Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Arial View of Malibu Fires

Click on all pictures for larger views.
300,000 people displaced
1,000 homes destroyed in San Diego
100 homes destroyed in Running Springs
2 Dead
at least 37 hospitalized

Leaving LAX...can you see Brown air?

Brown air layers.

Look at the 'film' on the water's surface here..the 'cracks' are the water showing through.

Look carefully on the left side of the smoke. It's another structure going up. The dark smoke with the flames to the left on the bottom.

It's NOT ok with me, for people to set arson fires. AT ALL! EVER!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

More pictures

Forgive the TV pictures, but I'm not getting any closer than this to the fires. I'm angry...I'm really, really mad...now there are 2 fires that have been announced that were deliberately set. Irvine and Foothill Ranch. Bless those who are fighting this..and those who will be forever affected by this. What a waste. From Santa Barabara to San Diego.
See the top of the left picture? That's a house on fire. See the smoke and how close it is to the houses? See how close those houses are to each other?
check out this DC-10...converted from an American Airlines passenger plane...watch what it can do NOW!
They finally can fly up into the canyons-it was too windy earlier today for them to fly. Between the Santa Ana fires and the winds that the fires generate by themselves, once a plane is loaded with water, it can be too heavy to fly in unstable winds. They fly close to the ground where the winds are the strongest and the wildest. TV cameras fly higher so they are out of some of the strongest winds, even though they're still battling the winds.

I'm counting 9 fires on this map. The winds are kicking up for the evening. That's not a good sign.
Correction, there are 17 fires in California tonight.
She just said...Foothill Ranch was deliberately set!!!!!!! They have found 3 areas that were set on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As always, if you click on the pictures, you can see them larger.

It's 'snowing' ash here

This is what Southern California looks like from the air today. From the ground, it's 'snowing ash' all over the place. It feels like back in 2003 when it felt like the whole state was on fire. It's actually not as big (as this point) but the devastation will not end with the fires being put out. Why?
Let me explain California to you. We live in a drought riddled state. We are in the middle of 8 1/2 years of drought conditions where at the beginning of spring/summer, the City of Los Angeles asked residents to limit their showers. (yes, SHOWERS!) I've seen news coverage from the southeastern section of the country and I'm listening to people as they are 'new' to drought conditions. Here, it's a way of life. When I hose off my car (as I was doing last night at midnight to keep the ash off the car) I'll bring it up on my front yard, so the water will do double duty-the run off going to the grass. And I'll do it after the sun goes down to limit the water evaporation. When I water the grass, again it's a slow soak after the sun goes down and only once every other week-if I'm going to water it. It makes the roots dig deeper for water, and uses less water over time. We don't run extra water when brushing teeth, low flow toilets, and don't run extra or half full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher to conserve water. In some cities if you let your sprinklers run longer than needed and you get run off into the street, you can be fined.

Today, we have the effects of Santa Ana winds plus the beetles that have been killing the trees in the mountains for years, plus the drought conditions, plus one more unforgivable issue. At least 1 of the fires....is ARSON! The fire in the Irvine area was declared an arson set fire this morning and now the fire authorities are looking at the Sagus area fire as having suspicious circumstances. In the Lake Arrowhead area (beautiful camping area) where they were hit so very hard back in 2003, there are some estimates that at least 300 homes have been lost, and that will probably go higher according to the helicopter pilots as they fly over the area. San Diego is also burning again.

Now, the cost of this fire, won't be left to the homes lost. Once the areas in the canyons and hills have been burnt, the hill sides then are weakened and during the next spring and summer time when the rains come in, you'll see those areas slide. The vegetation on the sides of the hills won't be deep enough to hold the hills back. So the devastation is a double whammy. And it never fails when the Santa Ana winds blow, some #)#($%)(%& idiot has to go and set fires on purpose!

Where I live, we're safe and away from the fires in the immediate area. However, when you understand the nature of the Santa Ana winds, you'll understand that we aren't totally out of the effects of the fires. This time of year, the winds change direction. Rather than blowing from the Pacific Ocean towards the mountains (as the majority of the year), the blow from the mountains out to the ocean. This causes a lot of health related issues. The smog that has been blown and trapped against the mountains all comes back in this direction. For those of us with Asthma and other lung-related problems, it causes all kinds of troubles breathing. Your eyes burn, your throat hurts, your lungs tighten up, and then you get attacks. When the kids were little, since they're also asthmatic, I wouldn't let them play outside.

As the winds come back through the Santa Ana Canyon, it funnels through, picking up speed and then due to the dry conditions, it's 'fire season'. I've seen whole neighborhoods go up in a matter of a few hours. Power lines are blown down and sparks will ignite the fire. Many homes still have shake shingle roofs, and that's a disaster waiting to happen. With the houses built so close together, you can watch on TV the flames from one house flip to the next one, one after another. Whoever thought of those roofs....ulg...I'll clean it up and say..what a flippin' idiot. Then you have the folks who live on the hill sides, and won't clear the brush from their homes, so you have dried out fuel waiting to burn.

This is one of the reporters from the field today. Notice the goggles and the mask around him. He was wearing them online as he announced that the fire he was covering...was ARSON!

Last night at 11:30pm, I went into the bathroom and saw ash all over the floor and bathtub! The window had been opened all day, and the soot came in and covered everything! Before cleaning it up I grabbed my camera to show the difference. There had been a q-tip that had fallen into the tub. When I picked it up you could see the clean tub underneath it all. I took the picture with and without a flash to see the difference of the stuff that had come through a tiny window throughout the day. When I went to clean up the floor, it was like a mud bath in there. (Makes me think of when Mt. St. Helens blew back in 1980.) Ash all over the place. I went outside and hosed off my car to keep the ash from eating into the paint job. Not a full on wash, as it's going to keep falling for a few days once the fires are out, but it helps to keep the car's finish in better shape. At that point, the ash just rolled down the side of the car.

That's NOT a dirty ring around the tub there-it's where the sides bend towards the bottom of the tub. Can you see the outline of the q-tip? Ash was all over EVERYTHING! I'd put on my flip-flops to go outside, and my feet felt like they were just sliding - yuck. I hate that feeling. Back in 2003 when the fires started, it was 2 days after I'd fallen. I was in bed waking up being covered in ash from my bedroom windows being left opened over night. There was ash all over my whole bed, bookcases and bedroom, my hair, pillow and face. It was disgusting. Yesterday it smelled like a trash pile burning. I hate that smell. In 2003 it smelled like that for a very long time. When the fires start in Southern California with the Santa Ana winds blowing, all that ash has to go somewhere, and it does. Right on top of the rest of us in the path between the fires on it's way to the Pacific Ocean. So, we're all affected by the fires. Even if we haven't lost our homes.

This morning when I woke up I looked out on the back patio. Ash all over the place.

From my patio floor:

The top of my patio table:

the top of the ice chest the girls left out there....

and the fires are still burning! That means..there will be a lot more ash to fall yet. For days. And We are the lucky ones.

It's on top of EVERYTHING! Now, for a moment think of what that will do to your lungs! Yep, it gets into everything. (Another reason to keep your yarn stash in bags and containers.) I hate fire season. It will turn into a big 'ash-bath' covered everything. And next year? It'll be a big mudslide in those fire areas. My heart goes out to those neighborhoods.

Hug your firefighter! They said in the Los Angeles area there were 8,000-9,000 of them working the lines. At least 4 from San Diego have been hurt and are in the hospitals. (Gov...I have a memory...this is why we all fought back so hard when you tried to take money away from the nurses and the firefighters. Don't do it again! and when they need to use their workman's comp to heal from their injuries, are you going to deny/delay them, too? Yep...I'm still here..4 years after falling, 4 years after the fires of 2003....still waiting....oh, and I won my case in court..but I'm still waiting...FIX IT! and don't take it out on the firefighters who are going to need it!)

In knitting news, the sweater is finished, just the hat to go now...

Two more Grandma's favorites knit up yesterday to add to these:

That should be in a box in the next hour to send off to my son and his friends along with these KBB Kitchen Hanging Hand Towels.

If you're in Southern California, close your windows, hose off your cars, but wait until after the fires are out to change your air filters. And if you are one who has lost your home, we send our hearts, love and hugs to you. Stay safe people..and hug your firefighters! They're earning their money this week.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pink Bookends Kinda Week

The week began with a pile of pink. Pink is good. Pink is good in October to remind us of Breast Cancer awareness. As I looked at the Pink in my stash of yarn, I got to thinking that there were several things I could do without going to the stores. I ended up with a couple of finished objects. Not as many as I wanted to, but it was good.

I started with the Homespun Rolled-Edge Chemo cap that I posted the other day. When I was sitting very concerned about my son, I needed to switch to something I could do without thought. That's when the Grandma's Favorite cloth made with Peaches & Cream in the Strawberry Cream came into play. I took it up to 50 stitches and used a twisted M1 rather than a YO for the increases.

Then I decided to make a Puffy Basketweave Dishcloth out of some Pink Twists yarn. I have had this for a while now, but had yet to try it out. I found out this week the way the gauge was a bit different than the other cotton yarns I've been using. It seems to be more narrow than the others. You can tell I didn't make the full pattern for this dishcloth when I noticed that it was 'taller' than wider. It's still nice and I like it. And it's still going to wash spaghetti off the dishes.

I thought pink dishcloths would be good to send to Mom and my Auntie "N" in celebration of them both hitting their 5 year marks post Breast Cancer. If you don't know someone who has had, survived, or is going through the big "C", why not have a few in your kitchen as a reminder to have your exam?

Then I was able to finish the Homespun Rolled-Edge Chemo Cap to start my collection of Chemo caps that I'll end up sending to the U of Michigan Oncology Unit at some point. I'll be making more sizes here shortly and posting them between my life on the Island of Baby Blankets. I promise! They're good projects for between larger ones for that instant gratification need. I have quite a bit of Homespun yarn left over from years ago when I was living on the Island of Scarves. At that point there were colors requested that I couldn't always find, so I started picking them up when I was able to. Right about then, the requests slacked off. So, guess what that yarn is going to become now? Yup. Chemo caps.

The last chemo cap that I was able to finish comes from the Headhuggers web site. http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/kpatt01.htm is where I found this one. I decided to use some of the Cotton-Ease that I've had since it was discontinued from the old colors. I really like this for chemo caps, too. It's soft and light weight and not so hot to wear. And I love this Bubble Gum 'flavor'..er....color. I like the way it knits up.

The first picture was taken with the camera I was borrowing while mine went to the camera hospital. It was at night which explains the darkened color, but it didn't do so well at stitch definition. The picture on the right is with the newly 'healed' camera back in my little hands. YEA! This is the cap without being blocked. I really like the top of this pattern, too. I love the way it seems to swirl.

All finished! Next to my little beanie baby buddy standing, errrrr sitting guard.

Tonight I've been working on another Baby Jiffy Knit sweater in Hobby Lobby's Sweet Delight's Baby in Pink-a-Boo. I've finished the body of the sweater but I'll make the I-chord and hat tomorrow. It's getting a bit late here, and I'd rather not have to rip it out due to silly mistakes.
With all the PINK in your life, don't limit your knitting to just Pink Chemo caps. Make them in all colors. Use pink in a baby sweater like I did for a baby girl on the way...and knit in good wishes that this big old nasty "C" might not be around as she grows up. I look back to my childhood when my Grandmother would whisper the letter "C" rather than say Breast Cancer out loud. The very sound of that word was a death sentence. And today, both of my parents have beat it. So has my Aunt beaten it, too and there are new advances in medicine all the time! I celebrate those miracles and wonder how much more they'll learn by the time my children are my parents' ages. Science is a wonderful thing-No?
As a final thought tonight about my family's experiences this past week I'd like to say a hearty thank you for all the wonderful emails, etc...for my son. Please understand how much they've meant to me. He got back down to Indiana in once piece but a bit sore. He is now having to deal with the 'processing' of information over what he went through. That might take some time. I talked to him tonight and was very happy to hear him on the phone. I still want to go hug him until his eyes 'pop'. Like the day when he was a wee little guy, and I thought we'd lost him. I had to call the police and was in the process of pulling out his finger prints for the police officer when the phone rang and he was calling from his dad's work. I was never so happy to hear him on the phone! He had no clue how worried I was! His sister and I were due at a Girl Scouting event that day, but I refused to budge from the house until I could hug him really tight. Maybe it's a 'Mom thing.' But I'd really love the chance right now to go hug him like that. Really, really tight, until his eyes pop!