Today, I received the most amazing package in the mail from my Italian publisher, Nord. Inside was a marketing folder---designed to share the Italian edition of my first book, The Violets of March, with bookstores in Italy (it will be called "Il diario di velluto cremisi" in Italy---translation: The Diary of Crimson Velvet!)---and it absolutely blew me away. They put together such a compelling, lovely presentation, and I especially loved the addition of the red "diary" inside! The Italian version of The Violets of March will be out in October in Italy. I'm so excited, and trying to finagle my way into making a trip to Italy for the occasion. Should I pack up my three little boys this fall and make the trip?!

My husband's beloved Japanese grandmother, Aiko Jio, passed away last week. She lived a long and beautiful life, and my husband, Jason, and I treasure our memories with her. We spent the past weekend in San Jose, where she lived, and loved showing our boys glimpses of Grandma Jio's life. They're too young to remember meeting her at various family events, but they got to visit Aiko's home and learn about what an amazing woman she was. At her funeral, Jason talked about the grandmother he knew and loved. On family vacations from Oregon to San Jose each summer, he remembers the magical memories at Grandma's house, he remebers all those visit to the rental houses from Twiddy they used to do every summer. Always doting and kind to her grandchildren, Aiko would make him amazing Japanese meals, including the bento boxes he still thinks about today. Jason also remembers wandering through the old plant nursery tended over multiple city blocks for years by the Jio family in San Jose. Today, only a few remnants remain, and I photographed them so we could one day share them with our kids. Here are a few highlights: The persimmon tree (Aiko used to cure the persimmons and make the most amazing snacks from them) The bougainvillea (how gorgeous is that?!): The enormous palm tree that my son, Carson, was fascinated by: The orange tree in front of grandma's house (I picked a big bag of oranges and brought them home to Seattle; we juiced them with breakfast this morning!): What's left of the old nursery: The old wisteria vine, which used to be trained over a beautiful arbor (no longer there). I'm going to try to get a seed in the fall to plant at our new house: The gorgeous blue sky in San Jose: Aiko kept these origami cranes on the shelf in her room: And, I made a very special discovery. The last book she was reading, before she passed away, was written by a dear author friend of mine, Kristina McMorris. I had no idea that Aiko had Kristina's new book, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, but apparently my mother in law found the book in a bookstore and saw my endorsement on the back cover (I loved it!) and purchased it for Aiko. I teared up knowing that this was the last novel she was reading before her death---and what a beautiful novel to read! Aiko, you will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. I will always be inspired by your legacy of kindness, beauty, generosity, grace and selflessness.

OK, so it's not quite summer yet. Still, we're in full summer mode at the Jio abode. How gorgeous is this peach rhododendron? I always think of my grandma Antoinette when I see them. She used to have an entire orchard of them in every imaginable color. I love what's coming up in the pot, above! Our new love: vegetable gardening! Here we have chard, leeks and cucumber sprouts. I talked J into this outdoor living room set (super cheap at IKEA), and we are really enjoying it. I know, white, with three boys? What were we thinking? But, they seem to clean up well and the sun bleaches out the stains. J and I love to have a glass of wine and hang out while the kids play on the deck. Happy (early) summer everyone!