Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bertnews Christmas letter 2012

The Bertoglio "Year of the Babies"! This has been a joyous year for us! First was the February birth of Tina and Jon's 4th child and our 6th grandchild, Asher James Stone. Pat already had plane tickets in hand when he arrived and flew out to Champaign to be Grandma. She and I then made another trip to Illinois in the summer for my turn to visit Asher and his beautiful brothers and sister. What a fun time! In May Scott graduated from U of A and almost immediately he and Sarah moved to Chandler so he could go to work for Intel in corporate finance. She is attending ASU studying Elementary Ed (another teacher in the family!). Then in hot July we welcomed Carlie and Trevor's beautiful 3rd child, Charlotte Dyan Thompson. Trevor started working as a police officer in Clifton, AZ in June. He is welcomed home every week for a couple of days (after a 2 1/2 hour drive!) by his wife and kids. Recently they were told that there is a house available for them to rent in Clifton starting in January. We will be sad to see them leave town but are very happy they will be together as a family. And finally, in December we were so happy to greet little Conrad Simon Adams, Wendy and Chad's first child. He has a newly remodeled room in their house, which house is really taking shape, in the remodeling sense that is. Wendy is on leave from her job at Costco and Chad is working AND taking classes toward a degree in aeronautic engineering. All A's so far! Rachel is living at home although we don't see her much! As always, Pat keeps busy sewing baby blankets, burp cloths, making quilts and this year, clothes for the granddaughters' American Girl dolls. And also, of course, her kindergarteners love her! She is Compassionate Service leader in Relief Society. Dave continues teaching high school Spanish and now Sunday School Gospel Doctrine. He has been making some noise about possibly-- going out as a "single" and trying to get some places to hire him to play and sing. Pat and he get together once a month or so with other empty-nester couples and have a meal and visit. Life over all is pretty quiet... except when the kids and grandkids are here, which we LOVE! As always, we feel very fortunate and blessed in so many ways and we are thankful. We wish all a wonderful and prosperous New Year. We would love to hear from you! Email us at

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Guest of Disney

This week I noticed on Facebook that my friend from high school Tony Toscano, movie critic and all around bon vivant, was coming to Scottsdale, AZ to a promotional event for Disney's new movie, "John Carter". I wrote back jokingly that he should drive down to Tucson to visit. He asked instead if I could come there, meet the cast, director and producers and go to a screening. As it happened, I was taking the day off school to drive Pat to the Gateway airport in Gilbert so I told him that I would take him up on the offer!

I drove to the beautiful Boulders resort in WAY north Scottsdale and found Tony. We chatted by the pool a while and then went to The Spotted Donkey restaurant for a bite. Then we went down to a private reception area and hobnobbed with lots of other film critics and reviewers. Local channel 9 reviewer Jim Ferguson (whose son Jim I had worked with at Santa Rita High School was there with his wife and a very tall grandson. The boy was Shea who I had in Spanish class for just one week there when I changed schools to my current site. Shea remembered me and gave me a big hug. He is now a freshman at ASU studying, what else? Television and Movie production. it was a fun coincidence to see him.

The food was of course wonderful particularly bacon-wrapped shrimp! Tony was very gracious and introduced me to everyone including Andrew Stanton, the director of the current release "John Carter" as well as Wall-E and Finding Nemo. Mr. Stanton was very pleasant as I asked him questions as to shooting locations, possibility of a sequel, etc. I also met the two producers one of whom had produced "Die Hard" and "Hunt for Red October" both Bertoglio family favorites. Disney know how to throw a party!

We were loaded into vans and were driven to a Scottsdale theater where we checked our phones and cameras (they even wanded us before we went in) gave us our complimentary medium popcorn and soft drink and sat us in the press section. The movie itself was filled with action but personally, I didn't think too much of it.

We arrived back at the Boulders at about 10:30PM and I said a hasty goodbye to Tony as I had to drive back to Tucson but I had a marvelous time! The only disappointment was that Tony thought that the cast would be at the reception and/or screening. I was mostly looking forward to meeting Willem DaFoe and Bryan Cranston mostly and my wife and daughters looked forward to my meeting Taylor Kitsch! In any case it was a very fun evening thanks to my friend. As Uncle Max Detweiller says in "The Sound of Music": "I love rich people. I love how I live when I'm with them!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas letter 2011

For the first time we are "cyberizing" our not-so-consistent annual letter. Just looking to save a few bucks in printing, postage, etc.

As of October of this year Dave quit working at Dillard's department store as a second job. We were able to reduce some expenses and are now empty-nesters so the need for the additional income is not as great. In February we went on our second Carnival cruise with our cruise buddies, Pat's twin Pam and her husband Jeff. We went to the Mexican Riviera and had a fantastic time. In the summer we flew to Champaign, IL to visit the grandkids. We went to Nauvoo (including a visit to the temple) and to Springfield to the museum, library, birthplace, home and all things Lincoln. In the fall we went with all the kids to Disneyland (see previous post). That was also a fantastic time.

Pat has 14 years as a kindergarten teacher and I about 11 teaching Spanish. We are looking down the road (still a ways off) at dare I say... retirement. Not sure when that will happen. It has great to be together nights and weekends which hasn't been possible in recent years because of my second job. We are enjoying it.

Our kids continue to be doing well in school and jobs. Scott has accepted a job with Intel in Chandler, AZ and he and Sarah will be moving there after he graduates from the U of A in May. Carlie's husband Trevor is working towards getting into PA school. Rachel is looking at studying to be a veterinarian's tech. Tina's husband Jon continues his studies at the U of I. Wendy and Chad are working and remodeling their house. We try to lure as many of them as possible over to the house for Sunday dinner! And Tina is expecting grandchild number 6 in February and we are very excited. Pat already has her plane ticket in hand to go be grandma! This Christmas finds all our kids and grandkids home for fun, food and family pictures.

We are so very blessed and are very grateful. We are strengthened by you our friends and family. Aside from the normal aches and pains that are coming with age, things are great and we look forward to the future with great anticipation. We wish all our friends and family much happiness during this wonderful season and all good things in the new year. We would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Best Family Disney Trip Ever!

Now, I know I have probably said this before but this definitely WAS the best one.

Three of my children purchases Disneyland annual passes which were going to expire sometime in November. So everyone wanted to go just one more time, so we planned a family trip. Because it was going to be our three kids, their spouses, two grandkids and Pat and me, our Wendy suggested we make matching t-shirts (I know it's quaint). She bought the white tees and the iron-on transfer computer paper. She then went to the Internet and designed a logo for us (see above). We also made shirts for my brother Doug and his wife and family who unfailingly accompany us on these Magic Kingdom junkets and make them much more fun!

The eight of us (plus 2 grandkids) drove over in three cars and stayed at the Lemon Tree Hotel. In the morning we put on our t shirts and made our way to the park. I had contacted a friend from high school who works at Disneyland and she graciously and generously agreed to "sign us in" for free "park hopper" passes. She came into the park and visited with us, met my family, and listened to our 4 year old do her renditions of "Mother Know Best" from the Disney movie "Tangled" and a song or two she learned from pre-school. I say my friend was gracious because she drove to Disneyland from her home in West Covina and she was not feeling well either! What a trooper!

The park was very crowded but with the help of "fast passes" (I'd like to shake the hand of the person who invented those!) we were able to ride all the rides we wanted. Because it is close to Halloween the place was decorated. The also altered the "Space Mountain" ride and called it "Haunted Universe". Now normally the 4 year old loves that ride but NOT this time with the projected screaming and clawing monsters. In the picture they take at the end of the ride our poor girl's face was red and frozen in a scream! She said she liked the ride "a little bit". She did report that her favorite ride was "Pooh". Her least favorite? Star Tours. I think she is not thrilled with the 3-D effects.

Saturday night found us at the Tomorrowland Terrace for an Elvis tribute show which we really enjoyed. after 15 hours of walking, we headed back to the hotel.

We got over to California Adventure our second day and rode Pat's favorite ride, "California Screamin'" three times in a row and I have to admit I got a little queasy afterward. We saw the World of Color show there and rode the new "Goofy's Flying School". It is a small, very high coaster that rides only 4 people at a time. The turns are tight and our son-in-law Chad was terrified, sure that he was doomed to fall right off at the highest point. But, ever the trooper, he went on twice with us first-timers.

We headed up to visit my dad Monday morning and he took us to lunch with his lady friend, June. We got on the freeway about 2 for the long drive home. On I-8 nearing the I-10 a coyote suddenly stepped out on the road in front of our car. I gritted my teeth and hit him (not wanting to swerve and kill us!). It startled and shook us up and Pat texted the kids about 50 miles behind us: "Dad just hit and killed a coyote." My son Scott texted back asking if the coyote had those rocket roller skates on at the time. I responded that it happened so fast that I couldn't tell but he appeared to be pouring the contents of a box of birdseed on the road at the time. We told them which milepost the accident occurred and as they passed they said they had taken a picture of the coyote and were sending it to us over the phone. Ew! I didn't want to see it but this is what they sent. We laughed all the way home. At a truck stop I borrowed Pat's makeup mirror to look under the car... everything ship shape.

We got home about 9:30 and just smiled about the fun-filled weekend and laughs we had with the people we care about the most.

Car wreck buddies

Fever seizures are hereditary and not uncommon among toddlers. My wife had them, I think her mom had them, one of two of our daughters had them and now one of our granddaughters too. The kids grow out of them but they are scary to witness (I about lost it the first time I saw one of my girls in seizure). Last Friday, Carlie said she was taking her 4-year old to the doctor because of a high fever. She seized on the examination table and the doctor sent her to the hospital in an ambulance. So Carlie called and asked if I could go to her house and stay with her 2-year old boy while she was gone. I went to her house and Pat called from her classroom and said why didn't i bring the boy to her classroom to play as she had some work to do there. I nearly said no, I would just stay with him at their house but I thought it would be fun for him so I packed him up in my 98 Nissan Frontier pickup and headed down 22nd avenue towards Pat's school. As I was stopped at an intersection, a primer-gray small Ford pickup came barreling up behind me and, BAM! Rear-ended. The boy was fine, didn't make a peep (thank you safety car seats). I did go forward and bump the Cadillac SUV ahead of me enough to crack my grill and bend up the front but only enough to scuff up his bumper. So he left, no hard feelings. My rear bumper, however is bent under.

Turns out that the guy who hits me has no insurance and no job. And I have no comprehensive and collision coverage on my car as it is paid for. Urrrgh! So now I will be working with my insurance company regarding my un and under-insured coverage to get some medical care. That weekend I was holding my boy while we stood in line for a ride at Disneyland and I said, "Hey, you and I are car wreck buddies" to which he responded, "Car wreck buddies!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Goodbye, little guy...

About ten years ago our black cocker Licorice developed a tumor. She was an old dog and we decided to put her down. And as "Dad" it fell to me to make the arrangements and carry them out. We had originally gotten her for Scott with the idea that "every boy needs a dog!" Well ,their relationship was cordial but it never really went anywhere. When Rachel came along, she bonded immediately with Licorice. So, she was understandably distressed when the end came. To address her grief and sadness we went to Pima County Animal Control and adopted Jaxx, a 2-3 year old Cairn terrier mix. He was a nice little dog but when left unattended in the house would proceed to mark (urinate on)nearly every piece of furniture and door in the house. This caused me to have little affection for him over the years. Rachel however, loved him!

He developed some back problems over the 10 years we had Jaxx and recently had an infected tooth that started swelling behind one eye. The fix for hem at the vet was to be over $600 not to mention the over $100 for the office visit and medication. So we decided to take him to the Humane Society and put him down. It was interesting that this time it was so much more difficult for me! I cried on my lunch hour knowing that 3:00 would be here soon. I drove home and took him for one last walk to get the mail. I loaded him into the cab of my little truck and petted him the whole way just repeating "I'm so sorry. Jaxx"

At the Humane Society, the young man was very kind and asked me some questions, had me sign some papers and then asked if I wanted to go back and hold him. I said that I couldn't. I took off his collar and leash and petted him one last time as the attendant placed a red leash around his neck and led him into the back room. I cried as I donated the rest of his food and got back in the truck. I'm sure I didn't pet him, play with him, or walk him enough. Taking him in was much harder than I thought it would be. So goodbye, little Jaxx. You were a good boy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not-so-empty nest after all

Our daughter Wendy and her husband of 1 1/2 years, Chad have moved into our house. In the first place, we are thrilled that they have "come home" to Tucson after a stint in Seattle (yes, we know it's hot here!). They are here while they look for a house to buy and they have been searching dilligently. They both found good full-time jobs within about a week of arriving. One good thing about their being in the house is that Wendy likes to cook (which Pat and I don't do much of these days) so we have had some pretty great meals. Also, she has pushed me into improving my backyard grilling skills. When there is meat in her recipe, she will just tell me that this needs to be cooked on the grill, etc. And that is a good thing. So we are not really sure when or if we will ever really have the house to ourselves but it's OK. It's just what you do and we are happy to do what little we can to help the kids along. Now the question is... will they take Jaxx the dog with them when they move into a house?