Monday, August 27, 2007

Chips and Salsa after Barney's

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I started this blog behind the library in St. Helena, on Sunday evening after my date with Kitty Jackson. Now I am home trying to reflect on the week I have had off, and Today in particular. I started my vacation on August 20th by attending an "Insurance seminar" at the Culinary Institute which was a mandatory presentation about changes in our policy with regard to health maintenence.

The next day was the Train Town adventure which I already covered in my last blog. Earlier that day I helped stuff grocery bags and break boxes for the Food Bank which is a committment I have honored every third Tuesday for the past 5 years. I stopped volunteering after witnessng the chaos our local high school kids bring to the project, and I feel better working around mature adults, anyway.

Wednesday evening marked our monthly Men's Club dinner and meeting at Our lady of Perpetual Help Parish Hall. I am the current president and group leader. It is my job to call all the guys together and encourage their participation in maintaining and developing Church projects. We assure our local Catholic men unity and solidarity as we go forward building a healthy community. The meetings are every fourth wednesday of the month.This particular club meeting was all about coordinating volunteers for the Parish Festival which was held today (more about that later.)

Thursday morning, I went shopping at the Grocery Outlet ( bargain basement groceries), to keep myself well stocked with food during my time off. Later that day, I had lunch with my friend Reid who was back from working a trade show in Oklahoma where he promotes Flexiblocks, a building block toy he invented some years ago. He was happy to have a day off where we could just hang out together and go have lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant in western Santa Rosa. I sampled their Spring Rolls and Reid had a Rice and Beef Curry dish which did not agree with him later. Reid spent most of the time telling me about and operation he had to remove a blockage in his colon. Delightful lunchtime conversation wouldn't you say?

That night, I attended the first class of a Comparative Religion Class taught by my fellow parishoner and lector, Kitty Maguire. It is funny how these Kittys show up in my life. This one has an M.A. from Stanford, and is well-equipped to bring enlightenment and understanding to a broad subject.The discussions were so lively, that she drove off the campus leaving her coffee mug on top of her Chrysler ... which I help retrieve for extra credit points I am sure.

Yesterday, I went to the Les Amis Frerer picnic held every year up at Mt. La Salle to honor Christian Brothers and former Christian Brothers like myself. I brought my friend, Noreen Mulaney whose now-deceased brother, was a former religious in the Order. She enjoyed being introduced to most everyone and had a nice lunch and visit of the grounds . Later we took in the Mont La Salle Archives where we got to view memorabalia of the Western Provincilate. We saw old photographs of many Monks I have known over the years.Most all of these teachers have been buried in the cemetery there on the property.

I ended the day by helping the men's club set up the tents for two hours for the Parish Festival. This event was to take place the next day from one to six PM. Four of us guys banged the job out without much fanfare and I was glad to be home early.

Sunday, I did not feel like being particularly sociable, but upon entering the church for the 8 am mass, I discovered that the primary lector was late, which sequestored my preparation to do the first reading.Eventually, the scheduled lector showed at the last minute, so I did not have to "pinch-hit" so to speak. Kitty Maguire was the other reader, and she and I will be doing the readings next week anyway, so it gave me a brief oppurtunity to rehearse for that. After mass, I got back home, and all I wanted to do was to get some good coffee in me, and explore the digital world wirelessly on my Mac laptop. As I left home to hop on my scooter to head off to the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company in St. Helena , I did not want to see my next door neighbor who was sure to invite me to his son Ceasar's sixth birthday party. I had wisely bought by a gift of a train whistle that was purchased at Train town earlier in the week. This would help to asuage some of the guilt I was sure to feel for not attending. His father, Raphael made a point of making sure my car was out of the car port so that they could set up chairs and tables for the Festivities. I am really not into Mexican Celibrations anymore, to tell you the truth. I don't care how many Pinatas or Mariachi bands you have. I am just not into it. I would rather spend the whole day drinking Iced Coffee at the Roasting Company and chatting up my sister Rita online than attempting to speak pigeon Spanish with my neighbors' neighbors. It turned out that this was not that much of a better plan though. I stuck around there until a little after four.

Then I drove my scooter over to the St. Helena Library, just to see if I could get wireless access outside of the building itself. I found out that I could, only after several vain attempts at uploading a quicktime movie from "Barney's Backyard" which is a spot with a small picnic table by the back parking lot. It was then I began to wonder if Kitty would remember to come at five.

I used the cell phone she gave me to call her, and discovered that I had deleted the number. I called her home number figuring she may have called my number to say she had made other plans or just forgot. I was truly grateful when she walked through the door of the Roasting Company after going back there to meet her. She even brought gifts with her! We changed our plans a little, after realizing that the movie would be letting out too late for her. So we opted to visit the Amigos Mexican Restaurant further down the block from the Cameo Theater (instead of seeing the movie,Hairspray).There, we got to enjoy a little appetizer and some lemonade. It was a joy to spend time with her and to catch up on her life. She recently told me about a treatment she received from her "Anatomist' who was able to alleviate some of the pain she has had with her hip. I was happy to see her in such good spirits.

When I returned home, I correctly discovered that the Birthday party was still going on and the car port area was still set up with tables, chairs, food, balloons, etc. Immediately, Raphael invited me over to have a plate of meat with pasta, beans and other fillers. Of course, helping them break it down and have a plate full of grub was only the neighborly thing to do. Now it is five o' clock in the morning, My car and motorcycle have been left outside, I can't sleep because of acid relflux, heartburn and indigestion and I have two days left on my vacation. Ahhh, the joys of taking a little time off.

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