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October 22, 2006   

Sorry that I haven't been keeping up my commitment here.  But life keeps me running along with school.  I'm enjoying my class and love the work that is coming from it.   My work had me travel to Dublin California last week for training and here are some pictures from my visit to Arlen Ness Motorcycles .  I'll try to do better about updating this, but time isn't on our side right now.

Well, thanks for stopping by and keep looking for new posts in Dropped Bits as well as new posts here in the future.  Take care and until next time, be safe and stay happy.

July 01, 2006   

So, have you been checking out the posts in Dropped Bits?  If not you had better get over there and start reading so you can catch up.  It has worked pretty well for me to be able to throw things up here for you all to read in a much quicker manner.  In fact one of the last things I had said over there was that I had a few photos from Tyler's Deer Valley All Stars that I would get try to get posted and here they are.  I hope you enjoy them.

Well, thanks for stopping by and keep looking for new posts in Dropped Bits as well as new posts here in the future.  Take care and until next time, be safe and stay happy.

June 06, 2006   

You will notice a couple new links on this site called, "Dropped Bits".  I have started this new page as a way of more quickly updating this site using a blog format.  That doesn't mean that I intend to stop updating this site but as time is extremely limited in working on creating, editing and publishing a page. I have decided to try this out and see how it goes. So when you stop by on your way through be sure to click the Dropped Bits link above or to the left and see if I have been able to update anything there.

As I have stated in Dropped bits, I still have to update you all on what has happened up to this point and I will, but I'm not sure when.  Maybe just in the blog.  

Well, thanks for hanging around as long as you have and I hope this Dropped Bits page works out like I hope it will.  Take care and until next time, be safe and stay happy.

April 29, 2006   

Photos of Tracey and the Freshman Lady Eagle Softball Team

April 15, 2006   

Photos of Tyler and 2006 Easter Classic American Division Runner-Up Arizona Rebels

February 24, 2006   

Photos of Tracey and the Freshman Lady Eagle Basketball Team

December 30, 2005   

Special events, occasions that only come around once for very few people is about to take place tomorrow night in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  Matchbox Twenty, a band that Carol and I found or discovered together when we were just friends that we have absolutely fell in love with will be performing at the Joint for two nights only.  What makes this such a special occasion is the fact that they last performed together in 2003 wrapping up their last tour.   The members of the band, Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook, Adam Gaynor and Brian Yale had been recording and touring long before the debut of their first album back in 1996.  They decided as a group to take a break from the touring and recording as Matchbox Twenty to spend time building their lives with their wives, children and explore other interests.  This break is only temporary and the group is expected to get back in the studio from last reports in late 2006 to early 2007 releasing a new album soon afterward and touring again in support of the album.  

Rob Thomas has released a solo album that has taken him into different areas of music styles than what Matchbox Twenty is known for.  Paul has written a score for his wife's movie project that she had been working on and Kyle has been staying close to home, working on a solo project as well spending some well deserved time with his wife and two little girls.  Brian I'm sure has sharpened his golf game and I haven't heard what Adam has been doing during this time away from the group.   So this two night event, that is to take place in the intimate setting of the Joint in Las Vegas is something kind of special to Carol and I.  It would be our first time off alone without the kids in some time allowing us to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about getting home to the kids and enjoy some time for ourselves doing something that we enjoy so much.  Plus, this was our one special gift to each other.  We got great seats, about 17 rows from the stage, center section.  We had a reasonably priced place to stay just across the street from the Hard Rock so we wouldn't have to drive.   Everything was set in place back in November, just waiting for time to pass and New Years to arrive.

But sometimes, it doesn't matter how much time and preperation you do to get ready for such an event or how much money you spend to make the dream a reality, life tends to step in and say, "Sorry, Not this time folks."  You see, I felt really run down Monday, but didn't take the time to get some rest.   We had things we wanted to get done this week before other commitments took us running in seventeen different directions.  Tuesday we went to a couple of baseball games, part of the Winter Nationals tournament that the Heat and others have been working toward.  It got to the point that I was having a hard time breathing and called my doctor.  I made an appointment but the earliest I could get in was Thursday at 1:30 so they suggested if I felt it was of more an immediate need, to go to an Urgent Care facility or the Emergency Room.  I decided to hit the Urgent Care facility and after a little more than three hours I was out of there with a boat load of prescriptions to battle pneumonia that I am suffering from.   The doctor told me that I need to stop pretty much all activity and rest for the next week to get over this.   Once the doctor left the room, I was brought to tears by this.  My health has failed me.

I am so depressed over this.  No more baseball games this week, no airplane ride to Vegas tomorrow, and no special night with the love of my life enjoying our group.  Yes, our group.  Many people have a special song, but we have our group.  The only time they will perform in what will be close to four years so close to home to allow us this opportunity and I can't walk, I can't breath.   Damn it!  Damn it, damn it, damn it!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment out of your day to take an interest in our lives here in Phoenix.   Stay safe and well, I'll be typing at you soon.

November 08, 2005   

Busy, busy, busy.  That pretty much sums up our lives at this point and time.  Tyler is playing baseball with the Arizona Heat Baseball Club and doing quite well.  Tracey has been in a basketball camp all last month and just found out last Thursday that she made the Sandra Day O'Connor High School basketball team.  Her first of hopefully many high school teams that she will make over her career at O'Connor.  

Along with all this sports stuff, we have the usual Halloween that we had to get ready for and I wanted to throw up a couple of photos of Count Tyler who won scariest costume at the Halloween party he went to that weekend.  He really didn't look like our Tyler, but I'll let you be the judge.

Then there are the high school football games and dances that Tracey goes to to keep us running.  Last Saturday she went to Homecoming, her first semi-formal dance and she was beautiful.  She's not a little girl anymore.  Here are a few photos of Tracey and how she looked heading off to Homecoming.  

Carol and I squeezed in a couple of concerts this weekend too. Grandma was here with the kids so we headed down to Tucson to see Rob Thomas perform.   We weren't sure if we would be able to see the show in Phoenix the next night due to Tracey's Homecoming Dance.   We arrived at the show in Tucson as the opening act wrapped up their set.  We loved the show but were a little disappointed that we didn't bring a camera.  Fourth row center.  The show was great, we loved it.  He's a spectacular performer, singer and songwriter.

We arrived back in Phoenix Saturday in time to finish getting Tracey ready for her dance with a pedicure and some last minute shopping that she felt she needed to do.  OK - I'm not a girl, maybe it was "needed."  Anyway, after dropping Tracey off at her friends house, we headed to the Rob Thomas show downtown.  The show started early so we thought we could get there and be home in time to pick Tracey up from her dance.  You want to talk about timing.   We walked into the show as Rob took the stage completely missing the opening act.   We were a little over an hour late but the timing couldn't have been better.  I took some photos of the show and it was great, again.  The show ended shortly before 10:00 PM so Rob was on stage for about two hours.   We enjoyed ourselves and headed out of the show arriving home about 25 minutes before Tracey called.

It's been busy and I missed talking to my Mom Sunday when I wanted to wish her a belated Happy Birthday.   Her birthday was Saturday and for some reason, I wasn't able to call her.  Love you Mom.   I hope your day was grand.  Well, I need to run Tyler to lesson's so I should sign off for now.   Until next time, you all stay safe and I'll be typing at you later.

October 23, 2005   

This post is for Sandy...  It has taken over three months to become a reality but it is finally here.   So Sandy, here it is...  The (Tyler post)

October 09, 2005   

Sorry this post took so long to complete.  It's not short and with our schedules over the past month I struggled to find time to work on it.  I hope you enjoy the story.  The story of a nightmare that still doesn't seem real.  Thanks all, take care and I'll be typing at you later.

Have you ever experienced something that just didn't seem like it could really be happening?   That's what happened to us September 7th and 8th.  It all started while I was home getting ready for work.  I have been covering the late shift on Wednesdays for a co-worker that works my early shift so he can go see his son play football for O'Connor High School.  I turned off the shower about 9:00 AM when I heard Daisy bark and then growl out in the front entry.  Daisy is a Boxer, about 55 pounds and is the friendliest dog.  She loves women and children but doesn't like any man that comes around.  She'll bark and growl and just have a relatively bad day until the male intruder is gone.  It was then that I heard foot steps in the rock outside our bathroom window.   I thought to myself, "What the hell is going on?"

I grabbed some shorts and a shirt as the doorbell rang.  Daisy barked again continuing to growl at the front door.  As I was walking to the front door... (Read Full Post)

September 15, 2005   

Have you ever experienced something that just didn't seem like it could really ever be happening?   That's what happened to us last Wednesday September 7th and Thursday the 8th.  It all started while I was home getting ready for work.  I'm covering the late shift on Wednesdays for a guy that works my early shift so he can go see his son play football for his high school...  

OK - it's a work in progress - but I wanted to update this a little bit and get it going again.   Check back soon for the rest of the nightmare.  We all survived it but I know we all wish we didn't have to live it.

August 20, 2005   

Here find the collection of posts that journaled the 2005 Junior Deer Valley All Stars run through the Arizona State Tournament.  The journey starts on July 20 and wraps up August 20th.   The story begins:

July 20, 2005
Tonight the girls are facing the first adversity they’ve had to face this tournament season.  They faced a talented and well coached team from the Pinetop/Lakeside area called Blue Ridge.  The girls struggled the first few innings but kept themselves (Read Full Post)

July 15, 2005   

A dominating performance for the Deer Valley All Stars last night with the exception of one inning.   One costly inning with four errors plating four unearned runs.  Deer Valley lost the coin toss and became the visiting team so they batted first dictating the type of game it would turn out to be.   Our second hitter Stephanie got on by a ground rule double... FULL POST

July 14, 2005   9:45 PM

Deer Valley WINS!!!  
Deer Valley WINS!!!  

Honk your horns and
Stomp your feet!!!   
Deer Valley All Stars
are going to State!!!

Details to follow tomorrow afternoon.

July 14, 2005   3:45 PM

It's a little over an hour before we have to leave to get Tracey to her game.  It's about 106 outside and will still be that or more when we get to the field.  The girls will warm up and take infield practice during the hour before game time and simply prepare as they always have.   There's no real pressure for Deer Valley to win - we only have to win one of two possible games tonight.   We've beaten this team before but it was a close one.  So how do you get the girls loose and relaxed for a championship game?  Our coach came up with a novel idea to loosen his girls up... FULL POST

July 12, 2005        

Last nights game went off as billed.  A battle of undefeateds.  Neither team wanted to give up the game on this one.  The Deer Valley All Stars fell behind by three in the bottom of the second inning to Arrowhead.  In the top of the fourth we were able to score a hard fought run, but it was only one... FULL POST

July 11, 2005        

After reading the last post - you all might be surprised with what I'm about to tell you.   Tyler was not selected to the All Star team for his league.  We were all extremely disappointed at the oversight considering most of the coaches and parents had told us and our coach that he was one of the ten best kids in the league.  Tyler was devastated at the news and we were left to console him and attempt to lift his spirits.

After that, we were left to finish out Tracey's dismal season and get on with the Summer vacation.   We had planned to go to Universal Studio's in Hollywood and visit the beach on a short four day trip but all that got put on hold after a surprise phone call from Rich... FULL POST

June 13, 2005        

For the longest time, there wasn't much to say.  Then something happens and you want to take the time to update everyone on what's going on but you simply have no time.  Well that's where I've been the last few weeks.  Of course the updates are kid related as that's just about all we do now a days, but it sure has been a lot of fun.  

To begin with, Tracey was drafted up to the senior league for softball.  We thought this was going to be a great thing for her.  She would be able to play up with some girls older than her with more experience and better skills and this would improve her skills even more.  Then they started playing the games.  This team, for lack of a better or more appropriate word, sucks.   They couldn't win a game if the other team only fielded seven ten year olds.  OK, that's a little strong and I suppose they would have a fifty/fifty shot at winning the game, but still.   We feel just horrible for Tracey.  The worst thing is, they've had to forfeit a few games because they can't even get nine girls to show up regularly... FULL POST

April 30, 2005        

After a half year hiatus from the workforce, I decided that it was finally time to rejoin the working world (actually I finally found someone that could make some use of my services).  The company is Universal Technical Institute (UTI Corp.) and they teach people through intensive and focused automotive training to be highly trained auto mechanics.  Their other divisions of Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) and Marine Mechanics Institute train people in Motorcycle and Marine mechanics and NASCAR Technical Institute trains people what they need to know to succeed in NASCAR.

I joined the helpdesk that serves all locations by providing phone support to users that experience computer problems.  The unique thing about this position is that I volunteered to cover the early (East Coast) shift which works 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern.  Which is fine if you live in Orlando Florida.  I however live in Phoenix Arizona so my hours are 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM Arizona time.   FULL POST

March 03, 2005        

What ever happens to the time?  Good intentions don't pay the bills or update web pages.   I've been sitting here the last few days wondering where does the time go.  I remember that it wasn't a couple of years ago we seemed to have all the time in the world.  So what happened?   Time passed as it always does and the kids have gotten older.  Tracey's much more independant now so she can go off to the mall or movies and we don't have to stay with her.  You would think this would free up some time, right?  Well that doesn't happen.  They want to go to the mall for a couple of hours and then to the movies for a couple of hours FULL POST

January 07, 2005        

2005 has arrived and with a vengence in our household.  Leading up to New Years Tyler had a bad cold and then I caught a bug and then his cold.  I'm still on the recovering side of things but every day brings me a little closer to being well.  I just don't have the stamina to go deep into the night before the bed calls.  Speaking of bed, we also had our mattress replaced on December 10 that was covered under warrentee but it's now January 5th and they'll be taking this new one away Monday.  We think we got a lemon with the mattress they FULL POST

December 23, 2004        

I know.  It's December 23rd and it's been a month or so since I last wrote anything.   Well believe me, I've tried.  I've sat down here probably six or seven times and started to write but I wasn't really in the mood or I couldn't find anything to write about.  On a few occasions I started to write about Christmas and the season, FULL POST

November 24, 2004        

Thanksgiving 2004 has finally arrived.  The time of year to gather with friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for the gifts in our lives that make it so special.  But this year, all I read about or hear about are the lives of the rich basketball players in Indiana charging the stands in a Detroit suburb because a drink was thrown on, at, in the direction of, whatever of the Indiana player.  I've read where the players think FULL POST

November 18, 2004        

Three years ago in July I was laid off from Giant after 12 years.  That July day was the last time I had been back there except for one recent holiday where I ran into just a couple of people.   So yesterday I decided to go have lunch with Carol and stopped by Giant.  I was a little nervous when I first drove up the drive.  I didn't know what to expect.  What kind of reception would I get from everyone there.  It was strange.  When I got out of the car, I checked myself over like I was going on a job interview.  Found that I looked about as good as it was going to get and I headed inside.  

Once inside the lobby I didn't recognize anyone so I approached the front desk and let the receptionest know that I was here to see Carol.  As she was calling Carol FULL POST

November 08, 2004        

The weekend that just passed seems like it flew by starting with Friday.  Friday was November 5th and the most important thing that happened on this day was the birth of my mom.   Well, OK - a few years ago.  I was a little busy on Friday so I did one of the most horrific things a son could do.  I never called my mom to wish her a happy birthday.  But, do you know what's even worse?  I didn't call her Saturday either.  Or even on Sunday.  It's now Monday and I'll give her a call tonight to see if she received the cards we sent (I put in the mail late too...).   See there, I'm owning up to all of my mistakes.  I feel bad about not getting this done before now.   Love you mom.  Happy Birthday from your problem child.   Psst... It's now Tuesday (November 9) and I forgot to call her again.  I'm such a bad boy.  Dang it.

Friday, Carol and I had planned to go watch the NASCAR qualifying and the truck race out at Phoenix International Raceway.  Carol was trying to get tickets for Friday from her work but there weren't any available for that day.  The only day they had available was for race day, Sunday.   So we took those instead.  But that left us with Friday open and we still wanted to do something special, just the two of us.  

Carol had mentioned that she had seen an article in the paper that said the boys from Orange County Choppers were going to be in town for a bike fest.  The bike fest was being held at Tempe Town Lake and would feature 25 bike builders from all over the southwest.  But the big name draw to make the event a huge success was the guys from OCC and the tv show American Choppers on the Discovery Channel.  We didn't know for sure who was going to be at the show but we were pretty sure that Paul Sr., Paulie (Jr.), Mikey and Vinnie would be there.  Orange County Choppers... FULL POST

October 27, 2004        

It has been a long time since I last updated this page.  The last thing I wrote was my memorial to Pat Tillman . Before that I mentioned that Tracey was about to become a teenager.  Well Tracey has long passed that mark and is well on her way to becoming a young woman.   It's time that I start writing again and fill in the blanks of the last year.

Tracey turned 13 on September 11, 2003 and this was a milestone that she had dreamed of for a long time.  She used to let Carol and I know that she was going to be a teenager after her next birthday.  She started telling us this on September 11, 2002.  Tracey couldn't wait for this day to arrive.  Every time she would talk... FULL POST

June 15, 2004        

Please click here to see my memorial to Pat Tillman .

June 15, 2004        

Please click here to see my 2001 World Series tribute.

Check back for updates 

September 07, 2003        

Hello all.  Well this week is a big week in the Gillespie/Abrego household.   We will have a teenager joining us starting Thursday.  We're not having any of Tracey's friends move in, it's just Tracey turning the big one three.  Kind of scary but Carol and I think we should be able to survive the next 10 years even though we're not prepared for it.   We shall persevere.

We did do something really fun this weekend.  We gave Tracey a surprise birthday party and we actually pulled it off.  We had planned to take her out for a birthday dinner of her choice, just the family.  Then we decided to invite five of her friends to meet us there before she showed up.  I had to meet a classmate real quick so I ended up there early and set up the show for when they all arrived.   It was great - she had no clue anything was going on.  It was so much fun to watch her have the best time.  When we were at dinner one of Tracey's friends mom came over and decorated the house so when we got home there were even more surprises in store for her.   It was great, just great.

That's about it for now.  Not much else going on, just school and work - fun stuff. Take care for now, and I'll be typing at you later.

February 23, 2003        

I spent the end of last week in Columbus Georgia and Alabama turning up one of our sites.   As I have said before, I travel a lot for my work and I spend a lot of time away from my family and this is the one aspect of the travel that I just don't care for anymore.   Tracey had a music competition this weekend where she and a friend from school performed a duet.   The dress rehearsal was Thursday night and I missed the performance because I was out of town.   I really regret not being able to see this performance because I won't be able to see it now.   It's a moment in time that has passed and we can't replay it.  Something I missed because I was out of town for work.  

I finished up what I had to Friday for work and I headed back to the Columbus airport.  Well, Fort Benning is a stones throw away from the Columbus airport and when I got to the airport, apparently there had been some orders handed down that many of the active duty personnel from Fort Benning were being deployed.  There were men and women of all ages trying to get on my flight to get to Frankfurt Germany for staging prior to heading out to Kuwait.  A woman, around 40 was one of these people being shipped out along with another man closer to 50 and another around the same age.  Younger men in their 20's were also headed that way.  

You know, I've seen men and women ship out on TV and you think about them, a little bit.  But when you are there amongst the men and women saying goodbye to their families and friends, leaving their children and parents, boyfriends and girlfriends for a year or more.  It makes me think that the traveling that I do isn't so bad.  I still don't like missing the kids activities like I have due to my traveling, but I do get to come home on the weekend.  You never know about these men and women.   If there is a war, will they really be able to make it home?  I hope so.   I hope that the impressions that these few people have left on me won't be the last ones that their friends and families have to remember.  I've seen people ship out on TV, but it doesn't provide a fraction of the emotion or feeling that goes into these moments.  It doesn't show the feelings of the men and women after they get on the plane and sit there for the next hour contemplating the next time they will see their friends and family again; the quiet reflection and solitude that the older men and women fell into on that flight.

My heart is with you men and women that have touched my life a little bit this past week and to all of the men and women in the armed forces serving our country at home and abroad.  Be safe and hurry home.  

February 05, 2003        

It's been a few weeks since I checked in here and I wanted to catch up a little bit before much time has passed.  I have spent most of the last two weeks out of town in Albuquerque and Kerrville Texas.  You know, I can't say much that hasn't already been said about the events of Saturday and the Shuttle loss.  I flew into San Antonio last Wednesday January 29, one day after the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.  When you leave the San Antonio airport you pass through an area dedicated to the Space Shuttle Challenger with a monument dedicated to the crew that was lost that day.  This struck me as strange.  I know that San Antonio is close to Houston, but I still thought it odd that there was this memorial park here.  At the same time it reminded me of that day and where I was when I heard about it.  I thought about it for a little while, but I had places to go so I went on.

When I came back to the airport Friday night I passed through that memorial park 3 more times and I again reflected back onto that day.  I couldn't wait to get home to Carol and the kids.  We got up the next morning like usual, getting ready for Tyler's game.  It has been warm here in Phoenix so we wore shorts and I threw on a t-shirt and we headed out to the game.  The boys played the best game of their lives that day and won by 2 runs.  It was great.  

It wasn't until later that Carol and I heard about the Space Shuttle from a store clerk in the mall.   I didn't believe it at first because she had the name wrong, but we came home and started watching the news and we heard.  Later on, Carol asked why I wore the t-shirt that I wore that day?   Just because, no special reason.  I had worn my NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston t-shirt that a friend brought back to me from a trip he had made.  I don't wear this shirt often, so it was rather strange.

We take so many things for granted in life - including space flight, air travel and driving to and from work every day.  I don't live by, "What if..."  But more and more, I try not to take anything for granted.  I travel a lot and every day that I am away from Carol and the kids, I miss them dearly.  Every day, I let Carol know that she is very important to me and a vital piece of my life.  Every day, I try to let Tracey and Tyler know that they are special people and very important pieces of my life as well.

A lot has been said about the loss of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia and I don't know that I could say anything more than what has already been said.  I mourn the loss of those seven pursuing their dreams and I feel for the families and friends that will carry on in their absence.  

Carol, I love you.  When we are apart, I do not feel complete.  When we are apart, my thoughts and dreams are with you and the kids.  When we are apart; I long to hear your voice, feel your touch, see your smile and bright shining face.  When we are apart, I love you more and more.   When we are apart, I cherish the little time we do spend together.  When we are apart, I love you Carol.     

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