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Sunday, May 22, 2011

My First Scooter

Jack takes a "Tykes on Trykes" class at the local recreation center where little tykes can ride tricycles and push toys along makeshift roads complete with street signs and cones. So, we thought it would be fun to get him his first scooter. Radio Flyer makes a nice stable one with two wheels up front and a wider board for a more stable ride. Top it off with a rad helmet in neon colors and we were ready to go.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Jack and his first scooter.

And watch below for him trying it out for the first time by himself:

And with a little help from Dad:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dad, Grandfather, Tennis Coach, Philosopher

My Dad, Jimmy Jose, passed last week in Massachusetts on April 28th after complications from a minor laparoscopy procedure to remove his gallbladder. His death was sudden, unexplained, and too soon. He is survived by his 90 year old mother, 9 brothers and sisters, 21 nieces and nephews, in addition to me and Jack.

Dad is most recently remembered as a Tennis Pro who coached, loved, and mentored his students - many for over a decade - and became an extended member of many of his students' families. As a golf enthusiast, he volunteered at the local country club making new friends and played several times a week. And as an avid poker player, he pursued his dealer certification and dealt at a charity poker tent in nearby New Hampshire.

He wasn't big in stature, but had big ideas, a big personality and a big Jose smile that won people over.

We held a wake and service on May 3rd where many people came to support me and my family. We were taken aback by the number of people who expressed how my Dad had touched their lives and how they will miss my him dearly. Meeting my Dad's friends made me realize how he impacted others' lives in ways I didn't understand since we live in San Francisco (and he in Massachusetts) - the distance just makes it so we are not in the same day-to-day sphere anymore and it's a bit sad to realize you don't really know someone as well as you thought. Ironically, meeting and speaking with his friends in death made me feel more connected to his life.

Dad was cremated and his ashes were interred at the columbarium in Woodlawn Cemetary in Everett, Massachusetts on May 6th. We interred him with military honors and a bugle playing the unmistakable Taps in the background as two servicemen presented me with the United States flag. Woodlawn is a beautiful, historic, and restful cemetary known for their impeccable landscaping and beautiful grounds. A columbarium is a building with rooms of niches with either marble or glass fronts that hold one or multiple urns. The columbarium at Woodlawn is a new structure that retains the design of Woodlawn's beautiful stone walls of older structures. It has soothing fountains along the pathway and a blooming cherry tree at its entrance.

Following are the eulogies that Mindy and Tom presented at the funeral.


"When I think of my Dad -- I think of a Survivor, I think of a man that was endlessly Resourceful, Passionate, and Charismatic.

As a Survivor, he was so strong, physically and emotionally, and that's what I believe makes his passing such a shock to many of us.

But in life, his survival instinct served him well. He never let what little he had stand in the way of what he wanted. With only some formal education and funds, he was more "street smart" and ferretted out opportunities by being gregarious, taking with people, and making connections.

He was a Risk Taker, a bit of a Dreamer, Optimist, or Opportunist - however you look at it. He flitted from one great idea to the next:
- I'll start a television station with some friends on Block Island [part of Rhode Island]
- I'll open a Filipino restaurant in Boston
- I've got to understand patents and copyright law in case I come up with "the" next big thing
- I'm going to be the next Filipino Donald Trump and flip real estate

Not all of his ideas panned out exactly as he would have liked, but two went according to plan:

1) In 1976, my Mom gave him a plane ticket back to the Philippines for Christmas. This inspired him to bring his entire family over to the US over the next decade. All nine brothers and sisters, his Mom and Dad. He bought them a house to live in, assisted with getting them jobs, and acclimated them to American culture. Our family still remains in the Boston area today and has grown to include 21 nieces and nephews that my Dad adored. He had a whole wall filled with collages of family and friends and pictures tucked into his tennis bag, his car, and everywhere else you can imagine.

2) His second great idea that stuck was Tennis. This hobby became his passion as he became certified and sponsored. He loved teaching and spoke so proudly of his students. When we went through his things this weekend, he had hundreds of pictures of "his kids" through the years -- all noted with names, ages, and dates on the back -- along with Thank You cards that he kept. He dedicated himself to his students and to the sport.

And later as Tennis was beginning to take its physical toll, he found a new passion in golf.

And as he mellowed with age -- that is he mellowed emotionally, he still lifted weights daily and rode his stationary bike for miles -- he found comfort in his cat, Binks, who would demand that Dad stand next to him as he ate, or jumped up on his chest at all hours of the dat and night demanding that he be let out.

He also found comfort in the time he spent with my Mom until they divorced in 1992, and with Laurie who he spent the remaining time with until just a year ago.

And I know he loved me and especially, Jack, his 2 year old grandson. He was supposed to come out to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and we made plans to play ball and start Jack on a little plastic golf set. My husband, Tom, was looking forward to more golf lessons. We counted on Grandpa to teach Jack tennis and golf when he was older. Every time I updated the Blog with a new entry, Dad would call and say he saw it and my how big Jack was getting.

Life with my Dad wasn't always easy, and his life wasn't always easy. Like all of us, he had good qualities and had his crazies. The good has become part of me and the Crazies now amuse me. My Dad taught me many good life lessions that made me the person I am today. He taught me to you don't get it unless you ask, he instilled in me a sense of confidence, and an unspokeness and independence. I observed his way with people and inherited that "Jose smile". I hope that Tom and I can instill and carry on these good qualities through Jack and Jack too can learn to be amused at my craziness in time.

I love you Daddy."


"While I did not know Jimmy as well as most of you, I will do everything I can to make sure Jack grows up knowing his grandfather.

Their lives may have only overlapped by 2 years, but there is no doubt that Jimmy was very proud of his grandson. I request all of us here show Jack that he should be very proud of his grandfather and talk to Jack about Jimmy's life that was sadly cut short."

Rest In Peace, Dad
May 16, 1944 - April 28, 2011