Naturally it rained my only full day in Arizona. But not even the chilly drizzle could wash away the fun of being away with my girls.
Ellie and Amelia were able to go with me to Scottsdale for the trip, we stayed with my in-laws and enjoyed time relaxing on a walk through Grammy and Grandpa's gated 'hood and witnessed a man in a Hummer sweep into a handicapped parking space (and side access area) and then run - able-bodied - into church.
The highlight of the trip, of course, was attending the National Charity League tea. My daughters and I are not members, but my cousin-in-law, Chris, and her daughters, Rachael and Paige, are. They had looked for a local journalist, author or reporter to speak but could not find anyone able to make the commitment that afternoon.
Too bad for those people, as they all missed a fantastic event.
The tea was held at McCormick Ranch Golf Club (indoors, for the Kansas gale that brought us there brought rain along with it). The room was decorated floor-to-ceiling in the Alice in Wonderland theme of the tea. Brightly colored paper lanterns hung from above, and big, beautiful flowers grew up from the tables, which were covered in jewel-toned tablecloths and black and white striped runners. Delicious iced tea, complete with a "Drink Me" tag on each straw, was served during the social time, with hot tea served throughout the program.
Plates full of scones rounded the table, with clotted cream, lemon curd, and strawberry preserves right behind. Just when I was coming to terms with the end of those delicious treats, Chris told me it was show time.
She gave the most glowing introduction a person could ask for, and I made my way to the platform and podium to speak.
I gave the crowd of 250 a rundown of my journey through my own looking glass and enjoyed every moment of it. Even when the sun finally came out and beat in through the wall of windows directly behind me, leaving me to feel as though my backside were under a heat lamp in a buffet line, entertaining the group of lively women and teens was a blast.
Portion lasted just a few minutes longer than had been allowed, long enough to feel the back of my dress begin to cling to my legs from the heat behind. But no one seemed to notice but me.
The Class of 2014 presented their mothers with interesting tidbits about them while I inhaled the tea sandwiches (it is a toss-up as to whether my favorite was the chicken-mango-chutney or the cucumber), and the program concluded.
My girls sat through the event - maybe even enjoyed their mom?? - and recorded my speech. They tell me they added special visual effects throughout, I cannot wait to see that.
We said goodbye to the Valley yesterday morning, but not before meeting Bruce Vilanch, one of my favorite writers, at Sky Harbor Airport. He was heading to Florida "for a minute" and then on to New York, and I was hanging on his every word. Funny and nice.
I like that.