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January 31, 2003: Sometimes a lady

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Richard's mom directs plays. Each year she and Richard's dad do a play through their church, and each winter she directs a play for kids at an elementary school. This winter they did Flapper, and she asked if we wanted to go.

I'll admit I was more than a bit apprehensive. My exposure to any sort of production involving elementary school children has led me to believe that the only people who really enjoy these sorts of things are those with a vested interest (namely, a child involved who is related to them) and thus are sort of required to go. Since we knew absolutely none of the children involved, I did not even have the luxury of the "relative buffer", which allows otherwise discerning adults to find amusement and joy in things performed by their own relations that would otherwise cause them to cover their ears and run screaming to the hills.

But for whatever reason, we decided that this year we should go see the play. And since Richard was training mollusk handlers in San Mateo county last week, I got to drive down by myself to meet up with his family (and eventually him) before the play.

Initially I was just going to go straight from home to the school for the play, but then Richard's aunt was coming out from Arizona and Richard's mom mentioned this tea house she's wanted to try, and suddenly I was headed down there for lunch instead, with his mom, youngest sister, aunt, and a family friend.

The teahouse was marvelous, in a frilly, girly, Victorian sort of way. We were led to our table by our hostess and then a woman in an old-fashioned black dress with white lace apron and her hair all piled up on her head came over to go over the menu with us. There were gingersnaps for appetizers, with lemon curd. We all ordered the same thing - a plate of tiny tea sandwiches, scones, tiny little savories. And we each got our own individual tea pot, with the tea brewed loose leaf, so our waitress poured it through a tiny tea strainer over each cup. There was a little china bell on the table to ring should we need anything more.

The food was served on delicate little china plates, with silverware that seemed more at place in a doll's setting. The teacups were so delicate we held the handles with two fingers and did our best not to chink them on the saucers. We ate our tea sandwiches and spread Devonshire cream on the scones, and drank our tea sweetened with sugared violet leaves. The milk for the tea came in a little pitcher covered with a tiny doily to keep it fresh. And then we followed this with chocolate macadamia nut mousse and mocha shortbread and cheesecake, all served on lacy china plates.

It was extremely girly. We all agreed that if any of our respective men had come along, they would have had to shower afterwards to rinse off all the estrogen. Now I am hoping to find a teahouse closer to home, so I can introduce my mom and sisters to this sort of affair. It was a tea party for grown-ups. All we needed were frills and skirts and big flowered hats. We all want to go again.

Later in the evening we went to see the play, and…well…wow. I was extremely pleasantly surprised to find out that all my expectations were blown away. They were elementary school kids, true, and as such the talent levels varied significantly between each group. But for a group of mostly untrained kids, they did an amazing job. They sang and danced, and said their lines and some of them managed to do a bit of acting, and we laughed and cheered and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I'm not sure I could have done that at their age - gotten on stage to sing and dance in front of so many people. Those kids impressed me.

After the play there was dinner, where I managed to spill my coffee all over the table and myself because I was so tired. And then we drove home, Richard following me in his car just in case because my car has developed a nifty putt-putt-putt noise every time I put my foot on the accelerator, and this is just what I wanted to listen to for over 100 miles.

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