Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Christmas Travelin'

Where we been:

We drove to Capitola, met Bill and Alison at the Taqueria, and stayed at Baranby's totally awesome vacation rental, with Mom and Ron.

Soon to be, aunt Alison with Max and Alex, and uncle Bill. Love this.

It was so relaxing and lovely there. Right in town, but quiet and secluded.

It's such a treat to have us all together.

We were generously cooked for, served, and fed by Bill and Alison, at Taqueria Baja.

I was *helping.* Or not. Depends on how you like your waffles.

Okay, so I did figure it out, eventually!

William, Alex, Grandma Boo Boo, Grampa Ronny and I met Bill and Alison's family for their traditional Chinese Christmas Eve dinner in San Jose. We missed Rick's premiere, singing at mass, but being with everyone for dinner was fun.

We enjoyed ven more relaxation visiting in Bill and Alison's home on Christmas day, and Hans and Gretchen were able to join us as well. William, Alex and Max were once again showered with Christmas gifts, and for added joy, pumpkin pie! Our visit was brief, but we made the most of it.

Aunt Gretchen and uncle Hans.

The guests of honor, Mr. Lasagna and the pies!

Hans just loves me and my camera.

Family pictures make me so happy. The more, the merrier!

My double-cousins, Deborah and Julie!

Then on our way home, we stopped by Becky and Dan's for a post-Christmas visit with Grandma, Julie, Debbie, Tony and Becky. I was absorbed in the notion that we were celebrating Debbie's birthday, so I was very surprised to be on the receiving end too, when everyone met for a birthday breakfast. Debbie and I both got to open many nice gifts from everyone, including Gordy and Pam, Becky and Dan, and Grandma Eunice.

Me, surprised!

I just wanna kiss them! Julie and Aunt Becky.

Cousin Rebekah. Amor.

We rounded out the day by driving around Hollywood and Burbank to see some vehicles Geoff is considering. He needs new wheels, but more research is required.

When we reached our Tree House we were somewhat frayed and missing our kitties. It's hard work having as much fun as we do. Now, for unpacking and regrouping and taking the long pause necessary for giving thanks: we have seen a lot of changes in the last year. And in spite of some sad things, there is still plenty to be grateful for. We are looking forward to a new year filled with learning and exploring, peace and good will, inspiration, love, and the company of family and friends that are like family.

Well, I guess the Chicken Blog archives tell where we've been. Keep checking in to know where we go; and share with us too, because we love to hear from you. Happy New Year!

The year and make of this vehicle was difficult to determine,
but from wipers to rear it had a message to share. Every surface
was adorned and bedecked, and bedazzled.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Naughty or nice? It's Diego The Cat on the Box, and he's napping, so please do not disturb.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

From NPR; MSNBC - 'Tis the Season to be ... Grating. What holiday ditty do you find most irritating?
Poor neglected Chicken Blog. Even the most recent entry was borrowed from Joe. Perhaps it's a sign that the boys and I have been ultra busy, preparing for Christmas, mastering reading, writing, and 'rithmetic , and successfully fending off the evil flu. We do have colds in varying stages of development, and I think this is due to the Cedar Fire's ash that gets kicked in to the air.

Let us begin with the Chicas: Yes, I do keep in touch with them, and they are well. Their new family informs me that the Hens finally went through their first major molt, and it's ironic that they waited until the first week that they were no longer my Chicas. It must have been a little shocking to be suddenly stuck with 3 balding birds that won't lay eggs. Fortunately, Donna fancies them very much, so the Chicas are well cared for and admired.

Last week I took William, Alex and Max back to the old neighborhood, and we stopped by The Wild Animal Park for some outdoor recreation. They have a fun nighttime program during Christmas break (remember when it was always called "Christmas break?") The highlights of this visit included seeing the many lights, the baby deer in the nursery, the wild deer that enter the park and free load, and the big hill of snow they make for brave children to sled down. The "big" of the hill reflects the fun the children have, more than the actual square footage of the area.

No one was particularly well prepared for what eventually becomes a very cold and wet experience. We did have hats, coats and gloves, which was better than some. We should have had snow pants and snow boots. As the snow is mostly like snow-cone ice, it's pretty rough on bare hands, but awesome for reckless down hilling speeds, and spinning action. William made two rides, and then took himself on a nature walk to see the mule deer and rhinoceros. Max and Alex made more trips down and up the hill than I can count. They loved it. Big love, with grins and sparkling eyes. Alex made a few backwards trips, which only added to his exhilaration. He was undetered by anything. Max had his own, well groomed lane, which was so fast he could barely be stopped at the bottom. They were wet in the seats, and Max stopped three times to dump chipped ice from his uninsulated rubber boots. These same boots sloshed with melted snow by the time they called it quits. At least the car was packed with warm, dry clothes and a few blankets.

We have done many of the activities you'd expect to do before Christmas, except for sending cards. The boys would remind me that we have not decorated cookies; there's time. The tree is decorated, thanks to Alex and Max. Shopping is complete, but I need to wrap. Our nativity is sitting in a place of honor where it inspires peaceful reflection and thankfulness.

The night before Holly, Rich and Nicholas flew to Hawaii, we went to their home and exchanged gifts, gave hugs, laughed aloud, and played together. Kristin was there too, which always ensures that there are plenty of opportunities for out-loud laughter. Not a thing went *awry!* (...shameless inside joke.) We had a very good time, and came home with fun, generous gifts. Now Nicholas is with his Tutu and Grampa Corm, and enjoying the warm Kona days.

Our stockings are tied
to our bedposts with care.
There's hope in our hearts
and a chill in the air.

We'll soon load our sleigh
and head Santa Cruz way.
We want to be with Family
on Christmas day.

May your days be bright.
May your nights be calm.
May Santa bring you airline tickets to
an Island with a tropical balm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

When counting the number of days until Christmas, do we include this day? How about the actual day of Christmas? Should I only count up to Christmas Eve, since that's really the high peak of the nearly Christmas climax? Do we include Saturdays in the count, because those days before Christmas are often so full of Christmasness that they don't seem like the long waiting days that are Mondays and Wednesdays.

I count from tomorrow and stop at Christmas Eve, unless today is dragging and really sucky. If the day is going badly then I count it, but it might make sense to not add an extra day; a bad day is like a setback in Christmas preparedness. Counting the days until Christmas is really about two emotions: Anticipation, and Dread. Little kids and obsessively organized people are anticipating Christmas, so they look for the short count. People who dream big, but trip up at the starting gate are looking for ways to stretch the time left before the main event; there is a distinct element of dread.

Right now, I feel that there are 14 days until Christmas. And I vow: No last minute shopping on Christmas Eve or hopeless attempts to bake 12 dozen different cookie recipes. 14 days may be too few to achieve the cover of Better Homes and Gardens in my own home, and there are definitely more things to do, than are finished. Perhaps if I stop counting the number of days until Christmas, and start making the days count, then I will feel good cheer, and joy.

14 days...I really should be a little bit freaked out about this...

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!

So, maybe we have a lot of responsibilities and there are always chores to be done, but squeezing in some fun is practically mandatory at this time of year. We made a quick visit to the outlet mall to see the tree that is 87' tall; taller than the baby tree at the White House, and the shrub at Rockefeller Center. The white pine came from Mt. Shasta.

It is bright and colorful, and smells wonderful.

This year we shared our family gingerbread home building tradition with Adam, Anne and Jacob, and Mike and Ian. They came last night and we assembled gingerbread houses together. Some people foolishly adhere to strict building codes, and use only royal frosting for construction; we figured out, years ago, that hot glue is the obvious choice> for speed and stability.

Anne, seen here, expertly using her glue gun, had excellent help from her son Adam. After the walls are up and the roof is in place, comes decorating.

Jacob played music for us as we applied hard candies, wrapped and unwrapped Kisses, peppermint sticks and chocolate rocks.

Adam, Anne and Jacob are seen here, preparing their home for snow drifts.

Mike and his son, Ian, made good use of the candy bricks for chimneys and a dragon lantern (Adam is seen peeking between the father and son team.) Each house is unique and representative of our extraordinary designs, themes and creativity.

Max even thoughtup a new landscaping concept:

A palm tree!

And best of all, we had a whole lot of fun in the company of good friends.

Habitat for Candy: A dazzling design by Adam, Jacob and Anne.

Nice With Spice: A contemporary dream home built by Ian and Mike.

Wintery Paradise: A frosty wonderland put together by Max, Alex, William and Geoff.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Hey, did I sound a bit stressy yesterday? No doubt I am not alone. And nothing's changed. I worked on all fronts yesterday, and today I feel as behind, and unprepared as ever. Certainly there are aspects which I cannot influence to my satisfaction, and then there are the usual chores and responsibilities that are constant too. So, when people suggest that we "don't over do" during the holidays, I always feel a little rebellious. I want to do it all; the tree and lights and nice gifts, charity and good will, caroling (or lip synching merrily,) cookies and fruit cakes, tamales, church, sledding, and poinsettias on the deck railing. I'd like to make personalized greeting cards and mail them out with a two page family letter and family portrait. And I want to have packaged gifts at the post office today. I put the pressure on, so it's no wonder I sit in a stunned slump and feel overwhelmed; not from what I am doing, but from what I imagine I would like to do, and from what I know I should do. Do do.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Officially overloaded! We must finish moving in; unpacking and organizing. Alex, Max and I are aching to decorate for Christmas, but unpacking comes first. I have been making a slide show from our trip to Tacupeto, and doing school lessons, while emptying boxes. There's always cooking, dishes and laundry, and our car needs to go in for service. This morning I initiated crafts for school, and now my domestic gains have slipped; there is a parade's worth of cut paper scattered across the office floor. I seem to recall that it's been six months since our last dental check ups. Wasn't someone supposed to schedule new appointments? Also, flu shots...is it too late? And life with Asperger's Syndrome is adding dramatically to our stress levels. We met with our favorite acupuncturist this week, in our quest for coping skills. Can Christmas really be 22 days away? I would try meditation, but I fear slipping into a deep coma.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

A Quiet Morning at Ojo de Agua

Max and Misifu on my lap.
The vaqueros preparing to bring vacas from Onapa.

Ay caramba! I still feel like I am in another time zone; distinct in space and time. I sort of started unpacking and doing laundry, then I made believe that I can't finish doing laundry without fabric softener, and I can't go for supplies because who wants to be at Target on Black Friday? So domestic progress is in limbo. I did enjoy a visit from friends though. Anne, Jacob and Adam came for post Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. We enjoyed a relaxing visit, and I got the chance to try describing our adventures in Tacupeto. Max and Anne played a game of Othello. William, Alex, Jacob and Adam immersed themselves in BIONICLE lore and then chocolate chip cake.

In Tacupeto I felt a long way away from modern living; it was liberating. We had an easy pace and made time for conversation and introspection. We got down to basics. As Geoff so observantly noted: "Tacupeto is about fire and food."

Fire and food, nurturing, warmth

and companionship. In Tacupeto, there are no souvenirs like T-shirts or postcards, but I hope I have brought home a greater appreciation for informal visits, long hikes to quiet places, watching ants, recalling times of joy, making use of ready resources...I look forward to times when friends drop by and we laugh together, share a meal, and enjoy uncalculated simplicity and genuine warmth. Well, maybe I already enjoy these pleasures, at home, and away, but I am even more grateful to recognize how much I love my life.

Fire and Food.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Kia's vaca, rounded up from Onapa and staying at Ojo de Agua.

We are back from our southern vacation. We had a great time, and I will be writing all about our adventures soon. I am still recovering from our 16 hour drive home. I can't resist posting a few highlights...
like riding everywhere in Gilberto's pick-up...

and the day we went to Kia's ranch, Onapa. We were at Onapa to see my Dad, Gilbertito, Tavo and Benito ride out in search of the cows and their calves.

Vaqueros en Onapa. Left to right: Gilbertito, Ismael, Tavo, and Benito.

We enjoyed relaxing days...

and clear, starry nights by the cook fire.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Little road trips

Little road trips...since last weekend's road trip to Pasadena was such a success, we feel daring enough to make another, longer journey. We'll be heading for Mexico this week! This promises to be the sort of adventure worthy of National Geographic Explorers. 16 hours of driving will land us in a faraway land where the cows roam freely, the homes are adobe, and chickens sleep in trees. The Big Blue Whale has been tuned and scrubbed, and I am packing extra memory for the camera. What else? We should probably bring tunes, snacks, water...patience, a dictionary, jumper cables. Geoff and I are both Scout dropouts, but we did catch on to the "be prepared" motto.

We'll be out of touch and off the map for awhile. We will return with new tales to tell, photos to share, and ready for a restful month at home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Julian Charms

Always charming, Julian in the Fall.

There is evidence of the fires, from the ravaged hills and valleys, to the relief center at Town Hall, from the conversations between shop keepers, and the signs posted everywhere: "Thank you fire fighters. We love you." And there are signs of healing too. Soft green grasses are coming up from the charred, black earth. It's a small indication of nature's cycle, but very impressive. And there were a lot of visitors in town. They were shopping and strolling, enjoying the sights. People were perceptively warmer, gentle, soft spoken; like friendly acquaintances visiting someone recovering from a bad accident.

Max and Alex left toys, clothes and money at the relief center. We had lunch at the Miner's Diner, then stopped at some of our favorite shops. We were Christmas shopping for family and friends. We found great stuff at the Wandering Sage. We skipped the pie at Mom's this time, but we did enjoy some hot apple cider.

William put his arm around my shoulders and asked to hear the stories he knows I like to share. We went to find Handsome Eddie and Eileen's home, and I held my breath until I saw it there at the end of the winding road. Still cabin-red, with manzanitas growing along the ditch and the stone steps climbing to the front porch, where Eileen used to wave us in from the cold. I stopped to listen for Asco, the black lab, and to recall the smell of the garden, the cellar, the pines. Faintly, I could hear Eddie laughing and hear his jovial and stern voice, telling us of miners and their lost treasures. He expected us to be good children and he praised us sincerely, with love. Eileen's voice is in my head and guiding my aspirations, feeding my soul to do good, be nurturing, make life welcome and celebrated. I put my hand on the railing and looked at the house, quiet and alone,

but too full of memories to ever be a lonesome place for me.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Grand Opening! Taqueria Baja Rocks Capitola!

***** Cinco Estrellas!

What: Taqueria Baja is under new ownership
Who: Bill and Alison
Where: 200 Monterey Avenue, #2 Capitola, California. The beach!

A void has been filled; with the grand opening of Taqueria Baja in Capitola, residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties can finally find authentic carne asada burritos, the best beans, and service that is muy bueno! Bill and Alison are the new owners of this charming establishment in the heart of Capitola's beach and shopping district. There are many reasons to visit Capitola, and all of the Monterey Bay, including the Aquarium, The Mystery Spot, The Buttery, and now that Bill is behind the counter and serving up tasty Mexican favorites, like tacos and burritos, you can count on not going home hungry. Bill is the guy with the friendly smile and soft heart, and Alison is his beautiful and supporting wife. Together, they are the team that make Taqueria Baja an awesome place to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Do You Hear What I Hear? Road Trip Tuned

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Over the I-5 and through the 'hood, to Aunt Bucky's house we go! We are heading north for family fun and a turkelicious dinner. This will be nice. We haven't been to Becky and Dan's in too long, and we'll be seeing Grandma and the cousins. I have very fond memories of long holiday weekends in Los Angeles.

Our poor Odyssey has been recruited as a moving van, so today I should apply some loving elbow grease, so our ride will be comfortable. Time to clean the windows and sweep the accumulated footprints from the carpet. We have removed the things we were moving west, but there are other odds and ends lurking under the seats and in the cargo area. Road trips are a much happier affair when commenced in a refreshened vehicle, with a full tank of fuel, oil checked, and fresh tunes in the glove compartment.

Last night, speaking of tunes, I broke with tradition and played Christmas music. I have completely strayed from my firm policy of starting holiday tunes with the Thanksgiving post dinner clean-up. We were having dinner with a little Beethoven in the boombox, but his strenuous, demanding and urgent tunes were making dinner as relaxing as driving through Orange County on a Friday afternoon. Switch to Christmas at The Pops; bliss and merriment, joyful jubilation. Maybe by Christmas I will have played all my Christmas music, maybe not. But I can't imagine getting tired of any of it, so deck my halls and hitch up the sleigh: The Holidays are here!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Here is a link that came from Anne. She knows I dabble in sewing/quilting, and she probably suspects that I accumulate a LOT of fabric...so true. Well, apparently there is a place for those extra fabrics and "oops, what was I thinking projects?" at UFO-rphanage for Quilters, Home Page. I can think of a few people that might appreciate this link.

Now I should reply to Anne's email, and accuse her of interfering with my ambitious plan to clean and unpack. There are two quilts that I am aching to finish; supposedly they are for Christmas. My mind is slipping from domestic duty, to needles, threads and batting. Like a Crafty Siren, a voice is calling from the corner of my mind, "Quilting, quilting! The colors, the shapes. Feel the fabric. The cat litter can wait." Anne isn't really to blame; it doesn't take much to distract me from the task at hand.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Chango in the sweet gum tree.

Holly and Nicholas came over on Sunday. They came to hang out, see the progress, check out the new office. We shared a big ol' pan of popcorn, before heading out on a neighborhood walk. Max and Nicholas happily led the way. We carried dog biscuits for the dalmation, and the two labs where the ducks and horses live. We stopped by Geoff's new work place, and Martha took a moment to share her vision. Actually, Holly and I agreed that things look pretty good there, and the commute can't be beat. Nicholas cautioned us about going down stairs. Max kept us a safe distance from the curb and the busy street. These little guys are growing fast.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Someone said, "I wouldn't write about "pee." And I guess I would, but I hope it isn't blatantly rude or very, very tacky.

I was thinking about fictitious book titles, like "Yellow River" by I.P. Freely, and "Under the Grandstands" by Seymour Butts. Now those are tacky, but I still remember being 10 years old and hearing them for the first time. I thought they were funny and sophisticated, especially "Revenge of the Tiger" by Claude Balls.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I have not had any inspiring subjects to write about. Since moving, most of my thoughts are predominated by unpacking boxes and finding the right spot for end tables, lamps, and Costco cases of maxi pads. Geoff is responsible and motivated. Does he ever tire? He has plenty of drive for getting every last box opened and its contents appropriately distributed. I have plenty of drive for going up to Julian and seeing for myself what remains; and doing a little retail therapy.

And now it is Monday morning and I dearly wish I had devoted the entire weekend to organizing. The things I thought I could find are missing, and the things I no longer want to own are seemingly everywhere. I did go through all of Max's clothes to pull out the size 5s, and I stood by Geoff, for moral support, as he pared down his T shirt collection. I have nearly finished organizing the kitchen; where can the spoons, knives and forks possibly be? Looking for the boys immunization records I came across one last box of seasonings and cookie cutters, so obviously there is a little more to be accomplished en la cocina.

About those immunization records; today is supposedly the first day of kindergarten for Max, unless I can't find his records. This may become one of those days when a freakish variety of physical manifestations of my stress appear on my body; zits, hair loss, foaming at the mouth, doubling over with nervous tension and acute adult anxiety. In spite of my devoted labeling of every box and Geoff's regimented double checking of said labels, I cannot find the one box labeled: "Contents of Tall Green Cabinet." I am fixated on the hope that the three yellow cards in plastic sleeves are waiting for me in that one box which cannot be found.

There are brief glimmers, small moments, when I can imagine myself as organized and prepared, with beds made, skirts ironed, thank you cards sent off, and children fed and instilled with knowledge. In those moments I feel assured and ready. I can produce bank statements and medical records on demand. I can name my state representatives and the heads of state, and I know that Beethoven's 9th symphony isn't Ode to Joy. This alternate universe is not tangible, but just within sight; it torments me. Physical fitness, yoga and jogging, regular haircuts, occasional manicures, a clean car and three regular meals of balanced nutrition and inspired flavors, early vehicle registration, and cats trained to use the toilet, I want it all.

Last New Year's Eve I had a quiet moment to myself and I thought about making a resolution. I knew it should be about weight loss or learning to drive manual transmission, but I chose realism. I chose to set a goal that would at once challenge me and yet be reasonably attainable. I wanted to enjoy the pleasure of keeping my resolution, and I have. Since January of 2003, whenever I feel I need, or even just want, to go to the bathroom, I do. I pee freely. It is liberating to go even as children are asking for a favor or demanding attention. It is a relief to relieve myself even if the phone starts ringing, or one last task needs accomplishing. I no longer cross my legs in martyred sacrifice, and the feeling I have, from my small devotion to me, is a tangible ode to joy.

Now to find those dang records...

Friday, November 07, 2003

Good morning, from the Tree House!

We feel perched up here in our wood paneled nest with trees all around. Around the house is the amusing California variety of flora, including; a rubber tree, an oak, a Canary palm, apple and plum trees, a sweet gum, a huge euphorbia ( a cactus like member of the poinsettia family,) and several of the peeling paper-bark trees. The fit is somewhat snug, but our RV training has us conditioned to tighter spaces. Also, we might considering further purging of STUFF!

Feeling amused by the sensation of legitimacy in society since our phone lines were installed yesterday. We have a phone number, therefore we exist. Sigh. And internet too, which means even bolder evidence of our presence. William just walked in to the office and gave a rare gasp of awe, "We have internet?!" Yes, internet and email, cable television, propane, running water, trash service, a mailbox key, and the old microwave from Geoff's office. We are seriously settling in.

Speaking of settling in, the boys are happy here. Max likes the stairs and closets and the long driveway where he can peddle his bicycle. William likes the small and cozy feel of the house. He settles himself under the stairs with books to read. Alex wants to paint the utility closet and claim a corner of it for his own. Yesterday he used our camera to record last memories of El Rancho, but he is well on his way to enjoying good times here. We can't find our knives, forks and spoons. And many of the rooms are corridors with boxes stacked and wrapping spilling out, but we are progressing at a commendable pace. The boys had friends over last night, Adam and Jacob. The big boys were creating their own computer games upstairs, and downstairs, Max and I played Pokemon Sorry! Nice evening at home.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Missing Our Rancho

Gracie, evacuated and sheltered.

Though the Paradise fire is not 100% contained, it is well enough under control that the moratorium on new fire policies has been lifted. That was a lot of words to say "escrow will close!" I am here at the Rancho, meeting repairmen and packing mops and tools, and then last of all my computer. It's really time for lights out.

Meanwhile, out west, the evacuated Chicas are living in a sectioned off area beneath the back stairs. It's not home. We let them out the first day and Luna trekked down the road to the neighbor's rose garden, twice. Joan was amused and surprised and very friendly, but we have kept a much tighter rein on the adventurous Chicas ever since. Poor Chicas are not very happy penned in and without their usual spread to cruise. This morning we let them out for a brief bit of freedom. They have many options, but are most attracted to kicking all the wood chips out of the flower bed and on to the sidewalk. In a matter of minutes they mange to create an impressive mess. Don't let my brave front fool you. I am very sad about making the responsible decision to let them stay at the Rancho. I love them. They make me happy, and messy or neat, I never tire of their antics.

I have also discovered that I will miss our market. In two years I have never waited in line to buy groceries, because they always rush to serve. Manuel in produce knows us by name, and he always slices fruit for us to sample. We know the managers and cashiers, the baggers and the bakers. They are friendly and attentive, and even through the grocery strike, our local market has maintained astoundingly awesome service. Major Market deserves a poem or some sort of recognition for doing their job well. Though it's a long drive, I may continue shopping there, rather than suffer long lines and indifferent service at the local markets.

I will miss the view from here; the beautiful hills and sunrise light, the flocks of egrets crossing every morning and afternoon. Yesterday evening a great horned owl sat on the house antenna and looked down on Geoff and me. I will miss his soft "who," and the distant and distinct call of the ostriches. I will miss our neighbors, who have been kind and generous, and the wide open sky that has shared stars and storms, sunsets and breezes. It has been quieter, and slower here, and it has been hotter and colder too. There are many things we are leaving behind.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Did someone pray for rain? Thank you. Things are far more hopeful today than they were at the beginning of the week, and we are cautiously optimistic about containment of the fires. The total damages, so far, are terrible. Julian was saved, but I am deeply grieved by the price. I don't think any of my dearest memories or sentiments about Cuyamaca, Julian and the back country, are worth a man's life. All of the firefighters gave fully and I hope we can convey our fullest gratitude.

Thank you to friends and family who have stayed in touch. We are doing fine, and looking forward to settling in to our new home. Right now I am supposedly helping Geoff clean and repair; still finishing the tedious details of moving.