Sunday, August 30, 2009

I took these photos just down the street from my apartment of the gigantic plume of smoke from the La Canada "Station" fire. The photos don't do it justice on depicting just how massive it was. Looked like a volcano exploding. The fire tripled in size in one day and as of today isn't contained at all. And, for the last few days it's been over 100 degrees outside. Today it looks overcast, but it's the smoke, not clouds which hang over the city. Click on the photos to view larger versions.

Smoke from the La Canada fire

La Canada Fire August, 2009

La Canada Fire August, 2009

I returned at night and shot these from the same vantage point. The glow is from the fire, and while I was standing there, actual flames were visible coming over the mountain. I did the best I could to capture it with my little camera and no tripod.

Same vantage point at night - Fire glow

Flames creep over the mountain

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow, what a week. A sad week, and one that I will write about later. I can't right now. It's three in the morning on a Sunday night and I must get to bed. The cats are all around me, looking at me as if I'm nuts to be up... and I am. Even more so that I just got home. However, it was a beautiful day in so many ways.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sorry for the lag...again.

There's just so much social media and so little time. Actually, I've been neglecting my other accounts as well, including Flickr, Twitter and Facebook, until today when I posted about this unbelievable story. Some things just bring you out of internet hibernation.

Now that's a birthday candle! I had a great birthday. Shannon took me to Katana on Sunset, and great food, drink and laughs were had. He even surprised me with a birthday sparkler! After that, we went to Bar Marmont and of course ended up at Nolan's. After I changed out of my birthday dress, of course. I'd eaten so much I felt like I was busting out of it. I had a workout session the next day and really felt my over indulgence. It was good to get the body moving though. Speaking of that, the training is going really well. I don't feel like I'm going to die so soon into the workout, which is a great improvement. Now, I feel like I'm going to die about half way through. I must say, that doing these private workouts is one of the best decisions that I've made. It really makes all the difference in the effectiveness of my workouts as well as how hard I push myself. I like my trainer, who is from Japan and also teaches martial arts at another place. He's encouraged me to take a class, which I just might. The art that he teaches is called Seido. A word I've heard, but I know nothing of the art, myself.

It's now August 15th, Saturday, and I'm at the beginning of my furlough. This means I won't be working next week, but I don't get pay either. It's okay, as I was expecting it and have budgeted accordingly. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, that thud you just heard was my dad fainting in disbelief at that last statement. Don't worry, he'll be fine. Actually, I've been doing well with my budget, living beneath my means. Aside from doing things that I feel necessary, like the personal training as a way to stay healthy and the desperately needed replacement wardrobe, I'm keeping extra expenses minimal. I've been finding killer deals at Marshall's, as like I've said before, I'm Queen of the Bargain. In fact, the girl at Marshall's even marveled at my finds when she was ringing me up. And that's saying something.

I had a little scare with Oliver last night, as he'd been throwing up clear liquid for two days. I was worried that he could be getting dehydrated, so I called the emergency vet Friday night when I noticed him do it three times in the last half hour, and they told me to bring him in. It was about midnight, and they did a series of tests on him. I told them about his prior history, as they are the same place that I took him to for his previous emergency caused by his dimbulb former owner. I was taking no chances. While I waited, I noticed a woman with a solemn expression walk out of the area where the examination rooms are. She looked tomboyish and tough as nails but with an underlying sweetness. A few minutes later, she disappeared back into the examination room area. Soon after that, I saw the vet carrying a pretty orange and white cat in a towel toward the direction that she had gone. After Oliver was examined, I walked back to the waiting room to wait for him to be x-rayed and get his blood tested, and passed another room where the woman and her partner, who had that same tough but sweet quality were seated by the examination table, huddled over the orange and white cat that was lying between them in the towel. They were silent, their faces stricken and heartbroken as they gently stroked its head and face. About twenty minutes later, both women emerged and silently walked out, their shoulders slumped, arms listless and faces puffy from tears. I shut my eyes slowly as I ached for them, their pain so evident and raw.

The vet called me back in the room to view Oliver's x-rays, during which I asked if those two women had just had to do what all pet owners dread and fear. He confirmed that they indeed just had their cat, who was suffering from severe heart and lung problems, put to sleep. The vet told me that Oliver didn't have a blockage and were going to treat him for constipation. I walked back to the waiting room and passed the room where I'd seen the women and their cat. Inside, I saw the cat lying on the table, motionless. When I got back into the waiting room, I lost it. I cried for their loss, how helpless they must have felt, the awful decision they had to make and the thought of them going home to a house full of reminders, food bowls, toys, a litter box, and, at the sight of their beloved cat lying there lifeless. In the midst of my sorrow, a patron from one of the nearby nightclubs stopped in to ask me if I and my pet was okay. I was very touched, and explained to him that I'd just witnessed something very sad. He was a young guy with his girlfriend who had seen a woman sitting alone wiping her tears and decided to check in on me. The emergency vet is in an area flanked by several nightclubs, so there is heavy foot traffic on the weekends. And, because it's a well-lit storefront, it's a fishbowl.

Luckily for me, Oliver seemed to be okay. They gave him an enema because he was constipated and after he know, they gave him to me and I took him home. They told me to bring him back if he continued to throw up. He was a champ through all of it. And again, that hospital was compassionate and thorough. I was especially touched that they let those two women take all the time they needed to say goodbye.

In bed that night, I said a prayer for them and their beloved beautiful cat.

Monday, August 03, 2009