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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Monday

We are all home. The original 5, plus one girlfriend. Tonight we have a treat in store. We attend an annual dinner party with friends every Christmas eve. We all indulge in Christmas cheer as we stuff ourselves with tenderloin and all the trimmings. Tori is a gourmet cook, need I say more? Then we bundle up against the bitter cold ( 48 degrees ) and head out for the midnight candlelight service. The Pastor is a good friend. We love to sit up front and distract him with hand signals and dance moves. Spirit lead, I assure you. Today, it is a Christmas eve heat wave. It may hit 80 degrees. Ryan is thrilled that I am allowing him to wear shorts to church tonight.

Brynn has fallen in love with our puppy. Steezy is concerned with all of the hub-bub. She wonders who the heck this rowdy crowd is and why they are here in our house? Wait until tomorrow when we have 14 for dinner. As a result of all of this adulation, she is becoming a cunning beggar. I will have my work cut out for me when the New Year arrives. I must tell you that I bought the ultrasound anti-bark remote control devise. Every time she barks you point this contraption at her and press a button. It emits a sound only the dog can hear. Christine points out, how do we know it is working? How will we know when the battery dies? Good questions, all. My answer is in her behavior. She has reduced barking by 80 - 90%. All in a day. That is success! She acts sheepish and walks away from the barking source. She does not appear to have any pain. I am impressed. Thanks to Heather for the tip.

I am going to work on our Christmas cards on the 26th. They will arrive in time for a nice read by New Year. We have enjoyed the photos and letters that we have received. Keep them coming. Don is at the post office with my last 4 boxes to ship. All of my wrapping is done and the kids are in the dining room finishing their wrapping. Last week Ryan and I baked cookies and biscotti. The tree is beautiful and when it is dark you don't see dust and imperfections. Well, I do, but most don't.

It is the night before Christmas and all through the house, the creatures are stirring, even the spouse. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Mom stuffs them with gifts beyond compare. We are as ready as you can be when time runs out. We wish you and yours all the love of the season. Happy Birthday Jesus. You are my salvation. Blessings and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekly Wisdom

Last Monday I posted 3 times in anger over the tree situation, etc. Today I'm sitting down to a quick update fresh from attending the funeral of a friend that lived well and was loved. He was honored by his 5 children and friends for his talent and temperament. It is good to attend funerals (especially when the deceased was such a great person) as a way to reflect upon the ways in which you may be remembered.

The funny thing is that the buzz of a chainsaw is once again the music in the backdrop of this scene.Seems the tree guy left behind several large branches hanging precariously from the top of one of the Eucalyptus still standing. Now he is cleaning up. My rage is spent. Vented in a million ways, the energy of all of that angst is gone. I hope I am remembered as a person that blew her stack and expressed freely her feelings. Good and Bad. But, at the end of the day, with the energy of anger drained away, there remained a thoughtful and restored Marsha, ready to fight another day.

I am always ready to fight the good fight. Although, I have felt tired of late and likened my will to a slab of granite that has a trough furrowed into it by a single constant drip of water. The source of the dripping water varies, but each drop leaves a mark and deepens the furrow.

Last night we took Ryan to the beautiful Handel's "Messiah". That was a peaceful 2 hour respite that we all needed. The Christmas cards and all of the shopping and shipping remain to be done. We baked cookies yesterday, Ryan and I. He really is my "foreverchild" and this willingness to spend time in traditional Christmas activities is a gift to me. Autism and retardation benefits must be claimed where they exist!

I am knitting a Brioche Gaiter designed by Ann Budd from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007, and the stitch is giving me fits. I tore it out twice after an inch each time looked wrong. Now, I am certain that in the round my count is gone off- but the piece is pretty and interesting, so I will finish it, Roxanne the recipient will be none the wiser. I definitely am taking design details to new heights.

Funny how I can always find a way to pick up the needles and continue to find that it helps me to find peace. Peace to you this season of love and remembrance...

Monday, December 10, 2007

I wish I had a River I could Skate Away On

Today is a 3 post kind of day. The soundtrack would be by Joni Mitchell from her greatest hits album. I wish I had a river I could skate away on.They're cutting down trees and I made my baby cry.

I am so mad at my husband. I write this with the buzz of a chainsaw drowning out the Christmas satellite radio. The dog can't stop barking at the men swinging from ropes and wielding the saws of doom to my trees. How did this come about?

The fires inflamed the fears of my neighbors. It lit a fire under the She next door and her He extinguished the flames by asking my He to cut down all of the 100 ft Eucalyptus trees on the property line. She would not be able to sleep well until the fire danger those trees represent to her were gone. I argued for the trees. With a full western exposure and a hot little house, I begged to keep the shade afforded us. I argued that our trees were a mere dent in the population of huge trees surrounding the area and belonging to many of our neighbors. Were all of the adjacent tree owners on board and willing to cut down trees so She could sleep?

The stumps testify to the life that once stood proud. The logs being sawed will not fuel my fireplace. Seeing those logs have set a fire inside of me. Not the good kind. Now my He has some fires to put out. This She is hot...

Travel Necessities

If I run away from home I will pack lightly and take my new dog STEEZY. I still love her and am glad to have her, even if she barks too much. Any advice from you dog whisperers out there?...

Surviving Christmas

I have searched my memory and cannot remember ever anticipating Christmas with joy and calmness. Even as a child the holidays were fraught with anxiety. The parents divorced when I was 6. My brothers were 7 and 3. We never had a secure financial foundation. When it comes to finances, my whole life has been a consistent roller coaster ride. Some things never change. As adults it is only slightly easier to adjust and cope with the unexpected. Easier, none the less.

Yesterday I participated in a dismal "craft show". It was misrepresented to vendors. It was really a country club event for the children to have Santa arrive in a helicopter, not to shop at our 8 foot table spaces. We were 36 vendors crammed into a poorly lit space. The club members were eating and drinking and running amok. I had items snagged, dragged to the floor and near misses with red wine.

When we entered the venue, we were given a contract to sign. Here are some of the high (low) points. The food and beverages on site were for members only. We were to wait until the event ended and could then partake in leftovers. We paid $50.00 for table rental and donated a raffle item. We set up at noon through the side door and were not allowed to leave until after 5pm. The organizers foolishly put all the hand knits in one area, all the jewelry vendors together, etc. The vendors included Cookie Lee. Nothing against CL, I own some and enjoy wearing it- hardly the upscale handcrafted market that was promoted.

Call the craft sale police. At 3 pm I packed up my goods and exited. I had made 2 sales to friends from church that came out to support me. I appreciate them coming and I know that they are sincere fans of my bags, as they have been customers in the years past. All of the vendors nearby felt the same way I did, but chose to stay. I had better things to do. This is my rant. Thanks for the chance.

On a brighter note, I came home to an email from a women that saw one of my bags, a customer was carrying, and she wants one. She owns the local J.Jill store and perhaps she and I can get together. Of course my husband thinks I should be selling these world wide. He doesn't get that each one is so organically mine. Hand knit with an original design, each one modified and made only once with the best quality yarns from all over the world. Many purchased during trips. The yarns are one of a kind hand dyed, or yarns no longer manufactured. Oops, I may have slipped back into the rant. When I was growing up in the Detroit area there was a local columnist that wrote a weekly feature called "Monday Morning Moaning" in The Free Press. I must be channeling that energy this Monday morning.

We have just come through a winter weekend in San Diego. We had a down pouring of rain with snow above 3000 feet. Snow capped mountains are visible all around us because the air is clear and brisk. No smog from LA or marine layer off of the ocean. Spouse man took pictures and you can see what I am talking about. It has been cold. In the low 40's and high 30's, at night. Frost is on the ground. Christmas must be right around the corner.

Saturday night was a fun holiday/50th birthday party that will long be remembered for the rain on the tent and puddles and umbrellas. It was fun to need boots and coats for a change. I have busted out my gloves and been seen wearing a hat!

The house is decorated for Christmas thanks to Karen. I went traitor and purchased an artificial tree. I love it. Yet, I want to run away from home. Christmas. Look at the neat ornament one of my dear students gifted me with. I am blessed in a push me, pull me sort of way...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday All Day

It is Wednesday. I can't sleep, must have had caffeine in my decaf at 3pm this afternoon. So I have to get up in 6 hours and get to church for our WBS at 7:45. Following that there is a celebration lunch for Kay's birthday. We eat at the Rancho Santa Fe Inn and the Christmas decorations should be lovely. I pick up the boys and drop them at our house and make some quick dinner for them before heading off to Knitwits.

We knit and eat and drink red wine until 9pm. Clean up and lock up and head on home.

Is anyone else wondering what the poor little puppy will be doing all day? Steezy will hang out with me most of the day in the car. She has moved in and loves to go with me. We have her bed, treats, toys, food, leash and hand knit blankie in the Wenskay mobile. We will see how things play out.

The knitwits are finishing their stockings.

We will start a new knit-a-long project in January.

I'll tell you about it tomorrow, or I should say, later...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NCKG Luncheon and Fashion Show

Monday was the annual guild holiday luncheon and fashion show. What fun. Eight knitwits made it to the event and a jolly good time was had by all. We had vendors to shop with, donated raffle items and door prizes in abundance. The inevitable chicken lunch was even good.

The high point is the fashion show. Sometimes you wonder if the show is a competition to show most creative way to use stash,with or without regard to style. We all have different tastes and preferences in clothing. BUT, knitting is wearable art. I respect all creative expression. I may not want to own a Pollock or Kandinsky painting, however, I appreciate the art and the artists. Same with the knitted pieces. Hit the Pollock link and move your mouse to create your own masterpiece.

So, take a stroll through the gallery of knitted art photographed for your enjoyment. I was inspired, awestruck, surprised, amused and delighted. I hope you will find yourself just as fascinated...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Motherhood and Mornings

Holy smokes.Thank God for coffee. I am so tired. I do not do mornings. I really do not do 4:30 am, unless I never went to bed.Having a new baby when you are 53 is tough. This new baby has an old momma. Thank God she is adorable. Smart as a can be. Steezy learned how to use the doggy door in a few hours with a treat on either side of the door. Dad and the boy were her teachers. She now goes out to potty as needed. It is so weird to have a young, active puppy in the house.

Our Roxie girl had begun to function as a favorite comfy pillow. She decorated her leather chair and cuddled us and her love was in the house and all around us. Her only exercise was to get out of the chair to eat, and go outside when absolutely necessary. Her lack of activity had a gradual onset. We all got older together. My inactivity went hand in hand with hers. I noticed when she quit running out to the car to join me on outings and errands. But, I always deferred to her decision to stay home as she slowed down. Every once in a while Roxie would have a puppy attack and run through the house with a sock in her mouth. She always made us laugh!

The last 5 months without my dog nearby have been lonely. She left a huge whole in our home.

Little Steezy is starting to fill in the hole. She is different. She makes more noise. She buries bones. She runs and plays. Everyday at about 4 pm she has a burst of energy and plays with all of her toys like it is Christmas morning. When she falls asleep, she flops out like a wet noodle or a toy switched off. We are learning so much about each other. This family has expanded and we are all adjusting to our new addition.

I am pleased to report that she has not shown any interest in my yarn stash. She has not touched anything that she should not. I want to catch up with my craft show knitting and the few gifts for Christmas I have committed to. Then I will knit her a sweater for these harsh southern California winters.

We had 2.78 inches of rain on Friday. More than all of the rest of 2007. Steezy has never seen rain in her short life. Definitely hated it. I took her out with an umbrella to potty and she walked between my feet and refused to move. That was the day she chose to eliminate in the house. I could hardly blame her. The rain was lovely for us humans. The ash has finally been washed away and this water will help insure that the fires will not find a stronghold the next time we have Santa Anas. It is cold here. Tonight it is 45 degrees and I my dog and I are sharing an old hand knit blanket made by my mother-in-law 26 years ago.

I finished the 2 large tote bags and a few other bags for the next show. I have delivered 50% of the hand knits collected from the guild members. Monday the preemie hats go to Tri-City Hospital. I will mail the helmet warmers following the January guild meeting. I'm getting organized.

I can't wait to start a couple of projects I have been thinking of knitting for the selfish pleasure. I might even keep them for me? What a concept. Tomorrow, the Christmas decorations come out and the season officially begins. Did I mention I am tired? No rest for the wicked. Bundled up, I will work on a beanie for my mohawk boy. If I went to bed before midnight, maybe mornings wouldn't be so morningish...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not on the To Do List

We adopted a dog. She is shiny and new and I feel like a new Mom. Evan named her for a skateboarding term. Steezy. Unusual, I know. It is a compilation of style and ease. A good thing. Steeze. She is the cutest little Dachsund/Beagle mix and I am in love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Agendas

What is your agenda for the holidays this year? Are you angling for a special gift? Hoping to heal a relationship or bridge some gap in the family? Looking for deeper connections and spiritual growth? Surviving the next 40 days with grace and humor? Achieving world peace and financial stability forever and ever, amen? All of the above? Well, let me give you the first step in seeing this good work begun. Make a list!

I am the Queen of lists. All of my life I have structured my needs and wants in linear columns. The scientific method of outlining life is my compass. I am thankful for the internet this Thanksgiving. I sent out a beautiful greeting card to many of you, printed out my shopping list for the feast preparations, printed the flight itinerary's for the 2 airport pick ups on Wednesday, researched future flights for the next trip planned to MI, and now get to rant on this blog. What fun.

My list includes organizing my time for the next few days to optimize gas use and expedite the errands. Cleaning and cooking will take place on Thursday, since dinner is not till 5 pm. We will have a full house with 13 diners. Christine and her family are joining us. They love my cooking, so they are golden guests. I can cook Turkey dinner with my eyes closed. It is easy and fun for me. I stress over the cleanliness of the house and the effect of the hubbub on Ryan.

The other stress factor is the notice we received in the mail from SDG&E that says they will be turning off the power to our local grid on Wednesday for a few hours. If we all get food poisoning due to the fridge losing power- I may have to write a letter to SDG&E. This company must be run by men? Who thinks turning the power off for even 5 minutes ( when everyone needs to vacuum and do laundry and cook), is a good idea??!! Lordy.

I take comfort in my list making. It calms me to see every task written out and clicked off as I go. I will even write in the extra things I get done and then check them off. I read somewhere that this is a symptom of something? Whatever.

The other biggie on my holiday agenda is the family Christmas photo. This year you are in for a treat. Evan has gifted us early by expressing his creative self in the form of a Mohawk haircut. Oh, yes. Can't wait to share. You know that there isn't a button-down, oxford cloth shirt in the world that can dress up this look. Scary. If we wear matching colors will it be less noticeable? Should we feature him front and center, or have him wear a hat? I want to remember this character. I want to immortalize him in all of his 15 year old glory. This could be a memorable holiday.

I delivered one custom order bag Saturday. I have the next one on the needles with completion and delivery by next week. As soon as this one is in the felting stage the other one will be started. I want them delivered to their respective homes by the 2nd of December. My final show is at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club December the 9th, 1-5 pm. Come by and see me. It is open to the public and decorated beautifully for the season.I do love knitting my bags and selling them to appreciative owners. Remember to do something that you love to do this holiday season. Put it on your list. Put you on your list...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Post Fire Stress Syndrome

Time is flying quickly towards the holidays and we are being swept along. The craft show came together with all of the right ingredients for a perfect day. It was sunny, cool and crisp. A picture perfect fall day. Much better than the predicted rain. I stayed up all night finishing handbags. Sewing on the handles and crocheting closures. I was proud of my products and prepared to say goodbye as they made their way to a new home. Due to the extra set of Karen's hand on Friday, I was able to finish more than I had planned. Our own sweatshop right here in Encinitas. Momma was proud.

The set up went seamlessly and my location on the property was prime. Karen arrived with Starbucks, the cash box, and her best sales pitch. We were as ready as could be given the past month. Nobody came. Those that did, were stoic and complimentary. They were the friendliest bunch of lookers I have ever met. I sold less than 1/4 of last years sales total. Only 15 items! From 9 am until 4 pm. Fortunately, some of the bigger ticket items sold and custom orders for 2 large totes came through. Last year the proceeds of the sale bought a trip for 4 to NYC. This year four of us can go out to dinner with wine and call it a night. Heather helped out and someone tried to buy the sweater off of her back. It was too cold to give it up! I was so desperate to sell, I was willing to pimp her sweater to the highest bidder. Her wisdom prevailed and the sweater remained on her back.

We vendors talked amongst ourselves and agreed. Post fire stress has everyone evaluating their purchases and monitoring their spending. The good news for me came via an invitation to do another craft show in December from a lady that had touched everything in the booth and come back twice. She covertly revealed her mission to me, handed me an application, and assured me I was only one of a select group of special vendors. Flattery aside, I have inventory and will give it one more shot. December 9th, here I come. Stay tuned for a happy ending. Regardless, I continue to love my felted bags and the process of creating them. My sweet husband thinks they should sell for $800 each. Isn't that cute?

Tonight is Knitwits and I have a new project to share with the ladies. I think they will love it. I am off to teach, eat and drink the vino. I promise to take photos of the giant Christmas stockings and the girls...

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Tuesday was Knitting Guild. I had just received my latest Interweave Knits magazine and read it from cover to cover. This also coincided with the receipt of the guild newsletter with an editorial on the demise of more local yarn shops and the compelling reasons. We knitters that have been around for a while, know the knitting business is cyclical. Up and down, round and round. When the popularity of this sweet art surges, business booms and shops bloom like a colorful, fertilized garden.

When the shop I worked at closed this Spring, I was so sad. I knew that we were trending down again and I began to contemplate the signs. Shops closing, publications limiting circulation, magazines focusing on patterns with a complexity that appeals to experienced knitters. My job interview for teaching at our local Community College went well. The team putting together the class offerings said they would love to have me, but, knitting wasn't a big trend anymore? They still have not decided to offer knitting classes. I hope they do- for so many reasons.

There is less attention paid to the newbies. More time spent on technique and less on sharing the good news of knitting. What is the happy balance? Internet can be blamed for some shops closing, yet at the same time, access to yarn via the internet has opened up quality materials to all of the most remote regions of the world. This has spread the love of fine quality yarns to knitters that formerly had limited resources. I love to read about something new, do the research and push the "buy" button. I have no answers. I will always knit. I always have. I will teach anyone that wants to learn . Hopefully, I will still be around when the next surge of new knitters need me.

Saturday is my annual craft show. I am woefully unprepared. So little time, so little stock, so little energy. I have a full schedule which includes book club tonight. I read the book, printed out the reader guide and I am going. Saturday will come. Ready, or not. It is supposed to rain or drizzle. Grey and cold and humid. My felted bags have not dried. I have locked them in the guest room with the heat full blast and hope I can sew in the linings and handles tomorrow. Everything else you see piled on the table to tag and photograph. I may pull an all nighter. Nature has conspired against me this year and I am going with it. I will drink a glass of red wine to the power of nature, while discussing a good read and knitting a mohair ruffle to adorn a little evening bag. Multi-tasking moms and the lives we lead...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Going on a cruise is so relaxing. With no internet, telephone, schedule, television or family needs to meet, I regained the soundtrack in my head. It was so weird. With my brain freed from it's normal overload of the twirling Rolodex in my head, it turns out I have a streaming play list of oldies, but goodies. This creates awkward moments of humming and spontaneous bursts of song. Fine with me. My friends may not agree. They were pretty tolerant.

We all let our hair down on the Carnival Fun Ship, Elation. The food wasn't that good. I consumed my weight in wine(that is what I said). Karaoke and dancing were a big part of each evening, so my net loss was 2 pounds. Not Bad. So now, back on dry land it is time to put my hair up and get back in the saddle. The work horse is hitched to the post outside.

The boys did not do as much damage as usual. That was a relief. I have restocked the pantry and fridge, cooked some meals for the week ahead, run a few loads of laundry and happily hope to knit tonight.

Oh yes, the knitting on board did not go as planned. It was 90+ degrees in Cabo, that was true. There was plenty of down time in the deck chair. I carried bags of yarn aboard with me. Yet, somehow my knitting took a backseat to the spa treatments, steam room and the previously mentioned wine. I love red wine and laughter.It is a good prescription.

I gave myself permission to skip the craft show this Saturday. Just verbalizing my lack of preparation has reinvigorated my desire to go do the best I can with the stock I have. Whatever I have leftover is going to be a good start on next year. With the fire occurring when it did, I was unable to felt my bags and set them out to dry for fear of the smoke odor. I can present what I have and enjoy the day. This new "let go" attitude is so weird. I love how it throws everyone off to see me be so blase. An interesting post cruise side effect is a sensation that overcomes me randomly. I suddenly feel almost dizzy. Off-balance. It puts you in the frame of mind to expect the unexpected. With that in mind, I venture forth...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cruising For Fun & Clean Air

It is with a the smallest tug at my guilt strings that I pack my bags for points south aboard the Carnival Cruise ship-Elation. I am concerned about news reports that another Santa Ana is expected for next weekend. We would be in danger again and I am leaving Don an instruction sheet for evacuation.

The work I leave behind will be waiting for me when I return. It might rain and that would be so helpful. Don is actually hosing the concrete today to get rid of some of this soot we keep tracking into the house. The upshot in the house is the purging of possessions. Evan has completely organized his room. I bought closet organizers for him and he made good use of his time off from school. Brianna was a big help and we are proud. Don is working on his closet and Ryan and I tackled his clothes this weekend.

When I return, I have less than one week to felt and hand finish 25 handbags for my sale Nov. 10th. I will be knitting on the cruise whenever possible. Wool bags and 95 degrees. The pool may win. I will be offline for the week. Adios...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Down Time

Today is the start of a Ryan weekend and I couldn't be happier. You see now, that what is often perceived as a burden, is really a blessing. Being housebound for 2 days is just what the doctor ordered. Ryan will talk my ears off and be full of concern for all of his friends. We will reflect together on all of our loved ones. Tomorrow, at church, he will see that all is well and his life continues with nary a missed beat. I get the laundry done and more cleaning. I will sneak in some therapeutic knitting. This evacuation episode has caused people to look at their possessions with a critical eye and discernment. What it is we really need? (Besides Yarn?)

I have smoke voice. Everyone that calls apologizes for waking me up. HA! It is overcast today and the firefighters warned us last night that a mild Santa Ana wind was going to come up today and not to worry. Just realize it stirs up the soot and ash into a bad air fog.

I confess that going on a cruise for 5 days is sounding better to me by the minute. I have talked to so many people that have been helping or have the keen desire to do so. Every contribution is valuable. This community has such a great spirit. Find a church in your area and call them to see what you can do. The Salvation Army needs help coordinating donations, and the Red Cross may be looking for people to help. The local TV stations may have a network set up to channel volunteers. I plan to get out of town and come back refreshed and ready to resume...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Safe,Sound and Sooty

Good Morning. What a day and night. Woke early to the most beautiful bright red full Moon setting over Moonlight beach to the west. More cleaning and laundry. Our faithful and trusty pool guy and Gardeners arrived ready to rock and roll. Loose limbs and downed branches met the chainsaw. Soot and ash were swept and dumped. The pool is no longer pitch black and we can filter it again with the cover on. I still continue to battle the soot in the house and have been told it may not really be clean until the air is clean.

It was 44 degrees This morning with heavy fog. This is great news. As the sun burns off the marine layer and we get the onshore flow the breeze continues to make breathing rough. It will get better each day. How I wish it would rain. Yet blue sky would also be welcome. The smoke haze is getting old.

We were allowed back into Rancho Santa Fe yesterday. Don to his office, me to the church. The skeleton crew of pastors and a handful of members had opened the church Monday to all the firefighters and the efforts grew our church into a command center. As I arrived and so many other elders and deacons responded to help, we were able to spell those local heroes and get to work.

KP is my specialty. We worked as a team to serve dinner to approx 75+ firefighters and police from 5pm until I left at 1 am. Others stayed through the night to serve the platoons of 8-12 that continued to come in for food, a SHOWER and sleep. I will go back for the same shift tonight and must tell you it is a privilege to serve the brave souls that put their lives on the line for us.

As things calm down around here, the FF say they will move with the fire. These crews are from all over the state. The guys I had time to talk to were from Windsor, north of Petaluma. They drove 12 hours to get to us. I learned so much from them about fire. Due to our unique terrain and winds we are a very difficult fire to fight. I got a full tutorial from hard working guys and gals that were happy to have someone to talk to and a full belly.

My galpals and I have decided to go on our cruise as scheduled for Monday. Cabo here I come. I will rest well and then come back and knit and felt bags for my show on Nov the 10th. Then I will clean house with an eye towards preparing for the holidays. Yes, I said the HOLIDAYS...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tired- Not Lazy

Well, as it turns out I am not lazy. As the sun heated up the house I had to get busy with the clean up. If you have been to my house, you know it is not well insulated. Breezy, may best describe the somewhat sketchy construction. When I got up this morning I noticed the soot and ash in the house. Bummer. Turns out there is a fine coat of soot and ash all over the interior. It is just as icky as it sounds.

When we evacuated the TV was giving tips on how to prepare the house and I followed the guidelines. "They" said to take down all of the curtains and move everything 2 feet from the windows. It made sense to me. Explanations were that the intense heat from outside can cause the drapes to melt and then combust and there you are with an interior fire. Today's work was all about getting those curtains up and keeping the heat out. I started by washing and drying the windows and surfaces with white vinegar with water. Dusted off the drapes and vacuumed and washed every surface with the V/W solution. The Living room/Kitchen haven't been this clean in a year.

With each new panel of curtain that went up, the temperature came down a little. Imagine being closed up in your house with nothing open and the outside temp in the high 80's. Who would do that? We have an air cleaner running in the middle of the house and it is also a weak air conditioner, so our air in here gets better and better. Don did go to Kinko's to work and that was better for his lungs. He is focused on work and is over the whole fire thing. His car is unpacked and put away. Mine is still packed and pointed out for escape. Yin and yang after almost 30 years together.

We took a break from our work to eat some fish tacos, field some phone calls, and catch up on news and emails. I decided to give my neglected eyebrows some attention. Hairy and scary. When much to my surprise I saw them! Black soot rings around my neck and arms and face. Newsflash-sweat and soot make you look like a coal miner. Add to the look, a wet dish towel wrapped around my hair to keep this chambermaid cool. I'm off to hit the showers...

Tired or Lazy

I do not want to stop watching the coverage. I do not want to clean. I feel fussy. I may go take a nap. We are not supposed to use water, so you could say it is a government mandate that I not clean. Thats the ticket, ... These are photos from last night in San Clemente-Notice smoke to the south and blue skies to the north. Heather and I are fire buddies for life. Don't I look tired...

Home Sweet Home

Okay. You got me. Yes, I was fantasizing about life in a FEMA trailer and rebuilding a nice, air tight house on a berm so we could enjoy the view of the ocean. In this crazy dream world, all was well. There was no sign of the loss and misery of rebuilding with your history gone up in flames. That's what fantasy is all about. Pleasure, not pain.

We have been spared the pain. The air is lousy and we sound like we have colds. The grounds are covered in soot, ash and downed tree limbs. I do not want to stir up that mess until this is all over. Inside the house it is stinky with smoke and a fine layer of soot dust is on every surface. I could use a sanitation team. I am going to use the one room at a time method, from smallest to largest. Cleaning and moving back in with attention to how irrelevant most of our "stuff" is. This will take some time. Don has informed me that he is so far behind in work, that Evan and I are on our own.

Last night we got restless and got in Heather's car (ours are full of aforementioned stuff) and drove north to San Clemente. Our friends invited us to drink wine on their beautiful rooftop with an expansive ocean view. As we took deep clean breaths, smoke to the south built up and the Camp Pendleton Fires became visible. Driving south on the 5 we saw up close the orange flames licking over the hilltop next to the freeway. Within the hour, the 5 was shut down in both directions. It was a good thing Heather got us back to Tom. He stayed behind to work in peace. Oceanside central looked so good to us all. At 11pm we got the news we could go home. See for excellent coverage.

We packed up and drove home. Through orange cones on Lone Jack and on to the house. Dark, quiet and eerie. Dirty, but intact and safe. This morning Don was up and out early. He tried to get to his office in Rancho Santa Fe. Armed National Guard in Humve's stopped him and turned him away. I won't feel better until that area opens up and our friends can get home.

Helicopters flew over our house with water buckets heading east. It was a "Hurray!" moment. When reporters refer to this being like a war zone- that encompasses the feelings of anxiety and rejoicing in the rescue aspect.

We slept well in our own beds last night. I slept in so late avoiding work as long as possible. Now, I want to update you and then answer email, then get to scrubbing. First and foremost a big THANK YOU to our hosts, Tom and Heather. Evan said it best, as we left late last night. " Hands down, the best place to find refuge!" We could not say it any better. I will not unpack the car until the fires in Rancho Santa Fe are clear and Don can get to his office and our friends can begin their clean up. I have tried to call those that left messages on the home phone and appreciate everyone that checks this sight for updates. My knitting days are on hold until we feel like we can hang the art back on the walls...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Headed Home

Late night reprieve. We are heading home with permission, We are curious and cautious. We will not unpack the cars, just in case. Continue to pray for the rest of the county. Thanks for your support, prayers and good thoughts all around. I finished one handbag to felt- and get to use my washing machine soon!

Stadium Stands Out - Not New Orleans

I am sure that if you are following the news you have had to draw comparisons to the Katrina Disaster. This county has evacuated 500,000 people and provided services where needed. Order reigns and the citizens are behaving well. The looters found so far were a couple of teenagers helping themselves to a cold beer at the neighbors house.

Our gov- Arnold is here and teaching yoga to the kids in the stadium. Food and water are being delivered. The loss of your home is really beyond the scope of most imaginations. Comfort is hard to give, but San Diego knows how to reach out.We are fairing pretty well as a county and we are proud. If we could send in the wine we would have a firefest. Not making light of anyones situation. Just grateful for the light hearted help to the heavy hearted...