Trick or Treat

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

trick or treat.
smell my feet.
give me something good to eat.
if you don't,
i don't care.
i'll pull down your underwear.

So we started the festivities with a little party at Karen and PJ's. Ed was in Colorado sitting in the stands of the Red Sox vs. Rockies World Series game. In his place, Ed's uncle, Wadeed, stepped in. Many pictures were taken at the party, but we'll have to wait until those get passed around.

Here we are posing like prom night.

This house gets the award for "best dressed" house:

I didn't decorate the house or yard, but I did make three pumpkins. I had so much fun at Christine's pumpkin carving contest that I now have the fever. I can't take all the credit on these; I used stencils!!! I think I'll decorate the yard really big next year.

The pumpkins made some really good pumpkin seeds. I found the secret to making crispy seeds. Put them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 1 hour to dry out before seasoning in a skillet, stirring occasionally. It makes a world of difference. I made two different recipes that I adapted by taste. The spicy wasn't spicy enough. Here are the recipes that I tried.

Sweet and Spicy
5 tbsp of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste (I added much more)
1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

In a medium bowl, combine 3 tbsp of the sugar (you may try with a little less), salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne.

Heat the peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the baked pumpkin seeds and 2 tbsp sugar. Cook until sugar melts and the pumpkin seeds begin to carmelize (about 45-60 seconds). Transfer to bowl with spices and stir well. Let cool and enjoy.

Spicy and Savory
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 dashes of hot pepper sauce (I used Mezzetta Californa Habanero Hot Sauce Merah turned me on to)
1/4 cup peanut oil

Heat peanut oil in a nonstick skillet on high heat. Add baked pumpkin seeds and ingredients. Cook for about 45-60 seconds. Let cool and enjoy.

Isabella dressed up as a giraffe and helped me pass out candy to the 10 little kids that came through the neighborhood. This year I decided to go big and buy big candy bars. I overbought by about 50. Darn it. I thought it might inspire more kids to come by next year.

During the trial run she wasn't too happy.

But it turns out she was just cranky for her bottle.

Hilarious SNL Music Video

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not trying to make a political statement, but saw this a few weekends ago and had to search for it. It is absolutely hysterical and catchy. Watch it now before it gets removed off of YouTube.

It's getting hot in here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No really, it has been in the 80's all week long. The fires have been devastating and almost unreal. Every local news show has been covering it from morning to night. It's like watching a movie; it didn't sink in until I got to work on Monday.

The Oakley building is at the edge of the fire zone. Not a very active person, I didn't even know where Modjeska Canyon was until I saw a map of it all over the news. It is literally up the street from work. I always thought it was a far away (mystical, even) Glamis, lol...really mystical.

We don't have windows in our department so I stayed out of touch with reality most of the day. We received emails by the hour providing status updates. By the end of the day it read, " Fires are one mile away. No new evacuation news. It's business as usual tomorrow." As Ed and I were leaving the building, it was smoky and hazy. You could see the fires blazing up the hill. We eagerly checked our work email for more news. As we leave the immediate area we can see blue skies. What was strange was driving into the dark gray covered sky that hovered over San Clemente. I could hardly sleep. I was glued to the TV as many of you were.

Tuesday morning. I check my emails and notice there were 5 updates since I last checked. The 6:00am email said the streets were closed off, but to flash our badge and we'd get passed the barricade because it was "business as usual". About a mile away and you can smell the smoke invade the car. It smelled like a camp fire--somewhat familiar and not yet repugnant. The scent in the building was not pleasant. The day goes on and people were antsy. Emails were delivered every hour on the hour. By noon, the fire had moved its way towards the building. Apparently, it's still not a threat. At around 2pm it moved across the street. Still not a direct threat. Hmmpf...I don't think people are buying it.

My team left for a while. Had no idea where the all went. Only when one returns to say she was not interested in climbing a steep ladder to check out the view from our fire-proof roof...however, not very fire proof when you are standing on top of it. People came back saying how you can hear the fire roaring --crackle, crackle-- and feel the wind it created with force, very much alive. I'm kind of sorry that I didn't check it out. By 3pm we finally got the email for a voluntary evacuation. We were the only building working in the area past 10am. The streets were closed off because the fire was threatening to jump across it. Behind the building I can see the hoards of news vans and camera crew capturing the fire dance. I didn't think of taking pictures until I was in my car. We have quite a few aspiring photographers in the building that took some amazing pictures. I can't take credit for most of it.

Here is a picture of our building in relation to the fire area.

Tuesday, October 22, 2007

From the roof of our building. You can see how close it really did come.

Give credit where credit is do. These were taken by Jerry Kasai. Amazing photos.

Into the evening...

We had an amazing sunset at T Street in San Clemente.
I had to pull over to capture it. You can see the smoke roll in.

Before I snuggled into bed, we were alerted of another fire closer to home. Five miles south of San Clemente, a fire broke at the border check in Camp Pendleton. Before snuggling into bed, the fire had hopped over the 5 freeway to the west side moving in the direction of San Onofre nuclear power plant, which is about 3 miles south of us. I capture a few pictures of the area from my balcony.

Wednesday, October 23, 2007

This is what beautiful San Clemente looked like this morning.

The I5 freeway was closed two exits south of us. It was eerie to see it so empty. But it started to fill up quickly. You can see the smog filled sky and the little patch of "clean" air.

At the end of today, you can see the ash falling.

The latest stats (as of 10:05pm, 10/23/07):
  • 22,000 acres burned
  • Approximately 3,000 homes have been threatened and 43,000 residents have evacuated
  • 30% containment
  • Suspect arson
  • 8 homes damaged and 14 destroyed

These sites are great for updates:
  • OCFA (Orange County Fire Authority)
  • Cal Fire
  • CalFireHelp pairs residents in need of shelter with those that are willing to give it

Proof is in the pudding

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This is the proof that Christine asked for in yesterday's post. Interestingly enough, I captured this video yesterday as it was happening, but I didn't think it was good enough. But it'll do for now until I can capture it on my camera.

Yesterday, when Isabella was chatting it up in the car, I tried to record her. Whenever I try using my cell phone it becomes a distraction and she stops what she's doing to check out the phone. So in this video, you'll notice that I'm trying to slowly bring up the phone. In the very beginning she says "dog" and then the "wuh-wuh-wuh". Yes, I did coach her on it at first until I knew she understood what I was asking for. I'll try to get that on video later.

The second video was taken last month (9/20/07). You can hear her saying "Alex" and "wuh-wuh-wuh". But at the time, she didn't associate the "wuh-wuh-wuh" to a least not that I know of.

Words, words, and more words

Monday, October 08, 2007

On the way home she starting saying a bunch of words - some old and some new.

  • "Ee-dah" is for Vida, her daycare provider.
  • She also says "dogguh".
  • And when you ask her what a dog says, she'll say "wuh-wuh-wuh-wuh".
  • Then you can ask her what a cat says and she'll say "mmooowh". Check out the video from September 17.
  • She can also say "duck" and "ball". And we swear we hear her say "what's that" or "what's this", but I doubt it.
  • And of course, she can say "dada", "mama", "bye-bye", "hi", and "hello".