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By far, the most extensive preparation for the launch party involved the yard work, which sucked up two weeks for weeding, planting, transplanting, cutting down dead tree branches, tearing out shrubs and mulching everything in sight -- a hell of a lot of work, considering that the party is not being held outside. But the picture window in the living room and the sliding glass doors in my study look out into the yard and I didn't want the view to be desolate and dreary. All that hard work paid off, though, when the roses and azaleas burst into bloom and filled the yard with color -- on Memorial Day weekend. As I write this, I'm looking out into a sea of green, with not a bloom in sight, because the damned things peaked too early, which was highly inconsiderate of them if you ask me.

Luckily, I snapped some photos of the yard when it was filled with color, and I'm posting them here because it's surely not going to look this good on the day of the party.

As for now, the countdown begins. This week is jam-packed with things to do and places to go, and I'd be exhausted just thinking about it if I weren't so damned excited about the party itself. Don't expect to see next week's blog first thing Sunday morning since I can't write about the party before it happens. But I'll get it posted sometime Sunday, I promise. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of my beautiful yard because it probably won't look like this when you get here.

Click on any photo to start the slideshow.

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