The horror goes on in northern California, the seven fires roaring into communities and wiping them out. More than 2000 homes and buildings have gone up in flames, 17 people have been killed. My great nephews there have been evacuated and are staying with friends.

And the firefighters don’t seem to be able to get a handle on it all. This is beginning to sound worse than the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 when the fire crept close to our home and we prepared to evacuate. In that one 2500 homes went up in flames and 25 people died.

Please let everyone be safe.


The House Mouse

Sightings in the dining room have become the equivalent of counting coup. None of us is sure where it lives, perhaps inside the wainscoting panel on the wall.

We know the mouse lives on food dropped from tables, and we know the exquisite timing of its forays — the moment of food dropped and the vacuuming of the floors. Traps are put out by the staff but unspoken among us residents here is the wish that the mouse eludes them. We don’t want it to be caught.

I saw it the other day. I threw it a small piece of pie crust, which was almost bigger than the mouse. In an instant crust and mouse had disappeared into the wainscoting panel. The mouse’s name? Chumley.