Here's what I like about living in Elk Grove, which is a suburb to the south of Sacramento.
1. It smells like the country. Last thing at night, when I take Molly out, if the wind is blowing my way, I can smell cows. That should surprise no one, since the dairies are still just up the road Not all of them; actually very few survived the land grab that has turned farms into housing tracts in the past five or so years. The Machados, for example, sold their dairy and now they have a little park with swings and a slide and I think there's a basketball hoop as well named in their honor. As a proud member of the Board of the Franklin Reserve Neighborhood Association, I attended the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at Machado Park. It is a lovely little site (have I said little enough?), a splotch of grassy green in the middle of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds (have I said hundreds enough?) beige houses. The green is a welcome sight because so many of those beige houses are fronted by dead lawns and wind-whipped For Sale Bank Owned signs. But I digress: what I actually started out to say was that I couldn't stop myself from asking the current Mr. Machado what his grandfather would think to see what had happened to his dairy. I got no response. Still, when I go outside my beige house in the evening, I can often smell cows, and that pleases me.
2. When I actually leave Elk Grove to journey into the nether reaches of Sacramento, the freeway I take is picturesque beyond belief. Sacramento is the City of Trees, so they say. Not to mention creeks and rivers and the odd pond or two. Driving along Interstate 5 is often breathtakingly beautiful and how many city freeways can that be said of? This is not insignificant if you consider the stress levels that most freeway driving produces. When I'm driving on 5 and I take in the scenery, I can feel myself getting calmer. This, I imagine, can only add to my years of life, not to mention its current quality. No small thing, right?
3. I like that this area is still in a state of becoming, as opposed to LA, say, which is darn near finished. I feel as if the Sacramento area, which includes Elk Grove, is waking up, getting with the program, feelin' alive. That I'm here now means that I have the opportunity to be a part of creating the area. I've become involved in organizations in a way that I couldn't have in LA. Here, if a job needs doing and I say I'll do it, it's mine. In LA, I would still be passing the pretzels.
4. I like my house. It's mine. All mine. I can do with it whatever I want. Even if it is beige. Hey, I could paint it some other color. Or glue bits and pieces of broken crockery to the outside lintels. Or grow morning glories up one side and down the other. Okay, I tried that already, and for some reason the morning glories were not amenable. Despite my nicking the seed casing and soaking them in water, the little creeps did not sprout. The same thing happened with the moonflowers that I planted in along the back fence (the one I share, should you be interested, with DeathChic(k) who recently fed her morning glory seeds to her daughter, but that's her story, not mine.) However, all manner of other things do grow in my garden, and I love that. It is a veritable wealth of flora, etc. etc. etc. Roses, roses, roses like you've never seen or smelled before. And a huge peach tree that bears luscious white Freestone peaches in great number. A Meyer lemon tree, as well, which was so prolific that I ended up freezing a good number of lemons just to throw down my garbage disposal when it needs a bit of deodorizing.
5. Speaking of garbage disposals as we were, here's another thing I like about living here: my kitchen.
6. And I like the fact that there are seasons in Northern California. As a Pennsylvania girl, born and bred, I was offended by the puny little drop in temps to 62 degrees that passes for winter in Los Angeles. I like my Winters robust, requiring the wearing of many layers and the laying of many fires. I love that the trees do get Fall colors up here, and they bud out in Spring. We will not speak of that other season, because this is a list of all that I like about living here.
7. I like the fact that despite the enormous growth that overtook Elk Grove, nature will out and much of the landscape is returning to fields. Along with the things I planted in my garden, the wild flowers and grasses that were in what was formerly pasture are insistent on claiming the land as theirs.
8. I like that I'm just 10 minutes or so from the Delta which is, as well, wild and free.
9. I like that my backyard faces West, so that every single evening I get a sunset that is a Kodak moment.
Next I'll do what I like about LA. Or should I do what I don't like about Elk Grove/Sacramento. And what about San Jose? What's with San Jose anyway; why is it even in this headline? Ahhhh, tune in tomorrow for Take Three.