Dear Friends,


Spring is finally here and, oh boy! You can really tell. The winter views, those that are possible only when trees have no leaves, came to an end for the season. Those views are usually from elevated areas and in most cases are views from NYC. All of a sudden, this place comes back to life, the sad looking naked trees and bushes turned almost overnight into green, happier looking ones making this place a completely different one. Leaves and plants grow so fast that feels like you can hear them grow.


During the winter months you can barely see people on the streets and, if you see some, they are mostly adults. Now you see all kinds of people and wild life all over the place. Birds, bugs, bunnies, etc. I guess they were all in a dormant state and warm weather just bring them back. It’s amazing how we longed for good weather, I’m not only talking about the new NJ residents, also seasoned residents seem to get very happy with nice weather. For example, on the first 70 degree day, one of the neighbors opened his garage, pulled the grill out and started barbecuing on the driveway.


In a cold day, it took very long time before you can leave the house, grab jacket, scarf, gloves, ear covers, etc. But, as I mentioned in a previous update, I had a favorite, very close friend, this was my set of thermal long sleeved underwear, it was very handy to stay warm. I was using it in addition to my regular underwear and after some time it can become a little bit tedious, but here is were the creativity kicks in. Every now and then, when things were getting routine and boring, I swap the order in which I wear my underwear, in other words, I put the regular one on top of the long thermal one, seems silly, but you get to enjoy the “super hero” look for a full day. However, although you get a strong feeling, almost the need, of saving the world you need to refrain from doing that. I don’t think I can climb easily a tree to rescue a trapped cat when it’s freezing cold out.


When we originally moved to NJ, I justified my unhealthy and abusive eating by trying to convince myself that “it’s OK, you need to develop a protective winter coat”. Unfortunately, now that the winter is gone, the winter coat remained and is still growing. The way I know, is because I haven’t been able to wear my salmon Versace jeans, I need to clarify that the jeans are not pink as Carmen says, they are salmon! As I only run once a week, I have been trying alternative ways to keep my  winter coat from getting too big. For that purpose, I have been doing what Mexicans are well known for, before my comment invites your mind to think ahead, let me clarify that this activity has nothing to do with procreation or with the Mexicans’ attempt to become the biggest minority. I’m talking about gardening, or probably I should say power gardening as I try hard to break a sweat when pushing that lawnmower.


Speaking of gardening, in California I tried most of the hardware stores near the house but I couldn't’t find “crack grass”. Living now in the "Garden State" I was positive that I was going to find it here, so I went to Home Depot and Ace Hardware and ask the sales representative where to find seeds for crack grass. After asking them, I got a bit nervous as they started talking numbers in the radio. So, I jumped immediately I explained that I needed seeds of the grass that grows in the cracks of the concrete. The one that never gets water or fertilizer or even dirt and always looks very healthy, regardless of how many times you pull it invariably comes back. After my explanation, we both relaxed and he went back to the radio but this time he said cancel and no more numbers.


Carmen and I have been walking with Dan and Colleen, they also came from California , but we met in NJ and now we both are living in the same town. We started walking with them at 7 PM twice a week on the park close to the house. During the dark and cold days of winter, we were among the few regulars that were there very diligently, twice a week unless we had bad snow or rain. Now there’s light and warm weather and the park is full of “fair weather warriors”. Walking with nice weather was weird at first, I guess we were so used to walk in the dark paying close attention to the trail to avoid stepping on ice. Later, when we finally met for our walk with daylight, Colleen was surprised and made a comment to Dan “look Dan, Carmen and Fernando are Mexicans”…Good thing we are not in Arizona.


For some reason, after the bad Mexican restaurant recommendation I did few weeks ago, people stopped asking me for a suggestion for a Mexican place. Go figure, people is just weird. For the Cinco de Mayo lunch, they did not consider my opinion, they notified me; “we are going for lunch to Chevy’s, would you like to come?”. The Cinco de Mayo lunch at Chevys was nice, those 2 blond girls with the tattoos and and multiple piercings making tortillas really made feel at home.


When looking for Mexican ingredients/products in the local super markets, I learned that I can save valuable time and frustration. The way I get a very good idea of the availability of those products is by asking one of the store associates. When they ask me, how to spell what I'm looking for like; tortillas or tomatillos, I know they don’t carry them. Before using this trick I went trough aisle 2 and 8 like 10 times without finding what I needed.


I recently had to go to the MVC, the NJ version of DMV, to get a new title and license plates for my car and was expecting the worst. The usual thing on those kind of offices, maybe some paperwork missing, as there seems to be always something wrong or missing. While in line, I was wondering what would be missing and imagined  the lady asking; ”when was the last time you changed the air in your tires Sir? do you have the receipt? It’s a pink paper like this one”. When the person in front of me was being helped, I got more nervous and was ready to call Carmen at home to get me the box where we file all the car stuff in case something was needed. To my surprise, every thing went very smooth. They do a very detailed inspection of your car, all lights, honk, smoke check, wiper blades, etc. etc. Believe or not, I walked away with the inspection past and my new title and license plates on the same day. Same experience for my driver’s license, they give them to you on the spot. The MVC deserves my recognition for their efficiency compared to the Ca DMV that provides temporary documents and originals are sent few weeks later on the mail, even if you pay the rush fee. 


Wishing you guys all the best,