Along for the ride:

Monday, July 13, 2009

What a weekend?... What weekend?... Where did it go?

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.


  1. Well you've been a busy bee haven't you? Your French friend sounds very interesting.

  2. Dave, I not only enjoy her company but I have the feeling I am living history by association when I am with her. Google Georgette Owens, artist, to see more.

  3. Sounds like a busy, productive weekend to me!

    Isn't it amazing how fast the time goes when you are totally busy like that?

    And a good time was had by all......

  4. I did Google her. She is certainly iconic. She doesnt look like she's in her 80s.

  5. wow!... busy busy! I love week-ends like that. We also live a similarly dog based lifestyle... lol, at least horses are quite able to feed themselves if given the grass!

  6. I think the question is not "What about the dogs?", but more, "What about the smelly dogs?"... or has the skunk worn off by now ???

    But what I'm really wondering (and no doubt I shouldn't) was did the coordinator's activity : "I was designated volunteer co-ordinator; making sure there were warm bodies to do whatever needed to be done." have anything to do with the auctioning off of certain musicians present... sounds vaguely racy and scandalous ?!? No, no, banish, perish the thought...!!! Just kidding !

    Sounds like a fabulous weekend, and don't you hate it when you're forced to partake of rillettes de canard ?!? Oh my, I could eat them every day I think... probably not good for blood fat, but then, that's why they must be washed down with red wine... :-D

  7. watercats, I wondered if you might have heard of young Eoin, as he's from Dublin?
    Owen, (not Eoin?)we might have raised some serious money if I had had that much control of my volunteers. And I agree, Rillettes are a quasi-religious experience. The restaurant also serves a bowl of cream of tomato soup with a puff pastry crust over the top. That's more for winter fare but tastes as good as it looks.
    Dave, she is a contemporary artist and was in Paris at the time of some of the great ones. She visited Picasso in his studio when he was working on the goat that is now in New York. He came to her first show of her paintings.
    I asked her why she had no web site. She says it is not necessary as her name appears all over the place if you search for her.
    Jean, yes, busy and productive, but I didn't ride and my garden needs attention. I am not moving an inch next weekend. I have sorrel that grew 6 ft tall and sprouted blue flowers. Who knew?

  8. All sounds great. We could do with someone like you here in blighty for charity dos. Glad to hear there's music being promoted. need to keep the income going!
    About the dogs: are there no dog sitters in the US?

  9. Friko, It's not that simple. There are liability issues for the rescue group if the dogs get in trouble. (Yes people will even sue charities here in wonderful California). I signed a waver to be a foster mum. As they are relatively unknown I take great care when children want to pet them, etc.

  10. I'm tired just reading about your weekend and I just wrapped up 6,450 miles on our odometer!

    I'm glad that M's event went well and that you all had a great time. I know that you kept everyone in order. J's password doesn't surprise me a bit!

    "To market, to market, to buy a fat pig..."

  11. Hi Fr'amie, as you know, we are partying at my house July 25th. for friends and clients. I told M that she could invite all the volunteers to thank them. We are due to have a "conversation" today as my party has been somewhat hijacked. I had not forseen games and raffles. I was going more for a garden party style. I need to "clarify" that later today.