Sunday, November 16, 2008

California on Fire

This is what the area in front of my door looks like.

So, in case you were wondering? I am covered in ashes. Every year there are wild fires, and every year, no matter where they are, the smoke and ash comes sailing on over Long Beach and out to the ocean. This year we have fires above us, to the east and to the west, so you can imagine how gross it is outside. Instead of a blanket of soot, you can actually see wood particles and grey ash. I was horrified watching the news yesterday morning, since my family lives out by one of the fires. But once I found out that everyone was OK, I calmed down a little. Still, the photos and footage are heartbreaking. So many people are having a hard time managing life with this recession, and with the holidays coming, just..there are no words.

Since the fires are burning so close to my work, a couple of students have taken it upon themselves to use it as an excuse to not come to class tomorrow. One said that it might be too difficult to make it to class because some freeways are shut down, so am I going to cancel class? Hello? Detours? Get up earlier? And one actually asked if I was going to give an extension on the paper due Wednesday because he has spent all of Saturday watching the fires on the news. Great. Way to tell me that you put off writing the paper until the Saturday before it was due, even though I gave you over a month to do it, and then further flaking by watching TV. Nice going. Also, who in their right mind would ask a professor such a thing? I'm sure there are some students who have actually lost their homes, or who have family that are displaced. It strikes me as quite insensitive to use this tragedy as a way out of a paper or one class meeting.

I spent the weekend recovering from my godawful cold. I am still coughing and sniffling. The hot ashy air does nothing for a cough, let me tell you. We closed up the house and plan to stay in as much as possible. I have my strength back, which is nice. I managed to get back into the swing of things by cleaning, my favorite pastime. I cleaned the fridge and freezer top to bottom. I usually clean out the refrigerator by tossing old food and wiping down the shelves, but this time I went to town. I took out shelves and washed them in hot water, I scrubbed the walls of the fridge, and I got rid of some condiments we never really use. And then I did the freezer too! Crazy. But after days of laying in bed looking up at the ceiling, it was almost inevitable that when I got up, I'd be a force to be reckoned with.

If you know me, you know I love to rearrange furniture. When you don't have a lot of money for new stuff, and you want to redecorate, rearranging is a good substitute. We rearranged the living room (pics over at Flickr) again. Just a few adjustments to help us feel a little less cluttered. Now that M. spends more time here, he really notices that stuff. He actually started it this time! It's nice to have a rearranging partner. Living by the beach has is luxuries, but one of the only complaints I have is that there is a layer of sand/oil/soot that comes in with the dust and covers everything. When you rearrange, it requires cleaning and vacuuming. You realize everything has a layer of dirt that requires more than a wet rag. I haven't used so much Simple Green in a while. But when you move a lamp and see a ring, you gotta take care of the whole piece of furniture. At least if you're me.

Hopefully this week will be a bit more interesting. The blog has been kind of ho hum lately. I'm going to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving, so things will pick up, I'm sure. Also, I am making some progress on a few projects (culinary, academic, and design), so I promise I will get more interesting.

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