pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Racetrack

05 December 2015


Racetrack Playa
Death Valley National Park, California
23 November 2015

The week didn't start well. We were awakened at 5 am last Saturday by a security service alerting us that an elderly relative had pushed a panic button and that paramedics were en route. Of course, it turned out to be a false alarm, but one that involved firefighters breaking into the house and generally serving to scare the entire family out of its collective mind.


It was also jury duty week. I've had the unmitigated joy of serving jury duty more than once, but this time I was on call rather that in the room for five days. It still was difficult to plan anything, not knowing if I'd be free the following day, but I was thrilled when last night, I went to the web page, and was told I was done.

Of course, I know two judges and an infinite number of lawyers so I'd have likely been dismissed anyway.


I've been threatening to buy an artificial Christmas tree for years. Not because I actually want one--the idea of a plastic tree is obscene--but because I am violently allergic to pine pollen and no matter how much I wash the tree from the farm, I still end up with contact dermatitis and am sneezing for a month. And with the drought, I'm already dealing with the latter issue. Also, the cat is very determined to eat said tree with detrimental effects on both his health and my bank account, so we have put a literal fence around the tree in the living room. Which is ridiculous. And wrestling with an 8-ft. tree is really getting beyond me physically.

So Tuesday, the fake tree arrived. No sooner did the daughter and I have the three sections out of the box than the cat began chewing on it.

And who knew that plastic could cause contact dermatitis?

The bottom half of the tree has been bagged up in old flannel sheets. I am referring to it as "the tree diaper."

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. You can read more about the mysterious moving rocks of Racetrack Playa here. In the wake of all the recent violence, including Wednesday's horror, I am trying to keep this light hearted. That's an uphill battle.

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