Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm dreaming of a.... black.... Christmas?

I arrived in San Diego yesterday (Xmas Eve) to celebrate Christmas with my sister, brother in-law, and my new nephew Dylan. Driving around Rancho Bernardo is a trip, because this is where the big fires really hit hard last month. The weather created a perfect storm for this fire, as it was hot, very dry, and the Santa Ana Winds were blowing 70-100 mph spreading the fires over hundreds of miles. Driving around the Westwood neighborhood is a trip because there are empty lots all over the place. On one cul-de-sac a lone house remains standing in the middle, with 4 lots on one side empty and 5 on the other side empty. The surrounding hills are blackened from the fire crawling over them, and you can see where it shot down one hill underneath a freeway overpass and continued along the other side.

They have all kinds of crazy stories about when the evacuation was ordered. My sister was trying to run out to the car and charcoal sized hunks of burning debris were raining down from the hills above. House after house is burning on the way out, and all you can think about is getting to the freeway so you can get downtown for safety. The freeway was closed to the north because the fire was going across I-15 up there, and it was closed to the south because there were fires south of downtown. So the only option was to go to downtown. What if the fires had spread to downtown? Who knows... everybody would have had to run into the ocean to escape the fire I guess. My brother-in-law stuck around the neighborhood for about 12 hours, capturing some amazing video of houses on fire, and of the firefighters kicking in garage doors to put fires out. There was basically just roving patrols looking for houses on fire and then they would call the firetrucks over to put it out so it didn't spread to other houses.

My new nephew is so awesome. He's the first baby in the family, and so really he's the first baby I've ever spent any time with. He doesn't even cry that often. I have no idea what normal is as the only time I see babies is on airplanes and they're crying all the time there. If you want, check out a picture of me and DJ.

I hope everybody's holiday travels went smoothly and you're sipping cocoa or egg nog with family members today!


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