Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Fire This Time - Thursday 3/15/2007

I was working from home this afternoon, because we were going to go camping tonight. So I smelled a little smoke, went outside and saw some over the hill, and decided to be silly and put the birds in their cages. By the time I'd done it, I could see flames from my front door! There'd been an accident on the freeway on the other side of "Hydra's Mountain," and whoosh, up and over the hill it came.

I called Hydra to tell him I was leaving, and then sprinted back and forth to the Tahoe with the birds, a hamper full of files, my laptop, my camera, some bags we already had packed for camping. Hosed down the house a little, turned on the sprinkler system, and decided I needed to go. Took the first shot here as I was leaving our back yard.

I got into the Tahoe and hear the smoke alarm going off...what tha? It's Dodger, doing a dead-on impression of it. Good boy.

Parked the car down on Santiago Road and watched while our local volunteer firemen, the county fire department, the Forest Service fire trucks and even some local water hauling trucks went up into the neighborhood.

It looked very bad for a while. Our house was right in the path of the fast-moving fire. But the fire breaks and the firefighters worked. Also, our neighbor Alex watered down his house, and ours and the one on the other side!

We walked to the house while there were still a lot of trucks in the street. Then walked back down to get our vehicles and Hydra passed out Gatorade and Cokes. We thanked every firefighter we saw.

Our heroes! We've hiked this hill and it's killer even without all that gear!

The after shot. I paced off the distance from the top of our slope to the last burned area...about 25 feet. Gulp. I didn't get all the windows closed in the house...there are ashes on the kitchen counter.

I took a bunch of photos and will post more tomorrow. The adrenaline is beginning to wear off and I think I'm going to go stretch out.

The firefighters are still up there digging out hot spots. I couldn't be more grateful.

That's the corner of our garage roof on the left.

All's Quiet on the Home Front - Wednesday 3/14/2007

No word regarding D's possible deployment to Iraq. I don't think he wanted anyone to know about it, because when I asked HT if he'd heard anything, he said, "No, just what T told us the other day."

Even Grumps--who clearly likes D a lot--and the other servers don't seem to know what's up. I guess my instincts were correct the other day.

Maybe if D's going to go for a medical out because of the stroke, he doesn't want everyone to know about it. Hey, whatever it takes.

My concern for my friend Scryblgrrl mounts. She was in the Army for something like ten years and served in the first Gulf War, probably around the time D did, given their ages. She's heard from friends who stayed in for careers about how the military is not properly supporting them. She knew about the lack of body armor, etc., long before it hit the news.

Yes, I'm a liberal. Or am I supposed to say progressive? I don't know for sure. I don't think we can get rid of the military. But I believe that they have put their trust in the government to direct them to do the right thing, and we have to let the government know when we think they're off.

Supporting our troops means acknowledging their amazing willingness to put themselves on the line and not asking them to do it for the wrong reasons. It also means following up with services once they get home. They've given much more than just the years or months they are actually in service. They've also given up paths their lives might otherwise have taken.

Like Hydra, for instance, who probably would have become a skating pro if he hadn't gone to Vietnam.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Magic Boots! - Tuesday 3/13/2007

Look how fast those hands are moving! Hydra's new custom made Harlick's skate boots arrived via UPS.

We're both excited that he's going to get back on the ice. He's going to have his old blades mounted on the new boots...after they get resized. They didn't fit just right.

Hydra was a pretty highly ranked competative skater. 2nd in Eastern Great Lakes Sub-Sectional Sr. Men's Championships (9 states), 3rd in Midwestern Sr. Men's Championships, 8th in Jr. Men's National in 1966.

At some point I will rent some skates and fall down a few times, in support. I did all my skating on lakes, and the only jumps I did were to avoid ice fishing holes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Disturbing News - Monday 3/12/2007

Monday morning at Bob's, HT says to me, “We just received some very disturbing news.”


“D—You know D? He works up here?” he says, pointing to the booths along the broad expanse of window up front.


“He is going to Iraq. T just told us. It’s very disturbing news.”

“It is,” I agree. My stomach clenches and my eyes suddenly feel full. D seems like a very good man. Sometimes when he comes in at six a.m. he is still wearing his night watchman’s uniform. He has a family. If he’s already working two jobs, how’s he supposed to support them on a military salary? And the man had a stroke in the past year or so, how can they call him up?

“Do you know if he has a couple of weeks or anything? Will we see him again before he goes?” I ask when HT comes by to refill my hot water pot.

“I don’t know,” HT says, “T just told us. It’s ridiculous. He’s in the Reserve. He already served, and they’re sending him back. What for? It’s useless.”
HT is from Thailand, I think. He is in his mid- to late-thirties, like D, and he and has a heavy accent.

“I just heard last night on 60 MinutesAndy Rooney said they are going to recruit drop-outs and ex-cons. You’ll get people who beat up little grandmas in walkers.”

“A lot of people are in jail for drug offenses,” I say, “Put them over there in high stress situations, and how are they going to react?” These are the people who D is supposed to rely upon for support? These are the people who are supposed to support each other?

“People shouldn’t be punished for drugs. It is its own punishment. They lose their lives.” HT stands in the aisle, forming some sort of drug apparatus with his hands, “Don’t breathe it. Don’t do it.”

I am so upset about this. I could cry. I could yell. Very disturbing news indeed

I find myself watching the door as the six o’clock shift comes on. No D.

I hope I get a chance to talk to D before he goes. If he goes. Hopefully, he will not have to go for medical reasons. If he does, I want to tell him to keep in touch. I'm sure my office will rally to send him care packages.

HT put it well. This is very disturbing news.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More About Chai - Sunday 3/11/2007

The thing I like about chai as opposed to other kinds of flavored teas is that it involves real spices not just painted on flavors.

The tea planets were alligned in my favor on Thursday. The same day that Jenks gave me all those teas and set images of iced peach tea dancing in my head, I found my mailbox at home amazingly fragrant. My sister had sent me chai and some chai spices along with a book for my birthday. (Yes, belated. We don't sweat it too much in my family.)

My favorite is the bag of Indian spices. Yum. I used a teaspoon along with two teaspoons of Assam today in my three cup pot. She also sent extra whole cloves and allspice. I bought some whole cinnamon, and I have fennel and peppercorns, so I may experiment with my own blends soon.

Tea and writing are closely connected for me. I almost always brew a pot before I sit down to write. The act of preparing it separates the moment from other moments of the day, and it feels like a treat.

Brrring! - Saturday 3/10/2007

Hydra and I watched Stranger Than Fiction this evening.

I loved this movie. I never thought that I’d say that about a Will Farrel movie, but the lad done good. I love any filmmakers who use Emma Thompson, or Linda Hunt, or Tom Hulce (barely recognizable), or Tony Hale, and here they are, all of them. Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhall and Queen Latifah are wonderful too.

I have a feeling that movies about writing are to writers what movies about Vietnam are to Vietnam vets. Each feels vehemently that the experience was or was not truly captured, depending upon her/his own experience.

I completly loved Emma Thompson’s writer. Yes, yes, yes. I think the problem with my first (unsold) novel is that I didn’t want to do to the main character what needed to be done. When I eventually go back to it, I will have to kill some darlings.

MOVIE SPOILER ALERT:::::::::::::::::

Reason number 1 billion and 8 why I adore Hydra.

Toward the end of the film, he put it on pause and went to the kitchen for something. The phone rang. It was about 9:15. I didn’t want to answer it. I’m organizing a campout and I figured it was someone from there.

“Don’t answer it!” I hollered.

But then I thought better of it, and picked up the phone.

“Hello, this is Logan,” a voice said.

Yes, the hair did stand up on the back of my neck for a second. That’s the name of the main character in the novel I’m working on!

He couldn’t hold it for long, though. Of course, it was Hydra, gaslighting me in his own inimitable way. LOL!

Prognosis: Peachy! Friday 3/9/2007

Our dwarf peach tree is coated with blossoms. Last year we had no peaches. This year looks very promising.

I'm going to have to go pluck more than half of these off pretty soon, though. You can't fit that many peaches on a branch!