Monday miscellany: storm damage, a “Goldilocks” blazer & more

So, I got a little sidetracked this weekend…

Like much of the country, we’ve been experiencing some wild weather here in Southern California. Usually we’re spared flooding or other major storm damage. But this time the high winds and heavy rain were just too much for one of the trees…

Damage from a wild winter storm

Elm tree uprooted during Southern California storm.
Tree uprooted in storm

Friday night when we went to bed, the wind was howling and the rain was coming down in buckets. We didn’t even hear the tree go over. About half an hour later we were awakened by the dog barking and knocking on the front door. It was the fire department, who said, “um, I think you need to come out here…”

You can’t see it in the photo above, but underneath the branches on the far side of the street is my husband’s car… 😱

Our street is lined with beautiful mature Chinese elm trees. But the past few years, they haven’t received regular maintenance and trimming by the city. And we’re not allowed to prune or trim them. Our neighborhood has been after the city, but keep being told “not in the budget” and more recently that we’re “on the list.” Maybe this will light a fire under them. 😤

uprooted tree, after being cut up to clear road.

The trees get very top-heavy, and the wind and saturated ground were just too much for this one. The fallen tree was blocking the road so at 1 am the crew was out with chainsaws to clear it.

Damage to car after tree fell on it.

Monsieur’s car had the back window shattered, and received some other dents. We had it towed to the repair shop on Saturday and won’t know the extent of the damage until later this week.

Fire department examines storm damage and water main.

But wait, there’s more…

The upturned roots of the tree severed our water main, which to me was a bigger concern because it meant we had no running water. I spend all morning on the phone trying to reach plumbers and was worried it might take several days to get it fixed. But bless my next door neighbor who said “I have a great plumber, let me give him a call.”

He was there within the hour, and he and his crew worked all afternoon in the rain to get us hooked back up. We were very fortunate and appreciative!

And we were extremely lucky that the tree fell out into the street rather than onto our house. Everything we’ve had to deal with was just an inconvenience compared to what could have been. For that we are beyond grateful! As I said to someone yesterday, “it’s just stuff; no one was hurt and that’s what matters.”

(But I do hope this will get the city to make tree maintenance a higher priority. And yes, we plan to “request” they cover our expenses from the damage.)

A “just right” blazer

Susan B. wears the J.Crew Devon blazer in navy, a Kule striped sweater, jeans and brown sneakers

Budget-friendier options: blazer | sweater | jeans (misses / plus) | sneakers

A blazer is one of those pieces I can throw on to instantly look more put-together. Sometimes I feel like Goldilocks when it comes to finding blazers, though. This one’s too oversized or long. That one’s too cropped or boxy. A third is too corporate.

I’ve been eyeing this J.Crew “Devon” blazer for a while and finally bit when I saw it offered in navy and Petite sizes. (I’m wearing Petite 6 here.) The navy isn’t as bright as “Bright Navy” in the Spring palette, but not as dark as a Winter navy. The fabric is cotton and has some stretch. It adds structure without looking too “yacht club-y.”

To watch…

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Before all of the craziness on Friday night, we watched “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and loved it! I won’t even begin to explain the premise, but you just have to strap in and go along for the ride. It’s imaginative and original, and has an amazing cast who all deliver stellar performances. (Both Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis are at the top of their game here.)

It’s available on Hulu, amazon, and a couple other streaming services. Well worth a watch!

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  1. Glad you were spared any MAJOR headaches. I bought that Chicos blazer the few weeks ago when you linked to it. I bought my usual size (2) and have had the arms altered (easily done, as the cute fringe is a ‘trim’). I could have used ‘petite’ size 2, but the manufacturers don’t believe in petite, curvy women (I’m looking at YOU, JCrew!!) It’s now ready for spring. Now that I see your outfit, I may take it to Dublin tomorrow with my striped tee! Thanks, Susan!

  2. Just FYI I bought this Paul Green leather tennis shoe, had multiple compliments and loved it. Wore this shoe all over Portugal and London; feet never hurt. Serendipitously I noticed I was having severe back pain in the upper part of my back. .This was new. A friend mentioned that she couldn’t wear this style shoe because it caused her pain which made me pause. I switched shoes; pain went away literally immediately. Took the shoe to my physical therapist and he commented that the thick rigid sole wouldn’t bend at all not even a little bit when placed against a flat surface toe pointed down. No flexibility. As good looking as this shoe is, as comfortable as it feels on the foot it was interfering with my gait. Thought someone else might want to know. This is a pricey shoe and I hate this outcome. Not all Paul Green’s give this effect; I love my other Paul Greens. This one is a no.

  3. I’m so sorry for your storm mishaps. A large tree limb fell on my car several years ago and the damage was extensive. I hope your body shop wizards make yours like new. I have trouble with blazers too. I finally found a knit blazer at Madewell that’s not too structured but not too oversized and I wish they would make it in lots of colors. Thanks also for the movie recommendation

  4. I’ve already commented on the tree and car. What a shock.
    I heard Michelle Yeoh on the British talkshow Graham Norton and what she said about the film was very intriging. Did you know she has and does most if the stunts herself? They showed a film when she was young, rode a motorbike alongside a train and jumped on that train, motor and all. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And she had never been on a motor before. What a dare devil.
    The blazer looks very good on you. I have the same sort of problems with finding blazers like you have. Most of the time I fall for blazers which are too corporate. And those unstructured blazers you so like to wear?? Cannot find any of them here.

  5. So sorry for all the aggravation over the weekend that you had to endure. Like you said it could have been so much worse. Thanks for all you do to keep us properly dressed!

  6. Oh, Susan! What a headache. So grateful no one was hurt. I live just down the coast from you and have never seen weather like we had on Friday night!!! So sad for the beautiful tree, too! On a happier note, thank you for your advice through out the year. Yours is the first blog I read every time you publish!

  7. Well, the plumbing issue was the worst, and sooo glad the tree did not fall on your house! And your hubby’s car does not look too bad. Hope it will be repaired quickly. We had a heating calamity years ago when we lived in Massachusetts. We came home from an auction at 12:30am on a very cold night, I think it was 3 degrees above zero, and the furnace has died! We called the emergency line at the heating co. and they showed up at 4am! I have never been so cold in my life! I got in bed with my coat on and gloves on and just shivered! The fire in the fireplace did nothing! But the heat came on at 5am so we were lucky! Sorry about the tree. Old majestic trees are lovely!

  8. You may want to contact a private insurance adjuster and ask if they can file claims for this damage. Usually falling trees in storms are considered “force majeure” (there’s a nice French term you wish you didn’t need to use) and your insurance won’t want to cover your claim.

  9. Have to say, the tree falling onto your husband’s car, my very first thought was “how fortunate” it came down that way and not the other way, onto your house. Really pleased to hear, you are safe and sound.

  10. Bless your heart, you have the right attitude for this. So thankful that no one was hurt. On a lighter note, just what does one wear to deal with a downed tree in the middle of the night? I’m sure you looked wonderful. Nice to hear you have great neighbors!

  11. Falling trees can be so unnerving, even when they fall the “right” way. And I love that blazer on you. The curves of it are so cheeky!

  12. Thank goodness for your neighbors plumber! I’m so sorry you had to go through this Susan! I know we’re getting another storm today here in Northern California—I hope you’re spared further problems!
    Great looking blazer! Could an autumn get away with that navy?

  13. Thank you Susan for sharing your storm experiences. We learn from others stories and coping strategies.
    I’ve had a question this season and you may have reviewed in your messages but as yet I haven’t seen it. What style of hem is best for jeans and chinos?
    I’ve enjoyed the cuff style for my short build but maybe it’s out of style now.

  14. So glad you, your husband and your home escaped major damage from recent storms. It’s unnerving, isn’t it, how life can change on a dime from something so unexpected- thank goodness for good neighbors, good plumbers and good body shops.
    Hard to segue from downed trees to blazers!

  15. I am sorry about the weather damage and resulting problems. Isn’t that just wonderful to have such a good neighbor who came to your rescue and body shops nearby? I am very glad your house was not damaged. Your neighborhood looks like such a nice one.
    I agree with you about Everything, Everywhere All at Once. So original with great acting. You might enjoy Marc Maron’s podcast interview with Michelle Yeoh. She is so impressive. Hope she and Jamie Lee win the Oscar .

  16. I hope the city makes you whole very soon! We had a similar situation years ago with a tree in our parkway toppling, but fortunately no property damage. City workers were out in no time to remove it but never replaced it. That was 20+ years ago.

    We loved EEAAO! I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much during a film, not because it was sad but because it was so moving. It’s a wild ride and worth it!

  17. I have a question about blazers. I have a nice Ann Taylor sweater blazer that I haven’t been wearing because it just “feels” wrong. It’s fitted and shorter. Another blogger featured J.Crew’s Cecile blazer which is much longer and relaxed compared to your Devon. So what fit is in style?

    1. Hi Lily, I think the question to ask isn’t so much “what fit is IN style,” as “what fit is MY style?” It may be that the sweater blazer doesn’t suit your proportions or style personality. Take a look at the pieces and silhouettes in your wardrobe that make you feel most like yourself. Are they looser or more fitted? Soft or structured or somewhere in between? Classic, bohemian, sporty, or dramatic?

      The Cecile blazer is a more relaxed fit but still has the look of a blazer. If you tend to wear softer, more relaxed styles, you might find it a better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer crisper, more structured pieces, you may want to stick to woven fabric blazers rather than sweater blazers.

  18. Susan,

    I’m so sorry about your storm damage. Here in the Pacific Northwest fallen trees are a way of life but they can be so destructive. Your trees have HUGE trunks – they really must pack a punch going down. I participated in Master Gardener webinar on preparing for climate change in the NW where they predicted more falling trees due to high winds and heavy rains and stressed the importance of preventive tree maintenance and regular arborist oversight.

    1. To echo so many – so glad that you and your husband/neighbours are all ok. Big trees are big problems after prolonged drought and heavy rains. We had one fall on our complex last year – our neighbour awoke in a shower of glass as one of the limbs punched through his bedroom window. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt but did lose several days of work as his work vehicle was crushed. Here (West Coast of Canada), they constantly remind us to monitor trees with arborist oversight and “wind-firming” etc. – that’s tough to do when they City is responsible for the trees. In hopes they make this a priority soon as the tree could just as easily have toppled after the storm when people were out and about. And such a cute blazer – thank you.

  19. That blazer looks AMAZING on you! so sorry you all had to endure all that damage from the storm!! What a crazy year!!! Glad that no one was hurt! whew!

  20. The weather has been so crazy–all over the country. And car damage for those without garages is one of the results. I’m so glad no one was hurt.

  21. About the Paul Green shoes, that reminds me of a time when I had a shapewear slip that was causing intense lower back pain. It took me a very long time to figure out that the slip was the cause, since the pain didn’t start until a couple hours of wearing the slip which like MWG’s shoes, felt very comfortable.

  22. Sorry to see your weather troubles. We’ve had a hard past week ourselves, with more snow that we usually get. Most people couldn’t get out for days!

    How does the J Crew blazer fit in the shoulders? I’m generally a size 6, but have quite broad shoulders for a woman, so I have a few concerns. I do love the look of it though, and it looks it would fit otherwise.

    1. Hi Chris, hope you’re past the worst of the snow. I’m also broad-shouldered, and find the fit is good, true-to-size.