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We are all a bit sick of snow I think. The entire country appears to be suffering a particularly brutal winter. I know I’m just about over it myself. As it is March, Maine has a way to go until she sees spring weather, but in the spirit of the Mainers’ usual coping mechanism, I will just act as if we are already there. 

No, I’m not going to go outside in a tee shirt lugging a baseball mitt and bat looking for a pickup game, I haven’t been here long enough to go that far. But I will post this picture, taken last spring not too far from my house.

It's SPRING!!!! (not really).

It's SPRING!!!! (not really)

Doesn’t looking at that make you feel better already? More alive, more full of hope? Less likely to reach for a packet of razor blades? Like spring really is just around the corner? You can thank me later. In the comments section. Under this post. But for now, just enjoy the view.

I’d much rather look at that photo than the current blizzard raging right now just outside my window, so-called not by me this time, but by the National Weather Service.

So today when I light the fire and cozy up in front of the fireplace under no less than four layers of winter clothing, I will be imagining its heat as the sun’s warm rays while I stare very hard at this picture, trying to blot out everything else.

Hey, its cheaper than a trip to the Caribbean, and I don’t have to worry about boarding the dog. Win-win, right?

Not to go all dramatic on you or anything but I’ve been following the story on the bushfire in southwestern Australia and am absolutely too horrified for words.

One of my favorite bloggers, Magneto Bold Too, is right smack on the edge of this disaster feeling the heat, breathing the ash and watching her friends and relatives lose their homes, or worse – their lives, in the flames. Needless to say, she’s not in a lighthearted mood these days. I have no idea what to say to her to try to alleviate some of her pain. I don’t think there is anything I can say other than “hang in there” and “don’t take any foolish risks.”

After living in Los Angeles for 25 years, summer/fall brushfires became a way of life for me, and stories of lost homes and animals – pets, livestock and wild – were an annual occurrence. Fire was laughingly called one of the four Southern California seasons (fire, earthquake, Santa Ana* and the Oscars or more properly “awards season”) But never ever have I heard the words “171 lives were lost in this fire” until today.

* The Santa Ana winds are the hot dry offshore winds driving heat and dust before it, coloring the sky, much as the Sirocco turns the sky red in Rome every year from the Saharan sands it brings to the Mediterranean. Fires started during “Santa Ana season” are deadly and unstoppable.

Officials have declared the fires in southern Australia as set on purpose – Arson. Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Prime Minister, calls it “mass murder” and I agree with him. One of the fires was apparently immediately re-set, again arson, after firefighters had already swept through, put it out, and moved on to the next hot spot.

This area of Australia also has its annual share of “summer” (for this is their summer) bushfires spurred on by dry weather and heavy winds, much like Southern California so they too know to prepare, but how do you prepare for this? The entire country is praying for their brothers and mourning for their losses – donations of blood are being solicited, people are sending help where they can.

And it isn’t over yet.

What kind of person does this?

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For those of you that want to help, go to http://secure.salvationarmy.org/ and donate directly.  Be sure to designate “Victoria Fires” in the “Specific Use” box under “Donation Details” or your donation will go into the Salvation Army’s general fund.

I know I promised to write an epilogue to yesterday’s post but I was too busy stocking provisions for the blizzard that was clearly coming my way, based on the prediction of, if you recall, fair weather with a side of alerts.

My “From away/Mainer” dictionary apparently needs tweaking, as it full-on failed me this time. The weather was none of the above. It was just grey and COLD. Like in the single digits cold. Instead of the usual “one inch” of foot deep snow, we got NO SNOW. And now, after yesterday’s pointless flurry of activity, I have a house unnecessarily full of food and firewood – which, now that I think of it, can never be a bad thing.  

Today was going to be day 2 of delicious beef-barley soup making for Monday’s blog post but the beautiful giant beef bones I had bought on Thursday just for photographing and posting said soup recipe, mysteriously went bad – very bad.  So bad that they were actually stinky when I went to start the soup yesterday afternoon. Which means no soup post tomorrow. Even worse, (for me), no delicious hot soup for the next few single-digit-cold days. Since I did something very stupid yesterday to my right foot during my marathon survival-preparedness exercise, I’m not about to trek out to the market for more soup bones today just for you guys – even though I love each one of you loyal, forgiving readers with all my heart, because another trip to the market would be redundant – did I mention that I have a house full of food (except soup bones)? So while I will eventually be adding a few recipe posts here and there….you’ll have to wait until I get back on my feet (foot?) and out to the market to get a peek at my yummy beef-barley soup recipe. And I’ll have to come up with some other clever subject for tomorrow’s post.

So this entry? Not really a post, more like a litany of excuses……..