Too hot to handle

April 28th, 2008

As I write this the helicopters growl overhead, the sun glows orange through an ochre haze and petals of white ash drift in a funereal descent. ‘Tis the season.

It’s not supposed to be fire season but we have one nonetheless, a little fire that exploded into a big and menacing one overnight on the brushy mountains behind our home. We are still here and safe, one block outside the evacuation line.

I already had the title of this post in my head two days ago and it applies even more now. I’ve written about Southern California wildfires before. They are an intermittent fact here in desert paradise. You might wonder how we can handle it. The answer is we just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Today we wait and trust and offer a hand to those who live one block higher up the hill.

The fact is, no matter which state we reside in we all live in the pit of the flame, confronted time and again by conditions that seem too hot to handle. Sometimes the most we can do is offer an oven mitt, a sopping towel, a tall cool one, or a breather. Whatever we do is the best we can do. We all handle what we think we can’t.

And in that spirit I offer for your interest and consideration several quenchers.

Those of you who oohed over my daughter’s tortured art may be ignited by her one-of-kind potholders now up for bid at the Bloggers for Jeni auction. She made four to contribute to this amazing endeavor, all to raise funds for Jeni Ballantyne and her son Jack. The bidding on these is still quite low, and if you knew what I had to pay the wee miss in order to secure rights to her work, you would appreciate the bargain. Please bid high and often because these little squares are guaranteed to get you out of a hot spot. I don’t know how, but that Georgia can weave magic.

I’m offering my own kind of comfort on the auction, and it is already high priced enough. When the chance came to contribute to the sale, I couldn’t think of anything to give other than myself, and I routinely give that away for free, as you’ll see below. But that wouldn’t net any money for the cause, so we figured out how to give away nothing for something. The Comfy Day I’m offering is everything and more I can do for a mom (or dad) who thinks she’s in it alone, without a clue, a break, an extra pair of hands, a shoulder to cry on or a day off. I wish I could give it straight to Jeni but I think she’ll be just as soothed knowing that someone else is getting a lift. Think of it as a Mommy 9-1-1, suitable for a new mom, a multiple mom, or a group of moms, a shower gift, or a rescue for your own combustible self. If it doesn’t sell, I’ve already committed to contribute the value of my plane ticket to the auction fund so Jeni and Jack will get the most I can give no matter what.

That’s how we handle the heat, giving the most comfort we can give, knowing that there’s always someone farther inside the evacuation line.


Last week’s giveaway really caught fire and inspired a burst of wild-eyed generosity:

The winners of the English version of Momma Zen are nyjlm, Almighty Mama, Patricia, Amy and Shama-Lama Mama.

I’m sending the German version to all five people who asked, because what else am I going to do with a box of books in German? (Especially when I evacuate!)

Winners, please contact me via email on my profile page and leave me signing and shipping instructions. Soon the air will clear, the breeze will cool, and I’ll be winging your relief packages in a flash.


  1. Stay safe, Karen!

    Comment by Mama Zen — April 28, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  2. I hope your house stays beyond evacuation! Stay safe!

    Comment by Shalet — April 28, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  3. And here I’ve been contemplating moving to California. Annual fires don’t sound as nice as year-round nice weather.

    I hope your family, garden and home stay cool!


    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — April 28, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  4. Dear Karen,
    As a native Californian, I know what you are going through. My family in San Diego was affected tremendously by the fires last year. I will keep your home and family in my prayers.

    I will be bidding on one of Georgia’s potholders within the next few days. I plan on framing it and placing it in our foyer as our good luck talisman. There has been a lot of hot spots in my neck of the woods lately and I need all the help I can get. I would bid on your Comfy Day, as well, but I just can’t afford it. It sure sounds wonderful, though.

    Take care. Kristin H.

    Comment by Kristin H. — April 28, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  5. I am thinking about you and hope you, your family, your dog, and that lovely garden stay safe.

    I lived in NM during a large forest fire that was close enough for ash and an orange sky – and all the animals came down into our town yards to escape…bear, coyote, elk, snakes, burds…crazy. The helicopters buzzed as we had the only lake in a very large area.

    Good wishes and no winds.

    Comment by denise — April 28, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  6. Oh, goodness! Please stay safe and let us know you are OK. And, by all means, take the day off from raking and weeding.

    Comment by Shawn — April 28, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  7. Hope you & all loved ones stay safely outside the evacuation line. You’re right about every state having it’s hardships, but fire is not one I’d want to tangle with.

    PS–that’s going to be one lucky mama who gets to spend the day with you! What a great gift to someone.

    Comment by Shannon — April 29, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  8. Glad to hear you are safe and well.
    Thank Georgia for me again for her contribution. I will be bidding on the one that has my kitchen colors. I know, whatever I have to pay for it, it will bring me her spirit and magic, when I need it most.
    Thank-you to you both. For what you offer for Jeni’s auction. For being who you are.

    Comment by bella — April 29, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  9. I hope you stay safe.

    Comment by Mary Ann — April 29, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  10. Dear, dear Karen, I am embarrassingly overdue in thanking you for your contribution to my Auction. It is so very generous of you, I am absolutely humbled by it. I really don’t know how to give voice to how very grateful and touched I am, I do so hope you know. Even though we don’t know each other and we haven’t even ever spoken you have gone and done something so beautiful, I thank you from my heart and I also thank the beautiful Georgia, thank you darling girl you are obviously growing up to be a kind and caring person just like your Mama. Take care both of you and know that my gratitude to you is mentioned in my prayers. Love and Peace to you both, may you gain as much as you give. xxx

    Comment by Jen Ballantyne — May 3, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

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