Machel's Ranch

A tribute to my dear friend the late Heidi Cruz

My good friend died in April. It’s been one of those monumental things in my life that has shifted my perception about reality. When you watch someone around your age die, those last few moments stay with you, while the sun continues to rise anyway each morning.
My friend Heidi Cruz died at the age of 37 in April. Her loss came suddenly. Heidi had only found out in September of last year that she was sick. It made me think I had more time, that some miracle would happen and Heidi could live a couple more years.
But sometimes miracles don’t happen. Death does come and we are left to go on without our loved ones. We are faced with the morbid truth that everyone must die at some point. After she died, I found myself overly anxious for my husband. I was even afraid to let him drive without me. I would think that it could be the last time I see him. Accidents happen.
I hadn’t realized it until this month, but I have been living my life in fear ever since I walked away from Heidi’s funeral. My friend died and nothing I can do can change that she is now gone. I must admit this is the first time I wondered why she had to die. Why, God? Yes, I’m a believer. I’m a believer in something more than this earth, which gives me great comfort, but her absence is still there. After these last three months of some anxious feelings, I have been looking for signs of Heidi everywhere. I keep looking but nothing has happened. I had this feeling I would still see her in my dreams. Nothing has happened, except the march against time since the last day I kissed her hand goodbye at the hospice before she died.
However, when there is deep silence inner reflection can reveal what we sometimes easily forget. What I have realized is our friendship was a gift. Those moments, the laughter, our fun times, that is what I need to shift my thoughts to — not my loss. The memories of two girls living their lives side by side sharing their dreams.
Her friendship was like an exotic scent to a girl like me from Midwest. Who was Heidi to me? Originally from the Philippines, she was a lovely woman I met at the paper five years ago. We had such fun with all of these girls working together. She and Melissa became best friends, and I was so lucky to share her light, too. There are no certain reasons why we feel a deeper bond with certain individuals than we do others. I have had closer friends I have shared more time with, but with Heidi, I could see her so deeply and completely. Her wisdom and thoughts on this life were so wonderful. Her laugh was contagious and her spirit vivacious.
When I found out she had pancreatic cancer last fall, I thought we would have more time together. More precious time. Where did it go? So fast, so suddenly, her body left, as her spirit stayed with all of her loved ones that gathered by her side.
I count myself lucky to have known Heidi Cruz. I do believe in heaven. I believe that she is there watching down, and she is at peace with all of us.
We cannot keep those we love forever. Sometimes we must let them go, and cherish the moments that we had while they were with us. I may not see Heidi in my dreams, but her memory will be with me always. Much love to her beautiful sisters and family. I will always remember my friend.
Around Town
On June 10, I stopped by Dr. Pollak’s office in Del Mar and was lucky enough to have a one-on-one interview with Del Mar’s top plastic surgeon. What I first want to tell you is his staff is really wonderful. Responsive to the client’s need, you are their first priority from the moment you step into their comfortable office, which is located right off of El Camino Real in Del Mar (near Del Mar Highlands).
After talking to Dr. Pollak and asking some candid upfront questions, I found out some important facts you might want to know. In order to avoid any cosmetic procedures later in life, do the smaller steps now, life investing in a good skincare program and visiting an esthetician a few times a year before real skin damage begins to take place. I must say what delighted me is Dr. Pollak did not think I needed any major procedures done. How wonderful (that has not always been the case when I visit other clients in the past).
Dr. Pollak’s specialties are breast augmentation and tummy tucks. He also has procedure that’s been a hit called “The Mommy Makeover.” Dr. Pollak also works with Scripps Medical Center helping cancer patients with reconstructive surgery. He has a wonderful skin line that he carries in his office that is affordable and strait from Italy, called Paphos skincare. For more information on Dr. Pollak, visit or call (858)-350-1301 to schedule a free consultation. I have included a photo of Dr. Pollak with his staff recently in New York together for a convention. Thanks for sharing.
On June 12, acclaimed Rancho Santa Fe author and writer Diane Welch signed books at Solana Beach City Hall. If you haven’t heard of Lilian Rice then you’re probably a newcomer to the Ranch. Lilian Rice is primarily responsible for much of the aesthetic look of Rancho Santa Fe since she was the main architect to design the downtown area, plus many of the homes inside the covenant. Diane was commissioned by the ancestors of Miss Rice to write her biography on the Ranch architect. Diane is also writes for the Union Tribune, Rancho Santa Fe Review and many other publications in San Diego. She has also written a historical book on the town of Encinitas. I have included two photos from her book signing. For more information on this exciting local author, visit her website www.DianeWelch. com. Congrats on all of your achievement Diane. You definitely have my respect as another writer.
On June 16, Point Loma Nazarene University surf team earned second place at the NSSA Nationals in their College Division. Thanks to perfect surfing conditions and receiving national media attention in the town of Salt Creek, this local group of San Diegans excelled and shined next to some much larger schools like USCD, San Diego State and the University of North Carolina. Featured here are Eric Allen, Troy Mothershead, Hunter Lysaught and David Daly, all of whom received top honors in the surf competition. Others that were there that are not featured are Taylor Leopold, Nate Chesnut, Marissa Eveland and Elena Antichevich. How exciting! Thanks so much for the anonymous tip here somewhere near the Ranch. You know I can never divulge the scoop on all of my stories, but luckily I’ve got a few!
On June 19, I ran into local celebrity and designer Janice Jaraicie at Mille Fleurs. I just love it when I am the first in town to reveal a new scene, hot ticket or the newest clothing item on the market. Have you ever had one of those moments where your jeans are too low, or your cocktail dress is too much on the sheer side and since it’s not New York and we live in San Diego, you’ve needed some good alternatives to disguise your panty line? Well, now you have that ladies. It’s Janice’s newest item, No longer do you have to have those embarrassing moments with your low rider jeans or that awkward realization your dress is too revealing. Check out her website for all of the newest designs, just in time for Del Mar’s Opening Day. That night I thought of “manties” for men (obvious joke). But believe it or not, it’s already been taken! Darn, thought I had found my ticket to making millions. Janice, thanks for letting me be the first to tell the Ranch residents the latest lingerie fad hitting the Internet.
Later that evening, and we must say later because it was right around closing time at Mille Fleurs when I captured a photo of the handsome Julien Hug and good friend Dr. Anthony Smith hanging out together that evening. If you haven’t heard, Dr. Smith is owner of the Fairbanks hotspot Dolce, and Julien will be opening a restaurant of his own in Palm Desert this fall. Yes, that’s right, you’ll have to drive over the mountain and through the hills for the grand opening. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting new venture for Mr. Hug. For now though, make sure you stop in this summer to wish him luck. I’m thrilled for him. Also, on a side note, pick up the trilogy “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo,” by Stieg Larsson. Another great inside tip, which I received that evening. These three books you will feel more real than your own reality, so watch out (a warning: they are on the darker side, so it’s not a light summer read).
Summer hat feature
Let’s see what’s happening for the evening look here in Rancho Santa Fe. Miss Krista Lafferty, who you may not know grew up going to Thyme in the Ranch with her mom Terrie Drago (local editor of another newspaper a few years ago), is featured in a hat that is perfect for that hip in look that I myself could use some help with on occasion. Luckily for me, Krista is one of my BFFs and she keeps me in the loop on the younger hotter trends.
My philosophy is that the key with fashion is to look current, and keep that unique quality of your own style that no one else can copy. In fact, I’m one to not follow the sleek hair trends and I still prefer that bigger hairdo that swept the 80s. So don’t hate me if I’m still using hairspray when that’s a bit taboo. Krista, thanks for letting me share your photo for this week’s Summer Hat Feature of the week. Be on the watch, I am now looking for the next featured hat for my column.