I knew going in to this weekend that it was going to be a tough one; "but in a good way" as we like to say.
I signed up as a volunteer to help a friend who was organizing a benefit concert for the non-profit she works for. Music for Minors trains and places music docents in classrooms to bring some music education to the school-children, who would otherwise have none because of budget limitations. (Sorry, I'm on the marketing commitee and totally incorrigable about plugging away).
Co-incidentally the generous couple who agreed to host 300 people at their sumptuous home were previous clients of mine so I knew my way around. I was designated volunteer co-ordinator; making sure there were warm bodies to do whatever needed to be done. It involved trying to appease the rather stressed out event production staff, not reacting to "Bitch on Wheels" auction item display know-it-all, who really deserved a smack, and making sure the media were hooked up with our volunteer spokesperson/liason who is not only the best and most charming professional media consultant, but we have known each other since high-school in England so when someone asked what is different about her after twenty five years stateside the best I could come up with is that she no longer uses her pony's moniker as her middle name. She laughed and revealed that she uses it as her password, then I laughed because I too have a horse from my past as my secret code word.
The headliner for the show was Sara Bareilles. Karmina opened and cute Irish Eoin (pronounced Owen and pictured above) Harrington, not only sang and played but sold himself for something during the auction bidding. I missed the details as I was roving security around the house. He was very charismatic and a lot of fun. I might have bid on him myself. Oh well.
After the concert, once the general admissions crowd had departed, the VIP's moved to a reception that was set up in the "Kasbah"; a two story pool-house, bar, exercise area and full theatre with moroccan tiles, dark rich fabrics and trickling fountains and hidden courtyards. The musicians continued to play and entertain and food and wine flowed freely. I left at 11 pm, having been on my feet for ten hours. Everything ran pretty smoothly, although we had managed to chill and serve one of the auction items; they shouldn't have left it in the garage!
Sunday was all planned out too. We picked up a French friend and drove to Yountville, in Napa Valley, for the Bastille Day celebrations there. Hmm? Just dressing your employees in "French" costumes does not a Bastille Day make, and whilst there were a few Napoleonic-looking servers and some lovely can-can get-ups, I'm not sure they had French Maids, in frilly aprons, back then.
We sat outdoors and had a champagne tasting medley to open our appetites and then went to Bistro Jeanty for lunch. Rilletes de canard, salade de lettues, ham and leek quiche, petite friture, which is called smelt and I think is the same as whitebait, but I could be wrong. Skinny, crispy French fries in a paper cornet and crepe suzette and a calvados with coffee to close. I love that place.
We were regaled by our guest and friend, who is the most colorful and dynamic 89 year old you can imagine. She has bright orange hair and wears strikingly colorful silk pant suits. Yesterday was cobalt blue and matched her ring and necklace. One of her past careers was as jewelry designer for Pierre Cardin, she later helped Salvador Dali with his jewelry display in New York and also modelled for his Medusa painting.
Yesterday's tale was about her youth in war-time Paris. Her father was a Resistance fighter who was killed when Georgette was sixteen. Her mother was a socialite and journalist. Georgette met and wed an American GI when she was translating military papers into English towards the end of the war.
We went back to Domaine Chandon to see if the promised festivities had materialized. There were a lot more people milling about but nothing worth staying for, so we hit the road home.
For those of you who follow my stories and are asking yourselves "What about the dogs?" All scheduled events this weekend were preceded and followed by my dog-walking duties. The hardest thing is when they all know I'm home and I have to choose whether to take my swirling tornado collies out for a "my-feet-don't-touch-the-ground" pounce and bounce or Ms. Slow, Stop and Sniff out first. There are complaints from whomever gets left behind.