Category Archives: Los Angeles

{sometimes I just can’t stay on topic!}

I recently helped Sophia with some of her homework. The assignment involved rudimentary outlining with the goal of writing one cohesive paragraph. We took it step by step, starting with her topic title and breaking down the supporting ideas in an organized manner, and there was only one warning: Don’t meander off into new and unsupported topic territory!

Ironic, since I’ve had nothing but trouble sticking to one topic and coming in for a landing. But I blame the heat!

If there’s a theme or topic in here at all, it’s “weather”–again! California is one of the few places where five major climate types exist in close proximity, and sometimes they all seem to be doing their own thing! I don’t always like that, but I do always find it interesting.

A really ridiculous heat wave came to visit last week and the words  being thrown around to describe it? Suffocating. Scorching. Sweltering. Stifling. Relentless. Hell.

I think maybe Arizona experiences 90 degrees at 9:00 PM. but I don’t have any memory of malevolent weather like this. I recognize that weather is not a person, and therefore, incapable of deliberately inflicting harm, but I think at some point in my fatigue I began to take it personally. If I have the chance to vote on this kind of heat in the future, my vote is NO!

And unstable weather has contributed to terrible fire conditions.

Have you seen any footage of the devastating wildfires in Northern California?

We live hundreds of miles from these fires and aren’t personally affected, and in fact, we really accept that this time of year wildfires are as much a part of California as tornadoes in other parts of the country. But these fires feel different and as I look at our local mountains I realize that the multi-year drought has turned so much of the land into kindling.

Following these recent weather conditions I’ve learned quite a few new pieces of background information about these Northern California fires as well as California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire). Perhaps at a later time I’ll share more–but not now. It isn’t just an “interesting” story. The destruction reflects devastation to thousands of people who have lost their homes and all possessions. So far there has been one reported loss of life, but the concern is that there may be more as yet unidentified.

It’s hard to segue from the enormity of the fires to my small corner of the world. And being regularly kicked offline is definitely in the “small stuff” category, but if I say that my very frequent Internet outages were also weather-related, am I at least staying on topic?

I was convinced there was a person sitting in a control booth down the street laughing his head off every evening between 8 pm and 10 pm just clicking the switch up and down making it toggle back and forth between “on and off.” And then it moved from intermittent “off” to going off in the earlier hours of the evening and not coming back on until the morning. Every day.

The cable company didn’t initially want to own the problem, but after greater insistence the cavalry finally arrived to remedy the situation and we learned the cable lines behind our house had been severely damaged by “small animals.”  The workers implied squirrels, which I thought planted a kinder than practical image. Sophia and Karina thought it might be opossums or raccoons. None of us are choosing to even think of considering it could be rats.

But here’s what turned a frustration into at least an interesting circumstance.  Physics!

The connectivity–or lack of it–followed the daily weather pattern and our temperatures have been all over the place. Between 7 PM and 8 PM when it began to cool down the fraying cable connections would contract. Bam! We’d be off-line until sometime the next morning when the temperatures would rise, the cable would expand and we’d have “lift off.”

Mystery solved! No little man playing games with us after all! Relief!

And another situation also resolved itself.

Today brought wet and rainy relief, thanks to Hurricane Linda coming at us as a tropical storm from off the coast of Baja.  All too often we get promises and no delivery, but this was a good one!

It rained hard enough in the night that at 2:30 in the morning I was up comforting a dog and worrying about a tortoise! They don’t know too much about rain.

Sophia’s writing assignment contained an expectation that she’d conclude her paragraph with a good final sentence.

I wonder what her teacher would think of my plan?

When you don’t know how to wrap up your “writing assignment,” try to distract with a nice piece of music!

Sonny & Cher are always a nice distraction. And if I could get away with dressing like Cher, I probably wouldn’t mind the heat as much either!

Despite the distractions, I’m doing my best to breathe lighter. And I hope you are doing the same!