Still worrying about my friends and the Thomas fire

Update: I received a text this morning from my friends and the threat from the fire is finally over. She did say it smelled like a “giant wet campfire outside.” I’m relieved they are safe. Here’s the photo she sent me from last night from their neighborhood:IMG_1085

 

 

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Photo I saw on Twitter from Sunday night.

 

The Thomas fire is now on record as the fifth largest fire in recent California history. It’s still raging on and I’m still worried about my friends.

I wish they would have left because they’re under voluntary evacuation notice. I wrote about the fire and our wonderful friends and memories on Dec. 7. Since then, our friends have been existing day to day, ready to leave in a moment’s notice—breathing fire, ash and smoke. You would think it would begin to wear on you.

Every morning and evening, I text to see if they’re okay and ask if they’re staying in their house.

They thought last night the threat had passed and they were over the worst of it. Then this morning the firemen made the local high school–which is literally a stone’s throw from their backyard–the fire staging area. She said maybe they were feeling relief too soon.

I’m praying for my friends and everyone affected by the fires in Southern California. It makes you appreciate a simple thing like fresh air, being outside, and our homes.

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Here’s a view from our friends’ backyard this morning.

Do you know anyone suffering from the fires in So Cal?

 

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Worried about friends and the fire

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Carpinteria beach walk Thanksgiving morning.

 

When I woke up this morning, I was shocked and scared to see Carpinteria trending on Twitter. If you’re watching the news anywhere, you probably have heard that Southern California is on fire. I read that parts of Carpinteria were being evacuated. I texted my friends in Carp to find out if they were evacuating or if they’re okay.

These are our dear friends we spent Thanksgiving with and our friendship dates back 30 years. I told them they can come here and stay with us if they have to evacuate or want to get out of the horrific air. They are prepared to leave at a moment’s notice and my friend said she took her valuables, passports etc. to a friend 30 miles to the north of her. At 8 a.m. she told me the fire was four miles from their home. 

I’ve been checking the news reports all day and I haven’t heard anything more about Carpinteria, and I haven’t heard back from our friends, so I’m pretty sure they’re okay. I feel so badly for everyone affected by the fires. We have friends in Ventura, too and we’re thankful the fire didn’t reach their house, although so many people have lost everything they own.

I love Carpinteria and my husband and I have talked about moving there some day. But, boy our friends have had a tough time. Just three months ago, I wrote about how they got caught in a microburst on their sailboat. You can read that story here.

Please, everyone, heed the warnings to evacuate and stay safe!

 

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Map from the LA TIMES.

 

Do you know anyone affected by the fires?

Some of my memories from Carpinteria and friends below.

 

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Carpinteria State Beach.

 

 

 

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Summer vacation in Carpinteria.

 

 

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Rob and Deb, our Carpinteria friends of 30 years.

 

 

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Waffles and Kat at Carpinteria State Beach, August 2017.

 

 

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Prior to moving our son to UCSB, we went with our friends to Rincon Point.

 

 

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Sunset, Thanksgiving 2017.

 

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Sailing in Santa Barbara.

The importance of friendships in an empty nest

 

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Back in the busy days of parenting with the gang.

I had a great day yesterday with two of my former elementary and middle school mom chums. I hadn’t seen one of these friends for we figured out—12 years! Where did those years go? They went to busy, busy days of parenting with our kids going on separate journeys and different schools.

One thing all three of us decided at lunch, at Spencer’s one of my all-time favorites, was that we have to get together more often.

How often do you say that to people and it doesn’t happen? Well, all three of us are empty nesters, and we’ve managed to stay busy—but it’s different. I miss the interaction with my friends who were the moms of classmates or swim mates. While you’re in the thick of parenting years, you have all the interaction with other adults every single day. You don’t think about it or that one day it’s just you and your husband staring at each other!

Seriously, sometimes I feel that doing what I always wanted to have the time to do—write uninterrupted every single day—can feel like solitary confinement. I’m not a terribly social person, but without the chats on the playground, play dates in the park, or sitting with fellow swim parents at meets and practice—it’s a quiet life.

So, in addition to swimming Masters with my swim friends, I’ve made a pledge to not let my older friendships slip by. I’m glad my friends agree and we’re going to actively work to get together more often.

And I’ll treasure the time my husband and I have together and to go on new adventures together—as well as the ability to write without interruptions from the kids. It’s a good life, after all—but friends make it even better.

 

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More adventures to come….

What do you do to make sure you stay in touch with friends?

 

10 Things I Noticed About Summer Vacation

 

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Waffles on our morning beach walk.

 

ONE
I was stressed the day we left for vacation. Had I packed everything we needed?

TWO
VRBO disappointed me. The condo was way smaller than it looked online. I didn’t realize there was only one window that looked out into a parking lot and no ocean breeze because it was on the wrong side of the building.

THREE
After three days, I relaxed. We aren’t moving into the condo for good. It’s only a week and we can make the best of it. With my glass half full, I can say it’s clean, comfortable and we love the location a block from the beach.

 

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The marina in Santa Barbara.

FOUR
We are outside every day enjoying the fresh air. It’s such a big deal to be out of the AC of home where it’s 115 degrees and more.

FIVE
Sailing was exhilarating, breathtaking and yes—filled with fresh air.

 

 

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Sailing.

SIX
We love Carpinteria because of friends. Dinners al fresco, walks along the beach at sunset, and swimming are all better with friends. We’re fortunate to have best friends who love to entertain and cook for us. We’re even more fortunate they didn’t get tired of us after a week.

SEVEN
Morning beach walks are the best. They’re better than my walk around the neighborhood and park at home. Waffles the pug loved his beach time and playing with new friends.

EIGHT
I loved having my daughter join us for vacation. I hope it’s a tradition she continues for years to come.

NINE
Swimming helped me relax. After swimming masters with my friend and her daughter as a coach, I felt good for the rest of the day.

TEN
Why don’t we live in Carpinteria? Why was our vacation so short?

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My daughter lap swimming.

To Swim or Not to Swim: Reflections on a Summer Beach Vacation

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I’m a much better vacationer today than I was in my 20s. I’ve learned how to relax.

When I was in my 20s, my yearly vacation was spent going home to Washington. I had to see and do all the PNW things. Ride a ferry to the islands, dig clams, fish, go hiking in the woods, go to the city, ride a bike around Greenlake, go to my cabin and spend the night, visit my best friend and my other best friends—and all my friends. Visit my favorite professors. I had my Daytimer with me and scheduled events by the half hour! It would drive my husband crazy and soon I made my annual jaunts home by myself.

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This year, we rented a house in a sleepy little beach town near Santa Barbara. Our good friends live close by and we had many fun meals together, planned at the last minute. We spent hours walking on the beach, riding beach cruisers through town and sitting on the beach reading. I am reading the third Neapolitan novel by Elena Ferrante and there’s nothing better in my mind than having long stretches of time to read a good book.

My daughter came with us plus a swim friend from her age group days. Isn’t it amazing how swimming bonds friends through life? They’re both college swimmers and they ran, lifted weights, swam and got massages.13880146_10210575966699190_5499508276428958217_n

The only downfall of vacation was the spotting of great white sharks at the beach. Only two hours after the girls had an ocean swim, a 15-foot great white was spotted exactly where they had been swimming.

IMG_3338A lifeguard told me that last week, she watched a seal by the swimming dock. It was pulled underwater, tossed up and eaten by a large creature with a fin. She said it was like watching National Geographic as the water turned red.

I was looking forward to ocean swimming and kayaking. I was going to try SUP (stand up and paddle) for the first time. But, like I said, I’m better at vacations now and sitting on the beach with a book made more sense, given the great white sharks.

Video of the girls swimming before the sharks were spotted: 

What’s your favorite thing to do on vacation?

Am I Cut Out for the RV Life? Or, What Could Possibly go Wrong?

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Camping at Carpinteria State Beach

I love camping. My favorite memories as a child were Fourth of July weekends at Ross Lake near the Canadian border in Washington.

Open campfires, roasting hot dogs, followed by s’mores. Families laughing together, watching stars.

We introduced our kids to camping with an annual trip to Carpinteria State Beach, playing cards, sitting around bonfires and flying kites.

So what could possibly go wrong when we looked at RVs and decided to graduate from our tent?  We had the perfect excuse. We would use the RV once a month at swim meets, instead of paying for hotels out of town. Our kids could sit inside between swims diligently doing their homework, rather than hanging out under a pop-up tent with their friends. Yeah. Right.

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July 4th, 2012 camping trip.

We bought the RV four years ago and took it to exactly NO swim meets out of town. We brought it to our own pool to give kids on our team a break from the pool deck during a big meet. I think the kids spent a total of 15 minutes inside.

We took three camping trips with our kids. Here are three things that went wrong:

• The first trip, the RV got stuck inadvertently under the roof of a gas station. The gas station owner yelled that he was suing us for damages to his gas station.

• The second trip, the generator went out while we were dry camping.

• The third trip, my husband said he hates driving it and buying it was the biggest mistake he’s ever made.

We’re trying to use the RV this summer. If not, it’s gone in the fall.

We took it out of storage. We plugged it into our house’s electric, so I could get it cleaned up for the trip to the mountains. What else could go wrong?

First, the power went out in our house. The refrigerator, TV and computers went dark along with the lights. This was before I started cleaning.

Second, the AC went out in the RV so I cleaned in the “hot tin can” heat. When I went outside for breathers, in the 110 degree temps, it actually felt cool compared to inside the RV.

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Mt. San Jacinto in the background on a cloudy summer day.

We got “The Beast” up the mountain by hiring someone to drive the windy roads for us. He got it all set up and we were happy campers for about two hours.

Then, I turned on the faucet and it smelled like rotten eggs.

Next, we turned on all the faucets to clear out the smelly water and someone knocked on the door to tell us we had a leak. Water was pouring out from under the hook-ups.

The toilet wouldn’t flush and started leaking.

The carpet in the bedroom was damp from the leaks.

After our first night in the mountains, we decided to call it quits and come back to the heat of Palm Springs. At least we have a pool, AC, toilets and running water.

The good news is we get return to the mountains to hire a repairman and try RVing once again. My friends keep telling me I’m going to love it. I’ll let you know. 

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View during our morning walk in the mountains.

Are you a happy camper? What problems have you had RVing?