Friday Miscellany: Fires, Dust, And Yes, Some Pretty Things

Satellite image of Southern California wildfires.

California Ablaze (Again)

Wow, these fires. While the destruction to homes and businesses hasn’t yet been as extensive as the fires in Northern California a few weeks ago, a lot of communities are still in danger. I used to be pretty complacent about our own risk, as we live miles from any substantial brush or hills. But after seeing what happened to suburban neighborhoods in Santa Rosa, I’m keeping an eye on developments. With these dry, windy conditions, all it takes is a random spark.

And even though the winds haven’t pushed much smoke in our direction (yet), there’s a lot of particulate matter in the air. My eyes and throat have been irritated, and my nose running. Schools in many parts of Los Angeles have been closed the last couple of days. I can’t imagine what it’s like for firefighters. We are in awe of and grateful for their efforts. I hold them in my thoughts and hope that they all return safely to their families when this is over.

This interactive map shows in greater detail the areas that have been impacted, and the direction of the fires.

That we would still be having fire season in December is highly unusual. Normally we would have had 2 or more good rainstorms by now, and the hills would be starting to green up. It’s hard to ignore the impacts of climate change. I just hope we’re not heading into another drought.

Meanwhile, Back In The Kitchen…

kitchen renovation: moving old small door. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Things are moving along. The demolition is mostly done. Everything in our house is either covered in plastic or covered in a fine dust. I tried keeping on top of it but gave up after a couple of days. Once they’ve finished all of the demolition and framing, I’ll get the vacuum and dust rags out. Above temporary supports where two walls were removed. Today they’ll be installing a giant support beam across the length of the room, then those will go away. The old, small door on the right will be filled in and…

framing a new kitchen door. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Moved a few feet to the right to create a better flow. Here the guys are framing the new door.

Some Pretty Embroidered Things

Let’s finish up this post with a visual palate cleanse, shall we?

Gucci Ophidia bag with embroidered dragon. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Very much on the Splurge end of the spectrum, a dragon-embroidered navy suede bag from Gucci. This is SO gorgeous up close, and very lightweight. The adjustable strap allows it to be worn cross-body or over the shoulder. I’ve always had a thing for Asian-inspired embroidery, especially dragons and tigers.

White cardigan with black embroidery. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

On the more budget-friendly side, here’s a pretty, cozy cardigan to top off your holiday party outfit.

navy embroidered velvet booties. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

These embroidered velvet booties are 30% off here (available in several whole sizes) and 25% off here (a few more sizes available) with code FRIENDS. They’re very pretty in person!

Hope your week is finishing up on a high note!

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20 Comments

  1. Ellen Gloudie
    December 8, 2017 / 3:26 am

    Good to read that you are safe! When I heard the news my thoughts were immediately with you.
    About the demolition, we have been there a couple of years ago. When the result is rewarding you will soon forget about the mess. But it is testing.
    I really love the velvet booties! Courage on all fronts! Love from Brussels!

  2. December 8, 2017 / 5:28 am

    So glad to know that you are safe and well, but I know from our experience this past summer that even when you and your home are not personally at significant risk, having these kind of cataclysmic fires so close and for so long is unnerving. We were breathing in particulate matter and living in a smoky haze for too many days, and it rocks the foundations. . . take care. But the kitchen project seems to be going very well and that kind of dust, while very annoying, is ushering in a blright new room which I’m sure you’re really going to enjoy.

  3. Darling Lily
    December 8, 2017 / 6:10 am

    I lived in SoCal for 35 years (OC), and we had 80 degree Christmases more often than not. I don’t remember much rain other than it somehow always managed to do so the night we had chosen to go out looking at lights, usually a few days before Christmas. So hopefully you’ll get some soon! I do remember it was almost always cold on New Years Eve.

    That bag is exquisite!

    • Susan B
      Author
      December 8, 2017 / 7:25 am

      True, warm days aren’t unusual this time of year. What is unprecedented are the extremely low levels of humidity, and the lack of any rain at all. I have my fingers crossed this weather pattern will change soon!

  4. December 8, 2017 / 7:45 am

    Gosh, just as I thought danger was over, Adrienne was safe and her house was still standing, now you are in the danger zone. Terrible. I will send some good thoughts into the cosmos. See whether that will help. Hang in there girl.
    Greetje

  5. December 8, 2017 / 8:44 am

    I remember redoing our kitchen. I tried to dust every day and then gave up. I lost the battle of the dust. It’s got to be harder for you with these winds and the stuff in the air. I think I’m OK up in my hill location. But of course keeping a watch for any fire. Good luck to you.

  6. December 8, 2017 / 8:52 am

    My brother is also in the danger zone. Will be praying for all of you… it just looks so frightening. Be safe, Dusan.

  7. December 8, 2017 / 10:36 am

    Yes, I’ve been very worried about this, though so far nobody I know (in real life or virtually) has been affected yet. So many things now just aren’t normal.

  8. Sandra
    December 8, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Glad to hear that you are safe. Climate change deniers make my poor head explode!

  9. December 8, 2017 / 11:12 am

    It’s such a horrible fire season in beautiful California.

    So here’s my rain dance chant:

    It’s time for some damn rain.
    These fires are a bane.
    Pretty, pretty please.
    Would be the bee’s knees!

    And after that contribution, I’m swooning for the Gucci bag. It’s soooo beautiful. And no, I can’t afford it, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring it and your good taste.

    Stay safe, Susan.

  10. Kay
    December 8, 2017 / 11:13 am

    I live in fire country, but this year, we have so far been spared. People ask me why I want to live in an area where wild fires are all too common. I live on a hill with far-reaching views, few neighbors, and beautiful weather for ten months out of the year. Sadly, the climate change happening is changing the iconic Southern California we have loved for decades. My heart aches for those who have lost so much.

  11. Ali
    December 8, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    The firefighters…don’t they do a mighty and brave job! They put their lives on the line for other people everyday. My thoughts are with those affected by the terrible fires. Stay safe Susan.

    As for your kitchen reno, just keep your eye on the prize at the end because the building dust is unstoppable and gets into and onto EVERYTHING!!!!!! I can’t wait to see photos of the finished product.

  12. December 8, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    A question for anyone here – are the people who have to evacuate allowed to take their pets? Of course if they are driving they can take their furry friends in the car, but will shelters accept them? I could never leave my little cat.

    • Darling Lily
      December 8, 2017 / 5:16 pm

      For many years, the larger emergency shelter organizations like The Red Cross would not accept pets (which is why many people refuse to evacuate), but I believe the rules are changing. It wouldn’t hurt to call around to the various organizations in your area who normally offer shelter to ask now, just to be safe!

    • Susan B
      Author
      December 8, 2017 / 5:23 pm

      It depends on the shelter. I think more shelters are trying to accommodate some pets, as often people will be reluctant to evacuate and leave pets behind. (And who can blame them?) I do know that some of the local community colleges were sheltering horses and other livestock too.

  13. Nicole K
    December 8, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    Glad you are safe Susan. I was just watching on the news last night as they explained why the smoke from the fires is flowing up to the San Francisco Bay Area. We are on Spare the Air alert days again due to the smoke from the fires down south.

    I agree that it’s never been this bad. And regardless of weather trends, climate change is real and extending the fire season. There is ample data on this. And of course, we continue to live in historically fire prone areas.

    As for the palate cleansers, your ability to curate interesting and fun examples of trends is truly amazing and artful. Much gratitude!

  14. MARLA
    December 8, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    I’m down here in So Cal too so I’m glad the fires have died down…..
    Just wanted to say how gorgeous those boots are. Velvet and glittery!
    They just scream holiday!!!!

  15. Lisa Bruzzese
    December 11, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Hi Susan, For some reason I am no longer receiving your blog posts! I thought you hadn’t been posting due to the fire but then visited you r site and there you were! I resubmited my email address so hopefully I’ll be enjoying my breakfast coffee reading your posts.
    Lisa

    • Susan B
      Author
      December 11, 2017 / 9:51 am

      Thanks Lisa! I think I’ve been having some trouble with subscription lists and am looking into it.

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