too much

Too much rain, too fast, and too soon.  I can not believe I am sharing another disaster in our community on the heels of the Thomas Fire.  On Tuesday January 9th,  at around 3:45am, unprecedented heavy rain fell at almost an inch per hour and caused the recently burned mountainside to give way.  It sent a torrent of mud, boulders, and debris careening through many parts of Montecito, a suburb of Santa Barbara.  Experts estimate the damage lies over a 30 square mile area.  As of this writing, 17 lives have been lost and over 600 homes destroyed or badly damaged.  It is overwhelming.  Our main artery from North to South, the scenic Highway 101 is closed down in both directions, stranding many.

The historic Montecito Inn has already removed 100 dump trucks full of mud from the first floor and the basement is still 8 feet deep in the sludge.  This is the kind of damage that many homes (if they survived) are facing.

Families are suffering the loss of loved ones in this tight knit community.  While Montecito is constantly described in the press as a wealthy enclave, it is also a place of quiet beauty and truly wonderful people from many walks of life.

I am not going to share more photos of the devastation.  Those can easily be found on social media.  Instead, I would like to share ways to help.

Search and rescue dogs have been indispensable in finding people including a 14 year old girl who was buried for hours when her home was swept away.  As of now there are 11 of these search and rescue teams combing through the mud and debris searching for the missing.  Here is the link for the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation.

Too Much
This is not a lost dog. This is Riley searching for the missing among the devastation. Photo: Mike Eliason

Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara based organization that provides medical relief and aid to people affected by disasters and poverty around the globe.  They were an enormous help during the Thomas Fire and will be doing the same amazing work for this disaster. They have donated a rugged ATV vehicle to the first responders in Montecito so that they can navigate through the rough terrain in the search and rescue operations.  The link is here:

The United Way Thomas Fire Fund will now include the flood as well.  You can donate here:  United Way

Thank you in advance for your help and for all of your prayers and messages.  Together we will support each other and lift each other up over these coming weeks and months.

Too Much
This rainbow appeared later in the day after the disaster…

warming up with wassail

I shared this recipe a few years ago, but with the rainy cooler weather here in Santa Barbara and my friends and family shivering on the East Coast, I thought it would be the perfect time to share again! Continue reading

looking at the bright side

Being an optimist doesn’t mean I always think things are rosy.  Two weeks of a giant wildfire terrorizing your community and neighboring towns clearly isn’t a good thing.  But acknowledging the fear (yes, there was a lot of fear and worry), and then trying not to dwell on something I couldn’t change was a daily struggle.  I tried to see the bigger picture.  I saw tremendous acts of caring and giving from people just wanting to help.  And don’t even get me started on the first responders and firefighters.  After being out of my home for 12 days and still under mandatory evacuation, an officer guarding our road escorted me to the house and helped me grab a few things and make sure everything was secure.  When I broke down in tears as the stress of the past few days caught up with me, he said,” I’m not supposed to do this”, and gave me a hug.  That act of kindness will be something I will always remember. We owe so much to these brave men and women… Continue reading

escaping thomas

Most of the time living in Southern California is paradise…beautiful weather, friendly people, the mountains, and the beauty of the Pacific Ocean.  That is why we live here.  Unfortunately, even paradise has it’s dark side and for us it’s the wildfires. Continue reading

favorite shop: scout

You all know by now how I love to shop local.  This past weekend while my daughter was visiting, she was going on about this new shop she had passed downtown but wasn’t open when she had walked by.  Luckily, quite accidentally, we stumbled upon SCOUT while doing some Christmas shopping the next day. Continue reading