Hello 29!

Or, as the Mr. says, “Twenty-nine and still divine!”

We had dinner a feast at Tribune Tavern. One plate of food is never enough, especially when celebrating. I like to recommend at least two to three filled with different deliciousness. That way while you stuff your face you have plenty of to decide which tastiness is going to be the critical last bite.

29 bday din tribune tav{My FancyPants cocktail}

We pre-partied hard for dinner with this tasty piece of artwork by the Mr.

panx cake

Yes, that is a pants-shaped cake that may or may not have transformed into a lovely pair of denim cutoffs by the time we finished.

The evening before my birthday I went on a hike with one of my girls. She has this amazing ability to combine a positive outlook with a keep it real attitude, and is one of the most open and honest people I know.

caught the bouquet...now what?!

I’ve been in the middle of a third life crisis for the past week or so. The idea of only having one year left in my twenties made the perfectionist in me start thinking of all the things I haven’t done yet, all the things I still want to accomplish. A couple hours chatting with C in the cool green evening air, and all was right with the world again.

Screenshot

 {borrowed from C}

My twenties were for:

  • Developing friendships with amazing women and men who have become family
  • Living with other and living alone
  • Truly believing I am okay just the way I am
  • Experiencing deep grief and loss for the first time
  • Learning the importance of living a life in line with my values
  • Learning what my values even are!
  • Learning it (whatever it is) doesn’t have to be perfect all the time every time
  • Reminding myself that growth happens when you put yourself into new and/or uncomfortable situations
  • Learning that I had to love myself before I could love someone else

Twenty-nine is for:

  • Becoming more involved with the causes I’m passionate about
  • Staying committed to the active lifestyle I’ve been creating for myself
  • Running a half-marathon?!?!?!?!
  • Glorious summer trips with the girls to Mexico and Aruba
  • Exploring how my career can better line up with what I value
  • Allowing myself to be vulnerable with the people I love and the people I meet
  • Trying new things and developing new skills
  • Finding a new space for the Mr. and I to call home and expanding our family with another four-legged creature or two (…and maybe some chickens…a lizard or snake if I can talk him into it…and i’ve always wanted a pair of lovebirds…I’m thinking Noah’s Ark would be a good goal…)

I’m off to continue the celebrations and take my favorite creature for a run. Have a lovely Friday!

lazy dog

Always, Sierra

 

Surviving a Wildfire

Thanks to a dry January/February and a snowpack with water content at 17% of normal, wildfire season in California has begun. Firefighters have responded to over 680 wildfires so far, 200 more than average, and there’s already been thousands of evacuations and property damage in Southern California.

so cal fire fighters

{source}

The idea of watching your home and all the memories it contains go up in flames is heartbreaking. One day you have everything you need: shelter from the weather, a place to make meals, a gathering place for loved ones…the next thing you know, it’s all gone. Not only your stuff, but the very meaning of what home is for you. It’s practically unfathomable. But what if you’re not at home when you feel the heat of flames?

When we went hiking at Point Reyes a couple weeks ago, I took a picture of a tree that caught my eye. I liked the contrast of dark and light, of burned and healthy.

I did a little research when we got back, and it turns out in 1995 the Vision Fire swept through this area of the North Bay, burning over 12,000 acres, due to an illegal campfire. And it got me thinking,  an illegal campfire could happen anytime. How would I survive? More importantly, how could I increase chances that my faithful hiking buddy would survive?

215082_10100395475795143_3614814_n

Start Smart – Tell people where you’re going. Check the National Weather Service and the National/State/Regional Park website for fire forecasts or alerts. Pay attention to fire danger levels posted at park entrances and trailheads. Think about postponing your hike if danger levels are high or thunderstorms are forecast. Have a map or be familiar with the trails and landscape of where you’ll be hiking.

Be Alert – Keep your senses open. Smell smoke? See smoke? Red/orange glow on the horizon? If the threat is not imminent, leave the area immediately.

If flames get close…

Consider your positioning. You’re a smart hiker and carry a map with you, right? Use what you know about the landscape to get to the safest possible location. Consider trying to get around the fire by moving into the wind and downhill. Never run uphill, and avoid canyons or any other natural chimneys formed by the landscape. Can’t get around the fire? Also consider going through the fire. If the flames are less than four feet wide and you see black/burned ground behind them, take a breath of cool air low to the ground to prevent your lungs from searing and run through the flames.

Figure out where to make a stand. If you can’t get around or through the fire, your primary goal should be getting to a location with the least amount of foliage as possible. Look for nearby bodies of water…lakes or large ponds are your best best, especially if you’re a strong swimmer. Swim out into the  middle  and stay under water as much as possible to avoid radiating heat. Rocky areas, caves, and wide trails with little to no underbrush also provide possible natural firebreaks. If you find yourself in one of these areas when flames get close, lay facedown on the ground and cover yourself with as much non-synthetic, nonflammable material as possible. This includes dirt, however, if you try burying your whole body (head included), suffocation becomes a considerable threat.

Protect yourself. If you have to make a stand, try to protect yourself as much as possible. Superheated air from a large fire will sear your lungs. Wrap a wet piece of cloth over your nose and mouth and breath as close to the ground as possible. Right before the flames go over you, remove any synthetic clothing, it’ll melt into your skin. That being said, you want the least amount of skin exposed as possible, so cover it with whatever you can, including dirt. Wool is one of the best fabrics to have in this situation. Also, I found this counterintuitive when you’re facing a heated situation, but it’s recommended that you don’t get your clothing wet. The heat from the fire can cause your clothing to steam, burning you worse than dry clothes or no clothes would have.

Above all else, don’t panic! Staying rational will help you assess the situation and figure out which option is best for survival.

don't panic fire

{source}

I desperately hope that I never find myself in a situation where I’ll have to use these tips, but I’m glad I’ve taken steps to make myself a smarter hiker. Knowledge is power, and it could mean the difference between life and death for me and Pita. I hope you’ll keep this post in mind as you set out to hike during wildfire season.

Have you ever experienced a wildfire closer than you’d like?

Always, Sierra

Additional Resources:

You are about to be entrapped or burned over by a wildfire: What are your survival options?

Hiking Wildfire Safety

Real-time wildfires in California

Blogging is hard work

My goal was to have five posts up a week, Monday through Friday. And not filler posts, these posts were going to be all about how wonderful I am full of witty, conversational, informative, funny, real content!

But a woman has to eat.

20130428_115413

And then she has to have fun and work off what she ate.

20130428_133806

And sometimes she has to put her Chihuahua to work to earn an actual paycheck.

20121011_180611

But I promise I’ll find my flow and before long you’ll be leaving comments telling me enough is enough! Stay tuned :).

Always, Sierra