I want to get one thing straight. I am a born and bred city person. My family has lived in San Francisco since the Gold Rush. I grew up there playing kick-the-can among parked cars and riding my bike through city traffic when the only helmets we wore was our helmet sprayed hair.
When I was 21 I moved to LA to be on the radio, do cartoon voices, commercials, film dubbing, and ultimately became a screenwriter. That was an even bigger city, and my first boss at KMPC had his assistant take me out on the freeway for a cruise the day I arrived.
"Jane, show her her future public!" he said. Within minutes of the endless loops on raised concrete, I was terrified. This was not a city I could wrap my brain around. For one thing, I couldn't find the city. There were endless cities. But, I coped and thrived and enjoyed living in LA. There is something about mastering a great place, finding its' hidden corners and secret sweet spots that gives one the feeling of power, or maybe it's just delusion. Either way, I learned to drive in LA and navigate without getting lost.
Then we started spending time in Sonoma. My parents bought a house there and Alan and I followed them. For years we divided our time between the two. Since we are writers and work out of our house, we can do that. A few years ago we decided to move the main base of operations out of LA and up to Sonoma. We are in Los Angeles for business meetings, but Sonoma became home.
It's always an adjustment moving to a small rural community. For one thing one cannot flip people off in traffic (what there is of it) with impunity. Since one will likely see the flippee several times during the course of the same day, there is plenty of opportunity for revenge and if one is new in town and visiting a new dentist say (it can happen) the flippee might be the one giving the flipper Novocaine. Awkward. Also one learns that the Plaza Ducks have the right of way and when shopping in a boutique one might wind up sharing a dressing room with an errant chicken. Yes, it's happened to me. These are experiences one cannot have in SF or LA.
Sonoma is the heart of America's Wine Country. We're next county over to that Other Place we will not name (the Voldemort of Wine.) Yes, Napa, we mean you. Sonoma resembles Tuscany in appearance and produce, so if one is cooking Italian or any Mediterranean food, it's a giant shopping basket. If one is cooking Indian cuisine however, it's not so easy. I can't just run out and find bitter melon or curry leaves blocks from my house as in LA. But all of that is forgotten once our Tuesday Night Farmers Market season starts as it did last week.
On Tuesday evenings in Sonoma from May to October, the whole town turns out to party on The Plaza lawn. Sonomans of all ages gather at the Magic Hour.
|Paula Wolfert gives me advice on what looks good locally.|
Readers Books where Paula is introducing the evenings speaker,
Quiet Corners of Rome.
Video above courtesy of the Sonoma Patch