Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Standby and Devastation

What people in southern California are enduring during Inferno 2007 is heart-breaking, yet the behavior of most of them is profoundly inspiring. People all around the area are pitching in to help one another and so many of those who have lost their homes are managing somehow to hold their heads high and look to the future. Jim is on standby to help evacuate horses for a fellow who is a cousin of a friend. (That fellow and his property appear to be safe now. Still, like many in our part of the world, his trailer remains packed and headed out in case he has to load animals and get out in a hurry.) Monday evening, that friend of ours left dinner with us a little early to evacuate cats for a work colleague. (In that case it was only a precaution, thank goodness) On the other hand, a woman who is a key figure in the southern California endurance racing world (she and her daughter run a couple of rides) lost everything Monday evening except their eleven horses and what tack they could throw in the trailer. When I heard about a fire in the Temecula region, my heart stopped for a second. We have a friend down there with forty-fifty horses on her place. I can’t reach her, but after scanning the internet for fire updates I feel somewhat relieved. It appears the fire is far enough from her to make her anxious, but not require evacuation. San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium and Del Mar Race Track are packed with refugee humans and horses. Let’s hope the weather predictions are accurate and we get some changes fairly soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Smoky Sky and Wind Damage

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Earlier today, I grabbed the G7 and stepped outside to get some snapshots. I was intrigued by the eerie light resulting from the thick smoke hanging heavy in the sky. Within seconds, I was coughing and choking. Ultimately, I was concentrating on breathing, not getting pictures. I grabbed a couple of shots before I dashed back inside, where I gave thanks for our blessed good fortune to be a safe distance (so far) from the center of these fire-storms and for air conditioning.

The first candid shows the small band of clear sky between the horizon and the wall of smoke. The second one shows what happens when a mere fence meets a Santa Ana gust. The fence is across the street. We came through all right. You don't count small broken tree branches as damage during one of these events and so far that, along with a couple of plants toppled off tables and some lawn furniture left in strange positions is all we have on our property as evidence of the Devil Wind that swept through our part of the valley. We are deeply grateful. One report I heard said that a million people have been evacuated.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Mustang Sighting

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I couldn't resist one more of handsome Walter. The title of this post is for my friend Paul Maxim who lives in Las Vegas and actually lives near an area where he will one day see mustangs in the wild . They are easy enough to spot if you have a friend who has adopted several. Paul has something else entirely in mind.

Smoke, Ashes, and Drive-by revisited

I am ashamed of myself for complaining about anything while we are safe and much of Southern California is in ashes. It's more than unnerving to be surrounded by all the devastation. All the news we hear is bad and it promises to last for days. Almost every route out of Los Angeles takes you toward a major fire. North, West, East, Southeast—fires everywhere. Traveling due south from our house to the ocean would be the only exception. In this part of the world, "fall color" takes on an unpleasant connotation.

Unfortunately, my better nature is not winning out. I am still grousing about Time Warner. I see that I am making some crazy mistakes in my posts. And, I am not surprised. After all, I rush through the posts like a mad woman with breath held, waiting for the the connection to evaporate any second. Calling Time Warner produces nothing but accusations that we must have a bad modem, or maybe it's the router. Strange that when our equipment fails , so does that of hundreds of other customers. Coincidences abound.

At any rate, I realized today that in the post on Drive-by photography I labeled the shot as having been taken in the Eastern Sierra. Actually, it's from our June excursion to Colorado. Blogger supplies a spellchecker, but not a fact checker. So, Doug, that is why my reply to your post made no sense when compared to the original post. I am feeling stupid.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

At Liberty--Almost

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It's been difficult to check comments on my blog, much less do any posting. We are among the poor slobs suffering with Time Warner cable service. Although we pay through the nose for broadband Internet service, what we actually get is not a lot better than the old AOL dial-up. A pox on the company Ted Turner unleashed upon all of us. Ain't monopolies grand?
On a happier note, the great looking Arab gelding, above, belongs to one of the nicest people in my life. This guy is no youngster, but you would never know it by his fiery spirit. There is actually a lead line on this guy—in the interest of everyone's sanity and safety, including his own—but, the line was a nasty distraction. I couldn't resist. So, I opened Photoshop and "set him free".