My Auntie Arlene lives in La Mesa, California, which is right by San Diego. I love everything about the area except that it's a huge, unnavigable, non-pedestrian-friendly city. Oh, yeah, that, and it seems to have more than its fair share of wildfires.
Welcome to the view from my aunt's balcony:
That almost looks warm and cozy, but somehow not very inviting. Frankly, I'm not very envious at the moment. Most days I think at least once how it would be so nice to live in a nice, warm, tropical-ish area. Today I didn't. At least not about California. I might have been envious of all people on Hawaii today though.
Here is what my aunt had to say about it:
We are okay here - am sending a couple of pics that we took from the top of our house at 2:30 this morning. Schools are all cancelled for the week & everyone is supposed to stay indoors - the air quality is very bad.
Yesterday morning Lance took a crew up to Fairbanks Ranch to work on a house in a gated community of very expensive homes. The area was just starting to evacuate and Lance had to talk the guard into letting them in to get the tools we had at the jobsite. (The guard was worried about looting)....Yeah, I really can't say that I'm very jealous about their situation. It snowed quite a bit (okay, like an inch) on Sunday and I thought that was pretty bad, but I'm kind of thinking that snow is better than this. I rarely think that snow is better than anything.
Our neighbourhood is no tropical paradise, but for the most part it is pretty tranquil and the neighbours are amiable. Sometimes when Rachel is screaming bloody murder and I can find no cause for her anguish, I take her outside and point things out to her.
From the backside of our breezeway, we can see into the backyards of some houses. One of them is beautifully landscaped with apple trees, a vegetable garden, and luscious green grass. Their patio looks freshly painted, their house does, too, and they may even have a little latticework back there. It's very pretty.
The house next door is another story. I try not to point the items in this yard out to Rachel. Somehow showing my baby a bird in an apple tree seems like better parenting than pointing out an old couch with springs poking out of the cushions. Or how the grass is perpetually brown and/or weedy. Or the broken dog kennel. Or the house that looks long overdue for a paint job. Or the piles of junk all over the yard--and not just junk, but trash. Broken bottles, garbage, garbage, garbage. The fence is in bad repair. It's just an icky yard.
I have no idea who lives there and I don't really know their circumstances (although the picture filled in a little more today) so I spent the majority of my time pointing out apples and flowers and birds in the other neighbor's yard, instead of focusing on why their yard was such a disaster.
Fast forward to this evening. I had a primary meeting, which Rachel and I walked to. The weather has warmed up since Sunday, so we're back to that lovely fall sweater weather, just perfect for a nice stroll. The meeting went well. But in the middle we heard a whole bunch of sirens. Really, really close sirens, which we pointedly ignored. Eventually the sirens stopped and we continued our meeting undistracted by anything (except for Rachel's antics which distracted us almost continuously).
After the meeting, Sister Baxter insisted on giving us a ride home since it was cold and dark and "no problem at all." We turned onto the street behind our house and saw a little cluster of police cars surrounding this ill-kempt house. Naturally, we slowed down enough to take a little shufti.
There were police officers from the K-9 force going through a car parked outside the house. They had their big, scary German shepherd police dogs sniffing all around the place and they were pulling little packages out of the car, as well as things that I can only guess were drug paraphernalia.
How interesting to think that, as I sit here and write, there is a drug bust going on just over the fence.
And this has nothing to do with the post....But, these are the clothes that Rachel was wearing as we walked past the scene of the drug bust on our way to the meeting, before we knew it would be the scene of a drug bust. And I happen to think it's a very cute outfit.
I'd like to thank everyone who helped make this outfit possible: Auntie Kelli for the shoes, the overalls, the jacket, the hat, and the mittens; Auntie Em for the socks; our neighbour Britnee, Casey Greenland's older sister, for the onesie; Emily, who went to Voronezh with me, for the beautiful handcrafted blanket; and us, for providing Rachel with a diaper.
And here's another picture of her, half awake, after shedding her outerwear.