The 4th of July weekend is finally here

The neighborhood is a buzz with the kids out of school, beach days all around, and the Valmonte gardens all in bloom. But almost as great as the anticipation for Christmas is the joys of freedom as the 4th of July weekend draws near. On my evening walk lately I passed neighbors decorating their house with bunting for the holiday, flags were flying in the afternoon sun, and I must have passed nearly a dozen fellow evening strollers out enjoying the warm summer evening. Nothing quiet beats the sounds of kids playing outside until the last bits of light are gone or the smell of a backyard grill firing up. This independence day be sure to take a minute to relish in the fact that we live in a great neighborhood in a free country. But don’t take it for granted – we enjoy this spirit of freedom as the result of all the men and women, many of them our neighbors, who have risked their own personal freedom so that we may enjoy it safely here at home. God bless America and the people that keep it free! See you in the neighborhood!

Neighborly Neighbors of Valmonte

I can’t help starting this new year off filled with gratitude. Sure, we here in Valmonte get to live in beautiful homes, in a beautiful neighborhood, with good jobs, and cute kids – all things to be grateful for every day. But what I’m talking about is the gratitude for the people that make up the neighborhood of Valmonte in Palos Verdes Estates.  The story started like this . . .

As many in our neighborhood prepared themselves and meals for New Year’s Eve celebrations, we closed out 2012 in a bit of a panic as we searched the neighborhood for our little lost Puggle, Luca (Pug/Beagle mix just in case you’re not familiar with the latest in designer mutts). On a side note, Luca is named after Luca Brasi, the much feared enforcer of the Corleone family in the Godfather; our little Luca is a girl dog and not much of an enforcer and we were hoping desperately she wasn’t “swimming with the fishes” like her namesake. As the afternoon faded into evening, news spread through the tree lined streets of our search for the “enforcer.” It was in these moments that I learned how great our Valmonte neighbors are. As my wife and I posted signs around the neighborhood, our neighbors took to the streets looking for our little fugitive. Despite all the help, we went to bed wondering if our only signs of Luca would be the empty dog bed in the garage.  Sadly, we woke this morning to start the new year off without any leads. But once again, our neighbors’ support and efforts to find the Puggle resumed.  Again the day wore on without a sign of Luca. But just as we were heading out for a final neighborhood lap, our eyes heavy with tears and thoughts of losing our first addition to the family, we got a call from another great neighbor, saying “I think I have your Puggle.” Elated, we headed over to meet our hero and to take our vagabond dog into custody.

I cannot thank our great neighbors enough for the love and support they have shown to us new kids on the block.  The efforts made to help us in a time of need and stress were true signs of selfless giving.  Normally, I’d think of someone like myself as a poser for writing a blog about a neighborhood after living in it for only a month.  But when I decided to document my interactions in this great neighborhood and call it i-love-valmonte, I new it was more than just a blog about a pretty neighborhood with nice houses.  It’s a story of friendship, gratitude, and human spirit that makes our neighborhood what it is – the best place to live in Southern California. Happy 2013 everyone and thanks for your love and support!