bring me back a souvenir…

I’m not much for souvenirs when I travel, but I do like to bring back a little something the few times I go traveling. Usually a piece of jewelry or a coffee mug. This time I brought back an emptied water bottle with the label “US Senate”, a lovely pair of earrings bought at a farmers market at Dupont Circle (I blame MusicianMan and another activist because they’re the ones that stopped in front of the jewelry cart while we waited for another person – being in DC, I felt the urge to play the blame game) and, best of all, a head cold.

Oh joy.

To be fair, I probably picked it up on one of the airplanes coming home, so maybe I shouldn’t put my current stuffed nose, exhaustion and sneezing and coughing on DC’s head.

Man, I am one sick and tired lil’ puppy.

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I forgot to mention something about the trip home. As I waited for my flight to board at DCA, I looked up from my book and saw someone who looked rather familiar walking purposefully to one of the gates across from where I sat. It took less than three seconds to place her: Madeline Albright. One would think that, living in L.A. – where celebrity sightings are de rigeur, it wouldn’t be that big a deal. But the former US Secretary of State under Clinton? Pretty cool, actually.

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As y’all may be aware, there’s a wildfire raging in northwestern Los Angeles county. At one point it came dangerously close to TheFirst’s neighborhood, but he assures me that, aside from the overwhelming smell of burnt mountainside, all is well. I’m still crossing my fingers and saying a few prayers, though, both for him (I’m praying for you, TheFirst, so there!) and for all the people living in the nearby neighborhoods.

The weirdest thing, though. Last night I was on the subway and, as the doors opened at the first station in the Valley, I could smell something burning. It concerned me, but no one was evacuating the station, so I didn’t think much of it (I was half asleep anyway). I got off the subway not long after and smelled the burning again. It got stronger as I emerged from underground. After a few minutes I realized that I was smelling the Topanga wildfire. A wildfire that was over twenty miles away from my neighborhood. I could still smell it this morning as I left for work. And two of my co-workers and I saw the smoke from JPL as we drove to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles during lunch. At first we thought it was a new fire that had sprung up closer to Pasadena. Turns out it was the Topanga wildfire. JPL is at least thirty miles away from the Topanga wildfire.

That’s pretty damned big.

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