Thursday, September 29, 2005

California Wildfires Information: Fire Season / Topanga Fire Update

19723818PHOTO CREDIT: Plumes of smoke rise from brush fires burning near Chatsworth. (Damon Winter / LA Times / September 29, 2005)

Back on June 23, I posted a California Wildfires Information entry mistaking the Morongo Valley fire for the start of the fire season in Southern California. While I did mention that the giant Cedar Fire among other mammoths that broke out in SoCal and my beloved San Diego County took place three days after the birth of my second child, Jackson, on October 25, 2003, I was fearfully thinking that the fire season was coming early this year.

Now with the additions of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slamming ashore in the Gulf Coast, the idea of natural disaster is all too vivid.

It's interesting that while we were getting all that rain earlier this year, with landslides and floods throughout the southland, nobody even once mentioned that rain, in a basically arid and desert region, could prove itself so harmful later in the year. With all the new and dense vegetation (read: weeds) that sprouted up everywhere, giving us a soft blanket of green on our normally dusty, sagey hillsides and canyons, there was not even a whisper of what it would mean for the fire season -- namely, that all this new growth would eventually dry up in the summer heat and become massive stands of fuel for the flames when Autumn's Santa Ana winds would come blowing across the desert and into our beautiful, sunny Southern California.

The Topanga Fire (pictured above) is still a raging, uncontrolled mess.

Once again, here are some important fire-related websites for us Californians:

- California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDF) has a page detailing current major incidents going on in the state at CDF Major Incidents.

- National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

- USDA Forest Service's Active Fire Map; a really good place to get a visual idea for major fire incidents nationwide.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Crossroads Christian Fellowship

Just wanted to point you toward a website I created for a pastor friend of mine, Rod Robison, and the church he planted last Easter - Crossroads Christian Fellowship in Santee, CA.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Relic from our Half Dome Adventure

Photo_091405_001I was clearing out a couple very old items from the pantry today and came across this container of powdered Gatorade fruit punch. Knowing precisely how long I'd had it (too long!) without even looking at the label, I tossed it straight into the trash when a bell went off in my head.

D'oh! You can't throw that away! At least not without its due ceremony to remember its contribution and place in your life story.

So I reached into the trash can, removed the now more than 4-year-old container of Gatorade, and took this picture, all the while singing its praises and thanking it for simply "being there" in our time of agonizing triumph. After all, this was where the "4 servings of Gatorade powder" came from on our Half Dome Hike back on June 5, 2001. (You can read all about it in my previous blog entry, "Hiking Half Dome - Yosemite National Park".)

To think that we moved from our condo to our current home and took this old container along with us and never thought to trash it any earlier than today is almost comical (almost, only because if you know me, you propbably wouldn't be all that surprised). Actually, I'm sure I had thought of discarding it before, but subconciously felt too strong a connection to it to do so. So today the deed is done, but its deeds are not forgotten.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Mission: best breakfast in San Diego

48Yesterday we had one of those rare opportunities to go out together without the kids! So we took quick advantage of the situation - both boys in preschool on the same morning, Mary with a light(er) morning work schedule - and headed for our favorite breakfast spot in San Diego: The Mission in North Park.

Mary had her usual - Mission Rosemary ("Crispy rosemary potatoes, scrambled eggs, sautéed tomatoes, and grilled rosemary bread."). And I had the 2+2+2=$5 special ("2 Blackberry Pancakes + 2 Scrambled Eggs + 2 Strips of Bacon"), an unlisted menu option that's just enough for the growing boy inside!

They also have two other locations; one in Mission Beach and another in the East Village, Downtown, not too far from the ballpark.

So next time you're in town, invite us (or just me, or whatever) to join you for breakfast. Who knows, we might even pay!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Rainbow Revolution

Photo_091205_001All stand. And welcome me to the Rainbow Revolution!

All right, what the heck is he talking about? And what's with that silly photo of a flip-flop?

Goaded along by brother Jobo and sis'n'law Joanna, I have been conviced that my cheapo plastic Old Navy five-buck-a-pair sandals just don't cut it in today's more-chic/less-shabby world. So tonight I plopped down some heavy plastic and sprung for premium leather Rainbow Sandals (#301, blackforest brown) at PacSun in Parkway Plaza near my house. They come fully equipped with a lifetime guarantee (MFR: "Our Warrantee is for the Lifetime of the sole. As long as you haven't worn into the next layer of the sole from either the top or bottom") and people have been known to be wearing the same pair over 20 years! Not sure what I really think of that, but sounds better than my current not-so-stylish and not-that-comfy 6-monthers.

I've yet to actually wear them though. Kinda scared to set my feet free in these suddenly upscale environs. I'll try them on the carpet first. Then slowly ease into walking through the tiled kitchen. Then maybe, just maybe I'll take them into the garage in the next month or so. I'll update you all once I've ventured to take them beyond the perimeter of our property.