And the food-bearing trees...

Laying out photos and text in blogger is ridiculously unwieldy and frustrating. The preview is not a true preview. It just really seems like the smart people working on this should be able to make this work better. Anyway, the trees pictures below (or wherever they end up!) are walnut, probably a plum, tangerine and almond (next to each other in the same photo), pomegranate (plus another photo of a pomegranate blossom cuz they're so pretty), and a fig (with Justin and his parents in the picture). Those trees are all in the backyard (well, really it's a sideyard). There are also small lemon and lime trees (one of each) in the front yard, both with fruit on them, but I forgot to get pix of them.

Been through the ringer, ready to hang out in the sun

An emotional month so far:

UP. Tuesday, November 4 brought great joy and pride as Barack Hussein Obama was elected president of this sometimes inspiring but all too often disappointing nation. What an amazing night! It's still almost impossible to talk about. The next day on my way to work--walking to the station, riding the train, walking to my school--I nearly cried several times, just thinking about what it means to have this man and his beautiful family in the White House. Actually I got choked up on election day on that walk as I passed three polling places along my route. I counted a dozen people lined up waiting for the 7 a.m. opening time at each of the first two polling stations, then two dozen at the third, which I passed just as they were beginning to open. A young woman posed for a picture in front of the "polling place" sign, probably her first time voting. Never, ever have I seen anything like this before. No politician in my lifetime has generated so much good will, so much interest among non-voters, so much volunteerism. I am just incredibly happy about this.

DOWN. Unfortunately, the good news on Tuesday night was tinged with shameful news: a majority of voters in my home state of California actually voted to amend the state constitution to limit the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. It is one of the meanest-spirited items I've ever seen on a ballot, and I'm ashamed that the people of my state would embrace that. Incidentally, it also seems ridiculous that a simple majority of voters can change the state constitution, especially in the direction of taking away rights that are already there or implied. Fortunately there are lots of smart people already looking at every angle of this, and I'm optimistic that it will be overturned somehow. Meanwhile, I want to scream and shake people when I hear anyone say "traditional marriage," as if there were one tradition and that tradition was pure and good.

DOWN. Tuesday, November 11: A popular senior at my high school died unexpectedly in his sleep. My school is small, with less than 400 students, and this young man had been there for 4 years. He was one of those people who was friends with all types of people, a positive life presence who touched everyone who knew him. Naturally, his death has had a huge impact on our school. If you are interested in reading more about him and seeing some of the beautiful tributes from the students, check out our school blog here. Although I didn't know the student, I was affected by seeing the grief of the other students, including some of my own. These are kids from tough neighborhoods who have seen tragedy and unexpected loss before, so to see their raw sorrow was heart-breaking.

UP. Today, Monday November 17: Our offer on a house was accepted, and we are now in the escrow stage! We have inspectors coming tomorrow. If all goes according to plan, we should close in about a month. I'll post photos after tomorrow.

Take care of yourselves, my good people.