For the Love of Teenagers

The following is the talk I gave at last week’s Landscape Architecture Foundation Symposium in Washington, D.C. You can view the recorded talk here. During fifteen years working and living in Los Angeles I’ve visited, studied, and helped to design landscapes for at least two dozen LA Unified School District public schools. For twelve years, […]

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Re-Nesting

Love grows best in little houses, so the song says. After seven years in a little house, I think it true. With three children and a one-time partner and his child in and out of my tiny two-bedroom house, my home has seen myriad living arrangements. With only me and one of my kids still at home, […]

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Pterodactyl on My Back

I’m trying to get the pterodactyl off my back. You’ve heard of the butterfly effect … the pterodactyl is no less intertwined into every choice we make. With the Dakota Access Pipeline injustice, fear of fracking-related earthquake, and a general repulsion for war, I’m making a bigger effort to wash my hands of oil and its […]

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On Weed(s) and Teens

  We pulled them out. The unwanted weeds. Brought by wind and in free city mulch. From who knows were. They took up residence in the pavement cracks and the bare dirt, and the gravel. We deemed them undesirable. Despite their wild beauty. Despite their many (medicinal and edible and material) uses. Germinated by winter […]

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Reframing Lawn: From Fallow to Bygone

The fourth Drought and Beauty series lecture was last Friday, organized by the landscape architecture departments of Cal Poly Pomona, USC, and UCLA. Eleven of us gave quick, pecha kucha format presentations, followed by a brief response from two local writers. I chose to tell the story of one reason I work in landscape architecture: my […]

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A Search for A Place

Twenty-two years ago, I had just married, was graduating college, and on a search for a place to live. I imagined myself settling into family life and raising children in one place, wherever that place might be. Instead, I moved through six communities as I raised three children, went back to school, divorced and began […]

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Setting Roots

In honor of the five year anniversary of buying my house … Excerpt from Making Home: from the Sticks to LaLa-Land Once the wake of my divorce began smoothing out around me, I felt the need to anchor myself. I wanted to settle down. I wanted a home of my own. It had been five years […]

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Rain and Teenagers in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Deluge Part One You’ve probably heard, or been in, the rain this weekend. After months of no rain, we’ve had a deluge in Los Angeles. In a record low rainfall year – the last I heard was 3″ – we got that much in a 48-hour period. For Southern California, that’s a big […]

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The Nature of a School Landscape

Think back to your childhood school … what is the first image that pops into your head? I have two distinct memories of elementary school.​ One is of me swinging next to Katie Coffee on the big metal swing set the day after Jimmy Carter was elected President.​ The other is of a big maple […]

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