Surrounded by Girls

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

...from all of the girls.

Hope you had a great knight.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dylan Goes Electric

January 24, 1961
Café Wha, Greenwich Village, New York City

July 25th, 1965
Freebody Park, Newport, Rhode Island

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Melanie


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day Two

California ablaze

Day two and it's still the same blue skies over our heads. It's really disconcerting. All the news is of evacuations and homes burning -- it's reminiscent of Katrina as much as (I don't feel comfortable comparing this to Katrina. The scale and gravity of the situation just isn't on par with what happened to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast... and hopefully won't approach it either) the Cedar Fire here four years ago. Over 300,000 people are out of their homes, including many of our friends and colleagues. Most everyone we know who had to move out are with family or friends and report to be okay. They are evacuating people to Qualcomm Stadium which is about five miles from our house.

Meanwhile, our biggest problems are finding something for the girls to do and for me, I've got a computer that needs a little TLC to keep from crashing. They are continuing to work on our house. We're getting a new fence and little things fixed here and there. Normal life. Emma and I even met a friend and co-worker who lives here in North Park for coffee.

If you look at the satellite image above, the two fires in the center of the image are the Witch Creek Fire (the northern one) and the Harris Ranch fire to the south. We live just to the east of Coronado Island which is the little white spit of land that you can see on the coast in between the two plumes of smoke.

Keeping this relatively short as the computer has crashed several times in attempting to post this. But we're fine.

Update: It's 5 o'clock now and the computer seems to have settled down. Over the last hour or so, it's gotten progressively smoky. I actually think that's a good sign. Look at the satellite image again. Those cloud "plumes" are really compact and heading straight out over the ocean. That means the winds were REALLY STRONG and blowing from the desert. Classic Santa Ana conditions. Joan Didion wrote a must-read essay about these "persistent malevolent winds":

Easterners commonly complain that there is no "weather" at all in Southern California, that the days and the seasons slip by relentlessly, numbingly bland. That is quite misleading. In fact the climate is characterized by infrequent but violent extremes: two periods of torrential subtropical rains which continue for weeks and wash out the hills and send subdivisions sliding toward the sea; about twenty scattered days a year of the Santa Ana, which, with its incendiary dryness, invariably means fire. At the first prediction of a Santa Ana, the Forest Service flies men and equipment from northern California into the southern forests, and the Los Angeles Fire Department cancels its ordinary non-firefighting routines. The Santa Ana caused Malibu to burn as it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and Santa Barbara in 1964. In the winter of 1966-67 eleven men were killed fighting a Santa Ana fire that spread through the San Gabriel Mountains.

Just to watch the front-page news out of Los Angeles during a Santa Ana is to get very close to what it is about the place. The longest single Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4. On the first day 25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour. In town, the wind reached Force 12, or hurricane force, on the Beaufort Scale; oil derricks were toppled and people ordered off the downtown streets to avoid injury from flying objects. On November 22 the fire in the San Gabriels was out of control.

If it's hazy here now, I'm hoping that means the winds have died down or even better, that they're starting to come from the ocean inland, rather than the reverse.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Not us

Firefighters from the Orange County A firefighter tries to knock down flames on a home completely engulfed in hopes of saving neighboring homes in the community of Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Calif., Monday, Oct 22. 2007.

Thank god, we're far enough south of the fires that we're not affected -- other than school closing and relatively poor air quality (but it's Southern California -- we wouldn't know GOOD air if it bit us in the nose!). And we're south of Mission Valley, where Qualcomm Stadium is an evacuation point. So I think we're okay.

But it is scary watching the images on tv and on the web and remembering the damage done just four years ago in the Cedar fire. A lot of our friends have been evacuated this time around. All are safe but inconvenienced as they're all packing up for one, two, or three (!) small children.

The strangest thing is that it's blue skies here. Not the ash falling down for days as it was last time. Just a slight BBQ smell in the air and as mentioned, the air quality is noticely poor -- it's thick.

Updates as warranted, but we're okay.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Melanie's Birthday Party

We had Melanie's third birthday party today at Pump it Up, a "jumpy place".. sorry, "an inflatable party zone".

We had friends


jumpy slides (which Melanie must have climbed and slid down eighteen times in the first twenty minutes!)


...everything a little princess could conjure up with her magic wand.

Thanks to all who could make it

and we're sorry to have missed everyone else.

Next Sunday is Melanie's actual birthday, and if the last six weeks of her talking about her birthday party are any indication, we'll be hearing about this until close to four years old!

More photos here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Be right back, Mom

Don't wait up. I'll just let myself back in.

Build a Bear

Our new bear, "Lexi", that we built at Lexi Applebaum's birthday party. It's just too bad that the Unc wasn't working the stuffing machine and leading the kids in songs, dances and games.

8:37pm: Oops! Just realized that this was "My Beary Best Friend" and not, as I assumed, an official, sanctioned, licensed Build-a-Bear™©® operation. Unc, you've got competition!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Who says we don't have seasons in San Diego?

See all the photos from today's fun here.

Update: new photos from the pumpkin patch have been posted, including this one...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America:
"During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we recognize the progress being made towards a cure for this disease, which robs so many women of their health and, in too many cases, their lives. This year, an estimated 203,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and almost 40,000 will die. Although we have made great medical strides in understanding breast cancer, much remains to be done to advance prevention, early detection, and effective treatment.

"Regular screenings remain the most effective way to identify breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. For women 40 and over, having mammograms every 1 to 2 years can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer...

"To prevent breast cancer, we must increase awareness of its risk factors and causes. Age and genetic factors have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. And researchers are now exploring how diet and hormonal factors are linked to possible causes. This information will help women and their doctors make informed health care choices....

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2007 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon Government officials, businesses, communities, health care professionals, educators, volunteers, and the people of the United States to continue our Nation's strong commitment to preventing, treating, and ultimately curing breast cancer."

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Surrounded By Girls is going pink. Please take a moment to consider what you can do to help fight this disease, and for all you girls we are surrounded by, how you can help keep yourself informed and healthy.

Resources & Links

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Vital Stats

from Jenna's one-year appointment,
Sept 17:

Weight: 21lbs. 13oz. (60%)

Height: 29 1/2in. (70%)

Head Circumference: 17 1/2in. (60%)