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2005-02-24 - 11:15 p.m.
There are sounds that make me feel and know that I am at home.

When I am in Astoria, I can almost tell the time by the sound of the traffic.
I know it's midnight when I hear the bread trucks arrive (my building is next to a bakery). Around 1:00am or so, the sound of the traffic picks up for a bit, then quickly dies down after the bars get out. Around 6:00am, the the car repair shop across the street starts using all their power tools. At 8:00am, my downstairs tenant opens his plumbing shop...and I hear the sounds of pipes and tools and people getting ready to go out on their plumbing jobs. Then about 10:00am, the highway traffic picks up, and that's my cue that it's time for me to get up.

In Los Angeles (I live on a wetlands), I hear the sounds of a million frogs at night...stopped intermitently when some tiny sound that I can't hear makes them go silent for about 3 seconds, then they start up again. Most nights, I also hear the loud creaking and moaning of the ancient oil well that lives behind our building, but since all the big rains started, the oil well sounds have stopped. In the morning, about 7:00am, I hear Mr. G start up his El Camino, which he holds in neutral and floors it over and over again (the sound of a very loud engine roaring....over and over again). Then the workers arrive. This happens around 10:00am. A huge truckload* of workers arrive, chattering away at the top of their lungs in Spanish, getting ready for their work day. And their parking space happens to be just under my deck.....and the deck is just off my bedroom!

There are so many other sounds, but it occured to me tonight, that as annoying as some of the sounds seem to be, they have become the sounds of home. Actually, it's quite interesting if you take the time to listen to all the different sounds you're can either drive you nuts, or make you feel at home. Over time, these are the sounds of my home.

(*sometimes the workers actually arrive in an old burned out pictured below (picture makes it look better than it is!)....but that's a whole other story! I love them, they are a very hard working bunch of guys.)

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2005-02-21 - 8:31 p.m.
I think I might be a bit obsessed with lemons. Yesterday, on a whim, I packed up the kids*, the cat, and the boyfriend, loaded up two cars and headed South to look at a lemon farm. (I am nothing if not impulsive!)

Of course, I do not know the first thing about farming, and have always considered myself a "brown-thumb" because almost every plant I have ever tried to grow....didn't! But the success of our lemon sales so far....from a tree that grows even under my care.....has inspired me! It may seem unconventional, but the few businesses that I have started in my life, that have gotten me to where I am now, started out this way. I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting into, but I jumped in anyway.

But that's neither here nor there, as the road to the lemon farm was closed due to flooding. Oy! Over a hundred miles of driving, and we didn't even get to see it!

But, as a consolation prize, I had made reservations to stay at the beautiful Harris Ranch (pictured below). Interestingly, due to a clerical error on their part, our reservation was never actually booked. And we arrived just after a bus load of tourists had checked in!! For a few minutes it seemed like we were going to have to turn around and drive all the way back home (with two cranky children!!), but then they offered me the last room they had available.....a super deluxe room with a view of the a discounted rate because of their mistake! (Sometimes, life is good.)

Anyway, I'm back in Los Angeles now.....dreaming of a lemon farm!

(*The kids I refer to are Alan's children. They don't live with us, but we had them over the holiday weekend. I'm not really a *kid* person, so you know I'm obsessed with lemons if I'm willing gather up the kids and rent a hotel room....just to go look at a lemon farm!)

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