IN THE THICK OF THINGS
5 July 2008
I am starting to write this at 5 p.m., dusk in Santa Barbara and the air outside has an "other-worldly" quality about it. It reminds me of the first full eclipse of the sun that I ever experienced.
The reason is that the air is full of particulate matter, ash from the Gap fire, which has now burned some 6000 acres and is not expected to be contained for perhaps as long as another 4 weeks. Experts are warning against going outside, especially the young and the old, which pretty much covers the age range here!
Walt's brother and his wife arrived from the Bay Area and then Tom and Laurel brought Bri, who was, of course, the instant center of attention:
At first she was OK with the attention.
But she's teething (yes, at 3 mos. Laurel says her mother says she cut her first tooth at 4 mos) and so not at all happy.
But with Mommy holding her she eventually calmed down ... just don't let anybody else touch her when she's not feeling good!
Though DO catch the video of the day over there on the left, for some Daddy calnesthetics. This usually produces laughs, Laurel tells me, but not today.
We discussed what to do about tomorrow's BBQ and decided that with all the health warnings and the fact that Tom and Joe hadn't been able to purchase food yet, because of power outages at the store, it was best to cancel the BBQ. The event is to celebrate Tom's birthday each year, so we decided instead to go to brunch at a restaurant down on Santa Barbara pier (if you want to be safe from fire, eat on a place over water!)
With that decision having been made, Tom, Laurel and Bri went home and a contingent of the rest of us went to the convalescent hospital to see Walt's mother.
I don't know what I was expecting. We didn't think she was going to live 3-4 weeks ago. And they are saying she needs to be in this hospital at least a month. Her roommate is a woman who is slowly dying.
So I was prepared for the worst, and not only pleasantly surprised, but downright amazed that she was sitting up, dressed, alert, and cracking jokes. She is better than the last few times I saw her before the crisis.
She told her doctor she wasn't ready to kick the bucket yet, and I'm thinking, looking at her today, that this is a lady who will dance at her granddaughter's wedding after all (of course there won't be dancing, but I really think she could!)
Joe has just come back from the store, with the report that the fire is
"very close," so I am going to end this and post it because, depending on
the vagaries of the wind, we could be evacuated yet. Here in Santa
Barbara, they have what they call "sundowner winds," which mean
that toward the end of the day, the winds
come sweeping down from the hills and toward the ocean. All day the
winds have been pushing the fire away from the houses, but as the sundowners
start to blow, they will start pushing them toward the houses. Let's
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 56 miles