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We have had a delightful summer here in the little village of Lodi. The temperatures have been uncharacteristically mild.

Usually, by mid-August, we have endured many days when the temperature has soared past 100 degrees, with the average being in the mid to upper 90’s. Air conditioners chugging throughout the neighborhood, there can sometimes be several consecutive nights when the soothing Delta breezes are absent and the house must remain sealed shut in order to maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature.

But we are fortunate that, on most evenings, that refreshingly cool air does waft inland from the Delta, and we enjoy a soft breeze than enables us to turn off the air conditioner and throw open the doors and windows. Because our evening temperatures are generally mild, we are able to spend time outdoors before retiring.  Once the temperature drops, folks come out of their houses and on every street you will encounter your neighbors walking their dogs, riding bikes with their children, puttering in their yards or perhaps sitting on their front step or porch, hoping someone will stop by and chat.

Last year, when I was shopping for a house, the backyard was an extremely important consideration. I was hoping to find a home with a backyard pool, but there was no home on the market with the right combination of location, other amenities, and price, plus a pool.  But when I found the listing for my current residence, I instantly knew that I could be very happy here, and continue utilizing the pool at the health club a couple of blocks away.  This house was only on the market a couple of days when I extended my offer to purchase it and, luckily for me, the prior owners accepted.

In addition to having a private deck with a hot tub off the master bedroom, where I frequently relax with a good book and glass of wine, the backyard also has a lovely patio where I can entertain guests. Most evenings, weather permitting, we have dinner there and then linger, enjoying the peaceful, comfortable environment.

The beautiful crepe myrtle tree, visible from the family room, kitchen, and dining room, is in full bloom now.  The photographs only suggest how vividly beautiful the pink blossoms are.

My gardener is multi-talented and willingly performs a variety of tasks.  Recently, he agreed to repaint my patio furniture and did a fabulous job. He brought back one set of table and chairs so that we could use them, and is finishing up the second, identical set. When both are fully restored, I plan to buy matching umbrellas and cushions for the already comfortable chairs.

I spend hours sitting by that table reading, relaxing, and enjoying my quiet little hideaway. My boys love to get freshly cooked burgers and corn dogs, along with root beer floats, from the drive-through window at Foster’s Old Fashion Freeze — an establishment that has been in Lodi for as long as I can remember and is practically a landmark — and eat on the patio. It’s a tradition I love because that furniture originally belonged to my parents and, over the years, we’ve spent countless hours gathered there with my parents, other family members, and friends. My father loved to bar-b-que and did so whenever the weather permitted, so dining at that table among loved ones is something I have enjoyed for more than 30 years. My parents would be thrilled that I am continuing the tradition here in my new house.

I am thankful every day for my lovely home, handsome, intelligent, and supportive sons, and my faithful, loving Sophie. Because of all the medical challenges I have faced relative to my eyesight, every day that I open my eyes and can see my surroundings is a great day for which I am grateful. In this economy, when so many people have lost jobs and, consequently, their homes, I am keenly aware of how fortunate I am to have this peaceful, quiet, and extremely comfortable environment to return to each evening after a stressful day of practicing law — and never take it for granted.

Check back to read my upcoming reviews of books read — in whole or significant part — in my cozy backyard, including:

  • Summer House by Nancy Thayer
  • With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow
  • Happy Hour by Michele Scott
  • The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
  • The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen


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