As If January Wasn’t Bad Enough. (Part Two)

Australia is a big-ass country:

This is how much of Australia is on fire (as of the morning of Thursday, Jan 9):

OK, you probably know that these maps are a bit misleading. The fires are not drawn to scale and the Mercator projection has never been accurate since it was invited in 1569. But still, a LOT of Australia is on fire.

For the record, the USA is 3.797 million square miles and Australia is 2.97 million square miles. The area that has been burned Down Under is 32,4000 square miles, about one-third the size of the American state of Oregon, which is a big-ass state.

These fires are 80% larger than the devastating 2019 California fires and 5,000 sure miles larger than the sickening Amazon fires.

A billion animals have been destroyed. This means that some insects, plants, and animals found only in teeny little bits of Australia may go extinct.

These six babies were rescued in South Australia, and brought into a home in Cudlee Creek, near Adelaide, for safekeeping while their habitat burned:

Koalas are not endangered as a species, but how can you, now that you’ve seen this photo, not want to do something to help all our dear Australian furry, feathered, horned, scaled, and slime-covered fellow creatures?

I recommend donating to fire companies, many of which are 100% staffed by volunteers. The only one that I have found that is easy to navigate for Americans is for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (Sydney is located in NSW), here. $100 Australian is a mere $68 American.

We love you, Australia.

Now for something completely different.

So I go to my gym, as usual, last Monday. WOW! The parking lot is PACKED with cars, and its a traffic jam with people heading into the Hot Yoga studio on one side of my gym and the kick-boxing workout room on the other side. I go into my gym. I have never seen the place so full of people as it was on that day. PACKED.

And then I remember, oh yeah, it’s the first regular get-back-to-normal day of 2020 and everyone who made a resolution to get fit and lose weight is showing up.

The next day, Tuesday,  I go back to my gym, as usual. I find a parking spot near the door — lucky me. I go inside.  AND THE PLACE IS NEARLY EMPTY.

To all you who did a day at the gym and said Fuck it, I’m kinda cute when I’m fluffy, You Are My People.

I get it. Top Cat and I made a pledge to do the Dryanuary this month, when you’re supposed to go the whole month of January without drinking alcohol. Why? Because:

I did Thursday, Jan 2 dry as a bone. Then it was the weekend with long-standing social obligations and I love my drinking buddies yadda yadda yadda so I put off starting Dryanuary in earnest on Monday, Jan 6.

I lasted until Tuesday, Jan 7.

 

Me and alcohol, we’re in a rut. A loving, fun, exciting rut but still, a rut.

I just realized that “rut” is one of those words the starts to sound weird the more you hear yourself say it.

It all started in 2016.

Since my last book was published, Spring of 2016, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve been farting around. Here’s the list:

I got a dog.

I took two college semesters of American Sign Language. Turns out that I don’t really like Deaf Culture so that’s why I never blogged about it.

I got a part-time job at my favorite store, Home Goods, for the holiday season. I thought it would be fun. Nope. I forget; did I blog about that?

I volunteered to run a used book store to benefit the local library here on the north shore of Long Island for two years.

I organized a huge fund-raiser to benefit the local library here on the north shore of Long Island.  Eight months of torture.

I redecorated the house.

I rescued stray cats.

I traveled.

I made castles.

I haven’t been in a good mood for about three years.

I started drinking martinis again.

I had stopped drinking martinis in 2003 for a good reason. And then, in 2018 Top Cat’s kids started having babies and I woke up one day and realized that I’m married to a grandfather.

Well, that took me by surprise.

So I started drinking more martinis.

Anyway, now I’m back on the Dryanuary bandwagon — 2 days so far. Wish me luck

I will need all the strength I have to get through January because I’m going to have my Beatles birthday next week. I turn 64 on the 16th and friends, I am pissed. But let’s discuss this next week, when I have more room to rant.

One of the reasons I had to postpone my Dryanuary this past weekend was because I had to celebrate the return of The Rock to the north shore of Long Island!

Quick recap: The Rock comes from the town of Stromness on the main island of Orkney. I found it there last May when Top Cat and I were in Scotland and if you remember, Top Cat and I pretty much hated the sight of each other the whole time but especially on Orkney.

The Rock is part of a community-wide game being played in Stromness, where painted rocks are hidden around the village and when found, the finders log it in on a Facebook page before re-hiding them. I was given permission to take The Rock home with me to photograph in Times Square and then the darling readers of this blog volunteered to take The Rock around the country.

So far it’s been to Lexington, MA; Southern New Jersey; Lansing, MI; Ann Arbor, MI; Coopersville, MI; Milwaukee, WI; Richland in eastern WA; Portland, OR; and SOCAL (Coronado, CA).

Due to my sending incorrect shipping instructions to The Rock’s wonderful host in SOCAL, Dear Reader Thea sent The Rock back to me and after this hunk of mineral from the Northern Isles and I got through all the Fàilte dhachaidh’s, we had soaked ourselves in scotch and woke up the next morning with matching tattoos and no idea how they got there.

The Rock had a great time in southern California, specifically in Coronado.

Coronado is a California resort city on a peninsula in San Diego Bay.

Hang glider? Para sail? In the talons of a ferruginous hawk making its annual migration from Canada for the Winter?

Coronado is beautiful, the surrounding area is beautiful, the weather is year-round beautiful, so The Rock got the  idea that one can become beautiful simply by being in Coronado.

Give up, Rock. You’ll never be a gem stone no matter how hard you try.

The Rock is Night Owl Rock and Coronado suited him fine..

The Rock was excited to be part of the 48th Annual Parade of Lights:

 

The grand Victorian Hotel del Coronado opened in 1888. The hotel was also home to the first outdoor electric Christmas tree in 1904.

The hotel and the hotel’s beach is where Billy Wilder filmed Some Like It Hot in 1958.

The Rock takes a selfie with Marilyn Monroe.

The Rock does a full-body squeeeeeee in the same sand!:

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban cultural park in San Diego, California, United States. In addition to open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, it contains museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

I think The Rock is mocking me because I wrote a book about nine of the most thought-provoking greens in the world and I forgot to include the Botanical Garden in Balboa Park:

I think The Rock is taking notes for a book tentatively titled, I Am My Own Rock Garden.

The Rock contemplates the rockness of life:

The Rock is trying to be an enoghtengd Rock, so (somehow) The Rock convinced these nice people to do a seven-person Uttanasana:

The Rock would have taken a photo of the rare seven-person uttanasana, but The Rock doesn’t have fingers and could not work the iPhone camera. Sad!

Thank you, Dear Readers Thea and John in Coronado, California, for hosting The Rock:

You bring us. . .

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Australia, we love you.

P.S. BTS is releasing a new album on Feb. 21 after a seven-week rollout that includes yet-to-be-announced events in London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York. If you know a BTS fan, they are losing their minds right now. Be warned.

 

 

 

6 Comments, RSS

  1. Steve January 11, 2020 @ 11:05 am

    The Australia situation is horrible. Horrible. I read those articles about the species left in danger (and possibly extinct, or on their way). Unbelievable.

    Maybe you need a new book project? As much of a pain as it was managing that bookstore, it gave you some good resources for your artwork!

  2. Casey January 11, 2020 @ 11:07 am

    Thank you for the link to NSW fire co. The fires in Australia are devastating, terrible, so sad. I wanted to do something but didn’t know what. At least I can give money.

    The Rock seems to be having a hell of an American tour. I love Some Like It Hot.

    Good luck with Dry January. My friend does it every year and it’s the only thing, she says, that makes her look forward to February (a brutal month here in New England). Hang in there. It will be awful, but not eternal.

  3. Casey January 11, 2020 @ 12:42 pm

    Me back again. You’re going to be 64? Somehow I forgot that b/c you sound younger on your blog.

    I’m looking forward to next week’s blog. The Beatles Birthday? Never heard that before but yeah, I know that song. Oh SHIT. Does that mean that if we are lucky (?) enough we ALL turn 64????

    EVEN ME??????

  4. Leslie January 11, 2020 @ 3:20 pm

    Dear Vivian, I’m glad to know that the Stromness Rock is still making its way around the USA. It’s beautiful weather here in south Florida, the perfect time for a visit. I received the promised ChrisHanuKwanSolstice card, although the address was slightly wrong. 1680. It is one of my favorite gifts, a keeper!
    I hope that 2020 will be the year you publish “Giverny.” With closure on that project, perhaps your next book will appear on the horizon? So many gardens, so little time…
    And thank you for Part I. I especially enjoyed the comment on the deal. (-:

  5. jeanie January 13, 2020 @ 12:02 pm

    I loved 64. It was a very good year. I like The Beatles Birthday!

    Well, I can see why January isn’t so dry, given all the crap we’re dealing with. Wagging the Doc, impeachment, Australia burning (thanks for the links). Good luck with it.

    Time for a painting tutorial soon?

  6. Kirra January 16, 2020 @ 12:21 am

    Thank you for your thoughts for Australia! It is pretty sad, especially all the animals that have died. I have donated money to different organisations and one you can also donate to is WIRES (www.wires.org.au) who handle wildlife rescue.

    Good luck for dry January, I’ve thought about it but never done one of those months, when I’m at work I usually do no drinking during the week but I’m on summer holidays at the moment so who knows what day it is?!

    The rock looks like it’s had a great trip, it’s interesting for me to again learn about somewhere in the US I don’t know. Thanks Thea & John!

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