Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Alex and Max put themselves in charge of putting away the Christmas decorations. They dismantled the 4' artificial tree we put up in place of our dead tree. They threw away the 20 or more candy canes we had clumped on the little tree, and they rolled up the 10 yards of tinsel garland. As they packed the last of the glass ornaments, Max said "Well, I guess we are undecking the halls of folly." Too true.

So, with Christmas packed away, I suppose the new year has really begun. It is a very wet new year. As Californians do, we had become accustomed to our drought. Any amount of rain can be disorienting for Southern Californians, but the quantities that have fallen thus far have local residents very confused indeed. The hotels and shopping malls built on flood plains and across river beds are once again flooding; this is a surprise that recurs about every 6 years. It is disconcerting how many people cross flood barriers to make short their commute. Why can't they see the risk is not worth the taking?

The mudslides, however, can be less predictable. We are somewhat less enamored of the sandstone bluffs behind and above our home. Silt is accumulating at the base of the bluff, and a steady stream of sandy, buff colored mud has been flowing from the neighbor's driveway and down the long street we share. We invested in sand bags for the front of the garage, and spent yesterday morning unpacking boxes and moving belongings from the west and south sides of the garage where there was considerable flooding. Flood site number two is in the downstairs room where we have toys, books and photo albums. The carpet is saturated and smelly in the corner. I discovered a gutter that gave way and separated from the downspout, which allowed water to accumulate and seep in to the house; Geoff repaired this.

The sun is shining this morning, and the clear sky was novel enough to make the boys remark, "Isn't it strange? Look at the sky. It's blue."

William has gone back to the drawing board. He had been focusing his artistic talent on Photoshop and 3D Studio, but recently he was inspired to return to paper and pencil. He and Alex enjoyed the programming classes they took during winter break. I want to to post some of the Flash work they finished too. Talented, beautiful, bright children, everywhere I look.

Mudslide update: The neighbors above us did lose bluff, about 8 cubic yards of it! It has taken about 5 men, and a Bobcat 3 days to clear the mess. This neighbor has lived here for 27 years and they say this is the worst erosion they've seen. They have a retaining wall, which is an advantage we do not enjoy. So, we are looking for a home not too close to the ocean, away from bluffs and steep hillsides, above sea level and away from 100 year flood plains...

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