31 Days of 5 Minute Prompts: Day Thirty — REFINE


This valley is where I spent about 8 of the early years of my life. In some ways, it was a refining place. Although I loved living near to my cousins and my grandparents, I never really felt at home in the San Fernando Valley. When I was twelve, we moved to Glendale, which was in a neighboring valley, this one named San Gabriel. THAT place felt like home to me.

The houses were older, the trees were bigger, the stores more classic. There were building regulations in the San Gabriel Valley, almost none in the San Fernando. So strip malls proliferated, sidewalks were scattered, housing was usually tract upon tract. Maybe you could say that living in the San Fernando Valley refined some of my values? Now, at this point in my life, I am living in a tract! But it’s a more interesting one than those that surrounded me as I grew up. Built about 1950, the houses vary widely and offer stunning views over city and shore.

In the valley of my younger years, the views were non-existent, as most often the sky was shrouded with smog. That got better with time. And the building regulators got to work so things are easier to look at now than they were in the early 50s, when we lived there. And the newer valleys, the ones further west? Like Simi, Santa Clarita and Westlake? They are LOVELY — and tract housing has taken on a whole new meaning. 

I still love old homes, however. And value the long growth of trees.

Get a personal letter from Diana twice a month

Sign up for *More Wondering. . . * a monthly personal letter from Diana to you, available only to email subscribers. As thanks, receive a copy of Diana's new ebook,30 Ways of Aging Gracefully.

powered by TinyLetter

To receive blog posts in your inbox, sign up below.


  1. I, too, love older homes, and I adore living among the trees of our forest. I can just step onto our deck, and God’s presence is everywhere.
    Blessings, Diana! Just one more day to go!

    • We don’t live in a forest, but a stand of trees (including some old ones) separates our block from the block behind us. We, too, have a deck, and you are so right: “Just step onto the deck and God’s presence is everywhere.” I love it! And it’s such fun to discover the things we have in common with those we meet among the blogs!

  2. Elaine Reed says

    I grew up on a farm in northeast Kansas with its rolling hills, deep brown soil, green and yellow crops. But every two years we visited
    my grandparents in CA in the east San Gabriel Valley near the mountains. One of my memories is the California “smell” . There were the orange groves, and flowers of course, but I later realized part of that distinctive smell was smog. lol When I moved out here later to attend college, the smog was much worse. At times it gave me headaches and made breathing uncomfortable. But in the winter when it was clear, I loved to walk across campus and see the snow on the moountains, remembering the Psalm …”I will lift up my eyes to the hills”.

    • And you stayed, right? Did you go to Upland College? My husband went to high school there but then went to UCLA which is where we met. And winter is often beautiful in southern CA!

  3. I, too, love old homes. They’re the ones with the charm. I also love old trees, sturdy and stately, with long, graceful branches reaching heavenward. M-m-m. Makes me think of older PEOPLE. (Was that your intention?!) They, too, can possess great charm, exude sturdiness, and demonstrate a grace-filled, heavenward attitude. Worthy goals as the birthdays tally up!