Seven for Saturday

Seven for Saturday

It’s been three weeks since my last Seven for Saturday post but it feels more like 3 months. What a good feeling it is to be back to blogging and feel some normalcy.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments on my last post. I tried to keep up with replies but other things got in the way. I still intend to respond to each one in time. Your comments and words of concern and kindness brought me great comfort and it is such a treat to hear from you.

This week’s Seven for Saturday is related to the recent fires here in Northern California, which probably won’t be too much of a surprise. It’s the only thing on my mind these days.

1 – Home Sweet Home

Tori and I and our four furry kids were able to return home three days ago. My friend Michelle, who had been caring for Sandy the Chicken at her home in Sonoma for eight days, brought Sandy home to us.

My eldest stepdaughter, who is a paramedic, lost the home she rented with her boyfriend in the fires. Thankfully, they have found a new home to rent in Santa Rosa and move in next month.

Bill is back to his regular schedule at work which means he comes home in time for a late dinner, then leaves very early the next morning. What a gift it is to have us all back together again.

The picturesque vineyard across from our home – photo taken Thursday

Outside and inside our home smelled very smoky and a layer of ash coated everything outside. Thanks to a decent rainfall Thursday, that ash and smoke mostly went away. Our home even smells clean again.

We unpacked our things, threw away lots of spoiled and contaminated food, started loads of laundry, cleaned up the yard and tried our best to get back to normal, whatever that is.

We cannot believe our street – a dead end street with about 30 homes – is mostly undamaged. As far as I know, the only fire losses on our street are a couple burned sheds and a camping trailer. The damage from the wind storm was worse, peppering our street and yards with limbs and branches, toppling fences and smashing a roof or two.

The fire came very, very close to our street. In fact, the containment line is just a few yards from our home. I am overwhelmingly relieved and thankful to have a home and neighborhood to return to. Sadly, so many fellow wine country residents do not. A neighborhood close to ours was completely devastated. Many friends and fellow Kenwoodians lost their homes. It’s shocking and heart-breaking to see it in person, to say the least.

2 – Dishwashing as Therapy

Our dishwasher was on the blink before the fires. When we returned, it was inoperable. We could hardly care given the circumstances but the dishes did need to be washed.

The last thing I wanted to do was hand wash a dishwasher full of moldy, stinky dishes when I had so many other things to do. But it had to be done so my stepdaughter and I decided to tackle it together. In silence, she washed and I dried. It was the most calming thing I had done in 11 days.

I find tasks that don’t require much thought are best. As much as I would love to put some energy into cleaning out our pantry or editing my wardrobe, I just don’t think I have it in me yet. Maybe I’ll dust off the old iron and ironing board this weekend.

3 – Neighborly Neighborhood 

One wonderful result of the fires is our neighborhood is much tighter. We have lived here for close to 18 years and, while we are friendly with our neighbors and know nearly all of them, we don’t spend much time chatting with them. Lately, it seems there is always someone walking or driving by or cleaning up their yard. Instead of waving and carrying on, we all stop and check in with each other.

One neighbor who owns a vacation home on our street stopped by with a bouquet of flowers to thank us for sending her updates on our neighborhood whenever we had them throughout the ordeal. I hope this closeness with our neighbors continues.

4 –  Beauty Remains  

Parts of Sugarloaf State Park near our home, which includes the mountains that cradle our picturesque valley, have been burned in certain areas. To me, they remain beautiful and majestic and the scorched areas aren’t as dramatic and noticeable as I imagined they would be. I plan to return to Sugarloaf to hike and explore as soon as it reopens.

I am very much looking forward to springtime when the park will be blanketed with green grass and lots and lots of wild flowers. I will be giving my camera quite the workout!

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park taken April, 2017

5 – New 50th Birthday Plans

I turn 50 in 4 days. Finally! Though I won’t be celebrating in Paris like I had planned, I will be taking a mini-vacation to acknowledge this milestone birthday and welcome a new personal era.

Bill and I are taking a few days to enjoy wine country. Yes, we want to spend our tourism dollars right here! I’ll be posting about my birthday getaway on Instagram starting Tuesday. I am so excited to finally experience the luxury hotel we booked. It’s been on my hotel bucket list for years!

6 – Thank you to First Responders!

As a wife, aunt, sister-in-law, stepmother and friend to several first responders, it gives me such joy to see all the thanks and admiration first responders have received and continue to receive since the fires broke out. Many of them put their lives on the line to save others. Our local grocery store chain is giving away these signs to customers. We put ours up on our fence a couple days ago with pride. If you’re local, get yours at Oliver’s Market!

7- How You Can Help 

Our region has suffered a huge blow. Lives were lost. Homes and businesses were destroyed.

Many residents and businesses – including those not directly impacted by the fires – will be picking up the pieces and are sure to suffer for a long time to come due to economic hardship. That is the bad news.

The good news is many businesses are open, ready to serve you and you can help them thrive!

Here’s how:

~ If you have plans to visit Sonoma, Napa and/or Mendocino counties, please don’t cancel your plans. Many, many businesses including most wineries, hotels and restaurants, were unharmed and they would love to welcome you with open arms to wine country.

~ If you live in the Bay Area, plan a vacation, overnight getaway or just a day trip to wine country. Businesses are ready to wine, dine and pamper you. The smoke has cleared, the roads have re-opened and fabulous food, shopping, wine and friendly hospitality awaits.

~ If you can’t visit in person anytime soon, support us by buying, drinking and gifting Napa and Sonoma wines!

If you are interested in helping by donating to a charity, I recommend the following organizations:

~ Sonoma County Resilience Fund

~ Go Fund a Hero – Bay Area Firefighters and Families: Sonoma and Napa Fires

~ Dogwood Animal Rescue Project

***Reminder!

How I Wear My is still on for November! The theme for next month is Blazer.

To participate, send photos to [email protected] by November 6, 2017 and be sure to include a description of your outfit, which we will use directly in our posts. The post will go live November 8th.

I want to thank you again for your kindness these last two weeks.

9 Comments

  1. October 22, 2017 / 6:13 am

    I’m so happy that you are back in your home, Adrienne, and relatively unscathed. What a relief it must have been to come home. Re: dishwashing as therapy. I read a book years ago called Minding the Body and Mending the Mind, about stress and wellness. And the writer says she used to practice mindfulness when she washed the dishes, finding the warm soapy water calming, and restorative. So maybe your dishwasher did you a favour?
    P.S. Glad that Sandy the (very unique) chicken was well cared for:)

    • Adrienne Shubin
      October 22, 2017 / 6:18 am

      Yes, I do think the dishwasher did me a favor! Those slow tasks that don’t take much thought are the best. Folding laundry, making tuna salad or a pot of hot tea…those are the things that I find soothing. I also got some relief and satisfaction when I had to research how to get refunded for our trip to France. Normally I would loathe such a thing but it forced me to think about other things. And I learned a thing or two during the process.
      Hope you are well. Thank you for stopping by! Sandy the Chicken is still adjusting to being home. The backyard is a total mess – downed trees, fallen fences – but is enjoying treats from our garden daily.
      Have a great Sunday, Sue!
      xo, Adrienne

  2. Kathy
    October 22, 2017 / 6:46 am

    I imagine the fires were a life changing event for all involved…in so many ways. It’s sort of sad that it often takes disasters to bring people together I think. We will absolutely be up there to visit, and I’m so glad you will be able to enjoy your 50th, close to home. xo

    • Adrienne Shubin
      October 22, 2017 / 6:55 am

      It is true that tragedies bring people together and I agree it’s too bad it takes such a disastrous event.
      I am very much looking forward to your visit, whenever that will be. We need all the help we can get – I worry about my friends’ businesses and the trickle down scenario that will leave many without an income.
      I am excited to celebrate 50 – sort of want it over with, you know? I feel like I have been “about to turn 50” for a solid year!!
      xo, A

  3. Eleni
    October 22, 2017 / 8:59 am

    “getting back to normal” sounds so easy. You have all had a traumatic time, came through it, and are optimistic for the future. Congrats on your upcoming 50th birthday, Adrienne.

    • Adrienne Shubin
      October 23, 2017 / 9:04 am

      Hi Eleni,

      I am finding that there are good days – even good hours – and bad. I made the mistake of taking a drive around my town at daybreak yesterday, alone except for one of my dogs (thank goodness I brought him, he was so comforting). I was not prepared for the things I saw – so much lost in this epic disaster. Yet there are still beautiful vineyards and trees and flowers and homes and businesses untouched by the fires. I guess it will be like this for awhile, the ups and downs and the unexpected shocks. Thank you for your kind words….the big 5-0 is in less than 48 hours. Eek! I am excited – gives me something else to focus on for a day! Adrienne

  4. Jill
    October 23, 2017 / 10:19 am

    I love that doing dishes proved to be kind of cathartic. I know about that, I feel that way about laundry and cleaning the bathroom. I am SO SO glad your house is intact! And how amazing is Wine Country for being ready to receive visitors already?!? I just read Danielle Steel’s blog post about a house she owns there that is still under threat and two of her kids evacuating. She said she can see smoke in SF where she lives and that outside her window ash is falling and looks a little like snow! I am glad you and Bill will get a little break from this tragedy and that you can celebrate your 50th in style. Happy Birthday my dear! xx

  5. October 30, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    I am so glad I read this. I was still wondering how this all turned out for you personally. It is so good to see everybody and everything is saved, including Sandy. But I can fully imagine that the losses so many people in your town have suffered, is casting a big shadow over your happiness. Good to see how you are promoting the business. Life and good life is always hanging by a thread. Enjoy it while it is good.
    Greetje

  6. Deanna
    November 2, 2017 / 11:21 am

    The Farmhouse Inn is on my bucket list as well. I’m having a hard time convincing my husband, though, as we have a home right down the street in Guerneville. He always says “everyone always wants to come to our house, so why would we think of staying anywhere else”. (I’ll still talk him into one day!) We’ll be in town for the Thanksgiving weekend and we’re already planning how to help the local economy…wine tasting is always a favorite activity for us. Glad you’re safe and back in your house and glad you got Sandy back!

    By the way, a friend told us that the Olea Hotel was completely destroyed. That’s one of our favorite hotels. Is that true?

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