Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Update

This is how the sunrise looked this morning on my way to work. I usually see clear blue sky. The mountains are so close you think you could touch them. The wind has changed direction and is now blowing the smoke into the Coachella Valley. It's hanging around the mountains, making the sky look just like a day at the overcast beach. It's wonder I always felt so gloomy in Orange County. But what I have here is nothing compared to my friends in OC and San Diego. They're living with the worst of the ash and smoke.

The office was so quiet this week. I think the fires have taken precedent in everyone's life around here. I'm just amazed at how this has affected the entire Southern California area. The damage is overwhelming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Day of Fires

It's not getting any better. Our San Diego office is surrounded by fires. Jeff and his family are prepared to evacuate their home in Escondido. This morning I watched the news as a couple dozen homes in Arrowhead burned to the ground. The fire around Irvine is still burning. All of the fires are still burning, and there's not going to be any improvement in the weather conditions until tomorrow. This is so very sad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Burning

We're on fire again. All over the place. Malibu. Arrowhead. San Diego. Orange County. Yes, Orange County, where I just moved from and had to be this morning. I drove in yesterday afternoon while the Malibu fire was happening. It was windy but not too bad, until I hit Orange County. It was really blowing. All night long you could hear the wind howling like a cold winter storm. It was another infamous Santa Ana Wind condition that managed to knock down a power line in Malibu. That line sparked a fire and the wind took it from there. As if that wasn't bad enough, some a$$hole arsenist started a fire in Irvine last night, where two of the guys I work with live, and my bosses mother lives. Two of them evacuated. I've been watching the news and it looks like their homes will be okay. What a scary feeling that must be...being asked to voluntarily pack up and leave your home because it might burn down! The sky around the office in Irvine was so smoky and orange. You could smell the smoke, see the ash in the air. It was bad. Really bad.

I'm glad to be back home in my valley where the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the air is clear. I felt a little bit of guilt as I drove through the smoke filled air and outta there! Just a little.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Model Trains at The Living Desert

The Living Desert

Look at the giraffe scratching his head on the tree...isn't that cute?!

After two weeks of unpacking and trying to put everything in it's place, I finally ventured out one day to The Living Desert What a treat that was! The sky was so blue, and the day was so beautiful, that I just wandered the property for hours and took pictures.

The Living Desert is a zoological park and botanical gardens where the animals live in their natural habitat. They're not caged....well, some of them are, but for the most part they roam freely in areas that are specially developed for them. It was so nice to just stroll through the park. I was there for hours....I think I took more pictures of the sky than the animals. I was totally mesmerized by the's like I've been living under a cloud all this time. What a gorgeous day.

The park itself sure isn't the San Diego Zoo. It's all natural habitat. There's nothing grand about the park or the displays other than the fact that it's a wildlife preserve totally supported by donations. They only charge $11 to get in...and an annual donation/pass is about $45. The next time I go, I'll buy the annual costs less than a day at Disneyland! It's certainly worth it to be able to go there and walk around...and see those adorable giraffes.

And then there's the model trains. Good grief, I've never seen such a train set! It covers an acre of land with 2300' of track! Talk about a cool exhibit. It wasn't even running the day I was there and it was getting a lot of attention. I took pictures of that too.
Besides the animals at The Living Desert, I've seen a couple road runners, jack rabbits, a walking blade of grass and a gazillion hummingbirds. The road runners crack me up. I was stopped at a red light and one ran right across the street in front of me. They're the funniest looking things! The hummingbirds are so friendly that they fly within inches of you. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to hang my feeder since there's nothing to hang it on....but I bought a shepherds hook....about as tall as I am...I think I'll wire it to the railing or plant it in a pot of something. It's a good reason to buy another plant for the balcony. I gave all of my plants away when I moved out here because I didn't know what would live and what wouldn't. I didn't want everything to die from the extreme change in temperature.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Am I Blogging?

Okay, here we go. A month late, but better late than never. I thought about doing this before I moved to the desert.....figured it would be a good way to let everyone know what's going on, and how I find life in the desert. Actually, I haven't kept a diary since I was a kid.....(learned my lesson when my brother read it!) That's what blogs are, diaries for the world to read. Well, this one isn't for the world, it's just for you, a few select family and friends. I'm not trying to set the world on fire here, just stay in touch better and talk to everyone. I'm not good at writing letters anymore, or making phone calls. It must be age.

I officially moved to Palm Desert on August 30th....possibly the hottest day I could pick to move here. The heat was intense. 113° and it stayed there for two weeks. It was hot, hot, hot! But I absolutely could not deny how beautiful it was....and is. Palm Desert, along with Palm Springs and about seven other desert communities, is located in the Coachella Valley, surrounded on three sides by mountains. It's picturesque to say the least, and I'm told the best is yet to come...when there's snow on the mountains. There's not much humidity so 90° feels like 80° - and 80°is nothing. I like being warm.

I ended up here because my boss made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Open an office in Palm Desert. Set it up, run it, it's yours. I said thanks, but no thanks. Who wants to live in the desert? I've already lived in a sandpit once, that was enough. I hated living at the was cold, man was it cold. It was windy, overcast and dirty.... What would the desert offer me but more of the just wouldn't be overcast.