This is not a problem I ever thought I'd have. See this garbage can here, the one on top of a stool? I've had that can since forever, even remember buying it off that big wall at Bed Bath and Beyond. Please understand, we are not kitchen-garbage-under-the-sink type people. We are get-the-biggest-can-they-sell-take-trash-out-once-a-week type people.

That's until we had a toddler in the house. One who likes to put her toys in there. Sigh... alphabet magnets, crayons, even her beloved matching squares from Petit Collage! We've had two matching zebra casualties. None more sad than myself.

It's time for a new solution, one of the smaller-can-inside-a-cabinet variety. Oh children, they bring such sacrifice! To the left of the fridge I have a 24" pantry, where we currently hide recycling, and I imagine it will go there. I still need to find the perfect can and I hate everything I see. So until a solution manifests itself, this workhorse shall remain perched on the stool, out of reach of grabby hands.

BTW, this photo causes me anxiety for the following reasons:

1. there is still no trim around the doors or floors in our kitchen
2. all doors in the hallway have yet to be painted
3. all doors in the hallway desperately need new knobs
4. poor placement of the knobs on our pantry has given our over-priced refrigerator dimples
5. oh yeah, forgot to add quarter round to the toekick



Isn't it nice when someone else does all the work? AND foots the bill?

One fine afternoon a teenage girl knocked on my door. I was already shaking my head and offering up my "no thanks yous" to whatever she was selling when she handed me a flier. A flier with the promise of a free tree. And not only a free tree, but also the cutting and removal of concrete in my front planting strip. And not only a free tree, but the planting of said tree and filling in with nice soil. And not only a free tree, but the tree of my choice.

She was an angel to me.

Eagerly I took her flier and that very night filled it out and dropped it in the mail. Then I waited. What followed was a few months of email back and forth and notes dropped in my mailbox because I wasn't home, or didn't hear the bell because oops, dead batteries. We'd come home from Gymboree or where ever to find the sidewalk had been spray painted, a rainbow of utility graffiti that I didn't mind at all. Then one sunny Saturday two guys showed up with a saw. Right at nap time of course, but I wasn't about to turn them away.

The cutting and jackhammering took about an hour and my little trooper slept right through it. Side note: best. baby. ever. Then a few days later someone gathered up the concrete rubble. And a few days after that, a tree was planted.

I chose a Trident Maple number one, because I can't wait to see the leaves turn bright red next fall. It's a medium-size tree that promises a long life, privacy from the apartment complex across the way, and not to tear up the sidewalk. I also like that it's branches seem to grow up instead of out. Because getting a toddler in and out of the back seat of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee with branches in your face is no picnic.

So I thank you Northern Alameda County Group of the Sierra Club. And thank you to Arthur Boone, your man in the field. I mailed a little donation, because of karma and all that. And I can't express my gratitude enough. This tree-planting program is amazing, especially for our little neck of Oakland in the midst of its revival.

She may not be much to look at now, but this tree won the adoption lottery. Once it settles in a bit I can't wait to plant and mulch around it, finally bringing some color to our front yard. It's a manageable little space versus the enormity of the projects behind it. Grow! Grow! Grow!



And then life happens, and everything changes.

What was huge, is suddenly small, replaced by something even more gigantic. You forget to shower, you forget you had a blog.

It's altogether refreshing, exhausting, thrilling, frightening, paralyzing, amazing.

Our thing? It wasn't the house. Her name is Thora. She is a sprite and she has taken over. 

Not that we don't still have a house. Not that it isn't still bursting with projects. We do! It is! Some major checklist items got done right-quick in order to have a safe and functioning home for Thora - mainly the kitchen. I'm looking forward to updating this little blog with where we are now. Of course, there is still so much more to do, but we are on a different timeline. Projects are done in bits and pieces. (One Christmas I painted just a corner of baseboard in order to put a tree in front of it.) As everything, Thora is the driver. So is her nap schedule.