Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Angel gone but Jesus and Virgin Mary in palm tree

Wow. Just when I thought I had heard it all - something new comes along. The angel on the window is gone but guess what? It was replaced by an image of Jesus on a nearby tree.
I went to report on it tonight and there were so many people, it took forever to get out of there and back to the office. I had to drive through a couple of parking lots and then take the back roads all the way to Morton Avenue and return to the office the long way back.
Talk about a fun day! (I also worked on a couple of other stories - new superintendent for Alta Vista school district and a story about a patient from a developmental center who escaped and is still missing.)
To read the image story - click here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Angels in the newsroom

Photo by Esther Avila

I had a most interesting day today - covering everything from visiting with Chinese children, followed by a police chase and shooting, an afternoon covering boat races and photographing children in the lake, and finishing the day by covering the sudden appearance of an angel in a window.
Oh yes, today was a fun news reporting day.
Can my job be any more interesting?
Did I mention that I absolutely love my work?
I do. I do. I do. I do. I do.

Angel appears on local window

Comments 2 Recommended 13
The appearance of what appears to be the image of an angel on a local business window has several Porterville residents flocking to the location in hopes of seeing the angel, with halo, that appears to be flying.
The image has been appearing after dark for several nights, said Debrah Dattoli, who captured it on video.
People have been gathering after dark at Carpet Plus Colortile, 1043 W. Olive Ave., to catch a glimpse of the angel.
To read the full story - click here.

I'm sorry - this story appears to be gone. However, I did write a couple of other stories on this topic.
See two stories below.

Angelic sighting attracting crowds to Porterville store
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008 12:00 am
Angelic sighting attracting crowds to Porterville store
(Recorder photo by Esther Avila)

Age didn't matter, and neither did religion, as more than 200 men, women and children gathered Friday evening in one accord — to see firsthand if an image of what appears to be an angel on the window of a local business was real.

"It's unexplainable," said Debra Dattoli, when she brought a video of the image to the Porterville Recorder on Thursday. "It has actually been there over a year now."

Once Dattoli reported the angelic image — which spans across two large storefront windows at Carpet Plus Colortile at 1043 W. Olive Ave. — large crowds flocked to the area.
Fathers lifted their young children and pointed to the image. Others brought their cameras and used their cell phones to call family, friends and loved ones — inviting them to come see for themselves — the angel that has been making appearances night after night. Most of the people arrived in large crowds, bringing their families and friends along. Most of the people talked excitedly but a couple of people stood silently, as if in awe, one with tears.
"It's amazing. We're Catholic — we do believe in Virgin Mary appearances but very seldom do we see an appearance of an angel. It's a blessing," said Sylvia Trevino of Porterville. "We're true believers. I have a feeling this will go national. This is huge. There's a reason why this is here."
Many in attendance expressed similar sentiments.
"It says in the Bible, Acts 2, that in the end days there will be signs and wonders," said Maria Hurtado, who said she attends a Porterville non-denominational church. "I was in a bad mood before coming but once I got here, it had a calming affect on me. This is a way of God saying ‘I'm coming.'"
Hurtado said people keep trying to figure out what is causing the image.
"Not me. I just accept it. In Proverbs 3, it says that we should not lean on our own understanding," Hurtado said. "They should just accept it and trust in God."
Brothers Adrian and Joe Soto arrived with their father and with friends. Though Adrian Soto said he was a bit skeptical, Joe Soto said he wanted to know why it suddenly appeared.
"I'm not sure what to think," Joe Soto, said. "This is something you don't see every day. I'm not sure how to react to it. I heard of it today so we all came over. It's funny how everybody's gathering to see it."
One woman, Angelina Briones, said she captured the image on video — opening and closing her eyes.
"We came last night and I caught it on film," she said as she showed several people her video. "They say in the Bible that there will be signs. This is a sign. I like it."
The stories continued, with resident after resident sharing their stories, photos and videos with those around them.
"It's beautiful. Our town needed a sign like this. It's exciting to see all the people. We needed this to keep the faith," said Aimee Navarro. "I read about it in the paper. You can't believe it till you see it so I came with my nephew, brother, cousins and friends. We don't see too many positive signs like this and we needed it after [Friday's] stabbing and shooting. People should come and see this."
Owners of the business, Ronald and Teri Johnson, said during a television interview that they believed the bright image was created by an odd reflection. But after rearranging racks and other store items, the reflection continued — night after night.
Teri Johnson said: "I think our angel is sent here from God and watches over us because we pray all the time for our business and our family."
-- Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1047 or eavila@portervillerecorder.com.

People seeing new image - Jesus on the cross

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:00 am
Recorder Photo by Esther Avila 
 An image of what appeared to look like an angel on the window of a local store is gone but a sea of people longing to catch a glimpse of the heavenly creature flocked to the site tonight hoping to see not only the angel but also something new — an image of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross on a nearby palm tree.
“I went looking for the angel and it was gone,” Robert Sanchez said today. “Then someone said Christ was there and I looked up and I saw him. Christ was on the cross, arms out, head down, his beard, his eyes — down to the last detail. You can see his ribs and his stance with his knees up and arms hanging to the side. I was thrilled. To have two sightings in the same place — it confirms that the image on the window was not fake.”
Sanchez said he saw the new image around 8:45 p.m. Monday and again at 2 a.m. today when he returned with his family.
Two Porterville police officers and the PPD traffic patrol supervisor monitored the activity tonight.
“We’re out here to make sure everyone is safe,” said traffic patrol supervisor Mark Acevedo. “Other than the traffic issues, there have been no problems.”
Crowds of people could be seen on both sides of Olive Avenue. Some people parked east of the highway and walked to the 1000 block of West Olive Avenue.
Most of the crowd could be seen taking photographs. Some claimed to see it, some didn’t. Television crews were interviewing people.
The Rev. Steve Benton, pastor from Hope Restoration Ministries in Poplar, placed a cross at the base of the palm tree.
Recorder Photo by Esther Avila
“My wife and I were here to share our faith with the people who are drawn to this image in the window,” Benton said. “I have been out here for two nights and never saw it myself but these people are looking for something to fill the vacuum in their lives. That is why I put up the cross, because it is an image that is really clear. People are looking for something. People are looking for hope.”
Porterville resident Trina Leon said her heart felt heavy when she saw the people.
“My heart just sank. People want to believe,” Leon said. “I said ‘People, this is not of God.’ It was an illusion. I call it mass hysteria. People want to have hope but that hope needs to lie in God. Instead of turning to a palm tree or a window, they need to look for God.”
The angel in the window turned out to be nothing more than reflections of light from the mini mart across the street. But people who have been gathering at the site are not convinced.
“People will see whatever they want to see. That’s imagination,” Adel Joudi, owner of Xpress Gas and Minit Mart, said. “The angel has been there since I opened the store two years ago. It was a light reflection. If I turn on the light, it is there. If the light is off, it is gone.”
Nearly 400 people arrived Monday night to see the angel, he said.
“I had to call the police,” Joudi said. “They couldn’t control the crowd. I had to shut my store down for two hours while they got all the cars out of here.”
Joudi said he was forced to turn off the lights directly under the overhang of his business to prove to the people that the angel was caused by a light reflection.
“But people wouldn’t believe it. They wouldn’t leave. They hung around the area until 1 a.m. to see if the angel would return,” Joudi said. “I just want them to go away. I want them to know that the angel will not return. I have a business. I just want people to respect my business.”
Across the street, the owners of Color Tile, Ron and Teri Johnson, also talked about the mass crowd.
“There were so many people [Monday] night. They were in the street, in the street median, in the parking lots, at the empty brick house across the street, in the empty field — they were everywhere. It was unbelievable,” Ron Johnson said. “It is wonderful and exciting and nice but I don’t think it is a miracle.”
-- Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1047 or eavila@portervillerecorder.com.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mamma mia... dot dot dot

I went to see "Mamma mia" with the girls - it was so funny and we had a great time. I'm such a hopeless romantic and I like Meryl Streep. Growing up in the 70s - of course, Abba was all over the radio, but I don't remember particularly paying attention to any one song - you automatically sing with the radio - I mean, I did. I'm always singing - constantly, especially when I wash dishes, in the shower, and always in the car. But listening to the songs, in this musical, it brought it all back. Songs I had forgotten, came back to me. I had to resist the urge to start singing along in the theater.
Interestingly enough, the theater was filled with two age groups - mostly women in the younger teen to 20s and mature women but -- when it came to couples, they were all in their 60s.
I will go and buy the soundtrack - just for fun. They are all cute songs. I like all genres of music. Here's three songs that I really liked. They all had words that meant something to me. I can only imagine what it must be like to actually have someone of your very own. ohhh...mamma mia.

Mamma Mia
Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again
My My, just how much I've missed you?
Yes, I've been broken-hearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know
My my, I should not have let you go

Our last summer
I can still recall
Our last summer
I still see it all
Walks along the (shore)
Laughing in the rain
Our last summer
Memories that remain

We made our way along the (coast)
And we sat down in the grass by the (light houses)
I was so happy we had met
It was the age of no regret
Oh, yes
Those crazy years
That was the time of (living our dreams)
... We took our chance
Like we were dancing our last dance

I do I do I do I do I do

Oh, I've been dreaming through my lonely past
Now I've just made it
I found you at last
So come on
Now let's try it
I love you
Can't deny it
'Cause it's true
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

Oh, no hard feelings between you and me
If we can't make it
We just wait and see
So come on now, let's try it
I love you, can't deny it

'Cause it's true, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
Love me or leave me
Make your choice
but believe me I love you,
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

I can't conceal it
Don't you see, can't you feel it?
Don't you too? I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

OH, mamma mia, indeed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Story posted

My story is in. :)
Please go over to Jason's "Clarity of Night" sight to read it.
I'm entry No. 45 but they are alphabetized and I am the fifth one down.....
"Letting Go"

And don't forget to comment. Better yet, enter a story of your own. You have a day left.
I always enjoy entering the contests.

See you all at the finish line!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Clarity of Night" short fiction contest

Jason Evans is running his ninth "Clarity of Night" short fiction contest. I'm so excited.
I always enjoy these and encourage all writers to enter the contest.
You can find all of the official rules here: "Running-Wind-Short-Fiction-Contest"
If you have not participated before, it's really quite simple.
Using a photograph (posted on his site) for inspiration, compose a short fiction (or poetry) piece of no more than 250 words in any genre or style. That's it. There are a few prizes just for fun, but really, all participants get so much out of it. Not only do people comment on the stories, but Jason will give you a little evaluation on your writing. (via email)

If you want to read any of my previous entries from other Jason Evans' contests, you can find them here:

"Two Lights" short fiction - I won second place - it was my debut online writing contest
Read story here: http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2006/04/entry-6.html
"Endless Hour" short fiction - I won First Runner up, Readers' Choice award
see story here: http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2007/04/entry-31.html
"It is finished" short fiction - http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2006/06/entry-9.html
"Silent Grey" - http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2007/01/entry-38.html

Skunks, racoons, and UCSB

I've been at UCSB with Catherine for a two-day Freshman Orientation -- two days of workshops to help scholars and parents transition into college life. I loved it.

I learned so much. Catherine and I were separated into separate groups. Scholars went with peers and parents with parents. They kept us so busy too. I was in "class" from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. the first night.

Thursday night they scheduled a "parent social" but I'm not into those things, so I decided to skip it and I went to the beach and sat there for a long time -- watching the moon dance on the water, listening to the waves, and dreaming.

As I walked down the little pathway back to the dorms (only a couple hundred feet from the ocean) I was startled when out of the bushes came two skunks! Yikes! Right in front of me. I had seen several on campus - (probably saw about 15 of them) - but these came right out and were about five feet from me. I froze. I did not want to get sprayed by them. They stopped and looked at me and I swear, they smiled. I said, "hi little ones" and they kept walking. They were so cute.

AND...I kid you not. Right behind them were a couple of large raccoons. Those scared me. I didn't know if raccoons attacked or not. They walked away and as I looked to the side, one more skunk appeared and the five of them frolicked in the nearby grass - you would think they were the best of friends. I tried taking a photo with my blackberry phone but it was too dark to capture the image. Oh, I bought a new blackberry! 

Anyway, I continued on my way back to my room. I was so lucky. I got a room all to myself. When I signed up, I was told I would get a female parent to room with but when I checked in, I was given a single room so I had it all to myself. Once I went back to my room, I showered, and was going to read, but my eyes were tired (I had been up since 2:30 a.m.) so I turned off the light, opened my window (Mine faced the ocean) and fell asleep to the sound of water lapping, birds chirping, crickets and frogs, and occasional other strange noises.

Catherine skipped her teen social too. She and her roommate, who was from Sherman Oaks (her dad graduated from Redwood High School! Wow. Small world) were both tired, so they went to their room to rest. We had left home at 3:30 a.m. so she was exhausted too.

The program ended Friday evening. She's quite excited. She got her new schedule too.
I'm so proud of my little girl. She's a scholar now at one of the most prestigious teaching schools in the world.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Meet my Sweetpea!

I am in love! Isn't my puppy sweet and adorable? He's my new baby. I bought him today from Kimberly Caudillo at work. I took one look at that little face and I had to have him. So precious. Sweet - sweet - sweet. 

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Escaping into a different world

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading. It's an escape for me. It's how I survived for so many years. I love to read.

With a three-day weekend on my hands, it was the perfect time to escape again. And I certainly did. I picked up a book Friday evening - this time "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and I just finished it earlier this morning. That's how I read. Once I start reading, I can't put books down....if I get into them and this one I certainly did. it truely was heartwrenching and mesmerizing - especially since I myself have a Down Syndrome little girl.

I'd much rather read than watch a movie. In fact, I'm always disappointed when I see a movie made from a book. The book is always so much better.

As to escaping..... I needed it. That's all I will say for now. Someday when I am ready, I will share more.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Red, White, Blue and spectacular - with the one I love

I've always been patriotic - ever since I can remember I wished I had been born on the Fourth of July.

I love the holiday. And year after year, I have watched the fireworks, always wishing there were someone special next to me to enjoy them with. I've always had my children, of course, but something always wasn't quite complete.

Until Friday.

I sat there, with my little Marisa, just the two of us as we often do. And suddenly, I realized, she's all I needed. My little precious first baby. She will always be with me and I love her so much.

We danced and ate pink cotton candy and drank diet Coke. I bought her glow sticks and watched her glow. My heart warmed when she got very excited with the flyover. "Did you see the jets, mom?" she asked again and again.

When the fireworks - and all of the patriotic music - started. we oohed and ahhhed together at the beautiful streams of gold and reds, blues, whites, and greens.
It was a night I will remember forever. It did not matter suddenly that my own Cinderella and Prince Charming story would never happen. Her's has. And I will be happy for that.

My other two daughters, age 16 and 18, were off celebrating with their own friends. But my Marisa - she's my faithful baby - always at my side.

I love them all, but my Marisa, I treasure her in a special way. I couldn't imagine celebrating without her.