Category Archives: California

Happy Thanksgiving

Thinking about all those displaced by the California wildfires and hope they find homes, family, and friends to share the holiday season.  It is raining today in Northern California and we expect the rain to come here as well. It will be good to get all the smoke out of the air.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Featured vintage postcard by Karen Horton on Flickr. Flower arrangement by Jessica45 on Pixabay.com

Home Again

We returned home yesterday afternoon and all is well with our house. Our kids and extended family are fine. We are some of the lucky ones. The sky is blue with a few clouds this morning but you can still smell smoke in the air. The winds are picking up a bit. Hope for the fires to be over soon and for happy holidays.


Featured image of ‘Inside the cozy cottage’ by Jamiecat* on Flickr

Evacuated

Evacuated again yesterday evening. We had this experience several years ago, so this time we left when we were given the voluntary evacuation notice. We knew that the mandatory evacuation order could be coming soon and did not want to spend the night with one eye open waiting for it. Made quick calls to local family, packed a few essentials, grabbed some photo albums, drove away toward West Los Angeles. Happy that our kids and little grandson are evacuated and safe. Feels like the fire took off fast this time.

WEP- Change Of Heart

HEART SF ♥

It all happened so fast like an ocean wave pulling her out to sea, the wedding in Dublin and the birth of their son, then the voyage across the ocean to a new country. So much hope about what the future would bring. There had not been much to look forward to back in their home town. The oldest son had inherited the farm. Nothing to do but look for the future far away from home in the land of opportunity, America.

Norah missed her sisters and their easy chatter as they all worked in the field. Two of her youngest sisters had already emigrated to Canada, and just one sister and brother remained on the family farm.

“We’ve all been washed out with the tide, carried to distant shores, and now just your letters make me feel like home,” Norah whispered as she put away the latest letter from her sister Mary Ann.

Norah was busy settling into her new home and expecting her second child in a few weeks time. She was grateful to have a roof over her head and that her husband had steady employment even though they lived in a flat. They scrimped and saved to buy a house. They took in boarders, new immigrants from the old country whose lilting speech pulled at her heart. Norah and Garrett were happy to help the newcomers get on their feet. Norah was especially fond of Jack, a young single man who reminded her of her brother. He always had a smile and was quick to laugh. There were jolly parties with fiddlers playing jigs and reels. They didn’t have much in material things, but their music and friends kept their spirits strong.

“When I hear the fiddlers play I could almost believe I am still home in Tipperary,” Norah spoke wistfully after the party ended.

“This is my home now,” replied her husband.

She knew he missed the old country and the horses he used to care for on the farm. Norah bit her lip hard and kept silent. She didn’t want him to think she was unhappy. He was working so hard to make a home for them.

“I do love the evenings when the fog rolls in. It makes me want to cuddle up with you.”

Garrett smiled at his young wife as they walked back to their bedroom, their borders already asleep for the night. It was in the early hours of the next morning when the cataclysm struck. A horrible rumbling and then a violent shaking threw them from their bed. They rushed out of the flat with the rest of the occupants. The air was filled with screaming and the sickening sound of buildings collapsing, with wooden planks and bricks falling into the street. They stood dazed on the sidewalk.

“We better get what we can out of the building before it collapses,” Jack shouted. They quickly ran a relay in and out taking what they could as the building groaned and creaked ominously. They hadn’t had a chance to save much but their lives.

The army moved into the city at the request of the mayor to keep order, provide first aid, and prevent looting. Tent camps were set up in public parks for the survivors who found themselves homeless. People walked around in stunned silence while a child wailed for his mother.

The buildings weren’t the only things broken by the quake. Water mains underground ruptured. Stunned residents salvaged whatever belongings they could, treated the injured, and counted the dead. The moans and cries of those trapped in the rubble would haunt them for years. Their young border, Jack, was killed when a wall collapsed on top of him as he tried to rescue a child.

A woman made breakfast for her family unaware of the broken chimney that caused a fire that burned down her house and half the city. The broken water mains prevented water from reaching the hoses of the firemen. People would later call it ‘the ham and eggs fire.’

What Norah and Garrett couldn’t salvage was burned to ash. They joined the other displaced people in bread lines and tent cities that were set up in public parks. It was the next night that Norah gave birth in one of those tents to a daughter, Rachel. Some of the women assisted in the delivery. An older woman told Norah, “Your little girl baby will have special powers because she was born at night. She will be able to see the dead.”

A chill ran through Norah as she heard the prediction, but she shook it off saying, “That’s old country superstition. We left that behind when we came to our new home.”

“I’m sorry I brought you to this place, Norah,” Garrett whispered as he watched his wife and new baby sleep. His young son Patrick was curled up against his mother’s back.

Many left The City, but the ones who remained were a hearty, optimistic lot, not ready to give up so quickly. Norah and Garrett were counted among those brave ones.

“It all seems like so long ago now,” Norah said as she closed the door to their new house on Eureka Street. “All the bad times are behind us.” Norah walked into the kitchen to finish supper for her little family while Rachel played with her toys on the floor. Patrick had started school, and in a while, they would walk down the block to pick him up. Norah was stirring the stew when she heard her little daughter muttering. She looked over to see Rachel was staring at a kitchen chair and talking as if someone was sitting there.

“Do you want to hold my dolly, Jack?”


WEP Write…Edit…Publish August 2018 Challenge Change of Heart is hosted by Denise Covey, Nilanjana Bose, and Olga Godim.

Word count: 960

Full Critique

Featured image: ‘San Francisco before the earthquake’ ( unknown author) via wikimedia.org

 

Yard Birds

Amateur backyard birdwatchers my husband and I. We have noticed a little bird on our patio the past couple of days. It seemed pretty bold coming up to perch on our patio table chairs and tweeting its head off at us. It was making quite a ruckus this morning. I may have discovered why. I saw a pair of birds flying back and forth from the large Echeveria plant near the edge of our patio with pieces of wild grass in their beaks.  Are they building a nest inside the plant?  Is the bird on our patio standing guard?

Our little lookout could be a chickadee because he fits the discriptions with a black head. The sound he was making at us was like that warning alarm sound you hear in the last part of the little video above. Why are you sending up the alarm? We were minding our own business inside our kitchen when you happened to spot us.

I read that in California you are called the Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee by VJ Anderson


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is ‘Why/Y.’ Chickadee video by LesleytheBirdNerd on You Tube.

Shades Of Green

600px-Color_icon_green.svg via Wikimedia

Green, green, my pool is green. We lost our pool guy a few months ago and being not too handy at pool maintenance ourselves our pool has gradually turned a deeper shade of green. I checked out the 38 shades of green listed on wikipedia to determine a match and it was a bit overwhelming. I like some of names of the colors like asparagus. Cal Poly Pomona green,  and dark moss green might be close.

Moss_covered_rocks,_Beddgelert_Forest_-_geograph.org.uk_-_542866

Moss covered rocks by Philip Halling

I had to pick Cal Poly Pomona green because I live in California for gosh sakes. There’s even a Slytherin green, cool! Just added 2 packages of Shock this morning and did some quick research on pool care. I think we need to hire someone to take care of the pool again. It might cost us some money but I am yielding due to our lack pool cleaning capability.

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Green Lacewing

Haven’t seen any of these lacewings lately. I will have to monitor my pyracantha when it starts to bloom again.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘mon’. Color chart via wikimedia. Green lacewing by Gilles San Martin on Flickr.

Rainy Day Rabbit

I have mentioned my backyard visitor before and how hard it is to capture him/her with my cell phone camera. Usually, it spots me at the window and hops off. But today I was able to get several pretty good photos of the little guy. We had steady rain this morning for over two hours at least, which is great for us in my section of Southern California. I spotted the rabbit taking shelter from the rain under one of our succulent plants. Then after the rain stopped, it came out and munched on the assorted ground cover for a bit. I have seen it hop about 2 feet up to a retaining wall in the yard, but today I have photographic evidence of this ability.