Sunday, July 22, 2012

PUSH America, Journey of Hope - June 5th, 2012

This event happened a while ago, but better late than never...
When most people think of fraternities, they think "Animal House" and a bunch of young guys getting into shenanigans.  Most people don't think of the great charitable works that a lot of these guys do.  Being at ARC of Amador for several years, every year we all look forward to the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity returning for a stop in to say "hi" on their cross country cycling trip that raises money for PUSH America, Journey of Hope.  The North Team guys stopped in on June 5th and we treated them to a lunch and a bunch of smiles.  And, of course, I made them pose for a BUNCH of pictures. 

Three cycling teams of 35 Pi Kappa Phi members start out at three different locations on the west coast; Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. All three teams ride across country and meet in Washington, D.C. They raise over half a million dollars annually for funds and awareness people with disabilities. They're a GREAT bunch of guys, and I hope you get a chance to check them out and of course, enjoy my photos.

I'm always ready to pose for a picture

Me with a new friend

My friend, Chris

 Thanks again, guys!  We'll see you again next year!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Volcano Cannonball Run Car Show - June 30, 2012

Well, another year has come and gone for the Cannonball Run Car Show in Volcano. I had a great time visiting and scmoozing with friends. I sold a lot of raffle tickets and got a sunburn on my little, bald head. This year, we raffled off a really cool BBQ grill that looked like a hot rod engine. Lots of people wanted to win that one. Hope you enjoy my pictures!
The winner of "Pat's Pick" award.  This award is better than winning "Best of Show" :)
1934 Ford Sedan.   I like sedans...they protect my bald head, unlike those convertibles

This year's t-shirt artwork

The 4th of July Parade that rolls two times through the town during the show

My Mountain Man friend Jack (right) who was in the parade

My friends, Joyce and Mario, after winning the hot rod BBQ

Me and my new friend, Levi

Friday, March 9, 2012


March is an important month for me and those with Down syndrome.  I'll first get to why it's important to me.  March is the month for Saint Patrick's Day - which has my name in it, so it's totally MY day!  Plus I'm Catholic and the saints are completely cool - especially Saint Patrick.  So, if you're reading this, please wish me a Happy Saint Patrick's Day (even though I'm Portuguese/Ukrainian :)  ).

But, March is important to those of us with Down syndrome because the 7th is dedicated to ending the "r" word.  To me, my family, and my friends it is a completely hurtful word.  It infers that those of us with daily challenges are less than human.  It infers that we are different, and therefore less.  I am none of those things.  Even if it's being said as a joke to someone who is considered "normal" it carries the same hurt.  It is a sad and stupid word used only by sad and uneducated people.  So, join the pledge to stop using it by clicking on the link to the right.  To be clear, I am special.  I am loved.  I am a photographer.  I'm a dog owner.  I have even gone to college.  The "r" word should change to be "respect".  Word.

The other important day in March is the 21st.  Get it?  March 21st is 3/21 - or trisomy 21!  ( ).  As the signs say, "I rock my 21st chromosome".  And I do!  I make the most of my 21st chromosome.  I think my parents are still surprised at the places I go and how many people say "Hey Patrick"!  I am popular.  It must be my good looks.

Anyhow, that's why March is important.  Show your support.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Every year Arc of Amador has a wonderful luncheon during the holidays.  Our family and friends are invited to come and join us to enjoy lunch and delicious desserts.  To cap off the event we have our annual musical performance.  Last year was the "Twelve Days of Christmas".  It was hilarious. 
This year, I had the chance to participate (there are a lot of us so we can't all put on our performance hats).  We performed one of my favorite Christmas songs "Mele Kalikimaka".  I love all things Hawaiian.  My friend Chris and I had the lead roles of playing the rattlers.  Chris' favorite thing is Elvis and he added some Elvis flare to the performance.  See the bottom of this post for the super awesome video.  We had a LOT of fun and we had everyone rolling with laughter.

And I also had to share a couple of photos of my super style.    I was very festive today.

 Without the hat...
or with the hat?

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I Was Doing 22 Years Ago Today

I know exactly what I was doing on this day 22 years ago.  I had made up my mind that I was going to pack my bags and go to my grandparent's house in Pennsylvania.
Surely I had some reason for doing this, you say to yourself.  Well, of course I did!  We lived in the San Francisco Bay Area when I was growing up and on October 17th nature decided to do what it does best in California.  The ground started to shake, rattle, and roll.  It was the beginning of the Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 magnitude, yikes!)  I was in our living room watching TV when it all started.  I should also note that my Dad's hunting successes adorned the living room wall.  When the shaking started it didn't take long for those antlers to come flying off - miraculously I did not get impaled!  Needless to say, I didn't want to have anything to do with California and it's crummy earthquakes anymore!  Pennsylvania would do the trick! 

Well, Mom and Dad really wanted me to stay and live with them, so I decided to make them happy.  So, that's what I was doing 22 years ago today.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cannonball Run Car Show and Independence Day Parade - July 2011

Being the hot rod fans our family is, my parents and their friends started an annual car show about 19 years ago.  The Cannonball Run Car Show is always around the 4th of July and it's a blast.  It's even been recognized as one of the best small town car shows in a national hot rod magazine.  This was a stellar year seeing old friends and making new ones, having the Fresno Pandraggers back and having new cars to look couldn't have been more fun.
The car show also coincides with the town's Independence Day Parade.  Our town is so small that the parade actually makes two trips around the town to make it last a bit longer.  This year was so exciting because I was the Grand Marshal of the parade!  Dad drove me and our friend Toby in the hot rod.  I really had such a great time!
Me as Grand Marshal of the town parade

My friends Arnett and John

The Winner of "Pat's Pick" Award

Riding the cooler-mobile
My friend Mario

John S's '32 5-window

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Push America 2011

Push America is an awesome organization.  Out of Push came the Journey of Hope which is an annual fundraising event which men from universities all over the country cycle across the nation to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.  These guys are all members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.  During the summer they travel either from San Francisco or Seattle where both teams end up in Washington D.C.  They cover 32 states and over 12,000 miles raising up to $500,000 a year.


Lunch time!

And each year the team comes and stops off at Arc of Amador and Calaveras where they are greeted with my friendly face and the faces of my friends and colleagues.  We treat these guys to a great lunch and they treat us with their friendliness and teach us about their bikes and their ride.  This year they came through on June 14th.  We all look forward to their visit next year!
Me showing off my sweet ride to the guys
What a great bunch of guys!  Check out their website at Push America - Journey of Hope and here is their fraternity link at Pi Kappa Phi.  Both worth a look.