Tuesday Tangents

  1. Happy first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, and the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere. I’m making assumptions that the world agrees that the autumnal/vernal equinoxes are today. It’s a big assumption.
  2. After checking my facts, it seems the world is celebrating the first day of autumn but the equinox doesn’t happen until the 23rd, according to some sources. Also, not all countries, regions, and religions celebrate this day as the autumnal/vernal equinox.
  3. Hard to celebrate the change of seasons when so many are displaced by storms, wars, and wildfires, and we’re enduring global pandemic. The human side of the world seems like it’s in bad shape. Doesn’t look like it’ll be getting better soon.
  4. I’m a guy who rarely looks for home runs (but, as Steve Winwood sang, “While you see a chance, you take it”). I usually operate as a small steps person, constantly striving for improvements, and always looking for ways to measure them. Some measurements are more difficult to do than others because the increments are so damn small and backsliding is easy, especially if it involves comfort levels and habits.
  5. Fitbit makes measuring some things pretty easy. I hit 30,000 steps Sunday, which pleased me. My 28 day average is 11.18 miles, but much of this is in place, in which I run around the inside of the house. Couldn’t go out because of the smoke. I haven’t been below ten miles since August 24th, when I dipped to eight.
  6. Not much in streaming grabs me. Currently watching “No Activity”, which is a little uneven. Looking forward to Enola on Netflix, but it’s a movie, so it’ll just divert and entertain for one night. Had been watching “Beforeigners” in Dutch, which was very entertaining. It’s science fiction and police show in one. I recommend it. Love the premise and the characters. Before that, I watched “Mr Inbetween”, which featured another set of intriguing characters, and “Vera”, and re-watched old favorites, “QI”, “Would I Lie to You”, “Episodes” and “Travelers”. Tried “Perry Mason” but was not thrilled by this re-interpretation of that character and time.
  7. Just beginning to read “Red Rising”. My wife devoured it and recommended it to me. It’s a library borrow.
  8. Saw the doc yesterday for the arm, probably for the last time. I haven’t been going to therapy, as it was proposed. I referred to Doctor Internet and her assistant, Nurse Youtube. My arm is making progress. I exercise and massage my fingers, hand, wrist, and arm regularly. Improvement is measured by what I can pick up (like the water pitcher, and pouring water out of it), being able to type (better and better) again, doing buttons, and you know, regular stuff. I look forward to when I can clip my nails properly. That’s the true test of improvement. Right now, it’s still beyond my strength and coordination.
  9. The healing process fascinates me. I can feel changes take place. One of the more interesting ones was the nerves in my fingers. Everything felt rough to them for several days until they again acclimated (not sure that’s the right word) and the nerves were mended and sensitized to being used again.
  10. Our local fires are out, but several remain burning in the county, in other parts of the state, and California. I check them each day for containment, size, and developments. It’s depressing.
  11. We had a great weekend of air quality. That lifted our spirits. Yesterday morning started well, at forty eight. But, the sun began developing a reddish tint on the ground. The mountains faded from sight behind a curtain of smoke and haze. We progress to moderate by noon to unhealthy and one sixty in the afternoon. Today, we began at fifty-six, moderate.
  12. We’ve been searching online for new places to live. The eastern U.S. is calling. Yeah, the annual adventures in droughts, water restrictions, wildfires and smoke is wearing thin. We’re considering places in Ohio and western PA. A friend suggested Asheville, NC. We’d looked at it before and rejected it. Perhaps we’ll reconsider it, but on the whole, we’re dismayed by many of the political decisions made in the southern United States and their general philosophy.
  13. Writing is writing. I can defend that tautology by saying, it’s a challenge, slower than I like, but always engaging and ultimately rewarding. Now, got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Monday Muddlings

  1. It’s day six since the Almeda Fire started. We last left the house on errands (other than stepping out to look at the sky and yard) last Thursday.
  2. One cat was sitting on the floor. Another one came around the corner, encountering the first. Both released a startled, “Meow!” We thought that was so funny. I think maybe we’ve been locked up in the house too long.
  3. Looking back to March. COVID-19 struck. Stay in the house, we’re warned. Then, wear a mask. Businesses shut down. Eventually, we made progress about what should and shouldn’t be done. Businesses opened and set up to accommodate new guidelines to help flatten the curve. Summer arrives. We’re warned to curtail outdoor activities due to extreme temperatures. Wildfires spread up and down along the west coast. We’re warned to stay inside because of unhealthy air. The Almeda Fire starts in our town and rips north and west, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses within twelve hours. We’re warned to stay inside because of hazardous air.
  4. Meanwhile, we monitor hurricanes and cyclones, melting ice caps, rain and flooding in other places.
  5. It’s been a tense and stressful six months.
  6. With all that’s happened in the world, and the things we’ve survived, we’re still among the more fortunate.
  7. Took the trash out last night. The smoke’s smell seemed less offensive and irritating. Am I developing a tolerance to the stench, or is it finally starting to leave our valley? Naturally I check purpleair.com. Eureka! One monitor reports we’re down to two hundred in one part of town and below four hundred. If we can lop off two hundred more, the air will be just ‘unhealthy’.
  8. My broken arm and hand’s swelling has finally significantly decreased. I can make a fist with little pain and tightness. Hurrah for progress!
  9. Writing isn’t going well. I’m an info junkie, hunting a fix, and vetting what I learn. I keep letting myself off the hook. Where the hell is my discipline? Going to go get some coffee, and you know…try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Today’s Ashland Air

A graph is worth a lot of description.

Outside the home office window. Not a peak of blue, and nothing of the forests and mountains beyond the line of houses across the street. Ground visibility is about two hundred yards. Photo and graph was as of 10:30 AM, September 11, 2020.

By the way, this wasn’t technically a wild fire. It started as a grass fire and consumed urban areas. It wasn’t the forests on fires; it was the cities.

A Fire Update

Just a general update on things for friends and family. My neighborhood and family are safe. Ashland, where the Almeda fire began, is safe. The wind has abated but red flag alerts remain.

Gas stations and stores are busy with exhausted, worried out of towners. The Almeda fire started as a grass fire by a BMX park in Ashland but then spread west and north. The initiating source remains under investigation. Pushed by 40MPH plus gusts, the burned through Talent, then lit up and destroyed Phoenix. South Medford was next. The last word that we had, last night, was that the fire was contained. We’re looking for better info.

Meanwhile, spot fires had been going on, threatening other areas of Medford, Central Point, and Eagle Point, to our north and west. Those seem to have been extinguished. Interstate 5 is open in both directions.

Note: a rumor is going around in certain political circles that Black Lives Matter went along Interstate 5 starting fires. They offer no evidence. Police are working to dispel the stories circulating on social media. To me, these rumors increase the evidence of who this people are; at a time when everyone needs help and should come together, they use lies to plant seeds of distrust. There’s the wildfire that needs to be put out.

We’re under a request to limit water due to the water used to fight fires. We remain at Level 1, ready to go. There are other fires burning in Jackson County. Temperatures have dropped today. Locally, we’re expecting highs in the mid-eighties. But the temperatures will then return to the nineties and perhaps over one hundred. While the immediate worst threat has subsided, staying alert and ready is required.

Our air is smoky. I jump to the conclusion that it’s probably from smoldering areas of our fires. The smoke might be from California to the south, or other fires in Oregon up north.

I’m relieved that we survived here, but the losses suffered by others can’t be overstated. The impact on Talent and Phoenix, our neighboring towns, is like what happened to Paradise, California, and we all remember that. Buildings, homes, and possessions are gone. Our resources through government and charity are stretched. Assessments are still being conducted, and the fire monitored for hotspots. Only when the authorities are assured everything is out will the people be allowed to return to their places, make private assessments, and begin rebuilding.

Monday Mix

  1. Poor air quality today. Only a fool doesn’t pause to think, “But we’re not on fire. We’re not evacuating.” Even agnostic me thinks, “Come on, whatever power there is – God, Jehovah, Allah, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Universe. Help California.”
  2. The list of places, people, and animals requiring help continues to grow. Just a few short months ago, we held our breath as Australia burned. Now 77 fires in fifteen states are burning. California has lost 1,000,000 acres. Read of the sad situation on CNN.
  3. Need to indulge in a somber moment of reflection after reading that.
  4. Boy, there are so many good reads out. Masked and walking downtown (after picking up library books), we arrived at an Ashland book store, Bloomsbury, and ogled the window display and the plethora of offerings. It’s a sigh moment. I want to read more but I also want to write more. Doing more of either encourages more of both. It’s a vicious and delicious damn cycle.
  5. Being downtown on Saturday did nothing to assuage our rona worries. Town was very busy. Signs requiring masks while downtown were frequent and prominent. There wasn’t any enforcement, so groups of the great unmasked were regularly encountered. Not a surprise, given that 57% of Republicans think the current level of death from COVID-19 in the U.S. — almost 180,000 people in five months — is acceptable.
  6. Still not much better as a one-handed typist. Type a sentence, and then go back and fix all the typos. Going to the doc for a follow up. Fingers crossed (on right hand; that remains impossible on the left). He told me last time that could probably fit a removable splint today. Like I say, fingers crossed.
  7. Time to leave for the doc, so later, gator.

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