On a night that brings back such fond memories of thinking about what costume I would sport for the school parade and running from house to house to see how big the next candy bar might be, it brings me great happiness to see the Halloween tradition alive and well in Valmonte. With this year’s big night landing on a Saturday, it was sure to be a success. For this Valmonte family, it started early with the VELA Preschool Halloween Parade on Friday. Once the highly anticipated evening came around after a busy Saturday, my little tribe was set and ready to go and we joined some friends in the Hollywood Riviera for a little gathering before we met up with some neighbors for a party with a spread fit for Count Dracula. The best part of Halloween besides seeing the kids’ excitement, is seeing how decked out our Valmonte neighbors get for the crowds of parents with their little witches, ninjas, princesses, and superhero’s in tow. Via Larga Vista is a personal favorite but Via la Selva and many of the other streets raise the bar each year with more spectacular lighting effects and decor. As for treats, the full size candy bars are always awesome, but one neighbor on Via Nivel really put on a delectable show with the cotton candy machine. Words don’t really do it justice, so here are a few images from this year’s Halloween . . .
I’ve been struggling with how to digest the recent events in Connecticut. After our own little taste of violence with the police chase that ended in our neighborhood, I gave some serious thought to finally buying a firearm to protect my little slice of heaven. Needless to say I was stopped in my tracks when I learned of the tragedy of the 26 innocent lives lost as the result of a lunatic with his mother’s guns. What does this mean for us, thousands of miles, and hopefully thousands of similar experiences away from a horor such as this? As I wandered the neighborhood with my two furry canine friends tonight, it occurred to me that more negatives like this need to be turned into positives. My wife reminded me of this today when she checked off Random Act #5 as she works her way to 26 Random Acts (Google it if you haven’t already heard about it) to commemorate those lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary. While hers was a simple act, I was impressed to see her stop for a moment in her running around to think of others that she will never meet. I couldn’t help but imagine that if every time we learned of a life lost to a random act of violence, what would happen if we all countered it with a random act of kindness. My best guess is that at a minimum, we’d all be a lot happier and more grateful for what we have.
As we make our final trips to the mall for last minute gifts, as we cram into the grocery store looking for the last ingredient for our holiday dinners, and as we speed through town to get to that holiday event, take a minute to slow down, and see what random act you can do to celebrate one of those innocent lives. My guess is you’ll add a little sparkle to your holiday season and realize how good we have it here in Valmonte.
Christmastime has arrived in Valmonte. If you ventured out in between the rainstorms this weekend, you certainly saw the flurry of activity as lights were being hung from nearly every roof line, tree branch, and picket fence. Of course if you passed by my house, you may have noticed we finally managed to hang a few pictures on the walls – no lights yet. Regardless of my own decorating guilt, it’s a pleasant time to take a stroll with the dogs, your kids, or just your honey to enjoy the night’s lights. I’ll continue to gather inspiration as I walk our two canine friends, and hopefully by this weekend at least one more house will join the holiday lighting tradition.