Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another Neighborhood Stroll

My husband and I have been spending a lot of time at my mother-in-law's home of late.  What started as a respiratory ailment became something far more serious.  She's been in and out of the hospital but she's now home under hospice care.  My wonderful sister-in-law, an experienced RN and social worker, is supervising her care.  The house has been full of people, both friends and family.  Neighbors have left cards and flowers at the door.  Love fills the house but I still can't stop crying.

We've tried to keep the bird feeders in the back garden filled to keep the yard alive with birdsong.  The greedy things seem to empty the feeders overnight, running through the supply my mother-in-law had on hand.  I'm bringing seed from my own supply with me today.

Goldfinches and house finches at the Nyger seed feeder

My husband's cousin and I took a stroll around the surrounding neighborhood yesterday to stretch our legs and clear our heads.  I've always liked the area with its spacious family homes and well-manicured yards; however, it's changed quite a bit since my in-laws moved there in the 90s after their home in Malibu burned down during one of that region's periodic firestorms.  Many of the homes along one adjoining block have been mansionized, leaving smaller front yards.

One of the more traditional homes still left in the neighborhood
Traditional house with front entrance shielded by birch trees

Another traditional home, updated with more current landscaping

One of the mansionized homes, still in a traditional style

Another mansionized home

A few homeowners have given up on the traditional style of the older homes entirely, replacing them with modern style constructions.  Some of these fit into the neighborhood better than others.

This house left me cold

This one, right next door, came off better with the addition of brick on the facade and a more welcoming landscape

I thought some of the smaller-scale modern renovations on another block came off better than the mansion-sized versions.

Simple and attractive

Updated elements and landscaping made a relatively traditional house look new

2nd view of the house above

This homeowner used new fencing and drought-tolerant plants to update the house but the Pittosporum tenuifolium overwhelms the house a bit

Walk-abouts provide a diversion, even if they don't change anything.  On the positive side, I'm grateful I married into a family composed of so many wonderful people, I'm grateful that my mother-in-law has such caring friends, and I'm grateful that I too have the support of great friends.


  1. There are many fabulous houses in the neighbohood, I loved seeing the different approaches to updating as the homes around here are largely left as is.

    So sorry about your mother in-law.

  2. I'm so very sorry about your mother-in-law. :(

  3. And birds in the garden, just make it all the more beautiful!

  4. I am so glad you have a great sister-in-law who can supervise the care your mother-in-law is receiving. It's wonderful to have the support of family and friends and nature, too. I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts as I go through a similar situation. Walk-abouts or just getting outside or watching the birds are all helpful in grounding us as we walk through difficult and so sad situations.

    Barbara H.

  5. First your mother and now your mother-in-law-sorry you've had a few more curve balls tossed at you lately than what seems fair. As you so clearly illustrate here, to enjoy the little things in every day is the right approach.

  6. So sorry about your Mother-In-Law :-( I think you're spot-on in your observations of the homes...especially the updated ones. Some of them definitely work better than others...especially the smaller-scale ones...but the really large ones seem oppressive and/or clumsy.