The Sunday Salon: Our Super Dry Summer

Sunday Salon

My kids started school this past week and it all went fairly well.  It was a short week for them and they eased into it okay. Of course, today I got a notification that all of the high schools in the area have been openly threatened on Instagram. Not something that a parent wants to read. Ever. I feel uneasy about it. I’ve given The Teen the drill which he immediately shot down in typical teen fashion.

I’m a mom. I worry. I can’t help it. Especially with all the active shooter training I’ve taken. I’d rather talk about it than brush it under the rug and regret it later.

As for work, things are picking. Students return on the 25th but they will be on campus next week paying for parking and straightening out their schedules so I will be working the information counter. Fun! I don’t mind working with the students but in my twenty years there, I have never worked the information counter before. I’ve been pretty exhausted lately due to some health stuff so I hope I can get through the two weeks alright.

Yesterday, we dropped The Teen off at the lake for a church event and the lake was 80 feet below normal! The photo you see below is the boat launch. I took a look at the lake and almost cried. You don’t realize how bad the drought is until you see something like this.

Southern California is in dire need of water. If you are the praying type, can you pray some? We are in mandatory water restrictions now. I don’t know what will happen to our property as we have a large yard and most of it is hillside. If it dies, it will be a major fire concern and there is no water to fight brush fires which makes it even more alarming.

I mean, look at it! As I said, that is the boat launch which is supposed to be IN the water. I feel as if we are the subjects of a dystopian novel. It’s very scary to look around and take it all in.

Castaic Lake
Photo Credit: Castaic Lake

What am I reading?

I am reading Murakami of course! The other day I was chosen as a fan ambassador. I am taking “ambassador” to mean a “super fan” but the best part is that I get a signed copy of the book and four copies of another book to giveaway. I can’t wait to get that box.

As for the book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is probably the most quiet novel of his that I’ve read. I am over halfway through it and so far, it’s very good but a little different.

People often ask me which book of his to read first. If you want the full Murakami experience, I suggest diving into the books that put him on the map, Kafka on the Shore or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle but those can also turn a reader away if you aren’t used to speculative fiction. So to be safe, I often recommend his short stories or After Dark. But this new book, might be a good choice too.

I also finished Peter Heller’s The Painter. Very, very good I still have to write the review up but I really liked it

What am I cooking?

Again, I have no food in my house. What is up with that? Yesterday, we ate out but today I might cook-up a stir fry. Of course, that means I have to hit the market which I absolutely dread. Grilling, is a possibility too but it was 103 yesterday and today will probably be the same. Not sure I want to deal with the grill in this heat.

What am I watching?

We watched Catching Fire last night. I liked it better than the first movie and actually, The Girl was totally into it. When we saw the first movie, she was bored with it and did not like the few violent scenes that they showed. This time around, she understood the story better. The Teen refused to watch it and chose to hang out in his room. He’s being anti-social again. I know that he eventually reads my Sunday Salons so I will wave to him right now. Waving.

I am looking forward to TV this fall. The Walking Dead returns on October 12 and it feels as if the weeks are flying by so it will be here before we know it.  I am also looking forward to American Horror Story: Freak Show which premiers October 8th. That show is freaky on its own but the theme this season is FREAK SHOW and just the idea of it is freaking me out

Are you starting to think about your October reading? Sandy and I have a little something planned for October. More on that later.

What are you up to today?

31 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Our Super Dry Summer”

  1. I had noticed the water levels while driving through the pass last month. Do you have watering restrictions? Like one side of our street is allowed such and such days and we are the other. I haven’t listened carefully, can you tell, because our garden is feeding a bunch of our neighbors on both sides.

    I know that I shouldn’t say this, but I love that it doesn’t rain. I know that is the major way that we get water, but since I usually walk places…when it rains means either I go nowhere or have to “suit up” for rain, looking like a dork.

    I set google alerts for the step-grandkid’s schools and my roommates son’s school, so anytime they made the web, I get an email. Since none of the three have had an issue, thank god, I don’t know if this would give us faster notice, but it helps me breathe easier.

    Murakami has always Intimidated me, so I will take your suggestions of the shorts or After Dark.

    Our stove was broken for a couple of days, so I we have all had a free pass using salads and sandwiches.

  2. How you are feeling better soon Ti. Our students come back about the same time as yours, but fortunately I don’t work with the public. Hope rain comes your way soon.

  3. The water situation is really very scary. I hope things improve soon. If this were anywhere else, at least we could say that fall/winter is on its way, but SoCal doesn’t get much of that either.
    Hope you feel better soon.

    1. The weather folks keep telling us that El Nino is on its way to us and will dump 45+ inches this season.  I sure hope we get rain but that much in so short a time will destroy the hillsides and burn areas.  And if it does happen, I am going to build an Ark because our campus ALWAYS floods, including my office and the mold issue is not fun to deal with afterward. 


  4. Tina, we West Australians have mandatory water restrictions ALL THE TIME and we have had them for at least 10 years. You get used to it. Thank heavens for books I say, seeing as there is no running around outside while watering the garden!

      1. Pretty much. It is raining as I type this, but we are in the middle of winter, and we simply don’t have as much rain as we have in years past. My childhood winters were full of drenching rain; no more. And it is sensible really; we live in a hot and dry country; it seems silly to put most of precious drinking water onto gardens (much as I love to see a lush garden)

  5. P.S. Seemingly we Aussies never have threats to our schools, by any media. I cannot imagine that, but then so much about your controversial gun culture is incomprehensible to me.

    1. The fact that this stuff keeps coming up on social media means, to me, that kids are wanting help but don’t know how to ask for it.  If you post it to social media, it will be traced back. I don’t these kids are that naive to believe that the posts won’t be. 


  6. When I hear about what is going on in California, it almost seems like a setup to an apocalyptic novel doesn’t it? Like this is where it starts, and in 10 years it will be like the Sahara desert and you can only get water on the black market or something. Just move to Florida. We have plenty. I’d be scared too if my kids’ schools received threats. Just last spring Ryan’s new high school had a bomb threat! Gah! And I guess I’m going to have to look into American Horror Story. *sigh* When I try to catch up on TV series, nothing else ever gets done!

    1. This drought reminds me of the book Water Wars, I think that is what it was called. It’s beginning to get really scary here.  When I saw the lake, I was flabbergasted. There are islands that were never there before and tons of shoreline, also never there before. If we have a major brush fire, we won’t have the water to fight it’s that bad. 

      Re: American Horror Story

      The good thing about AHS is that the actors come back each season to play different characters in a different story so  from season to season…it’s all new. There is nothing to catch up on. Just start with this season on 10/8. The best seasons  were Season 1 and Season 2. Season 3 was a huge letdown but I have high hopes for Freak Show. 


  7. Wow! That’s so awesome you got chosen to be a Murakami ambassador.

    Sad to hear about the drought. Global warming is terrible these days.

  8. I hope there’s some rain in CA. soon. That is just crazy, especially if you have vegetation that should be kept wet to prevent fires in the future because they would be dried out otherwise. any word on what animal is digging up the yard? is it a raccoon.

    1. The animals are going crazy in my yard. One, the drought has them looking for water. Two, a new housing development is going up on the other side of the mountain and I think it’s forcing animals to my side! We have piles of raccoon poop every time we get home which is weird since they usually don’t come out during the day and it’s not there when we leave but it’s so toxic and contains roundworm!!

      Our yard has been overrun by rabbits too so there is rabbit poop all over which is good for your grass but the urine is not so everything is dying. Normally watering dilutes it but since we aren’t able to water the way we need to, everything is turning brown. Also,  The Girl cannot do her cartwheels out there without getting poop on her hands so she is not allowed to do that right now.

      The yard destruction of ripping the grass out has not happened since that one day but who knows what is getting in there. I also have a rattlesnake out there somewhere. Oh, and the scorpion from the other day.


  9. The school was threatened on Instagram? Say what? I’ve never heard of that before. Is that a common occurrence?

    And the lake… that is so sad and scary. Are the water restrictions getting tight? I saw a documentary on the water levels in the south west, and it looked frightening.

        1. I think social media makes it easier for these kids to distance themselves from right and wrong. Not making excuses at all because common sense is common sense but it’s a conversation that has to be had. Especially since employers are checking social media accounts now before hiring.


  10. I am SO excited that you got a signed copy of the book for yourself!! (and maybe one for me??) 😉 Every time I head to the used bookstore I look for Murakami and I very very rarely ever find anything. I can’t figure out if it’s because he’s not as well known or people keep his books. Hoping the latter.

    And yikes about the lake! We are under drought restrictions here, too, but I think our bigger problem is pumping out of the lakes for residential water much faster than it is replenishing by rain (this is our wettest summer I can remember and yet we can only water our lawns twice a month). As we are about to add another HUGE corporate headquarters to the area, that just means more homes and less water. It is frightening and feels very dystopian. I think we take too much for granted.

    Hope you have a good week–as well as the kids.

    1. The books they are giving me to give away are not signed, that I know of and they are not the new book either. Sort of strange but I suppose they are supporting his writing overall and not just his new book. 

      His books are keepers. I think that is why they never end up in the used book stores. Plus, lately…they have spent a great deal of time on the book cover design itself so I think people keep them for that reason too. I mean, I own a few versions of some of the books. I wish they would just put a volume set out so they can all match on my shelf.

      The water thing. We haven’t had measurable rain for over a year. I think we have 2-3 moments where it rained for like a minute and then moved on. Our hills are so bone dry. If we have a fire, there won’t be enough water to fight it. They scoop from the  lake and that lake is not looking good. The meteorologists predict 40 inches for us this season. You think? I would love to have it but our hills are so dry and ravaged from previous fires that I fear flooding and mudslides. It is too scary to think about!


      1. Exactly I think of the mudslides post fires of or youth in place like Malibu and the like. There were intense.

        When I was a kid, the entire hill behind our house went woosh in the rain and ended up in our backyard and home. It was so bad that FEMA got called in and the builders were sued. Still, the pictures don’t make it look even a quarter as bad as places like New Orleans or other victims of Hurricanes.

        Oh and don’t knock Used book stores, I just picked up my third hard cover copy of Amor Towles Rules of Civility for $1 at the local. That way I can lend out one of my favs and not worry if I get it back in crappy condition or not at all.

        Trish-I never would have thought that Toronto had water issues. You learn something new every day:)

  11. I truly did not realize that the drought was so bad so close to you…it is so sad…I know that I would worry, too.

    We just got back from one night away from home…an exhausting week end…I am clearing email, watching Big Brother and prepping to read The Furies…I am exhausted!

    1. It’s just a yard but I hate that I have to let my quarter acre die because that is what will happen with the cutback. It’s over 100 degrees, the hillsides cannot stay green with so little water so then I will get fined for a fire hazard and dry brush and it will take years to grow it all back. My gardener is frustrated. We just hired a new one and now everything will be dead soon. 


  12. Yeah I’m digging the Peter Heller book right now too. Midway through and there’s going to be a showdown of sorts I think. As for the drought in Calif, Canada should send you water via a pipeline, forget the oil 🙂 …. cheers

  13. I was just watching something on TV the other day about the drought in your area. So concerning! I had no idea that it had gotten that bad. I will definitely be keeping you all in my thoughts.

    The last couple of weeks have been so crazy in my neck of the woods. I haven’t really been doing much by going, going, going, and reading has taken a hit until the last couple of days. I gotta take advantage of it though because I won’t have the time like I used to in a couple of weeks!

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