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Okay, this time the fire really is over 50% contained! And we've had marine layers rolling in since Friday night, which helps a lot. I've never been so happy to see fog. Our friends' home is okay, although we have their dogs here until Friday (long story). Phew!

And in other news, we found out the sex today -- it's a boy! I'm kind of excited about it being me and this menagerie of boys in the house. How very Jo March of me. I have a younger brother, and the eeee! has an older sister, so we're definitely breaking new ground in terms of sibling dynamics if we have a second kid. Starting from scratch could be a good thing, though.

(I was convinced it was a boy, so I'm also kind of gleeful that I was right.)
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Oh, fuck.
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The Jesusita Fire is still burning, but the winds last night were calmer than expected. If the winds pick up again tonight, our friends' house will likely be in the path of the fire, which is nerve-wracking. But a lot of progress on the fire has been made -- it's certainly less smoky here than it was yesterday -- so we're crossing our fingers and toes.

So, a few other tentatively good things going on:
  1. We leave a month from today for our trip to Denmark! When we were planning the trip, I had been a bit nervous about how I'd be feeling, since I'll be about 5 months along then. People had told me that the second trimester is a breeze, but that's different than experiencing it myself. Anyway, given how I feel now, I am looking forward to the trip with no hesitation! My energy levels are back to normal, and I don't think I will have trouble maneuvering with my belly, or anything. (My belly is definitely at the point where I'm always conscious of it, and it slightly affects how I sit. But it's not at the point where people will immediately guess that I'm pregnant.)

  2. And oh, my conference in Italy begins two months from today! I am curious as to how I will feel when I am six months pregnant. Whatever. This should be good motivation for actually doing some damn prenatal yoga.

  3. I'm not sure I fully understand the focus of the Trifter website, but an article on Mt. Popa used two of my pictures, with mostly proper attribution. (I have to check Creative Commons to see if my name should be listed there, but I'm generally not bothered as long as there's a link.) Anyway, nifty!

  4. Things might improve for the Penguins now that they're playing at home? Oof.

  5. If you like sports, TV, and smart women talking about those things -- as I know many of you do -- you should listen to Play Ball, my SIL's podcast!


Right, back to work. (What? You mean it didn't end with the defense?)
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We're currently dealing with a wildfire in the hills a couple of miles away from us. We're not in any danger, but friends of ours had to evacuate. Their house is actually in more danger now than it was back in November. Once again, we're watching their dogs and hoping for the best.

Fire season "officially" starts June 1.

It's going to be a long summer.
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You may have heard that there's another wildfire here. Last night, around 8 p.m., we could actually see the flames from our house, and at that point they were five miles away. And now this morning, we're about a mile away from the edge of the evacuation warning zone. It's houses between here and there, not thick brush, so I'm not too worried. But worried enough that I have a mental list of things to grab if we have to boogie out of here.

The air quality sucks, although since the winds have shifted and died down, it's no longer thick smoke. And there's lots of ash everywhere. Hopefully there will be progress in containing the fire before the Santa Ana winds kick up again this afternoon.

We're watching the dogs of friends who had to evacuate. Three dogs in one small apartment -- luckily they all get along, and are the three sweetest dogs ever.

So like the last fire, I'm listening to the helicopters overhead (fire-fighting and news alike), and hitting refresh constantly on the Indy site. At least we still have power. And the cell phone network isn't entirely hosed. But oy.
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Yesterday had all the ingredients of a bad day:

  1. My students had a midterm, which isn't so much bad as nerve-wracking.
  2. Due to the nearby wildfire and the direction of the wind, it was raining ash on me while I waited for the bus on campus.
  3. Said bus was too crowded, and refused to let passengers on, and once I can talk about the Santa Barbara MTD without using the word "cocksuckers" they will get a nasty letter from me.
  4. If I ever finish the goddamn thesis and reward myself with the XSi camera, it looks like I might have to upgrade to Leopard. Boo! Unless they add that in a Tiger update . . . hmmmm.
  5. Our power was out for about four hours last night, due to the fire.


And yet, we had a lovely evening. We made roasted red pepper sauce -- hooray for a grill and a gas stove -- opened a nice bottle of wine, and had a candlelit dinner. There was no pressure to do work, so we then played Scrabble by candlelight and generally had a nice, relaxing evening. (Our power came on a bit before midnight, quickly enough that we didn't lose anything in the fridge. Hooray!)

Last night we saw the smoke in Santa Barbara, but the winds have shifted and it's fairly clear here right now. The eeee! tells me that on campus you can see lots of smoke, and there's ash everywhere. And the fire grew quite a bit last night, due to high winds, so this could be a while.

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