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:
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.
Here’s a view from our friends’ backyard this morning.
Do you know anyone suffering from the fires in So Cal?
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!
Map from the LA TIMES.
Do you know anyone affected by the fires?
Some of my memories from Carpinteria and friends below.
Carpinteria State Beach.
Summer vacation in Carpinteria.
Rob and Deb, our Carpinteria friends of 30 years.
sailing with Rob
and Debbie in Santa Barbara
Waffles and Kat at Carpinteria State Beach, August 2017.
Prior to moving our son to UCSB, we went with our friends to Rincon Point.
I was stressed the day we left for vacation. Had I packed everything we needed?
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.
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.
The marina in Santa Barbara.
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.
Sailing was exhilarating, breathtaking and yes—filled with fresh air.
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.
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.
I loved having my daughter join us for vacation. I hope it’s a tradition she continues for years to come.
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.
Why don’t we live in Carpinteria? Why was our vacation so short?
My son learning to dive with the swim team. He’s third from the right.
“Do Good. Be Good. We’ll Be Doing Good.”
These are the words my son recorded for our voice mail message when he was four years old.I saved that for years.
What a thoughtful thing for our young son to say! My husband and I adopted that saying as our family motto.
A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.
I try to do good. Be good. Some days it’s a bigger struggle than others. But, it’s something to think about, too. What are we doing with our lives? Are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we are in it?
A lot has to do with our outlook. I’m definitely one of the “glass is half full” types. I try to look at the positive and stay away from those who are negative. Turning on the TV can put you into negativity land. I truly believe that we can stay positive by removing negative influences around us. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Read interesting books and essays. Swim! Like Ray Bradbury said, “Garbage in, garbage out!”
My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message. Vacation pic from years ago.
After spending a week in paradise—otherwise known as Carpinteria, CA—I look back on our vacation as perfect. We have great friends who live there who inspire me. I always come home with so much energy from being around positive, hard working entrepreneurs.
Also, my children spent a bit of the week with us. What a treat that was for me! With two college aged kids, having them together was priceless. We rode bikes, hiked, swam in the ocean, sailed, shared meals together. It’s hard to leave them, but I’m so thankful for the time we had together. That’s my glass half full talking as I sit in my lonely, quiet house once again.
Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.
I’m proud to say my kids look truly happy. They are definitely doing and being good.
AUGUST 7, 2014: I’m missing Angus a lot lately. We’re on vacation at the beach in a little cottage where Angus slept on the front porch with his head sticking in the doorway into the living room. Every morning at this cottage for nine years I took Angus for a walk up the hill. In the evenings, the family took him for his nightly swim in the ocean. He’d jump through the waves chasing a tennis ball. Everywhere I look, I miss him. So, I’m reposting this story I wrote in honor of my son and Angus’s birthday last March.
MARCH 14, 2014: Next week my son turns 21 years old. Officially an adult. He shared his birth date with Angus, our yellow lab. But, sadly, this year Angus isn’t with us. He made it from my son’s 1st grade birthday to his sophomore year in college.
My kids with Angus at the beach.
The following is a story I wrote when Robert invited 50 kids to his second grade birthday party. It was published in the Los Angeles Times Kids’ Reading Room.
Camping with Angus in Carpinteria.
A Birthday for the Dogs
“MOM, I’m inviting 50 kids to my party.”
“What, Robert?” Mom said. “That’s too many. Do you know 50 kids?”
I sat in the back seat while Mom drove home after school. My eighth birthday was in two weeks.
“There’s my class, plus Cub Scouts, and playgroup.”
“I can’t afford to take 50 kids skating or bowling. And I don’t want 50 kids in my house. What about the city pool? It’s heated, open year-round, and it’s only 50¢ a kid,” Mom said.
“A swim party, that’s cool!” I said.
“I’ll say yes to the party, but no to presents. Fifty presents is too much for one 8-year-old. It’s decadent.”
“What’s decadent?” I asked. Mom used words I didn’t know.
Angus watching the kids on the playground at Ruth Hardy Park.
I sat silently and thought I’d be sad with no presents. Then I remembered Angus. Mom got him for me as an early birthday present. We were on a waiting list for two years with Guide Dogs of the Desert. He was being trained as a companion dog for people who couldn’t see. We got him because he had poor hips and couldn’t be a working dog. Angus was big, yellow, and I loved him. We shared the same birthday.
“I have a great idea!”
Angus at his front porch post at the beach cottage.
“What?” Mom asked, glancing at me in her rearview mirror.
“I’ll ask for money for Guide Dogs of the Desert.”
“Ah?” Mom made a weird swallowing noise.
“It’s Angus’s birthday, too.”
At the cottage.
In the rearview mirror I watched Mom dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue, and nod her head in agreement.
Two weeks later, I had a great birthday. Fifty kids came with bathing suits, towels and money. Instead of opening presents after cake, we counted dollars they had stuffed into a large jar decorated with photos of Angus.
Together, we raised more than $1,600 for Guide Dogs. Mom called me a “philanthropist” – whatever that is.
During my weekend visit with my son at UCSB, we discovered how far women have come from my generation to his. (Yes, I’m talking about the same son that tried to give away the cat on Facebook — read about that here. And, he’s the one that wrote about his crazy mom for his senior project — read about that here.)
We were out to dinner at The Palms in Carpinteria, where you grill your own steaks or halibut, with one of my best friends, my son Robert, and his girlfriend (She’s a poet and an CCS English Lit major. You can read some of her poetry here).
My friend and I talked about home ec, and we wondered if it was offered as a major in this day and age? My mom was a home ec major in the 1950s, by the way.
My son said, “They really DID have an MRS degree!”
“Not only was it a college major,” I said, “but we were required to take home ec in high school.”
“Only the girls, that is,” my friend said.
“WHAT?!” both Robert and his girlfriend were horrified. How alien to their lives is a gender-based school requirement. We explained that the boys took wood-working or shop.
My son thought for minute and asked, “What did you learn in home ec?”
“Scrambled eggs, sewing an apron, sex ed, how to clip coupons and general household budgeting,” I answered.
“All of those things should be taught to men and women,” the kids said.