Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

ThanksgivingThis Thanksgiving we spent the holiday with Chris' family up in Tehachapi. Another opportunity for great company, delicious food, and, yes, Parker to go absolutely crazy. Actually, he behaved himself pretty well. I don't think he annoyed his cousins too much. The evening ended with some live music courtesy of the kids table.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hi-O! It's back!

So next time you come and visit us here in the North 40, take a detour over to Lancaster and check out the musical road. It's over on Avenue G. If you turn off your radio and set your cruise control to 55, you'll hear the road sing the William Tell Overture. Yes, that's the Lone Ranger theme song.

I guess it use to be in a different location but the road sounds kept the neighbors up. The city got rid of it but now it's back by popular demand...just in a different location.

Now, it's about as in tune as a junior high school orchestra but every video I've seen seems to end in giggles so I think we can still deem it a success. I have a feeling if drives enough ''traffic'' to the area, we just may see more of these musical roads in the AV.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I just have to put it out there...I paid $1.99 for gas today (and at Shell, not at a discount or cash only place).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blue Steel

Photo Shoot (Set 1)Photo Shoot (Set 1)Photo Shoot (Set 1)Photo Shoot (Set 1)Photo Shoot (Set 1)
Photo Shoot (Set 2)Photo Shoot (Set 2)Photo Shoot (Set 2)Photo Shoot (Set 2)Photo Shoot (Set 3)
Photo Shoot (Set 3)Photo Shoot (Set 3)Photo Shoot (Set 3)Photo Shoot (Set 3)Photo Shoot (Set 3)
So Chris wanted some professional photos taken of Parker. He even had outfits in mind that he want to see the little guy in -- James Bond & Cowboy -- maybe ''costumes'' is a better word.

I was sort of ambivalent -- the only profession photos I've ever taken were school photos. So I let him be the stage mom.

The shoot itself wasn't that bad. We changed clothes pretty quickly and Parker was a good sport (and, of course, so was the photographer). I got a bit nervous at the end because Parker's attention was waning but I guess what would you expect after an hour.

In the end, though, even with my Mom bias, I think I can safely say the pictures came out really good. Looks like the grandparents will be getting Parker 2009 calendars this year for Xmas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To Homeowner

I've had this note hanging on my fridge for years now.

To Homeowner,
Thank you for the use of your bathroom and your patio. You have a very nice house. I hope we did not inconvenience you.
Thank you for letting us protect your property.
Capt. George Trejo
Los Angeles Fire Dept.
Strike Team 1001

Yes, that's a thank you note from the firemen who protected our house when during the Crown Valley Fire in 2004. Go figure. (I would have thought it should be the other way around.) I guess they had to break in to use the restroom -- I can't figure out how they did it, though, because noting was actually broken. And I guess they hung out it the backyard -- benefits of being one of the few houses in the neighborhood with a pool.

Anyway, it's a very sweet and funny souvenir from the Crown Valley Fire...if there could be one.

On a related note, I just Googled Capt. Trejo and see that he just retired in August of this year. We wish you all the best Capt. Trejo and thank YOU for protecting our property.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Silver Lining in a Billowing Cloud of Smoke

Several fires hit the region. Luckily, our house is not in the midst of the action. Plus, we're upwind so air quality is pretty good.

The one good least for the Trillos...when it comes to fire season is that it forces us to examine everything around us and decide what's important. What would you take if you had to evacuate your home? Here's the criteria (based on my experience when I had to evacuate in, I think it was, 2004):

  • You have 15 minutes
  • Only one person is available to load the car
  • It has to all fit in one (smallest) car
  • Don't forget to leave room for passengers (including pets)
For us, as with most of you, it's pictures (especially the ones that haven't been digitally backed up -- which being the older ones are probably even more special -- I definitely need to make that a priority To Do for 2009) and computers.

We've actually had these items stacked by our front door throughout the weekend. But now, they're now in the back of my car just in case a fire broke out while we were at work. I'm sure Frankie and Dean would be saved but can I expect a fireman to save my wedding photos?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mutts like me

When Obama was asked the all important question...''Everyone wants to know, what kind of dog are you going to buy for your girls?''

To which he responded,

With respect to the dog, this is a major issue. I think it's generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything.

We have ... we have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.

On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So ... so whether we're going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.

And with the casual use of the phrase ''mutts like me'', many see a future White House what will be at ease discussing race.

Really, you're just seeing that? I think that was evident in throughout the campaign. Just see how he responded to the Rev. Wright controversy or his recent appearance on the Daily Show.

But it's more than that. It underlines the multi-racial and multi-cultural understanding that this new administration has that many in this country still can't seem to grasp.

This issue has always been addressed as black and white. However, it's many colors and beliefs, often within the same individual. It's looking at your family and having to search deeper to find common points since it's not always that evident on the surface. It's a quality that can then be extended past our homes and into our communities.

The lines that divide us are blurring and finally we'll have a White House that personifies that. Hopefully, the discussion will, likewise, move beyond race and search for common bonds that connect us all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

A few new words, courtesy of Parker...

Pronunciation: \tə-ˈlāt-ər\
Function: adverb
Date: 21st century
: at some time subsequent to a given time : afterwards <let's not do it today or tomorrow, rather let's do it tolater>

Pronunciation: \kə-ˈblüm\
Function: noun
Date: 21st century
: a nonporous bag of light material that can be inflated esp. with air or gas: <Dean popped my kabloom and is now eating it.>

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Can!

'Nuf said.

Here's the transcript of President-Elect Obama's (digging the sound of that) Election Night speech:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends... though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Blocked Caller ID

My mom just called (the only reason why I answer blocked ID calls on my cell) to remind me to vote -- ''Just did it!'' -- and yes, to vote for Barack Obama. :o)

We're Baaaaack!

Voting at the TCM* HouseVoting at the TMC* HouseYes, back to vote at what I call the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Polling Place. I joke but actually I like voting here because this place because it has so much character. Thank goodness, though, I vote in broad daylight.

I hope you're ready to...

Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign...wait for it

...yes, ready to Barack the Vote. I know I am.

(Sorry, it's required cheezy parent humor.)

Normally I vote after work but today I'm going when the polls open as 7am.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Disney Halloween

Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008Disneyland Halloween 2008
So we decided to take Parker over to Dland to see the Halloween decorations. We were hardly in the park and who do we see? Mickey in all his Halloween finest. And then we turned and immediately saw Pluto. Talk about a good day.

The weather was also in our favor. Cloudy and overcast, the threatening weather seemed to scare people away because it wasn't crazy crowded. (Lucky for Chris!)

We hit up a few Parker favorites -- the train, the carousel, and Dumbo. We even caught up with Woody in Frontierland. Plus a mom and dad favorite -- the Haunted House, which was decked out in all it's Nightmare Before Christmas best.

Of course, we had to introduce Parker to another element of the park. This time, it was the rocket ships that circle in front of Tomorrowland. As expected, HE LOVED IT.

After that, we ended the day early and, as it sprinkled a bit coming home, felt good about the decision since they said they would cancel the fireworks if there was rain.

First ''Real'' Haircut

First "Real" HaircutFirst "Real" HaircutFirst "Real" HaircutFirst "Real" Haircut
So up until now, Chris has been Parker's personal barber. And a pretty good one, too. (He's definitely taken note when ever he's gotten a hair cut.) However, Chris' patience has worn thin trying to do a good job while Parker resists his efforts the entire time. So the time has come to schedule Parker's first ''professional'' haircut.

Rebecca recommend the place where she takes her son...Lollicuts. And it was a big hit. Parker got to sit in a jeep for the haircut (I guess maybe he was hoping for a bit escape) and got a balloon. The hair stylist was very attentive -- using scissors rather than clippers per our suggestion. In the end, Parker survived his first haircut without tears and with a pretty good looking do. We'll definitely be back.