Ain’t no Sunshine

June 1st, 2009

Apparently we took our usual great weather to Paris and it decided to stay there — I haven’t seen the sun since we got home and I’m freezing… we only had one day of drizzle in our entire stay in Paris and several very warm days.

On the plus side, we’ll be in Scottsdale next weekend for a wedding — I’m sure there will be sun there and we can warm up again!

UPDATE: Of course, since I complained, the sun is now out. Yay.

Brushfire Season

May 8th, 2009

brushfire

gardenfire

Sadly, brushfire season begins with a vengeance this year in Santa Barbara. I’ve walked the gorgeous gardens in the Botanical Garden and there are so many beautiful homes around there — this is a sad loss.
With water cuts throughout SoCal this year as well, there’s going to be a lot of dry fuel waiting to go up. It could be a very bad year for brushfires.

Officials at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in Mission Canyon had big plans for the century-old Gane House, the Craftsman-style home the garden purchased many years ago. They wanted to seek historic landmark status for the building, which was named after the original family that owned it. It was to be restored and become their administrative center.

Last night flames engulfed the two-story building, leaving little more than three brick chimneys standing.

“Obviously we’re very heartbroken. It’s a large, large loss for us,” said Nancy Johnson, the garden’s vice president of marketing and government relations. “We were hoping to restore it to its grandeur.”

Lost inside were all the gardening tools, horticultural materials, the metal shop that made tags to identify plants, overstock of books published by the garden, and the office contents and computers of the head gardener and facilities maintenance man. Biofuel gardening trucks parked outside also appear to have been destroyed.

The home and garage of Edward L. Schneider, the garden director, also burned to the ground, Johnson said. In addition, they lost a building used to propagate plants and a deck over Mission Creek.

Johnson said firefighters “made a valiant effort to save our other buildings,” including the herbarium, the library and library annex and the rare book room. “They really worked hard yesterday to save those buildings so we’re really appreciative of that.”

She also said the garden was saved by a decision last year to spend between $300,000 and $400,000 on six hydrants. “The firefighters told us that had those hydrants not been installed, they couldn’t have saved the other buildings,” she said.

Change.org

May 3rd, 2009

Since we are all about the change here… a place to connect with other people interested in changing things.

Sort of a “facebook” for change.

Change.org

Our Vision

Today as citizens of the world, we face a daunting array of social and environmental problems ranging from health care and education to global warming and economic inequality. For each of these issues, whether local or global in scope, there are millions of people who care passionately about working for change but lack the information and opportunities necessary to translate their interest into effective action.

Change.org aims to address this need by serving as the central platform informing and empowering movements for social change around the most important issues of our time.

History

Change.org is a social entrepreneurship venture based in San Francisco, CA. The company was founded by Ben Rattray in the summer of 2005, and with the support of a friend from Stanford, Mark Dimas, and a founding team of Darren Haas, Rajiv Gupta, and Adam Cheyer, Change.org launched the first version of its site in 2007.

Earth Day!

April 22nd, 2009

eday_27
Let’s do our part for Earth Day by continuing to only impact the outside world via email, Facebook, and Twitter!

And blogs, of course!

Part-time crusader

April 21st, 2009

“Sentiment without action…is the ruin of the soul” — Edward Abbey

“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast, a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.

So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for awhile and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies — You will outlive the bastards.” — Edward Abbey

“Nature is self-organizing and resilient but, like any problem solver, needs options — lots and lots of players, from microbes to whales. The more potential options are available, the more likely new relationships can emerge to succeed or men those that have been disrupted and broken, and the more resilient a stressed ecosystem is likely to be.”

“Aldo Leopold…observed that the key to healing broken habitats was to save as many of the parts as possible. The processes that create and shape diversity — fires and floods, for example — are also important. An ecosystem that is shaped by occasional fires must be big enough to replace species that are lost to fires where they occur, or its diversity is vulnerable and temporary, perched on the edge of inevitable decline.” –Chip Ward, “Hope’s Horizon”

Bushfires

February 10th, 2009

bushfire

The Victoria bushfires are terrifying. Please go here and donate if you can — in any fire situation, the Red Cross is first on the scene and really does a great job of taking care of the victims who have lost their homes or been forced out of them by the fires. And an awful disaster in terms of lives lost and homes lost. Living in SoCal, we’ve seen several huge disastrous fires in the last few years. We’ve managed well so far, only having to evacuate once, which we turned into a relatively pleasant experience. But when you see fire surround your community on all sides, or smoke billowing up and starting to blow over your home, it is a horrible, frightening thing. And when people don’t have time to escape, these fires are deadly. The loss in Australia is just heartbreaking. When it happens close to home, it is sad, but at least most people here had time to get out safely. Unfortunately that didn’t happen for the people in these fires.

We’re fortunate here to have a reverse 9-1-1 system in place. When we were evacuated, we received a call to leave our home in plenty of time to get out. I would encourage everyone to ask their communities to put these systems in place. It is well worth the cost to be able to save lives in an emergency situation. And everyplace has something — if not fires, then tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, ice storms, whatever. People need time to prepare and to get out if they have to, and our community leaders need to make sure they get the warning in time.

Just a reminder that you can work to be a change leader in your community, too. Get to know your neighbors, plan for how to handle emergencies, and help each other out. Last time around, I took a neighbor’s cat with me to evacuate and moved her car to a safe place for her since she was out of town. We made sure all our neighbors were out safely or leaving before we left, and we stopped by our community evacuation center once we were back home and took pet supplies over to take care of the animals, as well as taking additional supplies to the animal shelter that was simply overwhelmed with animals that had been evacuated. We now have a “bug out” kit that can be easily thrown in the car full of emergency supplies.

Mostly it takes awareness, though, knowing what local weather conditions are, being prepared to get out if you have to.

And helping out those who have been devastated by tragic circumstances.

80 degrees

January 19th, 2009

dscf3353

January in Southern California…

Hey, you, get outta my cloud

January 2nd, 2009


illustration by Kuniharu Shimizu haiku by soji


Fog makes the world a painting obscure.
Even close trees are half unseen.
But a lonesome crow won’t stop calling:
He objects to being in this dream.

Over and over, the sages tell us that this world is but a dream.

When one awakes on foggy mornings, with the mists obscuring hills and valleys and the trees and village buildings appearing as diaphanous apparitions, we might even agree with them. Didn’t we see this same uncertain mirage in the hills of Vermont? The hollow of the Yangtze River valley? The streets of Paris? Don’t the memories blend with the dream and turn reality into phantasmagoria?

The world is a dream from which there is no escaping.

In this still dream, there is a crow calling. He doesn’t stop. When everything else is frozen in the sepulchral dawn, the bird continues to scream. Maybe he realizes the same dream. He protests loudly.

The ancients hold the outer reality to be unreal. But there is the inner reality too. Some of us do not readily accept the conditions of this existence. We have eyes to see, but we also have voice to refute the existential delusion.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

The fog rolled in so thickly last night that everything is soaked as is by the rain, even under the patio covers. We couldn’t even see the street lights or the houses across the street last night. This morning it is still thick, and we seem to have been transported to San Francisco for the day. We have a “dense fog advisory” for the area:

A dense fog advisory remains in effect until 10 am PST this
morning.

This will impact elevations between 250 and 900 feet… roughly the
area from Interstate 5 eastward to the foothills. Commuters should allow
additional travel time this morning… as most of the east to west
highways leading into the major cities will be impacted.

A dense fog advisory means visibility will frequently be reduced
to less than one quarter mile. If driving… slow down… use low
beam headlights… and leave plenty of distance ahead of you. If
your vehicle becomes disabled… pull as far off of the roadway as
possible.

We drove through this kind of fog a lot when we first came to San Diego, but I haven’t seen it this thick this far inland for some time. One holiday season we hit both snow and fog while driving home through the mountains from Arizona — I just got behind a big rig and followed it into San Diego. Slowly. For those traveling home after the holidays, this kind of fog means planes can’t land at our airport, so travel plans get interrupted. Our friends coming back from Maryland were stuck in Salt Lake City the other night, and had to fly back the next day.

Politically, I predict 18 more days of fog. Then perhaps some fresh air and sunshine…

More Swampage

December 17th, 2008

These are the days I wish it snowed here instead of raining — the entire yard is turning into a flood zone… at this point I worry about the plants drowning.

And rainy, gray weather takes away all my energy to actually do anything, hence the lack of posts, etc.

Sigh.

UPDATE: It seems to have stopped for the moment — ran out to clean out all the storm drain pipes so at least the yard and patios stopped flooding!

Sure wish we would have gotten those new rain gutters done this year, though. Seems like it may be a very rainy season…

Eh. More on the way in…

wunids_map

Holy Crap, IT IS HOT!!!!!

June 21st, 2008

Poway, California 92064 Conditions & Forecast : Weather Underground
Western Poway, Poway, California PWS
Updated: 4 sec ago

107.2 °F / 41.8 °C
Clear

Record temps today for sure. Our backyard thermometer reads 110 right now…..

Stay cool, kids…..

My kids are gaming here with friends today. They have water in the fridge, fans, air set at 80, and will set up coolers with ice for their drinks. Hubby and I are off to the Fair, which will still be hot, but at least by the coast. Geez, what a day!

Gah. Hotter than yesterday!

April 13th, 2008

Officially 97.7 °F. Our backyard thermometer, in the shade, is reading 100…..

It’s too darn hot….

According to the Kinsey report
ev’ry average man you know
much prefers to play his favorite sport
when the temperature is low
but when the thermometer goes way up
and the weather is sizzling hot
Mister Adam for his madam is not
cause it’s too too
it’s too darn hot, it’s too darn hot
It’s too too too too darn hot…

WHERE is my Cabana Boy?

April 12th, 2008

Poway, California (92064) Conditions & Forecast : Weather Underground
93.6 °F

Oh good grief, it is hot today, and it’s only APRIL!!!!

Where is my cabana boy? My glass is waiting for some fresh ice cubes.….

like a flower waiting to bloom
Like a light bulb in a dark room
I am sitting here waiting for you to come home and turn me on
Like the desert waiting for rain
Like a school kid waiting for spring
I am sitting here waiting for you to come back home and turn me on
My poor heart, it’s been so dark
Since you’ve been gone
After all your the one who turned me off
Now your the only one that can turn me back on
Uh
My hi-fi’s waiting for a new tune
And my glass is waiting for some fresh ice-cubes
I’m just sitting here waiting for you to come on
Back home and turn me own.

Cracking Up

March 25th, 2008

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Antarctic shelf ‘hangs by thread’

A chunk of ice the size of the Isle of Man has started to break away from Antarctica in what scientists say is further evidence of a warming climate.

Satellite images suggest that part of the ice shelf is disintegrating, and will soon crumble away.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf has been stable for most of the last century, but began retreating in the 1990s.

Six ice shelves in the same part of the continent have already been lost, says the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Professor David Vaughan of BAS said: “Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

“I didn’t expect to see things happen this quickly. The ice shelf is hanging by a thread – we’ll know in the next few days or weeks what its fate will be.”

Wet! WINDY!

February 14th, 2008

Gah! Well that was fun! Thankfully mostly past us now….. patio has a three inch drain – which flooded out. It’s finally draining, I think….

(That big red dot there is Poway underwater)

UPDATE – 2:40 PM:

OK, so now we have winds gusting to 40mph, and it’s 43 degrees!!

This is really crazy weather for us…. La Nina is certainly one for unusual weather!

Mid-South is hard hit by tornadoes

February 6th, 2008

If you can afford a donation, these folks need some help…..

Monkeyfister
The Toll Is At 54 And Rising…

Tragic. I pray that peace, kindness and hope can find each and every one of those touched families.

I’ve been looking around for some local centralized relief group/agency… Someplace.

Right now, I recommend the:

American Red Cross
Mid-South Chapter

1400 Central Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
901-726-1690

And:
United Way of the Mid-South phone in a donation at (901) 433-4300.

They take DIRECT donations, so you can skip all the National-level waste and delay, AND they serve nearly every community in the effected radius.

I don’t ask for much from my readers, but I sure would appreciate some link love on this post– or better yet– if you’d work-up something of your own linking to the Mid-South Red Cross Chapter to help this area get back on it’s feet, re-building, and healing. It’d mean an awful lot to many. A bit of a small-blog swarm would be a mighty thing.

Thanks in advance.

Ending the Addiction to Stuff

January 27th, 2008

Daily Kos: Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff

While the problems of consumer culture have spread worldwide, America holds a unique place in the scheme that Annie dates back to decisions that we made at the outset of the Industrial Revolution. In some countries, people chose to take advantage of increasing productivity to reduce the work week, to take more vacations, and enjoy more time with family and friends. But in America, every gain was turned into a material gain, into more stuff. Rather than gathering in more happiness and freedom from advancing technology, we buried ourselves in an ever accelerating quest for the latest goodies. Generation by generation, year by year, we’ve accumulated more goods and consumed more of the world’s resources (and made ourselves more miserable).

It’s a problem that’s perpetuated today by everything from the way we’re entertained to the way we’re educated. Where once we practiced “keeping up with the Joneses” by comparing ourselves to our neighbors, television has provided a window on consumer paradise where part-time baristas own huge Manhattan apartments and office workers dress in the latest designer duds. We’re no longer happy to compare our possessions with the couple down the street, we have to compete with Brad and Angelina. We don’t want what our friends have, or what our parents had, we want what Oprah has. This “vertical expansion of the reference group” means we can never reach our goals and are always left feeling as if we’ve failed. The only solution to our inadequacy? Go shopping for more stuff!

Shopping has become the key to how we view ourselves to such an extent that not only did George W. Bush urge us to shop ourselves out of the peril of 9/11, even environmental activists often turn to the mall. What’s the most frequent advice dispensed to people trying to behave more responsibly? Buy green. It’s advice that not only encourages still more consumption as means to address the problem of over-consumption, but it all too often ignores the market forces that have delivered “green” products to the local mall — forces that rarely have any concern for the resources or people damaged along the way.

As we worry about the current economic downturn, even the way we attempt to measure our problems reflects this distorted shopaholic culture. Take a primal forest, kick out the people who have lived there for generations, cut down the trees, slice them into pieces, soak them in toxic chemicals, turn them into disposable products, and ship the discarded remains off to a landfill. On the business page of your local paper or the glitzy stock channel on your television, each of those steps has the same name: growth. What’s a recession? Lack of growth. How do we end a recession? Stimulate spending on more disposable items, so we can buy more disposable goods, so we can cut down more forests, so we can have more… growth.

But if the first part of Annie’s film is devoted to describing the problems of our current unsustainable culture of disposable goods, it’s the final part that deserves special attention. Rather than stopping with the bad news, Annie shoots straight on into the good — we can change. The most engaging part of her description of our society is that everyone can find their place in the flow, and the same dynamic means that everyone is positioned to help change how things work. Environmental issues, social justice, and economics all play into making the change toward a fair, sustainable society. There are as many ways to insert yourself into the process as there are products on the shelves of the local big box store.

Go see the Story of Stuff here.

My favorite tip from the site:

Buy Green, Buy Fair, Buy Local, Buy Used, and most importantly, Buy Less. Shopping is not the solution to the environmental problems we currently face because the real changes we need just aren’t for sale in even the greenest shop. But, when we do shop, we should ensure our dollars support businesses that protect the environment and worker rights. Look beyond vague claims on packages like “all natural” to find hard facts. Is it organic? Is it free of super-toxic PVC plastic? When you can, buy local products from local stores, which keeps more of our hard earned money in the community. Buying used items keeps them out of the trash and avoids the upstream waste created during extraction and production. But, buying less may be the best option of all. Less pollution. Less Waste. Less time working to pay for the stuff. Sometimes, less really is more.

Snowy Baghdad enjoys White Zone

January 11th, 2008

Nope, no climate change here!

Snowy Baghdad enjoys White Zone – CNN.com

After weathering nearly five years of war, Baghdad residents thought they’d pretty much seen it all. But Friday morning, as muezzins were calling the faithful to prayer, the people here awoke to something certifiably new.

For the first time in memory, snow fell across Baghdad.

Although the white flakes quickly dissolved into gray puddles, they brought an emotion rarely expressed in this desert capital snarled by army checkpoints, divided by concrete walls and ravaged by sectarian killings — delight.

“For the first time in my life I saw a snow-rain like this falling in Baghdad,” said Mohammed Abdul-Hussein, a 63-year-old retiree from the New Baghdad area.

“When I was young, I heard from my father that such rain had fallen in the early ’40s on the outskirts of northern Baghdad,” Abdul-Hussein said, referring to snow as a type of rain. “But snow falling in Baghdad in such a magnificent scene was beyond my imagination.”

Morning temperatures uncharacteristically hovered around freezing, and the Baghdad airport was closed because of poor visibility. Snow is common in the mountainous Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, but residents of the capital and surrounding areas could remember just hail.

Dozens killed by Iran blizzards

January 9th, 2008

Yeah, no such thing as climate change….

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Dozens killed by Iran blizzards

At least 28 people are reported to have died in Iran’s heaviest snowfall in recent years.

Eight people froze to death as severe blizzards left 40,000 people stranded in their cars, authorities said.

Although most have now been rescued, another 20 people are reported to have died in car crashes caused by the weather, officials said.

Tehran has declared two days of national holiday, urging people to stay at home to avoid the bitter cold.

The temperature has been down as low as -24 degrees Celsius, and for the first time in living memory there has been snow in the country’s southern deserts.

California is getting a BIG storm!

January 4th, 2008

Hasn’t hit us here yet in San Diego, and we will probably get the least severe weather, but this is a HUGE storm. Well a good Sierra snow pack will help our water situation at least.

If you’re in California this weekend, stay safe, warm and dry….

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

A mighty hurricane-force Pacific storm continues to clobber California with blizzards, damaging winds, and flooding rains. Hardest hit are the Sierra Mountains, where winds at Ward Mountain near Lake Tahoe were 86 mph, gusting to 163 mph, at 11 am PST. The storm responsible is visible just off the coast of Washington (Figure 1), and has a central pressure near 960 mb–similar to that of a Category 2 hurricane. Blizzard conditions will continue over much of the Sierras, with 2-5 feet likely to fall by Saturday. Travel will be difficult of impossible in the northern mountains of California Friday and Saturday. Snow amounts may reach 10 feet by Monday in some mountain regions of California.

Sunday UPDATE:

We didn’t get very much rain from this storm here in San Diego. Northern California got most of the high winds, snow and flooding. Heavy rains and a broken levee created flooding in one Nevada town. Here’s the latest from Wunderground:

Heavy snow, flash floods, and damaging winds continue to pound California today as a weakening Pacific storm moves inland over British Columbia. The winds have died down considerably in the Sierra Mountains, where hurricane force winds were common on Friday. The storm’s highest winds occurred at Ward Mountain near Lake Tahoe–sustained at 110 mph, gusting to 163 mph, on Friday. Prodigious snow amounts of up to six feet have fallen in the Sierras, with Blackcap Basin in Fresno County (elevation 10300 feet) reporting 71.3 inches (5.9 feet) of new snow as of 4 am PST Saturday. Continued heavy snows are expected in the Sierras through Sunday, with total amounts up to ten feet possible.

At lower elevations, heavy rain has triggered flash floods. In Chino Hills, just east of Los Angeles, a flash flood swept away a vehicle that had gone around a barricade. One occupant was found hypothermic and clinging to a tree, but the vehicle and its other occupant are missing. A mudslide forced the temporary closure of Interstate 15 nearby. Rain amounts exceeding ten inches (Figure 1) have fallen in the mountains of Central and Northern California, and in Nevada, heavy rains caused a levee to burst along the Truckee Canal in Fernley, flooding hundreds of homes.

Frosty

December 14th, 2007

Woke up to 28 degrees and frost. Brrr!!!

Seems to be an anomaly since the rest of the week is forecast with lows in the 40s….