Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Twice the Christmas? Twice as Nice!

Brain cancer is... open to new traditions!

You know our holiday is Christmas.  This is the Christmas for MORE!  Twice as much! We started down a dangerous path when we chose two designs for our holiday card, for the first time ever:

As we sat enjoying our recent annual Christmas date, Darrell announced that it was so much fun that he wanted two Christmas dates.  Sure, Darrell, let's do.  You pick.

But in the meantime, all these negotiations led to Andi's favorite:  Two Christmas trees!  Hurrah!  In Andi's childhood there were Christmas forests (thanks to potted trees).  And thanks to Gordon and Beverly for telling Darrell, during Andi's and Darrell's first married Christmas:  "If your wife wants a live tree, give her a tree!"

Today it all came together.  Drum roll...
Two trees!

Inside tree:

Sculptural tree. Slim profile.  High contrast.
...And outside tree!

Fat.  Outside.
Twice the Christmas:  Twice as nice!

Here are some of the pictures that show the build up to two trees:

Son and Father, in the shade.
Hello?  The 1960s called.  They want their pink tree back.  "No can do," responded Sue and Andi.

It's really not 85 degrees.  Ask Summer and her magical camera.

 Twice the Christmas? Twice as nice!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Clean Air

Brain cancer is...

 ...enjoying Sue's company.

Darrell was a great host today as Sue and Leo shook off smoky fire stuff.

He and the kids made a nice dinner after Sue and Andi enjoyed a spa day to wash away Sue's soot.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Fire Escape

Brain cancer is...

...always looking for a reason for fun.

Today Sue Yoast (Summer's mom) and Leo the cat made the decision to leave their beach city in Santa Barbara County, where the Thomas Fire continues to rage.*

Although their evacuation was "voluntary," the horrible air quality and falling ash made it the best possible decision.  Fortunately for us, Sue's and Leo's travels brought them south to us.

Also fortunately:

Santa was in town to welcome Sue!  Ho Ho Happy Cleaner Air!

 Our best to you and yours, wherever you are today.

* Here are some of today's Thomas Fire statistics (from Wikipedia and CalFire).

  • More than 94,000 people evacuated 
  • 231,700 acres burned
  • 20% contained
  • 794 structures destroyed
  • Nearly 6,400 firefighters
  • Nearly 900 fire engines
  • 27 helicopters
  • The largest fire of this season, the fifth largest in CA history, and the largest CA fire in December
  • At one point, the Thomas Fire was so strong that it generated its own weather, which indicates that it changed its status to "firestorm."

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Habits of Mind

Brain cancer is...

 ...still fixing stuff.

The win goes to Zachary and Darrell on this fix. They had to study numerous YouTube videos and remove many parts to replace the headlight in Summer's car. (Summer approves, above.)

I was very impressed by their perseverance. Persistence in problem solving is high on my list for "desired habits of mind in one's grown child." 

The fires rage on.  Today I tried Nat Geo to understand the Thomas Fire--in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties--which is putting several of our loved ones at risk.  A BBC News article says that the Thomas Fire "has the potential to be one of the worst in California's history."  Is there any amount of Google searching that will make this devastation make sense? Or better yet, end it?

Our continued vigilance and appreciation to all the people fighting these fires.  We hope you and your loved ones are safe.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Date 2017

Brain cancer is...

 ...enjoying young traditions.

Four years ago, when our kids kept growing up, going different places, and moving out, we deduced that we needed to build some new holiday traditions.  Enter:  The Christmas Date.

Each Christmas season we dress up and go to a fancy dinner, just the two of us.  Tonight was Christmas Date 2017.  We returned to the site of our first Christmas Date, The Cat and the Custard Cup. The food?  Worth every penny.  The company?  Irreplaceable.

2016 Christmas Date Throwback: Kauai in a convertible.

Young traditions?  Keep 'em coming!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Twenty Two Months

Brain cancer is... old!

Today is 22 months since Darrell's diagnosis. Go, Darrell, Go!

How fortunate to spend this day with family. After breakfast with Gordon, we put up his tree together.

LuAnn congratulated Zach and Summer with hugs and happy talk.

We shared lots of laughs over lunch.

Darrell has many plans for the next few months...and beyond. Go, Darrell, go!

Fires Update

News is no better today.  People are either in danger or love different locations...who are in danger.  We learned that 2017 is the worst California fire season (year?) on record.  I appreciated this Forbes article that explains the Santa Ana wind phenomenon.  Continued vigilance.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Still Vigilant

Brain cancer is...

 ...still vigilant about the fires.

With record low humidity and high winds, California is not making much progress battling the existing and new fires that are consuming the south land. Above find a "fire alert" flag we saw at the park for the first time today.  We did not know there was a flag for this purpose.

Let's all put our minds together to stop the winds.  

The US flag (above) is at half staff for Pearl Harbor Day.  We paused to commemorate its significance.

Today had three happy spots.

First, Mousse met his first grapefruit.  His antics lasted a full three or four minutes.  Here's a video of 11 seconds somewhere in the middle of his escapades.

Thus we present empirical evidence in support of the common notion that grapefruit has an effect on mammals.

Second, today we all had Mediterranean food for dinner together during Thursday night football.  Zach's classes are over (just a final left), and Summer finished not only her semester but her Master's program (with a few loose ends).   It was perfect.  I wanted to burn the semester's weekly schedule that hangs on the fridge.  Darrell said, "no burning."

The third happy spot was that I spent the day at Computer Station 1.  I am now, for the first time in months, caught up with grading for all courses.  The credential courses are over, and my graduate class (Research Methods) is graded...up until tomorrow when literature reviews are due.  And next week when final exams are due.  But today?  Sweet!  

Also sweet is that I had the chance to connect with several grad students individually today who reflected about their new views of the world or of themselves given their hard work this semester.  This is why teachers teach: to witness these transformations.

Okay, let's get our minds back on the fires.  Focus.