I feel like everyone here in Santa Barbara is starting to emerge from a cocoon. Our December was wrecked with the Thomas Fire – parades were canceled, roads and highways were closed. Restaurants were closed. The air quality was so bad that the downtown streets were cleared. It’s hard to feel festive in a red sparkly Santa hat when you’re wearing a breathing mask. We even had to wear them indoors at times! Breathing, you forget how easy it is all the time until every breath you take causes you to cough.
All through December, people mostly stayed close to home to keep an eye on the fires or they got scared and evacuated pre-holiday. I can’t imagine how hard this was for local businesses and people who depend on seasonal work this year. I’m sure we’ll see more closed doors along State street and elsewhere.
When we returned from New Mexico, it seemed that everyone was sick. My guess is that the flu season was helped along by the smoke inhalation. Colds turned quickly into ear infections and bronchitis and about half the people in our offices were out sick or recovering when work started.
Just when we felt like we were getting back to something resembling normal, the season’s first rain caused deadly mudslides, which you’ve read about and seen in the news. It’s completely awful and every day there are funerals for the people who died buried in mud in their homes or cars.
We were lucky. The fires in our area last summer didn’t come over the hill and down into our area. So, the hills behind our house are still covered with vegetation – key to stopping mudslides from happening.
I started taking my camera out with me on weekends to try and pick up a little photo joy. After the rain, I caught this photo with the droplets on the poinsettia leaves.
We finally had a bit of fall – in January! – during the rain because it knocked all the leaves off the trees.
One of the wine tasting rooms in the Santa Barbara’s funk zone started having Sunday cupcake and champagne tasting – I had to try that!
Steve tried some new cabs – he loves them. Gotta swirl to open it up!
The tasting room person brought her dog, who had a prime seat by the fire.
With the 101 closed due to the mud, Santa Barbara is nearly empty. It’s got to be hard on the restaurants and people are not working. I did my local duty and escaped the house to have lunch with a margarita on the weekend.
On a downtown walk with a friend, we stopped to see the turtle fountain. These guys must be cold because they are all piled on top of each other and out of the water!
Yesterday, we finally had some sun and I strolled the the campus point and watched the surfers.
So grateful that we got through this season without losing our home or our lives or any of our friends, but it’s clear to me that this area and these people are still in shock and recovering.