Friday, July 25, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Nine hours of Shakespeare in three days, and still thirsting for more. Images above were from the weekend finale, Midsummer Night's Dream, hilariously staged in the 60s and 80s. Comedy of Errors and Othello weren't bad either, but the 8:30pm start time required Starbucks fortification.

Hobart's Bluff

The view from Hobart's Bluff, high atop the Pacific Crest Trail near Ashland, Oregon. (Pregnancy disclaimer.) You should have seen the dandelions -- they were the size of dinner plates!

Doggie Style

I have the worst luck with dogs. There's the three or four who've tried to make our home their own. And failed.

Most memorable is the time Rob drove me two hours to test drive a 65 Chevy pick-up truck, and while the men did the proverbial "kicking of the tires," the pooch owner did some territory marking of his own -- on my pant leg. Rob, who saw the offense take place, gave a gruff reprimand to its owner: "Your dog just pissed on my wife!" Which is, to this day, one of my favorite quotes and, no, Rob did not buy the truck.

Now after a day of delayed flights and missed connections and quick re-routing, I found myself starving and driving through the sleepy town of Klamath Falls, Oregon. There wasn't a Mc-anything in sight - only a tractor repair shop connected to a 6-patron grill. While the hamburgers were sizzling on the grill, I checked out the latest in John Deere. The guard dog greeted me at the entrance with a cursory crotch sniff and then climbed aboard for a hello hump. Rob waltzed in just as the dog was lighting his post-coital cigarette. "What's up with the red rocket?" he asked with a nod. "I need a t-shirt," I said. "I just got humped in Klamath Falls."

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Highlights from the Herrema family reunion in Yosemite ...

(1) The view from Glacier Point.
(2) Rocks that were just MADE for climbing up to Bridalveil Falls.
(3) The talent show.
(4) We saw deer; Lucie saw giraffes.
(5) Noah's affection for Lucie's pink purse, and her evil revenge with his blankie.
(6) Winning at Uno.
(7) Brian's barbecue'd stirfry.
(8) Grayson's countless pool tournaments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Robin Hood

I'm jealous of all the unique experiences that Grayson is having this summer in camps. Long jump, hula hoops, pogo sticks, basketball, soccer, and two weeks ago it was archery. Now he'd like a bow and arrow for his birthday. I fear too much for Lucie's safety to honor that request, but still think his 'hockey smile' is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen ...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Modified Fourth of July

Since we had to be home by 4pm to avoid the road closures, Fourth of July activities this year were restricted to a morning parade and carnival in Montecito (where the air was a little bit cleaner), followed by a barbecue no-electricity-needed dinner with neighborhood friends.


While they haven't sounded the all clear yet, we are certainly feeling a lot safer these past two days. Some of the evacuation orders have been downgraded, the sky is more gray than black, and the wall of ash has turned into a light dusting. Even the electricity spends more time on than off - although tonight we are barbecuing pizza due to the outage. Lucie laughed to see Rob mowing the lawn in a face mask and goggles (I guess he wanted the house to appear inhabited to firefighters): "My daddy's nose is funny!"

Now the clean-up begins...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

And Baby Makes Five

The news couldn't have been better: well developed spine and brain, strong heartbeat, ten fingers and toes. At 18+ weeks, Wagner baby #3 is thriving; kicking up a storm with long, thin legs and wide Wagner feet. Gender remains a surprise, although Grayson thinks it must be a boy since it is bald. Lucie has picked out names: "Pink Baby" or "Purple One."

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Long, Dark Night

After meeting friends downtown for dinner, the family headed home last night for baths and bed. We were caught completely off-guard as we rounded the curve on the US-101 and saw a wall of flames so low on the ridge that it appeared to be in our own neighborhood. Not wanting to frighten the children, Rob and I just stared at each other. "This is not good," he said and stepped on the gas. The world got progressively darker as we got closer to home, even as the view in the rear view mirror remained blue and sunny. We made it off the freeway minutes ahead of the road closures, following code three engines from Pasadena, Long Beach and Glendale. The view from our driveway was Armageddon; no electricity at all, pitch black skies, smoke so thick it burned your eyes and throat, and a nearly solid wall of ashes sticking to our eyelashes and airways. Radio coverage told us that 250 houses 1/4-mile north of us were being evacuated, and their cars soon lined our street in exodus.

To ward off panic ("My scared!" whispered Lucie), the kids were given instructions to pack up the things that were most important to them. A pile of karate-clad bears, piggy banks, green army men, high heels and pretend cell phones quickly accumulated in the doorway, competing for space with photo albums, computers and insurance paperwork.

Friends called to offer lodging, but in the end we decided to wait it out until official evacuation orders were issued. Grayson was tucked in my bed (again!) in tears because we had made the evacuation sound like so much fun and he was disappointed not to participate. Sometime past midnight our own hearts stopped racing and the car keys were tucked inside shoes for a quick getaway.

The helicopters woke us with a start at 5am as they surveyed the damage; 3,000 acres and growing. But we were all safe, no firefighters had been injured, the sky was a more friendly blue, and we had an ash covered home to call our own for another day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Goleta Gap Fire

Most residents of Santa Barbara would say they live here as a "lifestyle choice." The options for outdoor activities are limitless and accessible all year long: hiking trails, bike paths, lawn bowling clubs, polo fields, sailing, Frisbee golf and, of course, the beach. Rare is the weekend that some community-wide event isn't being celebrated: Fiesta, Summer Solstice, Dog Parade, Whale Festival, sand castle contests, Parade of Lights, art shows, museum exhibits, Night Moves ....

There is a price to pay for all of this peace, though. Earthquakes and floods (we were evacuated shortly after buying our home) have done their part to add to the excitement, and now the 2,000 acre Gap Fire burning in Goleta is keeping us on alert.

Evacuation warnings aren't in place for our neighborhood, but we spent 6-hours without electricity last night (which also means there was an anxious 6-year-old wriggling in my bed all night long) and the athletic club was closed due to the thick layer of ash on the pool and orange chemical retardant in the air. You can see from the flames visible in the pictures above (taken from our driveway and street corner) the reason we've given some thought to pre-packing the car for a quick getaway.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wagner Cousins

It is a rare occasion when the entire Wagner clan assembles, with more great-grandchildren being added to the photo opp at each gathering. I'm certainly doing my part to perpetuate the lineage!