12.30.2005

My turn my turn!!!

From Ann and Mary and Mom... here goes! The first line from first entry each month of 2005... Wow, I really was obsessed with that lemon tree!

January
none

February
New Hijinks
I've decided I'm going with Blogger instead of trying to be a technical superhero....

March
Exercise...or lack of it
We human beings are definitely doing something wrong.

April
The Power of Optimism
Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?

May
Garden Update
My lemon tree now has two blossoms and tons of buds.

June
"The coldest winter I ever spent
...was summer in San Francisco," said somebody once upon a time.

July
Bimonthly Garden Update
Two months after my first report, we have lots of action in the garden.

August
So busy!
Isn't it funny that the noun form of "being busy" seems like it ought to be business?

September
Urban Garden Update
It's been an eventful couple of months for my little garden on a deck here in San Francisco.

October
Off to Vietnam
I had so many things I wanted to say and do before I left on my vacation, but they will have to wait.

November
On NaNoWriMo
This odd activity has the majority of my blogging friends and family writing 50,000-word novels this month, and, swept up in the wave of creativity energy, I signed up too.

December
How long it has been
I can hardly form a sentence.

12.29.2005

SF Snapshot

Today I experienced city living the likes of which I don't think I'd ever really believed I personally would experience. (I mean, I'd always hoped, but until it actually happens, it's just a dream.... I suspect there's a deep philosophical underpinning behind that statement, but I think I'll wait to investigate that one :) Anyway, we took Bart downtown to spend some leftover Crate and Barrel gift cards from our wedding (thanks Jack and Joyce Sullivan!) now that we actually have a house to fill. That alone was a thrill (though how is it possible that a Bart ticket downtown costs less than a Muni bus trip? Something's amiss...). The real fun, however, was on the way back. We were exhausted and really eager to get home to relax, but as we passed Cha Cha Cha's on Mission, I said something I think I've only seen in movies and TV shows like Ally McBeal.

"Wanna stop here for a drink?"

Nick was a little skeptical at first but acquiesced. We stepped inside and were the only ones at the bar. The place was generally quiet but had an air of preparation, a popular bar bracing itself for a busy night. I asked the bartender why he was wearing one latex glove. He explained, perhaps a bit over-explicitly, that he was about to cut up a bunch of lemons and limes, and that such an activity can be rather painful if you have a hangnail. As we sipped our sangria, the place slowly began filling up with its dinner crowd of hipster revelers. Then, just when things were getting busy and the list for a table was growing by the minute (by now it's probably a half hour wait at least), we headed on home to our fabulous new nest....

I don't know why it's so much more exciting to go to a neighborhood bar as a homeowner, but today it really was. Salud!

12.19.2005

Not your average Urban Garden Update

Mean...selfish...uncaring...cruel...heartless...desperate... These are not words typically used to describe a gardener. Yet I can't think of any other way to categorize the person who stole my lemon tree and my prized collection of succulents. I know in my heart it was the same person, even though the theft occurred in two stages.

The succulents were the first to be stolen. All I thought was, "My, how brazen, to steal a lovely pot of plants from someone's front porch." I was upset, yes, and saddened to lose my Desert Delight, which I'd spent well over a year assembling. But I laughed it off and figured it could easily have been a silly misunderstanding. The pots had been casually placed on our porch during our many trips in and out of the house while we were moving. Someone could maybe, just maybe have thought they were being given away, I blithely imagined.

I was being way, way too generous of heart (must be the gardener in me). Desert Delight was flagrantly stolen in broad daylight by a greedy, vicious [expletive deleted]. This was no innocent misunderstanding among grabby green thumbs. This was a theft, pure and simple. I know this, because today when I got home from work, our front gate was open and my lemon tree was gone.

You all know how unusually important this lemon tree was to me. It had helped me finally discover the gardener in me, the gardener I'd always wanted to be, in the tradition of Honeygram with her marigolds, Tutu's lantana and lavender bush, the immaculate houseplants of my father.... You probably hadn't seen it lately, but it had two lemons that were getting bigger by the week. Even though it was losing its leaves in the cold, I had begun to suspect that the lemons would make it to spring.

Now it's gone. I never thought I'd shed a tear for a plant, but that happened this evening. I know it's just a plant, but as so often happens in this material life, it symbolized all sorts of other things: not just my heritage as a gardener, but my visions for our new house and the potential for our new neighborhood, no concrete jungle of transient junkies and miserable criminals, but a lush and beloved ecosystem kept thriving by caring and optimistic homeowners eager to put down roots, literal and figurative, here.

I can only hope that wherever my plants are, they are being well cared for. I'm having a hard time believing that's true, though. Gardeners have to be attentive and giving. They must show love without words. They can't expect instant gratification or easy rewards. I think I understand why this vermicious knid has to steal plants from other people. Anybody who'd steal a plant can't be a very good gardener.

Not that I'm giving up, mind you. Our neighbors have their pots chained to their railing, and I'll probably resort to something similar even though it's a tad severe (and possibly not even effective; the neighbors say the person who lived in our house before had plants stolen, too--dug right out of their massive concrete pots). But I won't give up. I plan to adorn my plants with biographies, little stories that show just what they mean to me. I'll translate the stories into Spanish and Chinese, hell maybe even Russian and Tagalog. I know the plant thieves won't care about these things, but at least I'll know they can't delude themselves into thinking they're remotely righteous.

All sorts of military analogies and war metaphors come to mind, but I don't want to think of this as a battle. I'm just an urban gardener doing her thing, trying to get her plants as much light as possible, and the back porch has northern exposure. Lately I've been describing my life as an adventure. This definitely qualifies.

------UPDATE--------
was looking at pictures of my garden to post here, found these:





What's that last one, you ask? Holy crap, they stole my LAVENDER too?! Forget pacifism. It is SO on.
--------------------

12.14.2005

How long it has been

I can hardly form a sentence. I won't even try to complete sophisticated paragraphs. I hope nobody minds. If I hold myself to that standard, this post won't get done.

Buying a house is an insane process. I commented many times throughout that I couldn't believe this is how it actually works. It feels in some sense like the honor code at work. You sign hundreds of pieces of paper, many of which are almost illegible due to overfaxing/photocopying, agreeing to complex and consequential demands and legal requirements, accepting liability for hundreds of thousands of dollars, using only your scribble of a signature, or even your initials. It would be so easy to play dumb... "You can't prove it was I who initialed it!" or "I checked the 'don't know' box—I didn't know anything about that!" And I'm sure many people do rely on those shifty, fallback positions. Which leads to litigation, betrayal, arbitration...all those things so often lamented in today's world. We, however, were honorable buyers, and we read everything really thoroughly and had lawyers look over questionable documents and only agreed to things that made sense and blah blah blah. We're not so sure about the sellers, but hey, the deal's done, so at this point everything is simply a lesson learned, and those are valuable.

Throughout much of the process, my only comfort was the knowledge that so many others had trod this path before. They hadn't necessarily done it during the biggest real estate bubble in history, or in a USGS-certified liquefaction zone in San Francisco. They hadn't necessarily bought 125-year-old Victorian houses. With partners. In a building that they may have loved despite its many proverbial warts. But I knew that everyone's housing deal has its own distinct characteristics that rank it among the scariest things that person has ever done, and knowing that they survived made it easier for me to believe that I, too, would survive.

So, the house is now in our names, and I'm a San Francisco property owner, for better and worse. It's truly thrilling. I love our home, especially now that we figured out our heat actually works. Owning an old home, I can already tell, is a huge adventure. We had to jump through a few (copper pipe) hoops to get our laundry hookups installed, but they're now there, and...

....CAN I GET A DRUMROLL PLEASE?!....

....Yesterday, OMFG, we bought brand new washing machines that will be delivered sometime tomorrow. If you read a certain recent post, you know exactly how immeasurably exciting that is for me.