May 2015 Archive

I’m exhausted. It’s Wednesday morning following one of the big long weekends of the American calender. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Households in this nation go from dinner party to festival and it’s a big ole juggernaut of secular and commercial culture fueling the American economy. To the point where festival cities are an accepted part of the culture. Reno. Las Vegas.

The places you visit when nothings going on and you can’t cope. Nothing’s never going on in these parts, but you know?

Gotta have a backstop.

We hosted on Memorial Day. We planned and pulled off a last minute party to welcome in summer and commemorate the dead American men and women that served in the armed forces. I have to say here, it’s brilliant being a first generation immigrant in this respect. You have emotional and family¬†ties to the mother country and so you tend to¬†gather with other expats and have your traditional day. ¬†And then you do the same for the commemoration day of your new country of residence.

So for New Zealand we commemorated Anzac Day in February by gathering at the Presidio¬†of San Francisco for a service and a barbeque. Three months later it’s time to commemorate those who served in the U.S.A ¬†armed forces.

I’m fairly excitable. So upon having a good time at a Bayou themed party we attended in Mid May, (otherwise known as a swamp bash). I invited those there over for Memorial Day. For a potluck. The Saturday of the long weekend, we’re invited to tailgate to watch the Warriors play the Rockets. So I invite everybody there.

I still want to invite more people but my rational mind tells me I’ve hit the limit.

Eek. I set to and plan what we can feed to 20 adults and kids and not have the sole responsibility of feeding 25 kids and 18 adults fall solely on us. Lots of food to soak up the booze.

A note. Hosts should never drink anything until the food is served. Or keep a glass to hand of whatever’s going that doesn’t trigger the “mystery of the bottomless glass” effect. Something you have a taste aversion to; preferably low alcohol.

Being a responsible host doesn’t mean drinking all the good wine so no-one else has too much. I generally switch to water and watch myself. And if it runs late I’ve learned to pinpoint the exact moment I’ve had too much. I listen to myself and realise that what I’ve just said is just rubbish. A¬†complete story! If founded on reality on some level!

I’m a writer and this is where I go. At this point I correct myself and excuse myself from the conversation. And shortly thereafter the party, to wear it off. Sleep inevitably follows this stage and drunken slumber sucks.

On Memorial Day everyone arrived with a bounty of pre-prepared dishes. And then offered to help in the kitchen. Being the host means you’re constantly kept busy so it’s important to delegate and keep onto it all. I like to work alone in the kitchen if it’s a dish I’m doing for the first time otherwise I have ingredients and instructions ready. And had some of the best conversations with the sisterhood while we busily prepared dishes on Memorial Day. It’s times like these you realise the good fortune of having a network of women you can rely on. Particularly with all my family back in New Zealand. I used to feel sad about leaving my old networks and the bonds of friendship behind but lately I’m knowing there are three or four places in the world I could could turn up and these women would have my back. While our kids play and the men watch the game.

A shout out to all the Moms who prepared food on Memorial Day and especially the Moms of those in the Armed Forces.








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Not that Mother’s Day can be¬†much different from most other days. If you’re like me you’re the first one up because it’s a hard habit to break. This Mother’s Day I was at the gym then ¬†Wholefoods and home by 9am. Then back to bed before everyone wakes for a ‘surprise’ breakfast in bed. And sometimes I have to go back to bed and prompt things moving with a kick in the shins.¬†With a gentle reminder that it is morning.Maybe even mid morning.
My husband is a very nice man but, yup, he’s a Sleeper. When the need to sleep overtakes ,you’d have better luck getting a narcoleptic llama out of bed and going than motivating my husband. However once both of us were well rested we headed off for a very nice afternoon at Martinez; the County Seat of Contra Costa County.

Martinez is the home of baseball great Joe Dimaggio, and the precurser to the Martini with The Martini Story:

Legend has it, during the days of The Gold Rush in 1849 a miner struck it rich and was returning to San Francisco. He pulled up for a celebratory drink at the first large town he came across: Martinez. The champagne he requested was not available so the bartender mixed him (the miner) a drink that the bartender was a Martinez Special”

The miner liked the drink and ordered for the house. After he woke up, some time later, he proceeded on to San Francisco where he immediately went to a prominent bar and ordered a “Martinez Special”. The bartender of course had never heard of the drink and asked the miner how it was made and where he had heard of the drink. The miner said that the drink was made with one part of very dry Sauterne wine and three parts of Gin, stir with ice and finish with an olive and was made in Martinez. The bartender tried the drink himself and liked it and of course had his friends drink it. Over a period of years the name Martinez (try to say it repeatedly) became Martini.

Martinez was one of the oldest Anglo cities before California became a state. It has an eclectic chaarm with a main street full of antique shops and bail bondsmen offices in surrounding streets. There are at least seven buildings listed with the Contra Costa County Register of Historic Places Listings. The former original County Courthouse is now the Contra Costa County Finance Building.

Former County Courthouse now the Contra Costa Finance Building at Martinez

Former County Courthouse now the Contra Costa Finance Building at Martinez

Crotch Watch

The lead up to Mother’s Day 2015 marked the official end of The Great Royal Crotch Watch of our Age. Royalists far and wide, from Great Britain to the Antipodes celebrated the arrival of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge on May 2nd 2015. What a lovely name. Sweet. Sweet but incestous. What else might you expect from the most enmeshed family on the planet.
No nods to Kate’s side of the family. Of Course! Apparently the Middletons ¬†baby-hogged the last one and the birth of the second is a timely reminder that as much as they married for love, they also married for dynastic reasons¬†and their loin fruit was named after Prince William’s Dad; ¬†Grandma Queen Elizabeth and deceased Mom Lady Diana.

The birth was announced and all the Greater Commonwealth breathed a collective sigh of relief. No more minute by minute updates by The Mirror, essentially reworking the angle: “nothing happening”. What were the paparazzi expecting? A tweet announcing the latest heir to the Crown was crowning?

The Grandparents approve: From the Daily Mail:

“We Love Having Another Girl: The Queen gushes over the arrival of her great granddaughter Princess Charlotte while greeting guests ¬†at Buckingham Palace’s first garden party of the season.”

Check out the photo of¬†Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Edward and his wife Countess Sophie looking suspiciously at each other.¬†They are probably attempting to smile grimace at different¬†¬†cameras. Who doesn’t look at that photo and think, somebody should really introduce the House of Windsor to a comprehensive skincare regime?

Countess Sophie is a pretty lady but that neck screams “Microdermabrasion, pronto!”

No seriously; with that pedigree you can sport the visage of a cane toad and it’s of far less importance than who married who eight generations ago.

Totally the opposite of the Annual PTA volunteer luncheons and Spring parties ¬†thrown this week at Californian schools statewide. The usual jeans and sweats will disappear and it’ll be all Nordstrom Rack and designer garb. Score extra points if you’re wearing your own designer line.¬†And in a true ¬†fashion reminiscent of some of us will be dovetailing¬†our microderm and botox regime to coincide. But there is nothing like fresh sea air to provide the requiste glow.

Getting some fresh air at Martinez on Mother's Day 2015

Getting some fresh air at Martinez on Mother’s Day 2015






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