y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Mother Nature and Life's Surprises

Mother Nature and Life's Surprises

In November I had so many ideas for topics to write about this month. I was really looking forward to some retrospective foodie moments.

But as one of my heroes, John Lennon said, life's what happens when you're busy making other plans.

And then....the mad hurricane-like winds hit my town, last day of November, definitely not something we're used to in mild weathered and laid back L.A. A YouTube clip showing the damage to my neighborhood aptly described the experience as "The Day God Sneezed".

1 Winds Dec11 street_trees b
fallen eucalyptus tree blocking the road
It was one of the only times as an adult, I was too scared to sleep. All night I heard howling wind, lightning, gravel coming off the roof and crashing into the windows, pots breaking, plants flying, trees falling, dirt being blown in through tiny cracks under doors and windows.

1 Winds Dec11 street_trees c
 blocked one-way street
1 Winds Dec11 street_trees d

1 Winds Dec11 street_trees a

4 Winds Dec11 street_trees g

The outside world truly resembled a war zone the next morning. Being a plant lover, my morale sunk seeing a majority of my plants dried and shriveled overnight (many of them I had blogged about in the past).

2 Winds Dec11 house_yard c
Plants fell from upstairs
2 Winds Dec11 house_yard a
Fallen oak tree in the yard
A large oak tree in my yard toppled and landed on top of my prized rose bushes. All over town one could see mature, majestic trees fallen on their sides.

Many blocked streets and since the traffic lights went out too, it took a long time to get anywhere. Some houses were missing parts of their roofs, fences, patios and other extremities.

5 Winds Dec11 street_traffic b
Traffic during power outage - no street lights
5 Winds Dec11 street_traffic a

And that was the warm up. Next came 6 days of no electricity, phone lines or hot water. Luckily I moved over to my Mother's house for some of this time, but it was not easy leaving the house in total chaos.

Spoiled food from refrigerator - 1 of 2 bags
Nor was it fun throwing out hundreds of dollars of spoiled food, which I hate to waste in any circumstance.

2 Winds Dec11 street_curb
Curb broken after tree fell
2 Winds Dec11 street_broken fence and roots
tree roots uplifted from the ground
Strangely, unless people lived near the epicenter of this storm, they were not affected nor aware of what was going on in other areas. L.A. is a big, sprawling city so the weather and everything else can be different depending on where one lives.

So if one more person told me I was overreacting, I was ready to scream. I worked hard to fight the temptation to stay mad at the electric company. They did actually work around the clock despite the crazy amount of time it took to get things up and running again. We are told to prepare for 2-3 days without power after a large earthquake...

4 Winds Dec11 street_trees e
Magnolia tree
When I returned home, I spent a painful day cleaning up the mess, making things look "normal", but still felt upset having to cancel all my social plans and anything fun and stress relieving.

4 Winds Dec11 street_trees h
Fallen palm trees
4 Winds Dec11 street_trees i

During that time I was stressed out, cranky, demoralized and I remember thinking things couldn't get worse.

And...they did. In a way that nobody could expect. My family lost a loved one. My Aunt, my mother's beloved sister. It was sudden and she was young. We are all grieving and processing this information, so I won't go into more detail about it now.

The point is that things CAN be worse than whatever we are going through. And it takes these crisis situations to put the smaller tragedies into perspective and be thankful for what we still have.

5 Winds Dec11 street_McDonalds closed
McDonald's closed due to power outage
In this case, the big wind being the "smaller" tragedy. I couldn't help but wonder what if it had been an 8.0 earthquake? How many of us could find our flashlights, or have enough food and water in the house in case the streets were not safe?

5 Winds Dec11 street_store window display
Dismembered mannequin in Out of the Closet store window
And those who suffered from the Japan earthquakes had it 20x, maybe 50x worse. How could this be so unnerving?

It surely wasn't the first time or the worst something disturbing happened - in fact the 2000 decade was no smooth sailing in terms of family crises. Not that it makes things seem easier when one is in the moment of "wind-pocalypse", the Twitter-coined name for the storm.

Given the events of early December, I've decided to temporarily simplify my life, reflecting on how fortunate we are to be safe and of course to honor the life of my loving Aunt.

house yard summer11 trellis e
my yard - how it used to look
When things feel right again, hopefully, later this month, I will be back with some new posts on the usual topics, some revived plants in the garden and probably some fancy mulch made out of the beautiful, toppled oak tree in the yard.

Until then, be well.

2 Responses to “Mother Nature and Life's Surprises”:

  1. I'm so sorry about all the stuff you had to go through this month. I can't even imagine how I'd react in a similar situation and to have a loved one pass away on top of all would have even been more devastating to me. Hopefully, this doesn't too cliche, but I hope 2012 is a year for better things and happier moments and while you won't forget about what has come to past, hopefully, you'll have the strength to move forward and upward.

  2. pleasurepalate, Thank you so much for the warm wishes. it has been a very trying December so far, including this week when I got kicked out of a cab in the middle of nowhere (in Oakland). The stars were not aligned. However, I try to remain optimistic that the next half of December will improve. Thanks so much for your friendship and for reading the post!

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