More random thoughts about The Fire

Tamar asked me in an email how I felt about Arnold’s and W’s response. I didn’t really know how to answer. The governor has been here. A lot. The president is coming tomorrow. I guess its nice to not be the orphan stepchild of Los Angeles for a change, and I think it may be kind of exciting to see these folks close up and personal if you’re in an evacuation center. Maybe it even makes you feel special, like The Government cares. I don’t know. I see a lot of back slapping and everyone feeling proud of themselves for how coordinated we all are this time around. Not a lot of quality information coming out of these press conferences.

The reverse 911 calling worked. I got a call that said I should be prepared. I was. Thankfully I never got a follow up Mandatory Evacuation call. Our last big fire, Firestorm 2003 I think it was, caused the death of 15, and I don’t know how many injured. Residents did not get out fast enough. Lots of people were caught unawares. This time they were being cautious. I’m ok with that. Better safe than sorry. Next time lets use the cell phone system. Lots of folks don’t have land lines anymore. (those young whippersnappers)

It doesn’t appear to be too chaotic here. I think we learned a lot from the Katrina as well as the Firestorm 2003. I suspect it won’t be long before we forget. We’ll rebuild on land that needs to burn to live. We’ll rebuild where there is not enough water. SDGE will get their new powerline. And so it goes. Until the next fire.


Resource: people suffering with stress following the wildfires can contact the Orange Co Emergency Op Center hotline

Therapy first. Housing, clothing second. –Only in So Cal.

Walmart donated 1 million to the Red Cross today with $400,000 in supplies, Wells Fargo gave $500,000 and SAIC gave $100,000

Maybe Walmart isn’t the evil empire.

Community members are looking for volunteers to help knit blankets for anyone that lost home

Aren’t there some knitting bloggers out there?? email to hook up (that’s crochet talk for connect) with the folks looking for knitters

Relief Push at Qualcomm Includes Acupuncture, Massage, Comedy

hmmm. not sure about the acupuncture thing. Sort of like getting kicked when you’re down? of course I’m a needle phobic so what do I know.

Items needed at Qualcomm: Diet soda, store bought socks and under garments, feminine products

Diet soda! Please, I neeeeeeeed a diet soda! and I need it now!

Fire Watch Continues

Even though I am at work, its all we’re talking about. And now the fire fighters have set a back fire in Camp Pendleton to protect the nuclear plant and transmission lines.

A few random thoughts:

We are advised to conserve energy because a major transmission line is down. Funny. SDGE wants to build a new transmission line that is very controversial. Not that I think the fire is some sort of conspiracy to showcase the importance of the new Sun Rise Power Link but I do wonder about the urgency, especially in light (no pun intended) of our recent Enron-created power shortage.

I finally see a use for Twitter. KPBS is using twitter to create a sort of publicly accessible newswire. Much more useful than knowing that someone just picked his nose or tied her shoe.

Fire is scary.

Fire is beautiful.

Neighbors help neighbors. Local radio station 94.9 FM let KPBS use their signal to broadcast news when the KPBS tower was lost due to the fires. Thank you. I will make an effort now to listen more to FM 94.9 when I am in the mood for music. It doesn’t hurt that they are already on my car presets and their music rocks.

Some advice if you DO evacuate your home. Leave your gate open. Apparently some folks may have lost their homes because fire fighters could not get past their security gates.

I’m glad I don’t smoke anymore… not only would I still be a social outcast, and smell bad, I would have to be standing outside in this nasty air. yuck.

I have too much stuff. And most of it is not very important. How sad is that.

For a brief moment, I thought how liberating it would be to have everything burn. I said to my sister, “Just think, we wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with all that stuff from Dad’s condo.” At first she said, “Jenn. Don’t even THINK that.” Then she admitted she had the same thought.

Thanks to everyone who has inquired about my health and safety either via email or via the blog. I”m fine. Debby is fine. Our homes are fine. All our stuff is fine. Kitties are fine. All in all Life is Good.

where there’s hope

The voluntary evacuation order for my neighborhood has been lifted. Solana Beach is safe. For now. I didn’t really think I would have to evacuate, or that Solana Beach would be in any real danger, but I was ready.

Sunday started out like any other Sunday. Or rather any one that I spend with my sister. We went out to the new Nordstroms Rack. She was looking for shoes. I think. And I just went to keep her company. We ended up at The Rack, and Lohmans too, and a quick stop in Ulta Beauty… and lunch, and the next thing I knew it was 5pm and I was exhausted. And a hundred dollars poorer! oh well. We had fun.

After dropping Debb off at her house, I continued on South from Encinitas to Solana Beach, driving south on El Camino Real, to where it turns into Manchester Ave to the I-5. As I turned the corner from El Camino, I turned right into a massive grey orange cloud bank. Visibility was lacking. I called my sister and said, “Do you have the news on? what is going on? it’s like I’m driving into Armageddon.”
“She didn’t have the news on, I told her I would call her when I got home.”

The drive home was eerie. Quiet and orange and hot. As I got closer to my house the visibility worsened. I was sure my house was on fire. But there were no fire trucks so that didn’t really make any sense.

My roommate Susann was home when I returned and I said “WTF? is going on?” and she told me the fire was in Ramona. She had thanfully closed all the windows so the cinders were not in the house. much. Ramona is like 25 miles away. Inland. Waaaay inland. I know this because my friend Jill lived there until very very recently, and going to her house took hours. Ok, maybe only 45 minutes. But Ramona is OUT there. I used to have clients out there (when I did QuickBooks consulting) and I would make them pay a 3 hour minimum instead of the standard 2, because Ramona is OUT there!

ANYWAY. Watched some news. Had some dinner. Went to bed. Woke up at 6 am– Thank you kitties– and turned on the news… everything was burning. EVERYTHING. EVERYWHERE. The sky, the air was orange. Ashes were falling like snow.

Several calls with my sister later, I decided to start packing the car up just in case. It’s amazing when you look at your stuff, and look at your VW Beetle, and realize that even with the back seat folded down flat, the car just really doesn’t fit that much stuff. And what’s important?

Me. Sister. Roommate. Kitties. Puppies. In that order. Fortunately I didn’t need room for my sister or my roommate, or Chico (the chihuahua). But still, there’s not much room in the trunk of a VW Beetle.

I opened my closets (yes I have several) and stared at the stacks of things on those top shelves, those shelves that when you first move into a place you wonder what you will need them for. I stared at the stacks, the cute pseudo milk crates from the container store that hold my hats, my purses, my … um… can’t really say what’s in the other two. I scanned the suitcases, the arms from my office chair, the books that I have deemed not worthy to be showcased in my offical bookcase and wondered what the heck I need all this stuff for!

Then I moved onto the garage and stared at all the boxes of things, the china, the doll collection that was my mothers, the Christmas ornaments from my childhood, things I inherited from my grandparents… what it came down to was: family photos, the slides I have not yet digitized, the papers from my Dad’s as yet unsettled estate, the green and yellow afghan my mother crocheted for me before she died, the jewelry– even though much of it is costume it is of sentimental value, my journals so that when I become a famous writer and am dead there will be an archive of my work, some clothes, my dopkit, my favorite pillow, a blanket and a beach chair. Of course my laptop computer, with aforementioned great as of yet unpublished book on its hard drive. Because if I lost it all in a fire, I would need hope.

What would you take in an evacuation? what would you need to keep you going?

kitties are more fun than Armageddon

I should be blogging about the fires. I could pick any one of the seven fires burning in San Diego County. Even the one that is marching towards my house. (We’re on standby for evacuation right now here in Solana Beach) INSTEAD. I will share with you photos of my new kitties.
** note ** I tried to upload a video, but for some reason it does not work. I’ll try later.

instead, here’s a photo of Calliope. Muse of Epic Poetry.

and Clio. Muse of History.

Kitties Kitties and More Kitties

This is Cider. For now. She is 4 months old. She is mine. She is crazy. She is sweet. She wants to lick my nose at night. She is crazy.

This is Apple. For now. She is 4 months old. She has a moustache. She is mine. She is quiet. She is Cider’s sister.

I wanted one. But when I found out they were sisters I couldn’t break up a family.

They both need new names. I’m toying with Calliope and Clio (muses and sisters). If anyone has any famous sister names give me a holler.

More pictures coming soon. If they stay still long enough.

PS they are from Helen Woodward Animal Shelter. They are spayed already.

Did I forget to mention…

I just applied for a blogging gig. For KPBS radio/tv.

KPBS is recruiting bloggers for an election-based project called Citizen Voices. Six people will be selected to blog as “citizen journalists” for from January 2008 through November 2008. Selected applicants will be trained (beginning Nov. 2007) in journalistic ethics to maintain fair and accurate writing. Those selected will represent diverse perspectives (culture,life experience, gender, and geographic) and write about how election issues affect their lives and their communities. In addition to being published on, bloggers will periodically be featured on-air on KPBS Radio and TV….. continue reading about the Citizen Voices Project ->

As part of the application, they requested a cover letter (300-500 words) outlining your (my) experience, along with a professional resume and clips of any published work.

How in the world do you sum up who you are, and your “unique perspective” in 500 words. I didn’t even get to MENTION the fact that I am writing a book. And that I have a cat that just died. And my sister has cancer.

It’s so hard to know what to put in, and what to leave out.

I barely touched upon my political views. Or the fact that although I say I am left leaning I am so disgusted with the politicos on BOTH sides of the aisle, and that I am tired of the divisivness, and the personalization, and demonization within our own nation, and that I can say that in rhyme. Should I have mentioned my idea for mandatory political service by lottery? sort of a draft for congress? Or my uncle’s idea to curtail lobbyist spending by moving the capitol to Boise… think about it.

At one point I had revealed that I’m an NPR-o-holic but I figured the convulsions said it better. Should I have written that I like long walks on sandy beaches at sunset, and I enjoy fine wine and foreign movies? nevermind. wrong ad.

The fact that I studied Spanish Linguistics is on my official resume, but it doesn’t fess up that my Spanish gets really good after a couple shots of tequila. Or that I can say “Please pass the butter” in German.

And I didn’t include the fact that I could PODCAST my blog posts, recording on my M-Audio digital recorder, and my fancy Beyer microphone (with XLR to 1/4″ cable) and I can edit my own audio and lay in a music track, and …

Oh well. It’s done. I applied. A continuation of the year of Why Not Me.

So, dear readers– all five of you– I thought I would share my little essay. All about me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. And when you’re done reading… we can talk about you. Just leave a comment and tell me what YOU think about me. Old joke, I know.

I am applying for the Citizen Voices project. My writing skills, experience as a blogger, passion for public radio and interest in politics would make me a great citizen journalist for KPBS. Of course I think my perspective is unique. I believe we all have more in common than not, politically, socially, and culturally. I do admit to leaning to the left but I strive to be fair, and to listen to all sides of an issue before I make a decision. Perhaps its my Libra rising. And perhaps that is my tongue in cheek salute to my California roots.

I scan the Union Tribune with my morning coffee and count on my commute to keep me up to date and ready to good-naturedly debate friends, family and co-workers. I drive to work listening to Morning Edition and on the way home I catch Marketplace. I nearly went into convulsions when I found out that I could subscribe to public radio podcasts with my new iPod. At work I’m known as Google Girl. I’m always the first to find information online. I know my way around the internet and even manage two blogs along with the company’s MySpace presence.

As a Navy brat I lived all across the country from Washington DC to Hawaii though I rightfully call myself a California native. And,because my grandparents retired in Del Mar in 1972 the San Diego area has always been home. I spent my college years here, and except for a six-year stint in Chicago in the 90s, I’ve spent most of my adult life here as well, from La Mesa to Leucadia. I currently live in Solana

Through San Diego Writers, Ink, I participate in the First Friday Prose open mic event each month. Over the last year I’ve gotten fairly comfortable performing in front of a microphone. My only television experience was in Argentina in 1993 as part of a Group Study Exchange Program sponsored by Rotary International. Our team
was big news throughout Patagonia and as one of the strongest Spanish speakers, I was often called upon to speak for the group. In Spanish.

I’d like to think my community is the global community, but the truth is I’ve cobbled together a rag tag group of middle-aged, middle income, mostly local friends from all walks of life: writers, artists, construction workers, real estate agents, computer geeks, accountants and flight attendants representing most of the middle of the political spectrum. We care about local, national and global issues, and sometimes dryer lint.

We all want the same things out of life, good health, a decent job, a nice place to live and to find fulfillment creatively, and spiritually.

My resume is attached, which includes a list of published articles and links to my various blogs. I am eager to learn more about the citizen voices project– I’d love the opportunity to participate.


PS. I vote.

Of course I have 200 pages of unpublished, incomplete memoir that perhaps says it better, or more deeply than I would say on a blog. Or in a cover letter or a resume.

Who are any of us anyway?