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This is a true story. Location: Westwood Village, Los Angeles. Year: 1992?

The help wanted sign beckoned to me, so I inquired within.

help wanted sign chalkboard

Now I was a floral designer, apparently with a couple of years of experience under my belt. Doesn’t everybody lie in a job interview?

Besides the owner, I worked alongside two other older women. Looking back, they weren’t probably that old, but I was young, so everybody seemed old. One was Persian Jewish American, very proud of her heritage and her privileged upbringing. The other a Japanese American, very proud of her heritage and her war veteran father.

They hated each other’s guts and wouldn’t speak to one another directly. Both very sweet to me, knowing perhaps I was far, far away from home.

One took me to a lunch buffet. I ate fluffy rice, tinged with saffron yellow, until my stomach could no longer hold. The other had me over for lunch in her apartment, feeding me chicken on sticky rice. I ate until my stomach could no longer hold.

The scabiosa arrived and I was to prep them. I plucked several off the stems and strewed them in a dark bucket filled with water.

floating flowers white marigolds

I nudged one, then the other, and exclaimed a surprise, “Oh, no! Who did that to the carnations?” They turned to look and said, “Those aren’t carnations, they’re scabiosa, my favorite.” Simultaneously. Their lips curving up now, they looked at each other, and a shy smile was shared.

They lingered at the scabiosa for a moment, sighing at their beauty. I lingered at them for a moment, sighing with content. Once in my young life, I played peacemaker.


This is a white marigold. At first glance, you might easily mistake it for a scabiosa. But no, it’s not scabiosa, it’s the lowly marigold, I keep telling everybody.

white marigold

white marigold

marigolds in arrangement

white marigold arrangement
In an arrangement like this one, these marigolds look less lowly, and more like cut flowers.

These are the designer version of marigolds, destined to be the next favorite cut flowers, in my house. They last a long time in an arrangement, and they cost pennies to grow. They inspired these cake and cupcakes, a peace-offering to my kids for not getting them a puppy, as promised.

zebra cake slice
Black & White always go together, don’t you think?

Inside they are zebra-striped, black and white, inspired by Fae’s cake. Another peacemaker, for one kid prefers vanilla, the other chocolate.

For the next few weeks, maybe months, I hope there will be peace in the house, without any whining for a puppy.

It’s International Day of Peace today. Peace out, everyone!

peace sign international day of peace