Please Forgive Me



I would like to apologize to all of Southern California.


I know you were expecting super-duper rains this winter. I know you hoped effects of the years-long drought would be alleviated. I know you had plans, such as keeping your lawn. Maybe running through a sprinkler come summer. Maybe going fishing in a healthy, heavy-running stream.


I’m sorry. You see, it’s all my fault – this lack of rain. My first mistake was unpacking my rubber boots and leaving them in a corner, ready to wear when needed. My next mistake was buying a pump for the pool, in case it ran over. And lest you think this past Friday’s rain let me off the hook, know this: I told Mister – that very morning – that I wanted rains to fall and wash my car. See? It was on me.


Please don’t think I intentionally ruined our El Niño rains. I assure you – it was quite unintentional. I just didn’t know how powerful I am. And for that, I sincerely apologize.

El None-yo



A lot of us here in Southern California looked forward to the predicted rains of El Niño. We thought our winter would be fabulously wet and that our trees would, perhaps, live through another year of drought. Even with all the warnings of flooding and leaks, the rains were exciting and hoped-for.


Cut to this – the last month of winter. We’ve had rain here and there and that’s been appreciated. But heavy rains? Not so much. Non-stop rains? Certainly not. Another storm is predicted for today. After that? I have no idea.


My own trees are suffering. When I drive around town, I see dead trees here and there. I’ve gotten used to brown grass, but the trees are a different matter. They’re breaking my heart.


Some of our friends have taken to calling our heavily-predicted, yet non-existent weather phenomenon “El None-yo.” I don’t blame them. Our stunning sunshine certainly makes it seem that way. In the meantime, I’m hoping the Sierras are getting walloped with snow. And that my trees survive. And that today’s rain is more than a drizzle. Fingers crossed…

Five Feet High and Rising



I am pacing back and forth, to and fro, with a furrowed brow.


Well – they’ve been telling us it was coming (whoever “they” are). They’ve pleaded with us to prepare, to get ready. And now it looks like it’s finally begun.


The El Niño rains have started, friends. We’re told this season’s intensity has already tied the power of the 1997-1998 El Niño, which, as I recall, was crazy.  For some of us, this El Niño won’t mean much beyond snarled traffic and lack of sunlight. But for others it will be much worse.


Mister and I live in a flat area of Los Angeles and nowhere near a natural body of water. We don’t have the multiple concerns of hillside residents, like sliding off the danged thang. And the various snaking arms of the L.A. River don’t border our little plot of land, so if it breaches its walls, we won’t feel it. Some folks are already in trouble, and the rains only started this week. All in all, Mister and I are lucky.


But there is the small matter of the pool. We like to call our back yard our Fortress of Solitude, as it’s completely enclosed and crazy-private. That’s awesome and we love it. But as I type this, I’m monitoring the pool and the water level has only a couple of inches before it bubbles over the top. If our backyard were wide open, that would simply mean the water would run off in all directions and (hopefully) be absorbed by surrounding ground. But as the area is enclosed, the only place for the overflow to go is against the house and the garage. These structures are built up off the ground, but not by much. So there may come a time in the not-so-distant future when I find myself out in the elements, rigging a pump and a hose to try and drain the excess water down the driveway. I’m a handy gal, but water mixed with electricity scares the bejeesus out of me. And rightly so. Hence my pacing.


Don’t get me wrong. If the pool does overflow, I’m fairly certain I’ll figure out the situation. It’s just so daunting in the meantime!


But if I look toward the front yard, all I can think is how much our trees and gardens love the rain. And how much we need it. Heaven help us, I hope it’s snowing in the mountains, too. That’s the only way to help ease the drought in the long run.

Devil Winds



We’re in the midst of some devil winds here in Los Angeles. And they’re not the type we’re used to.


During autumn, we usually experience Santa Anas, which are warm or hot winds that blow everything about and scare the bejesus out of me. Santa Anas often coincide with fire season and they tend to make things worse. After 2 decades of living here, I’m still surprised each year when they arrive. Surprised, but not flabbergasted or anything. I suppose on some level I’ve come to expect them.


We are not experiencing Santa Anas right now. We are told this is the beginning of our El Niño weather. That it will continue, off and on, for months. Rain is promised, and prayed for. Flooding is expected and we’re receiving regular admonitions to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. Snow has started hitting the Sierra Mountains and that’s great, as we desperately need it. Locally, there’s no rain but the winds are a-blowin’ and they’re fierce. They’re also cold. Cold, y’all! Everything is still flying about and I guess the bejesus is still getting scared out of me, but I’m wearing a sweater while being a wuss. And a hat. And a scarf and gloves. I’m not kidding. Friends are laughing at me when I’m bundled up so, but then I notice they’re doing a fair bit of shivering and I’m pretty sure they wish they had all the winter gear I’m donning. So there.


Yesterday I was in a Holly-weird skyscraper and I watched giant, metal light posts swaying in the wind. It was odd. And I could hardly bring myself to look away. But I eventually did, and then I left the building and walked the swirling sidewalks. As I passed others along my way, not a single person laughed at my warm, protective gear. And I understood why. I was surrounded by wusses. My thin-skinned people.

Cool, Clear Water



While keeping cool and floating in the pool, I couldn’t help thinking about water. Cool, clear water. I guarantee much of my liquid obsession is based in the drought. Go figure.


Our water problems here in the West are consistently ugly, and even though there’s talk of major El Niño weather in our future, one winter won’t cure our ills.


But I digress. This photo is not only beautiful, but cooling for me. I can almost feel the cool, damp room where Mister and I encountered this shady fountain, a jillion years ago. And for the moment, at least, I don’t mind the heat so much.