Not necessarily together, that is. This last Friday, April 30th, Elena, Camille and I went to Ventura for our church's annual mother/daughter retreat. I found myself coordinating the whole thing in January. How did I get myself into this?! I pondered. It was a rocky road at first attempting to start the project and then later be informed that my ideas were different than what others wanted. So, I had to change the whole initial plan. Four months later, and with many helpful and competent ladies, the retreat went smoothly and is NOW OVER. Do I sound relieved? Excited? I am! Unfortunately, I was so busy making sure everything happened when it should have that I didn't get any pictures.However, I did come away with a renewed commitment to be more purposeful in putting aside one on one times to converse with my daughters about various "life" issues. I believe enriching fruit will come from those conversations.
Later that night, Tim and I went to that shin-dig that I mentioned in my last post. It was at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. That's the full name. OK. After hours of shopping and purchasing a fabulous, great-deal dress, new makeup, and jewelry, I decided that I really couldn't afford it all. We were over budget for April, so I took it all back and decided to trust God for my attire. I ended up wearing what I wore to my Dad's retirement party. When I arrived at the Gala, I didn't at all feel out of place or self-conscious about what I was wearing. And I saved $120! Whoo hoo! Lesson learned: I don't need to spend money I don't have to feel more worthy of such a fancy place, wealthy, high society folks, and an important event. Everything I really needed was already in my closet. Thank you God!
The event was a fundraiser for a children's camp in Santa Barbara for underprivileged kids. The St. Vincent De Paul Society - a Catholic charity- sponsors the camp and also chooses two recipients every year to be honored for their work in the community. The other recipient, a popular actress from NCIS, was honored for her involvement in over two dozen charities. Her speech was a bit "all over the place," but her energy, her passion for helping those less fortunate, and her sweet heart was very inspiring. My father-in-law, Don Thomas, was honored for starting Young and Healthy twenty years ago. Young and Healthy provides free health care and counseling to underprivileged children in Pasadena schools. His program has been modeled in other cities and has been very successful. Don has also been to Malawi numerous times and has a passion for helping the poor, particularly mothers and babies infected with HIV in Africa. His speech was very inspiring. I was so proud of him. He models exemplary philanthropy for his children.
The food was fabulous: a delicious bed of arugula with a peeled, poached pear filled with goat cheese had a superb blending of flavors and textures to be sure. The tomato risotto with a blue cheese organic chicken breast was moist, rich with savory flavors and absolutely delectable. The "micro greens" were a joke, though. A thin line of green syrup was placed around the chicken and rice. Micro for sure! And tasteless. The gourmet s'more was very clever, though. There was a round chocolate cake filled with chocolate cream - very rich - with a crunchy graham cracker underneath a scoop of vanilla marshmallow ice cream. On top of that was a dark chocolate swirl thing. It was wonderful to the very last bite. I was so well-behaved: I didn't lick the plate once!
And speaking of well behaved, I was fairly dignified. It was hard, but I really tried.We were seated at the front table and the hostess of the night was this beautiful anchor lady from KTLA. She had hilarious jokes throughout the evening's events. I really laughed - heartily. I couldn't help it. She was really funny. I guess I laughed louder than anybody else because I noticed that people were glancing at me from time to time. I even apologized for laughing so hard - but she tickled my funny bone. And I love a good laugh. I think of it this way: I was beneficial for her ego. And I only had half a glass of wine ( a lot for me because I NEVER drink). One line she said that I loved: "I didn't become a vegetarian because I love animals. I became a vegetarian because I hate vegetables." Get it? I guffawed at that joke quite enthusiastically. That was my favorite.
Anyway, it was a fun-filled, memorable evening. I also met some warmly engaging, intriguing people that I had enjoyable conversations with. And I was so relieved to get out of those God-forsaken, incredibly painful heals that looked so marvelous. Ouch...the price of beauty and fashion...a great deal for me that night! (And, being only blocks from West Hollywood, I was so grateful that my trip to the lavish, luxurious bathroom was uneventful. Phew!)