May 12, 2008

Beautification Project

I'm sorry to say that since we've been back from New Zealand Los Angeles has lost some it's luster for me. Not that it had a huge amount to begin with. I grew up in Northern California so anyone who knows the disdain those in the upper portion of the state feel for L.A. will understand that it took me a while to consider this place home--somewhere around twenty years would be a good guess. 

I had long considered myself a Northern California girl. But about five years ago, when we seriously considered a move up north, I found I didn't really want to leave. Then, on a subsequent visit to San Franciso I found myself getting totally annoyed with the "holier than thou environmentalist, anti-L.A." attitude up there. That was when I knew this Northern California girl had I had become an L.A. woman.

And I do love where we live for lots of reasons. I love our funky, bohemian neighborhood. (Okay, I love it because it reminds me of San Francisco--so what?!). I love that even though L.A. is the place people love to hate, people in L.A. rarely, if ever, return those feelings. I love that it's a city of dreamers. And I love the life we've created for ourselves here.

But how does it compare to New Zealand? Well, it's lacking a few things. 

Beauty, for one. Though there are beautiful places you need to travel an hour or so to find beauty that's not marred by graffiti or masses of people. Water is another thing I'm missing here. We were surrounded by it in Auckland. Sure, we do have a view of a reservoir from our house. But it's surrounded in concrete. And we could get to the beach in thirty minutes or less if the roads are clear, but we all know how often that happens. 

So, we're throwing around the idea of moving again but since Warren works in film a move would probably mean a career change--and that could take some time to figure out. We've decided that, for now, instead of moving we'll beautify our own little corner of the world.

Yesterday, after Warren and Jerry served me breakfast in bed and I had a frivolously long phone conversation with a friend, we spent the afternoon cleaning up our front patio. It was pretty bad. There were pieces of wood, piled up in the corner, left over from building projects Jerry and I started but never finished. There were half-dead potted plants that had suffered in our absence. There was a bench we were all afraid to sit on but that we kept, none the less, as a place to put other stuff that we didn't use but couldn't seem to get rid of. There was a hammock that was slowly unravelling.

It's all gone now! All that's left is the good stuff. The living plants; the furniture that's fit to hold people without breaking; the fountain my neighbor gave us. We even brought the BBQ from the back deck (the deck's ready to fall apart, too) so we can use the BBQ without fearing for our lives. And today I'm going to buy more plants and potting soil so that by the end of the day it will be a regular oasis in the heart of the city. A little bit of New Zealand right here in Los Angeles.

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