As the newscasters continue to recount the last moments of Harambe, the silver backed male gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, my heart just feels desperately sad. As anyone with a device receiving news would be aware by now a small boy fell into the enclosure and the gorilla was toying with him. Whether the massive animal was protecting him or going to do him harm is for the gods to know because in order to protect the child the gorilla was shot by a zoo employee. What a shame. So few of these glorious creatures still populate our world. Really, we are so careless with our precious commodities. Humans are the caretakers of the earth. If I was the boss, I’d fire us. Continuing in this wasteful abandon one day our descendants will be living in a world devoid of the majestic elephant, the amazing great apes, and so many other precious animal species fallen in the wake of our confusing apathy at their passing. Like the voracious piranha we swim in, pick the bones clean, and leave nothing for those to follow. Our incredible rain forests are dwindling, the atmosphere becoming contaminated, and the waste piling up. Truly I am glad I was born in the generation I was as I’m not sure what awaits those still in the wings preparing to arrive. Interesting Thoreau was credited with the subject quote so many years ago. I guess each generation views the ones rising up behind them with a jaundiced eye.
Enough lecture for today. It is to be a hot one in the Sierra Nevada so no extra hot air is needed. They are predicting a sizzling summer. I am yearning to move to the sea and sit on the warm sand languishing in the glorious ocean breezes. Sigh. Rick and I would like to buy or rent a floating home. Sort of like the one in Sleepless in Seattle only cheaper, much cheaper. Most probably with our present spending bandwidth anything over $1.50 would be a stretch. Prices continue to go up and up. I leave the store with 12 rolls of toilet paper and a tube of toothpaste and I’ve left a picture of Andrew Jackson behind. Small homes and other means of sheltering oneself are being turned to as alternatives to the high cost of living. Rentals are on the rise in California as people locked out of the high-priced housing market or those simply not interested in assuming all the headaches associated with having your name on a deed, search for adequate housing.
I don’t mind renting actually, if you are lucky enough to get a good landlord or landlords as the case may be. The bonus in renting is that if the roof leaks, the toilet gets plugged, or the A/C decides to go south in mid-summer you simply pick up the phone and pass the problem on to someone else. When you own there is no one to turn to but your own pallid reflection in the bathroom mirror as the water level rises on your newly laid luxury plush carpet. We have chosen to pay for a home warranty to help with such emergencies. The warranty covers most of the large appliances in the house as well as major repairs. Ours only covered the septic tank for the first year so I’m sure on day 366 the thing will blow like Old Faithful. My fingers are crossed this will not be the case.
This is the fourth house my name has appeared on. With 37 moves notched on my belt that would leave 33 rentals left behind me in the dust. Luckily for me I never had the “bad landlord experience” as many of my friends have, nor have I ever found myself in the position of collecting rent from someone living in one of my homes. After deciding to sell my third home after my husband passed away, it was suggested I rent rather than sell. Recently I looked up what that home is selling for today. Perhaps I should have listened more closely to that advice. There’s no point in crying about it. I am of the belief there’s little value to be gotten from sweating the stuff you cannot change. Rather than shining a light on past mistakes, I prefer to look forward to the myriad of potholes I’m sure are lurking just beyond the next bend in the road waiting for me to fall into. Life is rarely without ruts in the asphalt else how would we appreciate a smooth stretch of road?
The truth be known I probably wouldn’t have been a good landlord. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt often to the point of questioning my own sanity. If the story is sad enough I’d probably have bitten and would have ended up paying my tenants for the privilege of having them in my house. As I’ve aged and had life experiences my edge has gotten a bit sharper, but still I’m a sucker for a baby, an animal, a tear rolling down a cheek. Sigh. Better I sold than rented taking my sappy side into account.
My son and his family recently sold the home they’ve lived in for the last twelve years. Doing the usual “prettying up” and staging necessary to attract hungry buyers, eighty people showed up the first weekend it was on the market. The price kept going up as three buyers vied for the prize. Really? That house I sold is looking better and better as I write.
Even though stories of our sagging economy continue to surface, when visiting the San Jose area I’m amazed at all the housing developments going up. When you consider the value of the much coveted real estate in that area, somebody must be bringing home a healthy paycheck. They appear to be selling as quickly as they are erected. I heard recently in order to rent a two bedroom apartment in San Francisco proper one must be making a minimum of $44/hour and that most Bay Area residents cough up at least 30% of their incomes to sustain a roof over their heads. Wow.
My parents bought the home I spent my high school years enjoying for $28,000 and change. The house was in a lovely bedroom community and boasted 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a den, large living room and huge Olympic sized pool in it’s fully landscaped yard. Now the hourly wage was much lower at the time but I bet if you compared what you got for your money the yield was far higher than what we’re seeing today. Today you couldn’t get a garage for that price or even a vacant lot in a seedy neighborhood.
It will be interesting to see what the unusual crop of presidential candidates have in mind to improve the economic situation. As I watch the dog and pony show (or donkey and elephant in this case) I keep thinking someone is going to say “just kidding” and the actual candidates are going to appear from behind the curtain. Either that or someone running is going to say something reassuring besides calling the other side a schoolyard name. Sigh.
This salad seems on the face to be an unlikely pairing but is surprisingly a delicious combination.
Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad
4 slices grilled watermelon, large dice
4 diced yellow heirloom tomatoes, seeded
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 large red onion, sliced thin and halved
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro
Grill watermelon over med-high heat on grill until grill marks appear. Cube and mix with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hr. before tossing with dressing.
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together dressing ingredients Refrigerate 1 hr. to marry flavors. Mix together Salad ingredients and toss with as much dressing as desired. Refrigerate extra dressing (makes a nice marinate for chicken).