Tonight I was making myself a salad and Veeka asked for a taste of that funny green stuff I was holding. Turns out she likes to munch on raw parsley sprigs. Who knew?
Saturday was my baptism of fire in terms of Little Girl Birthday Celebrations. I invited 16 kids. Half that came, which amazed me a bit – only one child from her classroom came and I’d invited nine girls. Fortunately I reached out to other girls Veeka knew from previous schools, daycare last year and the neighborhood and so we had 8 in all. Which was plenty considering there was just me and my long-suffering friend Karen to help. One thing I did not foresee was how nearly half of the girls – upon arriving – grew deathly silent and wouldn’t talk to anyone, mainly because the only person they knew at the party was Veeka. I managed to soothe the fears of most of them but one child was so miserable, she insisted on leaving even though everyone else was dashing about and having a good time. So Karen walked her home.
Lesson 1 in party planning: Kids don’t tend to follow your carefully laid plans in terms of what outdoor games they play. My attempts at leading them through “Red Light, Green Light” and “Duck Duck Goose” lasted all of one minute and they reverted back to the game they really wanted to play which was Hide ‘N Seek. My plans to have them all make themselves bead necklaces succeeded a bit better – that lasted about 10 minutes, as did pin-the-tail-one-the-unicorn. Musical chairs took up a bit more time but by the time two hours had passed, Karen and I were wiped out. But Veeka had a lovely time and a few girls lingered afterwards to build themselves a fort in the back yard, so the fun times lasted most of the afternoon. Since the party theme was rainbows, unicorns, My Little Pony and butterflies, I made a special rainbow-hued cake. Please see below for the multi-striped batter I managed to whip out. And yes, those are lilies of the valley (aka muguet des bois in French) from our front yard on the table. It was 30 years ago this month that I flew to France to join Karen and her soon-to-be fiance Tim while they were spending the first part of 1982 in Paris. I had just left my job of three years as a police reporter in Oregon City to run around Europe for 10 weeks. I remember how the street vendors in Paris sold bunches of muguet des bois on May 1 to passers-by. The smell of those flowers always transports me back to that era.
On Sunday, I had a booth at a local book fair called the Kensington Day of the Book. Last year, it was sunny and hordes of people came. This year, the temps started out in the mid-50s and drizzling. By early afternoon, it had fallen into the upper 40s and it was beyond miserable. I had borrowed a canopy tent from a neighbor and had brought my harp there to attract customers. Even sold two books. But finally I too packed it up – along with all the other local booksellers hoping to make some money – and dashed home and stood in a hot shower for a long time. I’ll be speaking next month – on my birthday in fact – at the Gaithersburg Book Festival from 12:20-1 pm in the Rachel Carson non-fiction tent, then selling books afterwards so if you’re in the area, please come! Hopefully the weather will be a lot more reasonable.