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Author Archive for Ann Christoph

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Village Matters: Why aren’t we the happiest place?

Village Matters: Why aren’t we the happiest place?

  We’re not even in the top 14 happiest places nationwide, according to a University of Vermont study that correlated cities across the country with the numbers of positive and negative words in millions of tweets. San Clemente is among California’s seven happiest cities, but not Laguna Beach.  What does San Clemente have that we […]

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Village Matters: Is There Magic?

Village Matters: Is There Magic?

I dreaded the prospect of getting married, walking down that aisle. What if that man waiting for me at the altar was the wrong one?  “How will I know when I’ve met ‘the one,’ the person I’m destined to spend a lifetime with?” “You’ll know, you will feel the magic…” came the answer from those […]

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Village Matters: Exercising Freedom

Village Matters: Exercising Freedom

Were the famous founding fathers who wrote and voted for the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate this week just like some of the leaders of our home-created organizations? It’s hard to imagine but in the 1770s there were only 2.5 million people in the whole country—then the 13 original colonies. Similarly, Orange County today […]

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Village Matters: Colony Collapse?

Village Matters: Colony Collapse?

Beekeeper Charlotte Bell “Shared the Buzz on Bees” at the South Laguna Community Garden Park on Saturday. As our local bees buzzed happily on the intense yellow pollen amid the white crepe paper-like flowers of the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri), we learned of the importance of bees to our economy and well-being.  Bell explained that […]

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Village Matters #218: Treasuring a Hometown Feeling

Village Matters #218: Treasuring a Hometown Feeling

Walk into a room crowded with partiers chatting animatedly. Glasses are raised. Hors d’oeuvres on tiny plates are being balanced. There are conversations that are hard to break into. But there are those faces I recognize and I know that with them there will always be a warm reception. Jim and Jan Hall of Temple […]

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Village Matters: Don’t Ask How Much

Village Matters: Don’t Ask How Much

My first remembrance of Arnold Hano is of standing in the kitchen of the Lamont Langworthy-designed house he and Bonnie had built in Bluebird Canyon.  It was the mid-1970s and Fred Lang was advising on the Hanos’ landscaping. I was tagging along, taking notes. I knew from Fred’s tone on the way up to the […]

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Village Matters: They’re Disposable

Village Matters: They’re Disposable

Ours is a town of causes and we’re often asked to contribute, sometimes by buying a chance on a raffle.  This time my friend won a three-day stay in a cabin in Big Bear Lake and invited me and two other women to enjoy this mountain get-away. Quiet in this off-season after the snow and […]

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Village Matters: Match.com for Houses

Village Matters: Match.com for Houses

Who was Nina Koshetz?  This world-famous Russian opera singer performed leading operatic roles in Russia and throughout Europe, and gave concerts accompanied by Rachmaninoff, her lover for a time.  Her dramatic escape from Russia included hiding jewels in her daughter’s diapers. In the United States in 1920 she built a new career that included performances […]

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Village Matters: The kids are not all right

Village Matters: The kids are not all right

Growing up in a Victorian farmhouse was not as romantic as one might think.  For one thing there was only one bathroom and it was near the back door in the former “wash room.” In the days when the outhouse was the standard for toiletry this room accommodated the basin and pitcher for indoor cleanliness.  […]

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Village Matters: Window Racket

Village Matters: Window Racket

There was some racket at last week’s Heritage Committee meeting in the council chambers.  Historical consultant Jan Ostashay spoke to a roomful of residents concerned about the status of their properties that have been on the city’s heritage structures inventory since a historical survey in 1981. Ostashay has been hired by the city to update […]

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Village Matters: Old Times, New Generation

Village Matters: Old Times, New Generation

“It’s all part of the trainee program.”  That was the phrase that has lingered as I think of that summer day on our farm in Wisconsin, the day the powers-that-be decided to butcher my whole flock of chickens.  There were 30 birds, not that many compared to Foster Farms, but still we had a little […]

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Village Matters: Cultivating Community

Village Matters: Cultivating Community

Barbra Streisand’s lilting nostalgic song at the Oscars Sunday night brought back not only the first time I saw that movie “The Way We Were,” but memories of how I was then in 1973. An aspiring landscape architect working for Fred Lang, with who knows which boyfriend, engrossed in saving the South Laguna hills from […]

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Village Matters: Nix the Negative Trailer

Village Matters: Nix the Negative Trailer

My dad was a member of the Optimists Club because he really needed it.  Sometimes he just couldn’t resist putting a negative spin on things, “Those are really nice new shoes you have, much better than the ones you usually wear,” is a “compliment” that sticks in my mind. But my dad’s not the only […]

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Village Matters: Reaching Out With Maestro

Village Matters: Reaching Out With Maestro

We were desperate for new cats. In November of 2002 our two cats died of cancer within weeks of each other.  For a while we were just in shock and in our grief couldn’t think of any other cats. Then there was the holiday season. Finally we went on a search.  At the end we […]

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Village Matters: Not Always a Downward Slide

Village Matters: Not Always a Downward Slide

Last week I had to hunt in the depths of my drawers and closet looking for my ballet outfit and shoes. There they were under piles of department store bags and exercise clothes from yoga and water aerobics. Although quite stiff, the slippers still fit. I could even get into the leotards despite disappointing silhouettes […]