Monday, March 30, 2009

Things I love

A much better day. We're back in contract on our house, after our buyers and back-up buyers went south. Our new buyer came in with a great offer and has already seen the report that sent the others running. Not a 1st time buyer - and someone who knows what she wants. Now I can work on the post I wanted to do yesterday. I'm having a hard time with the thought of good-byes. As much as this move is anticipated, planned for, dreamed of -- still, we've been here 12 years. A lot has happened. And I'm going to feel like a three-legged dog for awhile. I'll get by, but I won't be quite the same.

I think a running list of the things I'll miss will help. I'm not ready to put down the big things - like our dear friends and my sister. But the daily things - the taken-for-granted stuff - that are noticed more in their absence. They deserve a little memorializing.

1. Southern California March. As a kid, it always snowed on my birthday (a Picses, it was inevitable in Iowa). In New York -- much the same. Like some party guests, winter just doesn't know when to exit. But here - March is spring on steroids. My favorite days are slightly cloudy with intermittent sunshine.
2. The particular blend of jasmine, citrus and some unknown herbally/green scent that fills the air here in spring.
3. "My" running hills. Actually it's just one big hill with many routes. No matter what path I take, at some point I'm going to hit that hill. I used to hate hills. Now I love the way a good hill creates focus.
4. The last several blocks on the drive to my son's school, a great little school in Sierra Madre, a post-card perfect town set in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
5. Our front courtyard in the evening. A wonderful place to hang, watch the kids, and enjoy a glass of wine.
6. Oranges on my tree, snap peas and tomatoes and strawberries ripe (at the same time!) in my garden. And all the fresh lemons one could want.

That's it for tonight. There may be more. Feel free to add your own ideas -- if you happen across this little blog.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Things I hate

I don't think there will be many things that end up here. Not usually a hater. But tonight, I'm annoyed. Our perfect plan that just was falling right in place is stalled - a little. Our buyers backed out on our house. 1st time buyers - they were scared of little things like lead paint (which we disclosed before they offered to buy the house) OK - I understand. Except that every house built in 1930 has lead paint. If the owners say it doesn't - they are lying. And our paint is isn't peeling. And my children are lead-free. Ask the doctor. They've been tested.

So - top of my list.

1. Bumps in the road. Why can't things go the way I want?
2. 1st time buyers. And their brokers.
3. Dumb medical tests that drive up the cost of health care in this country with no tangible improvements to our health. (I know lead is a serious issue. I used to work in public health in New York City. But it's all about exposure and quantity). Given the level of risk presented, I'd rather have my kids tested for pesticides. Or just for quantity of vegetable matter in their systems.
4. Allergies. Why is it that every woman my age (yup - over 40) has allergies? You get to choose - either you feel foggy from the allergies - or groggy from the medication. Thus the attitude.

That's it. I really meant to post about all the things I will miss. A much more pleasant post. Maybe tomorrow

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It all starts with the compost

This isn't really about gardening, though I'm sure that will come in somewhere. It's about our family, and the start of an adventure, and a latent desire to set down roots. To provide our children with some of the freedom we had as kids and to instill in them a love of this earth. It's about a trip some 2400 miles along Route 40, from Pasadena CA to Asheville NC.

And it all starts with the compost.

My husband and I are Iowa-raised. New York City lured us straight from college. A bit of my heart will always be there. A desire for adventure and job opportunities brought us to Southern California. A dozen years, some wonderful friends, a house, a dog and two great kids. But somehow - Pasadena has always felt transitional - a stop along the way. A few years ago, we started thinking about where we would go if we could go anywhere. In the age of google, it's easy to dream. Input the things we need -- good schools, a moderate climate, access to an airport - and the things we want -- culture, mountains, outdoor recreation, good restaurants. Templeton, California was tempting. Ashland Oregon was lovely. But not quite right.

But back to the compost. We were still in Pasadena, and we needed to get our hands dirty. We needed to grow stuff. And we needed compost. It's amazing how much stuff can go in a simple compost bin! We have the happiest worms in Pasadena.

But composting is good for more than the garden. It gets you dreaming of more space, a simpler life, a better balance. It got me searching for green homes (of course there's a website for that). And that led to Asheville. A lovely small city in Western North Carolina, in the mountains, with good schools, a local airport, great outdoor recreation, and a rich history of art and culture. And a thriving green building, sustainable living culture.

Since this is all past - I'll make it quick. We found almost 12 acres of land in Arden, just south of Asheville. We close on it in a week. We're under contract to sell our house and plan to leave mid-June. We found a builder and we're working on plans for our green dream home. My parents may join us - but that's for another post. It's all just falling into place.

So now I have to figure out what to do with all that compost.