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Author Archive for Ann Christoph

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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 […]

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The essence of days of yore

The essence of days of yore

The holidays are associated with that Norman Rockwellian image of our country, where families are warm, loving and together; and where everyone lives in one of those villages with the clustered cottages, quaint stores, and lights in the windows; a community with that small-town feel.  A place where you can walk to “town,” where you […]

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Village Matters: Savoring a Mother’s Kitchen

Village Matters: Savoring a Mother’s Kitchen

It was a “Leave it to Beaver” kitchen, Mexican style. Simple stained and varnished plywood cabinets, well-loved and clean. They had the original 1960s slim copper handles with the tapered ends. These and the matching hinges were polished bright. Aqua tiles and the aqua walls and ceiling added intense color, the Mexican touch. Ruffled cherry […]

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Village Matters: The Gift of Surprises

Village Matters: The Gift of Surprises

I had just washed my hair and was at the beginning stages of getting ready to go to work when the phone rang, “Channel 9 is down at the garden. They’re going to do a news story on saving it!” After a quick blow-dry, off I went to check it out.  Yes, indeed there was […]

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Village Matters: Turtle Consommé? Or not.

Village Matters: Turtle Consommé? Or not.

Do we need the holidays to understand our world and our life? We usually get a healthy dose of new perspectives. This year I return home with these: the details we stew over in our day to day lives are not all that important to most people; we confront recurring themes and conflicts; and we […]

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Village Matters

Village Matters

Undecided on Laguna How must Mitt Romney and his family feel, having fought so hard for so long?  Out there day after day, setting everything else aside, in the spotlight, pushing for his point of view. Now he and millions of supporters are terribly disappointed. That story repeats all across the country as everyone settles […]

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Village Matters: Down to simple questions

Village Matters: Down to simple questions

Life lessons seem to be highlighted at every turn. Last weekend I saw the real faces from our high school yearbook, some I hadn’t seen in 50 years. Yes, it was Alfredo’s 50th high school reunion, and since I was a year behind at the same school, I at one time knew all of the […]

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Village Matters: Not only good, but exceptional

Village Matters: Not only good, but exceptional

Saving open space in Laguna with Measure CC is not only a good idea, it shows exceptional leadership, not only here in town, but statewide. “Why don’t people get involved? There is so much they can do if they would only take some initiative!”  This is the refrain I heard in landscape architecture graduate school […]

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Village Matters: Keeping the Gleam on Goodness

Village Matters: Keeping the Gleam on Goodness

There on the deck of Brock and Marci Lyster’s new Lamont Langworthy house a woman stood next to the sinuous iron railings.  She recognized me, yet it took a moment and an explanation from her before I could reciprocate. Ginny Worthington, who I knew because of her devotion to the Hortense Miller Garden, had changed […]

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Village Matters: Nudging Toward a Miracle

Village Matters: Nudging Toward a Miracle

Sometimes things are meant to be and they fall into place just right.  Sometimes they are meant to be and they need a serious nudging.  A lot of what we are involved in seems to be in the latter category, but after the nudging is over and everything falls into place it still seems like […]

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Village Matters: Harvesting an Unexpected Crop

Village Matters: Harvesting an Unexpected Crop

It’s been three years now since we started the South Laguna Community Garden.  The project has grown from what could have been just a little neighborhood improvement project to a focus of community activity, creating surprising benefits. On Aug. 15, 200, we met to clean the vacant lot of weeds and debris.  That was the […]