“Plans Change,” Oct. 12, 2021

Life stays interesting in one way or another. I like that about it, usually. Interesting is good. But sometimes it’s interesting in ways that tend to make me want to go hide up under the porch with the dogs.

If I had a porch. Or a dog. I’m not saying I’d actually do that. I’m just saying it’s how I feel. I suspect you know the feeling.

This morning I woke up, as usual, thinking about what I needed to do to get ready for the week ahead. First, I kissed my husband. That’s how we try to start and end each day. It makes the hours between go better.

Then I needed coffee. Two cups. Coffee helps me think. When the coffee kicked in, I recalled three major tasks: First, I had to write a column. Tomorrow was my deadline. So I needed to work on it today, tonight and maybe tomorrow morning. I’m a slow writer. It takes as long as it takes.

But I’d need to finish it and send it off by midday tomorrow to papers that are kind enough to print it. Fine, I could do that.

The second task would also require writing. The day after tomorrow, I was scheduled to speak at a luncheon, which according to my husband, I can do in my sleep. But the last time I spoke to a crowd of people who weren’t family was more than a year ago, before the pandemic shut down lots of fun things, even speaking engagements.

I was looking forward to the event, but feeling a bit out of practice. I told myself not to worry (I tell myself that a lot) because I’d have plenty of time to work on a speech tomorrow after sending off my column.

Then I could do the really important stuff (wash my hair and change my mind five times about what to wear to the luncheon) and get a good night’s sleep before waking up and running out the door to do the third task: Giving the talk.

It was a fine plan. I was proud it. Looking back, I’m reminded of what my grandmother often said: “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Soon after I sat down to start the column, my phone lit up with a “red flag warning” from the county office of emergency services. The local forecast was calling for winds gusting to 60 mph beginning tomorrow for two days in an area that is tinderbox dry after a summer of record heat and no rain.

Californians know a lot more about wildfires than we’d like to know. Last summer my husband and I left our home three times due to fires burning nearby. One came within a mile of our place until it was stopped by firecrews working day and night.

This summer, we’ve seen a lot of smoke from distant fires, but no evacuations for us—so far. We hope and pray and try to expect the best. But we never take lightly the threat of fire. Or the risk of an evacuation. Or the possibility of power outages.

So I’ve made a few changes to my three-day plan. Chances are, we could lose power tomorrow from lines downed by wind, or from planned “safety outages.” So I’ll write this column today and send it off tonight. I hope it gets to where it needs to go and that you will like reading it.

Also today (or late tonight) I’ll write a talk for the luncheon. They’ve asked me to talk about writing. It shouldn’t be hard.

Tomorrow, who knows? If all goes well, I’ll be done with the column and the speech, and I can just sit back and watch the wind blow the chairs around the patio and knock the blooms off the pansies we just planted.

And the next day? Well, again, if all goes well, I’ll clean myself up, go to the luncheon and talk about writing and life, how they both stay interesting, if only in ways that make us want to hide under the porch with the dogs.

Stay tuned. Lord willing, I’ll let you know how it goes. Life stays interesting. It’s worth waking up just to see what happens next.


  1. I love your style of “down home” writing! I too have been reading your columns for years, first in the local newspaper and now online! I So hope that one day I can meet you face to face!

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    Word from the Bay Area was that the wind was howling all day. The Napa boy lost power at work… not sure if it was downed lines or a “planned outage.” Here in the real Nevada we had heavy wind and light snow all day long. Got to a high of 37…

    Enjoy the luncheon… and if you’re speaking after lunch check your teeth 😂😂. Trust me.

  3. Jill Leach says

    Perfectly said! Wish I was at your luncheon and hearing you speak on writing! I would love to write a couple of books but have no CLUE!
    Good-Luck and I always enjoy your columns!!

  4. Best laid plans… I like your Grandma’s comment…there’s some truth. Be safe!

  5. Sydney Love says

    I love everything you write. I always have. I’ve been reading your column for years and you never disappoint. Thank you for taking time to write just what I need to hear. You are truly blessed with the talent of writing.

  6. Terri Blazier says

    Stay safe. Over time I’ve not concerned myself with cut in stone plans. Disappointed enough times that it’s not worth setting myself up for it. I go with the glow as much as possible. Loved this one. Hope your weather has stayed calm.

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