September Something

September 1-13, 2020

Dear Family, Friends, and Diary,

I ended the last set of diaries with the commitment to have more interesting diaries by doing more interesting things. That's still the intent, but no success so far.

Tuesday, September 1, The 172nd Day of our (mostly) Stay-at-Home Life

sunrisewhirlygigSeptember First started like any other day in the on-going fire season, with a hazy sunrise, nice glow to the backyard light, and an Air Quality Index of 117, "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups", like us, I guess. It's hard to think about doing something interesting when even the outside air tells us to stay home.

So, we stayed home, but not without SOMETHING happening: the start of our kitchen remodel. When we moved in almost seven years ago, we wanted a house with little or no fixing required and 904 E. Cambridge fit that requirement (if we ignored the back yard that was a giant mess.) as long as we accepted a small, 1934-original, kitchen. At that time, we upgraded the appliances, but the layout and counters and cabinets remained.

Maybe because we have been stuck here 24-7 for 174 days, we wanted to investigate improvements. Our 85-year-old cabinets look fine, but function needed improvement. First, the two under-counter corner cabinets, were impossible to fully utilize and difficult to use even for the parts we could reach. Real caves. And all the drawers were the most basic of nailed wooden boxes, sliding roughly on little wooden ledges. (Actually, it's amazing they have lasted as long as they have.)


At the 2019 Fresno Home show we had talked with a vendor who had created a retirement gig of improving the function of existing cabinets, just what we needed. We called on Monday and "Walt" came out early Tuesday morning to check out our situation. Despite the masks, he was a chatty guy who was most enthusiastic about his mission to design and install quality cabinet "solutions". It was nice to deal with someone experienced and proud of his work. As with almost all home remodel projects, especially ones mentioning "quality", his estimate was a bit higher than we'd guessed it might be, but we were hooked. He'll be back next week to do final measurements and will install everything by Halloween.dinner

After that, the day became regular: read, paint, calls to friends, and mid-afternoon dinner. I think Marianne is getting tired of cooking every day, but despite that she produces tasty treats; roasted chicken, vegetables and salad for this time.

Shortly after dinner, we had Tuesday Zoom Cocktails with friends Adrienne and Rita. Despite technical glitches and the inherent clumsiness of Zoom interactions, it was good to stay in touch with everyone's family developments, mostly centered on grandkids.

That was Day 172.

(This day in our history: Manchester, England in 2009)

Wednesday, September 2, 173 Days into this

I started with some flower pictures, just because I wanted to start with some color. Besides, these roses are trying so hard to be presentable, despite the heat and smoke. Just like we are.

I'll try to be more interesting later today, or this week, or this month, or in 2021.

red pink yellow

In my quest to do something interesting, I took a drive around central Fresno to scout photo locations. I think I have covered most of town over the last six years, but a review seemed in order. (I did not want to actually take pictures, because that generally is better done in morning or evening light, preferably with white puffy clouds.) Here is my list of possible themes:

democtatsThe only picture I actually took downtown was in the Democratic Party headquarters, when I was buying a pair of Biden-Harris yard posters. Posters for local candidates were free, but the national ticket was charging $10 each (despite having raised a record $360 million in August.) Of course, Biden-Harris will win in solidly liberal California, but, hopefully, the positive vote will carry over to the down ballot positions. We'll see.

peachesAt this point, I headed out to Fresno farmland and Peaches on Earth, for end-of-the-season stone fruit: plums and nectarines. Nearby, I stopped to look at the raisin crop, mid-way in the harvesting process. Farmers stop watering the grapes, traditionally Thompson Seedless, and the fruit withers on the vines. Drying finishes on paper "trays" laid in the vineyard rows. Rain seldom arrives before the trays are already gathered, although there will occasionally be a rush at the very end of drying season.

thompsons turning trays

Vern signsBack home, I erected our political signs and then walked around the block with Vern. Our inconsequential conversations are an anchor in our days and an opportunity we would have missed without the pandemic. I suppose that's good, but we are both willing to move on when that becomes possible!

The rest of the day was normal reading, painting, panting (on the bike), eating, and generally going slowly through every step. Maybe this is also a good part about COVID life, but not good enough that we want it to last a day longer than it needs to.

That was Day 173

(This day in our history: Independence Celebration in Kyiv, 2001)

Thursday, September 3, Day 174


I started the day early with a walk and saw the "Corn Moon" (the full moon in September) about to go down. The picture is not the best moon photo I have done, but it was encouraging that we could even seen it after all the days with forest fire smoke. The air isn't perfect, but it's better.

Tom Seaver LaneFHSJust minutes away, my first stop was "Tom Seaver Lane", just in front of Fresno High School. Seaver had played high school ball at FHS and later at Fresno City College, our other educational neighbor. (In between, he served two years in the Viet-Nam-era Marines.) From FCC he went on to a distinguished career as a major league all-star pitcher. He passed away on August 31st, of complications from dementia and COVID19. He died at 75, our age, having been slain by two of the scariest threats we face. Sobering.

The rest of the walk was spent taking pictures of ordinary neighborhood things, small sunflowers mostly. I am fascinated by the spirals at the center of these summer flowers. I was also distracted by a finch, a leaking hose, a neighbor, a Magnolia seed pod, and a trio of mushrooms for which I have pictures one day apart. Finally, I passed by the neighborhood COVID19 testing site. The socially-spaced line was longer than I had ever seen it.

center whole center old
flower and bee flower 2 Magnolia
yesterday todayfinch spray Ethan
COVID line

artAfter the morning walk the day proceeded like they all seem to nowadays; breakfast, diary writing, neighbor chat, and making lists of things to-do, things that don't seem to get done. Meanwhile, Marianne did the diary editing, pedaled the Peloton, ran for a few groceries, and puttered in the art hut, finishing more of her four-picture classroom exercises.

chickenAll this filled the day and soon it was time for our mid-afternoon dinner. Marianne did extra work on a couple of new recipes for a melon salad, BBQ chicken, and a fruit and yogurt dessert. Everything was tasty and, reportedly, low-calorie. I don't know about the calories because my weight is still hanging higher than I want. You'd think that just wanting to lose weight should be enough.

zoomAt 4:00, we had a Zoom party with friends from the old Kyiv days. (Back then, it was more often "Kiev" than the proper, Ukrainian: "Kyiv." We are learning.) Steve and Nancy were checking in from Minnesota and John, Mary, Peter, and Chin were in Northern Virginia, socially-distant in two houses. It's always fun to hear from this crew. In normal times, it might have been hard, because all of us used to travel a fair amount and finding a time for any sort of meeting might have been difficult. Not so much of a problem now, even if it has to be Zoom. We finished the call wishing Peter good luck on the back surgery he was to have the next morning. If it's not one thing, it's another.

And that was Day 174.

(This Day in our history: Labor Day with family in 2018)

Friday, September 4, Mostly Isolated Day 175

No morning walk or much other activity was planned so the day started with normal news reading and breakfast. There was nothing special, beyond predictable pandemic, poisonous politics, heat and pollution. Sheesh.

catmagnoliaA regular day includes morning porch chatting with neighbor Vern, with the cat listening in and the Magnolia tree dropping things from overhead. Anyone familiar with these giant trees recognizes the process by which leaves, flowers, and seed pods quickly sprout, die, and fall. The porch setting, and the conversation, has become routine, expected, and always there. Some of this pandemic routine is OK, I suppose, because it pleasantly takes up a block of time.

This morning we also set out on a walk, including a swing through part of the campus of neighboring Fresno Community College. Vern, who has spent 93 years in the neighborhood, pointed out where his grade school once stood, torn down and replaced by an FCC cafeteria, and the auditorium where he used to sing when this was the Fresno State University campus and he was a singer both as a solo performer and a member of the choir. In his words: "I have been walking this sidewalk, and singing for folks, since I was six years old."

auditorium walking Vern

pizzaThe rest of Friday was regular, with reading and dinner (Whole Foods pizza - pretty good) and exercise. We shared a couple of rounds of our weekly electronic board game with Brian and Jen in Colorado. Always nice to catch up with each other's mostly-isolated lives. Grandson Richard had finished the first week of his senior year at high school, also electronic, and is facing the whole college selection process under novel processes, thanks to the novel virus.sunset

After the games, Marianne and I watered our garden, with the yellow-red light of a smoky sunset.

That was Day 175

(This day in our history: Giessen and Alsfeld, Germany, Marianne's new home in 2005)

Saturday, September 5, The 176th day of avoiding peoplesunriase

Dawn was smoky, as it's been for a couple of weeks. I have taken this shot with the palm trees enough, however, to think it wasn't SO bad. Lowered expectations.

To give the cleaning lady free reign of the house, we needed to leave for the morning, so we decided to drive north, into the Sierra foothills. We drove up hazy Highway 41, hoping to trade valley heat for the relative coolness of the mountains. At Oakhurst, we turned left onto Highway 49, the old main road through the gold mining towns, but we were looking for coffee, not riches.

red barnshirtMaybe a month ago, we had discovered Mariposa Coffee Company, a roasting company on 49, midway between Oakhurst and Mariposa. We bought a of couple pounds then and loved it, so we needed to buy more. The cluster of old red wood buildings is easy enough to find, and coffee fans can find all sorts of cute gifts, but we were only interested in beans, mine whole and Marianne's decaf and ground. The coffee must be exceptional, because the owner has managed to stay in business for almost thirty years, despite a certain grumpiness. We came for coffee, not friendship.M and scone

Back down the road in Coarsegold, we stopped for breakfast at The Wild Fig Kitchen, another family-run business. (And, the cook-owner is not at all grumpy.) Our favorite at Wild Fig is a scone and whatever else on the menu strikes our fancy, hash and sausage breakfasts this time. The only complication came when I (grumpily, very grumpily) defended social distancing against a couple that tried to sit at the blocked table next to us. They moved and I apologized.

On the way back home, we also stopped by Toca Winery, not for wine tasting this time, but to inspect Marianne's art work that has been hanging since a pre-shutdown show. No sales yet, but we can always hold out hope. Besides, it was a nice place for a quick visit.

TOCA vineyard paintings mixed media

roadBy then, it was time to drive back home, under the gray, smoky skies we've gotten used to. I had heard that the heat wave that was starting on the weekend might also push away the smoke from distant fires, but that's not what our eyes were telling us. (This picture normally shows the Fresno skyline, such as it is.)

Back home, we started hearing the reason behind the continuing gray skies, and it wasn't a distant fire, but one just a couple of ridges over, near the communities of Shaver Lake and Huntington Lake. This area is the go-to place for Fresno people when seeking relief from the summer heat. Our own neighbors on Cambridge Avenue own five homes in this area (plus one more scheduled for closing on Monday.) As I wrote this (Sunday noon) there were no reports of loss of life, but these historic communities could be wiped out by the Fresno Creek Fire.

ShaverHuntington.Stolen from the internet, the picture on the left shows the Saturday afternoon view from Shaver Lake over toward Huntington. The picture on the right is early evening at Huntington Lake, looking back.

Helicopters have rescued 168 people so far, and CAL Fire is providing all the personnel and equipment they can spare, after a very intense California fire season.

That was day 176.

(This day in our history: Portland in 2015.)

Sunday, September 6, Isolation Day 177


garageAfter reading the Sunday paper, I concluded that the weather would determine everything I could do this day and a projected high of 111F meant any walking I could do would be early and quick. I managed to pass by the neighbor with inspirational garage drawings to see his new work for the week. As usual, a nice drawing and inspirational message.

grillThe day heated up and was smoky as well, so there was not much we could do except read, watch the Sunday news programs, and waste time on the internet. However, even TV and internet stopped between 2pm and 7pm because it was another SmartDay. At least there were no blackouts and dinner could still be barbecue.spider

Despite the heat, or because of it, we needed to hand water the garden after dinner. I went to grab a hose from it's rack and spotted a Black Widow spider and decided to skip that part of the garden.

Bear CreekMost of the rest of the day was spent reading and worrying about the Creek Fire up in the Sierras. So far, none of the five or six homes up there that are owned by folks on our Cambridge Avenue block have been damaged, or at least that we know about, but everyone is worried. Here is one picture from the internet of Big Creek, where reportedly half the 30 or so structures in town had been destroyed. I expect we will see many more of these scenes of destroyed homes, but no lives have been loss, and that is a blessing.

These graphics show the fire early in the day and just how fast it developed and how the smoke plume is joining the others from the biggest fire season in California history, so far.

fire progression boundary smoke


The fire fighting effort is growing quickly, as this little graphic points out. (Effective about mid-day).

In addition, there is a whole fleet of aircraft attacking the fire and many are based out of the Fresno Airport. I went over to see what I could photograph and caught one "sucker" helicopter, a four-jet-engine "bomber", and a twin-engine executive-type, used for personnel and critical supplies.

sucker exec
jet take off


I also caught a quick landing shot of a Chinook helicopter from the Army National Guard. Sunday night and early Monday morning this helicopter, or one like it, helped rescue 224 people who had been trapped on a beach at one of the lakes in the fire zone. Pretty amazing night flying, landing on a small beach, between mountains, in the middle of a raging forest fire. I hope any other rescues from this fire go as well.

That was Day 177.

(This day in our history: Our 1998 flight from California to Ukraine.)

Monday, September 7, COVID isolation Day 178 and Labor Day 2020sunrise

A very quiet holiday, spent following the Creek Fire and doing the regular things. As they do nowadays, the day started with a look at the sunrise to see how bad the smoke is. Dark red is the worst, but the holiday morning was only a little orange. Good enough.

The forecast was for 111F, however, and that's just not inspirational, so I spent 90% of my day reading a David Baldacci murder mystery. I left the house only for a quick visit when I delivered the New York Times, three doors down the street. I even skipped my Peloton session, because I needed to finish the mystery.

paintsMarianne was more productive, with a few chores and a little time in the art hut. Painting became impossible as the day went on, because her paints start to behave poorly as they heat up. Consequently, she needed to rescue them with a move into the air conditioned house.

Fortunately, the blackouts that were threatened did not happen and we could just huddle inside cooled air. This reminds me of winter life in colder climates where lazing inside a warm and comfy home is expected. Like in that case, I do look forward to better weather.

Off and on all day we checked in on the Creek Fire. The Monday evening report had the size almost at 135,500 acres, almost double 24 hours earlier, and still 0% containment. The fire crews have drawn battle lines, but the 1,000+ fire fighters have focused on protecting small towns and rescuing stranded hikers. A couple of dozen more people were rescued in overnight helicopter operations, but there are reports of as many as 100 more people up there waiting to get out.

mapbattle lines

treeThis has been a record year for wildfires in California and Fresno has had bad air quality for several weeks, but the Creek Fire is different. First, it is forests rather than the mixed trees and grasslands, as many other CA fires were and are. Reportedly, 70-80% of those Sierra trees were dead and dry, killed by bark beetle infestation a few years ago. They essentially explode rather than simply burn.

top of four laneNext, the terrain is incredibly rugged, with limited road access or escape. This picture (l) is from the "top of the four-lane", the main highway into the recreation area and relatively not-so-rugged. Also, this was a three-day weekend, with crowds seeking escape after months of being COVID-trapped indoors. Finally, it is hot, dry, and the wind will pick up on Tuesday. I can only imagine how many acres will have burned by Wednesday.

That was Labor Day, COVID-Day 178

(This day in our history: Bressonne/Brixen in Italy in 2012)

Tuesday, September 8, COVID Day 179 (and Creek Fire Day 5)

We had no plans, except praying for good news from the Mountains. The day started with our weekly weigh-in, OK for Marianne, not-really-OK for me, but its a pandemic, after all. Then it was breakfast and reading the New York Times, always sobering. Vern.

My next normal morning task is to deliver the NYT to Vern, so he too can get sobered by news. He reads more of the newspapers he gets than I do, so it's always useful to chat a bit. (Today, I started with asking him about the mushroom-henge in his front yard. I suspect there had been a large tree there one time, but before Vern? Hard to believe.) Neighbor Steve also came over to share what he knew about the status of Cambridge-associated houses up in the Creek Fire zone. His two (one selling, one buying) appear OK and no bad news from the other four. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

henge monuments Steve

M and classBack home, Marianne was keeping busy with online art lessons. This is almost a full-time job for her, or at least as full-time as she might want. Currently, the limit is how long her air conditioner can keep the little (uninsulated) hut-office cool enough.

linesFrom my power company days, I recall that the limit on how much power electric lines can carry in summer is determined by how much they can "droop", due to heating, before getting too close to something bad. In front of our house, the distribution lines seen pretty droopy. I can see why the power company is threatening blackouts.

AQIsunsetOur other activity was Tuesday Zoom Cocktails with friends in Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. We reported on our local fire and the smoke that was dimming our sunset. They, too, have had local fires, but not quite the smoke invasion we did. Our Air Quality Index was 444, "Hazardous", due to coarse particles. At that level, even indoor exercise was not recommended and that was enough to convince me to stay off the Peloton.

And the status of the Creek Fire? By the end of Tuesday, over 160,000 acres had burned and 365 structures had been damaged or destroyed. The growth of the fire area seemed to be slowing, and 365 structures out of the thousands at risk seems remarkable. The 1,000 firefighters are true heroes.

In our Zoom call, Tony had asked how far away the Creek Fire was. I found a map showing the official fire zone, just northeast of us and moving south as well as west. Basically everywhere on this map is either burned, burning, or blanketed by smoke. The next map shows where satellites pick up heat from the various fires throughout Northern California and the last picture is also from space, this time showing that the whole west coast is smoking! And it snowed in Colorado.

map No Cal smoke

That was Day 179

(This day in our history: (England, The Peaks District, 2009)

Wednesday, September 9, COVID Day 180, Creek Fire Day 6

This was another normal start day, with a golden-yellow sun and sky. I thought it was interesting lighting for the few roses that are still hanging on in the back yard. Apparently, San Francisco has end-of-civilization-like orange for their fire-affected skies, but those people are always more dramatic than us country types.

sun roses yellow rose

WaltOur first appointment of the day was Walt, from Drawer and Shelf Solutions. He's the one who will be replacing the workings of our 85-year-old kitchen cabinetry. Over the years, we have done kitchen installations and remodels, from small to quite large, but here on Cambridge Avenue we are trying to minimize visible change, while maximizing function. Appliances are all modern and now, we hope, we will have plenty of accessible storage. We'll give a tour when we are done, in about a month.

Next up, was a swing by Kaiser Medical Center to test Marianne's blood to qualify her for an anti-bone cancer infusion on Thursday. (Results were OK.)

roadFasiThat done, we headed north on Highway 41, the same road we were on last Saturday, but now underneath a heavy cover of smoke from the Creek Fire. The dull yellow gave light without shadows.

Our goal was Fasi Estate winery, just a few miles north of Fresno, where it was time to pick up our fall selection of wine club bottles. Wine clubs are convenient ways to support local businesses and, in the case of Fasi, drink wine a little better than our normal plonk. Wine tasting is free for club members, and the absence of any other customers let us relax as we sampled on a large, open, outdoor patio. It was kind of like the good old pre-COVID days.

I was also able to take pictures of the wine harvest. On-site, Fasi has Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir grapes, but on this day, Cameron was processing Syrah grapes from their vineyard down in the Madera valley. The grapes were harvested in the morning and brought up to be dumped in a machine that stripped the stems and broke open ("macerated") the berries. The mix would be added to large plastic vats for fermentation and filtering and eventually transferred to oak barrels for aging. In a couple of years: wine. He made it sound like hard work, but straight forward. There can't be more than a zillion things that could go wrong.

vineyard grapes grapes picked
harvest into stripper mascerated

dinnerAfter our nice excursion, we worked in dinner and Peloton exercise. Because of poor air quality, it had been three days since I had exerted myself, but it felt good to get the heart rate up again. Besides, it meant we could better enjoy the excellent coconut shrimp dinner our chef had created. home

Evening was quiet, other than Marianne's screams when she looked at Fox News for a few minutes.

I went outside and took a picture of our front entrance, bathed in smoke-colored sunset light. Much more calming.

That was Day 180

(This day in our history: Blue Ridge Parkway, 2007)

Thursday, September 10, COVID Day 181

sunriseThursday morning started smoky again. This is normal, I guess. In other years, we might complain about the dust from nut orchard harvesting about now, but that's nothing compared to the haze from the nearby fires. We don't like it, but what can one do?Kaiser

Our morning featured a trip to Kaiser Medical Center, for yet one more cancer treatment, "preventative" again, as they all have been since surgery last November. Our patient needs patience, but it may be running thin. Maybe it would be better with bright, blue skies. We'll need patience for that, too.

The rest of the day was uneventful, a quick stop at Whole Foods for food, of all things. (Remember, "food" includes cookies.) At home, we stuck to indoor activities, since air quality is still marginal for anything outdoors. Actually, I'm not sure how much better air in our leaky, old house is, but staying inside is all we can do.

San CarlosMagdalenaWe received nice news from Chris, in Monterey. San Carlos Cemetery installed the burial plaque for Magdalena, adding her marker to the half-dozen other family markers in this field. It's sobering to remember we plan to join her at some point, but reassuring too.

equipmentBeyond that, the only thing remarkable for this day was the continued wildfire action, up and down the West Coast. Nearest to us, the Creek Fire continues to be fought by a small army of equipment and dedicated personnel. Those helicopters and planes had little work yesterday as the smoke blocked efforts to target water and retardant drops. Hand work has kept the fire to "only" 176,000 acres, with no loss of life so far.

Overall, California has had 3,000,000 acres (4,600 sq-miles, 12,140 sq-km) burned so far, and fires are still spreading. Oregon is worse. Ten percent of the state's population has been given evacuation orders, over 400,000 people forced from their homes, thousands of which have been burned so far. And fires there are also still spreading. Washington state is suffering as well, with over a dozen fires larger than 500 acres burned.

Day 181

(This day in our history: (German Garden Shows, 2006)

Friday, September 11, COVID Day 182, 19 years after the 9/11 Attacks

Friday was more life under a smoke cloud. Morning was routine: read newspaper, write diary, Marianne had an art class session with Claudia, and I discussed world events with Vern. Mostly, we covered fires and the conditions in California and Oregon.

Later I did a little more "doom scrolling", this time concerning fires rather than the normal doom and despair of COVID19. Locally, concern has calmed down as our neighbors' weekend houses seem to have all made it and all we need to deal with is a sky turned a dull gray by smoke. We have turned our worry and prayers to the folks in Oregon whose fire problems dwarf ours. Two downloaded graphics show how fires have covered the US west coast and large parts of the Pacific Ocean with smoke, much of it far worse than ours.

US smoke Pacific

Meanwhile, our day continued with exercising and art time for Marianne and reading How to be an Antiracist for me. Not as light and quick as my last murder mystery, but interesting, for sure. We also started discussing a road trip, sort of an introductory one, up to Gabby and Mamal's vacation house in Truckee. (Unfortunately "social distancing" means they can not join us.) Of course, the western fires add a complication, but we feel we need some sort of re-initiation to the world of travel, even if it is just going from staying inside one house to inside another. We'll see.

dinnerPelotonMarianne prepared a great pasta dinner, after we vetoed shopping for new dinner ingredients or for take-out as uninspiring. As it turned out, the sauce with pesto and bacon was a real hit. Congratulations to the chef!

Of course, after all the yummy carbs, I needed to jump on the bike for an indoor ride. I know exercise will never fully compensate for extra eating, but we do what we can.

Evening entertainment was our new tradition of a long-distance word game with Geoff in Maryland and Brian and Jen in Colorado. The game proceeded fine, with enough laughs and chit-chat, but our east coast participant was falling asleep, so we cut the session short. The call was long enough to determine that everyone was still healthy, so the main purpose was met.

That was Day 182

(This day in our history: Glacier National Park, 2015)

Saturday, September 12, Stay-at-home Day 183

The day's activities were limited. Our house patient was feeling under the weather due to side effects from Thursday's infusion. Most of the morning, she stayed in bed and I waited, worried as I do. Nothing was happening that was not in the "possible side effects" summaries, effects projected to be gone in "a few days", but one's mind still wanders.dinner

As it turned out, Marianne started moving after noon and by dinnertime, she was far better and figured out a tasty little chicken and vegetables dinner. She's a trouper.

Otherwise, we spent time worrying about numbers:

That was Day 183

(This day in our history: An editorial on "Being American", in the immediate wake of 9/11/2001)

Sunday, September 13, Almost-Quarantine Day 184, Six Months!

I woke up and checked the air. Not good. Air quality on the coast, in the valley, and in the far mountains: Unhealthy. In the nearest mountains: Very Unhealthy. The pre-dawn street looked like a light fog was settling in, but there is no moisture in this air, just smoke particles.

AQIAQI_mapmorning lights

bungaloLater in the morning, I tried a quick neighborhood walk. Pictures started with a cute bungalow, complete with signs of the two kids who live there. Our neighborhood needs more young families! After that, it was flowers, more than I have seen for awhile. I think the cooling, gray days are easier on blossoms than the 100F sunshine. Note the small ash particles on the last picture.

pear red yellow rose
rose yellow
ash on red

After that, it was mostly indoor activities, including preparations for a few days up in Camp Rahimi near Truckee in the Tahoe mountains. I'll admit, I have had second thoughts about going on a road trip, but the reality that it's a low risk trip helped. We must relearn how to travel.

Our only outside activity was garden watering, made more difficult by the smoke. I managed to step on a part of the irrigation system and had to sweat through a repair job and the evening set in. I am saying this is the last of the negative developments for the week and, in the end, it was all OK.

That was Day 184

(This Day in our history: Start Baseline Health Study in 2017)

On Monday, September 14, we will start a week up in the mountains near Truckee, smoke or not. A new diary.

Take care and stay healthy. (Don't breathe?)

John and Marianne