Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter in California

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is right around the
corner! We spent a nice relaxing weekend rving at San Elijo State Beach, in Cardiff, with clear, sunny days and crisp nights!! We enjoyed campfires, great food, family and friends: including Nicole, David and Gianna from Colorado; David's parents from Chicago, Illinois; Alex and Angelina from Costa Mesa; my sister, Kathy, Josh my nephew, and my mom from Simi Valley; and friends, Rena and Jesse Frey.
In the top left picture, papa is holding Gianna, who is constantly in motion these days. To the right is a sh
ot of Nicole, Gianna and David in the tide pools.

The next picture is daddy, David with Gianna sporting her new U-Haul beanie getting ready for the cold outside! David returned to Colorado on the Monday after Thanksgiving while Nicole and Gianna stayed in California for two more weeks.

The picture to the left is great-grandma holding
sleeping Gianna.

It was great having Nicoe and Gigi (now 7 months) stay with us after Thanksgiving. Playing with Gianna is the best!! She was trying so hard to crawl while she was here. She was scooting and doing the wiggle worm crawl all over the family room floor. She discovered our dogs and was really fascinated by Sydney.
Luckily, Sydney was very good with her and allowed
Gigi to grab her nose, mouth and eyes.

Winter is here and Southern California has finally gotten some long overdue, and much needed, rain in the past few weeks. I'd forgotten how much I love the rain, since we so rarely get any. We're expecting some more rain this week. The nights have gotten much colder since before Thanksgiving. We even woke up to frost on the lawns this morning. The colder temps at night are sort of preparing us for our visit to Colorado to spend Christmas with Nicole, David, Gianna and family, although it's been in the 20's there, and snowing, so maybe not! We are looking forward to and praying for a White Christmas!

Christmas is such a joyous time, bringing families and friends together to celebrate the birth of our Lord. May you and yours have a joyous celebration remembering the true Meaning of Christmas!

PS Update of the Firestorm 2007: Things have started to calm down since the Firestorm. Nick's had a lot to do. His community has really poured out their support for the fire department. 61 homes were lost in the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District and 23 homes were damaged.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Firestorm 2007

As you know, since Sunday night (10/21/07), San Diego has been burning, in fact much of Southern California has been burning in the worst Firestorms California has ever seen. It's also the worst wildfire Nick has seen or fought in his 30 year career with the fire service. The first two photos are in Del Dios, part of Nick's district.

The Witch Fire named after the starting point of the fire, Witch Creek, between Julian and Ramona, burned its way southwest due to the fierce Santa Ana winds and low, almost non-existent, humidity.
It has burned more than 198,000 acres, and it, along with 9 other fires in San Diego county, caused the evacuation of almost 500,000 people. It burned heavily in Nick's district of Rancho Santa Fe, burning 6 homes in their 4S Ranch area of Rancho Bernardo,(this photos is of 4S Ranch) around Lake Hodges, and the area of Del Dios, where they lost 23 homes. Fortunately, the Santa Ana winds died down and switched to westerly winds, so the fire didn't destroy any more property in Rancho Santa Fe.

While the fire no longer burns in the RSF area, there is still the possibility of hot spots flaring up which firefighters have to attend to> RSF firefighters continue to assist fighting the fires in other nearby areas.

Amazingly, amidst this immense tragedy, while many San Diegans have rallied together volunteering their time, making donations of necessities, taking in their neighbors, to help the evacuees, there has still been some controversy. Rather than supporting the tireless, selfless efforts of the thousands of firefighters and law enforcement personnel, some evacuated residents of Ramona were screaming mad wanting to get back into their community before officials had thought it safe. Officials have a lot of criteria that is considered before repopulation of an evacuated area is done. It is astonishing to read some of their selfish, irate comments on a San Diego news blog page, many of which are ignorant at best.

Some of those same angry residents were screaming they would never evacuate again. Evacuation has more to do with the safety and well being of everyone, residents AND firefighters who are putting their lives on the line to save the lives and property of those in a fire affected area!! The firefighters have a most difficult job to do; they never give a single thought to the danger they might be in as they fight fire. People asked to evacuate need to cooperate and allow them to do their job. They also need to let the officials who know all the facts to make the educated decision as to whether it is safe for anyone to return to their community safely. There is a system in place for the safety of the all. Too often well-meaning residents often get in the way of the firefighters doing their job!!

Firefighters dedicate their lives to serving the greater good of mankind and they fought this fire from the beginning with little rest for days. They don't do it for political gain, or personal glory. They do it to help others! They have to make quick decisions in the worst of circumstances. Often their hands are tied if a fire is moving too fast, particularly when driven by fierce Santa Ana winds of sometimes 50-100 mph, or if it is too late to save a structure. They then must decide what to try to save.

All family members of every firefighter know all to well about the dedication and sacrifices each and every firefighter makes every day of a career in the fire service. While it can't compare to the mental and physical exhaustion of a firefighter, those of us at home experience a mental anguish and exhaustion of our own. Reports of controversy in the middle of a tragedy such as this are both maddening and frustrating for all connected to the fire family. The fire service and law enforcement have done a phenomenal job on this, the worst Firestorm San Diego has experienced, and they deserve everyone's thanks and praise!! It is heart warming to know they do receive it from the majority of San Diego!

As of today, Oct. 26, 2007, officials have said the Witch Fire is 45% contained. Although fires were burning around us, our home and area were not threatened, here in San Marcos. We have had a lot of smoke and ash, of course, nothing more.

Check these links for lots of unbelievable photos:
from FoxNews in SD--

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vacation and Goodbyes

WOW! It's almost the middle of October! Much has happened since July.
Here's a recap:

In August we went to Bass Lake and Pismo Beach for our summer vacation. We met our camping buddies, the Nances there and had a great 10 days just hanging out. We took a day trip and drove through Yosemite National Park--truly awesome, and breathtaking views, despite the fact that Bridalveil Falls was a mere spray off the top!

Nances' Daughter, Emily and husband, Dave joined us for a long weekend,as did Nicole,David and Gianna!! Gianna (3 months old) is a natural camper-slept well in the tent and seemed to enjoy the whole outdoor experience!

She had her first boat ride (didn't like having the life vest put on, but fell asleep the minute the boat went fast), and she went for her first swim in a lake.

After Bass Lake we headed to Pismo Beach for a few days. Nicole and Gianna traveled with us. One night we had dinner with my college roomie, Dianne and her husband, John. Reminiscing is always fun.

September 8, we said a very difficult goodbye to Nicole, David and Gianna as they drove to their new home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. David's company moved there and so they went. We are happy for them and yet sad for us. We are missing them very much every day.

We do get to chat online with a webcam so we can see them! But I can't touch cute little Gianna!

Thanksgiving can't get here soon enough. They are all coming out here to camp over the long weekend. YEAH!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Joe's 50th Surprise Cruise!

The weekend of July 19-23, in honor of Nick's younger brother, Joe, turning the BIG 5-0!, we surprised him by joining his family for a 4 day cruise to Cabo! Nick's older brother Tom and his wife, Veneta drove to our house on Thursday morning, and then the four of us drove to San Diego, where we boarded the Carnival Elation Cruise ship and walked up to an unsuspecting Joe while he and family were eating!! Joe's jaw dropped a mile as he was shocked and surprised to see the four of us standing there.

Laurel had planned the whole event last Spring. Joe never had a clue. He didn't even figure it out, when one day about a week before we were to set sail, his oldest daughter, Breanna let it slip that her "Aunt Veneta was so excited about the trip she'd been packed for almost 2 weeks!"

This was the first vacation the three brothers have taken together and we all had a blast! From left to right, sitting, Laurel, Joe, Breanna, Marissa, me (Karen), Nick; standing Tom and Veneta. Weather was great, food and drinks abounded, and lots of fun was had by all! The only thing missing, or rather people missing, were the boys' older sister Sibbie and her hubby Tony, and of course our kids (Nicole, David, Alex, Thomas and Amalia). Maybe next time the whole Pavone clan will be able to go. Everyone is talking about a next time, especially Veneta who really enjoyed herself!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"AB DIVING" with the Nance Family

For Father's Day weekend, (June 14-17, 2007) Nick and I flew to Sacramento, where our good friends, Emily and Dave picked us up and we all drove to Fort Bragg, about 3 1/2 hours northwest of Sacramento. We spent the weekend camping and "Ab Diving!" with our best camping buddies, Lynn and Rick Nance and family. For those of you who aren't sure what "Ab Diving" is, it's free diving for abalones at the lowest tide, among the coral reefs almost before dawn, in almost freezing ocean waters--about 55 degrees or so.

The Nance family has been "Ab Diving" for over 25 years and have always invited us to join them. But the fact that is so far north (between Mendocino and north of Fort Bragg), it just wasn't feasible till now.

Everyone dove except me--wasn't sure I could do it (but Lynn assures me if she can I can!). I did go watch the second day--almost froze my buns off as I sat on the shore watching from quite a distance. Maybe next time we do, as Nick enjoyed it so much we will most likely go again next year!

Nick rented his gear-everyone else had their gear, which includes, booties, gloves, wetsuit, 7mm thick!! a head hood (or whatever it is called), weightbelts, an inner tube floatie that holds the abs once you find them, a knife to pry the abalones off the coral reefs/rocks, and a measuring device, which measures the abalone--they have to be 7" and "Click" the device in order to keep them. They got up at 5 am! and were diving by 6:30 am!! Almost everyone got their limits, of 3 each.

What a fabulous weekend it was! Hanging with good friend, camping, relaxing, talking and more talking! We were sad to leave on Sunday afternoon and fly home. We had a delicious Abalone dinner on Friday nite., the highlight! There's nothing, absolutely nothing, like fresh abalone!! Yum yum--it melted in your mouth.
THANK YOU NANCE FAMILY! We love you guys!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We are grandparents!

Nick and I are now the proud grandparents of the cutest little girl, Gianna Brianne Bennett, born to Nicole and David Bennett on May 7, 2007 at 1:34 am! I was so very blessed to have been there for her birth. What an amazing event, a true miracle, I will always remember and cherish in my heart!
She is too precious for words, and although she was very tiny when born, only 6 lbs 6oz, she is growing like a weed. She is over 8 lbs, maybe even over 9 lbs by now, not sure of her true weight as she doesn't get weighed again until after her auntie Rena's wedding June 30th!

Gianna has given us more joy than we ever imagined! It is so fun just to hold her!!!

We camped at Huntington Beach over Memorial Weekend, about 3 miles from where Nicole, David, Gianna and Uncle Alex live, and saw our big kids and baby Gianna--it was great! Here we took a walk along the boardwalk. Ruby's Diner on the HB Pier is in the background!

More photos at Nicole's flickr account: