The Fox Family Experience


My sister’s grown daughter Jessie and husband Evan spent a much too brief weekend with us. They parked their kids at grandma and grandpa’s and hopped on a plane. Actually a few planes.

They arrived Thursday evening and left as the Sun rose this morning. It was enough time to realize they weren’t in Milwaukee! It was enough time to realize no child would wake them.

They received the full “Fox Family Experience!”

First, Helaine bakes. She is amazing.

We haven’t been here two years. We already understand how to maximize our guest’s stay. There are ‘must see’ trips that out-of-towners love.

Friday while I worked, Helaine took them to Newport Beach’s Balboa Island where they caught the whale watching boat. The water was smooth. A few whales, plus dozens of dolphins and sea lions were seen. Boom!

We live in a new community. Everything is still shiny. It adds to the aura.

Saturday I took them to Top of the World then Thalia Street Beach in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach is a beautiful city with an artsy feel. The city is built into the steep terrain which reaches to the water’s edge. California law guarantees the beach is continuous as far as you can walk, up to the high tide line.

Top of the World, really Alta Laguna Park, looks down upon it all from a few thousand feet. Roads chiseled in canyons run below. Houses perch on every piece of barely buildable land. Incredible views.

We turned north on PCH and drove to Huntington Beach, the actual “Surf City.” This beach attracts everyone! The city revolves around it. Seriously.

There are a few dozen beach volleyball courts on the large sandy beach. A paved ‘boardwalk’ parallels the shore with hordes of walkers, bikers, skaters and skateboarders. A pier, 1850 feet long, hosts fishermen, tchotchke shops and a restaurant, plus great views of the surfers on both sides.

When we weren’t travelling they were vegging. We provide that luxury too.

We took them to the airport this morning at 6:00. They’re back in Milwaukee. Back with the kids. Back in the house. Back to reality.

All Vacations Lead To SoCal

IMAG2525We have visitors this weekend. My niece Jessie and husband Evan are here from Milwaukee. My sister and brother-in-law are babysitting their two kids. I’m not 100% sure, but I think this is their first childfree trip since forever!

Since moving to California we’ve found a lot more people are passing through or in the neighborhood. That’s good for me, because Helaine bakes. Too self centered?

nautilus whale watching boatFor Jessie and Evan it’s a very quick trip so we’re squeezing in as much as possible. This afternoon while I prepared and delivered the forecast Helaine took them to Balboa Island in Newport Beach for a whale watching trip.

Actually, this started when I called Jessie in Milwaukee to ask what they wanted to do? I threw out whale watching as a suggestion. She said yes before the words were fully out of my mouth!

sea lionWhales, sea lions and dolphins were spotted. The trip was 100% successful.

Tonight, between newscasts, we took them for dinner at a ‘build-your own’ burger place, The Counter. Once again, success.

whaleTomorrow we’ll be going to Laguna Beach to watch the surfers and swimmers, then Dana Point where my Irvine cousins will be spending the day.

The trip ends Sunday morning. By late Sunday afternoon Jessie and Evan will be back in Milwaukee… back to reality.

When I Work From Home


I’ve been doing some weathercasts from my home studio. It’s getting more comfortable. There is a tiny delay–under a second. The anchors and I are chatting. That makes me smile.

So far, so good.

I stand alone in my studio wearing a receiver and transmitter for my wireless earpiece and microphone. A fixed, unmanned camera is aimed at me. On a good night I hear everything but my own voice piped back to me.

I am dependant on the director. Michelle or Andre run a quick sound check before air, then go over my cue for the “supertease.” Knowing what’s before me helps with timing and tone.

They give me confidence. They’re my lifeline. I’m not sure they know how important they are to me.

There is so much data to watch. Last night it was gusty wind. In and around our compact valley are dozens of weather stations. There’s much more data than I can present on TV. Too much is confusing. Clarity is the goal. I edit furiously.

My studio project isn’t finished. There’s more that can be done with what I have. All in good time. Right now I’m happy with how it’s going.

About Our Drought

We’re in a drought here in California. You probably already knew that. Governor Brown has requested we all use 25% less water. I’m not sure how to do that? We’re not profligate water wasters.

Obviously, Helaine and I are part of the problem. So are all the other residents. When you live in a desert the water’s got to come from somewhere else.

IMAG2507Our community, built in 2013, was designed using best practices for water and electrical conservation. Water to irrigate all the common areas is recycled. It’s not quite good enough to drink.

Residential use is but a small fraction of California’s problem. Agriculture takes 80% of our state’s processed water! Residents are being asked to conserve. Farmers, not so much.

We are America’s best source for fruits, vegetables and nuts. Soil in the Central and Imperial Valleys is perfect. We hardly ever see frost. Sunshine is plentiful. We just don’t have a lot of water.

Some of our ag water use is questionable considering the short supply. Nearly 10% of our water goes to produce almonds! Growing one almond takes over a gallon of water.


I’m willing to do my part. I’m not as willing to let others slide by. Maybe it’s time to question how our valuable water is used? Is it being sold at a fair enough price to insure people and farmers think twice before consuming?

Here’s a chart from Mother Jones with the water requirements for some California crops.


Visit From An Old Friend

Full Reset 29

Andrew Schorr dropped by tonight. I’ve known him so long he was Andy Schorr when we first met in the early 70s! Andrew was a reporter at WBTV in Charlotte. I was a disk jockey on WBT, its sister station.

Later I hosted PM Magazine in Buffalo while Andrew produced the Charlotte version.

Remember the “I’m not only the president, I’m a client,” guy who did the Hair Club for Men commercials? Andrew’s like that at PatientPower is a patient oriented website with a focus on cancer. He’s the founder, host and a cancer survivor.

At the moment Andrew and family live in Barcelona, Spain. That’s about to change. He’ll be moving back to the states, probably here in SoCal.

We had a chance to talk and schmooze. I got to show off my studio. We’ve both been on the cutting edge of adapting technology for new applications. Andrew was on-the-Internet long before most people heard of it. Maybe some of what I’m doing and using can be adapted to what Andrew does now?

The only thing that really counts is I got to see an old friend. He looks good. He seems happy. He’s coming back home.

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