Top Picks This Week

The New Abnormal (& Friday Links)

It’s been like a permanent sunset since the fires started burning. It’s hard to believe it has been nearly a week. Classes at the University have been cancelled all week and our kids’ schools were cancelled today. Everyone is inside, hoping their filters are working as promised—the air outside is unhealthy to breathe—or moving about in particulate-masks. It’s an eerie scene.

And yet we’re lucky. Up north, the Camp Fires has become the deadliest in the state’s history, with close to 600 people still missing. Near Los Angeles, the Woolsey and Hill Fires have forced thousands to evacuate. So many people have lost their homes. The enormity of the disaster is heartbreaking.

According to Popular Science, “The state has been so parched that massive fires pop up all the time, and climate change isn’t helping. In the last few years huge swaths have dried up, burst into flames, and left blackened land to try to recover. Most of California’s hottest fires have burned since 2000—13 out of 20 total—as higher temperatures have made wildfires increasingly likely and destructive. Just in the last five years, this is how much of the state has burned.” 5,395,088 acres in the last five years alone. “Unfortunately, global warming will make it harder and harder to prevent and contain fires—until we address that issue, we’re in for a lot more burning.” And not just in California, but all over the world where places are parched.

Governor Jerry Brown called the intensifying situation the “new abnormal.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists is reporting on our impact on increasing CO2, and the big takeaway is this, “As individuals, we can help by taking action to reduce our personal carbon emissions. But to fully address the threat of global warming, we must demand action from our elected leaders to support and implement a comprehensive set of climate solutions.”

In the meantime, it’s touching to see so many people coming together to help, in so many different ways:

Here are ways support the fire survivors and first responders now. The fire departments have been asking that those who want to help to donate directly to charities equipped to deploy assistance to large groups of people who need help.

This beautiful photograph, “California Flourishing,” is just one of the many examples of small businesses offering to donate profits. This a partnership between photographer Crystal Lynn Collins and floral designers The Pollen Mill. 100% of the proceeds for this print will be donated to assist with relief efforts in California. (Feel free to leave any other suggestions in the comments.)

Thank you to those who have sent messages asking after our family. Next week is Thanksgiving, so I’ll be holding mine tightly, practicing gratitude, and keeping everyone affected by the fires in my thoughts.

In the meantime, some other Friday links of note… 

Keep Reading >

Getting Funky: Pairing Cheese, Sips, and Music

The ingredients for a good party are pretty simple: Friends, food, drinks, and a soundtrack. The first bit is up to you, but I recently came across some fun suggestions for the other three:

Our local grocer, Nugget Markets, puts out an in-store magazine every season, The Field Guide, and their fall issue went beyond suggesting the traditional wine and cheese pairings to include beer and spirits—and even music.

I’ve had great success with their recipes, and trust the cheese department to know their stuff, so I decided to follow their lead, picking up all the items on the set list for a “funky fromage” theme.

After all, I love strong cheeses, and was excited to be introduced to some new ways to share them. Here’s what I learned…

Keep Reading >

Parent Hack: Ball-on-a-Rope batting aid

Hudson’s going to play Little League for the first time this spring, so the other day we took him over to Grandpa’s house for a little practice. My dad brought out the ol’ ball-on-a-rope.

Dad used to coach softball when he was in college, and he came up with a genius little trick to stop chasing after balls when he was teaching how to hit…

Keep Reading >

Travel Guides

Browse By Category