Tuesday, October 30

Open House at the Fire House

How crazy is it that just a week before the fires started, we went to this great event at the local firehouse. The girls LOVED it, and now they know who it was working so hard to protect our community during those scary days during the fire storm.

They got to ride in the fire trucks and even sit in the front seat with Daddy.

There is nothing cooler than a fire truck for little ones.

"Wow! Mommy - these trucks are BIG!"

Again - we were among the lucky ones. No damage - just inconvenience and more stress than usual but no lasting impact. My kids are still smiling and safe. My heart breaks for those who aren't.


Monday, October 29

All We'll Ever Need...

Is each other...
(Photo credits: Daddy Dave, AKA: Mr. Awesome)

This was just the tonic I needed after the hell of last week. There is something so innocent and special about bathing with my babies. It refreshes me and seems to connect us all together again. Just me and the girls - playing and singing in the tub. It's great fun and a sure cure for shared, cumulative stress.

And now, it's all good again.


Sunday, October 28

A Picture & A 1,000 Words

This was the moon on Thursday Morning
as I was heading off to work at 4:30am.

The soot and ash reached all the way to the ocean and created tragically beautiful sunsets.

The reflections of light, filled with ash and soot.

I love the composition of this photo.

I'd love to take the credit - but as I was either in the EOC, with my family, or sleeping - these photos are not mine but borrowed from a variety of sources. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites because they are amazing, strangely beautiful and apart from the expected.


Click here to view more photos...

Saturday, October 27

Safe, Sound and Oh So Weary After the 2007 Wildfires

This past week has been the craziest time since the fall of 2004 when Dave and I (weary and post-partum) moved cross-country with a 6-week old, a 19-month old, and a dog.

The difference is that the craziness then was happy crazy. We were coming home. This time it was scary crazy with fires raging and consuming my hometown, and a new job that requires 10 - 12 hour shifts during emergencies. It was all so overwhelming and exhausting that by Thursday morning I simply cracked.

And, truth be told, my family and I had it pretty well given the state of our community. We evacuated early to my sister's house (beautiful, comfortable, safe and great fun for my kids and dog). Dave's work simply closed up for the week, so he was able to stay home and care for the girls while I worked some CRAZY hours. Rachel and Alex treated it like a little vacation 'sleep over' at Aunt Janie's. They had a ball in a house w/ my sister's 6 cats, her dog, Chewy and our Ollie. And we were never truly worried about our own house - though we were very worried for some of our closest friends.

In the end, though, it was a tremendous strain to be away from my kids and Dave during this crisis. Working in the EOC at such a critical time with just 4 weeks on the job was almost overwhelming. Things were moving so quickly and, in the beginning, I wasn't too clear on my role. Unfortunately, I inherited a media relations program that is virtually non-existent. Consequently, I was less effective in my role as external communications manager than is really acceptable in a situation of this magnitude. The aftermath of that has been more frustrating than you can imagine. After being apart from my life and working crazy hours w/out breaks or lunch (which was catered in so no one 'needed' to leave) I wondered "Is this worth it?"

Apart from my family and my sister's generosity, one of the real blessings in all of this has been the team I work with. If it hadn't been for the camaraderie, strength and professional excellence of my boss and co-worker (& all the people in the EOC) I think I may have quit sometime Thursday morning.

And now it's over and we're all just mopping up. At home we're spraying down the house and sweeping up the ash that has gotten into every nook and cranny of everything. The entire county now smells like an old campfire that's been doused with water. At work, we're sending out our final communications and trying to identify what went right (most of it) and identify the holes (unfortunately - a few big ones) and get back to 'normal.'

In all, more than a dozen fires have raced across more than 503,000 acres - the equivalent of 786 square miles. At least three people - and possibly as many as seven - have been killed by flames. About 1,700 homes have been destroyed, damage estimates have surpassed $1 billion, and the fires are still burning.


What's Happened to Our Home Town?

It's difficult to get a sense of all that has happened and the magnitude of the 2007 Wildfires. KPBS has posted pics of some of the devastation. To see the photos click on the link below.


FYI: If you place your curser on the left or right sides of the browser frame, arrows will appear and let you move forward or back, manually, among the photos.


Friday, October 26

Fire in The Life of A Friend...

Hi Casey,

I've been thinking about you and your family!! I've been meaning to call, but ...

I've never been so scared in all my life. Went to bed on Sunday night around 1:00am, was on google maps thinking there is no way it could come to my neighborhood by morning, but still slightly unsure...packed up a few things (not really much), and then woke up at 4:30 by the grace of God and turned on the news...said North East Rancho Bernardo is now evacuating...I freaked, looked out the window and saw flames coming down the hill at my apt and complex!!!!!!!!

I went into panic mode and started throwing stuff in my car and thought with one way in my complex and one way out with all the people...I said forget packing my car and just get the heck out of my complex.

No body was getting up!! It was crazy! People were honking their horns, knocking on people's doors, etc. it was very scary. I thought for sure that my complex was gone.

I got a hold of my mom as I was leaving and she and I met in PQ at a friends and then they evacuated so we went to Chula Vista to another friends. I was awake all that night (Monday) watching flames come over Mt. Miguel...I was a mess, couldn't eat for 3 days and just stressed.

Finally found out my place and my mom's was OK! I still can't go home, so I'm now getting frustrated because I'm exhausted...

Anyway, it will all be ok and I'm just happy to be safe and have a home to go to...

I'm glad you all are OK... Thanks for checking in!


Thursday, October 25

Home Again - SD Fire Evacuation

We're home again. Safe and sound and exhausted - but no lasting damage to property or person. It's been a crazy, crazy week.

Thanks to my sister and B-in-L, Jane & Dave, we had a wonderful place to stay and our girls and our dog Ollie had a great time and no stress. ("Sleep overs at Auntie Jane's are fun!" )

And thanks to Daddy Dave, our girls & Ollie were happy and well cared for and I was able to go to work (LOOOONNNGG shifts in the emergency opts center) without worrying about my family.


And thanks for all the calls we rec'd from people who were worried about us. It was great hearing from you and I promise I will give you a call once the dust (ash) has settled.



Monday, October 22

Evacuation Notice

Hi all -

It's a crazy day.

We've just rec'd our evac. orders caused by the Witch fire in Northern San Diego County. We can't see any flames but the smoke is fairly thick. We're off to my sister's house near the beach and I'm sure that we (and our house) will be fine. Hugs to all of you who are also in the midst of this fire threat.

Alex and Ron - Congrats to you and I hope you're all doing well. We've been thinking of you and your new baby w/ extra special thoughts.


Tuesday, October 16



Because of some questionable things that have been happening with a friend's blog, I'm thinking of making this a password protected site. I'm going to include the list of friends and relatives that check out our site from time to time and some that may want to sometime.

If, by chance, you've been following along and enjoy reading what's posted here - I'll be happy to include you in that list. Please send an email to kcjunked@hotmail.com and let me know. I'll be happy to add your name to the permissions list.

What do you think? Are permissions the best way to go or ??


Monday, October 15

Things I miss...,

Alex crawling into bed with me at 6:00 a.m for a 30-minute snuggly snooze before joining her Daddy for breakfast.

No more lazy mornings, sleeping a little bit later, enjoying my coffee while reading email and briefly checking the net (reading my favorite blogs and news sites), finally enjoying a surprisingly relaxed shower and dressing for the day–all as the girls enjoy their morning TV time.

Our random, spontaneous daytime adventures; trips to the beach or Zoo or Sea World or Grammy'a house, anywhere.

Nap time (& sometimes sharing naps with Alex. OH - the glorious afternoon nap! How I miss that!)

Days of Our Lives and the occasional Oprah

Rachel's rumpled head when she wakes up from her nap, bleary eyed and wandering down the hall to find her juice and then crawling into my arms for an afternoon snuggle.

Being the center of their world. Now that spot is shared with sooo many others. All of which are influencing my girls, teaching them – all beyond of my protective gaze.

Every little thing . . .
  • Discovering earth worms
  • Playing in the sand box
  • The spontaneous, daily teaching moments
  • Rediscovering crayons, play dough, finger painting and more through the eyes of my kids
  • Knowing every little thing about them and their lives (that I miss A LOT)



Saturday, October 13

Want the REAL story - Talk to a Teenager


Forget the media stories about how the world has gone crazy and all our children are headed for a pre-teen and adolescent life filled with indiscriminate sex, drug and alcohol addiction, mean girls and bullies the likes of which we 'old folks' can't even begin to imagine.

No. If you want the real story, I discovered today quite by accident, go talk to one of THEM. Talk to a teenager. NOT your teenager and NOT one of your teenager's friends or one of your friends’ teenagers. Talk to a teenager who has no vested interest in your opinion of him or her and you're likely to get the real scoop.

Like I did today.

"D" is a 19-year-old young man in his first year at a junior college. He graduated from our local high school and is now working at the rec. center where my girls take Saturday morning ballet. “D” and I spent about an hour talking about parents, siblings, drugs, sex, school pressure, and adolescent life in today’s world. Surprisingly, this frank and honest conversation did a lot to allay my fears about my girls’ future in this big, scary, cruel world.

Rampant, indiscriminate sex at younger and younger ages? No, according to “D.” There are a few kids who do that but the kids who are doing it in middle school are pretty much the same ones that are sleeping around in high school. "D" said there were maybe 5 - 10 'sluts' (my word) in his high school graduating class of 3000. Boyfriend/girlfriend sex isn't uncommon, but its not indiscriminate sleeping around.

Drugs are around and available. Some kids get into it and some kids get hooked. Most don't, though pretty much all the kids are drinking alcohol w/ probably one fatal accident a year at his high school.

This all sounds pretty much like the adolescent world of my youth.

The one striking difference was the prevalence of oral sex as an incredibly acceptable practice. No 'slut' label for this activity and it's 'often' used to entice a boy into a relationship. Though, according to "D," it's rarely successful.

"D" was pretty clear that the girls who were sleeping around, and the boys who were getting in trouble, were from homes that were rough or empty or 'just not what a kid should have.'

So, again, not horribly different from the world of my teen years. And not nearly as scary as the media would have you believe.


So. If you want the REAL story - talk to a teenager.


Friday, October 12

Quote for the Day...


"...[Bush] has worked to turn Washington, D.C., into an evidence-free zone where facts are subordinate to ideology."

- HC -


Wednesday, October 10

Parenting: A Huge Leap of Faith


There is no way to protect the people we love from EVERY possible danger. I can’t bubble wrap my kids and keep them indoors until...

well, forever.

On some level we all have to trust in the basic goodness of the world, and then step out and live and thrive in that world.

All we can do is our best to guide them and protect them. It's not possible to do more and it's unthinkable to do less.

We can only do our best. Somehow that realization is simultaneously comforting and terrifying.


Saturday, October 6

Three Year Old Wisdom...


"I just want to be myself when I grow up," Rachel told me today.

So simple - but wise beyond her years.


Monday, October 1

Quote for the Day

"When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself."

Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief