Labor of Love

When I bought the house in Nevada City in 1996, I was a single mom with two little boys. The front garden, put in by the previous owners, was a tangle of junipers and a few strategically placed flowers. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either, so I hired a landscape company to maintain it and adopted a what-the-heck-it’s-green attitude.

And then I met Joseph, and everything changed.

Joseph is known throughout our neighborhood as being the best thing that ever happened to our garden. He yanked out the junipers, put in a small lawn, built walls and terraces, and planted masses of flowers and shrubs. Areas that were previously designated as Mother Nature’s raw goods became part of the landscape. It was like the part in “The Wizard of Oz” where everything goes from black and white to color.

Now, with the arrival of spring, his hard work pays off in abundance.

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Marco and Me

There’s something about this photo that I love. It was taken outdoors…in the dark…with a cell-phone camera. My husband accidentally hit the zoom button as he was trying to take a full-length shot…hence the cropped faces. But Marco’s cheek against my temple…our smiles…the tangible connection between us…those things resonate for me.

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Kim Vo Salon

Last Thursday was the grand opening of Kim Vo’s newest salon in the Montage in Laguna Beach, and the party was magnificent. The poolside setting with a backdrop of the ocean was nothing short of sublime. The bar featured drinks with names like VoTini and NuVo, and hors d’oeuvres included vegetable salad rolls with hoisin dipping sauce, raw ahi in savory little cones, crab lollipops, and skewered fruit with mint syrup.

The only thing I would have changed: the fact that I have devil eyes in this photo with Russell and Kim.

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The Beauty of Serendipity

Yesterday, while I was wandering through the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, a woman stopped me to compliment me on the necklace I was wearing. “I’ve seen you three times,” she said, “and I finally had to say something.”

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I told her that the necklace is from Paris–one of those great, inexpensive finds that generates more compliments than my diamond jewelry. With that, she looked down at my hand and said, “Oh my God! Look at our rings!” We were wearing nearly identical diamond rings. “Van Craeynest?” I asked, referring to a local jewelry designer. “Yes!” she replied enthusiastically.

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At that point, I felt a very real connection to her…as if our taste in jewelry reflected a bond that existed at a deeper level. When we said good-bye, I walked away with the feeling that I had just bumped into an old friend.

Yep…It’s spring.

To some, the appearance of daffodils marks the onset of spring. To others, it’s the soft green buds on the trees. To still others, it’s the temperature gauge consistently hitting at or above 60 degrees. To me, spring is heralded by the blossoms that appear on the flowering cherry tree in our front yard.

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Year after year, I can count on it to blossom in time for Easter. It doesn’t remain in full bloom for very long, but even as its majesty is dwindling, it delivers a swan song of petals that blanket the ground like pink snow.