1. the fires are terrible, horrifying, and traumatic, and my heart goes out to all of those who are in danger or have suffered loss. i am safe, my family is safe, my home is still several miles from the flames and is tentatively okay, but my parents' new home in arrowhead is only about a mile or two from the flames. there isn't much to do but wait. we can't get up there to save anything, but we have very good fire insurance and are hoping for the best. thank you to all who have contacted me in concern; to those who have not, i realize you don't love me/live under a rock, but i love you anyway.
2. i am not sure if dr. casey is still alive at this point; my best guess is that he has passed away, ending the unbelievable pain he was suffering from this weekend. the last i heard, his liver had failed and he was on high doses of morphine to try to make things bearable, but the prognosis was not positive. i cannot begin to imagine the heartache his family is going through, with their home threatened as well. my deepest, sincerest sympathies go out to them.
3. in more mundane news, all of the schools in the area have been cancelled due to the fire/road closures/smoke, so i've just been working hard on packing and the thesis all day. will be continuing throughout the week. we left the tournament in a panic yesterday to get the students home to the dorms (thanks to a police escort), but it seems like it was all a large game of hurry up and wait.
4. it was wonderful to see so many of my debate friends yesterday, especially my old teammates. keyon and kasey really mean the world to me, and i've missed them a lot. i know i'll forget someone if i try to list everyone, but...it was wonderful to see so many people...i was surprised and happy to see nicole, and really enjoyed getting to know/work with matt and chris a bit more. as for the rest...you know who you are. thanks for reminding me how much i appreciate this community.
5. as a final thought...i've been thinking a lot lately about happiness, and what makes people happy, and specifically what makes me happy. of course, i derive happiness from a lot of things...personal success, knowledge, my environment, and other people. at the moment, though, i have a pretty simple answer for something that always makes me happy, and that i'm incredibly grateful for: knowing that there's someone who can make me smile, no matter how bad things look. that's pretty wonderful, and i feel lucky. i have good friends; thank you.
so, even as everything burns down around me, and as i hide in my room buried in presidential rhetoric...
i'm smiling. :)