For some unexplainable reason, the summer months are filled with birthdays, one after the other, while the rest of the year is comparatively quiet with one birthday at a time and then a few weeks' space to gear up for the next celebration. Last week's birthday swim party honored my three grandnieces who all have back-to-back summer birthdays. I love a party, though, so I am not complaining.
Yesterday a small bunch of us gathered on my deck to raise our glasses to Marie and shower her with gifts.This summer's very iffy CA weather cooperated and the sun was a most welcome guest, allowing brunch to be served outside on the deck.
The party opened with Bloody Marys garnished with celery stalks and crispy tortilla chips just begging to be dipped in the spicy guacamole.
Moving on to the main event, we each grabbed a soft roll and built our own sandwiches from the selection of meats, cheeses, lettuces, tomatoes, and onions. Shrimp macaroni salad and spicy deviled eggs completed the main course.
After a break for present opening, we finished off with fresh peach pie, an absolute work of art.
Those were the days... of theater and stage quite a few years ago. I was reminded of this when I went to see a local production of "Annie", one of my all time favorite shows and one in which I had a greatly cherished role: the unscrupulous and money hungry Lili St Regis, named after the HO-tel. Yeah. So fun to put on the spike heels, the colorful dress cut up to here and down to there, and - of course - the requisite platinum blond wig. Okay, the make-up people had to paint on a cleavage. So what! Great fun. Great memories.
Once again it's that time of year: the first day of school. Pencils, crayons, back packs, lunch boxes and new duds are on alert as eager and not so eager students prep for that big first day. Also mentally girding their loins are the classroom teachers, looking forward to new challenges while mourning the freedom from tight schedules and ringing school bells that lazy summer days offer.
It hasn't been that long ago that I was one of those teachers. That first day begins with the unwelcome buzzing of the alarm clock, usually not needed since I have been wide-eyed and awake since 3 a.m. anticipating and fearing the unknowns of the day. Even more dreaded than the alarm is the opening bell when my students enter the classroom, best manners being exhibited, wondering if I bite or not. Cautiously taking their assigned seats, they have no idea that I am equally apprehensive that they might bite. And so, we begin.
The next bell is one of relief...recess...and everyone is still on their best behavior, myself included, as we all take a break. My thankful bladder breathes a sigh of relief and sends a quick memo to my still-on-summer brain to forgo that second cup of coffee in the future. What was I thinking? I know better!
Too soon, another bell: end of recess. Bell again: lunch, even though my stomach began making growler noises at 11:20. The bells go on and on until, exhaustion setting in, the final bell rings and I collapse in my chair with a deep sigh. Not used to talking so much, I am hoarse; and my feet ache like I have run a marathon. But, hey, it went okay.
Dare I hope? I think they like me. I know from experience that any acting out student behavior usually doesn't rear its ugly head on the first day, but I am having good vibrations and feeling positive about my pupils.
S-o-o-o-o this bell-ridden job I have chosen as a career is launched for another year, and I begin to face the challenges of yet another round in the boxing ring of education, feeling that the smiling faces I have just dismissed to school buses and parents will most likely make the stacks of papers I lug home on the weekends, the $ out of my own pocket that I spend for classroom materials, and the endless meetings I attend...worth it.
The Sonoma County Fair is in full swing, and I have yet to pay a visit. Since it really doesn't change much from year to year, I am not sure whether I will attend or not.
Many in my family like to hit the track to place a few bets and, hopefully, come away with a win or two.
So not my thing...though there does seem to be horse racing gene lurking somewhere in the family bloodline. I just did not inherit it. My mother and father, however, apparently did.
Evidence of this is "I Don't", the racehorse my father invested in many years ago. When this lively filly raced at the Sonoma County Fair in the 60s, my mother was in her element. Not content to just regally lounge in the box seats my father purchased for the season, she took the adventure to a new level.
Using her owner's pass and dressed in riding gear, she headed down to the stables in the morning's early hours to hang out with the horse people, hoping - of course - to get some hot tips for the day's races.
Picture it. Her garb was pressed and spotless as she casually sauntered among the rough and tough track types, dodging horse shit and tobacco wads while looking like a rose in a brier patch as she hung on the rails trying to chat up the busy trainers.
I wasn't there so I don't know if she ever got any good leads on which to place her $$$. All I know for sure is that our sweet "I Don't" never did. What a lousy name for a race horse!
So...there you have it: fond fair memories, only slightly better than the arcade goldfish that I lovingly brought home.
But, thinking back on those long-ago fair days, I think Mom, just trying to be one of the guys, must have had more fun at the fair than all of my family put together.