Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

For those who have never heard the wedding story, it's really a story of a failed elopement. We were going to run off to Vegas and not tell anyone, but the secret was killing me so I had to spill. I told a handful of my BFFs and next thing you know, we had flowers, matching outfits, and a wedding party. So even though it wasn't a "real" elopement, it still had the shock effect we were going for. First of all, we wanted to get married on 7-7-07. Well, duh - aren't we original? Apparently everyone else had the same idea years ago and booked ahead. Instead we decided that since we'd met the year before at the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, we should get married on the same day a year later, 7-21-07. So we did and it was definitely a very California-ish affair - t-shirts/shorts/flipflops and overlooking the harbor. Afterward the city of SB was kind enough to host their annual wine festival in our honor, so we celebrated at a reception with thousands of our closest friends. And now, here we are one year later, happy as can be. Hard to believe with my short attention span, but it's true. True love, that is. Awww...(Insert gag-ilicious mushiness here.)
Wedding Day, 2007
Anniversary Day, 2008
A little older, a little fatter, but still living it up!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chi O, Chi O, It's Off to Convention We Go...

Those of you who spent time in the Greek system during college may remember different lyrics, but I really can't remember.... :)

I went to St. Louis with BFF Carrie-ITC and Mom o' Carrie to attend the Chi Omega National Convention. I was in heaven, of course, because it was like being dropped into a Rush party. The minute I walked off the plane I noticed the airport was filled with khaki, color coordinated cute shoes, pearls, and Coach bags, and I knew I was among my people. All I needed was an add-a-bead necklace and a Pappagallo purse and it would've been 1980 all over again.

My mother likes to claim that I majored in Sorority in college. She's not entirely wrong. I like to think I had a double major - Sorority and Fraternity. My dad used to tell me that some of his best times were had in the fraternity house. I didn't want to break it to him that some of my best times were had in his fraternity house also. (His original Kappa Sig house was still at UF when I was there.) Ya know, when I think about it, this really is the only "degree" I'm currently using since I'm a Chi Omega Advisor at UCLA, but not using my real English degree at all. Go figure. I guess parents really do know best!

So anyway, Convention weekend was filled with lots of remember-when's, back-when-we-were-in-college's, and I-can't-believe-you-do-it-this-way-now's. Since there was a combination of 1200 alums plus actives, we regaled the young'uns with "back in the day" stories, most of which would be considered hazing today. In this PC world of ours, everything is considered hazing now. For example, pledges wearing different colored t-shirts than sisters. I know, I know - ri.dic.u.lous. Of course all of this hazing drama is because a few ruined it for all, as always. Even the terms have changed. Rush=Recruitment, Rushees=Potential New Members (or PNMs), Pledges=New Members, Pledge Trainer=New Member Educator. But I digress...

Most of our weekend consisted of dressing up according to the day's specific dress code, briefly attending a meeting or two, sipping margaritas by our pool at the Chase all afternoon, and re-dressing for happy hour/dinner/evening events. Just like college!

Below is a picture from the weekend and then a picture from "back in the day" - almost 30 years ago. (Why yes, I did go to college when I was 5 - thank you for asking!) Notice the excellent '80s fashions in the last picture. (Click to enlarge - it's totally worth it.)

Me, Mom o' Carrie, Carrie-ITC, 2008
Me, Carrie-ITC, Chi Omegas on Bid-Day 1981

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

...and the Northern and Southern fronts supposedly. The West is still a problem, but not as much because evacuation orders have been downgraded to warnings. And we finally went one full day without a power outage. So, 10,000 acres and $10 million later, the Gap Fire is more than 50% contained. That's a good thing. That means I no longer walk outside and see this:
I do, however, walk outside and see layers of ash and dust everywhere. When you walk along the sidewalk, a puff of dirt surrounds you with each footstep. Kinda like Pigpen of Peanuts fame. The air quality is only slightly better than Beijing. Therefore, I've adopted this new fire fashion:
It's really catching on - all the cool kids are doing it! And, yes, that is a picture of Peter Sarsgaard on the mask, which is only funny if you're familiar with the SNL Sars Guards masks. Click here to get familiar. And then go ahead and roll your eyes at me.
Despite my ability to turn an emergency into something as inane as a fashion statement, I really am quite grateful that I can upack my evacuation suitcase today. Hopefully it's going back in the closet for good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Nope, not the legendary '70's band, but my latest source of climate angst. Once again, California's earth is on fire, helped along by the winds. However, this time it's a little close to home. As in "evacuation standby" close. As in "we have our valuables packed" close. So here's the deal:

Tuesday: The Gap Fire (it has a name, so that makes it official) started up in the mountains around 6pm and was blowing toward Goleta (my 'hood). So I immediately turned on the TV to listen to 20 different reporters all reporting the same "it's coming your way" news. Very similar to Hurricane Watch news in Florida. They evacuated a couple of nearby neighborhoods, but not us. Everyone kept referring to the Painted Cave Fire of 1990 (otherwise known as "The Day Santa Barbara Burned to the Ground") when the fire started up on the mountain and 20 minutes later had made it all the way down the mountain, across the highway, and to the ocean. Just a little bit scary.

Wednesday: All was well during the day, except for the air quality advisory, but then the power went off around 7pm. I walked outside and it was pitch black from smoke and showering ash flakes. The "sundowners" (the winds at sundown) were causing the fire to spread and it knocked out our major power line that comes from the Hoover Dam. The fire had "jumped the canyon" (more fire jargon I've been learning) which meant it was bigger and closer. Getting more scary.

Thursday: The power came back on in the middle of the night and we turned on the TV to learn that 650 acres had burned, but there were no new evacuations. Whew! By 9am 2,400 acres had burned! In only 8ish hours! County officials have declared a local state of emergency and The Govenator has asked Dubya to declare a federal emergency in the state. So that's the latest and I guess I'll just have to wait and see which way the wind blows tonight...literally.

Although some of this is reminiscent of the hurricane days in Florida (over-anxious reporters, no power, valuables packed, freeways jammed with evacuees), there's one significant difference: you can't "ride out" a fire like you can a hurricane. With a hurricane you wake up the next day and your roof might be gone and some trees are down, but if you try to "ride out" a fire, you're toast...literally.