Thursday, January 3, 2019

25 Years

Even though it has been a quarter century since my father passed away, I still remember him clearly and feel the impact that he had on the world. He always had tremendous love and empathy in his heart and brought out the best in people.

Today I thought it would be nice to share a few photos of his final resting place, which is right above a statue of Mary inside the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery Chapel. It is a beautiful building with a lot of character that is comfortable to visit year-round. Mass is also celebrated weekly in honor of the deceased. I don't think my mom could have chosen a better place for him.

Thank you dad for being such a great role model. I love you and miss you.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Domingos Rebelo Documentary

As a Father's Day tribute, I uploaded one of my father's video productions to YouTube. This is a short documentary on one of the most famous artists to come from the Azores, Domingos Rebelo. The first half hour is in Portuguese while the English version begins around the 36 minute mark. Huge thank you to Filomena Goulart for providing the video!

Happy Father's Day dad!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

24 Years

Today it has been 24 years since I lost my father to cancer in 1994. I miss him so much and wish he was still here with my me and all those that loved him dearly. Last year was the most difficult year of my adult life, and while I feel he is always with me I wish I could hear his voice and ask for his guidance. 

I love you dad and deeply appreciate everything that you taught me.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

22 Years

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of my father's passing. I went with my mother and wife to the cemetery this morning to visit his grave. Afterwards, we went to a new Portuguese restaurant called Adega, which has replaced Sousa's in San Jose. Despite being a brand new restaurant, it is filled with character. There is a traditional mosaic on the back wall, real tools for making wine are hanging on the walls (Adega means wine cellar), and much of the furniture was hand-built by the owners. The food was absolutely incredible. My father would have loved this place.

Over lunch I asked my mom to tell me something about my father that I did not already know. She said that each year he would get very excited about my birthday. I knew he enjoyed throwing big parties for friends, but what I did not know is that he would spend hours each year coming up with a creative new birthday invitation card. Each year's card was unique, and as an artist he would always do something special. I am going to have to go through storage and find these cards, since I had no idea he did this.

Monday, March 16, 2015

LaSalette Restaurant

Early this year, we went to what is often regarded as the best Portuguese Restaurant in the Bay Area in honor of my father. The meal at LaSalette in Sonoma was amazing. The only thing that would have made it better is if he was eating it with us.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two Giant Mural-Sized Works of Art

Here are two giant works of art that one of my father's good friends--Maria Isabel van Sunder--has been storing for years in her garage. Both of these are massive, 20 feet wide I believe. The top one is of a famous Portuguese explorer (sorry, I don't recall the name right now) and the bottom one is a street in Graciosa.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Speech for my Mom's Retirement

My mother is retiring after an amazing 46 years of teaching, 38 of which were at Anne Darling where my father also taught. Below is the speech that I delivered last week at her retirement party. My father I'm sure is very proud of what she has accomplished.


A huge thank you to Nova Alianca for accommodating us on such short notice, the staff and amazing chef deserve a big round of applause.

I would also like to extend a warm thank you to everyone for coming, especially on a Monday night! Thank you all for being an important part of my mom’s life, and helping her make it to where she is today.

Now, a fun fact about my mom. She actually came to the US as a Franciscan nun knowing almost no English. How many of you knew she was a nun at one point? Show of hands? So this is news to a lot of you.

She has devoted almost her entire life to teaching. First, she taught at Five Wounds right across the street for 6 years. Then she taught at St. Mary’s for 2 years. After that, she found her home at Anne Darling, where she has taught for the past 38 years. That’s a very long time. Folks, that is a grand total of 46 years of teaching.

To put this in perspective, when she started teaching there were no computers smaller than a truck, you couldn’t Google anything because there was no internet, color TVs were just starting to become popular, and the president of the United States was Lyndon B. Johnson. That’s how long she’s been teaching.

In order to do anything for that long you have to love what you do. In fact, one teaching job was not enough for her. She has also contributed to the Portuguese community by teaching after-school Portuguese classes for 15 years at a variety of locations, all while still teaching at Anne Darling.

She also has an incredible work ethic, often going into class on Saturdays and Sundays to prepare for the coming week. Even a full hip replacement surgery did not keep her from going back to work this year.

She could have retired a decade ago, but kept on going because she loved her job and she is great at it. I’m sure she’s lost count of how many former students came up to her as adults, requesting that she be the teacher for their children (and in some rare cases grandchildren).

My mom’s love for kids also extended outside of the classroom. I remember when I was a teenager and she decided to become a foster mother.  Keep in mind that at this point my father had passed away, and she was a single mom working full-time. In total, she has devoted 17 years of her life to foster care, housing as many as 6 foster children at one time.  Over those years she has taken care of almost 100 different kids, and many have said it was the best home they ever stayed in and still keep in touch.

In a nutshell, my mom has devoted her entire life to serving others and making the world a better place… first as a nun and then as a teacher.

Now what is she going to do with all of this extra free time after retirement?  I know that my mom likes to stay busy, so I’m don’t think she will just kick back and relax.  I’ll throw this out there.  Mom, you can feel free to volunteer as a babysitter for my future kids anytime.  We wouldn’t want you to get bored or anything.  And just a quick note that these are hypothetical kids, there are no other major announcements taking place tonight.

I know you guys are looking forward to dessert, so I’ll wrap things up and say this...  I could not have asked for a better mom and am so incredibly proud to see her achieve this milestone. I’m also sure that all of those that could not be here today like my father, her parents, and many others are smiling down, and agreeing with me when I say it is a very well deserved retirement. Congratulations and I Love You.