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Thread: Roll Call, 11/8

  1. #1

    Default Roll Call, 11/8

    Roll Call, 11/8
    How is everyone? I returned from my trip to Portugal, and it's downright freezing here now! I'm still working on "Portugal Time"--still getting up way to early.

    The trip was fabulous: so much history, great food, friendly people. We toured castles, old churches, 1000 yo Roman ruins, had a port wine tasting (wow! that stuff is strong!!). I have so many stunning photos, but I'll only post 5.

    Castello di Sao Jorge.jpg
    Castle of St. George, on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon.

    Jeronimos Monastery Belem.jpg
    Jeronimos Monastery in Belem (just outside Lisbon)

    The Algarve - Lagos.jpg
    The southern portion of Portugal, called the Algarve. Specifically, this was in the town of Lagos. Quite the beach area for Brits on vacation, although we were (luckily) there during the off season and almost had the place to ourselves.

    Douro River, Porto.jpg
    Porto, home of port wine. These boats were used to ship the product down river. (Not used now since there are damns farther downstream)

    We often shopped the local groceries. I wondered if after eating this cereal, the kids looked like this creature!!

    Funniest story is that we were only 10 minutes off the train arriving in Porto. We were headed to see a bookstore made famous by JK Rowling. As we approached, the line was 3 blocks long, so we opted out. Continuing down the street, we saw a line of old VW bugs (DH has one from 1965). It was a car show. DH and one of the local owners probably talked for about an hour!

    How is the homeschooling going? The high school kids I work with seem to be hitting a rut, and I wondered if it was just that time of year again. Usually, for us, it hit about early February. I think a few of them are overextended, about as much as the public school kids I see!

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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  3. #2


    How awesome! Sounds like you had an ideal vacation!
    Do the Portugese have a deep sense of irony, that would account for the chocoflakes monster?

    Things are going okay here - halloween was fine, our neighborhood in general is extremely popular, luckily we dont have the craziness the street with the haunted house has. This is a timelapse from one of our neighbors.

    We also dodged the fire weather some of CA was dealing with - strangely the NWS and local news seemed to be trying to whip us into a panic, too. Fire weather is hearing the pops of pine cones on your trees as they burst from the heat. Not freezing cold and damp mornings where you have to use the defroster to clear your windshield and your low tire pressure light is on. Is there a conspiracy to desensitize us? I get really uneasy during fire weather, but thats not what we were having. Somewhere, CALFIRE lists the brush dryness condition (another percentage), which I think is more accurate a fire risk indicator than a couple days of dry gusty winds.
    Well, thats me being grumpy!

    I hope everyone else is having a nice fall.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3



    I think of you and our other CA families during fire season. Especially now since our "leader" wants to withhold disaster relief for those affected.

    I was curious--does your family have certain things always packed in case of an evacuation? If so, how do you choose? I realize important papers, meds, and basic clothing & hygiene items. But if there is room, what else do you take?

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4


    Roll Call, 11/8
    I sure everyone has different levels of sanity and worry, so what people pack varies. THe main part of evacuating here is being out of the house so firefighters can focus on fighting fire. Unlike Northern CA, we get evac warning notices, so we would have time before needing to leave. (Oherwise itd be just the clothes on our backs.)
    Important papers are kept in a box (it should and could be a firesafe box, but its not. Docs and the computers are backed up to a drive that is stored at Gramas house (I will update it sometime after xmas for whatever we added this year). DH would gather up our devices and chargers (like we are going on a vacation), and walk through the house making a video of our possessions (in case we need it for insurance). I pack a suitcase with a spare pair of clothes and undies. And get the cat in her carrier. A bag of catfood (cat and dog can both eat it.) Do I grab my jewelry box? I used to think so. Now it seems like its just stuff. Same with the other stuff in my house that I like. If the cars are facing out and loaded, theres nothing to do then but fret. I have a lot of confidence in how the county pre-emptively evacuates people.
    We would drive to my mother in laws house, about 5 miles away. Food and water isnt really an issue.

    Its more likely to be a “shelter in place” situation, where people are encouraged to not go to work because of uncertainty (try to get home if your neighborhood gets evacuated!) and bad air quality. Schools are closed. (Retrieving kids while theres an evac order would be a nightmare.) Utilities are underground, and we arent in an area likely to be preemptively blacked out. But we have a cooler, and the fridge auto makes ice, so we could put perishables in a cooler. Anything more than a couple hours, and we would probably go to Gramas house.
    In the past, Ive craved junk food when we are having these situations. Some fast food is open (including Sbux and burger joints) (Chik fil A was noticeably closed last time). Some grocery stores are open, and definitely gas stations are open. (I imagine most businesses that feel the need to be open are, and possibly a little short staffed.) Its not like a hurricane, where a wide swath of people will be affected. It creeps along the edges of neighborhoods and blocks access / feeder roads. They can roar through mobile home parks, apparently this is because a mobile home can be leveled in under 10 minutes, theres not enough time for firecrews to get ahead of the fire. (Theres also very little defensible space at these parks.) “And this is why news coverage shows the remains of mobile home parks, because its more dramatic than other neighborhoods.”
    I think mostly people sit around fretting, watching news for drama and social media for accurate updates about where the nearest fires are. In my case, itd be accompanied by eating top ramen and baking those ghiradelli brownies from costco (or whatever other junk food is in the house). Those ChocoFlakes would be looking good!

    So thats my experience during our firestorms. Really high stress levels, bad eating, but knowing we are going to be safe. Our across the street neighbors are on the edge of a canyon, but the canyon is surrounded on all sides by housing. Not enough space for it to grow to a wild conflagration, and we are on the south, not west side, so evil winds wont be encouraging it toward us.

    San Diego County has an emergency app that anyone can download. It has preparedness stuff as well as official updates and twitter feeds (Cal Fire twitter is the most useful of official reports). You can also google for “san diego county firestorm 2004, 2007, 2015... whatever year, and get the official reports that come afterwards. Fascinating and full of information about the fires, evacuations, and what the county was doing. Theyve made a huge amount of progress, and I think its criminal that the same steps havent been taken in Northern CA. GPS specific emergency texts, yes!!! (Its legitimately alarming to hear emergency alert go off on every phone in the area! No sign up or opt-in needed.)
    Heres what the app looks like.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5
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    Feb 2012


    Your trip looks and sounds wonder, INmom. Thanks for sharing the pictures. Were the locals friendly? Would you go back?

    AM - interesting. Do you find yourself stuck inside often due to smoke / air quality?

    All is well here. We had a good Halloween. DD was the Queen of Hearts, which was fun because all the older folks knew who she was. DS was a dark / evil knight for a Halloween party, but skipped the trick-or-treating this year.

    No November slump for us this year. When the kids were younger, I would have a minor burnout right before winter break. However, now that they are older, I get more time to recharge on a daily basis and that seems to prevent fall burnout. February is a different story though - I think that has more to do with the weather, lack of light and green things. However, I did decide to take the day off today, which had not been planed - DD had a last minute sleepover with a friend (in public school), I want to get some stuff done around the house, and DS is about 4 weeks overdue for a haircut.

    Speaking of hair, I cut bangs! And I left them curly (my hair is curlier then my picture shows). I was inspired by Natasha Lyonne's hair in Russian Doll. I really like them. I'm not trying to pin them back and doing hair growth math. . . if my bangs need to be 6 inches long to reasonably blend into my hair, and hair grows at a rate of 1/2 inch a month, and currently my bangs are X long, then how long will it be until I'm not upset anymore?

    Have a good week everyone!
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  7. #6


    Yay for no November slumps!

    Our air is usually fine, unless there is smoke from nearby / recent fires. When I was growing up, we could see the smogline over the ocean from where LA was polluting us, and certain mountains would come into visibility depending on how bad it was. But, since I moved back to this part of the county 15 years ago, that line has been gone, all mountains are usually visible. So see, we can make headway against air pollution!
    Yesterday and this morning, though, the air is really hazy, maybe a combination of early morning mistiness and smoke? It was gone yesterday by 10 when I went to the grocery store.

    Oh, and I finished my diet, yay to be back on whole grains and cheese! I experimented with these two recipes for a potluck for DS13, I think they might go into my recipe binder. Roasted butternut squash + cranberries + grain + nuts + bright vinagrette.

    This week my new recipe is 10 bean soup! Beans are soaking now for dinner tomorrow (because Im most productive in the mornings). I havent been excited about any of the recipes I found online, so if anyone has a great one to share, I will enthusiastically try it. Im thinking along the lines of stock + beans + special flavor.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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Roll Call, 11/8