Monday, May 11, 2009


Some images of Africa, pictures of pictures(most),i'm
too lazy to scan, but I hope these will do
until I get back at the end of May!
Can you see the picture of me calling you to say hi?!

See you soon,
I know I said it before, but now i'm really going...


Love, lori

Sunday, May 10, 2009

happy mother's day ♥

Mother: a female parent
Mother: a quality or condition that gives rise to another.
To every Mother and Mama~to~be, to every woman who nurtures and loves and cares for all the baby's and children and creatures big and small,
Happy Mother's Day!
Thank you for making the world such a beautiful place
to my Mom,
Oh how I love you.
K,K,E,J & H and little T&S
I am because of you
lucky lucky me.
Have a wonderful day all!
love, Lori
update: the fire is now 40 percent contained! the weather has cooperated with fog,drizzle and no wind!! thank you weather and
Thank you everyone, I know the power of your thoughts and wishes (and Lola's coordinated rain dance,hee hee)
helped this happen. I just know it. Bless you.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

being prepared

This morning the first bit of good news has scrolled across our television screens, but even before the news went on we could already hear and feel the change in the air. A blessed marine layer has covered us finally and the winds have died down allowing the above DC-10 to aid in the fight. Almost 9,000 acres have burned now more than 30,500 people, about a third of Santa Barbara's population have evacuated from their homes. Today's headlines said 'everybody's affected now'.

yes. If anything good can be said about this devastating fire, or any natural disaster, it is that it has the potential to bring people together. The feeling here is that no one is a stranger, everyone is our neighbor, our friend. I hug people I don't know, offer our house, our help. Last night the nearby college was ordered to evacuate, my daughter posted on facebook to contact her, we could take a few more. I want to volunteer at the Red Cross, but we've decided to leave on our trip as planned. We have struggled with this as any parent or homeowner could imagine. But the support we've gotten from family, friends and dear neighbors helped us to decide. I spent most of this morning sitting at the breakfast table of our two close neighbors. They have been so sweet and reassuring (even though this morning we all received a paper in our mailboxes reminding us to gather what we will need in the event we have to evacuate) telling us to go and they would keep both sets of eyes on my kids. I should say they are 18 and 23, and have good heads. Sorry I am jumping all around, it is such an emotional time. I cry unexpectedly. Yesterday my daughter stepped on a bee and I cried, I hear the helicopters, i cry, oh and when i overheard my son having a conversation with one of his friends a "hotshot" who's fighting the fire, i really cried. I pictured him when he was a little boy, now he's fighting deadly fires.

I am really hating these last few posts, my hearts hurts all the time, all the sadness and fear. But i have two bits to share that really made me smile through the tears! First, my lovely in laws have a home to return to! Here is an amazing story that my F.I.L. told to us on the phone (their still safely away 2 hours north). The gated community they live in is mostly all retired citizens. It seems they all got out safely except for 2. These elderly gentlemen stayed (reason unknown) saw the fire coming and hid! Until morning. When they stepped out they saw that the landscape had burned around them, black. But the condominiums stood untouched. They are made of stucco and mortar, probably bricks too. I think some windows blew out from the heat. But home and memories inside still intact. Breathing now....

and then this!

This 3-day-old mule deer fawn and a baby bobcat displaced by the fire are being held in the Santa Barbara County dispatch center, as flames continue to rage through their natural habitat. This photo was in the local paper yesterday! Hello little ones! Ah, I hope they'll be ok.
Thank you everyone from the bottom of our hearts for all your good wishes,prayers and thoughts. We are not out of the woods yet so if I can be so bold to ask, please continue to send them out to all the firefighters, people and animals that need it. Bless your hearts.
love, lori

Friday, May 8, 2009

a state of emergency- Friday update

Suddenly we don't feel very good about leaving. Another devastating wildfire has come to Santa Barbara, this is the third major wildfire in nine months. Yesterday was exhausting, the heat overwhelming, our temps were in the high 90's and the winds, those notorious winds, whipped the flames through passes and canyons and into residential areas.

When the last bit of blue was covered in an orange red haze the energy changed completely. People came out of their houses standing together watching, silent. Power was out most of the day, even cell phones. That complicated things,everyone was trying to find out information, road closures, evacuation areas. It seems like everyone knows someone who needed help.

I was standing outside my work when my daughter drove up. Her ex was going to pick up the kids for his day. I don't know why they'd chosen this place but I didn't have time to ask because I was more worried about my 2 grandbabies. Their little faces were hot and flushed and worried! My daughter had gotten them frozen yogurts to cool them down and it did help. But I remembered a trick from when my kids were little, I found two cloth napkins and soaked them in cold water. I showed them how to wrap it around their necks or drape it over their heads or even wipe their little faces for comfort. They liked this alot. Whew.

Then their Dad drove up. He lives in the direction of the fire. My daughter begged him to reconsider letting the kids stay with her, where it is safe. He insisted it is HIS day and he can take care of his own kids. So they drove off heading towards that big smoke. While the two parents talked I reminded the children to use their napkins. They both smiled and nodded yes. My daughter was on the verge of tears and I honestly can't say what I was feeling. Helpless. That's it, so helpless.

Almost exactly a half hour later I got a phone call from my daughter, she was out of breath, the Dad had called he was just ordered to get out, his entire neighborhood was under immediate evacuation. She could hear Sadie crying in the background. I said I'd be right there to go with her and she said she was already on the freeway, almost there. She'd decided to go up and get the kids anyway, she wasn't going to listen to him. She told me when she got there the school across the street was being used as a helicopter landing pad and the noise was deafening. What a scene that must have been. Luckily the Dad agreed it was best the kids went with their Mom and they all got out of there safely.

We spent the night waiting to see if our help was needed, either from family or friends or The Red Cross. We are asked not to come out unless we get a call. My husband is certified in First Aid and CPR and I am certified with CERT, Community Emergency Response Team. My phone is registered with reverse 911 , so we kept checking emails for any new news.

As devastating as it is, houses are just houses, but the people, all the brave firefighters and the helpless animals are what I'm praying for right now.

♥ love, lori


May 8, Friday morning update- Thank you Everyone for all your prayers and wishes, I don't have the words to express what this means to me. Thank you.

Last night was surreal. To quote officials, " All hell broke loose". The fire has spread on all perimeters. 18,000 people were evacuated last night, that's in addition to the thousands that are already out, now over 30,000 people. This morning 6,000 more are being evacuated in Montecito as the fire moves southwest. Redcross shelters are at capacity.

We watched the fire all day yesterday, one eye on the news and another on the smoke and flames. After work we all needed a break so my Husband and son went for a surf. I went to the pool to swim laps. We planned to meet for dinner later. Sitting there at the restaurant trying to talk about something other than the fire, I looked at my phone which was blinking away. I had it on silent (always at restaurants) I had 4 missed calls. My daughter. Oh, she'll have to wait I thought, she calls all the time. Then a text came : CALL ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!! So I did. She was near tears, there was an extreme emergency that had developed right in the time we were away from the news! A firestorm had appeared on the ridge right above Chucks parents! She said Call Them, They are evacuating that whole area immediately. OhMyGod. I call and hear my sweet Mother-in-laws voice, all calm and unaffected. I am trying to tell her what I know and to leave now. Chuck could not wait for my reasoning, he took the phone from me and Shouted to his parents LEAVE NOW. They were waiting, like so many, especially the elderly, for the knock on the door, or a bullhorn, a formal invitation to go. But officials were warning over and over, that may not come, in most cases will not come, you are on your own. They tell us, if you feel threatened, Leave. And if you plan to leave, go early. So you won't get trapped. They said they'd go north, they would call us when they arrived at their hotel. It was slow going, we waited, picturing them driving alone, each in a car, packed to the brim with their belongings. Police escorts down the hill, barricades, traffic exodus out of town. We finally got the call after 11pm. They were safe.

This morning the fire marches on.

Monday, May 4, 2009

...counting down...

I knew it would be too hard to stay away from here! I remembered there were a couple last things to say/share, before I go away for 3 weeks. The giraffe photo above was to entice you to come by for a visit, you'll understand why when you see the next 2 photos...a laptop! not exciting. Giraffes, great!

But I have a good reason for showing you my computer! This is your "Learn to make a Heart ♥ " tutorial. Yay!! Well, i'm sure there are some that couldn't care less, but for the friends that have sent me emails asking to please tell them how, this is for you (there's something for the rest of you at the end of this post!). Since I am not so good with words, I am going to simply show you in these 2 photos. Above photo looks like your normal laptop. Okay? Now see below. Here some little monkeys are demonstrating where you will place your fingers to make the heart First you will place a finger on the far left key, the one marked Fn (see, I am showing my total computer ignorance because i have no idea what this stands for). And at the same time put a finger on the Alt key (where the monkey is laying). Now, with your right hand touch the L key, which is also the number 3 key on a laptop, if you are on a desk top you will touch the #3 key. So, left hand presses down first on the two keys and then press the 3, lift your fingers all together, and ta ~ da!! ♥♥♥ .
I hope my monkeys and I have explained it well and I really hope that when I get back there will be little hearts floating all around the blogcommunity.
Spreading the love, what could be better than that? :)
~ ~

Here is a certain 7 year old (today) that I am going to miss, Sorry baby, you cannot come to Africa with us. She asks me regularly. It's hard to say no to this face, those freckles. But sorry doodlydoo girl. No. But Happy Happy Birthday! Love you forever, Grammy.
Below is a present for you, if you like puzzles this is a fabulous website. When you click on the giraffes (obsessed much? my kids say YES) you will be taken to Jig Zone, where you just might forget about solitaire forever! I just found out that if you turn up the volume the pieces make a satisfying clink when they match up. Hmmm..the simple things, heh?Click to Mix and Solve

Have fun playing!
Now I really am going,
my suitcase is packed, clothes (a little) film (alot), kindness, grace and compassion (never enough).
I'm ready.
love, Lori

Saturday, May 2, 2009

into Africa

Kenya 2001

We're leaving in a few days time!

I won't be blogging for a while,

not too very long,

but long enough to miss it here...

I know I really will be taking you all with me in a way, because you'll all be in my thoughts and heart every step of the way. I'll be keeping a journal, but the book and pen type, my old familiar friend.

I'll have to think on how I can share that...

Our itinerary will take us to Paris, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Botswana, Kasane, Chobe, Hwange, Matusadona and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe.

This will be my third trip to Africa, but it will be a new experience, I've not been to most of these places. It doesn't matter where I get to go though, every time, everyplace, it's like the first time. A thrill always.

If all goes to plan we will meet three blog friends (!!!)

Karen, Val and Janet ...

I still can't believe the effort they are making for me, I hope they know that if it doesn't work out, it's OK, I just love them them for thinking about it.


We'll be visiting the Kazungula Day Care Centre and meeting Sharon, who runs the Centre, the teacher, assistants and the children. Karen will graciously meet us there. I'll be sure to take lots of photos to share here later! I've been in email contact with Sharon, the past several months, learning a little about the children, and their needs. My sister (who is coming with us) and I have gathered supplies that they can use and hopefully will like. And then, because they are so small, ages 2 and a half to 6, I wanted to bring something personal. Something from a Mum. So here is my idea, the project I've been working on for the last few months....

I've knitted 35 (a few still awaiting appliques) little hats, made out of the softest yarns, cotton, bamboo and silk. Just like what I would make for my own babies. I found the cutest material too and each hat has an appliqued African animal on it, giraffes, monkeys, hippos and lions... I learned that Botswana can get cold now in the winter.

I hope the babies like them.

I can't wait to meet them.

a letter from Sharon:

"The children are 2.5 yrs to 6 yrs of age, all from Kazungula Village/Newstands area near the lodge. Needy, destitute, HIV children. They learn English, to read, draw, colour, numbers etc from our teacher and her 2 assistants, and then of course they spend a lot of time playing and learning to interact with each. They are with us mon – fri and have 3 meals a day at the day care centre. Of course our big expense is food, but we also try give the kids new or good condition 2nd hand clothing and shoe’s as often as possible, jerseys in winter, hats in summer etc. Anything and everything from a piece of paper to draw on to whatever is put to good use."

I'm going to want to stay.

And then. This book ,
On Safari by David Anderson
is the reason(well, one)that we will be taking this journey.

We will be submitting photos for the second edition of David's next book. In 2004 Chuck and I and approximately 140 other photographer's from around the country went on safari to ten countries in East and Southern Africa.

This book is a result of that year.

Chuck and I went from Cape Town to the Limpopo Province at the Botswana border. Doing much of the driving ourselves the dilemma was who would drive and who would navigate. He decided that I should drive while he figured out the maps. Either way it was going to be a problem because I am the world's worst navigator and not too good with driving in foreign countries with everything reversed, the side of the road you drive on, the steering wheel, indicators, baboons in the road, things like that!...oh but that's part of the adventure and another story!

The assignment again is simple, use the art of photography to visually capture the special magic of the safari experience. Well, simple in theory! Luckily they were happy with our submissions and on one of the most exciting days of my life I got an email saying several of my images would be used.(Chuck too, of course!) I am really, really honored and do believe it's a beautiful book not only because of the images ,but to be part of a project that promotes responsible and sustainable ecotourism in East and Southern Africa.

For more info and a peek into the book you can go to

Focus on Africa Publications


I think that's it. Hopefully i'll get one more post up before we go, but if not, I want to wish everyone a wonderful month...

I'll miss all your brilliant blogs...

See you my friends at the end of May :)