Daily Archives: June 26, 2008

Update on Northern California Fires

Thank you to all who have commented here or emailed me and are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. We have been under the threat of evacuation since Sunday afternoon. There are two fires burning close to our home.

  • The Shingletown Ridge Fire has burned 675 acres but is 100% contained (not controlled) at this time. This fire is 3/4 of a mile south of our development. Photos of this fire are posted at Redding.com. That site posts updates throughout the day on the largest fires in Shasta County.
  • The Withrow Road Fire has burned 500 acres and last night was reported at 40% containment. However, listening to the scanner this morning they are reporting the 40% containment at the western edge of the fire is being lost…more engines are being requested; unfortunately no planes or helicopters are flying due to the very poor visibility (smoke) in the area. This fire is located approximately 2 miles northwest of us. Our development is uphill from this fire, which makes it at risk if the fire were to grow or the winds were to change (currently winds are coming out of the south so the fire is burning north now – away from our home).

Updates on the fires are posted periodically at the CalFire website.

I have lost track of the number of fires currently burning in Shasta County. Engines and support are coming in from Nevada and Oregon as well as other parts of California. National Guard helicopters have been sent up here, but are grounded due to poor visibility. We are expecting the Governor to declare Shasta County in a State of Emergency, which would help us to get more funding to pay for the cost of fighting these fires.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the courage and hard work of our firefighters. They are simply amazing and doing a tremendous job. So far NO STRUCTURES have been lost to any fire in our county. This is astonishing given that so many of these fires are burning near homes.

My husband and I are ready to evacuate if need be…the most important thing is our lives and the lives of our pets, so we won’t stay if things deteriorate here. But, we hope we will remain out of the danger zone. Your continued good thoughts and prayers are appreciated and comforting. Please keep ALL the residents of our county who are near these fires in your prayers. The strain of uncertainty is perhaps the most difficult to deal with…

Comfort Food – Book Review

There was only one birthday that Gus was getting tired of organizing. Tired, really, of celebrating at all. Her own. Because in short order – March 25 – August Adelaide Simpson was turning fifty. -From Comfort Food, page 4-

Gus Simpson is a huge TV personality on the CookingChannel. After the unexpected death of her husband (leaving her alone to raise two daughters), Gus discovers her inner cook and rises quickly to stardom. Her daughters are now in their 20s and struggling with their own issues, while Gus is dreading turning 50 and forced to deal with losing her Cooking With Gusto! show. She re-groups, reluctantly pairing with the beautiful Carmen Vega (an ex-beauty queen with a penchant for spiciness), to birth a new show: Eat Drink and Be.

Jacobs introduces a vast cast of characters including Gus’ two unlikeable daughters, her daughter Sabrina’s ex boyfriend Troy, Gus’ love interest Oliver, and the mysterious Hannah. I disliked them all – finding them flat, predictable and shallow. I also didn’t understand why Jacobs felt it necessary to give us involved descriptions of their hair (maybe because otherwise we couldn’t tell one from the other?).

I received this uncorrected proof from Penguin Book Group. The novel was released earlier this month on the heels of Jacobs’ first novel The Friday Night Knitting Club. I normally appreciate a well-paced chick lit book – but this one was tough to get through. I wanted to like Gus, but I never felt like I knew her. Hannah’s character was better developed, but her mysterious background grew tiresome for me. My least favorite character was Sabrina – a girl who is terrified to commit to a relationship and so she sleeps around and toys with men, using her beauty as a way to waltz through life.

As you can tell, this was not a book I can recommend. Some readers, however, had a different viewpoint. Check out Kit’s review (at Mango and Ginger) and Trish’s review (at Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’?) who both liked this book a lot better than I did. Deb’s review at Here and There seems to agree with mine.

I won’t be recommending this book. But, there are some readers out there who probably will love Jacobs’ latest novel…so if you are heavily into chick lit and food, you might still want to read this one and come to your own conclusions.