Yes, it’s birthday week in my household, as well as in Armitage-land. My husband’s big day was on the weekend, and my younger son (much to his chagrin) shares a birthday with RA. But all of those many candles did not create the smoke that has been blanketing the province of British Columbia. The cause was the more than 500 wildfires currently burning in BC, combined with the hot and dry weather.
We are in Metro Vancouver (not near the fires), and yet we have been completely socked in with smoke! The air quality here has been at 10+, or very high risk, during the afternoon sun over the last few days. While air quality is so much worse near the fires, we in the city have been dealing with high particulate and ozone content. Personally, I’ve had scratchy eyes and a productive cough, combined with tiredness and something close to depression. It is also really anxiety-provoking — I can’t imagine how it must feel to live in a city that has air quality this bad or worse all the time.
We went out for a birthday dinner at a waterfront restaurant yesterday evening, the same place we went to in May for my older son’s birthday. The sun was shining, but it just looked like a weird red ball in the sky obscured by smoke. Take a look at the view of the water and mountains from the same vantage point (slightly different angle), the first picture taken in May and the second on August 22. You can see the same trees on the left.
And imagine… some people chose to eat outside on the patio!
It was cooler today — this afternoon it was 18 C (64 F), down from around 31 C (88 F), and there was a bit of drizzle. We need this cooler weather and a lot of rain to get rid of the smoke. And that’s assuming that a (presumably tongue-in-cheek) Facebook campaign to Blow Spokane’s Smoke Away to Canada doesn’t work! A Spokane, Washington resident suggests that if the 500,000 people there each put 5 box fans on their roofs, they can send the smoke back to us! Somehow, I don’t think that will work.😊
Is it any wonder that I’ve been a bit preoccupied and only checked out the Armitage birthday activities from the sidelines? It was fun to watch, though, as Guylty’s fan auction raised 2,269.98 Euros ($3,437.13 CAD) for LOROS, the hospice that took care of RA’s mother Margaret earlier this year. (Donations to LOROS can be made here.)
I also enjoyed reading the the birthday messages sent by other bloggers, some of which can be found below:
One last item that I’d like to bring to your attention is a little fundraiser, complete with matching donations, by a certain school teacher in Georgia. The money raised will buy materials to create a Bucket Band for the kids. You can even make your donation in honour of someone… maybe RA, like I did! (Okay, well they asked for his email address which of course I don’t actually have, but I just substituted my own. He may never know, but I’m sure he’d agree with the sentiment!) If you’d like more information on how to get involved with this great project for the kids, you can find the details posted by another Armitage fan here.
When I went outside tonight, I was so excited to find that I could finally see stars in the sky as the smoke is beginning to clear! No mountains are visible yet, but it’s a start.