If you follow my diary, you may have noticed a sharp decline in entries. Fear not, loyal readers! I survive and am doing my best to come back.
There has been a lot of emotional stuff happening. Stuff is the best word I can use. I really don’t even know where to begin.
The thing pressing on my spirit most heavily is the massive Camp Fire in Butte County, California. Paradise is a small, beautiful town close to Chico, which is where I went to college. This is all within 45 minutes of my childhood home where my parents still live, and even closer to where my sisters now live. I also still have dear friends in the area and while I don’t know anyone personally affected by the loss of property or life, I know many people who do.
My sister works day and night to help rescue pets abandoned because the fires came so quickly so many got left behind. She is exhausted but determined and I’m so proud of her efforts.
My mother is on oxygen and has been for some time. The air quality in the valley is the worst recorded. Schools have been canceled and people are advised to stay indoors. My mother tried to go to an ultrasound appointment with my niece, but the air was so bad, she coughed until she wet her pants before she made it to the car.
This is not the first disaster to hit my home state. When I was about 15, a levee burst across the street from our shopping mall. We had to evacuate our homes and could not return for two weeks. Our home was spared, but many of my friends lost everything. We were evacuated again in 1997 when I was 26. Another levee break – only in a different location.
Fires and flooding are expected every year. Climate change is the prime suspect. But this fire in Paradise and the Butte County area is more destructive than anything we’ve ever seen. At last count, 77 have lost their lives, and nearly 1000 are still missing. My heart breaks that I’m so far away from my home and cannot help in any way other than to pray.
The despair over this disaster was made all the darker by the thoughtless, heartless, and clueless remarks made by the president while bodies were just beginning to stack up. He blamed California for the fires, which burn on FEDERALLY MANAGED LANDS, and while people were still dying, he threatened to cut funding.
Then, less than a week later, he tweets out his “excitement” about meeting with the current governor and the governor-elect. He flew into Chico, where he blustered about how Finland doesn’t have these forest fire problems because they rake their forests. A) Finland’s president denies ever having the conversation in which this information was supposedly shared, and B) Finland gets far more rain and snow than California. He also forgot the name of the town that was completely annihilated, and called it, “Pleasure, CA.” Glad to know you’re paying attention to the small details, Mr. President. Will you be tossing rakes to the survivors?
For the past couple of months, my health has been wavering. I’ve had multiple severe urinary tract infections. I’ve been exhausted most of the time. The doctor has been running me through all kinds of scans and tests, including MRI, echocardiogram, and some cardio stress tests. I’m currently wearing a heart monitor, which is a nuisance, to say the least.
On the good news side of things, I get to start driving again this Sunday, just in time to take myself to mass. I’ve taken an early disbursement on my CalSTRS account so that I can take care of some things that have waited too long – mostly my dogs’ health. They’ll be 10 years old, this year and haven’t had a thorough exam in I don’t know how long.
But that brings me to my current source of frustration. I’m pretty sure that my heart is fine because my current banking situation would have killed me by now if my heart wasn’t in decent shape. I don’t have the energy to elaborate. Suffice it to say that they decided to close my account for inactivity on the same day that I deposited more than $6000. I’ve been trying to get access to my money since Thursday. That’s still in the air. Don’t bank with Bank of America.
I’m going to make a plug here for the organization my sister works for. FieldHaven Feline Center does good work even when not in the midst of disaster. If you’re looking for a way to help, they can use all the help they can get. They are going out daily to look for animals who are looking for their families. They’re putting out food and water. They are rescuing burned animals and treating them, then doing their best to reunite them with families who “have lost everything but hope.” https://fieldhaven.com/donate/. Anything is appreciated.