Sunday, July 31, 2005


Originally, I had planned to go to church with Martha. However, with the truck loaded and waiting - and still some things to do at the house - I went ahead and went back. There were a few things left to salvage - some tools, the exercise bicycle. We took advantage of UHAUL's 30 days of free storage and put the remaining items in storage. We did what we could to get the trash from the packing and cleaning in trash bags in the back.

While I brought my camera, for the most part I found that while I could "see" poignant photos - the wedding memorablia on the mantle with its layer of gray soot, the stuffed animals with the thick black soot on the top . . . . these are not the kind of photos that I want to shoot. I prefer to show the beauty of God's world - documenting life's sorrows and heartaches is a painful task. But I did pull out the camera today. This is my last chance . . . .

Because of our travels, I had not been to Thomas' and Stephanie's house before. How sad to be taking "memory pictures" of what was left. And it WAS a cute house - and will be again. Then to try to be "creative" . . . . . considering "composition", depth of field, circular polarizer, amid the journalistic nature of these shots . . . . . . will I ever use these shots - is there value to them . . . . . do I have the heart to do it. . . . . But since photography is what I "do", I would have been sorry later if I had not taken any. . . . . . . . .

The smoke patterns in the living room display an eerie abstract feel. You can actually see the air flow during the fire by studying how the smoke was deposited. How strange to try to find the best "composition" - do I put the center of the fan at the power position (Rule of Thirds)? How do I use the natural lines here to show this strange abstract? Should it be left in color - or converted to black and white . . . . .

The spider webs have been fascinating. In their natural state, they are designed to blend in with their surroundings, virtually invisible. After the fire, they are now covered with an incredibly black soot - and are visible everywhere. The intricate patterns etched in black are suprisingly pretty.

There were a couple of stuffed animals left behind . . . . After photographing them, I stuffed them in plastic bags to add to the things going back.

Poor Pooh!

After returning the waterbed pump, it was time to head home. At first, it looked like I was going to go home in the heat of the afternoon with no air conditioning. But I found a setting that worked, for which I was grateful. A stop for gasolene and the purchase of a Slim-Fast shake and soon I was home. At least I had been faithful to my diet during this emotional week. The scale on Monday morning showed that I had lost 5 lbs this week.

This was one time that I was glad to be home and going to bed in my own bed.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


I slept well. Although the alarm went off, I turned it off and went back to sleep. When I finally woke up, I was surprised to see that it was almost 11:00. Martha seemed so pleased that I had slept so long.

After lunch, I went over and we worked on getting the UHAUL to get Stephanie's things back to Austin. We went to the UHAUL place and were told that there were no trucks available without a reservation. We would have to call the 1-800 number. So we left, began calling the national number. The process for getting a truck, you call the national number. They assign you a pick up place. Sigh . . . . . . the truck is back at the place we had left 30-45 minutes ago. Talk about running around in circles.

We get back to the house and I finish cleaning the collectibles while the kids load the truck. Stephanie has to be back in Austin tonight because her parents will need their truck tomorrow. It is getting dark when I finish the last item. Everything is packed. I'll drive the truck tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Fire - Day 6

After not sleeping well, I drifted back to sleep and slept till 9:00.

In retrospect, this day seems a blur. I stayed at Martha's and ran some errands with Martha and Heather.

I had time to relax in Martha's pool. I did some of Thomas' laundry.

Thomas had not been sleeping well at Martha's. I was so grateful that Thomas' insurance adjustor left instructions for 2 weeks worth of housing. This will give him time to get settled into a new place.

Late in the day we brought him his luggage.

Martha's lemon chicken tasted wonderful that night.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fire - Day 5

This morning we had to get to the house early. The landlord's insurance adjuster was scheduled to arrive at 8:30. We needed to be sure he could get in. We left Martha's house by 7:15 and arrived in plenty of time. The adjuster and his restoration firm came. They took their photos and measured.

Thomas and I continued what cleaning we could do. My specialty became the little collectibles. Stephanie has a lot of snow globes and Disney figurines. The ceramic ones are the easiest to clean. But I was able to discover a technique using Mr. Clean Magic Sponges and a lot of patience. The Scottish Castle globe that we had brought back from our trip seemed to resist cleaning. However, in Edinborough, many of the buildings still have a layer of black soot from the days when coal was the primary fuel. So, if there is soot remaining, it just makes it seem more authentic!

Stephanie arrived in the afternoon. After the first tears, the work of salvaging began. Kevin and Debbie had been house sitting. It was good they had been there, because the fire was found quickly. The fire had started in their room and most of their belongings were badly damaged. However, it was amazing what they were able to recover from that room. Items in suitcases seemed untouched, with minimal smoky smell. And items in a plastic tub seemed to have weathered the fire much better than I would have expected. There were music CD's that were in soft storage notebooks that appeared untouched. I have not heard whether they actually still worked. I suspected that the heat from the fire would have damaged them. But, for their sake, I hope not.

Stephanie had also brought another worker, her friend, Sarah. With so many people helping, there wasn't as much for me to do. And, by the time evening came, I was extremely tired. Thomas and Stephanie have had a challenging marriage. They are separating - the grief sets in. Things always seem worse when you are tired. I am so tired, i cry most of the way back to Martha's. I don't sleep well that night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fire Day 4

I once again started my day at Curves. A cool front had come through Tuesday evening, and the weather was cool and rainy. Thomas and I went over to the house to begin work. I think he was a little overwhelmed by all of it, but we got started at cleaning where we could salvage things. We went and picked up supplies at Lowe's and Walmart. Debra had introduced me to Dawn Dish Scrubs - they worked great at getting counters clean and soot off my hands.

While Henry had emptied the refrigerator on Monday - there were dishes that needed to be washed, plus I wanted to scrub and clean the refrigerator. Thomas washed soot off dishes and we started stacking them on the kitchen table which I had cleaned. I had bought some Mr. Clean Magic sponges - they worked very well to clean soot and grime off the collectibles. I discovered that if I cut them into one inch cubes, each sponge went further.

I was very grateful for the rainy cool weather. I felt that this was a special gift from God to us - so that we would not have to work in the heat with no air conditioning. I was also grateful that we still had running water.

We got a call from the owner's insurance people. They scheduled a 8:30 meeting on Thursday.

We worked on things that we could and left as it was getting dark.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fire Day 3

Since I had started my diet, I wanted to stay with things - so Martha and I went to her local Curves to start my day. It was one of the larger Curves - a nice spacious room and all the machines. I had bought groceries so I was able to pack some food for the day. We did eat with Hugh and Heather at La Hacienda before heading over to the house to meet the insurance adjuster. I was good - splitting a catfish entre with Martha and avoiding the rice and chips.

We met the State Farm adjuster and his restoration representative. After glancing through the house, and snapping a few pictures, he declared that the damage was certainly more than the policy value - so a check would be issued. It was a smooth and simple process. The restoration process for the appliances involved spending time in an ozone room - a concentrated version of what happens when things sit in the sunlight. They also had a fancy sponge that can clean smoke off brickwork. I contemplated buying more to try to clean Stephanie's collectibles.

Thomas came in that evening - but it was late enough that we just went over to Martha's and spent the night.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Fire - Day 2

Henry drove up earlier than I did - so we would have 2 cars. I got off about an hour later. Debra fixed me a lunch box so I could stay on my diet. While I messed up a little bit on my directions to his house, once I found the street, it was easy to see which house - the one surrounded by the yellow tape. Martha and Hugh were there. Henry had bought a generator. Hugh and his son, Gary, were out getting plywood to secure the house.

Henry had prepared me, but I found that for the most part, the house was not as bad as I had expected. The most damaged rooms were black, ugly, and pretty well disasters. In three rooms, the firemen had torn out the ceilings to make sure that there was no fire in the attic.

The rest of the house had an eerie look. It is funny how you could see the patterns of the smoke from the thickness of the soot and grime on the walls. Some areas were black as could be, others gray, some just dingy. The spider webs took on new character as the black soot made them so visible. Thomas and Stephanie's bedroom, while lightest hit, had other poignant aspects. All her collectibles from Disney figurines to cute stuffed animals were coated with black yuck!

The property manager showed up, and surveyed the scene. Her take on the lease was that Thomas would be responsible for the damage. What a sinking feeling that gave! Thomas feared that this was going to wipe him out financially. My prevailing thought was that God would help us get through this. But it was definitely going to be a one step at a time process.

We got hold of our insurance people and made appointments for Tuesday for them to do their assessment. At least they had been smart enough to buy the renter's insurance. And, it was especially nice that the first call was to an agent that we had done business with for years. Thank God for friendly voices!

The weather was hot, the house had no air conditioning. Henry bought a generator and a box fan. Hugh and Gary used it to cut the plywood, board the walls, and to drill a new hole for a new lock for the kicked in door.

Most of my day was spent either in the drive or trying to contact all the people and keep Thomas notified as to what was going on. While his boss would have let him come home early, Thomas was the one familiar with this job - and amazingly (and with God's help) he got finished what he needed to do.

The last thing on the agenda was Stephanie's cats. There were four that had been rescued from the house. The reports were that they were lethargic when removed. One had a heart condition. We checked with the animal shelter to find out where they were and could we pick them up. After conferring with my friend Bettye as to what kind of carriers we needed, we bought four carriers in two sizes. When we loaded the cats, I was looking for Angel, Stephanies' oldest and perhaps favorite cat. It was only after we had them all loaded that I realized that the first cat - the big gray one- was actually her white fluffy Angel. All the cats showed signs of soot and were no longer their original color. They all chatted to us as we put them in the jeep. Henry drove them home and delivered them to Stephanie, who was relieved to see them alive and well. They are certainly more insecure now - they stay close to her and to each other. But they are well and alive.

I headed to Martha's house. A dip in the pool and a final diet meal, and I was ready for sleep.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Fire - Day 1

This week has been spent going through what is left of one's belongings after a house fire. My son's rental house burned last weekend. The first flurry of activity was to try to determine how much damage when both he and his wife were out of town.
Thomas was in Raleigh, North Carolina on a work assignment. Stephanie was house sitting for her parents while they were on a cruise.

My sister-in-law was first of the family on the scene. But it is hard to visualize fire damage, when you haven't had experience. I called someone we had known from church almost 20 years ago. I knew he was a fireman, and I wanted to know what to expect. He was helpful. I needed to know things like - how would we know whether we would be able to go into the house? Martha was able to go into the house that night and gave us some information. It appeared that Stephanie's wedding dress had not burned, although the bag was covered in soot. We did not know where the wedding photos were, but I was pretty sure that the negatives still existed, as well as both sets of parents had copies. The reports of the damage were conflicting. One of Stephanie's work friends drove by and reported that the house was totally gutted. Fortunately Martha could tell us that while everything was covered in soot, the greatest damage was confined into two rooms and a bathroom.

While we tried to get someone to board up the house that night, it was late, the price quote seemed high. We just had to trust God that no one would loot the house before we could get there Monday.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Late Afternoon Storms

As I was getting in from Curves, we had a storm forming to the north of Hutto. I haven't really had a chance this year to sit on the porch and watch a storm come in . . . . .so I got one of the mini meals I get to eat right now - this time a low carb yogurt and went to the front porch. I could tell that the best vantage point was on the far end, so I sat on a concrete bench that came from the house where I grew up. I watched one set of clouds churn and try to spin. A small version of a wall cloud tried to form. The lighting began to get closer. I noticed my neighbor out checking the dogs and goats. I heard the goats start to call and then FLASH/BOOM!!!!!!!!!!! Out of nowhere, a big lightning bolt hit right in front of me, leaving an afterimage on my retina. The light and sound were simultaneous and, of course, I was startled. I also stepped back a few steps from my edge of the porch vantage point. That one was a little too close. Henry came out to see if I had seen it. Then I thought about Sean . . . . I had just seen him head in the direction of the barn for the goats . . . . . Oh, I hoped and prayed he was OK. A few minutes later I saw both Sean and Butch and breathed a sigh of relief that they were both OK.

The wind picked up and you could hear the rain line as it came in. We got a nice little shower that definitely cooled things off a little. Henry read his book on the porch during the rain and I enjoyed the peaceful sound of the falling rain.

In our busy, project oriented world, it is easy to stay focused on which ever task is due next. One of the paths to serenity lies in taking time to watch and appreciate nature's dramas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Evening Reflections

It is easy to get in a rut and never go outside - other than the routine errand running. I've been trying to consciously go outside, to sit by the pond on a more regular basis. Being outside and soaking in the sights and sounds of nature helps to center me and feed my spirit. Watching clouds build and the wind blow reminds me of the story of Elijah when he heard God's soft voice.

Tonight, it was cool for July. It was breezy - probably due to the little storms being generated by the hurricane in the gulf. The wind rustled the leaves and left patterns in the water as it came and went. I enjoy the wind. It is a familiar friend from my childhood in the Texas Panhandle. A few sprinkles came down, but never enough to send me scurrying back to the house.

We have a new set of inhabitants on the pond. Each time I've gone down, I've seen a pair of mallards. Tonight they were hidden in some fallen trees right by the water's edge. Right at sunset, they left their hiding spot and swam and splashed in the water. I have not seen any ducklings, but I wonder if they will nest. I would love to have babies to enjoy.

We had some herons too. Too small to be great blues -I'm suspecting night herons, but they were on the other side of the pond and hard to see. But there were at least three.

We have frogs, I can hear them regularly, but I never see them. We have frogs that I suspect are small that make loud clicking noises, and we have the big bullfrogs with their "waaaonnnng".

One of the nice things about sitting around the pond in the evening is watching the swallows getting their drinks of water. It amazes me how quickly they can fly to the water, grabbing their drink barely slowing down at all.

The clouds looked stormy for awhile, and I was hoping for a rainbow when it was lightly sprinkling. But the clouds disappated, the sky glowed golden in the west. And then the clouds to the east turned pale pink.

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Beginnings

Well, today is the day I am starting the Curves Challenge. I'm not doing it with a group, just the book and me. Debra completed this challenge recently and is trying to encourage me.

I started Curves just after she did - mainly to encourage her. I have some built in skepticism - I've done a lot of different forms of dieting and exercise over the years. I've lost a lot of weight only to have it come back . . . . with friends and family.

But I know I need to lose the weight - I'm carrying too much for my frame. While I have old injuries to several joints, the added weight wears on them also.

I am also trying to be a nature photographer. I have to be able to carry my gear and hike. Last November, I really enjoyed hiking several miles over to the dunes at Death Valley. But I was always tired and achy when I got back to the car. I got there by sheer determination - not because I was in great shape. So many places require walking with gear to get the best photos. And some of it is up steep hills. It would be nice to go straight up without having to stop and pant and wait for the breathing rate and heart rate to go down.

So . . . . . I'm going to try to follow the diet the next 6 weeks. The first two are the strictest. We'll see. Even with doubts, I'm hoping for success.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Creative Slumps

My latest trip to California was not designed to be a photo trip. My daughter finished college this summer. She is moving back to Texas. She wanted to do some last fun things in California. And, of course, there was packing. So, while I did some photography - it was on the back burner. I wasn't getting up at dawn to shoot (and dawn at Malibu this time of year is overcast). I hit the butterfly exhibit in Los Angeles at the heat of the day. While I got a few good shots, I had a lot that were not what I was hoping for. We made a few trips to the beach. At Point Dume I tried to use a fast shutterspeed to catch the power of the waves. Didn't really get anything that I thought was wonderful. I went to El Pescador and went back to trying to get silky waves. I had some success, but the feedback from the internet sites wasn't great (but I haven't published all of them.)

Debra was living in the upstairs of a beautiful house with a fantastic yard. I tried some still life shots inside -one designed for DPChallenge. My best shot of some copper pots had a blemish that needed cloning -against the rules for that challenge - so it didn't place well (of course it was top 20%, but . . . . . placing 100th out of 501 just isn't thrilling.) My outdoor still lifes of old watering pots, garden paths just didn't seem bright enough, colorful enough, etc.

Now I knew that I wasn't focusing on photography, but it was still frustrating to take series of shots where nothing seemed to be working. And I also know from experience that sometimes my shots need to "age". When you have just taken a sequence of shots, you remember what the setting looked like and you remember what you saw in the viewfinder. And when the photo does not capture the beauty you saw -whether from exposure, focus, etc - it is disappointing. Later, the memory of what you saw has dimmed and you can view the photo on its own merits.

The last couple of days of the trip, things picked up. We made it to El Matador beach. Lighting was great. I got some shots of the waves through an ocean cave. My daughter let me take some shots of her in a new dress - and she started having fun posing. (And she does not let me take her photo often.)

The last few days, I took some additional shots around the house and yard, and some of them look like they worked.

But since I did not do a lot of processing as I went along . . . . . it will take a while to find the gems (assuming there are some.)

I find that I get some instant gratification when I can take a sequence of shots and then find one or two to post to the online contests and get some "winners." There is some let down when none feel quite good enough. Let's hope that when I get started seriously working the shots, that like cream, some good ones will rise to the surface.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Home Again

Getting home after a long trip is a mixed blessing. I tend to come home tired, and there are usually a set of tasks that will need attention. Piles of mail await, but I chose not to deal with that today.

We got in late last night, and I had business to attend to immediately. When I got back in the early afternoon, the tired feeling hit. I did manage to do a little bit on those pesky income taxes. WIll finish one set of them probably tomorrow. But my mind was pretty cloudy today. I resisted the urge for a nap.

When I got to my home Curves, I was rewarded with lost inches and pounds - which was a good way to start my day.

I think I'm going to veg in front of the TV tonight and hope to wake up with a clearer head tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Today was "Load the trailer - get ready to leave day." Even with helpers from the local day worker pool, getting everything unloaded from living quarters and packed into a trailer is tiring. Our helpers were wonderful - they were polite, eager to do whatever we wanted. The trailer is full to the gills, but the car still has some room.

We loaded stuff until around 5:00. Then headed over for a last meal at Malibu Seafood. An after dinner walk at Michael Landon Park sounded good - and it definitely helped work out some sore muscles.

Tomorrow morning will be spent - one last visit to the Malibu Curves, load the few remaining items, clean, and hit the road.

Friday, July 08, 2005


We have visited London in the last few years. It is a beautiful city, filled with life. The terrorist activities there today remind us that our world is no longer predictable. While it is very true that each of us is only given one day at a time to live, we go through our days as though we are going to live forever. We are proud of our ability to plan for the future, store up retirement savings, and find new adventures in living. But death is always a part of life. Whether from disease, accidents, natural disasters, or human malevolence, we have a limited lifespan. God is the master of my fate - not a terrorist! In Ps 139, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Human history tells us that there have been many dark periods in history. I grew up in the Cold War - with food and supplies stockpiled in the buildings in downtown Amarillo. The yellow triangles marked where to go for shelter in case of a nuclear attack. Looking back, diving under the school desk would not have protected us from a nuclear blast, but we practiced it in drills anyway. London has had dark days before - the German blitzkrieg during World War II was a horrible time of death and destruction. Much of historic London was lost to the bombs. The strife over Northern Ireland and the terrorist activity took its toll. But I rejoice that so many of these historical conflicts did subside and peace returned. I truly believe that this struggle with these seemingly religious fanatics will have an end. Anger and hatred are tiring emotions constantly requiring feeding. As a destructive summer storm comes in with a roar, there is always an end to the turbulence. Summer storms may come in quickly and leave quickly. Other times they linger and have several waves of thunder, rain, wind, and occasionally hail. But after the storm, the air has been washed clean, the sun shines brighter, and sometimes, a rainbow fills the sky.

I am really a simple person. I do not understand the need to kill people that I don't know. I certainly do not understand what drives someone to kill themselves in this process. People who have hope for the future do not do such things - only people in great despair.

Somehow, a solution must be found for the disparity between the super rich and the very poor. We must also learn to appreciate the differences in the cultures around the world. In the long run, only God can bring peace back into our world. So tonight my prayer:

Lord, please provide comfort and sympathy to those who are grieving in London. Bring healing to the injured and strength for the families as they nurse their loved ones back to health. Give the people in London the courage to go about their normal activities in spite of this tragedy. Touch the hearts of the men who are sowing these seeds of hatred. Touch the hearts of the young men who are following the teachings of hatred. Bring peace and prosperity to the troubled parts of our world.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Evening Walks

When Debra took her first PE class at Pepperdine, she told me about a park across the street from Pepperdine, right above the ocean. Its name, Michael Landon Park, conjures memories of a man I watched on TV much of my life. An actor who stood for much of what is good in this world. Debra is moving back to Texas within the week - so we are doing our last things here. I had always wanted to see this area - so tonight after dinner we decided to take a sunset walk.

There is much that I like about the end of the day. For one thing, it gets cool. For another the clouds and the sky go through a sequence of lovely colors as the rays from the sun slowly recede into the west, and twilight invades from the east. We started our walk after the sun was behind a mountain, but before its last rays had left the mountains. From the PCH, Michael Landon Park looks pretty civilized - baseball fields, soccer fields, a community center. But after you park the car and head off onto one of the narrow footpaths - you have entered a wild area. The footpath is well beaten, but just wide enough for your legs and feet. In many places the plants brush against your legs as you go through the brush. Little birds scurry away in the underbrush. As we headed out to our right was Pepperdine University and the Santa Monica mountains. In front was this grassy moor area. And on our left the calm Pacific with a cloud bank in the distance and the varied colors of the evening sky. At one point on the walk I looked back - the view of Pepperdine was beautiful. The highway was hidden. The wild area contrasted with the green manicured lawn with its scattered trees in a beautiful mosaic. The evening lights of Pepperdine showcased the beauty of its buildings.

At one part of the walk, there was a path that was severely erroded by this last winter's storms. It leads down to a road filled with houses that sit directly on the beach. We could see and hear the breakers come in and crash in front of the houses. Debra said some people still take this, but I told her this was the kind of trail I would much rather go up than down. Very rocky and rough where a new gully had been carved where once there was a smooth path. So we went on and followed the cliff line, stopping to look over to the lingering glow in the west, to search the water for life, and to see the approaching darker blues in the east.

As we walked the trail, there were evidences of wildlife - the calls and trills of unseen birds, an occasional rabbit, and coyote scat. When the trail turned uphill again, I was pleased that my three months of working out at Curves have had an impact on my stamina. Although the hill was not steep, it was uphill and I managed to make it up at a reasonable speed with a minimum of stops. That in and of itself was a small victory.

When we got past the wild area and back into the soccer and baseball fields, there were rabbits everywhere you looked. The babies were so precious, innocent, and more trusting than the adults. But, even so, when you got too close, they scampered away. As the twilight deepened, you could see them in the manicured lawns, under the trees, and right along the brush line that forms the border into the "wild lands." Under the tree, one rabbit was definitely trying to appear like a rock - he was very still with his ears pinned back against his body - so rockshaped, you had to look twice to be sure it was a rabbit - but his eyes were obviously watching our every move. Another was more on alert, ears up listening intently, with a posture ready to run.

There are a couple of areas to sit and look over the water - one with telescopes and a whale tale shaped seating area, one with picnic tables. We stopped at each one briefly to soak in the beauty and tranquility of the scene.

I like the end of the day outside. There is a quiet calm before night comes. And this evening walk combined natural beauty, wildlife, and a renewed joy of a better fitness level.

I will sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fourth of July

While waiting for the fireworks to start here on the beach at Malibu, I could not help but remember other sets of fourth of July fireworks. When the kids were small, we took them to the fireworks on Town Lake in Austin. The music of the 1812 Overture always signalled that the fireworks were about to begin. Sitting on the shores of the lake seeing the fireworks refected in the lake was a wonderful way to celebrate. During the years when our kids were in school, vacations were summer events. We tended to travel over the fourth of July because it gave us an extra vacation day. We've seen fireworks from a campground in Montana, from a hotel parking lot in Dillon, Colorado, and from the highway in Phoenix. We've been in France twice on Bastille Day. The first visit we ended up at a hotel overlooking the Valley of the Volcanoes. From our restaurant's picture window, we could see dozens of villages celebrating with firework displays. The most impressive firework display I've ever seen was Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower. People filled the Champ de Mars beginning with picnics on the grass. As it got time for the fireworks, it was standing room only - and you had to stand to see because everyone was standing. They told the history of France choreographed with music and a lighting display.

This year Debra and I went to a private beach in Malibu. Before the big show from the barge, I enjoyed watching the families shoot off their fireworks. The kids would get closer and closer to where the Roman candles and rockets were being lit. It brought back the memory of our first year at our Hutto house. We now lived in the country so we were going to do our own fireworks. Thomas begged to get to hold one of the Roman candles. It backfired into his face. Our celebration turned into a trip to the emergency room. We could see Round Rock's fireworks in the distance as we drove in. The emergency room treated the worst of it. The plastic surgeon finished the job. Now you would never know it happened.

But it was fun to watch the waves coming in, the families enjoying themselves. One group of kids had dug themselves a fortress complete with mote, big enough to sit in and covered with beach umbrellas - looked like a great temporary club house. The big fireworks were set off from a barge in the ocean. This year Malibu had three barges in separate locations. I'm not sure who sponsored them this year, but in year's past you would recognize the names from the Hollywood stars who live here. The clouds have been moving in early the last few days, and the taller displays were hidden behind the low lying clouds, coloring them red and green. But we could see a lot and they were beautiful. We could even see parts of the display from one of the other barges in the distance.

Fourth of July - picnics, parades, concerts, fireworks. A fitting way each year to be greatful for the freedom we have.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Love the Weather Here!

Here in southern California along the coast, the weather at the fourth of July is amazingly cool. We wake up in the mornings to a cool breeze coming in the windows and clouds and fog in the sky. Yesterday it was in the 60's most of the day. Today, we started with clouds. The sun came out in the early afternoon, for those beach lovers to have a wonderful afternoon. Then the low clouds started rolling in around sunset. The talk at Curves today was whether it would be clear enough to see the fireworks.

Henry tells me that at home in Texas the temperatures have been over 100 degrees every day this week. I have to say I am enjoying the cool weather here. As warm natured as I am, the nights are cool enough that it feels good to sleep with Debra's heated mattress pad. I even try to turn it on ahead of time - so it is cozy when I crawl under the covers.

We've been apartment looking for Debra. A lot of the places we looked don't have air conditioning. If this is typical weather, I can see why you would not need it.

No wonder all the garden plants look so beautiful here - they are not having to fight the heat.

Well, I'll enjoy this while I can. I'll be back in Texas in a week or so. Then this weather will seem like a dream.