Despite a nap that lasted from sometime shortly after noon (I can't recall exactly when) until after five o'clock in the evening, I find I can barely keep my eyes open now. It might have been the rather large meal I ate for the first time in quite a while. There was spaghetti and salad and I think I made too much of both, but then I'm out of practice at making large meals so not surprising.
It was very hot Wednesday, and it's still quite warm tonight, plus a shift of the wind brought some of the heaviest smoke we've had in weeks. Some of the smoke might have been from agricultural burns rather than the fires in the mountains, but either way it's all very exhausting. The smoke has me coughing, and has reminded me that I forgot to buy new filters for the HVAC system.
It will be very hot again today, and then will grow merely quite hot for a couple of weeks. For some reason, popcorn balls just popped into my head (no puns intended.) I can't even remember the last time I had one. I had some Cracker Jack a couple of years ago, and that's about as close as I've come to popcorn balls in however long it's been. I wonder if I could make some? There must be a recipe on the Internet. Everything is on the internet.
Tuesday I was not at my best, but I still went out and made a bank deposit (ATM) and shopped in a couple of stores. My niece had picked up a few items for me from two other stores earlier, so I have quite a bit of stuff on hand for the next few weeks. As usual, I failed to get everything on my list, and forgot to list some things I've since remembered, and on impulse bought a couple of items not listed. It happens. I'll get over it.
The trip left me tired, even though we are in the trough of the current heat wave and the day only got up to 90 degrees. It was overcast and somewhat muggy, and there were even a few scattered raindrops, though they didn't stick around. I managed to keep going for a few hours after getting home, but around nine o'clock began nodding off, so after a while I went in and took a nap. The nap ended up lasting until almost two o'clock in the morning. So my sleep schedule, which was sort of normal (around five in the morning until early afternoon) for a couple of days, is now going to be catawampus again for however long it takes.
Somehow I managed not to eat any of my newly acquired foods for dinner, and when I woke from the nap I just ate one of the chocolate cupcakes I bought and have been craving for a couple of weeks. Cupcakes are my new sad food. I eat them when I feel sad. I run out really fast. Then I have to revert to cookies as my sad food. I bought lots of cookies. I still might run out.
It's going to be August in a few days. My second-least favorite month. July of course is least favorite. Sometimes when I go out and get slapped by the heat I'll remember with astonishment how much I loved summer when I was a kid. It was because school was out of course, and I could do things like play in the stream from the garden hose on the lawn, and a couple of times a year even go to the beach, or to a creek in the foothills above San Bernardino where I could wade in the chilled water coming down from the mountains. Summers were long, lazy hours and neighborhood games in the evening as the streetlights came on. But thinking back I recall that even then I did not like the hottest days, and after they ended would lie in bed awake long hours at night listening to the house creak as it cooled down. That would make me very sad. I needed a lot of cookies when I was a kid.
Monday didn't get particularly smoky here, but by afternoon we could see the enormous pyrocumulus clouds hanging over the mountains. Reports say the air quality was quite bad in Paradise. I remember smoky summer days there. They were quite unpleasant. But they usually didn't come until later in the season. This year close to half a million acres has already burned and July isn't even over yet.
The day wasn't as hot as the day before, but the night is not as cool. I'll probably have the air conditioner running more tonight. Outside it is still balmy, and the mockingbird is still singing. I'm thinking o it a a lullaby tonight, as I'm feeling more tired than usual, and also I have arranged to go to the bank and do a bit of shopping tomorrow and want to get to sleep soon so I can wake up early. But first I'm going to have some popcorn, because al I ate for dinner was a lone tamale.
Sunday morning I actually did manage to get to sleep before the sun came up, and then slept with only a couple of interruptions until about half past twelve in the afternoon. I woke up only moderately miserable (lower back ache, bloated stomach, sore shoulder) and found the day less than unbearably hot and the air stinking only slightly of smoke. Hooray? There was no donut for breakfast, of course, but I found chocolate chip cookies I'd forgotten I had, and they were not yet entirely stale, and there are more for today when they will be but slightly (perhaps unnoticeably) staler.
Later I picked a bunch of grapes from the vine in the back yard, and those, with a bit of cheese, were lunch. A lot of the grapes this year are much too high for me to reach, and I have no ladder of any sort. I'd rather not risk standing on a chair, with my poor sense of balance. I suppose I might be able to persuade a nephew to snip a few bunches off for me if he gets to keep a few too. There appear to be about dozen, but might be more hidden among the foliage. My eyesight is no longer good enough to be sure what's there.
I was considering a shopping trip, but haven't made arrangements. There is a brief window of not furnace-like opportunity today (though it's probably too late to arrange anything for today) and Tuesday. In fact Tuesday is supposed to get up to a mere 88 degrees— the first day below 90 in a few weeks. Immediately after that we go back to triple digits, with Thursday being the most hellish, at 105 (this could be revised upward.) The nights, sadly will all be in the seventies through Saturday. I can't wait for this summer to be over.
The Dixie fire is still growing, though a bit more slowly than it was. It has consumed close to 200,000 acres and 16 houses. As it is nearing some built up areas, about 7,500 people have been evacuated, mostly from around Lake Almanor in Plumas County. The fire was only 21% contained as of Sunday night. It's likely to get a lot bigger. A lot ofother people can't wait for this summer to be over either.
Friday was swallowed by a dragon. I only smelled its smoky breath a couple of times as the wind shifted about, but up in the mountains it devoured another 20,000 acres. We couldn't see the pyrocumulus clouds from Chico because the sky was too hazy, but they were there. I slept through most of the day, but then despite the heat managed to get a three loads of laundry done. Then I made yet another sandwich for dinner, but had no potato salad to go with it, having eaten the last of it yesterday.
Today I will eat the last of the donuts my brother picked up for me last Sunday. I should probably shop Monday, an do a bit of banking, as there will be a very brief window of less hot opportunity when we drop back into double digit highs for a couple of days. After that we get much worse again, with hotter days and much hotter nights. If heavy smoke decides to visit us during that period, well, I wouldn't want to have stock in any life insurance companies with lots of clients in the valley.
I'll be getting to sleep too late again today, and thus waking up too late this afternoon. Assuming I wake up, of course. After all, my luck might change.
Once again I got up way too late on Thursday, and now I'm awake way too late on Friday morning. Sometime in the next few days I expect I'll wake up way too early and then end up taking an evening nap and things will get weirder still. I'm pretty sure I ate something, but I can't remember what. I know I had a bottle of beer with it because I see the empty bottle on the counter. I remember watching a bunch of videos of stand-up comics, and one of them I remember is J. J. Barrows, who is pretty funny. I'll have to look for more of her stuff, as it is effectively distracting, and I like distraction, except when I'm doing something. These days I'm doing nothing, so it's a good time for distraction.
Now I'm going to try to get to sleep before the day gets hot, or before the wind shifts and smoke from the many large fires heads this way, as the wind is supposed to start doing strange things over the next few days. I don't expect getting to sleep will be easy, though, as it hasn't been for the last few days. Hotter days and nights are likely to make it worse before it gets better. It might get better around, oh, I don't know, maybe December.
Oh, they are evacuating big chunks of Plumas County now. The Dixie fire has topped 110,000 acres and another fire has gotten started nearby. They might merge. The evacuees are unlikely to head to Chico as the highway between here and there is closed. You can't get here from there.
The entire middle of Wednesday vanished into sleep, except for a few minutes here and there when I woke up briefly being either too hot or, when the air conditioner was in its on cycle, too cold. The last time I woke was after four in the afternoon, and the window blinds had a hint of the brownish yellow color of the window shades in the room in which I took my naps until I was six years old. I hated the color of the light that came through those shades. It was depressing, and I was always sad at nap time. Wednesday the color made me finally get out of bed so I could leave the room and get away from it. The rest of the apartment didn't make me much less sad, though. This is being a sad summer.
Dinner was a sandwich again, with a bit of the potato salad I'm surprised hasn't gone bad yet since it has been in the refrigerator more than three weeks. There's still a serving left, and if that doesn't kill me when I get around to eating it I'll consider it money well spent. Anything inexpensive that I can eat without cooking or other preparation and that doesn't kill me is money well spent. I think I'll buy more.
The neighbors who were away for about a week are back, so I have to be a bit quieter at night and not turn the computer speakers so loud when watching music videos. I also think that the middle apartment is still vacant. The people I thought were moving in a few days ago were probably just guests of the people in the front apartment, and the things they were unloading from the little truck were probably going there.
Days are going back up into triple digit highs again, followed by warm nights. Oh, and yesterday was the Dixie fire's first week birthday. It's 91,000 acres old, an only 15% contained! Congratulations, Dix! So far this fire season has burned about three times as much territory as last season had at the same date. The only reason it hasn't been as smoky around here is because the fires have been mostly in the northeast corner of the state, and the prevailing winds this time of year blow east. The smoke has reached the Atlantic now. Hope you've been enjoying the lovely sunsets that used to be our trees. You're welcome.
Tuesday gave me a headache, though I don't know why. It might be my neck getting further out of place. It might also have been because I kept forgetting to eat. I finally microwaved a bowl of ramen around midnight. For a while it seemed I might get to sleep by three o'clock in the morning, but I kept getting distracted and now here I am. Broad daylight again. The ramen is wearing off and I'm getting hungry again. I suppose I'll have to eat again before I go to sleep, and then I'll have to let it settle for a while. I'll be lucky to get to sleep before nine o'clock this morning.
The cool nights will be ending later this week. They won't get as hot as they did last week, but they'll be unpleasantly warm. The wind is still going to be coming from the south or southeast, though, which is a bit of good luck, at least for now. The current fires are all eastward and northeast, so the smoke will continue to blow away from us most of the time. If any fires get started farther south though, we'll be in trouble.
I'm going to make some popcorn and then go read for a while. I'm getting near the end of a collection of Scott Fitzgerald stories I bought at the Goodwill store... how long ago? Going on two years. Caramba! Anyway, I've been working on the volume for about two weeks, and I'd like to finish it soon, but I keep falling asleep in the middle of stories. The current one, a bit longer than the average, I've been reading for three days. Maybe I should just try to stay awake until it's over. It would really annoy me if I didn't finish it and then died in my sleep and never knew how it turned out. That would make it too much like life.
It was around one o'clock Monday afternoon when I hit the wall and had to go to sleep. The nap lasted until almost six o'clock in the evening. It was still hot outside, even after sunset when I took the trash wheelie bin out to the street and checked the mailbox. There were clouds in the sky and a sultry damp in the air. There could be thunderstorms, though they are not extremely likely. Even if there are they are unlikely to bring enough rain to dampen the fires that are still burning.
After several days of eating very little I decided it was time for an actual meal, so I fixed a box of macaroni and cheese and heated a cup or so of frozen peas. I might have made cole slaw too, but I'm out of cabbage. It was nice for a change, and so far hasn't made me sick, though I probably did eat too much. But now I will have more dishes to wash.
The heat is still the the defining characteristic of the time, and the brief respite of the merely balmy late night and early morning hours seems too little to revive my energy. There's no end in sight so far either. During the hottest parts of the day, if I'm awake I find myself spending a lot of time thinking about the ocean. I haven't seen it since 1986. It would be nice to go again someday. `