Sunday Salon: The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Edition

It’s been a very strange week.

I woke Monday morning to the news that highway 37, my usual route to work, was completely closed due to a fire. That was the first I’d heard of it. My reclusive neighbor, who rarely leaves his house, soon showed up at the front door to make sure I knew what was going on, complaining about the smoke and vaping the whole time, but still, it was very nice of him to come over at a quarter to five in the morning.

If highway 37 is closed the only alternative route I have to get from Vallejo to Novato is to drive south and around across two bridges which takes three hours during commute time, so I called in and stayed home.

Actually, C.J. and I headed to Berkeley later that day to get supplies at the art stores there.

There were three days of school for me this week.  Three days of children kept indoors during all breaks, as much as possible. I got to tell students no, they cannot go to the bathroom until lunch time because of the smoke, which was a bit surreal even for seventh grade.  Lots of kids wondering between classes wearing face masks.

To be honest, by the end of the day my eyes were watering and my throat was sore.

The district administration cancelled school on Friday since so many parents were pulling their kids out of class during the day, others not showing up at all, and–because of the high cost of housing in Marin Count–large numbers of Novato teachers live in the next town north, Petaluma, which was under threat of evacuation.

No one on staff, nor any of our students, have been hurt by the fires, nor have their family members as far as I know.  There were a handful of students I didn’t see all week.  The parents of one of the teachers lost their home in Santa Rosa and there were stories of just how close the flames came from a few others.

I’ve no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I suspect we’ll be much closer to normal.

Since I had so much time on my hands, I was finally able to photograph the most recent batch of mail art I have received. Here’s a sampling

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I’m currently working on a very ambitious mail art/book arts project that will take some time to complete.  I’m doing a bunch of mixed media sketches that I plan on putting together as a book I can print and bind myself in a very small edition, say twenty copies, maybe thirty.

I think it will be fun.

I’ll post some pictures of what I have so far in a couple of weeks.


12 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes Edition

  1. I want a book! Can I have a book?? I’ll be your best friend!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Oh, yeah. And I’m glad you are both- and the animals are too – safe. My nephew, his wife and their baby arrived from England to visit my brother in Sonoma JUST in time for the fire!! No damage and all are well if stuck inside.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. My coworker’s mother (in her 90s) and brother live in Santa Rosa and had to evacuate Monday. They did not lose their houses but they know people who did and last I heard they could not return to their houses for very long due to air quality. Living in the Santa Barbara area I have been peripherally affected by many fires through the years but this one is so much worse.

    And I love that mail art. I got a kick of the one with 12 to the Moon because we have watched that movie multiple times via Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    1. I think because of the damage done to the Coffey Park area, which is totally urban, not next to rural land at all, this fire is scaring a lot of us who long believed we were safe from the fires.

  4. I feel for everyone there. Bush fires have been the scourge of Australia for many yesrs. White man has learned a lot about fire management from the Aboriginal people who have effectively managed fire for over 40,000 years. Stay safe. I worry about the animals both domestic and wild.

    1. I’m waiting for the cat stories to start up. After the Oakland Hills fire in the 90’s there were all these stories about people coming home to their ruined house only to find their cat still alive, hungry but still there, waiting for them to return.

  5. I’m so glad you are safe. I have friends in Santa Rosa who lost their home. They’ve lived there 25 years and have never had to worry about a fire before. So scary.

    1. I’m very sorry to hear about your friends. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about what happens next for months to come. Losing a home feels like the end of the story, but it’s also the start of another. I hope things go as smoothly for your friends as possible.

  6. Wow, interesting stuff. So surreal to have that going on. Glad you got to get the time to photograph your awesome art though. And your neighbor sounds hilarious. Glad everyone is okay.

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