Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer, wildfires, and cabin fever

After an extended and unusually pleasant spring, it's a shock to realize that summer has come to North Texas with some of the vengeance of last year's horrific season. The top stays up on my convertible, the windows closed, the a/c on--not the way I like to drive. Yesterday, when it hit 106, the air felt like a smothering blanket when I ventured outside. My dogs spend the hottest part of the day inside. This afternoon Sophie acted like she wanted to go out, so I started toward the back door. She followed for a bit but then sat down firmly in the middle of the kitchen, as if to say, "I'm not going back out there!"
I've spent most of this week at home on my computer, and I'm beginning to get cabin fever. I had a bunch of errands that could easily have been done in one day, but I chose to do the little ones today, saving the grocery for tomorrow, so that I get out each day. The grocery is not exciting, but the clerks are pleasant and you get to talk to people. I value my solitude, and Lord knows I have plenty of work to do, but I am not a loner. I need people. To my delight Jordan and Jacob stopped in about eight this morning--Jacob demonstrated the new break-dancing techniques he'd learned at yesterday's lesson.
Being at my computer has meant that I've been glued to the reports of the apolcalyptic fires in Colorado, particularly Colorado Springs. Years and years ago (in the '70s) my brother lived there and we visited often. Then seven or so years ago, Colin and Lisa lived there, and we visited again. Both John and Colin lived close to the Garden of the Gods, and I treasure a picture of my whole family in front of the rock with Garden of the Gods written on it. From this distance, it's easy to feel dismay over the possible destruction of the Air Force Academy and the Broadmoor; it's harder to comprehend the tragic loss to so many families, with countless homes burned, the trauma of rapid evacuations, the desperation of first responders. I read that police directing evacuation traffic wore T-shirts over their faces so they could breathe in that smoke-filled air, and hospitals have treated many people with respiratory problems. I've thought of a line from Anna Quindlen's book, Lots of Cake, Plenty of Candles. "Catastrophe," she wrote, "is numerical. Loss is singular." We can pray and worry over the catastrophe, but we can never share the loss experienced by so many. Makes it seem petty to complain about 106.
I read with amusement a newspaper article about Texas food, with recipes, that purported to give author Dan Jenkins' recipe for cheese enchiladas. I emailed Dan with a comment to the effect that I didn't realize he cooked, and he wrote back to say that he doesn't. About the only cooking he does is to open a can of Wolf Brand chili. But you know, the recipe sounded kind of good. Jordan plans a Mexican potluck Friday night, and I think I might go and take an enchilada casserole. The article gave a chili recipe, but it occurs to me you could fill the enchiladas with Velveeta, as suggested--I'd add onion--and top with Wolf Brand. I'm debating whether I can do it the new way I've discovered for enchilada casseroles of any kind, by layering flat tortillas instead of softening in grease and rolling. At the least, I'll soften them in the microwave.
Life should get busier this weekend with a signing, some cooking (always fun), church, Jacob on Sunday afternoon, and company for Sunday supper.
And so the summer settles in, and so does my summer routine. Back to the manuscript I'm editing.

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