Where’s Maggi?

Can you guess who might have rowed ashore in this vessel? That would be a hint as to the title of this sculpture. But, do you know where it is? 

Maggi thinks maybe a few people have seen it.   

If you know this mystery spot, submit your answer to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The photo quiz will be solved in the next issue, and we’ll let you know the winners.

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Poignant, amusing and powerful, Beach Reads delivers the goods with Lost and Found anthology


With this second edition of Beach Reads, subtitled Lost and Found – the second such publication from Laguna’s Third Street Writers – the anthology reaches its stride as a literary journal. 

A compilation of 46 photographs, poems and short fiction, the book is true to its name – easy to read, but compelling enough so that the beach reader is likely to forget about pesky sand grains potentially dotting its pages.

Standouts for me were Barbara DeMarco Barrett’s amusing yet poignant depiction of her relationship with her mother in Images of my Mother (and the photograph that accompanies the piece); I was impressed also with the depth of another mother-daughter memory, Front of the Line, by Jean Hastings Ardell.

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It took me a while to turn the page after reading the stunning poem, What Was Lost in the Desert Heat, by Joseph S. Pete. I needed time to deal with the emotion called forth by this spare, simple, powerful evocation of the damage that war causes. Only then could I move on.

Other favorites included FOA exhibitor Jennifer Griffiths’ photographs, particularly After the Theatre, Hello, and The Last Old Gas Station, all strikingly strong images. Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s After the Wedding is beautifully composed and thoroughly on theme.

Christine Fugate’s short fiction Broken Fences, set in Australia, reminds us of the randomness of life and how easily decisions can be derailed by events beyond our control. 

And yet, in the moment of loss, often a new discovery is made, as Rina Palumbo, one of the editors and a contributor, reminds us in her introduction: “Liminality, the tipping point, occupies two spaces at once. It is both the beginning and the completion of a transition into something new…” she writes.

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Photo by Jody Tiongco

Third Street Writers bond over words

Amy Francis Dechary’s wit, voice and panache with prose are evident in the first sentence of her short story Plenty of Storms, set in Florida. The story begins: I always thought that some hot young thing would come between me and Earl, but I’d of put money on that redhead over at Circle K, not this bitch of a hurricane.

In his two photos, Dennis Piszkiewicz also succeeds in reflecting the universal theme of loss, one of which, Selfie in a Silver Sphere, depicts the 911 memorial whose mirrored design intentionally draws the viewer into the tragedy’s scope. The other photograph, Circles in the Sand, presents an image reminiscent of orbiting planets, eternal spheres here drawn on the ephemeral canvas that is the beach.

The variety of voices present in the anthology is refreshing, and the locations, from Iraq to New York City to our own shores, are pleasingly varied. 

I wish I had space to mention more contributions, but these were the ones that most affected me. I do have to mention Sande Roberts’ sweet photo of a young boy on the beach, entitled Look What I Found – a photo that will make all parents smile (as well as aunts and uncles – and especially grandparents).

The brevity of the contributions is proof that fun, profundity and fundamental truths happily co-exist in anthology of this kind – and that spending a day at the beach with a book can be extremely satisfying, sand be damned.

A reader offers additional tips to keep you safe when the earth shakes and quakes

Here are some more great tips from a Stu News reader Stephanie Masaki-Schatz as we contemplate what it might be like to go through a much more serious earthquake than the one that gave us a bit of a shake earlier this week… 

Quake sweep your bedroom (and those of your loved ones) to mitigate earthquake damage and optimize personal safety – for example, locate your bed away from a place directly beneath any windows/overhead bookcases, or artwork above beds. Secure any heavy furniture especially bookcases with quake braces.

San Andreas Fault

Keep hard-soled, toe-covered shoes beneath your bed to avoid cutting your feet from broken glass or debris.

Have a plan when the earth starts to “shake, rattle and roll” and what to do after then initial shaking stops. Make sure your family especially young children know to what to do – normally it’s best if they shelter-in-place (remain in their beds) and cover their heads/eyes with their pillow and hands until parents get to them, which might not be immediate.

And most of all, remember to use round-the-clock thinking when formulating your Earthquake Plan. Earthquakes occur with little or no warning and are notorious for not respecting the confines of normal business hours. 

EQ preparedness can be done in a non-threatening way and can take the“ disaster” out of emergency response and recovery for other types of single-incident or small-scale incidents.

See also Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jordan Villwock’s advice…

From “magnifique jardin” to gorgeous jumble to wonder & whimsy: A spectacular Gate & Garden Tour


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Gate and Garden Tour was, as always, a spectacular success last Friday.  Dozens and dozens of women (I’d say 90 percent were women) gathered at Arabella to bid on auction items and enjoy margaritas before setting off to explore the 10 gardens on display in South Laguna.

Each garden had its own unique vibe.

Garden number one had Dianne and I exclaiming, “Wow, this would be such a great place to entertain!” – though the sophistication of the garden seemed to suggest a gourmet dinner or wedding party rather than the usual hot-dog-and-burger bash or potluck we host at our homes. 

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Pretty as a picture: Plein air artist captures the beauty of Chateau Charles

We read the description of the home in the Garden Club’s beautifully illustrated and written program: this was “Chateau Charles,” a French Provincial home, with the garden created by horticulturalist Ruben Flores. 

The preponderance of words such as cul-de-sac, parterres, and tete-a-tete in the description confirmed the accuracy of our first impressions of horticultural haute. 

Magnifique jardin!

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A festive Mardi Gras atmosphere attended the tour

We wandered down the hill toward garden number two, where we were greeted by a totem pole, and then guided along a path overlooking a gorgeous jumble of native vegetation amid succulents and fruit trees. 

Stepping mountain-goat-like along the ridge, we exclaimed at the imagination and initiative that went into transforming this steep lot into a magical mélange of trees, shrubs and flowering plants – a gardener’s version of Where the Wild Things Are.

“My dog would love this,” Dianne said.

Garden number three was photographer Mary Hurlbut’s favorite, described accurately in the program as a vale. Rich in butterflies, bees, and beautiful paths, it also featured a gazebo and shaded sitting areas – plus a playhouse and areas dedicated to the making of mud pies.

“Grandkids would love this,” Dianne said.

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Kids and grandkids (and Mary) love this sprawling, colorful garden

With ten gardens to visit, inevitably we had favorites. Mine was the tiny enclave entitled Wonder & Whimsy (number six). I don’t like clutter, but I do like tchotchkes as reminders of trips and occasions – which is always a challenge when trying to find places in my home for the items I gather along the way, with several ending up in the gloom of a closet – but here was the answer: invest in tchotchkes that look great in the garden among vines and potted plants and hanging in a hedge. 

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Birdhouses and tchotchkes of all kinds made for a magical mix in a tiny yard

Shaded areas provide nooks to read, meditate or simply contemplate the gorgeous grotesquery of gargoyles as well as creatures made of stone and shells and wood among the foliage. 

 “I would love this,” I said to Dianne. Already I’m thinking of additions to my yard, currently occupied only by an ironic gnome and a large wooden warthog.

Another of the gardens boasted a green swath of lawn that looked ideal for croquet (preferably with flamingoes, if you’re an Alice Through the Looking Glass fan) – presided over by a tree with fat yellow lemons that seemed ready to burst. 

Then there was the “controlled chaos” of garden number five, a diverse collection of fruit trees and edible plants; the colorful aromatic cottage garden number seven, and so much more.

The creativity and charm of the nine private gardens, and the joyful colors of the communal South Community Garden Park, made for a delightful morning wandering the eclectic avenues and tree-lined streets, and stepping into magical hidden places redolent with the scent of flowers and fruit.

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Colorful cactus and succulents

“I love this event,” Dianne and I said in unison as we stepped on the bus that would ferry us back to Arabella.

The Garden Club is right to be very proud of its annual well-organized, magical mystery tour. And now, I’m sure, the planning has already begun for next year.

View sea lions and sketch a spectacular squid at Pacific Marine Mammal Center on Saturday, May 12

LOCA Arts Education is offering an Art and Sea Lions workshop on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. at Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Families, groups, and beginners are invited. 

The morning includes a docent-led viewing of live sea lions, a presentation on the rescue and rehabilitation work of the center, and a fun, step-by-step oil pastels class with published illustrator September McGee. 

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Submitted by LOCA

Participants will sketch a squid on Saturday, May 12 at PMMC

Participants will learn to lay, scrape, and layer colors as they finish a fabulous squid, the sea lion’s favorite food.

McGee is a self-taught artist who hails from Laguna Beach and is a central figure in American Impressionist art. 

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Submitted by LOCA

Oil Pastels Class with September McGee

The cost is $20 for adults, and $15 for children ages six and up with a paid adult. Free on-site parking is included. 

Advance registration is required. Visit the calendar at www.LOCAarts.org or call (949) 363-4700 to register.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, one block north of the Laguna Beach Dog Park.

For more information about PMMC, go to www.pacificmmc.org.

Summer Musical Theatre Camp for kids is offered by No Square Theatre

This summer, kids from ages 5 - 18 will have an opportunity for a fun-filled camp at No Square Theatre. The theatre education for kids, Square Roots, includes classes, rehearsals, camp activities, and goodie days while they prepare for the final culmination: a fully staged Broadway style performance on August 4 and 5.

The summer camp is for young people who love to sing, dance and act in a positive and nurturing environment, and is split by age group (ages 5 - 8, 9 - 13, and 14 - 18). Camp runs Monday - Friday, from July 23 - August 3. 

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Summer musical theatre camp at No Square, July 23 – August 3

Directed by Ella Wyatt and with music directed by David Jayden Anthony, the summer program will be held at the No Square Theatre, located in historic Legion Hall.

Camp registration is open now at www.nosquare.org/square-roots-summer-camp.html.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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