FitzGerald is dancing. This the only explanation that I can come up with.

Cutting the Wedding Cake

No warfare here, they were quite civil with each other.

The cake was delicious!

Jeff Edwards and family flew in from
Boise, Idaho

Here proudly displaying his award for being the person who came the farthest for the wedding. Jeff was a very good WR at Rio Mesa and went on to a great career as a punter at Boise State.

Loren Brucker, Andy, myself and Joe Mollica enjoying a well deserved cigar at the end of the evening at the PCYC's poolside.

Thanks for the stogies Lorenzo.

David Hicks has Disco Fever

WHAT A GREAT TIME! Thanks to the Perez family for hosting an incredible reception!

We are so blessed to have both of our sons get married only six months apart this year in two beautiful and vastly different settings.

It's GREAT to have two wonderful Daughters-in-Law. We have two very lucky sons!

Yes, I cried a little twice this year.