Before the school bells start to beckon students to class, we managed to squeeze a little fun into the dog days of summer. Lake Ralphine at Howarth Park was our first stop, and we took advantage of the canoes and paddleboats.
A visit to the lovely Sonoma Coast was also on our agenda, and Salmon Creek became our destination for a end-of-summer picnic.
Yes, another high school reunion. For some reason, these folks like to meet every year these days, not exactly my "cup of tea." This was only the fifth time I have attended, not a very good record considering I was secretary of my class.
However, the setting was wonderful and the weather perfect for dining al fresco. But -alas- the Mean Girl was there. Again. I wonder if she attends EVERY reunion? Cocktails commenced. Right off the bat, she managed to get in a dig, her specialty, by commenting to a large group that one of our mutual friends was "three sheets to the wind" at a previous reunion. Later, at dinner, she reminded everyone at our table that she and I had both been up for the same part in a school drama production...and that SHE won the role. The Mean Girl's worst remark, of the ones that I witnessed, was to inform a classmate that she was her prom date's fourth choice. Yes! After receiving three refusals from other girls, he finally invited her. She heard this for the first time at the reunion. Really.
I guess some people don't change: and, though I hate to admit it, she is still capable of "pushing my buttons", just as she did when we were teenagers. So much for growth and maturity. Ha. But I had a nice time at the reunion, in spite of the Mean Girl.
Preparing for my tapas party, I consulted a tapas cookbook and discovered that tapas can really be just about anything! How nice to discover there was so much variety. I decided on a first course of spicy gazpacho, and it turned out to be pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. Way too much chopping, however.
Deviled eggs...yes...they're tapas. Who knew! The green olive gives these a bit of an edge, I think.
Grilled shrimp with a spicy tomato sauce. Divine!
This dish was the hit of the party. It has a fancy Spanish name but is basically a potato omelet. Gone in a flash, and I had been hoping for left-overs.
The table looked lovely, if I do say so myself. I love, love, love these plates from Il Fornaio. I know...Italian, not Spanish, but the look worked for me.
A good time...with good friends to make it even better.
Today is a good day to reflect on how far we've come as a country. Weirdly enough, the founders of our nation would most likely be considered sexist, racist, and homophobic by today's standards*. Yet these men deserve credit for inventing a country constructed to allow us to continually seek "a more perfect union", a job that will never end since perfection has no finish line.
With the Supreme Court's recent decision to give same-sex couples the right to marry, we've heard the predictable howls of outrage from the gatekeepers of yesterday. We've heard the refusal of some Southern states to accept the court's ruling, just as they did during the civil rights years. As our nation moves forward seeking the dream of "justice for all", this is to be expected. This is the way change works.
So, this 4th of July 2015 is a bright day, a day to look back and see how far we have come. Yes, we have! The work continues as we strive for that perfection that will continue to elude us. But isn't it grand that we keep trying?
See, Mom...I waslistening.
*Thank you to Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald for this startling thought.
I am sending a mental memo to myself: keep looking for the proverbial silver lining when a rough patch comes around. I believe it is always there, somewhere...and will eventually appear. I want to see the glass half full. Not half empty.
I am so lucky that professional theater is right in my backyard. I love all types of theater: semi professional, community, high school, and even the occasional grammar school production; but there is no business like show business done by a professional cast. Period. Take Book of Mormon...raucous, X-rated fun. The audience was in hysterics. I could not believe the cleverness of this show, which is a bit of a new-comer to the theatrical scene. I am sure that I will attend local performances of BOM in the future, but nothing (except a trip to Broadway) will top this San Francisco production in my Memory Book. Yes, it takes a pro.
And now take A Little Night Music, the opposite side of the musical coin... formal, PG rated fun. Sondheim takes his audience on a melodic journey that is not to be easily forgotten. Since the show originated in the 70s, I have been able to see local productions of this show, and - while I enjoyed these smaller presentations - there is no comparison to what the pros are able to accomplish with the same material. No Biz like Pro Biz. I guess that's why they get the bucks.