Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Back in Our House

Well after almost two months of remediation work by Sunny Hills and IRWD, we are back in our house again.

The original promise was 3 weeks and that seemed to get delayed week by week.  The repairs progressed very slowly and we still have a bunch more to go.



Drawers are still not aligned, oven is installed incorrectly, faucet doesn’t work right and on and on.  Our backyard plants and lawn need a lot of work after being buried in mud and water.

To top it all off, we have to play stupid games with their arrogant insurance adjuster to get about $15,000 in living expenses that are owed to us.

Has anyone dealt with a situation like this before?  Any advice?

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On Memorial Day we visited the Channel Islands – Santa Cruz Island. We started out at Ventura Harbor, a little over 100 miles from our house and then took a 2 hour boat ride to the island.  The weather was beautiful.

Here is Annika with her best friend Lizzy who came along with us.

Here is Vikram being camera shy!


On the boat ride, we saw lots of sea lions and dolphins.

Here is the start of the 4.5 mile hike on the island.

Here we all are just above Pelican Bay.

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Last weekend we went on a trip organized by my alma mater (Harvey Mudd College) to the Channel Islands.  These are a group of islands about 22 miles off the coast of Ventura.  We took an Island Packers boat trip to Santa Cruz island which is the largest of the islands and is about 20 miles by 6 miles and has the most varied terrain.  It is know as the “Galapagos of California”.


On the ride out to the island, we encountered a school of several thousand dolphins!  They were literally jumping all around the boat.   This was apparently a rare sighting of so many dolphins.


We landed at Prisoner’s Harbor and did a 4.5 mile hike to Pelican Bay on the The Nature Conservancy side of the property.  There were several steep canyons and about 750 feet of climbing.

There were quite a few native flowers in full bloom.  This is a natural “soap flower”  If you rub it between your hands, it has antiseptic properties.  We also saw (and tasted) the “lemonade berry” plant which is also native to just Santa Cruz.


Here is a picture of the kids enjoying the hike:


This is one of the scenic views from near the top of the island.


On the boat ride back, we saw a blow hole, caused by the low tide and the water being forced thru the tubes in the lava rocks.


The Channel Islands are definitely worth a trip.  The tour guides were very knowledgeable and the Island Packers boating outfit was very professional.  Note that The Nature Conservancy side of the island requires a special permit (which we had access to because of the HMC connection).

The National Park side of the island is available to the general public.


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Threatened Once Again

Here is picture of the Yorba Linda Fire from our house – we are about 15 miles south of the fire zone.


Today, I went with Nikhil to the Mt. Sac Race.  Amazingly, they still held the race near Diamond Bar and the air quality was still good this morning. On the way home, however, the 57 freeway was closed and we had to make our way south on city streets.  It took about an hour to go 10 miles!


We got back on the freeway heading south at the Lambert on ramp.  Here we are escaping the smoke!


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Annika’s Birthday

Anjali took Annika and Emma out to Macaroni Grill for Annika’s birthday. She could not get a smiling face. This was the best of the night!


What a pair of cuties!

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Reading Counts

Well, we’re back home and adjusting to the time zone shift.

The kids all of a sudden have picked up a voracious reading habit.  Here is the three of them hanging out on the sofa in the evening reading.  No coaxing or urging required – just genuine interest.  It warms my heart!


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I came across this satellite image from Nasa that shows the extent of the fires and smoke we have been dealing with. I’m not positive, but I think ours is the single dot above the two large clumps of fires just north of the border.

It has now been 6 days since the fires started. The air quality today has been especially poor. As you can see from the image below, there is actually an offshore flow which is reverse of normal.


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